#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)

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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.

#0635: Cyclops & M. Bison

CYCLOPS & M. BISON

X-MEN VS STREET FIGHTER (TOYBIZ)

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The 90s were an interesting time to say the least. The X-Men were at the height of their popularity, which, of course, meant plenty of tie-in stuff. Capcom, makers of hit games series such as Mega Man and Street Fighter, licensed the team for a fighting game, called Children of the Atom. This ended up being a success, leading to Capcom pitting the X-Men against the cast of Street Fighter. ToyBiz already held the license for Marvel, so they picked up the Capcom license as well, allowing them to do their own tie-in two packs. One of these sets was X-Men leader Cyclops versus Street Fighter’s big bad M. Bison, which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cyclops and Bison were a two pack in ToyBiz’s X-Men vs Street Fighter line, released in the late 90s. I believe these two were part of the first assortment of packs.

CYCLOPS

CyclopsBison2Cyclops is presented here in his fan-favorite 90s costume, designed by Jim Lee. It’s one of those looks that doesn’t make a whole lot of practical sense and could be considered a bit silly. That said, nostalgia is a powerful thing, so I can’t help but love it. The figure stands just over 5 inches tall and sports 8 points of articulation. That’s a little lower than the typical Marvel figure of the time, due to his lack of both elbow and knee joints. I can’t say why ToyBiz decided to leave those out, but he does at least have some extra shoulder articulation, which certainly eases the pain. Structurally, Cyclops makes use of the body of the Monster Armor Cyclops from the main X-Men line, along with a new head. The body is from towards the end of the X-Men line, when ToyBiz was trying to emulate the higher-detailed, more pre-posed figures being offered by McFarlane at the time. However, Cyclops had one of the tamer sculpts, so he doesn’t end up being too bad. The one real drawback of the original figure, the head, has been replaced CyclopsBison3with a much nicer piece. This new head does a great job of capturing the animated style Cyclops from the cartoon; it’s simplistic, but all the necessary details are there. The paintwork isn’t the best ever, but it’s not terrible. There’s a bit of slop, especially around the yellow spots. Also, the hair and headband don’t quite meet up right, giving poor Cyke a bit of a bald spot. On the plus side, the blue is a darker shade than the Monster Armor figure, which is more true to the character design, and the plastic/paint is much more matte, which has an overall better look. Cyclops came packed with an optic blast piece (Which I don’t have) and a pleather jacket like the one he was known to wear from time to time in the 90s cartoon (mostly when Jean was crazy or presumed dead. It’s his brooding jacket.)
M. BISON

CyclopsBison4Ah, good ol’ M. What’s it stand for? Well, apparently it’s a shortening of Mister, which seems kinda dumb. In reality, Bison, Vega, and Balrog all swapped names when the game was imported to the US, mostly because Capcom wanted avoid the potential legal issues of having a boxer character whose name was Mike Bison. So the villain became M. Bison, with little explanation of what the M was exactly. Oh well. The figure is about 5 inches tall and has 10 points of articulation. He also has a punching action feature, which sort of gives him two more points of articulation. Bison is built on the Spider-Man line’s Tombstone body, with some additional armored pieces added on, as well as a new head. The body isn’t a perfect match for Bison, but it’s pretty good. The proportions are quite exaggerated, but it was the 90s, so that’s sort of to be expected. There are a few oddities, such as the hand clearly molded to hold something that he doesn’t include. The head is a little on the small side and a little light in the details. The hat is really nice, though. Paint is pretty rough here. Some areas make out okay; the red sections have a nice wash to bring out the details of the sculpt, and the armored parts are clean. The biggest issues are on the head. The hair apps are almost totally missing from one side, and the eyes are at best an approximation of what they should be. M. Bison originally included a cloth cape, but mine no longer has it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I first got this set many years ago, purchased from KB Toys while on a trip with my grandmother. I got it purely for the Cyclops, who was the most accurate version of the character available. I had no idea who this M. Bison guy was. I eventually found out, and became quite a fan of Street Fighter II, but Cyclops was still why I got these.  Somewhere in the last 15 years, Cyclops went missing (stupid house gremlins!) and Bison crumbled into pieces. I thought about replacing them, but this line picked up quite an aftermarket price, with this set being one of the highest. A few weeks ago, I came across this pair for a reasonable price and snagged them as fast as I could. Years later, Cyclops is still very much the star, but I’m happy to have them both again.

