#1269: Marvel’s Cyclops

MARVEL’S CYCLOPS

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Scott Summers wears a specially designed visor and shoots beams of energy from his eyes as the optically-gifted hero, Cyclops.”

Ooooooohhhhhh yeeeeaaaaaaahhhh!  It’s Cyclops!  And it’s not just any Cyclops.  No, no: it’s THE Cyclops.  This is the one.  From the ‘90s.  ‘90s Cyclops: tell your friends.

Cyclops is no stranger to Marvel Legends.  He’s actually had six prior Legends figures (and that’s *just* the official Legends-branded releases).  The problem?  None of them were quite right.  Both of the Toy Biz attempts were far less than stellar, and while Hasbro’s attempts have been steadily getting better, they all had something off about them.  Be it the simple misfortune of being released while Hasbro was still learning (the first Astonishing Cyclops), poor design choices (the TRU First Appearance Cyclops), or just an incredibly limited release (the Puck and Jubilee Series figures), he just seemed unlucky.  My personal favorite was the Marvel Now version from the Jubilee Series, but in addition to his (and the rest of the series’s) scarce distribution, he was also sporting a far from standard Cyclops design.  The latest series of Marvel Legends has done its best to amend this.  Let’s see if they succeeded.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyclops is figure 5 in the Warlock Series of Marvel Legends.  Scott is one of the assortment’s two “headliners” with the other being Old Man Logan.  He’s based on Scott’s early ‘90s Jim Lee-designed costume, which is considered by a lot of people to be the definitive design for the character, thanks largely to its presence on the ‘90s X-Men cartoon.  It’s rife with ‘90s goofiness, with straps and pouches galore.  Nevertheless, there’s just something about this design that is really commanding.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Like the last three Cyclopes from Hasbro, this figure is built on the Bucky Cap body.  Lee’s Cyclops was generally a little bulkier, so I feel like something like the Spider-UK body wouldn’t have been out of place here.  Of course, the last three versions of this guy were all on the same body, so I can definitely see Hasbro’s desire to keep the character consistent, and it’s not like I dislike the Bucky Cap body.  The figure is constructed in much the same way as the Marvel Universe take on this design; all the straps and such are add-on bits.  This is the area where this figure is the weakest.  While the basic sculpts are okay, they don’t sit quite the way they should.  The wrist bits are perfectly fine, and the thigh straps are passable (they pop out of place, but not too often).  The bootstraps fall down a lot, but you can work them up the calf gradually so that they stay a bit better.  The biggest issue is definitely the belt/straps.  They’re too loose and the belt in particular sits at an odd angle.  In Hasbro’s defense, if they made the piece too tight, the torso articulation would be quite limited; apart from a dedicated torso sculpt, their options were limited.  Even with the issues, the right posing and futzing with the pieces gets the figure to the point where he looks pretty darn awesome.  Adding to the awesomeness is the head sculpt; I thought the MU sculpt for this design was pretty on point, and I was also a pretty big fan of Toy Biz’s take, but man does this sculpt blow them out of the water.  It’s clean, and every detail is really sharp.  From the shape of the visor to the flow of his hair, this is a pitch-perfect representation of Scott from the ‘90s.  Easily the strongest head sculpt Hasbro’s put out on a Legends figure.  The paint on Cyclops is really solid.  Not perfect, and he could still use some accent work here and there, but the colors are really vibrant, and this guy just pops.  It’s worth noting that the visor is done in gold, which sometimes annoys me on Cyclops figures, but they’ve matched the shade of the gold to the yellow on the rest of the figure, so it reads as the same basic color, just like it does in the comics.  Cyclops includes no accessories of his own, which is a slight letdown.  Given the prevalence of energy effects with recent Hasbro offerings, I was sort of hoping for an extra head with some sort of optic blast attachment, but alas, no luck.  On the plus side, he’s packed with the other leg of Build-A-Figure Warlock, which is one of the bigger pieces.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Oooooh boy, was this guy illusive.  As soon as the news broke that these figures were hitting Target, I started checking for them.  This guy was by far my most wanted of the singles in this set.  Of course, like with last year’s Rogue figure, I was far from alone in that respect.  For several weeks, I arrived just after someone else in the area, seeing every other figure but this guy.  Word broke that these guys were starting to hit Walgreens a little early, so on a whim, I stopped by one while I was out with Super Awesome Girlfriend.  I wasn’t expecting to find him, but before I even made it all the way down the aisle, I saw his colors, and there he was, right at the front of the shelf.  I may or may not have skipped out of the store after paying for him….

