#2567: Gladiator

GLADIATOR

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“The most powerful member of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, the alien super hero known as Gladiator is also its most devoted protector! Possessing nearly unlimited strength, virtual invulnerability, and a bevy of other abilities, Gladiator uses his powers on behalf of the throne of the Shi’ar Empire – no matter who may occupy it!”

The similarities between Marvel’s Shi’ar Imperial Guard and DC’s Legion of Super Heroes aren’t exactly a secret amongst the fans, and this especially comes to a head with the Imperial Guard’s leader, Kallark, aka Gladiator, who is a pretty thinly veiled take on Superman.  The differences are, however, enough to not actually cross any legal boundaries, making Gladiator a somewhat recurring character when it comes to action feature treatment.  Today, let’s have a look at his very first.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gladiator is part of the Phoenix Saga series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, released in 1994 to tie-in with the cartoon’s adaptation of the story from the comics.  Gladiator gets some decent focus in the story, making him a pretty sensible choice for inclusion (certainly a more logical choice than the other Guardsman in the assortment, Warstar), and he helped to sort of round out all of the factions present in the story.  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  Gladiator’s sculpt was quite a bulked up affair, befitting most renditions of the character.  He seems to have misplaced most of his neck somewhere, and his arms seem a touch long, but beyond that the proportions aren’t bad.  This body wound up getting reworked to remove the Gladiator-specific elements and was re-used for Toy Biz’s Hercules tie-in line, before making its way back to Marvel in the Marvel Gold line, where it was used for Moon Knight, among others.  The cape’s a separate piece, though, like Dr. Doom, the chain for the clasp is actually sculpted on the main figure, rather than being a part of the cape proper.  The cape sits a little high on the figure, and also has a hole in it to facilitate the action feature, but it’s overall not a bad piece.  The paint work on Gladiator is pretty basic, but also pretty decent.  It’s appropriately bright and bold.  His skin tone seems a touch on the light side, but that’s pretty minor.  Gladiator’s initial short card release didn’t have any accessories, but his long card release added Stryfe’s mace and Silver Samurai’s sword for…reasons?  They had all that space to fill, I guess.  Both versions got the same “Super Strength Power Punch” action feature, which causes his right arm to jut forward when the button on his back is pressed.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Gladiator is the only of the Phoenix Saga figures I didn’t have growing up.  I couldn’t tell you why, because I was a big fan of the whole saga, and I’ve always liked Gladiator as a character.  I guess I just never found him at the right time…I mean, until I did, obviously, since I’m, you know, reviewing the figure and all.  I snagged him very recently, as he was part of a collection of X-Men figures that came through All Time.  He’s a somewhat goofy figure, but I’m glad to have finally finished up the Phoenix set after all these years.

#2566: Batman – Defender

BATMAN — DEFENDER

BATMAN: THE CAPED CRUSADER (SPIN MASTER)

