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.