#2165: Hulk vs. Wolverine

HULK VS. WOLVERINE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

First debuting on the final page of The Incredible Hulk 180, and then making his proper first appearance in the following issue, Wolverine was designed from the very beginning with the intent of spinning him out of the Hulk’s series, though the decision to join him up with the X-Men would come a bit later.  Though Wolverine and the Hulk have largely become separate entities entirely, they still do have the occasional run-in as a throw-back, and their first battle has definitely become one of Marvel’s most memorable moments.  Fitting then that Hasbro would commemorate the meeting in their “80 years of Marvel” sub-line of Marvel Legends.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hulk and Wolverine are one of the two comic-based “80 Years” two-packs, each of which pairs off one smaller figure with one Build-A-Figure sized figure.  The two figures here are more or less patterned on their appearnces in Hulk #181, albeit filtered through the line’s already established style.  Interestingly, while this is hardly our first time getting a first appearance Wolverine, this *is* the first time he’s been packed with a Hulk.  Kinda crazy.

HULK

“Powered by gamma radiation, the incredible, rage-filled Hulk smashes his way through any challenge and clobbers any enemy.”

While we’ve had a decent number of Legends Hulks in recent years, but they’ve mostly been movie-based.  Overlooking 2015’s Indestructible Hulk (which was a repainted movie figure), our last proper comics Hulk was the Ed McGuinness Hulk from the fan’s choice packs in 2010.  It’s about time for some updating.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation.  This Hulk uses a newly-implemented body, which has already technically seen use on two exclusive Hulks, but was designed for this figure.  Given the various larger bodies we’ve gotten for some recent Build-a-Figures, I was expecting to see some sort of reuse, but I’m not unhappy to get the new body, especially since it gives Hulk butterfly shoulders, something you don’t usually see on larger figures, and definitely a huge plus when it comes to posing.  The general design of this figure’s sculpt is very reminiscent of Hulk’s ’70s design aesthetic, rather than more recent roided out takes on the character.  The figure includes a torn up shirt as an add-on; while he didn’t sport this while fighting Wolverine, it was a common place item for him to be wearing.  It’s held in place only by gravity and perhaps the back of his head, depending on how you have him posed, meaning that it’s also very easily removed if it’s not your speed.  The paint on Hulk is fairly nuanced in its application, with the skin in particular showing some really solid work on the accenting.  There’s a slightly lighter green hue which shows itself throughout all of the exposed skin.  Hulk is packed with two sets of hands, one in fists, one in open gesture.

WOLVERINE

“A super-powered agent of the Canadian government, the Wolverine is a skilled fighter with razor sharp claws and a fierce temper.”

In his first appearance, Wolverine was sporting a wildly different mask than the one he would have for the rest of his career.  He was meant to keep it, but Gil Kane accidentally changed it for the cover of Giant-Size X-Men #1, and interior artist Dave Cockrum decided he liked it enough to keep as the character’s permanent look, thereby making this particular design more of a novelty then anything.  It’s gotten one Legends release before, courtesy of Toy Biz’s Face Off sub-line, but it was due for an update.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation. This Wolverine is built on the same upgraded body as he last few, with a new head and shoulderpads to more properly capture the earlier design.  They’re sufficiently different enough from the normal pieces to make him stand out as his own variant, which is always a good thing.  For his color scheme, Wolverine very closely matches the brighter colors of his initial appearance, again giving him a nice standout appearance from other Wolverine figures, especially the tiger-stripe Wolverine.  The figure is packed with hands with and without his claws, which weren’t 100% retractable at the time of his first appearance, but are still a nice extra to have.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

With all the announcements for the 80 Years sub-line floating about, this one got a little buried for me.  I knew it was coming, but I never really had the chance to focus in on it.  Its arrival was also jammed in alongside several other Legends releases, but I was happy enough to get it.  The Hulk is the definite star here, and will serve as the definitive version of the character for most collectors, myself included.  They really brought their A-game for him.  Wolverine’s more of a place holder to justify the larger set, but I can’t complain about getting him, nor can I say he’s not a good figure.  He’s formula, but it’s a good formula.

