#1983: Phoenix

PHOENIX

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“The embodiment of the life force of the universe itself, the mysterious Phoenix Entity merged with the telekinetic X-Man named Jean Grey, transforming her into Phoenix! As Phoenix, Jean possessed nearly unlimited telepathic and telekinetic abilities – but the scope of her powers overwhelmed, corrupted and eventually consumed her. But, in the manner of her namesake, Jean later rose from the ashes of her demise, alive once again!”

Jean Grey’s spot in the X-Men has long been a tricky one.  She was a founding member of the team, and stuck with them until the “All-New, All-Different” team took over in Giant-Size X-Men #1.  Jean only actually departed for four issues, before returning for a rematch with the Sentinels that ended in her gaining the powers of the Phoenix Force.  She then remained a major player until “The Dark Phoenix Saga” ended with Jean sacrificing herself to save the day…from herself.  Then, like some sort of mythological bird that I can’t remember the name of, she rose from the ashes a few years later.  From that point forward, she was still a prominent member of the team, but never quite seemed in phase with the rest of them.  This kind of reared its head in tie-in materials as well.  For the ’90s X-Men toyline, it took three years to get a single Jean Grey figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Phoenix was the central figure of the “Phoenix Saga” assortment, the eighth series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  The assortment was designed to tie-in with the cartoon’s re-telling of the “Phoenix Saga,” and as such featured a number of pivotal players from it (and also Warstar, but we’ll talk about him later), and would not only be the first assortment to abandon a strict numbering system for assortments, but also has the notoriety of being both the last assortment to be released on the slimmer character specific card backs and the first to be released on the newer generic cards, via two separate releases.  This was not only Jean’s first figure in the line, but also her very first action figure in general, which was a pretty big deal.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  Like a good number of this line’s early figures, she lacks any sort of neck articulation, due to a light-up feature in the hair.  Of course, given the shaping of said hair, it’s unlikely that she would have had much movement going on anyway.  Jean’s sculpt was new to her, but would see an inevitable re-use for a Dark Phoenix figure (pictured with Wilson 4) in 1996 as part of the KB Toys-exclusive Marvel Universe line.  It’s really not a bad sculpt, especially for the time.  The proportions are decently balanced, and not terribly unrealistic, and kind of breaking from a lot of female figures for the time, she’s not hideous or horribly distorted, which was a pretty big deal.  Compared to the Rogue figure from the assortment prior, she’s definitely superior, and she blows the Series 1 Storm figure completely away.  There have been better Phoenix sculpts since, but it took them a good long while.  The paintwork is fairly basic stuff; the colors are bright and fairly eye-catching.  The green could maybe stand to be a little darker to better contrast with the yellow, but it’s not terrible.  The clear plastic for the hair actually works pretty well, especially when you have the right lighting.  The Dark Phoenix figure is pretty much the same paint, but palette-swapped.  The yellow parts are now gold, which was an interesting choice, but perhaps not the wisest, as it again leaves the two parts of the costume without much contrast.  Phoenix was packed with a launcher stand, re-used from the X-Force line’s Cannonball (yes, Cannonball had a figure before Jean Grey; try not to dwell on it).  It’s not the most thrilling extra, nor is it super specific, which is probably why the Dark Phoenix figure dropped it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Jean Grey has been my Dad’s favorite member of the X-Men pretty much since he started reading X-Men.  After discovering the Iron Man line on that fateful trip to Service Merchandise, he discovered the X-Men line via this figure (well, his copy of this figure, anyway), which he found at a dealer’s table at a con for the total insane crazy no one would ever pay this much for an action figure price of $20.  But hey, it was Jean Grey’s first figure, and he wasn’t going to pass it up, so he did not. …And then KB Toys did their buyout of Toy Biz figures, and you could get pretty much everyone in the line for under $5.  Not one to dwell on such things, my dad get me a Phoenix of my own, which I got alongside a Blackbird for the rest of my figures, if I recall correctly.  She was amongst 23 X-Men figures of mine that went missing for a few years during my high school/college days, but was discovered during “The Find” and has been on active display since then, because she’s just genuinely my favorite Jean Grey in my collection.

