#2750: Emperor Palpatine

EMPEROR PALPATINE

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

I was going to begin this review by remarking that I’ve never actually reviewed an Emperor Palpatine figure review, but that’s…well, it’s a lie, I guess, because I have.  Clearly, I’m very invested in the character, because I keep such close tabs on him.  I mean, yeah, he’s the most pivotal single character in the whole saga, I suppose, but he’s…boring?  I mean, I guess the unlimited power gimmick is always good for a laugh.  But beyond that?  Meh.  Even his toys tend to be pretty meh.  I mean, there’s only so many ways to add something new and different to an old guy in a cloak.  This one goes for simulated unlimited power.  Go figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Emperor Palpatine was the fifth and final of the five figures in the Power F/X line-up of Power of the Force figures.  He falls more into R2’s vein, being more of his own standalone piece, rather than more interactive with the others like the three lightsaber wielders.  It feels a little bit like a missed opportunity, though, since he’s based on Palpatine’s portion of the throne room battle, which would make him a somewhat decent pair off with Luke, allowing for multiple display options if you get the whole set.  As it stands, he’s just, kind of off on his own, and not really ingrained to the crossline playability set-up.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 3 points of articulation.  Well, he’s got three joints…I hesitate to really call it articulation, because there’s hardly any actual motion to be had.  He’s pretty much just got the one pose, making him even less posable than the other figures in the set, and that was already kind of a low bar.  The figure’s sculpt is a tweaking of the prior single-card release of Palpatine, which wasn’t a terrible set-up.  It was an old guy in robes, and I guess it did that well enough.  This one’s an old guy in robes, but with his arms up this time.  He kinda looks like he’s doing the Thriller dance.  Like Vader, this guy’s sculpt does at least hide the battery pack a little better than Luke or Obi-Wan did, so he doesn’t look quite as weird.  Although, admittedly, a hunch back wouldn’t look all that out of place for this guy.  His Power F/X feature is worked into his hands, similarly to the three lightsaber wielders, but for his lightning (commonly referred to as “unlimited power” by those in the know).  The bolts slot into his hands, and the effect is, again, a fairly weak light, but I guess it’s alright.  His paint work is pretty much just on the face and hands.  It’s kind of thick, but consistent with the other PotF Palpatine figures.  At least there’s no notable slop or anything.  Palpatine gets his own stand, based on his spot in front of the window on the Death Star II.  It doesn’t work quite as well as the other three Death Star stands, I find, but it’s not a bad set piece, I suppose.  It’s got the little arm for moving him around, but it doesn’t really have the same appeal without that dueling ability the other three had, or the slightly more fun magnet gimmick from R2.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Palpatine was really just a side effect of getting the rest of this set of figures.  He was in the lot, and I wasn’t really going to turn him down, I guess.  In retrospect, Luke and Vader are really the only two I really wanted, and the others are a bit extraneous.  Palpatine really exemplifies this, because he just doesn’t really seem to fulfill the same purpose as the others.  That’s probably why he tends to be the least desired of the set.

#2749: Polaris

POLARIS

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Lorna Dane, a long-time friend to the X-Men, is the mutant known as Polaris! Able to manipulate the forces of magnetism, she has learned to utilize her powers in various ways, such as creating force fields and firing pure bolts of magnetic energy! As a member of the government sanctioned X-Factor Team, Polaris will not hesitate to use her powerful mutant abilities to help the X-Men whenever she is needed!”