I grabbed this pair from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

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#2162: Tomax & Xamot

TOMAX & XAMOT

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO

“Spell on the name TOMAX in capitals and and hold it up to a mirror. It reads XAMOT. The same holds true for the actual brothers. Each is the mirror image of the other except for a scar on Xamot’s face. Both twins served with the Foreign Legion paras in Algeria before the officers Putsch. They honed their mercenary skills in the bush wars of Africa and South America. They were too smart to be soldiers forever. Went to Zurich and became bankers.

They quickly found the ins and outs of international finance to be too haphazard for their tastes. They preferred a situation they could control. COBRA was willing to give them access to that control. Now they command legions. But their legions wear three-piece suits and fight their battles in executive board rooms. These then are the most fearsome of the COBRA adversaries. They don’t fight with steel and claw, backed with muscle and honest sweat…The chase you with paper, wound you with your own laws and kill you with the money you loaned them.”

If you’re looking for an easy shortcut to the whole creepy villain thing, identical twins are a good way to go, all things considered.  And, when you’re running a broad strokes, everybody’s got a gimmick toy-line, even better.  There’s your gimmick right there.  Such went the creation of Cobra’s own creepy twins, Tomax and Xamot!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Tomax and Xamot were released in 1985 as a special two-pack; rather than forcing you to track down both individually, Hasbro was actually kind enough to give them both in one go, a practice that they would hang onto for all future releases of the characters.  The figures stands 3 3/4 inches tall and they have 14 points of articulation.  Despite their very similar appearances, the fact that one is a reflection of the other and all the asymmetry that brings means that Tomax and Xamot actually share very few pieces.  The pelvis and the lower arms are the only parts that are actually the same, with everything else being a mirror image of the other figure.  For clarification, Tomax is the one on the left up there, with his armor an his right shoulder, while Xamot is the one on the right, with his armor on his left shoulder, and a scar on his left cheek.  Interestingly, both the cartoon and the comics of the time would mirror the figures, with the armor and Xamot’s scar switching sides on their respective characters.  The two sculpts are pretty decently handled.  The Cobra designs were quickly becoming more fantastical at this point, and it starts to show here.  There’s not a practical reason for these two to dress in this particular fashion.  It does give the opportunity to show off some decent texture work, though.  As far as the actual mirroring goes, given the pre-digital nature of the sculpting, they didn’t do a half bad job of matching these two.  The roughest bit is definitely the hair-part change-over on the heads; it appears Tomax was sculpted first, as his feels the more natural of the two, while Xamot’s is not quite identical in its angling.  Still, really strong work given the time and the scale.  The paint on these two follows the established Cobra norms: dark blue, red, a dash of silver, and some black.  It’s all pretty straight forward stuff, and it makes it pretty easy to tell which side they’re on.  The twins were each packed with a laser pistol, as well as a skyhook and zipline to share.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve wanted to get Tomax and Xamot for quite some time, in some form or another.  They weren’t *completely* absent from the 2002 re-launch, but they were packed in with a kind of pricey larger vehicle, which was a little bit prohibitive for me as a child.  I remember eyeing up their Real American Hero Collection re-issues at the time, but never got them, and the same was true of their 25th Anniversary figures.  When these two came in in the large Joe collection that came into All Time several months ago, they were some of the earliest figures I set aside.  I don’t know why they’re so cool to me, but I just really dig the implementation of the concept, and I’m happy to finally have a set of them in my collection.

Like I noted above, the Twins came from All Time Toys, who got in a rather sizable vintage Joe collection, the remnants of which can be checked out the Joe section of their eBay page here.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2156: Wendigo

