#2466: Sunfire

SUNFIRE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Scorching ionized plasma allows Sunfire to fly, protect himself, and blast his enemies.”

The Pete Best of the All-New, All-Different X-Men, Sunfire struggles to really find his footing in the X-Men ‘verse, but wound up getting some pretty decent coverage, courtesy of Age of Apocalypse, wherein he turned from “stereotyped Japanese guy with fire powers” to “Human Torch if the powers didn’t turn off” or even “Chamber, but with his whole body, rather than just his upper torso.”  Or, I guess, if you want to jump companies, possibly Wildfire without the suit.  Okay, so maybe AoA didn’t make Sunfire super unique in terms of power or story, but he’s definitely a strong contender for getting the best redesign out of it.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sunfire is figure 3 in the Sugar Man Series of Marvel Legends.  Believe it or not, this isn’t AoA Sunfire’s first time getting the Legends treatment.  He was actually the winner of the 2007 Fan Poll, netting him the third AoA-based Legend ever.  The line’s made some strides since then, however, so a new release probably wasn’t the worst idea.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Sunfire is built on the 2099 body, a sensible choice for two reasons.  One, it’t the same body that the classic Sunfire used, and two it’s the same body that Bullseye used, and given that the first AoA Sunfire was on the Bullseye body, I’d say that means they’re right on the mark size-wise.  He swaps out the forearms and hands for Human Torch’s flame-covered ones, and gets a new head and overlay piece for his shoulders.  I like how the flame effects were done here just a touch better than how they were for Human Torch; there’s something that really works about that very artistic curling to the flames.  It’s very dynamic.  Sunfire’s color work is pretty key to getting his look down, and fortunately the figure does pretty well on that front.  The translucent effect on the plastic is really cool, and I dig the slow shift from yellow to orange.  The paint application’s a bit better on this figure than the last two I looked at from this set, so things are sharper and cleaner.  That’s good, because it really helps with conveying this particular design.  Sunfire, like the last two figures I’ve looked at from this set, doesn’t have any extras of his own, but he does get the second set of arms for the Sugar Man Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t really sold on Sunfire being part of this assortment, largely due to the prior Legends release.  Of course, I never actually got that release, so I’m not sure why I was so opposed.  Maybe I just don’t like Sunfire?  Could be, I guess.  The figure’s pretty solid, though, and I can definitely get behind his inclusion after getting him in hand.  He’s a solid update, and a solid design.  Not bad at all.

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

#2465: X-Man

X-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Nate Grey travels between dimensions armed with astonishing psychic powers.”

Though initially self-contained, there were a few parts of Age of Apocalypse that stuck around after the event had wrapped.  On the more prominent side of things was X-Man, the story’s reimagining of Cable.  While Nathan Summers was the son of Scott Summers and Jean Grey’s clone Madelyn Pryor who was sent to the future and then sent back into the past, Nate Grey was an artificiality conceived child, created by Mister Sinister, using the biological material of Cyclops and Jean Grey, and concocted as an ultimate weapon to be used against Apocalypse.  He also kinda looks like a member of a boy band, because, hey, it was the mid-90s.  After the destruction of the AoA universe, Nate was one of four characters who managed to make it into the main 616 universe, and had his own ongoing series for a bit, until he faded out of fashion when Marvel realized that it was already hard enough to justify keeping one overly-90s-sterotype son of Scott and Jean around, and they might as well keep the one they’d invested more time in.  He’s not been nearly as privy to toys as his mainstream counterpart, but fortunately he was on the shortlist for AoA Legends, meaning I get to talk about him today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

