#2497: Warstar



“Members of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, aliens B’nee and C’cll unite their superhuman abilities symbiotically as the unstoppable Warstar! Possessing superhuman strength and the ability to discharge electrical blasts, Warstar stands ready to strike at any and all enemies of the Shi’ar Empire – even if it means crossing the width of the galaxy itself!”

First appearing early in the Phoenix Saga, the Shi’ar Imperial Guard’s original membership were all homages to artist Dave Cockrum’s previous work on Legion of Super Heroes.  When the team reappeared during “The Dark Phoenix Saga” a few years later, Cockrum’s replacement John Byrne was tasked with a few more members to pad out the roster a bit during their fight with the X-Men.  Instead of creating more Legion homage characters, these new characters, including today’s focus Warstar, were wholly original, while still loosely fitting the theme.  No doubt for reasoning related to the potential issues that surround homage characters and toys, Warstar being a non-homage character made him a slightly cleaner choice when it came to toy coverage.


Warstar was another inclusion in the “Phoenix Saga” Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men toy line.  He is by far the most obscure character in that particular mix, but he did at least get a little bit of focus during the cartoon version of the Saga, which made him at least somewhat memorable to the buyer base, I suppose.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  He lacks a neck joint, but in his defense, there’s a sensible reason for that.  As touched on in the bio up top, Warstar is actually two symbiotically-linked beings.  The main body is C’cll, the larger of the pair.  It does a respectable job of replicating his larger mechanical frame.  He’s perhaps a touch more boxy than C’cll tends to be depicted, especially when Byrne was drawing him, but by and large, it’s a pretty close match.  Borrowing a page from the previously released Tusk figure, C’cll has a little hatch and a small lever on his back.  Sliding back the hatch and pushing up the lever reveals a tiny B’nee figurine, who’s been hiding back there the whole time.  Both of them are just a touch underscaled for the line, and B’nee doesn’t get any sort of articulation, but it’s a fun feature nevertheless.  Warstar’s paintwork is pretty solidly handled.  It’s largerly all one color (for C’cll, anyway; B’nee *is* one color), but it’s a pretty slick metallic green.  Mine’s taken quite a beating over the years, but that doesn’t seem like the worst thing in the world for a character with “war” in his name.  The only extra included here is the small B’nee figure; no other weaponry or weird accessories thrown in this time.  Also, he’s one of two figures in the “Phoenix Saga” assortment not to get any additional accessories when moved over to the larger card, presumably because of how sizable he was in the first place.


Warstar was a rather early addition to my collection, purchased for me by my Nana, specifically at my request.  Interestingly, I had no clue who the character was (I hadn’t yet seen his appearance on the cartoon), and actually thought he was a Titanium Man figure, who I wanted to have to face off against my Iron Man figure I’d just gotten.  It wasn’t until later that I realized my mix-up (and got a proper Titanium Man), though I can’t really say I was ever upset to own a Warstar.  He’s a pretty fun figure of a pretty fun character, and is probably one of my favorites from the line.  I’d love to see him get an update as a BaF or Deluxe Legends offering.

#1764: Gladiator



“The leader of the Imperial Guard, Gladiator shoots heat beams from his eyes and commands his forces with formidable strength.”

Artist Dave Cockrum, who helped to re-launch the X-Men in their All-New, All-Different incarnation that would pretty much shape the franchise going forward, found his first prominent comics work in the pages of Legion of Super Heroes.  He frequently let some of his Legion work seep into X-Men, and perhaps the most obvious instance of this was the creation of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, a full-fledged homage to the Legion.  The team’s resident Superman/Superboy stand-in was the Gladiator, who is also the only member of the team who ever seems to get any action figures.


Gladiator is figure 3 in the Apocalypse Series of Marvel Legends.  Previously, he was released as part of 2013’s SDCC-exclusive “Thanos Imperative” boxed-set.  He’s the fourth of the figures in the set to get a wider release, following Star-Lord, Medusa, and Black Bolt.  There are some slight tweaks to this release, which I’ll touch on when I get to the paint section. The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Gladiator is built on the Hyperion body, a sensible choice, given their shared status as Superman knock-offs.  His head sculpt and cape are both unique to him.  The head is decent enough.  It’s well scaled to the body, and has some solid detail work, especially on the mohawk.  It’s got a slight case of scowly-Hasbro-face, but it doesn’t bug me nearly as much on Gladiator as it does some of the others.  My only real complaint is that it sits just a touch too high on the neck, but the proper pose hides that well enough.  The cape is actually one of Hasbro’s finest, truth be told.  It sits well on the figure, doesn’t move about too much, and it has a flow that is somewhat dramatic without being too limiting.  The SDCC Gladiator made use of a lot of metallic paints, which are perfectly reasonable choices generally, but for a character like Gladiator, they seemed to needlessly muddy his design.  This new figure instead goes for a flatter and brighter selection of colors, which makes the figure pop a little bit more, especially when placed with the rest of the very colorful set he’s a part of.  If I have one minor nitpick, I’d say I’m a little bummed that this Gladiator is once again without pupils.  While it’s not inaccurate for the character, they would have made this a more decidedly classic take on the character.  Gladiator has no character-specific accessories (I’m not really sure what you could give him), but he does include the head of Apocalypse.


Back when the Thanos Imperative set was released, I actually tried to get one, because I quite liked a number of the characters included.   Gladiator was high on that list, and I was always a little bit bummed I’d missed him.  So, I was actually pretty happy to see him get a re-release.  This guy ended up being a birthday gift from my Super Awesome Fiancee.  While he’s not a perfect figure, and I’ll be glad when the start working the Hyperion body out, there’s a lot I like about this figure.  Now, can I please get more of the Imperial Guard?  Gladiator needs his team!