WENDIGO

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Based on a centuries old legend, the Wendigo was introduced into the Marvel Universe in the pages of The Incredible Hulk in 1973, and is a concept that has rattled around the background of the ‘verse pretty much the whole time since.  Though not incredibly prominent in its own right, it’s been on the periphery of a number of important events, including the introduction of a certain pint-sized, blade-wielding Canadian.  Being closely related with two of Marvel’s heavy hitters has translated to a decent number of toys for the character, including today’s offering!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Wendigo is the Build-A-Figure for the, you guessed it, Wendigo Series of Marvel Legends.  This is the Wendigo’s second time as a Legends release; the first was during Hasbro’s earlier tenure with the line, and was a single-packed figure rather than a Build-A-Figure.  Being an earlier Hasbro release, the quality wasn’t quite there, but he was admittedly part of Hasbro’s best assortment pre-relaunch, so he wasn’t terrible for his time.  The figure stands 8 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  The Wendigo shares a good portion of its pieces with last year’s Sasquatch Build-A-Figure, which is a pretty sensible choice of parts re-use.  The Wendigo has been portrayed a number of different ways over the years, so matching it to Sasquatch ends up working out alright, given the slightly more modern take on the character.  He has a new head, right hand, pelvis (w/ tail), and feet.  The new pieces mix well with the old, and to the un-informed you might not even realize he was mostly a re-used figure, given how well the two sets of pieces mix.  Wendio’s paintwork is a pretty decent selection of accent work, which is good because otherwise he’d just be straight white.  The blue accents can always be a tricky prospect, but they actually don’t look all that bad on this figure, and I also really like how they’ve handled the work on the face.  Definitely some of the better paintwork Hasbro’s put out recently, and that’s actually saying something given how much they’ve improved in recent months.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Completing the Wendigo figure sort of just happened as a side effect of buying all of the figures that added up to him, and less out of specifically wanting to build him.  Like, I wasn’t turned off by the prospect of getting a Wendigo, but he wasn’t high on my list.  He’s honestly a pretty good figure, truth be told, and timing him to arrive right around the Wolverine and Hulk 2-pack was smart on Hasbro’s part.

As a whole, this line-up of Legends figures was a slow burn for me.  I got Nightcrawler, the only figure I absolutely had to have, a couple of weeks before the others, and genuinely toyed with whether I needed the rest of the line-up at all, before ultimately picking them up.  None of the other figures are must-haves for me, and after Nightcrawler, the one I likely would have been the most excited for (Cannonball) was also the one that feels the most truncated and un-finished.  The others are all pretty solid figures, truth be told, and without any pre-conceived notions or expectations, they’re actually all pretty strong figures.

#2155: Mr. Sinister

MISTER SINISTER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

A scientific genius with evil intentions, Nathaniel Essex genetically alters his human form to become the shape-shifting telepath known as Mister Sinister.”

When the X-Men were in need of a new big bad and Apocalypse wasn’t quite ready for the task, we got Mister Sinister!  Okay, yes, that’s quite an over-simplification of the character, but, like so many X-Men characters of his time period, there wasn’t much to over simplify for a good chunk of his time in the spotlight.  He lived and breathed “mysterious”, and we wouldn’t get the origin presented above until a decade after his creation.  Still, he’s been an on-again-off-again major foe of the X-Men, and he’s got a pretty darn striking design, so it’s only fair he get some action figure love every now and again.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mister Sinister is figure 6 in the Wendigo Series of Marvel Legends, and is the final figure in the line-up, as this assortment is slightly smaller than the usual.  This figure marks Sinister’s second time as a Legends figure, following his old Toy Biz figure from 2005.  That one was considered pretty top-notch at the time, and held up pretty decently, but even brand-new it was pretty hard to find.  Plus, Hasbro’s got this streak going with updating the more popular figures from the old line, so it just makes sense.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Sinister is an all-new sculpt, though he appears to be at the very least patterned on the Hyperion body, which is a good move size-wise.  It gives Sinister an imposing stature without making him too large in comparison to the X-Men.  He’s actually a touch shorter than the Toy Biz figure, which feels more appropriate for the character, especially given the fact that the X-Men he’s designed to go with are all a touch larger.  It’s definitely a strong sculpt, and I’m particularly a fan of the head sculpt.  That toothy grin’s just great for Sinister, and is surprisingly a look we’ve not seen before in action figure form.  Additionally, his cape is handled much better than prior versions; it’s neither a mess of free-floating straps, nor a solid chunk of plastic, which is a refreshing change of pace.  The paintwork on Mister Sinister is clean and quite sleek.  I will never not like that metallic blue that Hasbro’s so fond of, and I definitely like the high-gloss finish.  Sinister doesn’t have any accessories for himself, but he does include the right arm of the Wendigo Build-A-Figure.  And, honestly, of all the figures who have come with the dismembered bits of other figures, Sinister’s probably the one who it actually makes a little bit of sense for.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, I’m not actually the biggest fan of Sinister.  I had the old Legends figure for a while, but didn’t actually hold onto him, and wasn’t particularly eager to replace him with a new version.  While this figure was the hot figure in the line-up for a lot of collectors, I was far more excited by yesterday’s Nightcrawler, leaving this guy as a bit of an also-ran for me.  Still, once I actually got ahold of him, I have to say I think he made for a solid figure.  Maybe not quite as good as everyone’s been raving, but I’m a touch biased on that point.