This is my favorite Legends figure to date, which is no small feat.  He’s not a perfect figure, but he’s everything I wanted from a Cyclops Legends figure.  This is the Cyclops I’ve been waiting for since 2002, and I couldn’t be more happy to have him.

#1242: Cyclops

CYCLOPS

X-MEN: CLASSICS (TOY BIZ)

I’ve spent the better part of the last two weeks searching for the latest Marvel Legends Cyclops figure, with no luck so far (he’s the only one who illudes me.…).  Fortunately for me, I have an extensive backlog of figures I can pull from, allowing me to review a Cyclops just about any time I want to.  Heck, I can even review one that’s wearing the same costume!  In the same scale!  Isn’t that nifty?  I sure think it is!  So, without further ado, here’s a Cyclops figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyclops hails from the first (and sadly only) series of Toy Biz’s X-Men: Classics line.  Since they had launched Marvel Legends, Toy Biz had been using Spider-Man: Classics to release Spider-related characters in the same style, thereby clearing the way for Legends to release more obscure characters from elsewhere.  In 2004, they launched both X-Men: Classics and Hulk: Classics, in an attempt to do the same with those groups of characters.  Somehow, the X-Men got the short straw, and their line only lasted a single series before the team was rolled back into Marvel Legends (the line didn’t even last long enough for them to actually exit Legends, of course).  On the plus side of things, the line did manage to give us our first version of the X-Men’s stalwart field leader, Cyclops!  The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation.  Due to a light up feature, his neck movement is restricted to just a cut joint, and even then, it can only go so far in each direction.  It’s better than no movement at all, but frustrating that that this guy is hampered by the same issue that the 5-inch figures had finally moved past.  Cyclops had an all-new sculpt, based on his Jim Lee-era design.  Though every piece here is new, I’ve always thought he looked rather similar to the Legends Gambit in terms of aesthetics.  I have to wonder if they had a common starting point.  The sculpt is a bit of a mixed bag if I’m honest.  The head is definitely the strongest bit; it’s probably the best Cyclops sculpt that Toy Biz ever produced, and just encapsulates the character very well.  I wish the body lived up to it.  It’s not awful, but it’s very scrawny.  Sure, Scott’s long had the nickname “Slim,” but this seems a bit excessive.  It also doesn’t help that it’s the Jim Lee design, and Lee always depicted Scott as pretty solid.  The figure suffers from some rather obvious articulation as well (a common issue with TB figures of this era), which only makes the lankiness look worse.  The actual details of the costume are actually pretty nice, and the work on the boots in particular is really top-notch, so that’s a plus.    The paintwork on Scott is okay overall.  The work is mostly pretty clean, and there’s some pretty good accent work.  There’s the usual slight inconsistencies of accenting from piece to piece of the figure, and the head seemed particularly prone to chipping, but other than that it seems fine.  I think my biggest gripe is the shade of blue they used; it just seems too muted for Cyclops.  While Legends was all about the collector driven extras, the Classics lines went a little more toy-etic.  Cyclops included a stand that I believe is meant to replicate a portion of the Danger Room.  There’s a cannon hooked up to one side, and Scott can be hooked up to the pole on the other side.  There’s a box at the top of the pole with a plug that goes into Scott’s back, and a lever at the base of the stand.  When the lever is pulled, Scott spins 90 degrees and his eyes light up, and then the cannon “explodes” via a spring-loaded feature, simulating him hitting it with his optic blast.  It’s quite gimmicky, and never worked particularly well on my figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I first saw this figure, it was as part of Raving Toy Maniac’s coverage of one of the Toy Fairs.  He was there alongside Series 5 and 6 of the main Legends line, with no info as to where he would be showing up.  Eventually we found out.  Of course, 2004 was kind of when Legends was at its worst in terms of scarcity and scalpers, so I never actually saw this guy at retail.  That summer my family took a trip to the large KB Toys warehouse store located in Dover, which I had been to once before, and which housed a huge selection of figures going back almost a decade .  When we arrived at the store, it was cleared out and closed, which was more than a little bit of a bummer.  Feeling bad for me, my Dad tracked this guy down from an online vendor, and bought him for me (he likes to buy me Cyclops figures when I’m down.  It’s a thing).  He paid a whopping $15 with shipping, which is kind of laughable these days.  This figure’s not perfect, but he was one of my favorites for a good long while, and I still think of him quite fondly.