#0358: Cyclops & Marvel Girl

CYCLOPS & MARVEL GIRL

MARVEL MINIMATES

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The X-Men may not be the merchandise powerhouse they once were, but they still maintain a decent hold on the market. One of the things that makes old fans of the series love the team while simultaneously scaring away new fans is the sheer level of backstory involved. In an effort to help make the team a bit more approachable, Marvel has done an interesting move: they brought back the original X-Men. Yeah, the founding five have been brought forward in time, allowing for the series to present them in a more innocent, less complicated form. Diamond has decided to base their most recent series of Marvel Minimates on this incarnation of the team. Today, I’ll be looking at Cyclops and Marvel Girl.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cyclops and Marvel Girl were released as a two-pack in Series 59 of Marvel Minimates, which is based on the team as they’ve appeared in recent issues of All-New X-Men.

CYCLOPS

Cyclops&MarvelGirl2Perhaps the character to benefit the most from a “continuity reset” is the team’s leader Cyclops. Cyclops is a character who writers don’t really seem to know what to do with, resulting in a lot of questionable things being done with him in the last 20-30 years. Recently, a lot of those things have piled one, leading to the character coming off as a tremendous jerk and becoming essentially a villain. A Cyclops without all of these things is a breath of fresh air. Cyclops is about 2 ½ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation. He’s based on All-New Cyclops’s second costume, designed by Staurt Immomen. It matches the rest of the team without being too similar, and it’s all-around not a bad design. Cyclops is built on the traditional Minimate body, with an add-on for his hair/visor. This is an all new piece, and it does a pretty great job of capturing the design from the comic. The rest of the figure is reliant on paint. It’s not bad overall, but it could be better. The base paint is rather sloppy, especially on Scott’s visor. Fortunately, the detail lines are all nice and sharp, which helps to offset the questionable base paint. Cyclops includes two alternate hair pieces, one sans-visor(a re-use piece, seen on numerous figures) and one with his optic blast in full force. He also includes a standard clear display stand. The sans-visor hair is nice, as it allows for you to display the sunglasses painted under Scott’s visor, and the optic blast head makes for a lot of fun setups. I am hopeful that the optic blast piece is the new standard for Cyclops Minimates going forward.

MARVEL GIRL

Cyclops&MarvelGirl3Marvel Girl, aka Jean Grey, aka the Pheonix, aka the Song that doesn’t end, also benefited from the reset. Her present day counterpart is dead and all, plus now she just has the one code name, as opposed the 37 or so she had before. Marvel Girl is about 2 ½ inches in height and she sports 14 points of articulation. Like Scott, she is based on her second, Immomen-designed costume. I really like the green accents on hers; they really make her pop. The figure makes use of the base Minimate body, with the addition of a hairpiece. The piece is a re-use, first seeing use on The Spirit’s Sand Serif. It was also used on the first appearance Jean from a few years ago, so it’s a nice call back to see it here. I think it’s one of the nicer female hairpieces. The paint on Marvel Girl is similar to that of Cyclops: the base work is sloppy, but the detail lines are nice and sharp, which helps save the figure. I do wish the patterns on her legs were actually mirrors of each other, but they aren’t terrible. Marvel Girl includes a spare head/hair for a full “powered-up” effect (I’m gonna assume it has something to do with the Phoenix, but I haven’t read All-New X-Men, so I can’t confirm), a “jumping stand” and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Cyclops and Marvel Girl were picked up from my local comicbook store Cosmic Comix. Initially, this was the only set I had planned on getting from this series. I don’t read All-New X-Men, but I have been following Cyclops, which stars this version of the character. Ultimately, I ended up getting the rest of the series, but these two still remain my favorites. There are a few paint issues that could stand to be worked on, but other than that, this was a really strong set.

