#2524: Phantasm

PHANTASM

BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM (KENNER)

As I’ve brought up on this site, my favorite Batman film of all time is easily Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, the Animated Series’ cult classic theatrical feature. It’s an impressively crafted story, and actually does a phenomenal job of actually salvaging some of the elements of the rather messy Batman: Year Two story.  The story’s original antagonist, Reaper, was reimagined as the titular Phantasm, a chilling and truly intimidating villain.  Unsurprisingly, the Phantasm got some toy coverage in the tie-in line, and I’m looking at that figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Phantasm was released as part of the Mask of the Phantasm tie-in line in 1994, and was really the main focus figure in the line-up.  I know, what a shock.  What was also *supposed* to be a surprise was the Phantasm’s identity, which was to be hidden under the figure’s mask in the package.  However, for some reason, someone at Kenner thought it would be a much better idea to instead package the mask off of the figure, thereby revealing the Phantasm’s secret identity before the film even hit theaters.  Yay.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and she has 4 points of articulation.  The Phantasm’s sculpt was all-new, and, well, it’s technically a little bit compromised.  It’s not entirely Kenner’s fault, to be fair.  In the film, the reveal that the Phantasm is really Andrea Beaumont is hidden by the fact that the two character’s designs sport almost entirely different builds.  It’s a total cheat in the movie, and not something that’s quite so easily rendered in three dimensions.  For the purposes of this figure, Kenner opted to sculpt Andrea as she’s seen post-reveal, and then provide add-on parts to approximate the Phantasm design.  Ultimately, it’s a compromise, but it’s probably the optimal compromise.  The underlying figure is a pretty solid recreation of Andrea’s design.  The head in particular is a good match to the model.  Technically, for true film accuracy, she shouldn’t have the glove on her right hand, but I’m ultimately not too bugged by the added symmetry.  Phantasm’s paint work is pretty basic, but a decent match for her colors in the movie.  There’s no odd color changes this time around, so she’s nice and screen-accurate.  Phantasm is packed with her mask/hood and cape, which slips nicely over the head, and her scythe attachment for her hand.  They make for a passable, if perhaps not quite as intimidating, recreation of the primary Phantasm design.  The figure also originally included a gun because, you know, gun, right?  Mine doesn’t have that piece, which, you know, is just such a bummer, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t get the Phantasm when she was brand new, mostly due to being just shy of being only enough to actually see the movie.  Also, when I finally did see it, she kind of scared the crap out of me, so I held off for a bit longer.  Ultimately, I ended up getting her as a Christmas present from my parents a few years later, and she’s stuck with my collection  since.  While the figure obviously isn’t a pitch perfect recreation of the film design, I’ve still always found it to be a really fun offering, and certainly one of my favorite Animated pieces.

#2517: Retro Batman

RETRO BATMAN

BATMAM: MASK OF THE PHANTASM (KENNER)