Mister Sinister came from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2154: Nightcrawler

NIGHTCRAWLER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“With sticky hands, a sharp tail, and piercing yellow eyes, the trouble-making mutant Nightcrawler scales walls and teleports from place to place.”

When the X-Men were rebooted for the first time, all the way back in the pages of Giant-Size X-Men #1 in 1975, they were granted a much more colorful and diverse cast of characters.  While a few of them were grabbed from prior appearances in the Marvel Universe, it was up to artist Dave Cockrum to create three of the team’s most distinctive members, Storm, Colossus, and Nightcrawler.  Nightcrawler had the notoriety of being a character Cockrum had in his mind for quite some time before getting the X-Men assignment, and he in fact came quite close to starring in a Legion of Superheroes-spin-off called The Outsiders before Cockrum moved from DC to Marvel.  In the pages of X-Men, however, he found new life, and would become quite a popular member of the team…popular enough to star in a spin-off book, in fact.  Whatever the case, Nightcrawler’s a prominent enough character that his complete absence so far from Hasbro’s re-launch of Legends has been one of the biggest notable missing figures.  Fortunately, that changed.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nightcrawler is figure 5 from the Wendigo Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s more proper X-Men-themed than the rest of the figures so far in the line-up, but his Age of Apocalypse counterpart did serve on the cover ops X-Force at one point.  This Nightcrawler marks only the second time the character’s gotten the Legends treatment, with the first being back in the Toy Biz days, an insane 14 years ago.  That’s quite a bit of a gap between releases.  This one goes for Nightcrawler’s classic costume design, which has probably the best staying power of any of Cockrum’s designs; it’s just a really strong, clean look, which is probably why he never stays away from it for very long.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall (as Nightcrawler should) and has 33 points of articulation.  Nightcrawler uses the Pizza Spidey body as a starting point, sharing his arms and legs with all of the figures that use it as a base body.  He gets a new torso, pelvis, hips, hands, and feet, plus three brand-new heads in order to complete the look.  The torso gives Kurt his classic red unitard-looking thing, with proper etched lines and everything.  Additionally, it, coupled with the pelvis and hips, gradually reduces the height of Nightcrawler, removing about 1/4 of an inch when compared to other figures on the body.  The pelvis also includes his tail, which, though it may be a static piece, is sculpted in such a way that it looks nice in both basic and dynamic poses.  As minor a piece as they may be, I was impressed to see that the new hips so greatly improve the range of motion on the legs, allowing the figure to get into more of the deep stances that Nightcrawler’s typically seen in.  Nightcrawler is classically depicted as a rather expressive character, which generally puts his figures in a bit of a bind; what expression do you go with?  This figure throws the question out the window and just goes for the three most popular options.  The head he comes wearing is a fairly standard, rather stoic lookin head, which is nice and versatile.  The second head goes more for classic scary monster Nightcrawler (complete with extra shading on the face), while the third (and my favorite of the three) plays far more into Kurt’s more jovial nature from the comics, giving him a teeth-baring grin.  While any one of these heads would have been awesome on their own, getting all three is fantastic.  Nightcrawler’s paintwork is pretty basic, but it’s bright, it’s clean, and it’s striking, which is really everything you want from such a figure.  In addition to the previously mentioned extra heads.  Nightcrawler is packed with his cutlass (criminally missing from the Toy Biz figure) and an extra right gripping hand with which to hold it, as well as the left arm to the Wendigo Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I anxiously awaited the Toy Biz Legends Nightcrawler’s release back in the day…and pretty much started waiting for this one as soon as I got that one.  Okay, that’s not entirely true; that figure wasn’t bad for the time, but I always had some issues with him.  I’ve been waiting to see another go at him pretty much since we started getting X-Men Legends again.  The prototype for this figure looked mighty nice, but boy-oh-boy did it not fully sell just how good this figure would be.  Perhaps I’ll be proven wrong later, but as it stands right now, this is my Legend of the year.  He’s a fantastic update, and an incredibly faithful recreation of the character, with a bunch of fun extras to boot.  Hasbro brought their A-game on this one, and I couldn’t be happier.