#1157: Cyclops & Wolverine

ULTIMATE CYCLOPS & ULTIMATE WOLVERINE

MARVEL MINIMATES

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Minimates sure have come a long way.  There was a time when we all thought the line might just get those first three series and nothing else.  As such, many of the characters and designs represented in those early series were influenced by what was timely.  For instance, the earliest X-Men Minimates weren’t really based on any of the classic iterations of the team, but rather the just recently launched Ultimate X-Men, who also had the added benefit of having a slightly closer resemblance to the X-Men of the movies.  The characters released were also much more top tier, including today’s focus figures, Cyclops and Wolverine!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cyclops and Wolverine, like several of the other earliest ‘mates, were available in a few different ways.  The first way was as part of Series 3 of the main Marvel Minimates line, where Cyclops was paired with Jean Grey and Wolverine was paired with Storm.  They were also part of the TRU-exclusive five-pack with Storm, Logan, and Sabertooth.  The pair I’m looking at today are part of the first group of Target-exclusive ‘mates, which is the only time these two were packed together.

CYCLOPS

ultcyclopswolv3Poor Cyclops gets no respect, but the Ultimate universe certainly tried to give him his due.  On the plus side of things, he had one of the less sucky redesigns of the Ultimate ‘verse, since it pretty much stuck to his usual costume roots.  The figure stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and has 14 inches tall.  He’s built on the pre-C3 base ‘mate body, so he’s got those weird long feet.  He’s got add-ons for his hair/visor and his belt.  Both pieces are certainly good for the time.  Not quite as detailed as later ‘mates would be, but also not as simplistic.  This is definitely one of the figures where elegant simplicity comes into play.  I like how they’ve summed up all the basic elements of Cyclops with as few details as possible.  The paintwork on Cyclops is decent enough.  What’s there is mostly pretty sharp, though there are a handful of misplaced lines, especially on the boots.  Obviously, he lacks the musculature and finer detailing that we’ve come to expect on more recent stuff, which look a little off.  Of course, thanks to the darker colorscheme, it’s a lot less of an issue here than it is on other ‘mates from the same time period.

WOLVERINE

ultcyclopswolv2Wolverine is no stranger to Minimates, but this was one of the first two he ever got.  It’s kind of strange to think that neither of his first two ‘mates featured his signature mask.  It’s worth noting that this figure is sporting Ultimate Wolverine’s second costume design.  It was a sensible choice, since it not only incorporates more of his classic costume’s design elements, but also fits better with the rest of the team.   Like Cyclops, he’s built on the pre-C3 body.  He has add-ons for his hair and belt, as well as clawed hands.  The hair isn’t the classic Wolverine style hair, but that’s actually accurate to the comic.  It’s a decent enough sculpt, and it would later see re-use on the first version of Quicksilver.  The claws are an older version of the hands, and are a little more rudimentary than those of the most recent Wolverines.  They’re not awful, but the improved versions were definitely warranted. The paint work on Wolverine is decent overall, but not without issue.  Most noticeably, there’s just a splotch of fellow on his right hand and wrist, which just looks rather odd.  Still, the overall appearance is decent enough.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Cyclops was actually one of my earliest Minimates (as part of the first three two-packs I picked up), but that was the specialty release with Jean.  Over the years, I lost a number of pieces to both of them, so they’ve been incomplete for a while now.  I ended up finding this set at Player’s Choice, a gaming and collectibles store in the local mall, a few weekends ago.  Since I was looking to replace Cyclops and I never actually owned this Wolverine, I figured it was worth it to pick them up.  They’re not a bad set.  Sure, there have been lost of subsequent releases of both characters, but for Cyclops especially, it’s truly hard to top that first release in terms of memorability.