Remember earlier in this week when I was talking about the DC line’s wacky variant coverage?  Remember the thing about getting the variant before getting the standard?  And also the thing with the gold?  Great, that makes writing this intro a bit easier for me.  This time it’s Batman.  Here we go.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gold Batman, who is apparently called “Batman Defender,” is part of the very first series of the Batman: The Caped Crusader line.  He ups that “rare” game that was going on with Wonder Woman to a “Super Rare” game…again, whatever that means.  I’ve got this one and not the standard one, so I don’t know about the relative rarity.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation.  There are currently three Batman sculpts floating around in this line, and this figure makes use of the most “standard” of the the three.  It’s based on the Rebirth design for his costume, which is a pretty darn solid Batman design, all things considered.  The sculpt is pretty much on par with the rest of the Spin Master DC stuff, so it’s a little bit bulked up when compared to the comics depiction, but honestly, it has a pretty good basic Batman feel to it.  The costume details are well rendered, and I appreciate the level of work that’s gone into it.  The head in particular has a nice classic Batman vibe, which I can definitely dig.  He’s got a cloth cape, and like I noted with Superman and Shazam, it’s not a terribly impressive piece, but it’s also not like it’s particularly bad either.  They made a point of leaving a hole in it that corresponds with the port on his back, so at least he can make use of all of the gear from other figures, if you’re so inclined.  While the Gold Wonder Woman was totally devoid of paint, Batman mixes things up slightly.  He’s got his black insignia, white for his eyes, and flesh tone for his lower face, indicating that this is supposed to be a costume, I guess.  It’s different from all of the other gold variants, but it was also the first one, so I guess they hadn’t quite made up their minds fully on the concept yet.  I think I might have preferred the straight gold, but this isn’t bad either.  Gold Batman includes three blind packed accessories: a grapple in neon green, chest armor in black, and a shield in yellow.  It’s a shame they didn’t go for the all gold pieces like with Wonder Woman.  I feel that would have inclined me to use them, instead of just tossing them to the side.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I liked the Wonder Woman a fair bit, and I definitely want the Gold Superman, so I figured I might as well grab a Gold Batman too.  The one from the corresponding series is built on the armored body, which I wasn’t quite as big on, but fortunately for me, Max was on board with trading out that one for this one, and passing this one along to me.  It’s a little weird that they changed the gimmick mid-run on these guys, but I still like this figure.  I guess I should pick up a Batman in standard colors now.

#2565: Killer Moth

KILLER MOTH

BATMAN: THE CAPED CRUSADER (SPIN MASTER)

So far, Spin Master’s DC product has been pretty heavy hitter-centric (though, for that matter, so has McFarlane’s), which is pretty understandable, given their more mass-release driven audience.  That said, it’s not *all* heavy hitters.  There are a few lower tier characters thrown in, to toss some of us more hardcore fans a bit of a bone.  One such character is c-list Batman foe the Killer Moth, who is today’s focus figure.  To quote Max, “WEEEEE HE’S A MOTH BOI!!!!!!!”

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Killer Moth is part of the second assortment of Spin Master’s Batman: The Caped Crusader toyline.  He’s one of two “new” figures in the line-up, the other being Batwoman.  Killer Moth has had a few rather differing appearances over the years; this figure’s main inspiration is clearly his original ’60s get-up, in all its garish glory, though it seems to have gotten a bit of an update.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation.  On my figure, the neck joint is rather stuck, so I haven’t been able to really get any motion out of it, for fear of tearing the ball clear off.  Hopefully that’s not a wide spread issue.  Killer Moth gets an all-new sculpt, which is just downright shocking, because typically the main thing he’s got going for him is the ease of building him on a buck body.  This one, however, has quite a few character specific elements built into it.  Sculpturally, he looks to have taken a lot of influence from Batman: Bad Blood‘s incarnation of the character.  It’s a sleek and modern update on the classic jumpsuit with a harness and a helmet.  This one feels a little more cohesive and put together.  I definitely dig it.  The color scheme marks the major change-up from that design.  In the film, it’s mostly all black, but this figure gives Moth the classic color scheme I mentioned above.  Why’s a moth guy orange, green, and purple?  No idea, but I sure do love it.  The application’s all pretty solid, and the whole thing just really works.  Killer Moth’s blind-packed accessories include a gun in neon green, a briefcase in silver, and a chest piece, which mine does not have.  I’m pretty sure it did have that piece originally, but by the time it came to me, said piece was gone.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I saw this guy and Batwoman when they’re promo shots got leaked early in the year.  I was definitely down for him right away, but finding him was the main obstacle there.  Max got one pretty quickly, and ultimately ended up passing along his to me shortly thereafter (though the chest piece appears to have not been passed along…).  This guy’s definitely another really fun figure, and I look forward to some more oddball characters when we get the chance.