I’ve looked at a surprisingly small amount of Kenner’s Animated Batman tie-in product.  I’ve certainly looked at a chunk of the DCC follow-ups, and even a handful of Mattel’s JLU-era stuff, but I’m averaging about a single Kenner animated figure a year right now.  Well, I’m aiming to mix things up a bit.  In tandem with my looks back at the other toys of my childhood with X-Men and Power of the Force, let’s throw a little bit of Batman into the mix, shall we?  And what better place to start than with a variant of the main guy himself, hailing from one of my absolute favorite pieces of the Animated Verse, and one of my favorite DC-related things in general, Mask of the Phantasm.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Retro Batman is one handful of Batman variants that were released in 1994 as part of Kenner’s Batman: Mask of the Phantasm tie-in line.  Unlike most of those other variants, which were mostly made up by the minds at Kenner, this one was actually in the film, depicting Batman as he’s seen in the flashbacks (it also showed up during some of the flashbacks in the episode “Robin’s Reckoning”, which is a good companion piece to the film in general).  He’s not terribly far-removed from the standard Batman design, and in retrospect is kind of a merging of the BTASTNBA, and JLU designs all into one.  The figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  He keeps the standard Kenner 5 points, and also has a swivel on his right forearm to assist with his action feature.  It won’t really hold many poses, but it does add a slight bit more of variation to the posing.  His sculpt is fairly typical of this era of figure from Kenner.  He’s not a pitch-perfect match for the animation models, but he’s pretty close, and fits consistently with the styling of the other figures in the line.  The sculpt is clean, and hits all the important notes, and he’s pretty darn sturdy.  As was the way at this point, his cape is cloth.  Again, not super accurate, but it works for their purposes, and it certainly helps with the playability.  His paint work is pretty cleanly handled overall, though Kenner for some reason opted to make the body suit a sort of bluish silver, rather than the typical grey.  It’s not super far removed, and it reads the same way as the standard colors.  I honestly don’t mind it, but it’s still a weird choice.  Batman’s accessory selection here is…interesting to say the least.  He’s got a battle spear and a sort of a gun looking thing?  I don’t know exactly what they’re supposed to be, nor do they really line-up with anything from the movie or the episodes where this look appears.  But, they certainly feel toyetic.  The spear is meant to be placed in his right hand, allowing it to be spun using the wheel mechanism in his arm and back.  It’s odd, but harmless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While the majority of my Animated stuff is actually from when I was a kid, this one is not.  I always wanted him, but just never managed to find one.  Fortunately, one came into All Time a couple of weeks ago, new, sealed, and in pretty much pristine condition, so it was almost like getting it when it was brand new.  He’s a fun variant of Batman, and also a sensible variant of Batman, and those two didn’t tend to cross-over in this line too much, so I gotta say he really works for me.

#2511: Chewbacca

CHEWBACCA

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“As Han Solo’s partner, Chewbacca the Wookiee (or Chewie, as Solo calls him) distinguished himself as a talented pilot, starship mechanic and smuggler. After being rescued from Imperial slavers by Solo, Chewbacca pledged a life debt to the rogue pilot and followed him to several different planets as their relationship grew and the two became close friends and partners. When Solo acquired the light freighter Millennium Falcon, he and Chewbacca began their career as intergalactic smugglers. Chewbacca’s reputation as a brawler gave him a distinct advantage in shady business negotiations, and it was he who initiated the deal to transport Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker from Tatooine to Alderaan.”

Okay, so here’s something of an odd thing that slipped through the cracks of my review schedule: somehow, in all of the Power of the Force reviews I’ve written here on the site, I’ve managed to leave one single figure from the initial assortment un-reviewed for far longer than I realized. I speak of today’s entry, the line’s first take on Chewbacca, who has thus far escaped my reviewing focus.  Not to worry, dear reader, I’ve got him all set for today, so lets take a look at this crazy monkey man who really isn’t a monkey man!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Chewbacca was, as noted in the intro, part of Kenner’s first 1995 assortment for their revamped Power of the Force line.  He joined standard versions of Luke, Han, Leia, R2, C-3PO, Obi-Wan, Vader, Lando, the Stormtrooper, and Boba Fett in bringing Star Wars back to toy shelves for the first time in over a decade.  This would mark Chewy’s second time getting a 3 3/4-scale figure, following his old vintage release, placing him in the same category as Vader, the Stormtrooper, and Boba Fett.  The figure stands 4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation…technically.  There’s a neck joint there, but best of luck really getting any sort of motion out of it.  This guy got an all-new sculpt, which would serve as the basis for Chewy’s Shadows of the Empire figure as well. Chewbacca’s vintage sculpt was definitely on the scrawny side of things and…well, this one definitely goes for the other end of the spectrum.  Way on the other end of the spectrum.  This guy’s like two of the vintage guy.  Chewy may have been bigger than the other characters, but he wasn’t a body builder like this one.  He falls into a similar category to Vader, who was likewise a little on the small side for his vintage release, and then ballooned way up for his ’95 figure.  It’s downright goofy looking, and ends up making Chewy look a lot more simian than he did in the films, especially with that less shaggy, more carefully groomed appearance he’s got.  At the very least, the texturing on the fur isn’t too bad, though the bandolier isn’t quite so lucky; it looks stretched to fit Chewy’s new bulk, and ends up missing out on some of the better detail work of later versions.  The major details are there, but not much beyond that.  Chewbacca’s paintwork is fairly decent, perhaps the best of the initial batch, in fact.  He actually gets some nice accenting on his fur to give it its proper variations in color, a definite step up from the vintage counterpart.  Chewbacca was packed with both his usual bowcaster and also a more generic and definitely very ’90s gun, just in case one wasn’t enough for him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Part of the reason Chewbacca got overlooked for review is because he kind of got overlooked in my collection, too.  As I mentioned in my Bounty Hunter Chewbacca review, that was my standard, and quite frankly, my go-to Chewbacca as a kid.  I didn’t actually have a basic Chewy; he was one of the figures that was in the batch of figures my Grandmother had for me and my cousin at her house.  It meant I got to play with one, but it wasn’t ultimately mine.  When the figures got split up between us, Chewy went with my cousin, and I never thought much about it, having moved onto better Chewbaccas.  When filling in my collection, I actually forgot about this figure, until managing to find one loose a couple of Christmases ago while on vacation.  I then forgot I had that figure and hadn’t actually reviewed it until I took it down off the shelf for the photo that ended my recent C-3PO review, at which point I got him onto the schedule as soon as I could.  And, here we are.  He’s not great, or anything.  He’s goofy and not very accurate, but also not as fun as the Bounty Hunter Chewy, so he’s just sort of here.