#1126: Cyclops & Banshee

CYCLOPS & BANSHEE

MARVEL MINIMATES

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In the summer of 2003, Marvel Minimates was launched, with Series 1-3 all hitting pretty much simultaneously.  It was an interesting mix of characters and eras to be sure, but that’s a story for another review.  Series 3 gave us our first taste of the X-Men, presenting them in their Ultimate X-Men incarnation, which was a little bit of a letdown for the more classic comics fans in the audience.  Fortunately, in January of the following year, they got back to the X-Men, this time offering up a set based on Giant Size X-Men #1, perhaps the quintessential “classic” X-Men.  Now, 13 years later, they’ve returned back to GSXM #1, this time offering up a whole series of two-packs based on the team.  Today, I’ll be looking at the first two-pack from the set, leader man Cyclops & Banshee!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cyclops and Banshee are part of the 68th Series of Marvel Minimates, which hit towards the end of September.  Both characters are based on their Dave Cockrum designs from the early issues of his and Chris Claremont’s run on X-Men, though, in the case of Cyclops and Banshee, both designs are slight tweaks of the Werner Roth designs for the characters.

CYCLOPS

bansheecyclops6When it came time to rebuild the team, Cyclops was the one point of overlap between old and new (though Jean Grey would find her way back in short time, and Beast and Angel would both pull stints as recurring members.  Only Iceman really stayed away), kept on as the new team’s field leader.  It gave him a sense of seniority he hadn’t really had with the prior incarnation of the team.  This particular Cyclops design has graced the Minimate style twice before, but the last time was as part of an exclusive two-pack in 2005.  Minimates have made a lot of progress since then, so the update to what is probably Scott’s most prominent design is a much appreciated one.  The figure stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation, as is the norm for any figure built on the standard ‘mate body.  Cyclops has additional parts for his cowl/visor and his boots.  The boots are the standard cuffed boots, and they do the job well enough.  The mask is a new piece, and it does quite a nice job of both capturing the feel of Cockrum’s illustrations of Cyclops’ visor, while also still fitting in well with the general Minimate aesthetic.  The rest of Scott’s details are handled via paint.  The overall application is pretty good, but there are a few issues, such as his left glove not getting enough coats of yellow to totally cover the underlying blue, thereby giving him a slightly green color.  Also, like a few previous X-Men, his belt buckle still has some traces of yellow left at the very bottom, which is a little frustrating.  That being said, there’s a lot to like here.  The shading on the blue sections of the costume is very near perfect, and really sells this as a late 70s Cyclops, as well as adding a lot of depth and dimension to the design.  While the gold visor has occasionally been something that bothers me on Cyclops figures, this is one time I really don’t mind, as Cockrum always went out of his way to indicate the visor was metallic.  I also appreciate the little red visible “eyes” in the visor, as they signify this is undoubtedly a Cockrum Cyclops, not Byrne.  Under the mask, there’s a face that’s a pretty great recreation of the unmasked Cyclops we see near the beginning of GSXM #1.  I really like the extra attention to detail on this one.  Cyclops includes a spare hairpiece for his unmasked look and a clear display stand.  The AvX and ANAD Cyclopses both included an extra mask with an optic blast attached, which certainly would have been nice, but given the number of extras included with the other figure in the set, it’s not the worst thing ever.

BANSHEE

bansheecyclops3Banshee was one of two members of the new team to have already appeared in X-Men prior to to GSXM#1, so he wasn’t one of the new characters paraded on the oh so famous cover.  By extension, he was also left out of the GSXM boxed set back in 2004, and left unreleased until Series 60, last year.  And even then, that was in his Strike Force uniform, making this particular ‘mate 13 years in the making.  Alright!  Guess my focusing on the positive worked!  Banshee gets add-ons for the hair, collar, and his wings.  The hair and collar come from the “Strange Tales” Morbius. They work decently enough.  I personally prefer the hair used on the last Banshee ‘mate, but the Morbius piece is a good match for Banshee’s appearance bansheecyclops5earlier in the run.  The wing pieces are new.  The slip over the wrists, and when positioned correctly, look like he’s using them to glide on the air.  Pretty cool new pieces, definitely.  The paintwork on Banshee is pretty good in general.  There are some fuzz edges here and there, and there’s a weird sort of film on the pelvis piece, but otherwise, the line work is sharp, and the colors are nice and bold.  Banshee’s default face is screaming, which is pretty well handled.  He also includes an extra head, with a more playful grin, a perfect recreation of Cockrum’s depictions of Banshee off-duty.  I can’t begin to tell you guys how excited I am to have a Banshee that includes an extra, non-screaming head.  How this is the first version of the character to do such thing, I’ll never know.  In addition to the extra head, Banshee also includes the cape and sonic scream piece from the last Banshee, as well as a flight stand and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