X-Man is figure 2 in the Sugar Man Series of Marvel Legends, which, as noted yesterday, is all AoA-themed.  This marks X-Man’s first time as a Legend and second figure overall, with his first coming in during Toy Biz’s rather ironically named “Most Wanted” line from back in the day.  Nate wound up with quite a few different looks, mostly centering around the same basic concept, but this figure plays it safe and just goes with his main appearance from the event.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  X-Man is built on the Bucky Cap body, a sensible choice given how he was usually depicted in terms of build.  Like most Bucky Cap builds these days, very little of the final figure *actually* comes from the Bucky Cap body.  Only his legs are shared, and even then, his knees are new parts, so that he can get those funky knee pads.  This guy’s effectively an all-new figure, when you get down to it, and I’d say Hasbro’s aiming to slowly ween us off this mold.  Much like yesterday’s Jean Grey, I think there’s a lot of really solid detailing going on, especially on the figure’s jacket.  Following in the steps of the ‘90s Cable from 2018, the head sculpt here has a permanently attached energy effect on his left eye, showcasing his telekinetic powers in action.  It’s a really cool, very dynamic look.  I do sort of wish there were an extra head without the effect included, but this is one of those instances where I don’t mind this being the only option too terribly much.  On the paint front, I was a little disappointed to discover just how messy the application was on my particular figure.  There’s a lot of bleed over from the yellow into the blue, and my figure exhibits two spots, one on his right bicep, and one on his right calf, where there’s just stray yellow paint.  I haven’t seen anything like this from Hasbro in a bit, so hopefully its confined to my figure.  X-Man doesn’t get any accessories for himself (something that will prove to be a common trend in this assortment), but he does get one set of Sugar Man’s arms.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always had something of a soft spot for X-Man.  I had his Toy Biz figure back in the day, and followed his solo series well after everyone else stopped thinking he was cool.  I’ve been low key hoping for him to get Legends treatment for a while now, and I was definitely happy to see him crop up here.  Issues with paint aside, I’m very happy with this figure, and he ranks pretty highly within his assortment for me.

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

#2464: Jean Grey

JEAN GREY

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Jean Grey can read and project thoughts and stun opponents with pure psionic force.”

25 years ago, the X-Men went to hell…no, wait, sorry, 31 years ago the X-Men went to Hell.  25 years ago, their entire line was overwritten by an alternate reality, the Age of Apocalypse, where Charles Xavier died before founding the X-Men, leading to Apocalypse conquering the Earth, and generally making it…post…apocalyptic….yeah.  While not high art, the story was certainly a big splash from a marketing stand point, and made a lasting impression on a good number of X-fans.  Every so often, toy companies throw it a little bit of love, and in honor of the its quarter-century marker, Hasbro’s dedicated a whole assortment of Marvel Legends to it.  I’m kicking things off with a look at Jean Grey!  While many characters were left in strange new predicaments in the AoA timeline, Jean wound up being more or less the same, though she did have a lot less hair and 100% more face tattoos.  Yay for face tattos!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jean Grey is figure 1 in the Sugar Man Series of Marvel Legends, which is our first X-Men assortment of the year, as well as being totally AoA-themed.  This is our first official AoA Jean Grey Legend, but we were supposed to get one as a variant of the Jim Lee-style Jean in the Rocket Raccoon Series of Return of Marvel Legends.  That figure was ultimately scrapped, and would have been based on one of her post-event redesigns, however.  This one goes for her look from the main series, which is probably for the best.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Jean’s actually made largely from new parts, at least for her upper half, anyway; the legs originally showed up on the Legendary Riders Black Widow.  Everything else, however is new to Jean.  What impresses me the most on the new parts is the range of motion, especially on those arms.  I was expecting her to be a lot more restricted.  The actual quality of the sculpting is pretty solid, too.  The wrinkles and folds on her sleeves are quite impressive.  Her hair might actually be a touch too short, but it varied between artists, and it certainly doesn’t look too terribly off.  It could definitely be much worse.  The paint work on Jean is pretty standard overall.  The base application is mostly pretty clean, but some of the red’s coverage is a little uneven.  She’s got some slight highlights in her hair, which work pretty well to convey the depth and detail in the sculpt.  Jean doesn’t get any accessories for herself, but she does get the largest piece of Sugar Man, his face and torso, which is so large that Jean effectively had to be posed Vana White-ing it in the box so that they could both fit in.  That was pretty amusing, truth be told.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Jean’s AoA incarnation isn’t one of the more exciting pieces of the story, but it’s got a distinctive look, and is prominent enough that she really was a lock for this set.  She wasn’t at the top of my list for this series, but she wasn’t at the bottom either.  In-hand, I like her a fair bit more than I’d expected to.  She’s still not my favorite piece, but I think she’s solid middle-tier, and that’s not bad at all.

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

#2044: Blink

BLINK

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Clarice Ferguson uses her mutant ability of teleportation to disappear and reappear in the blink of an eye.”