I picked up Nightcrawler from All Time Toys.  He’s one of the double-packs this time around, so he’s actually still in stock.  Buy him; buy him now.  If you’re looking for other Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

 

#2153: Guardian

GUARDIAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Donning the maple leaf symbol of his home, James Hudson suits up in advanced battle armor and protects the Earth as Guardian.”

Last year, we started our Alpha Flight team in Marvel Legends (again) with a Sasquatch Build-A-Figure, who’s been spending his time since then looking mighty lonely on the shelf.  Seems like a good time to give him some buddies don’t you think?  Well, Hasbro thought so too, which is why they’re just dropping the whole Alpha Flight in one fell swoop in an Amazon-exclusive boxed set later this year.  However, while they were still entertaining the notion of releasing the members one at a time, they added the team’s leader, James Hudson Maple Leaf Man Captain Canada Vindicator Guardian to their latest X-themed line-up.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Guardian is figure 4 in the Wendigo Series of Marvel Legends.  This is the second time he’s been released in Legends form, but…well, the less said about his debut figure, the better.  This figure is sporting James’ classic costume, which is really the only one anyone’s interested in.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Guardian is built on the Spider-UK body, which has been topped with a brand-new head.  Given the quite simplistic nature of his design, placing him on this body, which has plenty of nice costume details, and keeps him from being too bland.  The new head fits the body pretty well, and does a respectable job of capturing how James is usually depicted.  The rest of the figure is really sold by paint, and as luck would have it, his paint’s actually pretty nifty.  Since James’s costume was a technically-enhanced suit, they’ve opted to give it sort of a metallic finish, but still keep the overall bright nature of the design.  It translates to quite a pleasant looking figure, and the actual application is all pretty clean too!  If there’s one slight down to this figure, it’s the lack of any real accessories.  It’s really just the figure and the torso of the Wendigo.  It’s a shame we couldn’t get an alternate unmasked head or something.  That said, it’s not out of the norm for a Guardian figure to be without accessories.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though I don’t have a ton to say about Guardian, I was actually pretty happy to see him turn up in this line-up, and in fact think he’s a pretty darn solid figure.  There’s not a ton going on, but there really doesn’t need to be to get Guardian done correctly.  And he’s certainly far better than the last attempt.

#2152: Boom-Boom

BOOM-BOOM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Tabitha Smith, alias Boom-Boom, manipulates energy to create explosive time bombs that she can detonate at any moment.”

Tik tik boom.  On the sliding scale of X-characters, Boom-Boom is what you get when you meet halfway between Dazzler and Jubilee.  Introduced in the pages of Secret Wars II of all things, she’s sort of been batted around the X-verse a bit, and even got a decent role out of Warren Ellis’ Nextwave.  Her height of prominence was during the ’90s, when she was hanging around X-Force.  But even when paired off with the most toyetic property of the early ’90s, she was one of the notable missing pieces of Toy Biz’s ’90s lines.  Her first action figure would come much later, courtesy of Marvel Minimates.  Now she’s finally gotten a follow-up to that, in Legends form.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Boom-Boom is figure 3 in the Wendigo Series of Marvel Legends.  She follows Cannonball’s lead and goes for her Liefeld-designed number from X-Force #1, meaning we’re up to four of the founding members in their proper debut costumes.  Not bad for a line-up that’s a little past their prime.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  Tabitha’s construction should look fairly familiar, since I actually looked at the majority of it not long ago when I looked at Dazzler.  She gets a new head, boot and glove cuffs, and leg strap, as well as swapping out the jacketed arms for the standard ones.  The closeness of the two figures in build really says more about the source material than it does Hasbro, of course, as it’s ultimately pretty accurate for them to look this similar.  ’80s/’90s X-Men designs were not the most wholly unique.  Boom-Boom’s main head does the same thing as the alternate Jubilee head did, and has Boomer blowing a bubble of gum.  It’s still a cool idea and seems less likely to break than Jubilee’s, but it’s slightly odd to have gotten this exact same gimmick back-to-back with another X-assortment.  She also includes a head without the bubble, for a slightly more standard appearance; unlike Jubilee, both heads have the glasses permanently affixed.  Boom-Boom’s colors are appropriately garish and gawdy for the design; brown and pink, what a combo, right?  I do like the accenting on her hair; I really appreciate this becoming a standard thing on the characters with fairer hair.  Boom-Boom is packed with a second left hand with an energy effect attached, as well as a piece to be held in her right.  Also included is the other leg to the Wendigo Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve got no real attachment to Boom-Boom as a character, at least in her classic form.  I liked her well enough in Nextwave and when she showed up on X-Men: Evolution, but this particular design isn’t so much my thing.  Of course, Liefeld’s stuff in general isn’t usually my thing, but that didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying both the Shatterstar and Cable figures based on his designs.  Boom-Boom’s not quite as visually stunning as either of those figures, but she’s also less compromised than the Cannonball figure I looked at yesterday.  Honestly, I liked her more than I’d expected to.