For quite some time, one of my main wants from Marvel Minimates was a GSXM-themed series.  For a number of stupid reasons, I never owned the original boxed set, so there was this sort of a hole in my collection.  So, I was pretty thrilled by the announcement of this set. Moreover, I’ve been waiting for this Banshee pretty much since 2004, so I’m very happy to have him finally.  He’s definitely the Banshee I’ve been waiting for.  Sorry Strike Force Banshee, looks like you’re being replaced (well, maybe I’ll keep that hair).  The John Byrne Cyclops from 2005 has been my go to version of the character for over ten years, and he’s become increasingly outdated as the line’s moved on.  I was eagerly awaiting the new version, and I’m very happy with the final result.  This one’s going to be hard to top moving forward!

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#1104: Cyclops

CYCLOPS

X-MEN: METALLIC MUTANTS (TOY BIZ)

cyclopsmetallic1

I’ve discussed Toy Biz’s larger 10-inch-scaled Marvel figures in the past.  Essentially, since Toy Biz did the prototypes for their successful 5-inch line as two-ups, they had an easy time re-using those sculpts for a line of slightly cheaper 10-inch figures (though, interestingly, the line was originally billed as a deluxe line of figures.  It was only later, when they decided to focus more on building as many figures as they could out of a limited pool of parts that it became “cheap”).  Toy Biz’s 10-inch X-Men line, like it’s smaller scale counterpart, was the most successful of the initial lines, even managing to get its own spin-off line, Metallic Mutants, where certain figures were re-released with metallic color schemes.  Today, I’ll be looking at the Cyclops figure from that line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

cyclopsmetallic2Cyclops was from the first series of X-Men: Metallic Mutants. The whole Metallic Mutants line was available exclusively at KB Toys (who would also become the exclusive retailers of the entire 10-inch line a few years later).  The figure is about 10 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation, which was a whole extra point more than his 5-inch equivalent had.  The figure is a straight repaint of the basic 10-inch Cyclops, who was himself patterned on the sculpt of Cyclops II from Toy Biz’s main X-Men line.  The sculpt is a little bit different.  He lacks the light-up feature of the smaller figure, which results in him getting the neck articulation the smaller figure lacked.  Aside from that, the sculpt is pretty much the same.  It’s okay for the time, but certainly isn’t one of Toy Biz’s stronger sculpts.  Due to the light-up nature of the smaller figure, the torso was made a bit larger to house the battery compartment, and that’s still seen here.  While the legs seem to match up okay with the larger torso, the arms and head feel rather under-sized by comparison, which makes him look rather odd overall.  Each piece of him seems fine on its own, but as a whole he looks a bit patchwork.  I will admit, there’s a certain quaintness to the sculpt that I appreciate, though.  The big deal on the figure, of course was the paint.  It’s certainly metallic, there’s no denying that.  The costume looks cool in the metallic shades, but what sort of throws him off is the decision to do his skin and hair in the same gold as the “yellow” bits of the costume.  Clearly, Toy Biz caught on to this being weird, since the second set of Metallic Mutants just had the metallic colors on the costumes, not the actual faces.  Cyclops included a blaster thing, in the same gold as used on the body, which is cool I guess.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As hokey as this guy is, I’ve actually always wanted one.  Growing up, I had the little product booklet that came with the TB Galactus, which had these guys all pictured in it, and I always wanted Cyclops in particular.  I ended up finally getting this guy for my birthday this summer from my parents, who bought him from 2nd Chance Toyz.  Is he weird and goofy and strange?  Yes.  Do I love him? Emphatically yes.

#0969: Cyclops

CYCLOPS

X-MEN: AGE OF APOCALYPSE (TOY BIZ)

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#0940: Cyclops

CYCLOPS

MARVEL ELECTRONIC TALKING SUPER HEROES

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Today is, amongst other things, the day I graduate from college. It’s been a long road, but it looks like I’m finally done with this whole school thing (for now, anyway…). Graduating is kind of an interesting experience: it’s sort of an all new thing, but at the same time it makes me rather nostalgic of all the time I’ve spent in school. So, I’m going to acknowledge my college graduation the way I acknowledge everything else in my life: with action figures.