#1472: Cyclops & Dark Phoenix

CYCLOPS & DARK PHOENIX

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

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

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

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

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

CYCLOPS

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

DARK PHOENIX

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#1278: Jean Grey

JEAN GREY

MARVEL UNIVERSE 10-INCH (TOY BIZ)

“When the X-Men investigate a rash of mutant disappearances, they find that crime fighter Daredevil is working on the same case. Tracking down clues connected to the crimes takes Daredevil and Wolverine to an abandoned chemical factory while Jean Grey and Professor X use their incredible psi-talents to locate the kidnapped mutants inside. Battling and defeating their captors, the X-Men and Daredevil are able to give the kidnapped mutants back their freedom.”

I know I just got through reviewing a ton of X-Men figures but I’m gonna review another one.  Why?  Because this is my site and I do what I want.  Also because this figure was the next on the randomized list that tells me what figures to review.  Don’t let that undermine my previous statement.  Anyway, today I’ll be looking at founding X-Men member, Jean Grey!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jean Grey was released in 1997 as part of Toy Biz’s 10-Inch-scaled Marvel Universe line.  As the bio might have clued you in, she was released alongside Daredevil and Professor X (the both had matching bios).  Wolverine is also mentioned, but I wasn’t able to find any reference to a specific Wolverine that had this matching bio, so it’s possible they were just counting on kids to already have a Wolverine.  Jean is based on her Jim Lee-designed look from the ‘90s, which was an oddly rare design to see at the time. Not exactly her most attractive design, but it was the one on the cartoon (more or less). This figure stands about 9 1/2 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation.  Jean, like all but one of the female figures from this line, is a repaint of the X-Men line’s Rogue figure (which was a larger scale version of the 5-inch figure I just reviewed).  It wasn’t an ideal set-up, since Rogue and Jean aren’t *that* similar in design, especially in their Jim Lee costumes.  That being said, I suppose it could have been worse.  Jean’s aided by the fact that she ditches the belt and coat from Rogue (which is better than can be said for Polaris or Mystique), which at least gives her a different silhouette than Rogue.  The proportions on this figure are passable.  Obviously, they’re rather off, but in the context of the rest of the line, they don’t look too bad.  The paint carries most of the weight of turing this figure into Jean Grey.  It’s okay, I guess.  They try to use the paint to make her costume look more appropriate.  It’s not awful on the head, where the only real issue is the texture of the headband not matching the rest.  The shoulders should technically be raised shoulder pads, but even that doesn’t look so bad.  It really starts to fall apart with the wrist bands, which not only paint over the cuffs of the gloves as if they aren’t there, they also don’t even try to follow the shaping of the wrists from the comic design.  There is similarly do nothing to hide the tops of Rogue’s boots; I get that new tooling was out of the option, but at least the other figures to use this body did some slight tweaking to try and include the boots organically.  They look really weird totally unpainted.  Jean’s one accessory was a….big…bazooka?  You know, that bazooka thing that Jean always hauled around in the ‘90s!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I was growing up, my Dad had his own small collection of 10-inch figures (in retrospect, three of them were Jean, Professor X, and Yellow Daredevil, all of whom were part of this same subset).  Eventually, they were passed on to me.  Even as a kid, I always found Jean to be one of the weaker 10-inch figures that Toy Biz released.  Making an important character like Jean nothing more than a cheap repaint was seriously messed up.  She’s alright, I guess, but really, really, really, really disappointing.