“Long-time friend” kind of down plays that whole period in the ’60s when she was an actual member of the team.  Or that period in the ’80s when she was an actual member of the team.  Heck, you can’t even use the “maybe they were trying to keep it in line with the cartoon” excuse, because, there too, she was an actual member of the team.  What I’m getting at here is a simple question: why does this unnamed Toy Biz copy writer have a personal vendetta against Lorna Dane?  Is it because of all the times she’s been brainwashed and crazy?  Because you’re going to have to rule out, like, 90% of the X-Men, if that’s your thing.  I will not stand for this slander libel against Lorna.  It’s unreasonable, I tell you!  I’m so mad, I’m gonna review this action figure.  I know, that’s so out of character for me.  See?  See how mad I am?  It’s your move, person that wrote the packaging text on a figure from 25 years ago for a toy company that’s been defunct for over a decade…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Polaris was released in the “Flashback Series” of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, which hit shelves in 1996, and was the 15th assortment in the line.  It was that year’s requisite repaint series, which they’d gotten somewhat attached to, I suppose.  Polaris marked the third member of the ’90s X-Factor team added, and would be the last one added to the mainstream line.  She’s ostensibly in her ’90s team attire, but I’ll get a bit more into that in a moment.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation.  Since it was a repaint series, Polaris is, unsurprisingly, a repaint, specifically of the Series 6 Rogue figure.  It’s not a terrible sculpt, I suppose, but it was a little outdated by this point, making her a little stiffer than other figures from the same year.  And, while the overall design of the character matches up alright with the sculpt if you squint, it’s not a super close match, and ends up amalgamates a few of her different X-Facter looks.  It’s seems to be closes to the sleeveless w/ headband look she had slightly later in the run, but adds a jacket to the mix (since Rogue’s was sculpted in place), and somewhat awkwardly recreates a few of her costume design elements by ignoring or reinterpreting the actual sculpted Rogue elements.  This is largely done by the paint work, which does the heavy lifting to make Rogue look like Polaris.  Honestly, it does a pretty respectable job, and while it looks like she’s a repaint, she’s at least distinctly different enough to not look totally out of place if both figures are on the shelf.  Polaris was packed with a removable belt, and a weird translucent green gun thing…I suppose to make up for Rogue’s general lack of the obligatory unnecessary gun?  She also keeps Rogue’s “Power Upper Punch” action feature, which is a little out of place with Lorna, but it’s a part of the sculpt, so it stays.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had Havok in my X-Men collection from the very beginning, so I couldn’t very well not have Polaris to go with him, right?  I got her back when she was new, and if I’m recalling correctly, I believe she was given to me by my parents, alongside the second of the two X-Men carrying cases I had as a kid.  I actually got her before Rogue, if I recall correctly, which made her stand out a bit more in my collection at the time.  She’s perhaps not the most exciting or inventive figure in the line, but she’s not a bad figure either, and that places her into the half of the “Flashback” assortment that wasn’t totally pointless.  Good for her.

#2743: Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi

BEN (OBI-WAN) KENOBI

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

In last week’s review of Kenner’s Power of the Force Power F/X Darth Vader, I brought up the figure’s compatibility not only with the previously reviewed Luke Skywalker, but also with Obi-Wan Kenobi, a figure I had not yet reviewed.  Can you really say you’re surprised that I’m reviewing that figure now?  I mean…I don’t think you can, but I’ve been wrong before.  Anyway, let’s just get onto the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi (as the line was very insistent on in reference to him) was another 1997 release, the fourth of the five figure Power F/X sub-line of Power of the Force.  In contrast to Vader’s cross-film set-up, Ben is, unsurprisingly, based on his A New Hope appearance, specifically his final duel with Vader, which is sensible, since it was, at this point, his only real lightsaber battle.  That being said, it’s low key kind of a shame that they didn’t use the Power F/X set-up for some shimmering force ghosts.  I guess that’s not as inherently toyetic.  Ben stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  Just like the last two, his right arm is restricted in order to facilitate the light-up feature, and the rest of his articulation’s more for just tweaking the exact nature of his stance.  His sculpt is quite similar to all of the other Kenobi’s from the line, being especially cut from the same cloth as his first figure and the one from the Cantina Cinema Scene boxed set.  He’s even got the same headsculpt as those releases, and his still removable cloak piece is almost identical to the one from the boxed version.  Beyond that, he really just follows the lead of Luke, being a somewhat awkward sculpt, including still having the hunch on his back for the batteries.  The robe does it’s best to hide this, but it doesn’t work quite as well as Luke’s cape did.  He does at least add a little more detailing to the lightsaber hilt than Luke did, but it’s still somewhat removed from the film product.  Ben’s paint work is pretty much the same as the other versions of the character, apart from one rather notable mistake: his lightsaber is the wrong color, being green, rather than the appropriate blue.  Supposedly, this change occurred because blue LEDs were more expensive than green, and Kenner couldn’t justify the cost.  Seems like a weird choice to me, but here we are.  Ben was packed with the same hallway stand piece that was included with Luke, allowing him, like Luke, to be connected with the Vader figure for a more interactive set-up.  And, while Luke came with an entire cardboard backdrop for him and Vader, Ben and Vader each got half of an A New Hope-inspired backdrop, which shows off the Millennium Falcon in the Death Star‘s hangar bay.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Luke was the only one of these I had as a kid, but I came very close to buying Obi-Wan a few times, mostly because I no longer had my original release, and I wasn’t yet at the point of going for exact replacements for my toys.  I never really could muster the excitement to grab this one, though.  He’s alright, but admittedly a bit redundant for me, since the Luke/Vader pairing is the one that holds more nostalgia.  Perhaps I’ll snag a second Vader some day, so that I can justify having Vader face off against each of them.