#2510: Archangel II

ARCHANGEL II

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“As the high-flying Angel, Warren Worthington III was one of the original members of the X-Men. Years later, Worthington’s real wings were dissected, replaced with razor sharp wings of steel, and he was transformed into Archangel, one of the four Horsemen of Apocalypse. Now, having fought against the conditioning that tainted and turned him into a living weapon, Archangel has embraced his humanity and strives to regain the purity that once surrounded him.”

The Toy Biz X-Men line came out of the gate pretty strong, marking off a good chunk of the core X-Men.  By a few years into the line, they were steadily supplying updates to those core characters.  While characters such as Wolverine or Cyclops were central to the then-running cartoon, and therefore higher on list for updates, Warren Worthington III, aka Archangel only had a guest-starring role on the show.  It was still enough to justify another figure, and so here we are!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Archangel II was released in the Invasion Series of X-Men, the eleventh assortment of the line.  Archangel was included in the initial cases of the series, but was replaced in later cases by the previously-reviewed Erik the Red, making this version of Archangel ultimately the rarer figure.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  Archangel II debuted an all-new sculpt, one that would prove a favorite of Toy Biz over the years.  Though I haven’t actually managed to review any of the later uses (something that kind of baffles me, honestly), it was used *a lot* over the years.  This is where is kicked off, though, so that’s pretty cool.  It’s an okay sculpt, but what’s somewhat interesting is that it doesn’t really feel like it works as well for Archangel as it did for the later figures it was used for, despite being sculpted specifically for this guy.  The build seems perhaps a touch bulky for Warren, but ultimately, it’s the head that seems the most off.  It’s also rather bulky, and I’m not sure exactly what that facial expression is, but it seems a bit unpleasant.  The new wings were actually pretty decent.  They were certainly more sizable than the Series 1 version, and the detail work is a little more in depth.  The softer material used for them make it a little easier to keep him standing, which is definitely a plus.  The paint work on Archangel is pretty decent.  It covers all of the basics of his hideous colorscheme from the time period, and the application is all pretty strong.  Mine’s taken a little bit of a beating, but that’s kind of the usual for these guys.  Archangel didn’t include any accessories, but he did get a wing-flapping action feature.  It’s super goofy, but I enjoy it and all its hokiness.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, so consulting my records shows that I *have* talked about Ageless Heroes here on the site, back when I reviewed Bespin Luke.  I got a good chunk of 5-inch Marvel figures that way, and Archangel was amongst that grouping of figures.  He was one of those figures that was kind of rare when he was new and I was getting into collecting.  I recall seeing him on the back of the packaging for a few of my figures, so when I found him at Ageless Heroes, I was pretty excited.  Ultimately, he’s maybe not the best Archangel, but I still appreciate him for what he is.