#1237: Black Queen Jean Grey

BLACK QUEEN JEAN GREY

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

I’ve spend the last week and a half hunting for the latest X-Men-themed series of Marvel Legends, which means I’m really in the mood to review some X-Men Legends.  Unfortunately, I haven’t exactly had much luck with finding those particular figures, so I’ll have to dig into my back catalogue to make up for it.  So, today I’ll be looking at one of Hasbro’s earlier X-Men figures, Black Queen Jean Grey!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Queen Jean Grey was released as a Toys R Us exclusive, in between the 2nd and 3rd series of Hasbro’s first run with Marvel Legends.  She was one of three such figures that year, and also one of the two of those three to be built on this particular body.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  This version of Jean was mostly created to get an extra use out of the Series 1 Emma Frost mold.  Without getting into it too much, the Emma Frost figure isn’t exactly popular with fans.  Were it not for the Legendary Riders Scarlet Witch, she’d easily be the most hideous Marvel Legends figure ever produced.  The body is oddly lanky in all the wrong places, has incredibly obvious joints and large hands, and just generally looks pretty fragile, not befitting the usual depictions of Emma in the comics.  So, the fact that this figure was built on that body was not particularly a point in its favor.  Also, it’s worth noting that, while Emma’s and Jean’s designs were originally pretty close, the Emma figure from Marvel Legends was based on her Astonishing X-Men design, which was a fair bit different from the design Jean was sporting as Black Queen.  The corset’s too short (and not actually a corset if you look closely), and she’s wearing pants, rather than the tights she had in the comics.  With that said, there are some new pieces that sort of help bridge the gap between designs.  The figure gets a new head sculpt, as well as a slightly tweaked clasp on the cape, to remove the original figure’s X-logo (of course, the one on the waist still remains, but whatever).  The head does a lot, and I mean A LOT, to carry this figure, despite the flaws of the body.  It’s definitely some top notch work, and easily the best work Hasbro put out in their first few years with the license.  It manages to capture the character of the Black Queen incarnation of Jean pretty much spot on, with that incredibly devious look she was sporting for most of her time in the identity.  It’s really good work.  The paint also does a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of saving the figure from the body sculpt.  The over abundance of black helps to hide a number of the inaccurate details, as well as masking the joints and making the whole body flow just a bit better.  The paintwork is generally pretty cleanly handled, without too much bleed over or noticeable slop.  He palette is still flat, like a lot of the early Hasbro stuff, but it’s actually okay on this figure.  Jean was packed with a whip accessory, which I misplaced at some point over the years.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found this figure when it was brand new, at a Toys R Us that no longer exists.  I can’t even say why I was there, truth be told, since TRU was going through a particularly depressing period where they stocked absolutely nothing anyone was interested in.  At the time, all of my Legends figures were coming from Cosmic Comix, KB Toys, or Walmart.  But, I was in a TRU, and they had this figure, so I got her.  After the Emma Frost and X3 Jean Grey figures, this was the first figure to make it clear that not *every* female figure from Hasbro was going to totally suck.  Despite her questionable origins, this figure is actually pretty great, and shows how much of a difference a simple palette swap can make.

#1043: Marvel’s Phoenix

MARVEL’S PHOENIX

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES (HASBRO)

PhoenixHas1

“An expert of psionic force, Jean Grey uses her powers of telepathy and telekinesis as the mind-controlling hero, Phoenix”

I can’t help but feel that bio severely downplays the whole Phoenix bit of the character. It actually feels like they wrote a generic Jean Grey bio, remembered this was a Phoenix figure, quickly stuck the Phoenix name at the end and hoped no one would notice. Well, I did, so…yeah…that probably says more about me, doesn’t it? So, yesterday I looked at the first Marvel Legends Jean Grey, and now I’ll be looking at her most recent!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