#2742: Archangel

ARCHANGEL

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Rich playboy Warren Worthington III was the X-Men’s Angel until the day that he was captured and transformed into one of the horsemen of Apocalypse. A darker reflection of his previous self, Archangel now possessed wings made of metal – wings that he could barely control, wings that fired paralyzing “feathers” at friends as well as enemies. Constantly battling his dark side, Archangel longed to regain the goodness that he once stood for. Recently finding kinship with the X-Men’s Psylocke, Archangel has come to terms with his transformation, and has started to rebuild the life he thought he had lost forever!”

Though only a recurring guest star in the show the line was loosely attempting to tie into, Archangel was treated alright by Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  He was in the initial assortment (which, admittedly, predated the show, so, you know…), and got a follow up just a few years into the line, in the Invasion Series.  Thanks to a rather notable costume change, which also made it’s way into the show, he got a third time up to bat, this time with a more radically different figure, which I’m looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Archangel was released in the “Battle Brigade” Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, which was the 14th series of the line.  Unlike the last time around, Archangel stayed with this assortment through it’s whole run (although he, like the rest of the line-up, did get a color variant later into the run).  He’s sporting his white and blue costume, which had first appeared under Neal Adams’ tenure in the comics, and had been revived following Warren’s drive to distance himself further from Apocalypse’s influence.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  The figure is predominantly a re-use of the mold from Archangel II, sensible from a consistency stand point, I suppose.  I still think it’s a little bulky for Warren, and it’s still got the sculpted wrist bands from the prior costume, which this one just sort of pretends aren’t there.  Prototype shots had this guy reusing the entire sculpt, including the head, but the final product got a new head sculpt.  It would become one of Toy Biz’s favorites, with quite a few re-uses as the progressed.  It’s quite a lot thinner, and also really pouty, which was honestly pretty appropriate for Warren circa this era.  It does seem perhaps a touch small for the body, but it’s not awful, and I generally like this one more than the prior head sculpt.  The paint work on this one does its best to change the sculpt over to the changed costume, while ignoring the previously mentioned sculpted wrist bands.  It’s not terrible, but it’s kind of on the sloppy side, especially on the legs.  Definitely could be cleaner.  This Archangel had no accessories, but he retained the prior figure’s wing-flapping action feature, which is nifty enough.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Growing up, my go-to Archangel was the first one, but my Dad had this one, back when we were sort of sharing the collection a bit.  A few years later, I actually got one of my own, courtesy of a 5-inch Marvel collection that came through Cosmic Comix.  He was my favorite Archangel of the 5-inch run, but wound up getting lost in a box of other figures that got misplaced for about a decade or so.  In the mean time, I wound up getting a replacement at a con, but I was lucky enough to find that whole box of figures not long after, and, boom, now I have two.  Yay?  Yay.

#2736: Darth Vader

DARTH VADER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE (KENNER)