 

#2504: Admiral Motti

ADMIRAL MOTTI

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (HASBRO)

“The senior Imperial commander in charge of operations on the original Death Star, Admiral Motti often disagreed with the decisions of Darth Vader. His outspokenness almost cost him his life when Vader used the Force to strangle the Admiral into silence.”

In 1999, when prepping for the tie-in to The Phantom Menace‘s release and the big marketing push that accompanied, Hasbro decided to actually take over full ownership of the line, officially bringing an end to the facade of Kenner still running the line.  This extended to the Power of the Force line, which would run concurrently with The Phantom Menace, albeit in a far more limited capacity.  They offered up a lot more redoes of previous designs during these two years, but also still gave us some brand new characters never before seen in toy form.  This included today’s focus, Admiral Conan Antonio Motti, aka the guy who Vader force chokes in the first movie.  Yay.  That guy really needed a toy, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Admiral Motti was one of the final two Power of the Force II figures released (the other being a Princess Leia variant), hitting shelves just before the transition to Power of the Jedi in 2000.  He was the third Imperial Officer to grace the line, following Tarkin and Piett.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  Oh boy, is that one extra joint I see there?  Yep, Motti gets an honest to god elbow hinge on his left arm.  Why is that?  Well, so that he can more properly recreate the force choking scene, of course!  Yep, he actually gets the ability to do that very specific pose.  I mean, there’s not really many other poses he can pull off, of course, but really it feels worth it.  It’s a pretty distinctive pose, and it’s the one pose that any one is really going to remember him in.  Honestly, I wouldn’t be able to pick Motti out of a line-up if not for the pose.  Otherwise, his stance is fairly neutral, so if you want to throw that arm back behind his back, I guess you can have him look rather British and upper-class and pompous.  In terms of paint work, he’s overall pretty basic in how he works.  Lots of greys, but that’s accurate, so it’s hard to really knock it.  Motti is admittedly a character that doesn’t really have any obvious accessories, but Hasbro did their best.  He gets the same smaller blaster as Tarkin did, as well as a CommTech chip, since those were still a thing at this point.  Amusingly, the back of the chip lists Motti as “Commander of Opperations Aboard the Origional Death Star” which features not one, but two separate typos that are really bad and really noticeable, and were really never corrected, since the line was already on its way out.  I guess we really shouldn’t have been all that surprised by “Skywalkwer”.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Motti’s one of those figure’s I’ve wanted for a while, not really because I care in the slightest about the character, but because he’s sort of one of those morbidly distinctive figures.  I mean, how often do you see the force choke in plastic form?  He’s not an exceedingly common figure, being at the very end of the line and all, so I had to wait through quite a few PotF collections coming in through All Time before finally getting my hands on him.  He’s not the most thrilling figure or anything, but he amuses me, and I’ll admit to doing a little bit of a happy dance when he came through.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy.  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.