First appearing as the newly formed Generation X’s most expendable member, Blink was one of two prominent dead characters to be given new life by the 1995 X-family crossover Age of Apocalypse (the other being oldschool villain Changeling, who was re-branded Morph).  This alternate Blink became popular enough to be used as a launchpoint for a whole series of alternate reality characters in the pages of Exiles, where she served as the central character for a good chunk of the book’s original run, before serving as the sole carry-over character for both re-launches of the series.  Despite not being a “name” X-man, she’s definitely got a loyal following, and she’s also gotten some toys.  The latest of those is a Marvel Legends release, which I’m looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Blink is figure 4 in the Caliban Series of Marvel Legends.  In an otherwise early ’90s assortment, she’s something of an outlier, but she’s still a ’90s character, even if it’s late ’90s.  Since her redesign for Age of Apocalypse, all of Blink’s designs have tended to draw influence from that re-design.  This one’s not strictly from that story, but is definitely wearing her garb from that story and her follow-up in Exiles.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Blink is built on the body introduced by Psylocke last year.  It’s not a bad base body, especially with the increased range of motion on the elbows, and it even feels like a better match for Blink’s usual physique than it did Psylocke’s.  While Blink’s previous two figures were decidedly AoA-based in their depiction of her, this figure aims for a little further in her career, and seems to be most directly inspired by Paul Pelletier’s illustration of her from the cover of Exiles #70.  It’s the hair in particular that is the tell.  Blink had a fairly consistent hairstyle for the first several years of her existence, but following her return to the Exiles, artists started to experiment a little bit more.  It’s not quite the look I think of when I think of Blink, but it’s certainly not a bad look.  The head gives us a rather somber-looking Blink, which isn’t inappropriate for the character, since she tends to be dealing with horrible loss like all of the time.  There’s a slightly dynamic flow to her hair, which works out pretty well, and makes it look like she’s just stepping out of a portal or something.  To finish off her look, Blink has four new add-on pieces for her collar, skirt, and boot cuffs.  They all stay pretty decently in place, and the skirt is sculpted with a similar dynamic flair to that of the hair, which works out pretty darn well.  Blink’s paintwork is pretty straightforward, but is no less well-rendered than any of the others in this assortment.  The linework is all pretty clean, and her face in particular is sharply defined.  Blink is packed with two of her energy javelins, plus a base that simulates one of her portal effects.  It’s a shame they didn’t come up with a super convincing way to simulate her passing through her portal, but it’s a fun piece nevertheless.  Blink is also packed with the left leg of the BaF Caliban.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I actually followed Exiles for a little while back when it was new (the first six issues are one of my favorites to sit down and re-read), so I’ve long had an attachment to Blink as a character.  The announcement that she would be getting a Legends release was definitely cool news, and while I may not have personally picked this incarnation for a figure, I can’t deny that I’m quite happy with the final product.  Now, how about a Morph?

Blink came from my friends over at All Time Toys, and she’s still currently in-stock at their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1577: Dark Nemesis

DARK NEMESIS

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“A survivor from a parallel Earth ruled by the evil Apocalypse, Dark Nemesis now seeks to take over the world of the X-Men. Hoping to start his empire with the Nation of Japan, Dark Nemesis enlists the other-worldly space ninja Deathbird and her advance Sh’ar technology for his plot. With a mind-controlled ninja Sabretooth enforcing Dark Nemesis’s will even Ninja Wolverine and Ninja Psylocke may not survive against his unbelievable power.”