If I seem uncharacteristically agitated or prone to getting frustrated during today’s review, fear not, dear reader. It isn’t you that I’m frustrated with, or even the figure I’m looking at, just know that at the core of things is a desire to seek out whomever created WordPress’s Block Editor and do something awful to them…like force them to use WordPress’s Block Editor…much as they have done to me. Feels like poetic justice if I’m entirely honest. Or something that the Spectre could really get behind. I feel like I should see what that guy’s up to….or I suppose I could write this review, and try not to focus too much on how frustrated I am by the interface I’m writing it on. Last week, I looked at the second of my Electronic Power F/X Power of the Force figures. Today, I’m looking at another, specifically Darth Vader, who’s stepping up his Power F/X game.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Darth Vader was released in 1997 as part of Power of the Force‘s aforementioned “Electronic Power F/X” sub-line.  He followed the early Vader set-up of being more of a combination of all three of his film appearances, rather than being clearly based on one in particular.  This would work to Kenner’s favor in terms of this toy’s playability, as it meant that Vader could face off against either Luke or Obi-Wan, depending on your fancy.  The figure stands roughly 4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  Like Luke, his movement is somewhat restricted by the inner workings of the figure’s light-up feature, meaning his right arm is largely rendered inert.  He’s been sculpted with something of a walking gait, much like the Shadows of the Empire variant.  It means that, much like that figure, he has a lot of trouble staying standing.  Hence him making use of some sort of prop or stand in all of the photos, because this guy was really not cooperating.  Otherwise, the sculpt is pretty much business as usual for the early Vaders.  If you’ve messed with one Beef Cake Vader, you’ve messed with them all.  He’s certainly got an imposing silhouette.  Due to his larger size, the battery housing is at least less of an issue for this guy, so he doesn’t have the weird hump set-up like Luke did.  Like Luke, Vader’s arm has been built with lightsaber as a part of it, though it’s a lot less rudimentary than Luke’s.  This one actually vaguely detailed to match Vader’s actual hilt from the movie.  The light up feature works pretty much the same way as Luke’s, and is also not terribly bright, but it’s there.  The paint work on Vader is pretty much the same as all of the other Vaders from the line.  It gets the job done and looks pretty decent, even if it’s not terribly involved.  Vader is packed with a large base piece, which is the match for Luke’s Death Star hallway, just meant to be the other half.  It even connects to Luke’s for a more full diorama set-up, and allows for them to “duel” via the arms for moving them around.  It’s actually pretty fun.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I brought up last week, Luke was the only one of these I had as a kid.  That being said, I always really wanted Vader, mostly due to the whole interacting with Luke thing.  Fortunately, All Time had him and three of the others right as I was really getting serious about this PotF thing.  Vader’s not really all that new when compared to other Vaders from the line, but he goes well with Luke, and there’s no denying that this goofy, gimmicky thing really works best when you’ve got multiples from the set.

 

#2735: Elektra

ELEKTRA

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Seeking to put her past behind her, the ninja warrior known as Elektra found kinship during her time spend with the X-Men’s Wolverine. Along with Wolverine’s help, she began a new chapter in her life devoted to righting the wrongs of her past. Now facing her future as a hero, Elektra relies on the lessons she has learned and her twin ninja sais to overcome the evil force that would sway her from her path!”

Man, doesn’t that bio seem like a rather convoluted and forced way to justify putting Elektra into an X-Men toyline?  I mean, when you think Elektra, don’t you think “X-Men”?  Certainly there are no other areas of the Marvel universe that she’s got any closer ties to at all.  Clearly, Wolverine is Elektra’s closest connection from the Marvel universe who has also had a definitive run featuring Frank Miller on the creative duties.  No one else would have a more sensible place in the bio at all.  Uh huh.  Well, uh, let’s look at this totally naturally placed Elektra figure, then, I guess.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Elektra was released in the “Classic Light-Up Weapons” Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, released in mid-1996.  Now, I’m going to go in hard contrast to my intro up there and say that Elektra’s a pretty wonky choice of a character for an X-Men assortment.  Why in the world?  Well, I’ll sort of get to that in a moment.  The figure stands about 4 3/4 inches tall and she has 9 points of articulation.  If you feel like you’ve seen this sculpt before, that’s because you have.  I reviewed it once before, back when it was Psylocke, from this same assortment.  While the other figures in the line-up all got paint variants that were the same character, for some reason, Psylocke’s alternate colors were used to make her an entirely new, entirely unrelated character instead.  I guess that Elektra and Psylocke have vaguely similar designs, but it’s really hard to say it’s not a stretch.  The paint serves as the main change up, here, of course, with the costume switching from blue to red, her hair from purple to black, and her skin tone shifting ever so slightly.  It looks more like Elektra than it did before, I suppose, but it’s not like it’s spot on, or anything.  Elektra is packed with the same accessories as Psylocke was, a katana and the light-up psychic knife.  They’re definitely more Psylocke than they are Elektra, and it means she lacks the sais her bio quite blatantly mentions, but I suppose it could be worse.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Elektra’s presence in this line-up has always perplexed me.  This figure was my first real knowledge of the character, and lead to me being rather confused about who exactly she was, given that, you know, she’s not an X-Men character, but she was in an X-Men assortment just the same.  I’m not really sure what possessed Toy Biz to do Elektra this way, but I guess it got her a figure, and it was her first time as a toy and all, so it was better than nothing.  I ultimately wound up getting this figure from All Time a few years back, after putting off getting her for a while, just because of the weirdness of the figure.  She’s really just exactly what she is, which is a Psylocke repaint.  And I guess that’s not the worst thing, but it’s just…weird.