#2503: Battle-Action Mega Armor Wolverine

BATTLE-ACTION MEGA ARMOR WOLVERINE

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

Toy Biz’s ’90s Iron Man, though far from a failure, was also not quite the success of some of their other Marvel-based toy lines from the same period.  Following the slow sales of its fourth assortment, the line was brought to a close, cancelling not only its fifth set of figures, but also some off-shoot products, which included a line of items dubbed “Mega Armor,” which would effectively take off from the Hulkbuster armor and give both Iron Man and War Machine larger mecha suits to pilot.  It was a cool concept, but not one that Toy Biz could get retailers to support under the Iron Man name.  However, with the molds ready to go, they had to do *something* with them, so they were quick to repurpose them under two of their more successful brands, X-Men and Spider-Man.  Why Spider-Man and the X-Men were running around in big mechs is anyone’s guess, but I try not to complain too much about such things.  Whatever the case, it gives me a Wolverine variant I haven’t yet looked at, so I might as well jump in on that, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Battle Action Mega Armor Wolverine hit shelves in 1997, under the main X-Men line branding.  To start with, they did Wolverine and Storm with the armor, but others would eventually follow down the line.  The Mech suit is about 9 inches tall and has movement at the shoulders and wrists, as well as a cockpit that opens in two spots to let the standard figure inside out.  Said standard figure is about 5 inches tall and has 10 points of articulation.  Wolverine’s mech suit is the one that was originally intended for Iron Man, and as such it’s definitely got a lot of details that really match up with both the modular armor and with the Hulkbuster armor’s depiction on the Iron Man cartoon in the ’90s.  It’s certainly a cool looking piece, though the very stiff nature of it does make it a little more difficult to really play with.  It’s more of a set piece than anything, and that becomes really even more apparent when you stick Wolverine in it instead of its original intended occupant.  The included Wolverine figure is interesting in that, when you really get down to it, he’s not *technically* a Wolverine at all.  He’s actually a re-use of the main line’s Morph figure, just with that figure’s alternate Wolverine head in place instead of the standard.  While the Wolverine head works fine on that figure as a more quick gimmicky set-up, the two character’s really don’t share the same build, resulting in a very anemic looking Wolverine.  He’s still very posable, however, so he’s at least a pretty playable figure.  When it comes to paint, the mech suit gets a pretty notable overhaul on the color scheme, moving away from the intended Iron Man scheme into something more in line with Wolverine’s usual palette.  It’s not a terrible look, but it’s definitely a departure, and I don’t know that it suits the mold as well as the original set-up would have.  For his part, the included Wolverine also gets a pretty major overhaul as well, with a totally blue number, some silver accenting and a whole bunch of weird gold techno lines thrown in to top it all off.  Really weird set-up, and I’m really not sure exactly what they were going for.  It’s certainly….different?  Oh, and he’s of course wall-eyed, because that’s just how you do, I suppose.  In addition to the Wolverine figure being included, the mech suit also gets a claw weapon thing to hold in one hand, and has a spinning hand feature on his right side and an extending punch feature on the left.  He’s certainly got his fighting options all laid out for him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have the whole mech suit thing as a kid, but I did have just the Wolverine from it, as it had been found at my Dad’s work, and he ended up bringing it home for me.  I always wanted the whole suit, in any of its many released forms, but I just never did get one.  But lucky me, one came into All Time in a collection, and also lucky me, Christian had just happened upon some really good trade fodder for me at Goodwill, sort of kind of as a birthday thing, meaning I was able to get this guy essentially free of charge.  That worked out pretty darn well.  This thing is so majorly goofy, and I so majorly love it.

#2497: Warstar

WARSTAR

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Members of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, aliens B’nee and C’cll unite their superhuman abilities symbiotically as the unstoppable Warstar! Possessing superhuman strength and the ability to discharge electrical blasts, Warstar stands ready to strike at any and all enemies of the Shi’ar Empire – even if it means crossing the width of the galaxy itself!”