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#0311: Marvel’s Cyclops

MARVEL’S CYCLOPS

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

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Ever since I first got into the marvelous mutants of the X-Men, I’ve been a pretty big fan of Cyclops. Well, the idea of Cyclops, I suppose. His powers are cool, and he’s been graced with some of the cooler costume designs in comics. In the 90s, every X-Man got a figure, and Cyclops even got several. They were of varying quality, but I had just about all of them, and I loved them all. When Marvel figures moved to the 6-inch scale with Marvel Legends, I patiently awaited that awesome figure that would live up to my expectations of good ol’ one-eye. Sadly, while Toybiz did eventually produce a Cyclops, it was far from what I’d hoped. Cyclops made a few more appearances in the Marvel Legends style, but none of them did much for me. I recently picked up my first Cyclops figure in what feels like forever, courtesy of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Infinite Series.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

CyclopsNowWilsonThis version of Cyclops was released in the recent X-Men themed series of Marvel Legends Infinite Series. The series is done to loosely tie-in with Days of Future Past, and it is exclusive to Toys R Us. Cyclops stands a little over 6 inches tall and features 32 points of articulation. He’s based on the character’s “Marvel Now!” look. Well, one of them anyway. There are currently two versions of Scott Summers running around the Marvel universe. This one’s the older one. He’s all surly. According to the back of the box, Scott has lost control of his powers. Well, more so than before, I guess. What that means design-wise is that instead of the traditional visor we’ve all grown accustomed to, Scott now has a big red “X” on his face. Yay comics! Cyclops is built on Hasbro’s new standard male buck, used on figures such as Boomerang and Zemo. It’s a pretty decent, medium-build type body that works for a lot of characters, so that’s cool. Scott also has a pair of fists stolen from the recent Nova figure, as well as an all-new head sculpt and belt add-on. The head is actually a very nice sculpt. The X-visor has been etched in place, and Scott’s been given a facial expression that befits his older, surlier self. The belt is a basic belt with pouches, but it’s well sculpted, so that’s cool. It’s generic enough that I could see Hasbro putting it to use elsewhere. The rest of Scott’s details are handled via paint. The figure is CyclopsNow2molded in black, with red, orange, and flesh-tone paint providing the various details. The paint is fairly cleanly applied, but it’s not perfect. The red lines on his costume are pretty good, but his visor’s a bit of a mess. It seems like the paint didn’t want to stay in the lines. In addition, the “x” on Scott’s belt is off center, once again failing to follow the sculpted line work. Still, this isn’t as bad as some Hasbro efforts, and the figure does end up looking better as a whole. Cyclops’s only accessory is the arm to this Series’ Build-A-Figure, Jubilee. I don’t know why, but for some reason this BaF figure piece seems more morbid tan previous ones.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In all honesty, I was not a fan of this Cyclops design when it was first revealed. But, as other artists (read: NOT Joe Quesada) started to draw it, I actually kind of warmed up to it a bit. It’s one of those rare modern costumes that doesn’t suffer from being too over-designed. So, when this series of Marvel Legends was announced, I was a little bit interested in the figure, but I wasn’t 100% sold.

The other day, I had a rough day at work, and decided to stop by my local TRU, just to see what they had. I found the remnants of a case of this series. All that was left were two Wolverines and this guy. In person, I was even more impressed with the costume’s design, and so I decided, what the heck, I’ll go for it. To be honest, he’s probably the best Marvel Legends version of Scott produced. Also, now I kinda want to finish Jubilee, but that means I’ll have to buy a Stryfe figure. I’m not sure I’m ready for that…

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