#2564: Wonder Woman – Gold

WONDER WOMAN — GOLD

DC HEROES UNITE (SPIN MASTER)

Spin Master’s DC line is definitely focusing on the more toyetic side of the universe, what with their goofy blind-boxed accessories, and general shift to more heavy hitter focus.  This also includes a little bit of wacky variant coverage.  And sometimes, you just end up getting that wacky variant first, now don’t you?  Well, that’s my story anyway.  How about a look at this Wonder Woman who is inexplicably all gold?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gold Wonder Woman is from the third series of Spin Master’s DC Heroes Unite line.  She’s classified as a “Super Rare” figure.  What that means for actual availability, I don’t really know, nor do I believe I’ll ever full understand.  Certainly someone at Spin Master has some sort of idea, and I’ll just leave that to them.  Wonder Woman’s based on her Rebirth-era costume (or would be if she weren’t, you know, all gold), which is itself heavily movie inspired.  It’s a strong design, and I can get behind it.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and she’s got the same 17 points or articulation as everyone else in the line.  Her sculpt’s honestly a pretty strong one.  She’s not as bulky as the guys, which actually makes her look a little bit more comics accurate.  She’s perhaps a little more leggy than she should be, but I’ve certainly seen worse.  There’s actually quite a bit of smaller detail work going on here, and I’m definitely keen to see how it looks on a figure that makes use of full color.  Speaking of color, this Wonder Woman is, as mentioned before, all gold.  There’s no paint here, just molded plastic.  It’s ever so slightly translucent, which is kind of cool when she’s all lit up.  It works pretty well.  Gold Wonder Woman’s accessories are again blind packed, but like a lot of this set, there’s really the only possibility.  She’s got her lasso, a sword, and a shield, all in gold to match the figure.  This is definitely one of the better accessory selections for the line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This one goes back to Max for the pick-up.  After I found Flash and found out about the later assortment line-up, I let him know I was definitely interested in a few of them, so he snagged this one for me at the same time as GL.  I’m not really sure why she’s gold, and I can’t recall and specific story where that was the case, but I can’t really complain about the execution, as she does make for a nifty toy.  Now to just find one in standard coloring.

#2563: Flash

FLASH

DC HEROES UNITE (SPIN MASTER)

To continue my Spin Master DC-centric week of reviews here, lets go ahead and just expand that Justice League roster just a bit further, shall we?  Yeah, and it’s gonna be one of the team’s founding members, even.  I mean, depending on who’s under the mask.  And which founding line-up you’re talking about…look, it’s the Flash, okay?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Flash is part of Spin Master’s DC Heroes Unite.  He was technically in Series 1, but proved a little more on the scarce side at that point.  Fortunately, he’s also in Series 2, allowing anyone who missed him the first time around to have another chance.  Yay for me!  Flash is seen here in his post-New 52 costume, which has the notable feature of being pretty much the only of those designs to actually last.  It helps that it’s really just a slight tweak on the classic ’60s costume.  That officially makes this figure Barry Allen, but given the general similarity of Flash costumes, he could also be Wally in a pinch, I suppose.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation.  No waist or wrists hits Flash a little bit harder than the others in the line, but he’s still got enough posability in him to get some halfway decent running poses.  In terms of sculpt, he follows the line’s general trend towards making these guys a little bit bulkier than usual, so Flash definitely isn’t as svelte as I tend to think of the character.  It’s not terrible, though, and he ends up being about the same size as NIghtwing, which tracks alright for me.  It’s really just his arms looking a bit stubby that throws things off, but it’s not the end of the world, and it’s no worse than anything Mattel did.  He’s got more jovial expression, with a friendly smile, which leans him more into that Barry characterization.  Whatever the case, it works, and it sets him apart from the others nicely.  Flash’s paint work is pretty simple, but also clean and very bright.  It works well for his design.  Flash has had a few releases, so there are a few options for his blind-boxed pieces.  Mine’s got the lightning bolt sword thing in yellow, the chest armor in a sort of metallic blue/purple, and the wind vortex in blue.  Ultimately, I don’t see myself using any of these for the character, but they’re nifty enough, I suppose.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Flash is one of the rare Spin Master DC figures I’ve actually found for myself, and was the one that cued me into the fact that there was actually a Series 2 out there, once I looked at his little pamphlet.  I’d actually just guessed he was a Series 1 restock when I saw him.  Whatever the case, I was glad to get a second chance at him, and he’s another solid addition to the line-up.