#2729: Luke Skywalker

LUKE SKYWALKER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

Hey, remember yesterday, when I was talking about a mid-90s line’s use of light-up features in order to re-introduce some of the core characters into the market place again?  Well, as it turns out, Toy Biz’s X-Men wasn’t the only line to try that.  Kenner’s Power of the Force did it too!  Everything’s better with lights, right?  Well, Kenner certainly felt so.  While I’ve looked at the line’s one outlier, R2, already, they also covered the original trilogy’s four most action-oriented force users.  I’m kicking my dive into the line-up off with our hero, Luke Skywalker!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke was released in 1997 as part of Power of the Force‘s “Electronic Power F/X” sub-line.  Luke gets more to the actual point of the line-up than R2 did, actually focusing on one of the OT’s cool fight scenes, in his case the battle between Luke and Vader on the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi….well, sort of, anyway.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he’s got 5 points of articulation.  He loses the usual waist joint, and also gets severe limitations on the right shoulder, both due to the electric feature.  Beyond that, none of the other joints really give him much actual range, due to the somewhat pre-posed nature of the figure’s sculpt.  He’s…sort of, like, mid-lunge, I guess?  Like, for stabbing?  I don’t know.  The actual sculpt’s not exactly Kenner’s finest work.  The head’s distinctly different from the original PotF2 Luke head that looked nothing like Mark Hamill, but still looks nothing like Mark Hamill, so it’s a lateral move.  The light-up features have a direct impact on the quality of the sculpt on the right arm and the torso, since that’s how the feature works.  The torso’s rather bulked up, especially at the back, in order to house the batteries, which give him sort of a hump back.  Not the most flattering thing, which is why he also gets the cape, which Luke doesn’t actually wear in the scene this is replicating, in order to hide the hump a bit.  The arm has been designed with the lightsaber built into it, with his hand kind of folded around it.  It’s kind of crude, and not really hand shaped, and the hilt is really wide, short, and basic in its detailing.  It’s definitely goofy looking.  There’s also this sort of cap piece that goes over the the actual blade.  I think it’s really just meant to be part of the packaging, but it’s not coming off of mine.  The actual light-up feature’s okay, I guess.  Not terribly bright, and barely noticeable in the photos here.  It’s also a little hard to activate, due to it being behind the cape. The paint work is all pretty basic work.  It’s not bad, but the right arm’s definitely a bit fuzzy.  Otherwise, pretty standard for the line.  Luke’s packed with a large base piece, meant to look like one of the halls from the Death Star.  Like R2, there’s an arm for moving him around, though this one doesn’t do the whole magnet thing; it’s just a basic peg set-up instead.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As a kid, this was actually the only of the “Power F/X” figures I had, because I was all about Luke, and I was all about a good gimmick.  Unfortunately, these figures, more than others from the line, don’t really stand up to play so well.  As such, my original Luke is in pretty rough these days.  Fortunately for me, All Time had four of the five figures in the set right as I was ramping up on filling in my PotF collection, and that gave me the opportunity to pick up this guy again, alongside the rest of the set.  This guy’s hella gimmicky, and hella goofy, but I can get behind it.

#2728: Nightcrawler

NIGHTCRAWLER

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Once misunderstood because of his appearance, Nightcrawler is the warmest and most charming member of the X-Men. A trained swordsmen and acrobat, Nightcrawler’s mutant ability to teleport lends itself well to his unique fighting style! A swashbuckler at heart, Nightcrawler would be at home in the age of pirates and buccaneers – but finds more than enough adventure with the X-Men!”