PhoenixHas2Phoenix (or Marvel’s Phoenix, as she’s billed on the packaging) is figure 6 from the recently released Juggernaut series of Marvel Legends. This marks Jean’s seventh time as a Marvel Legend, and the second time we’ve gotten her as Phoenix (following the Toy Biz figure reviewed yesterday). There’s no variant in Dark Phoenix colors this time around (though I wouldn’t be shocked to see one show up down the line), but she’s also not short-packed this time around, so that’s a definite point in her favor. The figure is just under 6 ½ inches tall and has 27 points of articulation. While she may not have quite as much articulation as her predecessor, she’s got most of the same practical movement of that figure. I wouldn’t mind getting a bit more range on the elbows, but that’s really about it. Jean is built on Hasbro’s latest base female body. The upper arms and legs were used for the Red Onslaught series’ PhoenixHas5Mockingbird figure, but the actual body proper is making its debut with the Juggernaut series. It’s a very strong sculpt, probably Hasbro’s best basic female body so far. The legs are just a touch on the long side, but not horribly so. Also, my figure has a bit of trouble standing, but I don’t know if that’s true across the board. In addition to the new body, Jean re-uses the open gesture hands from Storm and Wasp, and the sash from Iron Fist, as well as an all-new head sculpt. I wasn’t sold on the head sculpt in the initial shots, but I have to say, I really like how it turned out now that I’ve seen it in person. It’s still a touch too gaunt for my ideal Jean, but it’s certainly not bad. The paintwork on Jean is quite nice. While she hasn’t got the fun metallic scheme of the last Phoenix, I think that the flatter color scheme still works pretty well. Everything is pretty cleanly handled, especially the face, which is possibly the sharpest work I’ve seen on a Hasbro Legends figure. Phoenix has no accessories of her own, but she does include the torso of the Build-A-Figure Juggernaut.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Jean is the first of the new X-Men Legends I acquired; she was gotten for me by my Dad, who found her at a Walgreens on his way to work. She wasn’t at the top of my list for this series, but I think getting her first allowed me to truly appreciate her. She’s a very nice replacement for the quite outdated Toy Biz figure, and is just a solid figure in general.

PhoenixHas3

#1042: Phoenix

PHOENIX

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

PhoenixTB1

It’s been quite a while since the X-Men got any coverage in Marvel Legends. Back during the Toy Biz run, only 3 of the 16 series released were completely X-Man free, and they even got a boxed set and two different off-shoot lines. Even under Hasbro, the team was pretty well represented. Well, until recently, anyway, since the last time we saw X-Men Legends was two summers ago, and even then they were a pretty hard to find TRU exclusive series (I bought the only one of them I ever saw). Fortunately, Hasbro’s doing their best to make that up, with a new series of X-Men-themed Legends hitting just in the last month, and another on the way early next year. Of course, if you think that means I’m reviewing the new X-Men figures, you’ve got another thing coming! Well, another review coming, anyway. Since this latest set of Legends has a lot of re-released characters from Toy Biz’s run, I thought it might be fun to review the older figures in tandem with their newer counterparts. Today, I’ll be kicking things off with Jean Grey, aka Phoenix!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

PhoenixTB2Phoenix was released in the sixth series of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends. She was Jean’s very first Legend, and she was only the second single-packed figure in the line, after Elektra (though both Rogue and Sue Storm had beaten her to release as part of larger boxed sets). She was also one of the two short-packed figures in the series. That was awesome. There was a variant of this figure painted up like Dark Phoenix, which was even harder to find. But, that’s another matter entirely. This figure stands about 6 ¼ inches tall and she has 44 points of articulation. While that might seem like of articulation, it’s not as useful as you’d hope. Yep, Phoenix is one of Toy Biz’s “twisting meat” figures, where the joints cancel each other out, resulting in pieces that spin for no reason. Oh joy. Sculpturally, Phoenix shared most of her parts with Elektra (and, by extension, Rogue and Sue). Jean obviously got a new head, but also a new pelvis, hips, and upper thighs, to give her more adequate hip articulation. The head is definitely the best part of the sculpt. The hair is a pretty spot-on recreation of Jean’s Phoenix hair (well, from when Byrne took over drawing her, anyway). The face is decent. She looks a bit like Laura Parker from Dark Shadows, who I can’t say is my ideal choice for Jean, but it’s certainly a more attractive sculpt than most of Toy Biz’s female Legends. The body is…umm, well they tried. I think. Her neck is incredibly square, her arms oddly flat, her bosom disproportionally large (and also covered by something that somehow manages to be both loose and tight fitting at the same time), and feet not unlike that of a duck. On top of all that, none of her joints are particularly well worked into the sculpt. Overall, she looks sort of a bit Frankenstiened, which isn’t really what you want in a Jean Grey figure. The paintwork on Phoenix is decent enough. The metallic green is particularly nice, but all of the colors are well chosen, and the application is by and large pretty cleanly done. The eyebrows weird me out, but I can’t really put my finger on exactly why. Phoenix was packed with a display base designed to look like the fiery bird typically seen surrounding Phoenix, as well as a reprinted copy of X-Men #101 (Phoenix’s first appearance).

 THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When Phoenix was first announced, I was very excited. Marvel Legends was my favorite thing at the time, and I was dead set on putting together a sweet X-Men set-up. Remember how I said she was short-packed? It gets worse. See, there was only one Phoenix for every case of 12, making her instant scalper bait. Now, remember how Phoenix also had a variant figure? Well, the variant was randomly put into certain cases of figures *in place* of the normal Phoenix, thereby making the normal version even harder to get. Because of this, it was actually more than a year before I got a Phoenix, courtesy of my friend Cindy Woods (who, along with her husband Lance, has done a whole lot to help me track down hard to find items over the years) as a Christmas present. Looking back on her compared to what came later, she’s got some pretty serious issues. That said, she was at one point my absolute most wanted Legends figure, and I was beyond thrilled when I finally got her. I can’t help but be a little sentimental.

PhoenixTB3

#0358: Cyclops & Marvel Girl

CYCLOPS & MARVEL GIRL

MARVEL MINIMATES

Cyclops&MarvelGirl1

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.

Cyclops&MarvelGirl4

#0127: Jean Grey

JEAN GREY

X-MEN MOVIE SERIES (TOYBIZ)

 

In the 90s, the 5 inch scaled ruled to toy aisle, due in no small part to ToyBiz’s gargantuan line of Marvel toys, specifically those based on the 90s mega-giant X-Men.  It looked like that was where we’d be staying for a while.  But then, the X-Men movie was released in 2000, and they were released in… 6 inch scale?  It wasn’t the first time we’d seen such a scale, but it certainly wasn’t prevalent.  Coupled with ToyBiz’s continued release of other 5 inch product, it looked like this might just be a blip on the radar.

If you’ve followed the action figure industry in recent years, you would know that the 6 inch scale was far from a blip on the radar.  It went on to become the ruling scale on the market for over ten years, which was impressive.  And a lot of its owed to the X-Men Movie line making a bold jump.  Today’s review is a two-fer, looking at both versions of Jean Grey from the line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jean was released as part of the first series of the X-Men Movie Series.  She stands about 6 inches tall and has 10 points of articulation.  I feel it necessary to point out that only about 6 of those points are really useful, and even then it’s iffy, thanks to the odd cut joints and strange pose of the figure.   Anyway, the sculpt is a bit of a mixed bag.  Sculpturally, the only difference between the two figures is the hair style.  The original release had it down, the second had it up in a ponytail.   They both look fine, though the ponytail look is more accurate to the character’s appearance in the movie.  The facial sculpt is actually a pretty decent approximation of Famke Janssen.  The body’s where things start to fall apart.  It has some really nice details on the suit, with some great work on the zippers and folds and such, but the proportions of the underlying body are just weird.  The arms are too long, the waist is too thin, and her legs are in this odd sideways crouch sort of thing.  All in all, just very strange.  The paint on these two is pretty good for the time.  I think I like the work on the first release a bit more, as it looks a bit cleaner.  There is one notable change between the two on the paint front.  The second release has a black t-shirt painted on under the uniform.  Apparently, this was the main reason for the second release, as there were some complaints from a few concerned parents about the pulled down zippers and total lack of any kind of covering on the two female characters in uniform.  Honestly, it’s a perfectly reasonable point to make, and it’s actually a bit odd that they had their uniforms zipped so far down, given that Jean has hers zipped up just like her male compatriots in the film proper.  Both Jeans included an incredibly creepy mutated Senator Kelly as there only accessory.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The first version of Jean was my second figure from the movie line.  She, along with Professor X were purchased for me by my Nana as an end of school gift.  Yeah, I had the option to get anyone in the line, and I bought a girl and a guy in a wheelchair.  I was a strange kid.  Anyway, I held onto that one for a while, and remember the controversy and subsequent rerelease of Jean, now with t-shirt and appropriate hair style.  I was happy with my first release version, and thanks to the reissue thing, it was actually quite rare.

Then, I came home one day to find that my dog had gotten into my room and pretty much destroyed my Jean figure.  The first release was fairly difficult to find at that point, so I had to settle for the reissue.  Fortunately, a few months ago, my comic book store got in a large selection of older figures loose, and the first release Jean was amongst them, allowing me to once again have the figure!