Today, I fully intended to review the Wolfenstein II Terror Billy figure.  It’s been on the schedule for a couple weeks, and everything.  So, why am I not reviewing Billy?  Well, see, Monday night, I dropped my camera and broke it beyond repair….Yeah, wasn’t a great evening.  I’ve got a replacement on the way, but in the mean time, I’m back to reviewing stuff I’ve already got pictures of on hand.  Dark Nemesis just happened to be one such figure, so tangerine jelly bean over here gets reviewed today.  Woo!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dark Nemesis was released during Toy Biz’s ‘90s X-Men line.  He was in the eighteenth series of the line, which was inexplicably ninja-themed.  Which apparently was the perfect assortment for Dark Nemesis, cuz he’s always been so tied to the whole ninja thing, right?  It’s worth noting that this character got a name-change from comics to toy.  In the comics, he’s called “Holocaust,” which was rightfully deemed a bit much for a line of toys aimed at children.  So, instead, he was given his pre-Horseman of Apocalypse monicker of “Nemesis” plus the Dark descriptor.  Because the kids dig dark, or whatever.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  He gets no elbow movement (which was fairly standard for figures of this build), and due his design also has no neck movement, so he’s a little bit on the stiff side.  But, then, the character was never super mobile either, so it’s not too terrible, truth be told.  His sculpt was unique to him, and it’s a fairly decent recreation of Nemesis’ oh-so-dated design.  I like the internal skeleton thing a lot, and the whole clear plastic construction in general is pretty cool.  They’ve also played down some of the more  crazy aspects of the design, which was probably a step in the right direction.  In terms of paint, a lot of the design relies on the previously mentioned clear plastic, bit he’s got a healthy helping of red accent work, which does a pretty astoundingly good job of capturing Nemesis’ admittedly unique color scheme.  There’s a very cool energy effect, which I think really helps him to pop.  Dark Nemesis is packed with one accessory: a projectile-launching staff.  It’s not really something the character was known for, nor does it really fit the ninja theme of the assortment.  Odd choice.  I guess it’s better than nothing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite actually being familiar with the character around the time this figure was released (I knew him from his appearances in X-Man), I didn’t get this guy new.  In fact, I only just got him in Novemeber.  I found him loose at House of Fun, and grabbed him to help complete my 5-inch X-Men collection.  He’s not the most playable figure, but he’s still pretty fun, and he certainly looks unique on the shelf.

#0969: Cyclops

CYCLOPS

X-MEN: AGE OF APOCALYPSE (TOY BIZ)

CyclopsAoA1

Man, I feel like I was just talking about Age of Apocalypse not that long ago. Oh, that’s right, I was! Back in May, I looked at the AoA version of the most popular X-Man, Wolverine. Today, I’ll be dipping back into that universe, to look at an X-Man who’s almost as popular, Cyclops! One of the things that the event liked to play with was which side of the battle certain characters were on. While classically villainous characters like Magneto and Sabertooth ended up firmly on the side of good, some of the more traditionally heroic characters found themselves on the side of bad. Such was the case with both Cyclops and his brother Havok. At the time, Cyclops as a villain was supposed to be really shocking, but it’s since become a rather predictable story beat (and Cyclops doesn’t stay evil in the story anyway, so…). Ah well. How about the figure?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

CyclopsAoA2Cyclops was released in the 12th Series of Toy Biz’s 5-inch X-Men line, which was entirely based around Age of Apocalypse. The figure is about 5 ½ inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation. Obviously, he’s based on Cyclops’ design from the Age of Apocalypse event. While Wolverine/Weapon X got a rather extensive redesign, Cyclops actually didn’t change all that much from his standard look of the time. Sure, there are plenty of minor changes, but the overall look is still pretty much the same. The biggest change is all the asymmetry. In the comics, Scott had lost his left eye in a battle with Logan, making him an actual cyclops. Isn’t that clever? Anyway, his visor has been tweaked so the eye slit is just on the right side, and they just kind of went nuts to play up the imbalance. With the asymmetrical armor, the pouches, the long hair, and the five o’clock shadow, the whole thing is very ‘90s. It’s almost quaint. The figure does a decent job of replicating this design, but holy crap is it stylized! His muscles are bulging all over the place, and his hands are huge, yet his head and waist still manage to be impossibly small. His head’s smaller than his bicep. That’s the kind of thing you might want to have checked! Also worth noting is that the structure and pose of this figure’s legs make him virtually impossible to keep standing for any length of time. On the plus side, the sculpt does have some pretty cool detail work, especially on the armored bits. He’s even got little sculpted scars across his eye! Cyclops’ paintwork is decent enough. The application is pretty clean,many the slightly metallic blue and yellow work really nicely. The hair’s a bit of a mess, but more or less gets the job done. The scars lose some of their subtlety with the huge red lines that have been placed on them, which is a slight letdown. Still, they aren’t terrible. Cyclops was originally packed with a weird gun thing and a brain in a jar. Classic Cyclops accessories! Mine, however, does not have these pieces.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Cyclops is another figure from the rather large assortment of figures I picked up at this year’s Balticon. Given that I was a huge Cyclops geek as a kid, it’s a little surprising that I didn’t get this guy when he was new, but I don’t recall ever seeing any of the Age of Apocalypse figures in stores. Honestly, this isn’t one of my favorite incarnations of the character. However, he’s not a terrible figure, and his ramped up 90s-ness does make him a bit of fun!