First appearing early in the Phoenix Saga, the Shi’ar Imperial Guard’s original membership were all homages to artist Dave Cockrum’s previous work on Legion of Super Heroes.  When the team reappeared during “The Dark Phoenix Saga” a few years later, Cockrum’s replacement John Byrne was tasked with a few more members to pad out the roster a bit during their fight with the X-Men.  Instead of creating more Legion homage characters, these new characters, including today’s focus Warstar, were wholly original, while still loosely fitting the theme.  No doubt for reasoning related to the potential issues that surround homage characters and toys, Warstar being a non-homage character made him a slightly cleaner choice when it came to toy coverage.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Warstar was another inclusion in the “Phoenix Saga” Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men toy line.  He is by far the most obscure character in that particular mix, but he did at least get a little bit of focus during the cartoon version of the Saga, which made him at least somewhat memorable to the buyer base, I suppose.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  He lacks a neck joint, but in his defense, there’s a sensible reason for that.  As touched on in the bio up top, Warstar is actually two symbiotically-linked beings.  The main body is C’cll, the larger of the pair.  It does a respectable job of replicating his larger mechanical frame.  He’s perhaps a touch more boxy than C’cll tends to be depicted, especially when Byrne was drawing him, but by and large, it’s a pretty close match.  Borrowing a page from the previously released Tusk figure, C’cll has a little hatch and a small lever on his back.  Sliding back the hatch and pushing up the lever reveals a tiny B’nee figurine, who’s been hiding back there the whole time.  Both of them are just a touch underscaled for the line, and B’nee doesn’t get any sort of articulation, but it’s a fun feature nevertheless.  Warstar’s paintwork is pretty solidly handled.  It’s largerly all one color (for C’cll, anyway; B’nee *is* one color), but it’s a pretty slick metallic green.  Mine’s taken quite a beating over the years, but that doesn’t seem like the worst thing in the world for a character with “war” in his name.  The only extra included here is the small B’nee figure; no other weaponry or weird accessories thrown in this time.  Also, he’s one of two figures in the “Phoenix Saga” assortment not to get any additional accessories when moved over to the larger card, presumably because of how sizable he was in the first place.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Warstar was a rather early addition to my collection, purchased for me by my Nana, specifically at my request.  Interestingly, I had no clue who the character was (I hadn’t yet seen his appearance on the cartoon), and actually thought he was a Titanium Man figure, who I wanted to have to face off against my Iron Man figure I’d just gotten.  It wasn’t until later that I realized my mix-up (and got a proper Titanium Man), though I can’t really say I was ever upset to own a Warstar.  He’s a pretty fun figure of a pretty fun character, and is probably one of my favorites from the line.  I’d love to see him get an update as a BaF or Deluxe Legends offering.

#2496: EV-9D9

EV-9D9

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“EV-9D9 is ideally suited to its job as cyborg taskmaster in Jabba the Hutt’s palace. It was one of many droids in service to the crimelord.”

Hey, remember how I was reviewing Star Wars stuff all week?  Well, get settled in with that, because we’re just gonna keep that rolling one day further.  Of course, it’s no fancy Black Series offering today.  Nope, we’re instead going back to my old mainstay, Power of the Force.  I mean, hey, at least it’s somebody who hasn’t gotten any Black Series love, just to keep things different and interesting.  And it’s someone with a speaking role, even!  Let’s look at EV-9D9, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

EV-9D9 was added to the Power of the Force line-up in 1997.  He was one of a handful of Jabba’s Palace denizens added to the line-up that year, so he was quite at home (although he wouldn’t get an 8D8 to boss around until the next year).  This marked his second time getting a figure, following the vintage release, as well as his final time in figure form.  Poor EV, getting no modern day figure love.  That feels downright criminal.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  The design doesn’t quite as easily lend itself to a waist swivel, so he doesn’t get that.  Sadly, he also lacks the moving mouth of the original release, which is definitely a sad omission.  On the plus side, the figure’s nice and stable when it comes to standing, so he won’t be faceplanting nearly as often as some of the figures from this line.  He also avoids the pre-posing of earlier entries, making him a nice basic figure.  The sculpt is quite nice, doing a respectable job of capturing the design of the prop from the film, while also being sharp and clean on the details. It’s just a really nifty little sculpt.  The paint work is also pretty decent for this era of figure.  All of the important details are there, and there’s even some pretty nice accenting on the bronze sections of his body.  EV-9D9’s only got one accessory, but it’s a pretty good one: it’s the podium he stands behind when administering R2 and 3PO’s jobs. Pretty central to the character, and rather sizable to boot,  so it’s a winner in my book.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

EV is another of the large batch of figures I picked up in late 2018 when I really started trying to fill in my collection for the line.  It’s definitely a figure I didn’t think much of when I grabbed it, but he’s a pretty solid figure, especially given the lack of further coverage of the character.