#2562: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

DC HEROES UNITE (SPIN MASTER)

2020’s been rough on everyone, and the toy industry’s no exception.  While bigger companies with established product lines, such as Hasbro and…uh, Hasbro’s it, I guess, have been able to more or less keep going, smaller companies have been having slightly more trouble.  At the start of the year, Spin Master was one of two companies to pick up the license for DC figures, with a focus more on the kid-friendly side.  They got out their initial product before the shut down, but things have been rather scarce since.  Fortunately, they seem to finally be getting more product out there, and I’ve managed to fine enough of it to justify doing a whole week of reviews.  So, I guess that’s just what I’ll do.  I’m kicking things off with (spoiler) my favorite of the recent additions, Green Lantern!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern is part of the second assortment of Spin Master’s DC Heroes Unite line, which is their more Justice League-oriented line.  For their first GL, Spin Master’s gone for John Stewart, a pretty smart idea, since he’s really become the most marketable of the bunch these days, and is a nice way of getting some more diversity into the line right from the get-go.  He’s in his cartoon-inspired costume, which is again a smart choice because a) it’s his most recognizable and b) it’s his best looking one.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation.  His body looks to be an all-new sculpt, something that I’ve kind of got to commend Spin Master on.  A lot of the bodies they’ve put out have been basic enough that I could see some justification for re-use, but they’ve actually been trying to keep the heavy hitters unique.  John’s build is definitely the bulkiest on the standard build characters I’ve looked at so far.  On one hand, it’s weird that he’s larger than Superman, but on the other hand, he’s been pretty consistently shown as roughly this build, so I think it really works.  The head’s the most unique piece, and it goes for a slightly younger looking John than we tend to see, but one that never the less still sports that usual look of determination, so it’s very on-brand for the character.  The paint work on John is pretty basic, but it’s clean, it’s bright, and it’s eye-catching, so it works well for me.  The only issue I have with it is that they’ve made John a lefty by painting the ring on his left hand.  Come on, guys!  All of the accessories so far for these lines have been blind-boxed, but for this round, it looks like most of the new figures don’t actually have randomly packed ones.  John in particular seems to only have the one color set.  He’s got his lantern, a fist, and a gun construct, all in green.  A translucent green would have been cool, but this still works for me.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m a big GL fan, so I was really looking forward to one being added to this line.  He wasn’t the first of the new set I found, but I spotted him on the included pamphlet, and was on board immediately.  Fortunately, Max was able to help me score one, so I didn’t have to wait long.  He’s really fun.  Pretty simple and straight forward, but also just fun, and probably my favorite from this line so far.

#2561: Speeder Bike

SPEEDER BIKE (w/ REBEL SPEEDER BIKE PILOT)

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Whipping through the forests of Endor on a Rebel strike mission against the Death Star shield generator, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia battled Imperial scout troopers atop highly maneuverable speeder bikes. Considered ideal reconnaissance vehicles by the Empire and he Rebel Alliance alike, their maneuverability and acceleration is superior to both landspeeders and airspeeders. This particular speeder bike was designed and built based on production sketches found in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Sketchbook.; its creator was renowned Star Wars artist, Joe Johnston.”

Have you ever been so non-started by something that when it came time to do that thing you actually did an entirely different thing for far longer than you’d like to admit before realizing you were actually doing the wrong thing?  Because I have, and it was right here, just moments ago, when I was so “meh” on today’s review subject that I actually started up writing a review for *next* Sunday, and even got so far as uploading that review’s photos before realizing my mistake.  I’m sure that makes you guys feel real great about having to read the following review that my subconscious clearly didn’t want to write.  Well, we’re doing it anyway.