Fitting the theme of nostalgia, I’m taking a step back to one of the earliest lines I ever collected: Toy Biz’s X-Men line from the ‘90s. The line was no stranger to gimmicks, and one of the more popular gimmicks of the early ‘90s was action figures that talked. For some reason, that was an area lots of toy makers saw a need to fill, Toy Biz included. They put together a line-up of seven of Marvel’s more popular characters, all making use of this particular feature. There were three X-Men characters represented, including today’s focus figure, Cyclops.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

CyclopsTalks2Cyclops was released in the first (and only) series of Marvel Electronic Talking Super Heroes and X-Men. Yes, the “and X-Men” is actually on the card. Guess they don’t count as Super Heroes. The assortment was released in 1991, alongside the first series of the X-Men line and Series 1 and 2 of the Marvel Super Heroes line. As such, the talking figures have a fair bit in common with their non-talking variations from those lines. In fact, the prototypes on the packaging are just the regular release figures with the talking boxes attached. Cyclops has a lot in common with the X-Men Series 1 Cyclops, but he actually has a few notable differences. The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation. While he loses the elbow movement from the X-Men Cyclops, he also loses the light-up feature, meaning he gets neck articulation. That would be a feature unique to this figure for several years. Aside from the slight changes in articulation, the sculpt is more or less the same. There’s no denying that this is a slightly dated sculpt, but it’s a step up from what Mattel offered 7 years before. Honestly, I think the neck movement does a lot to help make the sculpt look a little less unnatural, since the head looks far less stiff. The paint is, in theory, the same as that of the X-Factor version of the Series 1 Cyclops. In theory. In practice it’s noticeably sloppier. Like, a lot sloppier. From afar, he’s not atrocious, and I don’t think the figure’s ruined, but there’s no denying that this guy isn’t Toy Biz’s finest work. The talking portion of this figure is handled via a giant red backpack, which plugs right into his back (and stays there really securely. I almost thought it wasn’t coming back off). The figure has three different sounds: “Let’s Go, X-Men,” “Optic Blast Fire,” and a laser blast sound effect. The sound quality is a little muffled, but otherwise not bad. In addition to the talking box, he also includes a gun because… reasons? Maybe it’s because he’s the father of Cable? Yeah, I don’t know, but there it is.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite having grown up in the ‘90s, when these things were all over the place, Cyclops is actually a very recent addition to my collection. Two weekends ago, I was in Rehoboth, and one of my favorite stores, Gidgets Gadgets, had just gotten in a large collection of ‘90s figures. They had just about every figure from this set. I was fairly drawn to this guy, for whatever reason. My dad told me he was buying it for me because “How often is it that I get to buy you a Cyclops action figure anymore?” Yes, the figure’s super goofy. There’s no denying that. But he’s also pretty nifty, and plays into my nostalgia pretty hardcore.

#0759: Laser Blast Cyclops

LASER BLAST CYCLOPS

SPIDER-MAN & FRIENDS

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When they held the license for Marvel, Toy Biz tried applying the Marvel brand to everything. Literally everything. This was in part due to Toy Biz being a subsidiary of Marvel, and therefore not having any licensing fees to cover, so they had a certain degree of leeway to try out new stuff. In the early-to-mid-2000s, one of the better selling toy brands on the market was Rescue Heroes, a line of stylized, younger kid friendly action figures. This led to all sorts of imitators, including Toy Biz’s Spider-Man & Friends line, which presented some of the better known Marvel heroes in a near identical style. Despite being a Spider-Man line in name, the line actually covered a pretty decent subsection of the Marvel universe, including their resident Merry Mutants, the X-Men. That included founding member Cyclops, who we’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

