#2395: Giant-Size X-Men

CYCLOPS, WOLVERINE, COLOSSUS, STORM, NIGHTCRAWLER, & THUNDERBIRD

MARVEL MINIMATES

The first year of Marvel Minimates was all kind of consolidated around the summer of 2003, so it was a little while before we well and truly got a follow-up, but they kickstarted their second year off with a bang.  After focussing purely on the Ultimate incarnation of the X-Men, for their first two entries in year two, DST decided to circle back around and give us classic X-Men in spades.  When it comes to classic X-Men, it’s hard to get more classic than the cover of Giant-Size X-Men #1, which is what the line’s first dedicated boxed set was based around.  So, without further ado, let’s jump right in!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Giant-Size X-Men boxed set hit in January of 2004, and was the first boxed set to be available through specialty shops.  It (and the AFX-exclusive Professor X and Magneto) introduced the totally windowless packaging that would become the norm for the line for the next four years.  In the case of this particular set, it was probably the nicest box the line produced, replicating the cover to the original issue quite nicely.  I’ve included a shot of it here, courtesy of minimatedatabase.com.  Of the six figures contained in this set, five would eventually be made available as part of a set of Target exclusive two-packs (Thunderbird wound up as the odd man out), with the major difference between the two releases being C3-style feet on the later figures.

CYCLOPS

Already two ‘mates in by this point, this set finally gave us Cyclops with his classic cowled appearance.  It wouldn’t be the last time we’d see it, even just for a short while, but it sure was important at the time.  He’s built on the standard old-style body, so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and he’s got 14 points of articulation.  He’s got one add-on piece for his mask/visor, which is a pretty nicely sculpted piece.  I always appreciated how the visor on it was so instantly unique from the one on the Series 3 Cyclops.  It was also a nice enough piece that it lasted through to 2010 before being retired.  The rest of things are handled through paint, and admittedly not a lot of it.  Of the six figures included here, Scott was by far the least detailed, with not even chest detailing to make him stand out.  Given how he was always so creatively shaded in the comics, it’s a shame they didn’t go for that here.  They’d end up fixing that on later figures.

WOLVERINE

Already two ‘mates in by this point, this set finally gave us Wolverine with his classic…cowled appearance…wait, I just did this.  Sorry!  I mean, yeah, it’s the same deal as Cyclops, though.  Woverine’s two prior releases lacked his distinctive mask, so this was our first shot at it.  He got a new add-on piece for it, as well as new boots, and the same clawed hands from the two Series 3 releases.  It’s not a bad selection of parts, but it definitely didn’t hold up as well as the Cyclops mask did.  These parts would see only one more use before being retired.  Everything else is paint, and that includes the shoulder pads, which was an…interesting choice.  Clearly, they’re a three dimensional item, but they were just painted on here.  The separate pieces that came later were a better fit.  The rest of the paintwork is pretty decent.  Like Scott, he doesn’t have any sort of musculature on his chest, but he does at least get his tiger stripes, so it’s not a total blank void.

COLOSSUS

Notably missing from the Series 3 X-Men line-up (despite Ultimate Colossus being a prominent member at the time), Colossus made his debut here.  He was one of the most involved ‘mates in the set in terms of parts count, with add-ons for his hair, tunic/belt, and boots.  All of the parts were new at the time, and they’re honestly the best of the parts introduced here.  They just do a really great job of replicating the feel of the character, and I always liked how they bulked him up a bit when compared to the others in the set.  In addition to having the most extra parts, Colossus also had by far the most involved paint work of the whole set, and honestly of most of the line at this point.  The banding on his metal skin wraps all the way around on his arms and legs, and he’s got a fully detailed front and back to the torso block under his tunic.  His face also is just so full of character.  It’s honestly a little shocking that this guy and Cyclops are from the same set.

STORM

Storm had gotten one ‘mate prior to this, but that was a modern design, so the classic was kind of needed, I guess.  Her original costume is pretty darn distinctive, and I think more properly captured that regal side of the character.  She had add-ons for her hair and cape.  The hair is huge, to comical standards, honestly, and makes her quite tricky to keep standing.  The cape, on the other hand, is small and very understated, and rather easily missed, I feel.  That was kind of the nature of the capes, at this point, though, so I can’t really say it was out of the ordinary or weird.  The paint is alright on her, but not the same level as Colossus.  She has the basics, and she does at least get torso detailing of some sort, so she’s a bit ahead of Cyclops and Wolverine.  That said, it’s also a lot messier in application than the others in this set.

NIGHTCRAWLER

Nightcrawler has been pretty sparse when it comes to Minimates.  This was his first, and remained his only until 2011.  So, this guy had to keep us content for 7 whole years.  Certainly, he must have been really good, right?  …Ehhh.  He did get a lot of new parts, with add-ons for the hair, chest cap, and tail, as well as unique hands and feet.  The hair seems a little too demonic, if I’m honest, but the hands, feet, and tail all are pretty dope.  The biggest problem I’ve got with this guy is that chest cap, which bulks him way up, despite the fact that Nightcrawler should actually be the smallest of the six figures included here. Why would they do this?  And then not fix it for soooooo long?  The paint was okay on this guy, at least.  The face again leans more into the demonic thing, but at least that fits okay with the GSXM-stylings.