#0007: X-Men Original Members Boxed Set

CYCLOPS, MARVEL GIRL, BEAST, ICEMAN, & ANGEL

X-MEN ORIGINAL MEMBERS BOXED SET

Today we look at another of Toybiz’s First Appearance boxed sets.  This one’s not quite as colorful as the Avengers set, but it’s still pretty fun.  The set is of course based on the founding members of the X-Men in their original uniforms, straight from X-Men #1.

CYCLOPS

THE FIGURE ITSELF

What better place to start than leader-man himself: Scott Summers, aka Cyclops!  He, like all the others in the set is depicted here in his black and yellow uniform from the early issues of X-Men.  He’s got 12 points of articulation.  The sculpt is pretty good, especially the head, which does a good job of capturing a nice determined look.  The facial expression is very Kirby, which is appropriate.  The body is another story.  It’s not terrible mind you, but it could be a little better.  His shoulders are a bit on the broad side, and his waist is too thin.  The torso is also a rather flat in general, which is a bit odd.  The best part of the figure, I think, is the hinged visor.  It showcases the very nice sculpt below, and highlights the light-piped eyes, simulating his optic blasts.  I also love that his right hand is specially molded to allow you to pose him holding his visor.

MARVEL GIRL

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Next up is Scott’s girlfriend,  the marvelous Jean Grey, aka Marvel Girl.  She shown in her early costume, before they tweaked her design to set her apart more from the boys.  And that’s unfortunate, because it makes for a somewhat ugly figure.  Her proportions are really off.  She’s got long arms, huge hands and feet, and what looks like no ears.  Not to mention that her torso looks way to short.  Throw in the odd choice of rooted hair for the pony tail, and you’ve got yourself quite the funky looking figure.  She’s not the most hideous figure that Toybiz ever put out (That honor goes to the Marvel Legends Scarlet Witch.  Euggghh…), but she‘s far from the best.  She looks okay with the team, but not really anywhere else.

BEAST

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Next up is the resident brains AND brawn, Hank McCoy, aka The Beast.  This is a pre-blue and furry beast, which is quite the rarity in the toy world.  It’s a pretty good representation of that too, though the face sculpt focuses a bit too much on the “brawn” side of things in my opinion.  The huge hands and feet are well done, and make him really easy to balance, which is quite nice.  He’s a solid addition to the set.

ICEMAN

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Next is the hot-headed but cool Bobby Drake, aka Iceman.  He’s probably the figure in the set that stands out the most, because he’s the only one not in the standard black and yellow uniform.  They’ve chosen to show him in is snowy form, from before he learned to actually turn into ice.  The figure’s  molded in clear plastic, with very light blue accents painted generously to make him more opaque.  It’s a great effect, and really makes him look nice and icy.  The sculpt is pretty strong.  He suffers from some of the same wonky proportions as Cyclops, but once again the face sculpt is spot on, depicting an nice cocky grin beneath his snowy exterior.  One minor complaint I have is that the ice blasts are permanently affixed to his hands, which does ruin his play factor a bit.

ANGEL

THE FIGURE ITSELF

And, saving the best for last, it’s everybody’s favorite angelic millionaire, Warren Worthington, aka Angel.  Angel is, in my opinion, the best this set has to offer.  He doesn’t suffer from the wonky proportions that seem to plague this set.  He’s got a perfect expression for that “I’ve got so much more money than you” millionaire look.  Plus those wings!  Those awesome articulated wings!  The figure also is somewhat of a rarity in that it depicts a pre-archangel Warren, which is always a nice change.  If I had one complaint, it would be that the figure is a bit difficult to keep standing, mostly due to the wings, but it’s nothing that I can’t deal with.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is another set I remember being quite excited about, though not as excited as I was for the Avengers set.  I think it was probably because I had most of these characters already from Toybiz’s extensive X-Men line.  I believe that this set was a Christmas gift, though I don’t remember who it was from (probably my parents).

I also have spare set of this one, thanks to my Angel figure going missing not long after I got the set.  Having gone without him for so long probably just makes me appreciate him more now (That sounded weird…).