X-MEN: SECRET WEAPON FORCE (TOY BIZ)
“Trapped in an alternate universe, Jean Grey wages a battle against Omega, one of Apocalypse’s minions. One of the most powerful mutant telepaths on the planet, Jean Grey has teamed up with Wolverine to put an end to Apocalypse’s diabolical plans once and for all. With her transforming Catapult Tank Blaster, Jean has a secret weapon that can send any opponent down for the count!”
By 1997, Toy Biz’s X-Men line had firmly moved away from purely comics-based figures, and was fully venturing into the “wacky variants” territory. Assortments moved to a generally themed nature, with that theme usually being some sort of gimmick. Both X-Men and Spider-Man took on an underlying line rebranding in ’98, with the X-Men one being
“Secret Weapon Force.” Though the main purpose of these assortments was have an excuse for wacky variants, Toy Biz did at least throw peopled a bit of a bone, and tried to make some of those variants line-up with something actually from the comics. In the case of today’s figure, Jean Grey, it allowed them to give her “Age of Apocalypse” look some coverage, after it had been left out of the proper tie-in assortment for the storyline.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Jean Grey was released in the “Battle Blaster” series of Toy Biz’s re-branded X-Men: Secret Weapon Force line. The four figures in the assortment were all loosely AoA-themed, with the pretense of this being our Jean trapped in an alternate universe. Jean was the most straight forward of the bunch, at least in terms of design. The figure stands about 5 inches tall and she has 5 points of articulation. Jean marked the second use of the Monster Armor Mystique body, which would become one of Toy Biz’s favorites in the later 5-inch run. She uses the main body, sans the skirt, with a new head sculpt (though the prototype on the back of the box was just a straight repaint). The new head is a decent match to her AoA look in the comics, so that’s pretty decent. The body’s not terrible, though I’m not a huge fan of the enormous right hand, or its general lack of posing. Also, this release kept the etched-in lines from Mystique’s gloves and boots, which don’t line up with Jean’s costume details. Jean’s paint work was generally okay. It follows her look from the comics fairly closely. Some of the details are a little fuzzy, especially on the costume. I do like the tattoo on the face, though. She’s also got a “Secret Weapon Force” insignia on her leg, which isn’t true to the original design, but is still a little cool, honestly. Jean was packed with her “Secret Weapon Force” secret weapon, which was a Catapult Tank Blaster. Given the sheer size of this thing, I’m not clear on just how she manages to keep it “secret,” but she *is* a telepath, I suppose.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Despite being a main character for the franchise, by this point in the X-Men line, Jean Grey figures were still rather rare. If you saw one, you got it. That’s just how it was. I wanted a non-Phoenix Jean, and this was my only real option at the time, so you know I went out there and got one…with my Grandmother’s money, most likely. I know I got the Cyclops from this set first because, well, Cyclops, but Jean was a fairly close second. Gotta have those two together, right? She’s not a bad figure, I guess. I mean, not great, but also not bad. It was a nice way for Toy Biz to get this variant of Jean out there and continue the AoA line-up just a little bit more.