Though there were plenty of variants of the titular team’s members to be found, the early run of Toy Biz’s X-Men line was really without a lot of straight up redos of prior figures, at least from a ground up sort of approach.  That changed in 1996, when, five years into the line, they realized some outright updates might be an okay idea.  Our first taste of this new mission statement for the line came in the form of the “Classic Light Up Weapons” assortment, which gave us proper updates on the likes of Gambit, Juggernaut, and today’s focus, Nightcrawler.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nightcrawler was released in the above mentioned “Classic Light Up Weapons” set of Toy Biz’s X-Men in mid-1996.  It marked his second inclusion in the line, after a rather lengthy hiatus following his Series 1 inclusion.  The figure stands about 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  Like the others in this assortment, his light up feature hampers the movement on his right arm, and his left removes the usual elbow joint in order to more properly match-up.  He does, however, gain ankle joint movement, which is quite useful for him, as well as an additional cut joint at the base of the tail (which is not bendable this time).  Nightcrawler gained an entirely new sculpt for this figure, and one more in line with the line’s stylings by this point.  It’s not bad, but it’s definitely removed from the more classic interpretations of Kurt I tend to prefer.  It also makes him a bit taller than he really should be, as well as amping up the definition in his muscles.  At least he wasn’t as majorly bulked up as the other male figures in the set.  Nightcrawler’s paint work is generally pretty decently handled, with all the usual colors.  There was a variant of this figure with less of the usual colors, which swapped out silver for the spots that are usually red.  It was an odd color variant, but it was there.  It’s not one of the one’s I have, though.  Nightcrawler’s only accessory was a sword, which was also the source of most of his gimmick, as it wasn’t just any sword: it was a flaming sword.  Pretty nifty, and definitely on the better front as far as the light-up accessories for this set went.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Any reliable stock of Series 1 Nightcrawler had long since dried up by the time I got into the line, so this Nightcrawler was my first shot at the character.  For whatever reason, this one never really clicked with me.  I mean, he’s not bad, or anything, but I guess he doesn’t quite fit my mind’s eye version of the character.  He got replaced by the Series 1 version as soon as I got a hold of one, and that one’s still the one I stick with for my main display.  That said, I have warmed more to this guy in recent years, and I can acknowledge his pretty cool, even if he’s not my preferred.

#2693: Weapon X

WEAPON X

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

Wrapping up the radical changes that occurred to the many X-Men characters within the “Age of Apocalypse” storyline, we have Wolverine, who has such radical changes as “not called Wolverine” and “has one less hand.”  Okay, the hand thing’s a bit more radical, I suppose.  Not that it really impacted anything about who he was as a character, of course.  But it did at least give him a new look to make a toy out of, and Toy Biz was always down for that, weren’t they?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Weapon X was the final figure in the AoA Series of X-Men.  He was the requisite Wolverine variant for the set, which is sensible, I suppose.  The figure stands 4 1/4 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  Well, sort of 8 points, I guess.  The sculpting on the hair is such that the neck joint can’t move at all, but on the flip side, when he’s got one of his attachments for the stump in place, it gives him an extra joint there.  So it kind of works out, I guess.  As I addressed during my review of Patch back during the “Day of the Wolverines”, the Weapon X mold was retooled into that particular figure, though it’s worth noting that most of the parts are still technically unique between the two figures, thanks to a handful of minor changes to each of them.  It’s…not the worst thing ever?  It does slightly trend away from the ever increasing size of Wolverines at this point in the line, so I suppose that’s nice, though he’s forever stuck in this sort of mid-lunge-hunch posture, which really can’t be good for his back, adamantium spine or not.   His arms are also kind of weirdly outstretched, and I don’t even know what’s going on with his neck.  It’s weird to say the least.  Logan’s costume for the crossover isn’t a terribly involved one, and the paint is likewise not terribly involved.  Everything is rather basic.  The blue is a bit brighter than it should be, I suppose, and he’s missing the yellow, but the application is at least pretty clean, I guess.  Weapon X was packed with a handful (heh) of attachments for his stump, of varying quality.  The claws make sense, of course, being all story relevant and everything.  The hook is kinda goofy, and the missile launcher just made no damn sense.  I’ve only got the claws anyway, so I guess it doesn’t really matter too much at the end of the day.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I only got Sabretooth when these were new, and by the time I was starting to track them down after the fact, I was pretty well overloaded on Wolverines, so this one never really jumped out at me.  My brother Christian was always a little more of a Wolverine fan than I, so he actually got this one as a kid, from our local comic shop Cosmic Comix, I believe.  When he got around to not wanting most of his figures anymore, this was one of the ones I happily assimilated into my collection, mostly because it meant I didn’t actually have to put time or money into getting one of my own.  He’s alright, I guess, but I again confront the fact that this just isn’t that interesting of a design, and doesn’t really make for a terribly fun toy.