CyclopsSF2Laser Blast Cyclops was part of Series 5 of Spider-Man & Friends, released in mid-2003. While some of the characters received an assortment of variants from the line, Laser Blast Cyclops was the only time Cyclops showed up. The figure stands about 6 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation. His design is based on Cyclops’s movie look from the X-Men and X2, which was relevant at the time. His color scheme has, unsurprisingly, been changed to something a bit brighter, since it was a kid-aimed line. Cyclops got his own, totally unique sculpt, done to match the style of the rest of the line. His face looks a fair bit younger, and the size of his head, hands, and feet are all above the norm. In general, the figure is just a lot stockier than the typical super hero figure, no doubt to boost stability a little bit. He’s also got the standard back port that all the figures had, which allowed for the attachment of the various backpacks included with each figure (and Cyclops’s conveniently houses his battery compartment). He may be a more kid-oriented toy, but Toy Biz certainly didn’t slack off on the sculpted details, though. His uniform has all the various stitching and padding of the film look, and there are even some nice technical details on the visor. Texturing and the like has been toned down a bit, but that doesn’t hold the figure back at all. As noted above, the color scheme for this figure is a lot brighter than the movie look that inspired the sculpt. He’s been given the more traditional blue/yellow scheme, though he does still keep the black for his boots, gloves, and visor. The end result looks pretty great, and fits in very nicely with the rest of the line. Cyclops was packed with a weird yellow backpack with a blaster/gun sort of thing attached to it. It almost looks like a Ghostbusters proton pack, to be honest. In addition, he also had a light-up feature. When his head was pushed down, his visor would light up red to simulate his optic blasts. This has the unfortunate side effect of making his neck joint more prone to breakage than his compatriots.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This was the only figure I owned from this line, since I was a little out of its age range. My brother, on the other hand, was a pretty big fan, and had a sizeable collection of figures, as well as one of the playsets. So, I got a Cyclops so that I would have a figure for when he wanted me to play with them with him. My first Cyclops actually ended up breaking (at that pesky neck joint) while a friend’s daughter was playing with him. I recently picked up a replacement for that figure, courtesy of Yesterday’s Fun. These were actually some pretty awesome toys, and it’s a shame that Hasbro opted not to continue the line when they took over. At least we got the ones we did!

#0756: Cyclops & Mr. Sinister

CYCLOPS VS MR. SINISTER

X-MEN: STEEL MUTANTS

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Last month, I took a look at one of Toy Biz’s many experiments with the Marvel license from the 90s, ­X-Men: Steel Mutants. They were a line of small scale versions of the X-Men, which featured a heavy dose of die-cast metal parts, hence the “Steel” part of the name. Toy Biz actually offered a pretty good selection of the X-Men in this line, including not one, but two versions of founding member Cyclops. Today, we’ll be looking at one of those, along with his pack-mate Mr. Sinister.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cyclops and Mr. Sinister were released in the second series of X-Men: Steel Mutants. Like all the others in the line, they work both as comic and cartoon versions of the characters.

CYCLOPS

SinisterCyclops2This is the second of the two Cyclopses released in this line. While Wolverine got three totally different looks for his three figures, Cyclops just gets a new pose. As opposed to the straight standing look, this one’s got a bit of a running start sort of a thing going. I guess that’s new and exciting. The figure stands roughly 2 ½ inches tall and has 4 points of articulation. Cyclops’s head and arms are plastic, and the torso and legs are metal, like all the other figures in the line. He uses the same head, torso, and left arm as the first Cyclops, along with a new right arm and legs, showing off that deep lunging thing he’s got going on. His sculpt, like that of the first Cyclops, is really a scaling down of the 5 inch Cyclops II figure. That was Toy Biz’s standard Cyclops, and it was a pretty good summation of the character, so it works. The torso’s a bit on the large side for Scott, but hey, it was the 90s, everybody was juicing. All in all, the figure’s pretty well detailed, and not terrible on the proportions, for the time at least. Cyclops’s deep stance makes him a little bit more difficult to keep standing than, say, Gambit, but not as much as you might think. Toy Biz clearly put a lot of effort into making sure these guys were properly balanced, which is good on their part. Cyclops’s paint work is decent for the scale, though there’s some noticeable slop on the changes from yellow to blue, which is slightly annoying. But, smaller details, such as the “X”s on his belt and chest harness are surprisingly clean, and the figure as a whole looks pretty good when viewed from a far.