THE TOYS THEMSELVES

The Speeder Bike and Rebel Speeder Bike Pilot were released by Kenner in 1998, as one of three vehicle sets that accompanied the Expanded Universe sub-line of their main Power of the Force line.  While the figures were all based on established characters and designs from Star Wars media other than the movies, the vehicles on the other hand were all focused on replicating un-produced concept work from the films.  This item is, as you may have guessed, the original concept for the Speeder Bikes that would appear on the Endor sequences in Return of the Jedi, and, as the bio above notes, are based on Joe Johnson’s sketch.  In toy form, it’s about 5 inches long, and features a spring-loaded feature that swings the outriggers backward or forward.  The sculpt is definitely on the boxy side, which is true to the original sketch overall, but the process of converting the design into plastic form has made it a good deal clunkier.  This only increases its relative clunkiness when compared to its film-based brethren.  It’s not a bad looking sculpt from a technical standpoint, I suppose.  The detailing is relatively sharply rendered, so that’s good.  In addition to the outrigger action feature, there’s also a missile launcher built in, for a more offensive set-up, I guess.

Included with the Speeder Bike is its own unique pilot, the Rebel Speeder Bike Pilot.  That’s a very unique name, I know.  While the Speeder bikes in the final film were an Imperial vehicle, and subsequently had their own specific Imperial pilots, it seems at some point they were supposed to be the Rebels’ proper.  This guy’s design is rather different from any of the Rebels we actually saw in the film, with his aviator’s cap and goggles.  It’s not that far removed from the WWI/WWII film-inspirations that the movies had, and a similar design element would crop up years later when Marvel introduced Doctor Aphra into the universe.  So, it’s not inherently un-Star Wars.  The figure stands just shy of 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  He feels somewhat on the diminutive side for this line, and I’m not entirely sure why.  I guess he’s just like that.  His sculpt is passable, but compared to the original sketch, it definitely feels like some of the charm of the design was lost in translation.  A lot of that coolness factor just feels gone.  As it stands he’s…fine.  That’s about it.  The paint’s kind of the same deal.  He’s rather drab and not particularly eye-catching.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Expanded Universe sub-set as a whole excites me.  The vehicles from that set as a whole do not.  They’re just kind of bland and not terribly exciting, and they’re certainly not helped by the lack of the 3D back drops.  I never had much attachment to this release, which is why I never really went to the trouble of tracking it down.  I still don’t really have much attachment.  It’s okay.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this set.  They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2559: Wolverine – Battle Ravaged

WOLVERINE — BATTLE RAVAGED

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Since long before he joined the X-Men, Wolverine has been squaring off against opponents in all types of battles, from silent ambushes to brawls. His mutant healing factor allows Wolverine to recover from wounds and injuries at a rate much faster than normal, letting him take greater risks when in combat. Fighting is in this man’s nature, but Wolverine must always take care to hold his berserker fury in check and keep his animal nature from taking control.”