#2687: Aunt Beru

AUNT BERU

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Beru Lars was the closest thing to a mother that Luke Skywalker ever knew. She and husband Owen lovingly raised Luke as their nephew, and trained him in the mundane ways of moisture farming on their arid Tatooine homestead.. All along, Aunt Beru understood that a larger destiny awaited Luke. Years before, on another part of Tatooine, the slave Shmi Skywalker raised the boy who would become Luke’s father-Anakin Skywalker. Like Aunt Beru, she sadly understood she could only love and nurture her boy for a relatively short period of time before she had to allow him the freedom to fly on his own wings.”

I know what you’re thinking: “Why does Shmi Skywalker get mentioned in Aunt Beru’s bio?  Isn’t that a weird reach?”  Yes.  Yes, it is.  But it’s okay, because weird reaches are something that defined this particular branch of the Power of the Force line.  In celebration of the upcoming Prequel Trilogy, Hasbro (who was once again putting their name on action figures, after deciding to shut down their Kenner division) decided to celebrate in the best possible way you can when you can’t actually release anything from the movie you’re promoting: awkward, forced tie-ins.  Instead of actual Episode 1 based product, they produced the “Flashback Photo” figures, a set of Original Trilogy figures that each had a tie to someone from the new movie.  Figures like Vader, Obi-Wan, R2, or 3PO all made sense, being in both sets of movies and all, but what of other characters?  Well, you get pairings like Beru and Shmi, who aren’t related, and don’t actually interact on-screen….but, I guess they’re sort of similar?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Aunt Beru was added to the Power of the Force line in 1999, as part of the second round of the “Flashback Photo” figures that were leading into the new film.  This was Beru’s first figure (not an exceptional shock, really), and remains the only OT Beru figure we’ve ever gotten.  Clearly she’s overdue for Black Series treatment, right?  Riiiiight.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and she has 6 points of articulation.  She’s rather limited on the mobility front, due to the harder plastic skirt, but it’s Beru; it’s not like she was exactly action oriented.  Her sculpt was an all-new thing, and it’s actually a rather nice offering.  The proportions are fairly balanced and realistic, and pre-posing is kept to a minimum.  Her outfit is fairly well detailed, and she’s even got a halfway decent likeness of actress Sheila Mary Fraser.  Generally, just pretty good sculpting for the time when you get down to it.  Additionally, the paint work’s not too bad either.  Mostly, it’s flat base color work, but there’s some decent work on the pattern of her collar, and the accenting on the hair also works quite well.  Beru’s real selling point is the accessories.  She gets the best ever accessories for an Aunt Beru figure: a pitch and cup of blue milk!  It’s kind of a signature thing, so it’s nice they put it in there.  Hasbro obviously knew that old woman in a sensible jacket and dress serving a good, calcium building beverage wasn’t going to fly off shelves, so they packed Beru with one of the Lars family Service Droids.  Though simply dubbed “Service Droid” on the package, this guy is actually a WED-15-77 Treadwell droid, which is a somewhat recurring type of droid from the films and expanded universe material.  Treadwell even has a single joint at the base of his treads, and a spot for keeping the milk, making him the perfect companion piece to Beru.  Lastly, there’s the “Flashback Photo” piece, which is really just an extra piece of packaging that you’d be forgiven for immediately throwing away.  It’s a picture of Beru on a set of shutters; pull the tab down, and they flip to show Shmi Skywalker.  Thrilling.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is one of those oddball releases that isn’t really ripe for buying as a kid…so I didn’t.  She got traded into All Time over the summer, and I snagged her then, as I continue my quest of getting all of Power of the Force.  Honestly, while she may not be the most thrilling character, Beru is a better figure than you might expect, and holds up surprisingly well for this line.  For me, though, Treadwell is the real star.  He’s just so nifty!