Boom-Boom came to my collection from All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2151: Cannonball

CANNONBALL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Samuel Guthrie creates a powerful forcefield to fly at superhuman speeds as a leader of the New Mutants known as Cannonball.”

Cannonball is actually a pretty solid success story for a “late run” X-character.  Introduced in the pages of New Mutants as one of the team’s founding members, he was one of the few to stick with the team for its original run and well into its rebranding as X-Force.  He was eventually promoted into the main X-Men team for a bit, and has even had a go at being an Avenger for a span of time.  How about that?  Though not the most prevalent character in action figure form, he tends to get at least one figure for every stylistic iteration of Marvel toys, and he’s found himself included in the latest round of X-themed Marvel Legends.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cannonball is figure 2 in the Wendigo Series of Marvel Legends.  He fits well with the running undercurrent of an X-Force theme in this particular assortment, especially since he’s in his ’90s X-Force costume.  Said ’90s costume is probably the design most evocative of the character, so it’s a good choice.  It’s also the same design that inspired his last Legends figure, some 12 years ago, so it’s got that whole direct replacement thing going for it.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 18 points of articulation.  While not super low, that articulation count is a lot lower than most Legends figures.  And why might that be?  Well, as you may have noticed from the photos, Sam doesn’t actually have a lower half.  In the comics, Sam’s ability is usually showcased by sort of a rocket boost effect that consumes his lower half.  It’s a dynamic way of illustrating the level of force behind his abilities.  It’s also something that his figures beyond his Minimates have never really tackled, instead giving us Sam in his powered down state.  This figure instead goes for a fully-powered look.  I’m of mixed feelings on this choice.  While I like to have effects pieces, and the rocket boost is certainly a signature appearance for Cannonball, the choice to release him with only the blast effect and no actual legs severely limits what can be done with this figure.  Additionally, the blast effect is pointed straight up, unlike the Minimates piece, which was angled, thereby making it look like he was flying towards something.  This just makes it look like Sam is angrily propelling himself straight upward, which doesn’t really work all that well, dynamically.  His upper half is fairly decent, I suppose.  He uses the arms from Shatterstar, in conjunction with a new head, torso, and jacket.  The teeth-gritting expression is appropriately Liefeldian, and the new parts create a solid recreation of his costume from the comics.  The upper torso is also removable from the blast effect, if you want to try and give him a set of legs that they didn’t include.  The paintwork on the figure is decent enough; it’s pretty much what we’ve come to expect from the line.  The linework is clean and all of the important elements are there.  The variation from red to yellow on the blast is pretty cool too.  Cannonball has no accessories of his own (which really just further emphasizes that whole lack of legs issue), but does include a leg of the Build-A-Figure Wendigo (again emphasizing his own missing legs).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m actually still quite fond of the first Legends Cannonball, so this one was already going to have a rough time of clearing that bar, but the confirmation that he wasn’t going to include legs just further put me off.  I’m still all-in on Legends so I was planning to buy him anyway, but I was sure hoping to be surprised by the figure in-hand.  The figure still fills me with mixed emotions.  The upper half is decent, and I don’t hate that he has the effect piece, but it’s really, really limiting, and questionably implemented.  There were definitely better ways of handling this.

#2150: Wolverine

WOLVERINE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Wolverine joins the militant group of super beings known as the X-Force, using his powerful adamantium claws to slash down opposition.”