And here we are, making it to a full-on seven years here with the site.  How about that?  This takes dedication…or insanity.  I’ve certainly got one of those two things.  Speaking of a strange mix of dedication and insanity, this year, one of my favorite days of reviewing was the “Day of the Wolverines,” where I took a look at 18 of Toy Biz’s 5-inch Wolverine figures.  During that day, I noted that I was skipping the ones I’d actually had as a kid, which meant skipping out on 1995’s Wolverines entirely, since that was the year I got into collecting the line, and I already owned all of that year’s variants.  Since the Day of, I’ve been filling in some of the Wolverines from that year, and today I get to the final, and honestly most important one: Battle Ravaged Wolverine!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Battle Ravaged Wolverine was released in the Invasion Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, the eleventh series of the line.  Truth be told, it’s probably my favorite series of the line, for reasons I’ll get to in the relevant section.  The concept on this guy is pretty straight forward: take the basic Tiger Stripe Wolverine design, and just tear it to shreds, as if in battle.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  While I didn’t look at this figure proper during the Day of the Wolverines, I did look at his sculpt, which was re-used in the 1997 “Greatest Archenemies” set.  As I noted in that review, it’s a sculpt I actually quite like.  It’s a little on the large side for a Wolverine, but the build actually works pretty well, and the battle damage is quite well implemented throughout the figure.  There’s a great intensity to the sculpt on this guy, and I just really dig it.  The paintwork is really the main differing thing here, as it gives him a more classic color scheme than the later release.  It works a lot better, and just results in a nicer overall figure than the later release.  There’s actually another repaint of this guy, released as part of 1996’s KB Toys-exclusive Overpower line.  It tweaks the coloring on the claws so that they’re now bone claws, and also makes the shoulders silver….for some reason.  I guess they really needed to keep that silver paint quotient up.  The original release and all subsequent re-uses of the mold had a “Berserker Rage Action” action feature, which slashes the arms downward when you push the lever on his back.  The original release also featured a set of doors, which you could use the action feature to “split” and knock down.  It’s very basic, but a cool extra piece of scenery.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Remember how I said that the Invasion Series is probably my favorite?  There’s a good reason for that.  I got into toys in late 1995, and because of that, the Invasion Series was the one on shelves when I started collecting.  That’s why Havok and Erik the Red were my first two X-Men action figures, and that’s why this particular Wolverine was my very first Wolverine…well, *a* Battle Ravaged Wolverine was my first Wolverine.  This one’s a replacement, because my original went missing at some point along the way.  Whatever the case, I have a real nostalgic appreciation for this figure, and he’s definitely very high up on my list of favorite Wolverines.

Seven Years

Seven Years.  Well, on one hand, I’d like to say these yearly wrap-ups feel like they’re coming at me faster and faster, but on the other hand, it’s hard to say that 2020 in particular has gone by all that quickly.  Truly it’s been a doozy of a year.  Last year, I passed my personal milestone of reaching my original “end goal” for the site, and the year before that I hit five years.  This year doesn’t carry anything quite as special with it, I suppose, at least from the reviewing side.  On the personal side, it’s been a year full of a lot of change, but I’m hardly alone on that front.  But enough of being introspective, let’s talk about my two favorite things: toys and stats!

Over the course of the last 365 366 days, I’ve written over 272,000 words about 458 figures and 6 vehicles.  That’s a lot of toys and a lot of words.  Additionally, I had three more lovely fill-ins from my Super Awesome Wife, plus a proper guest review from her as well.

This year, the site’s views climbed up to a cumulative total of over 360,000, over 80,000 of those coming from this year, surpassing even last year’s heightened stats.  I picked up 32 more followers, bringing the total to a resounding 230.   I had 36 comments, excluding those made by yours truly.

“And what exactly were you reviewing?” a made up reader that seems to think surprisingly like only me, the writer, asks!  Well, breaking it down by franchises, Marvel come out on top with 127 review,  Star Wars was following close behind 91, and DC marks a distant third with 30 (just barely beating out last year’s number three, Transformers, which had 29). Looking at toy lines proper, Marvel Legends was unsurprisingly top dog with 80 reviews, followed by a gap and then The Black Series at 40, and then Minimates close us out with 27.  By virtue of being the primary manufacturer of the top two entries in both of the last two categories, Hasbro again takes the number one spot for manufacturers, with 211 reviews, more than half my total.  Second place is an astounding 173 reviews behind, and, again, not even in business anymore, because it’s Kenner with 38.   DST clings to its top three spot with 26 reviews.  As of today, I have reviewed 57.8% of my collection.  I’m making a dent!