Thanks to my friends at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy.  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.

#2490: Space Wolverine

SPACE WOLVERINE

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“The X-Man known as Wolverine will travel anywhere for a good fight with the forces of evil – even to the far reaches of outer space! Wolverine’s space armor protects him from the hostile conditions of deep space, while still allowing him to bring his adamantium claws to bear on alien evildoers! Even in this harsh environment, Wolverine is still the best there is at what he does!”

The eighth assortment of Toy Biz’s X-Men line was the first to properly theme itself, being based on the Pheonix Saga, which had just been adapted for the cartoon.  While a number of the character choices were pretty self-explanatory, they were still faced with a need for a Wolverine variant.  So, they kind of made one?  I mean, it’s not too far of a reach.  It’s a space suit variant, and in both comics and cartoon, the team does go into space.  Never in anything that looks like this, but still…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Space Wolverine was, as noted in the into, released in the eighth series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  He marked the line’s first dabble into made up Wolverine variants, something that anyone who followed the Day of Wolverines will know was far from at its end here.  At least this one was tame, I suppose.  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall (continuing the upward size trend on Wolverines) and has 8 points of articulation.  Due to a returning of the Series 1 style retractable claws, he lacks any sort of elbow movement, but at least the posing isn’t quite as stiff as it was on the Street Clothes Wolverine.  As far as sculpting goes, this Wolverine gets a head that’s really similar to Wolverine II’s, albeit with some slightly sharper details.  The body is kind of on the wide side, at least in contrast to previous Wolverines.  It does match the overall bulking up trend that Logan went through as the line and the decade progressed, however.  The space suit for some reason doesn’t actually cover Wolverine’s whole body, leaving part of his costume exposed.  I guess his costume really doesn’t breathe?  That can’t be all that comfortable, can it?  Like going everywhere in a tyvek suit.  Yuck.  I guess it helps with branding, though, so there’s that.  In terms of paint, Wolverine again stays on-brand, with what we see of his costume being the usual colors, and the space suit continuing those general colors, but in a more metallic sense, so it’s more golds instead of yellows.  It honestly works pretty well.  There was also a variant of this figure released a bit later alongside a CD-Rom including the original Phoenix Saga issues, which swapped out the gold for a metallic blue.  I also have this figure…somewhere.  Unfortunately, all I could find at the time of this review was his helmet.  Maybe I’ll find him and I can run an addendum, I guess.  For the original release, as with all of the Phoenix Saga figures, there were two releases, once with the short card and once with the wider card the following year.  The initial version included just his removable helmet, second version(which is the one I had) added a gun and two of Shatterstar’s swords to the mix.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was still new to the collecting game when these guys came out, so I got most of the assortment new, Wolverine included.  He was a gift to me from my parents, shortly after we moved into the house they live in now, and I recall that he was accompanied by an X-Men carrying case to keep all of my figures in (which was a far more realistic goal back when I received the case and it could actually hold all of my X-Men figures).  He’s a little more gimmicky than earlier Wolverines, but he is at least a somewhat sensible variant.

#2489: Prince Xizor VS Darth Vader

PRINCE XIZOR VS DARTH VADER

STAR WARS: SHADOWS OF THE EMPIRE (KENNER)

In the time between Han Solo’s capture by the Empire and his delivery to Jabba the Hutt, a secret struggle for power took place within the shadows of the Empire. A clash between power hungry crimelord Prince Xizor and the dreaded Darth Vader meant certain death for Luke Skywalker. As the Rebel Alliance’s only hope, a band of heroes led by Princess Leia, Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, and Dash Rendar set out to rescue Solo while protecting the young Jedi from a horde of bounty hunters and assassins.”