THUNDERBIRD

The one truly exclusive figure in the set, this Thunderbird wouldn’t see a re-issue at all, and the character wouldn’t appear again until 2016, when we got another GSXM-set.  He’s the one that seems to diverge the most from the comics appearance, falling back more into a general ‘mate aesthetic.  He had a new hair piece and shoulder pads, both of which would remain unique.  They’re…well, they’re there.  Neither’s all that impressive, but I guess they aren’t bad either. The bit of his forehead that’s visible on the hairpiece looks really odd, and he’s missing the feathers from the back of his headband.  The paintwork brings in a few more inaccuracies.  He’s got visible pupils, which he shouldn’t, and his feet are the wrong color (they should be red).  Also, his face just doesn’t feel at all like Thunderbird.  I could see it passing for Warpath, but definitely not Thunderbird.  At least he got torso detailing?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like a fool, an absolute fool, I passed on this set when it came out.  I saw it at Cosmic Comix, I had the money to spend, and I dropped on the DC Direct import of the Batman Kubricks instead.  Why?  WHY!?!  I was young and stupid, that’s why.  This set’s never been super plentiful, and was going for a bit on the aftermarket for a while, so I just never got one.  I finally ended up getting the Series 68 set, and figured that was good enough, but I still had this little nagging need for this set too.  Fortunately, it came into All Time as part of a big Minimates collection they bought last fall, so, hey, I finally got it.  Honestly, this set hasn’t aged so well, but it’s really worth the price of admission just for that Colossus.  That’s still the best version of him the line produced!

As I mentioned above,  I got this set from my friends at All Time Toys.  They’ve still got a lot of that Minimate collection, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2364: Jean Grey & Cyclops

JEAN GREY & CYCLOPS

MARVEL MINIMATES

I’ve been slowly making my way through the earliest assortments of the Marvel Minimates line.  The X-Men-themed third assortment’s been on the docket for a good long while in particular, since I officially started reviewing it back in December of 2016, with Cyclops and Wolverine.  Today, I’m finally gonna finish it, taking a look at the other Cyclops, as well as the one unreviewed team member, Jean Grey!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This set rounds out Series 3 of the specialty assortments of Marvel Minimates, and like the other sets in the line-up, it’s themed around Ultimate X-Men.  The two figures included here are notable for being the only ones to remain wholly exclusive to the specialty line-up, since Jean was paired up with either of the two Cyclopses and the Cyclops seen here is the one-per-case variant.

JEAN GREY

I’ve only briefly touched on my opinions of the Ultimate designs, especially as they pertain to this set of ‘mates.  Jean got saddled with one of the absolute worst redesigns of the bunch.  For a character whose personality didn’t really change too much from her mainstream counterpart, they managed to stick her with a costume that was divergent in just about every way and held onto pretty much nothing that was signature of the character.  Without a name attached to it, there’s any number of female X-Men that I would guess for this design before arriving on Jean.  But I digress…what of the figure?  Well, she’s on the old style body, with add-ons for the hair and necklace.  The hair is an okay recreation of the style she had in the early Ultimate X-Men issues, and the necklace is the same kinda bulky piece used on Storm.  It gets the job done on recreating the look she’s got in the comics, so I guess that’s good.  The paintwork follows suit, and she gets all of the important details, while going a bit more lax on the smaller details than later entries would.  She’s got the wrapped arms like Storm, which is still a pretty cool detail.

CYCLOPS

I’ve already reviewed the standard Cyclops, so why not take a look at his slightly different variant.  The variants in the early days of the line were a mixed bag.  While the Symbiote Spidey was honestly too big a design for the one-per-case thing, and Elektra was a whole lot of “meh”, the variant No Visor Cyclops falls into a subset of variants that actually wouldn’t even count as separate figures as the line progressed.  Seriously, the thing that distinguished him from the standard release was merely the fact that he wasn’t wearing his visor; nowadays it’s standard for a Cyclops to just include an extra hair piece.  You were originally meant to pay the price of a two-pack for one single extra part.  It’s a fairly nice extra part, I guess; it’s the same basic hair piece as the regular, but with no visor and actual proper ears.  I also dig that they gave him a slightly different expression, and also added the facial hair that he grew later on in the books, but it’s hard to say there’s all that much exciting about this guy.  He’s an accessory, not a complete figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Cyclops and Jean were my second set of Marvel Minimates…just not this actual set.  I got the standard set with the regular Cyclops and Jean.  While I held onto most of the regular Cyclops, I lost most of Jean’s parts over the years.  When All Time got their big collection of Minimates in last year, I took advantage of it to fill in the gaps of my early ‘mates, and picked up a replacement Jean, and finally got that variant Cyclops I’d never had.  Reviewing these two without the standard Cyclops, I’ve kinda realized he was the real lynchpin of the set.  Jean’s got the worst of the team designs, and the variant Cyclops honestly feels a little bit pointless.  All that said, I’m happy to have at least finished out the assortment, even if I’ve realized that the best one of them is the one I’ve had for 17 years.