Once again, this year I’d like to acknowledge some of my favorite review subjects of the year.  I thought not letting the list be all Hasbro was hard last year.  It was much harder this year.  Boy do they have my number.  Here’s my top 5!

#2207: HAVOK & POLARIS

Bomber Jacket Havok is my absolute favorite design for one of my absolute favorite characters, and I was so thrilled when he was dropped into the Legends line-up.  One of my very favorite pieces from a line that’s always at the top of my list.  Polaris may not have been the star herself, but she was no slouch either.

#2312: ALIEN QUEEN

I never in a million years expected to have Lanard toys anywhere on this list, or really even on the site at all, but here we are.  Their Aliens line was generally just passable, if better than expected, but their Alien Queen stole the show, and has got to be just one of the most fun toys to come out of the last year.

#2372: SNAKE EYES

The relaunch of G.I. Joe wound up being a big piece of the year, for me and just collecting in general.  There’s been a lot of not so fun elements to it, but the first Snake Eyes figure was just bliss for me, and set the tone right for the rest of the line.

#2379:  OFFROAD BUMBLEBEE

I love Jeeps and I’ve come to really love me some Transformers in the last year.  This just puts those two things together, and makes it one of my favorite pieces from the Transformers I looked at.

#2450: EGON SPENGLER

Coming so close to Mattel’s own run with this license, I didn’t give much thought to Hasbro’s own stab at Ghostbusters, but they turned in some really good figures in their first assortment, and Egon was the best by far.  That likeness is really killer.

-HONORABLE MENTIONS-

#2314, 2315, 2348, 2361 & 2362: SPIN MASTER DC FIGURES

I had trouble really honing in on just one of these to focus, so they’re all getting a little bit of focus here.  While there’s nothing here that’s truly ground-breaking or revolutionary about Spin Master’s DC stuff, the pure toyetic nature of it really just made for some cleanly fun figures that I’m really intrigued to see continue on.

#2414-2418: DAY OF THE WOLVERINES

The insanity got to me again this year and I got nostalgic for the Day of the Vipers thing I pulled off back in 2018.  Plus, I had a good excuse with all these Wolverines I’d found.  Digging back into the Toy Biz stuff full force was a real treat for me, and really reinvigorated my appreciation for the line, as well as my desire to keep reviewing it.  Perhaps this is a gimmick I’ll roll out again at some point…if I lose my mind again…


Thanks again to all my faithful readers who have stuck by me through all my crazy ramblings, and thanks to all of those who have joined me along the way.  I couldn’t do this without you guys!  Here’s to another five years!

That’s pretty much it…

#2558: Rogue & Pyro

ROGUE & PYRO

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Unpredictable circumstances force Rogue and Pyro away from the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and into the light.”

After the original team had disbanded and otherwise moved onto other things, in the ’80s, recurring Claremont villain Mystique put together her own version of Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.  The line-up debuted in the present day section of the classic “Days of Future Past” story line, and was made up of a mostly new selection of characters, including Pyro.  The team made a handful of appearances there after, and later that same year added Rogue to their roster.  While Pyro would become one of the team’s longer lasting members, Rogue was fairly quickly adopted into the X-Men, and has become one of that team’s most prominent members.  And, now, here they both are!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Rogue and Pyro are a two-pack release for Marvel Legends, and started hitting in the last month or so, though they aren’t officially slated for release until around November.  Character-wise, they’re a perfectly sensible pairing, but unlike some of the other recent two-packs, they aren’t really in compatible costumes.  I’m not complaining too much, of course.