Oh, I bet you thought I was done with Shadows of the Empire, didn’t you?  Well…I wasn’t…so, you know…here we are?  Yeah, I know, I’m not thrilled about it either, but think of it this way: after today, the Shadows figures can’t hurt you anymore.  See?  Doesn’t a little but of optimism go a long way?  Okay, let’s get through this together guys.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Xizor and Vader are the second of the two Shadows of the Empire comic packs, the other being the Boba Fett and IG-88 set.  That one is, admittedly, a little more of an exciting prospect than this one, what with our only PotF2-style IG and all, but this one has value, too….there’s, um…a comic?  And the figures, too, I guess.  While the Xizor was technically distinct from his single-card release, this Vader would also end up single-carded in a Power of the Force assortment later down the line.

PRINCE XIZOR

“Xizor is the head of Black Sun, an intergalactic criminal empire that supports literally millions of outlaw organizations and activities. Since entering the service of the Emperor, the Dark Prince is widely considered one of the powerful individuals in the galaxy. He controls his operations with cold, deadly accuracy assuring that those who dare challenge Xizor meet with swift death, often by his own hand. His hunger for power has put him at direct odds with Lord Vader, But Xizor is afraid of no one; his hunger for power has driven him to dispatch an onslaught of assassins with orders to eliminate Luke Skywalker. Xizor plots to spoil Darth Vader’s promise to deliver Skywalker to the Emperor alive — a maneuver that would undermine Vader’s reliability and secure Xizor as the Emperor’s most favored ally.”

Prince Xizor was Shadows‘ primary antagonist, and that netted him not one, but two figures in Kenner’s tie-in line.  I’ve already looked at his single-carded release here on the site, but the two-pack was *slightly* different.  He’s only *mostly* the same.  That’s not quite as bad as *all* the same, right?  Well, actually, that’s probably up for debate, because if they were all the same, I’d only need to own and review one of them, rather than two.  Damn you Kenner and your making me right about Prince Xizor twice as many times as I needed to!  Like the single card, this figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  Also like that release, his movement’s incredibly limited by the braids on his head and the thick plastic robe, and even further hindered by the tweaked posing of the arms, which prevents them from being quite as useful.  As far as parts, this guy and the other Xizor use the same head, torso, and pelvis, and he’s got ever so slightly tweaked arms and legs, which now are more pre-posed than the prior ones.  The robe also remains the same as the other release, despite this figure’s more dynamic pose.  In my review of the single Xizor, I remarked that I didn’t feel his color scheme was very Star Wars-y, and I stand by that here.  Application of the paint is at least still pretty good, so I guess he’s got that going for him.  This Xizor trades out the last release’s weird fan blade things for a battle staff, which works a bit better with the pose, I suppose.

DARTH VADER

“Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, has instilled terror throughout the galaxy since the beginning of the Empire. His devotion to the Emperor and mastery of the dark side gives him more power than any single individual in the galaxy except for the Emperor himself. Draped completely in black and wielding the ability to take a life with a mere gesture, Darth Vader stands as the incarnation of evil. His dislike of Prince Xizor is intense and his distrust well-founded. Though Vader would gladly eliminate Xizor, Emperor Palpatine has need of Black Sun’s shipping operations to speed construction of the new Death Star. Xizor had best watch his back however, as Vader’s control of the dark side of the Force makes him a most formidable foe”

Though a notable player in Shadows, Vader faced the problem of not actually having his appearance change at all from his normal look for the purposes of the story.  That’s a little hard to sell as a separate figure, so Kenner had to figure that out.  Enter the pre-posing.  Effectively, this guy takes the initial PotF2 Vader and sort of bends and contorts him a bit.  Now he’s different!  Yay!  Honestly, it’s not terrible in terms of design, and he balances on those mid-walk legs better than you might expect.  His cape gets a little more flair to it as well, which works out pretty well.  He gets the same saber as his standard counterpart, as you’d expect.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I have trouble fully articulating how little I care about this particular release.  I literally only own it because a) I’m collecting the whole line, and b) it was bundled with the IG-88 and Boba set, which I actually wanted.  Neither of these figures exactly has much new to offer, and furthermore, I just don’t care about Xizor in the slightest.  So, here’s this set.  Cool.  I’m done now.

Thanks to my friends at All Time Toys for setting me up with these guys.  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.