#2333: Jean Grey, Cyclops, & Wolverine

JEAN GREY, CYCLOPS, & WOLVERINE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Love triangles are far from uncommon in serialized fiction, with a good deal of narratives being built around at least one.  The X-Men have been host to a fair number of them, but I don’t think any of them will ever beat out the Jean Grey/Cyclops/Wolverine triad…which is kind of amusing, because it was originally only a minor plot line, mostly meant as a way to give Logan a little character development, while also strengthening Scott and Jean’s relationship and solidifying them as the definitive couple.  Then Wolverine’s popularity went through the roof, Jean died and came back a few times, and Scott became the X-writers’ favorite punching bag, and now they’ve got some sort of vague polyamorous relationship going on?  Listen, the X-books are being written by Hickman, and he hasn’t deigned that they make any sort of sense yet, so we’ll all just have to sit back and wait for him to tell us whether or not we understand anything that’s going on, alright?  While we’re waiting for that, let’s flash back to the ’90s, when things were simpler, and we just had your basic love triangle between a newly married couple and their surly 100-year-old friend.  The basics!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Wolverine were released late last year as a Fan Channel-exclusive Marvel Legends three-pack.  Like the Havok and Polaris pack, they are loosely built into the “80 Years of Marvel” celebration, and also like that pack, the box is all themed around the trading cards of the ’90s.  It’s a cool design, but as with most of my figures, these things could ship in plastic baggies for all I care–actually no, I do care!  Paper bags!  Let’s be a little more environmentally conscious!  Until then, I guess a throwback to the ’90s trading cards is alright.  What was I doing?  Grand standing?  No, wait–action figure review! Yeah, let’s go with that!

JEAN GREY

“Jean Grey is an incredibly powerful mutant with the psychic powers of telepathy and telekinesis.”

After being Marvel Girl, then Phoenix, then Dark Phoenix, then dead, then not dead anymore, Jean decided to ditch the whole supramyn concept and go with her regular-ass name.  Seems fair, honestly.  It does make marketing her a little tricky, though, since everyone else is using these really sweet code names and she’s just regular-old “Jean.”  Whatever the case this particular regular old Jean is an important one, because she finally completes the core ’90s X-Men line-up (though we still need a proper Colossus)…well, for most fans, anyway.  Some people were fortunate enough to have found the Rocket Raccoon Series Jean, which had this same costume, but to call that release “hard to find” would be something of an understatement.  Plus, that was just before Legends really got the formula down, so an update is not unprecedented.  So, here Jean is in all her head-band-wearing, Jim Lee-designed-glory.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  She’s built on a variant of the same body that Phoenix was built on, but with a new upper torso and thighs.  She also re-uses the bracers and belt from the previous ’90s Jean, which seems pretty sensible.  She does not re-use the head from that figure, instead getting not one, but two new ones.  She gets one that’s a direct recreation of the last one, being the more comics-accurate hairdo (seen with Wilson on the right there), but also gets an X-Men: The Animated Series accurate head with her slightly tweaked headgear from the show.  That’s actually a first for toys, and I’m genuinely thrilled that I can now have a cartoon accurate roster.  Jean’s paintwork is mostly pretty basic, though I will say that there’s a little bit of slop on the blue portions of the costume on mine, and I had to check a few samples to get the best one.  Hasbro was definitely having a more lax QC day on this figure.  Jean doesn’t get any accessories beyond the extra head…well, I mean, unless you want to count the next two figures, which would be somewhat valid.

CYCLOPS

Scott Summers can fire optic blasts so powerful that they can only be harnessed by a special ruby-quartz visor.”

Cyclops has already gotten his modern-Legends-take-on-the-’90s-design due, with a pretty darn cool figure, I might add. However, in a similar fashion to the Jean situation above, said figure was never amazingly easy to find, and he’s kind of an essential piece to a ’90s X-Men set-up.  However, Hasbro didn’t want to just do a straight re-issue, so they’ve given us a figure that works to fill in the roster for fans that missed the first figure, while still having something to offer for fans who already have him.  What’d they do to change things up: bomber jacket.  Yeah, Scott was prone to wearing a jacket over his costume in the ’90s (especially on the cartoon), so that’s what this guy replicates.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  He uses the same starting point as his predecessor, the Bucky Cap body, and also gets the same head and collection of straps as the previous, minus the wrist straps.  He then gets the jacket from Old Man Logan and the arms from Punisher.  The jacket works better with the straps than I’d expected it to, and while I’m still not sure it’s 100% perfect, it’s decent.  I do wish the arms had a better range of motion, but that’s really the only thing.  The other thing that this guy changes up quite a bit is the paint.  While the last one went more for the Capcom colors for the costume, this one leans more heavily on those animated colors, so there’s a darker blue and a brighter yellow.  I wasn’t sure about the change at first, but I kinda like it in person.  The only downside is that now I want an un-jacketed version to match this and a jacketed one to match the prior.  Oh darn.  Cyclops is packed with two extra heads, one depicting his ’90s sunglasses, and the second his ’70s/’80s, allowing for some nice options on the civilian front.  He also includes a second left hand in a standard fist, for those that don’t like the optic blast hand.

WOLVERINE

“The mutant known as Wolverine possesses razor-sharp Adamantium claws and the ability to heal virtually any wound.”