ROGUE

Rogue’s first Legends release since the Juggernaut Series, way back in 2016.  This one gives us her X-Men: Legacy costume.  It’s not the look people were expecting, but it’s at least a new one for the line, rather than just jumping right back into another redo of the ’90s costume.  This release is also notable because this very version of Rogue was *supposed* to join the line in 2013, but when the Puck Series was re-routed to specialty retailers only, she was dropped from the line-up.  Her head actually wound up getting re-used on Sharon Carter back in 2016, but the figure proper was just waiting in the wings until Hasbro pulled it out for re-use here.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Though the design for this figure has been sitting around since 2013, it’s worth noting that the final figure doesn’t actually use any of the parts from the original prototype.  Rather than make use of the original concepts rather dated selection of pieces, the retail version uses the Phoenix body’s upper torso and arms, in conjunction with Ms. Marvel’s scarf, and a whole selection of new pieces.  Aside from a slightly restricted range of motion on the elbows, the Phoenix body is a good starting point, and actually allows for a more faithful rendition of Rogue’s costume.  The new pieces fit well, and further the body’s generally well-balanced proportions.  The new head isn’t too far removed from the original prototype, but has been slightly refined to better fit with the more modern stylings of the line at this point, giving her a slight smile in her expression, and a little more flow to the hair.  The new legs are noteworthy for making use of Hasbro’s new contained pins set-up, which makes them look a lot nicer and more seamless, and also seems to have made the general construction of them just a little more solid.  I also found the posing to be a little smoother, and the tolerancing to be slightly more apt for keeping her standing.  The figure’s paint work is overall fairly decent.  It’s all pretty basic work, but it gets the job done.  There’s a touch of slop on her skirt, however, that appears to really be it.  Rogue is packed with an alternate head with a slightly more intense, teeth-baring expression, as well as hands in both fists and open palm poses.

PYRO

Pyro got in on the Legends game relatively early, back in Toy Biz’s Bring on the Bad Guys assortment, but hasn’t gotten a follow-up figure since then, meaning it’s been 14 years without a single update.  Admittedly, he’s not a character with a lot of looks to produce, but that old figure was a bit dated looking even when he was new.  We saw Rogue at Toy Fair this year, but we didn’t know about Pyro until late in the summer, when the pair were officially shown off.  In contrast to Rogue’s late ’00s design, Pyro’s in his classic attire, and is definitely the more timeless figure of the pair.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Pyro is built on the 2099 body, with new head(s), forearms, and torso overlay.  The 2099 body feels like a good match for Pyro’s usual build, and the articulation scheme is good, so it’s a solid choice.  There are two heads featured here, both rather similar, apart from the expression.  The first is a rather neutral expression, while the second has Pyro cracking a grin.  Both are solid recreations of his design from the comics, right down to that goofy hair he’s usually drawn with.  I like that they both have him sporting a slightly more jovial expression, in contrast to the rather angry appearance that the Toy Biz Legend went with.  This seems more suited to the character.  I also like the smaller touches, such as the texture of the cloth of his mask stretching over his ears.  The overlay piece does a good job of capturing Pyro’s usual gear, and the tubes for his flamethrower are long enough to not impede posability, and also sturdy enough to not risk breaking.  In general, it’s also just a cleaner looking rendition of it than what we got with the Toy Biz version.  Pyro’s paint work is, like Rogue, more on the basic side, but generally pretty clean.  My figure has a touch of missing paint on the top of his right boot, but is otherwise pretty sharp.  He’s certainly an eye-catching figure.  In addition to the extra head, Pyro is packed with two standard flame effects pieces to go on the hands.  It’s a little tricky to get them on there with the flamethrower attachments, and they’re clearly not *meant* for this figure, so something more tailored would have been nice, but these are far from the worst thing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve never had much attachment to the Legacy Rogue design, and had no real drive to get the original release even before it was cancelled.  With the Lee version already on-hand, I wasn’t missing this one, but I do quite like how she turned out, even if she’s not going to be my standard Rogue.  The old TB Pyro, as goofy as he was, was still one I quite liked at the time, and he’s a character I’ve always enjoyed.  I was glad to see him get an update, and his design is quite well translated here.  All in all, this is a set I kind of slept on, and I actually didn’t realize quite how much I enjoyed it until I sat down to write this review.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with these guys for review.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.