#0945: Weapon X

WEAPON X – BURNED

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

WeaponXAoA1

The ‘90s had a lot of big comics “events,” especially compared to prior decades, which had virtually none. I think a lot of it had to do with the success of the likes of Crisis and Secret Wars in the ‘80s, prompting the Big Two to do whatever they could to recapture some of that glory. Marvel’s efforts were primarily focused on their cash cow of the time, the X-Men, who found themselves dealing with all sorts of events of epic proportions. At one point, Marvel deemed that it wasn’t enough to make life hell for our own merry mutants, so they showed us how much worse things could have been by launching the alternate reality-based Age of Apocalypse, which examined what the X-Men ‘verse would have been like without Professor Charles Xavier. The storyline took over all of the X-Men-related books, and was generally pretty successful for Marvel. There’s been a smattering of different figures from it all over the years and today I’ll be looking at one of the four Marvel Legends to be based on the event, Weapon X! Apparently, one of the things that changed in the AoA reality was that the title “Wolverine” went to a different character, so poor Logan had to stick with his Weapon X title. Thrilling! Let’s look at the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

WeaponXAoA2Weapon X was part of the Giant-Man Series of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends. It was exclusive to Walmart and was one of the last series to be produced under Toy Biz’s tenure. There were two versions of Weapon X offered: normal and burned. The difference between the two versions is the head and the stump on the left arm. The figure here is the burned version (the only one of the two I still have). Though this figure was technically a variant, he was packed in equal numbers to his regular counterpart and also featured a different Giant-Man piece, which was quite frustrating for a lot of collectors at the time. The figure is about 6 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation. Weapon X made use of a lot of pieces from the Series 6 brown costume Wolverine. It was one of Toy Biz’s best Wolverines, and one of the best parts about it was that they really got down Logan’s short, stocky physique. The re-use here was definitely warranted. He got a new head, lower arms, and lower legs, all of which fit pretty well with the rest of the parts, and make for an overall pretty cohesive looking figure. The head is actually really cool. I’m not sure if it’s based on a specific instance of Logan getting burned, since it happens a few times, but the level of detail is pretty awesome, and it’s a nice, refreshing take on the usual Wolverine look. The other unique piece here is the stump, which has claws on this version. In the story, it was revealed that Logan’s claws had been retracted when he lost his hand, so he could still pop them out of his wrist. That’s cool, I guess. The claws suffer from a bit of warping, but are otherwise pretty cool. Weapon X’s paint isn’t bad, provided you ignore his rather doofy looking outfit. Most of the work is pretty clean, and there’s some rather nice accent work in several places. There’s a few instances of scratches or slop, but that’s relatively minor. Also, the painted on arm hair’s a bit silly in some places, but it’s overall an okay attempt. The best part is once again the head, which looks convincingly burned, while still managing to not look too out of place next to the unburned skin of the neck and arms. The only accessory included with Weapon X was the left hand of Giant-Man. Honestly, it feels like the burned head and clawed stump would have made for decent accessories to the regular Weapon X, rather than being a separate figure, but I guess Toy Biz really wanted to sell that extra Logan.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Weapon X was given to me as a birthday present by my friend Cindy Woods. I was super into Marvel Legends at the time, and this particular series was fairly difficult to get. She was so excited to find this guy for me that she didn’t notice that some jerk had stolen the Giant-Man piece right out of the side of the box (in her defense, the piece was hidden by the figure’s name tag. Also, who steals just the piece? The figures were like $8!). Fortunately, my dad was able to find another Weapon X online with the piece, so it worked out alright. On the face, this feels like an extraneous Wolverine variant that nobody really asked for. However, this guy’s fun and different enough that he ended up being my one of my favorite Legends Wolverines produced. Definitely a winner!