Did you know that Wolverines have an average lifespan between 7 and 12 years in the wild?  That’s your fun FiQ fact for this tiger-stripe Wolverine review!  Wolverine is *definitely* no stranger to the toy world, the Legends world, or even the modern-Legends-take-on-the-’90s-design world.  We got his brown costume twice, and so now I guess it was time to even things out with the tiger-stripe design, especially since, even at two-to-a-case, the last release had really disappeared.  This one acts as something of a smaller-scale companion to the 12-inch Legends Wolverine.  I loved the heck out of that figure, so the prospects of it translating to the smaller line were definitely a plus for me.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s the same as the Apocalypse Series Wolverine, which makes sense, that being a very ’90s Wolverine and all.  It’s also just a really solid sculpt, and Hasbro can hardly be faulted for getting a little more mileage out of it.  The paint work changes up in a fashion quite similar to how it worked on Cyclops.  In fact, the shades of yellow and blue appear to be identical.  I don’t like the dark blue quite as much, but the yellow’s not bad.  Wolverine gets the best accessory selection of the set, with two extra heads, a pulled down mask, and an alternate set of hands with bone claws.  The two extra heads replicate the ones included with the larger figure, so there’s an unmasked head and an angry battle-damaged head.  I really like that battle-damaged head, and I’m glad we got it at the smaller scale.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was fortunate enough to get both Wolverine and Cyclops’ original releases at retail pricing, but Jean pre-dates me getting back into Legends collecting, and honestly I probably wouldn’t have found one anyway.  As I got more and more of the ’90s team, the lack of a Jean was more and more of an issue.  I was hoping for at least a re-issue, but when Hasbro announced an all-new figure, I was definitely happy, even more so when I saw that animated head.  I know a lot of people weren’t thrilled about the prospect of having to re-buy the other two, but I don’t mind so much, and find that both figures have something to offer even if you’ve got those previous releases.  All in all, this is a great set and I’m glad we got it.  Now I can finally stop using Phoenix in my X-Men display!

I picked this trio up from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2270: Havok & Cyclops

HAVOK & CYCLOPS

MARVEL MINIMATES

Okay, six days into this year’s Post-Christmas reviews, we’ve stumbled into our first theme: Minimates.  Yep, the next five days are going to be all about Minimates, which, somewhat like the Robin figure I reviewed on Saturday, feels a bit like getting back to my roots.  It’s been a while since I’ve just done a week of Minimates reviews.  For years, one of the more persistently demanded teams yet to grace Minimate form was the ’90s incarnation of X-Factor.  After giving us most of the characters in other, non-X-Factor forms, DST has finally given us the core team, each paired alongside one of their predecessors from the original X-Factor line-up.  I’m kicking things off with the two teams’ respective leaders, the brothers Havok and Cyclops!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Havok and Cyclops are part of Series 78 of Marvel Minimates, which is, as noted above, based on the first two incarnations of X-Factor.  In addition to the two main figures, this set also includes the legs and torso of this assortment’s Build-A-Figure, Strong Guy, who I’ll be reviewing on his own at the end of the week.

HAVOK

“Alex Summers, Scott’s brother, was a member of the X-Men before leading a new incarnation of X-Factor. He can create directional directional energy blasts.”

Okay, so the Legends release has stolen this guy’s thunder ever so slightly, but I am nevertheless still stoked to have yet another figure of Havok’s X-Factor duds.  They’re very sentimental to me, and while I’m glad we got the two versions of classic Havok we did before this guy, I am still so thrilled by this guy’s existence.  In contrast to the Legend, the old Toy Biz figure, and even the Kubrick, this Havok actually gives us the first incarnation of Havok’s ’90s costume, before he got the yellow straps to match the main X-team.  The only other instance of his first costume in toy form that I can think of is the X-Men Under Siege! board game from the ’90s, so it’s a pretty noteworthy thing.  The figure is 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He’s constructed using the modern standard ‘mate body, with the poofy-sleeved upper arms, and add-ons for the hair, jacket, and glove cuffs.  The cuffs are the same Spirit pieces we’ve seen many times before, but the hair and jacket are all new pieces.  While I always envisioned this look with a full head-piece myself, I must admit that this layout works pretty well, and keeps him from being overly bulked up.  Havok’s paintwork is pretty impressive, given just how much detail is going on.  The face is really the first time I feel they’ve gotten comic Havok down; the previous two seemed just a bit too intense with the screaming.  The gritted teeth here look good.  The torso is fully detailed under the jacket, and I was pleased to see that they had even included some of the easier to miss details such as the pockets on the sides of his legs.  Havok is packed with two brand new effects pieces and a clear display stand.

CYCLOPS

“Scott ‘Slim’ Summers was the deputy leader of the X-Men before forming X-Factor. He possesses the power of optic blasts.”

And again Legends did a bit of thunder stealing here, what with giving us this exact costume in the Vintage wave this year.  Who would have guessed?  Certainly not me.  While I don’t have quite the same level of attachment to this costume that I do Havok’s, this Cyclops costume is still pretty sentimental to me, and I’m down for another version of it.  It should be noted that this is Cyclops’ second X-Factor costume.  The first was released as part of a boxed set in 2009, and remains the only time that the original costume has been done in toy form.  In that regard, Minimates are just catching up with everyone else and releasing the more popular white and blue.  The figure is constructed solely from re-used parts, with the cowl/visor piece from Series 68’s Giant Size X-Men Cyclops, plus standard cuffed boots and flared gloves.  If you want to get really technical, the gloves are supposed to have folded over cuffs like the boots, but otherwise the parts make for a good match to his comics appearance.  Cyclops’ paint is a bit more straight-forward than his brother’s, but still very nicely done, with clean application and a striking color scheme.  Cyclops is packed with an alternate hairpiece (borrowed from the Series 34 release) with his Jim Lee-style exposed hair, which he had towards the end of this costume’s run, as well as a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This pair (and the rest of the series, for that matter) were a Christmas gift from my Super Awesome Wife.  Amusingly enough, the series was wrapped as two pairs, and these two weren’t in the first pair, but I knew they had to be in the selection of wrapped gifts.  It may have slightly undermined my excitement on the first pair, which may have slightly annoyed Super Awesome Wife.  Whatever the case, I was very glad to get them, and this pair in particular has extra sentimental value to me, being my first two figures of both characters packed in one set.