MR. SINISTER

SinisterCyclops3Mr. Sinister is a pretty natural choice for this line, given his prominence in the cartoon, and he certainly makes sense packed with Cyclops, since they interacted a lot in both the comics and the cartoon. And, unlike Cyclops, this figure doesn’t feel redundant to anyone who had the first series of the line. Sinister was a new sculpt for the Steel Mutants line, though he was more or less just a scaled down version of the 5 inch Sinister from the main line, with the articulation scheme changed. Like that figure, this one feels a little on the small side for Sinister, who was usually depicted as being at least a little bigger than the average person. Aside from that, though, he does a pretty good job of capturing the character’s design. The cape is a separate, removable piece, made from plastic. It clips around the figure’s neck, and doesn’t quite sit right, but it’s close enough not to look too off at this scale. As far as paint goes, Sinister’s mostly painted in the same shade of dark blue, which seems to be a little thickly applied. The rest of the paint is pretty good, though he’s totally lacking Sinister’s usual facial hair. The prototype shows him sporting a full goatee, which is still not correct. Maybe the factory could only do goatee or clean shaven, with no in between? I suppose this would be the preferable choice in that case. There was actually a later single release of this figure that had the goatee, but never one with the character’s actual beard.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Cyclops and Sinister were purchased for me by Super Awesome Girlfriend, when we visited Yesterday’s Fun this past summer. She recognized them as being from the same line as Gambit and Bishop and insisted on buying them for me. I actually had the later single releases of both of these figures, though I can’t say I know where they ended up. All in all, these are another fun little addition, and I’m happy to have them!

#0718: Cyclops(es)

CYCLOPS

X-MEN (TOYBIZ)

Toy Biz may have become one of the most prominent toy makers in the industry in the late 90s, but less than a decade before that, they were just a small upstart company that was recovering from having totally tanked the DC Comics license. In a move baffling to pretty much everyone at the time, Marvel Comics decided to give them a second chance at the world of comics. They kicked off things with a line of figures based on Marvel’s premiere super-team at the time, the X-Men! And, why not take a look at their very first take on the very first X-Man, Cyclops.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyclops was released as part of the first series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line. He was available in two different color schemes. He was originally released in his second X-Factor costume (which he had JUST replaced in the comics), and when the first series was re-released he was also available in his classic Dave Cockrum costume. I, of course, have both. Both figures stand right at 5 inches tall and feature 8 points of articulation. The heads don’t move, due to the inclusion of a light-up feature for the visor. Unfortunately, there was no way to remove and replace the batteries to this feature, so both of my figures lost this feature years ago. Also, this feature results in a rather noticeable lever on the back of both figures. But what about the actual sculpt? Well, there’s no denying that this figure shows its age. The proportions are somewhat cartoony, and the details are rather primitive and basic. He does have sculpted outlines for the white parts of his costume which is pretty neat (for the X-Factor version, at least). I don’t know if anybody else remembers the Dial M for Monkey segments from Dexter’s Laboratory, but I can’t help but see Monkey when I look at Cyclops’ head sculpt, and I feel like that wasn’t Toy Biz’s intention. It’s not a terrible sculpt; this guy just doesn’t have quite the presence of the comics version of the esteemed Mr. Summers. The paint is where these two diverge. The original X-Factor version is the one with the big white X on his chest, and it’s pretty decently painted, with most of the details staying where they’re supposed to. There’s some slop on the edges of the boots and gloves, but that’s really it. The second, Cockrum-based version adds a few more colors and gets rid of the white. He’s got the same issue with the boots and gloves, but is otherwise pretty well handled. However, he’s stuck by one issue that doesn’t hit the first Cyclops: his paint clearly doesn’t line up with the figures sculpted outlines. It’s not the most noticeable thing ever, and Toy Biz didn’t originally intend for this sculpt to be used for both costumes, so it’s pretty easy to overlook. Both Cyclops included a weird blaster thing that clipped over the figures’ hands. It was strange and completely made up for the toys.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The X-Factor Cyclops is actually my very first Cyclops action figure, purchased for me by my Dad one of our many runs to the local KB Toys, just as I was getting into this whole collecting thing. I had the choice of either paint scheme, but I went with this one, I think due to it being closer to his look from the cartoon. The second version was a later addition to my collection, after the figures had left most retail stores. I picked him up from my local comicbook store, Cosmic Comix, who just happened to have one. Neither of these figures has aged very well, but I do still have a bit of a nostalgic love for both of them.