You know, it’s been like a whole week since I reviewed Marvel Legends, and I’m really starting to miss those little scamps.  It’s a shame I don’t have a plethora of them on-hand still in need of review.  What’s that?  Oh, I’m being informed that I do indeed have a plethora of them on-hand to review.  In fact, they’re coming in so fast that I’ve acquired another series just in the time it’s taken me to write this intro.  Didn’t even buy them, they just materialized right beside me.  Weird.  Well, guess I gotta do another week of Legends reviews.  How ever will I cope?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wolverine is figure 1 in the Wendigo Series of Marvel Legends, our third X-themed series of the year.  He’s in the spot of requisite Wolverine variant for the line-up.  Wolverine is sporting his garb from his time leading the covert ops version of X-Force.  We’ve gotten this design once before as a Legend, but he was an exclusive and built on an out-dated body.  This figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation. This Wolverine follows the tried and true method of building a Wolverine figure these days, starting with the updated Brown Costume Wolverine body.  He actually has more new parts than you might expect at first glance.  The head, forearms, hands, belt, and boots are all new.  The head is the most similar to prior parts, but gets some added stitching on the cowl to further distinguish him from the older designs.  The boots and gloves follow the updated stylings from the comics, with all the straps and such.  Most impressively, this figure gets a new style of claws; rather than the more classically-inspired rounded points we’ve been getting, these follow the more extreme, wider blade style that we saw start showing up more in the ’90s and onward.  While I’m still a classic man myself, I do certainly appreciate them doing something different with them.  Wolverine’s paintwork is much more reserved than others, which I guess fits that whole covert ops thing, doesn’t it?  The grey and black is actually pretty striking, and the application is nice and clean.  I like that they went with grey over silver, as it just reads a bit better I feel (and also matches the other two X-Force figures we’ve gotten, I suppose).  Wolverine has no accessories for himself, but is packed with the head to the Wendigo Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This Wolverine isn’t one I have a ton of attachment to, so I don’t know that I would have picked him up on his own, but there’s that whole Build-A-Figure bit he’s got going for him, so here we are.  Honestly, he’s nicer than I would have expected, and reinforces that this body can make (most) Wolverine designs work.

I picked up this Wolverine from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2149: Cantina Band Member

CANTINA BAND MEMBER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

Mos Eisley may be home to scum and villainy, but it’s not without its entertainment value.  There’s plenty of peppy tunes to be had in the Mos Eisley Cantina, home to the Cantina Band, known more specifically as Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes.  The Cantina Band is definitely a distinctive element in the first film, even if they do boil down to just six identical guys with rubber masks.  The band was absent from the vintage line, but Power of the Force put a lot of effort into filling out the Cantina, with both patrons and employees.  Rather than releasing the Band’s individual members, Kenner took advantage of the shared basic design and released one figure with a bunch of instruments, allowing fans to buy how ever many they wanted…provided it wasn’t more than five.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Cantina Band Member was offered up exclusively through Star Wars Insider Magazine and the official fan club in 1997.  The figure was limited to five per person…which actually means no one was able to get a complete band, since there are six members in the movie (two of them played the same instrument).  Whoops.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  In order to facilitate holding all of the instruments, the Band Member was given both elbow and wrist joints, thereby making him one of the most articulated figures in the line.  Such as it is, he still has some trouble holding the instruments, but it was a nice idea.  The sculpt on this guy isn’t a bad one; the aliens always made out the best in this line, and he’s no exception.  The head’s definitely the best piece, and does a quite respectable job of capturing the mask from the movie.  The body falls a little bit victim to PotF‘s penchant for pre-posing.  It’s not terrible, and is really just limited to the slight forward step of the legs.  It does make him slightly tricky to keep standing, though.  The paintwork on him is fairly basic, but there’s definitely some nice accenting on the head and hands, which gives him a little bit of pop.  Accessories are really the main game here, as the figure includes five different instruments.  Included are the Kloo Horn (played by band leader Figrin D’an), the Dorenian Beshniquel (played by Doikk Na’ts), the Fanfar (played by Ickabel G’ont and Tedn Dahai), the Omni Box (played by Tech Mo’r), and the Bandfill (played by Nalan Cheel).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t so much up on the fan club stuff in the ’90s, so I didn’t get one of these as a kid.  Instead, he’s one of the perks of working with All Time Toys, as I literally had this guy thrown at me by the owner when he was informed I didn’t own one yet.  He’s not quite as good a figure as Kenner was aiming for, but he’s still a pretty solid offering, and at some point I’ll need to track down a few more of them.