#2197: Cyclops

CYCLOPS

ONE:12 COLLECTIVE (MEZCO)

Cyclops sure does seem to be getting a good bit of love these days, with a headlining role in the latest X-Men relaunch, plus all sorts of toys.  I mean, he’s had no less than two Marvel Legends in one single year.  That’s a pretty big deal for him, especially after the less than stellar treatment he’s gotten for the better part of the last decade.  Riding in on the Cyclops-hype train as well is Mezco, who are finally expanding the X-Men portion of their One:12 Collective line to more than just variants of Wolverine, and adding both long-time foe Magneto and old-school leaderman Cyclops to the docket.  I’m an unabashed Cyclops fan, so it’s not much of a surprise who I’m looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyclops is a Fall 2019 release for Mezco’s One:12 Collective line.  He took his sweet time getting onto shelves, but he started arriving just within the last month.  This is the standard Cyclops offering, which depicts him in a ’90s Jim Lee-inspired get-up.  There’s also a more Cockrum/Byrne-inspired variant, which should be arriving at retail shortly.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has over 30 points of articulation.

Cyclops is another figure on the multiple heads band-wagon.  There are two included here, each with the same basic design, but each with a different expression.  The standard is the more classic calm Cyclops, fit for the more usual standing poses, while the alternate is sporting an intense scream, just right for all that…screaming that Cyclops is wont to do.  It means that you’ve got some decent options for posing, to be sure.  Both sculpts do a respectable job for capturing that classic Cyclops likeness.  While I’m still more partial to the Legends ’90 Cyclops head sculpt as a whole, I can definitely respect these heads for what they do, and there’s a more real world quality to them.  Both heads are designed to work with the light-up feature built into the body.  It’s not a super complex system or anything, but the battery is built into a compartment which is housed in the neck joint.  The ball-joint contains a small LED, the desired head pops onto the ball-joint, the switch on the housing is turned on, and the whole housing is slid back down into the main neck and turned to lock into place for posing.  It’s not a bad design, and it’s a rare light-up feature for a Cyclops that doesn’t completely hinder his neck joint.  However, I found the actual lighting to be a little unreliable and tempermental, making it difficult to keep it illuminated during posing.  I don’t know if this is just my figure or an across the board thing.

Cyclops is built on a smaller male body than a lot of the line, but it seems suitably sized to the character.  He’s a mixed-media affair, with a slightly rubberized jumpsuit, plus hard plastic add-ons for his belt/shoulder strap, wrist cuffs, leg straps, and boots.   There have been a few adjustments made to the design, such as removing the yellow shorts (which the classic-styled figure will be adding back), adding a proper collar, and adding some piping and panelling lines to the main body suit.  It’s really not terribly different from how they updated, say, Iron Man’s design, and is generally in pretty good keeping with the line’s stylings as a while.  It also keeps all of the major points for selling this as a Jim Lee Cyclops, so they seem to have done a pretty respectable job of boiling things down.

Cyclops has a decent selection of accessories included.  In addition to the previously mentioned extra head, he’s also got a selection of five extra visors to swap out between the two, which includes a few duplicates, presumably in case you accidentally lose one.  The “smoking eye” piece is great for subtle poses, and the two extremes of the blasts pair well with the two different expressions on the heads.  There are also three included pairs of hands in fists, open gesture, and a flat/visor operating pose combo.  He also includes the usual display stand, this time with a big ol’ X on it.  Lastly, and most impressively by my count, is the removable (faux) leather jacket, which is pretty much essential to completing a proper ’90s Cyclops, and was the only notable thing missing from Hasbro’s first release (although they’re going to be amending that very soon).  The accessories for Cyclops are definitely an improvement over the comparatively rather light Vigilante Daredevil figure, which is a pretty good thing, even if Cyclops technically retails for $10 more.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I waffled a lot on this figure, truth be told.  At it’s core, I love the idea, and honestly, I’m very happy with the execution.  The problem I run into with most of the One:12 stuff is the cost relative to other lines in the same scale, and I won’t lie that Hasbro’s announcement of the reissue of the Jim Lee Cyclops with an added jacket did knock this one down ever so slightly in my book.  I get *why* these figures are more expensive, but that doesn’t make it easy for me to justify.  And Cyclops even retails for $20 higher than the previous base price point on these figures, making him an even harder justification.  That said, when I saw this guy in person, he really spoke to me, and I decided that a good figure of Cyclops was the sort of thing I could invest in.  Well, I’m glad I did.  Despite being the most I’ve paid for a One:12 figure, I’d say this one’s the one I’m the most satisfied with at the end of the day.  He’s a very nice piece on his own, and I think stands apart enough from the likes of Legends to be worth the additional investment.

I got this guy from my friends All Time Toys, where he is currently in stock here.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2166: Cyclops

CYCLOPS

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“He has protected Earth against it, now, Cyclops wields the Power of The Phoenix Force!”

There was a time, believe it or not, when Marvel Legends wasn’t the toy power house it is now.  In fact, the Infinite Series re-branding of the line came about because retailers had no interest in carrying Marvel Legends in its then-current state.  In 2013, Hasbro dipped their feet into the waters of comic assortments that tied in with the movies out in theatres.  While the Iron Man 3 tie-in was able to get its six figures out, the assortment meant to tie-in with The Wolverine wouldn’t prove quite so lucky.  Despite the figures starting to go into production, mass retail interest was too small to support the line.  Ultimately, the line-up was reduced from six to four and distributed via Diamond Distributors, making it one of the rarest Legends assortments ever (really rivaled only by the Toys R Us-exclusive X-Men assortment from the following year).  Today, I’m looking at the Cyclops from that line-up.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyclops was released in the fall of 2013, in the aforementioned Wolverine assortment of Marvel Legends, which would end up being the final set of figures released in the Return of Marvel Legends-style packaging.  The bio may have clued you in to the fact that Cyclops was originally one half of a pair of swap figures, the other half being the cancelled Phoenix Force Cyclops figure.  This Cyclops represented his most current design at the time of its release, based on the Chris Bachallo reworking of his Astonishing X-Men design.  It stuck around for a fair chunk of time, making it a solid choice for toy treatment.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Cyclops is built on the Bucky Cap body.  Though not all that groundbreaking now, what with five other Cyclops on this exact body, this figure is notable for being the very first figure to place Cyclops on this base body.  He gets a new head and left hand; the head would see re-use on the ANAD Cyclops from the following year, and the hand’s been re-used on all but one Cyclops since.  They’re both pretty nice pieces, and I can dig the head’s slightly older look for Scott than other releases. He also avoids the dreaded Hasbro face, which is always a plus with these early run figures.  Cyclops’ paintwork is a bit of a mess; Hasbro hadn’t yet made their strides to correct that.  It’s not *awful*, but there’s some noticeably slop around the edges of his visor.  Additionally, some of the yellow application is a bit inconsistent, which makes for a slightly sub-par appearance.  Like I said, it’s not awful, but it’s not as good as some more recent figures.  Cyclops had no accessories for himself, but was originally packed with the arms for the Build-A-Figure Puck.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was still not fully invested in Legends when this line-up dropped, and I was certainly not into it enough to bother tracking down hard to find figures.  By the time I was back into Legends full time, he was rather pricey on the aftermarket.  He’s been on the back burner for me, especially with so many different options for Cyclops at the moment.  That said, when one got traded into All Time Toys loose a couple of months back, I seized my opportunity and picked him up for a reasonable price.  Compared to the figures that would come later, he’s perhaps not as technically impressive, but I definitely dig him for what he is, and I’m always happy to add another Cyclops to my collection.

Like I mentioned above, Cyclops came from my friends All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2123: Cyclops

CYCLOPS

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

“Cyclops has mutant-energy optic blasts so powerful that they can smash through solid steel.  He can make the beams so small that they can pass through a key hole without touching the sides, or so wide they can cover space the size of a football field.”

Okay, so I want to start this review off by giving mad props to Hasbro for going back to the original Toy Biz packaging for that bio up there.  Only true Toy Biz package text can fully capture the insanity that was Toy Biz package text.  I love the idea that there’s this need to quality Cyclops powers with such specific circumstances, as if someone heard he could smash solid steel and said “that’s all well and good, but how is he at getting through key holes without touching the sides?  What of all of the football field-sized spaced that we need covered?”  It just goes to show, no matter how much you do for them, people always want more.  It’s okay Scott, I can sympathize.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyclops is the first figure in the third assortment of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Vintage line-up.  While the last two have covered the full Marvel Universe, this round is exclusively X-themed, and *most* of the figures contained are direct call-backs to Toy Biz’s old 5-inch X-Men line.  Additionally, building off of what we saw last time, all of the figures in this round are new offerings, rather than slight tweaks of prior figures.  Cyclops is patterned on his very first figure, which was sporting his second X-Factor uniform.  He spent a decent amount of time in it, and its presence on his original release has certainly given it a lot of prominence in toy collectors’ minds.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  As with every Cyclops in since the Puck Series figure, this one is built on the Bucky Cap body, which I still like for the character, even if it is getting a little older.  Perhaps the most shocking thing about this figure is how many new parts he’s got.  The prior two Vintage line ups had a sum total of two new pieces between them (Wolverine’s mask and Vision’s cape, for those keeping track), instead being largely a venue for figures that could be built from re-used parts.  That aspect has been discarded for this assortment, and Cyclops gets two new head sculpts, a pair of new forearms, new shins, and even new feet if you can believe it.  I had fully expected to see a lot more parts re-use on this guy.  While the angry head was obviously new (and very fun for dynamic posing, I might add), the calm head I had thought might just be the same one seen on the Two-Pack Cyclops, but this one adds two energy effects to either side of the of his visor, which is kind of a fun callback to the old figure’s light-up feature.  There’s a part of me that sort of wishes the effect were removable, but I’ve honestly got enough other Legends Cyclopses that I can dig this one being different.  The slightly raised cuffs to the gloves I had honestly expected to be overlooked, or just replaced by flared gloves (that’s what the TB Legends version did), but what shocked me the most were the new boots.  I was very much expecting to see the same buccaneer boots we’ve seen countless times before.  These, however, are without all of the crazy texturing of the prior boots, meaning they better fit the usual depictions for this costume.  What’s more, the feet, the last hold out of those boots, the textured feet that have been on damn near every Bucky Cap figure, have been replaced by new smooth pieces.  I anticipate these will be low key turning up on some of the upcoming figures on the body.  The point is, there’s a lot that didn’t *need* to be done on this figure that still was, and that’s mighty cool.  Perhaps the only downside to this figure is the paint work.  It’s not awful, but it’s not as good as some of Hasbro’s more recent offerings.  There’s some noticeable slop on the change overs from blue to white, plus a few spots that are just outright missing paint.  My figure also has a weird brown spot at the top of his right boot, of which I really don’t know the origin.  Cyclops’s accessories are his extra head, plus an attachable optic beam for it, which I definitely dig.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The original blue and white Cyclops was my first Cyclops figure, so I’ve definitely got a sentimental streak for this particular design.  When Hasbro showed him off, and announced he would be in vintage style packaging to boot, I was instantly sold.  The paint work is a bit iffy, but I really like all of the new parts distributed throughout, and the effects pieces are a lot fun.  I look forward to seeing these parts crop up on future Cyclopses.

I picked up Cyclops 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.

#2114: Cyclops II

CYCLOPS II

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“The man called Cyclops possesses the uncanny mutant ability to fire beams of devastating energy from his eyes. These optic blasts are so powerful that they can only be effectively harnessed by a special ruby-quartz visor designed by Professor X. Over the years, Cyclops has grown from a sullen, withdrawn loner into the cool, confident, capable leader of the X-Men’s Blue Strike Force!”

While Wolverine got on the multiple figures bandwagon as soon as Toy Biz’s X-Men line had multiple series by which to deliver multiple figures, it took other characters a little longer to get there.  The villains got on the repeats a little quicker, but the first non-Wolverine duplicate from the main team was the X-Men’s leader man, Cyclops, who would end up getting a pretty major overhaul for his second figure, appropriately named “Cyclops II.”

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyclops II was released in Series 5 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  He was then subsequently re-released in 1995 as part of the cartoon-driven “Classics” assortment.  The figure seen here is officially the classics release, but the core figure is identical between the two.  Cyclops was sporting his Jim Lee costume, which was brand-new at the time, having replaced the previous X-Factor costume (which was used for the first figure, as well as his talking counterpart) right on top of said costume getting a toy.  It was about as timely as you could get, really.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  When I reviewed the 10-inch figure whose sculpt was based on this one, I noted that the larger figure had more articulation.  Due to the built-in action feature, this Cyclops lacks neck articulation, which is certainly a little bit restricting.  Additionally, the figure’s proportions are also thrown off by the batter compartment needed to power said light-up feature.  This means the torso’s really big, making the arms in particular look comparatively pretty small.  It also means this is a Cyclops that suffers from the opposite problem of the prior figure, being rather on the bulky side for a guy whose nickname is “slim.”  Proportions aside, there’s still some decent sculpted work on this figure.  The head is a respectable translation of his look from the comics, with some nice detail work on the hair in particular.  The pouches and straps mixed throughout the sculpt are also quite nicely detailed, which I’m sure was really a big hit with all the pouch and strap aficionados in ’93.  A shame there weren’t also some shoulder pads, right?  Cylcops’ paintwork was rather on the basic side, but solid stuff nevertheless.  The original release of this figure came packed with a backpack and a gun, which are, of course, the obvious accessories for Cyclops.  However, for the re-release, he was instead given Comcast’s hover platform, because, again, really the obvious choice, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While this figure was out when I started collecting, the rerelease hadn’t quite hit, so it was X-Factor Cyclops that had the honor of being my first Cyclops figure.  This guy came a little bit later, as a gift from a family friend who was well aware of how much I loved X-Men.  He quickly transitioned to being my main Cyclops, at least for a little bit.  He would eventually be outpaced by other Cyclops figures, and was amongst 23 of my X-Men figures that got boxed up and buried in the garage during my high school years, and would remain there until the summer after I finished college, when I finally unearthed them.  He’s not my first Cyclops, he’s not my best Cyclops, but he’s an important Cyclops, and I still enjoy the corny little guy.

#1472: Cyclops & Dark Phoenix

CYCLOPS & DARK PHOENIX

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Though Scott Summers and Jean Grey shared a psychic link, Cyclops was no match for the Dark Phoenix. As Grey came to possess the power of the Phoenix Force, the Dark Phoenix rose, mastering telekinesis to overthrow her opposition and ascend to cosmic dominance.”

There’s much fan debate over what’s truly the “definitive era” of the X-Men.  For most people, it’s really just the era that introduced you to the characters.  For me, it’s the “All-New, All-Different” era (the first one, not the Bendis one).  Few people would debate the impact of that era’s climactic story, The Dark Phoenix Saga, a story that not only helped define the course of the X-Men going forward, but also the course of the comics industry as a whole, for better or for worse.  The story has been the source of a handful of toy adaptations, including the item I’m looking at today, a two-pack of the two central players, Scott Summers and Jean Grey, aka Cyclops and the Dark Phoenix.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cyclops and Dark Phoenix (or Marvel’s Dark Phoenix, as the box so possessively names her) are a Toys R Us-exclusive two pack from Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.  They’re one of four such packs this year, and were the first one to hit shelves, back in June.

CYCLOPS

Cyclops has had a lot of looks over the years, and while I’ve quite liked some of them (the Jim Lee look in particular is a favorite), this one’s really the top of the game.  It’s also the one that seems most neglected in the realm of action figures.  It was only released once in Toy Biz’s 5-inch X-Men line, as a rather hasty repaint, and then later in a two-pack as another hasty repaint.  There was a Toy Biz Marvel Legends release, but the less said about that, the better. This figure follows the formula established by the Warlock Series release, taking advantage of Hasbro’s new system to make the best version of this design out there.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Like every other Hasbro Cyclops in the last five years, he’s built on the Bucky Cap base, which makes for some nice consistency, and also very much fits this incarnation of the character.  In addition to the base body, the figure makes use of the standard buccaneer boots, the special left hand from both the Warlock and Puck Series releases, and an all-new head and belt.  The belt is pretty standard fair; it’s a little floaty, but it gets the job done.  The head is very similar to the one we saw on the Lee Cyclops, just sans the hair. I liked the sculpt the first time around, and I still very much like it here. It definitely captures the character.  The paint’s an area of this figure that had the opportunity to be rather bland if not handled well.  In the comics, the bulk of the costume is blue, but it was always heavily shaded.  That’s a look that’s hard to pull off on a three-dimensional figure, and many others have tried an failed to make it work convincingly (including Hasbro themselves).  This figure looks a lot better than its predecessors.  The base color is a darker blue, and they’ve gone in and airbrushed in some light blue highlights.  The end result can be a little inconsistent in some spots, but it’s overall quite nice looking, and gets the idea across pretty well.  Cyclops includes no accessories, which is a slight letdown.  I would have liked an alternate screaming head, so as to help recreate the cover of #136.  As is, he certainly feels light.

DARK PHOENIX

We actually saw this figure a little while before this pairing was officially announced.  Her head sculpt was shown in one of Hasbro’s slideshows, unpainted.  It wasn’t much of a shock, mind you, since to date no company’s done a Phoenix without an accompanying Dark Phoenix close behind.  That guaranteed second use of tooling is definitely appealing.  The figure is about 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Despite what might seem like an obvious chance to re-use some parts from the original Phoenix release, this figure is actually rather different from that one.  She starts with the same basic starting point, but with a different upper torso, thighs, and feet, and a brand new head sculpt. Most of the changes are minor, and virtually unnoticeable.  I certainly appreciate the new feet with flat heels, since it makes her a fair bit easier to keep her standing than the last one.  The new head is a really nice piece.  The hair in particular is really lively and dynamic, and just generally cool looking.  In terms of paint, this figure’s pretty decent all around.  She’s got a similar style of shading to the Cyclops on the red sections, and the yellows are pretty much the same as the first Phoenix.  The head takes the cake, though; the eyes are blanked out, but not straight white as they’re usually depicted.  Instead, they’re metallic, and accented by black on all sides.  The hair starts as a normal dark red, and then slowly becomes translucent, creating an almost fire-like quality.  It’s pretty cool.  Dark Phoenix makes up for Cyclops’ lack of extras, with two extra heads and a phoenix flame construct.  The first head is the same as the standard one, but with fully opaque hair and pupils in the eyes.  It’s not quite as cool, but it’s perfect if you’re looking to upgrade your basic Phoenix.  The second head is my least favorite of the options; she’s just got a calm expression, pupils, and straight hair.  It’s well done, but not particularly exciting.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been looking forward to this set ever since the prototypes were first shown off.  Unfortunately, the two-packs appear to be the new scalper bait.  I found a small stash of this set back in June, but only had the money for one, which went to my Dad, since he had neither of the single releases and is the one who got me into this whole X-Men thing.  I didn’t see another one of these for a whole four months, but when I finally saw them again, I picked them up so fast.  I like this pair a lot.  I’m happy I found them.

#1383: Cyclops

CYCLOPS

X-MEN PROJECTORS (TOY BIZ)

When it comes to action figures, you know what a lot of adult collectors really despise?  Stupid dumb gimmicks.  You know what I kind of love?  Stupid dumb gimmicks.  Well, to a point, anyway.  As a rule, I like my figures to be fun.  And a well-executed gimmick can be very fun.  Or it can be weird.  Which can also be sort of fun in its own strange way, I guess.  Toy Biz did a lot of the weird gimmicks, including the time that they decided to take all of Marvel’s most popular characters and stick projectors in their torsos.  I’ll be looking at one of those projector-in-torso figures today, specifically Cyclops!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyclops was released in the first assortment of Toy Biz’s X-Men Projectors line, hitting in 1994.  The Projector figures were in a totally different scale than the usual line, so this guy stands about 8 inches tall.  He’s also got 5 points of articulation, as well as a hinge on his torso, allowing for placement of the projector discs within the chest.  This figure was patterned on the Cyclops II figure from the main line in terms of style, though it’s important that he’s not an up-scale of that figure; all of the Projector figures were unique sculpts. The quality of the sculpt is actually pretty decent.  There are some slight oddities to it, such as the slightly enlarged torso, but I find the sculpt on this guy to be a far more detailed, and a lot nicer all-around than the smaller-scale figure.  Well, apart from the freaking projector that’s sticking out of the middle of his torso.  That does slightly mar the overall authenticity of him as a straight Cyclops figure a touch.  It’s sort of obvious, but far from the most obtrusive action feature.  Maybe he’s a robo-suit or something.  The paint work on this guy is pretty decent.  Nothing super fancy, but all of the basic color work is nice and clean.  His skin is even a bit more lively and colorful than a lot of the other X-Men figures of the same time, which is quite nice.  In terms of accessories, Cyclops just included the three projector discs, which could be placed in his chest.  There’s a switch on the back which turns on a light in his chest, as well as a knob to allow for the disc to be turned.  My figure has none of the discs, and I haven’t yet tested to see if his electronics still work.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Growing up, I had two of these figures: Magneto and Civilian Wolverine.  I got Magneto because there was no small-scale Magneto readily available when I started collecting, and I think Wolverine was a gift.  I never tracked down any of the others.  I was at 2nd Chance Toyz just last week celebrating my birthday, and I fished this guy out of their dollar bin, and couldn’t bring myself to leave him behind.  He’s goofy, there’s no denying that, but he’s my kind of goofy, and he’s helped to remind me that these were actually pretty nifty figures in their own right.