#2654: Venompool

VENOMPOOL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Alright, I guess I might as well get to reviewing the thing I’ve been literally building up to.  Yes, it’s the veritable merchandising gold mine that is “Venompool.”  A pretty straight forward mash up of Venom and Deadpool, Venompool’s not exactly an original concept, since we’ve been seeing variants on the basic idea since 2010.  Heck, we’ve even gotten another take on the concept in Marvel Legends previously, when they did the “Back in Black” design.  But, the particular version that’s been getting all the love in the last couple of years is not any of the plethora of comics-based designs, but rather the version that appeared in Marvel’s Contest of Champions mobile game, which is this hulking brute that I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Venompool is the eponymous Build-A-Figure for the “Venompool Series” of Marvel Legends, built from parts included with 5 of the 6 figures included.  As noted above, he comes from Contest of Champions, and is the first Legends figure to explicitly based on a design from that game.  He’s also the third figure based on this particular design, following the Pop and the Hot Toys.  Like with Miles last week, I’m not super big on this design as a whole.  It feels less symbiote-y and more like a monstrous version of Deadpool.  And boy is he monstrous.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  In terms of mobility, he’s pretty restricted, given his rather bulky build.  He can get some okay poses, of course, and covers pretty much everything you’d expect from a character of this size.  He’s also not too hard to keep standing. He’s an all-new sculpt, which gives me a frightening sort of feeling like Hasbro’s going to try and get some sort of a variant release out of him, just to double down on the mold.  It’s an accurate recreation of the game’s design, and there’s certainly a lot of detail going on there.  They’ve somewhat followed in the steps of the movie design and given him a lot of texturing on his costume, which does at least keep things somewhat visually interesting.  It was a touch disappointing that the chain links on his wrist and ankle bands were solid to the bands, and not separate, but I guess the line had to be drawn somewhere.  The paint work on this guy is pretty good.  It gets all the important details down, and application is all pretty clean.  Venompool is notably well accessorized for a Build-A-Figure, getting two sets of hands (open and gripping), two swords, and a removable pair of sheaths for his back.  The sheaths are a little tricky to get in place, and not the most secure.  I’m not sure why they didn’t just do a peg to connect them, but maybe there’s a very important reason that I’m missing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t big on the Venomized stuff, and I’ve been suffering from some serious Deadpool fatigue the last few months.  So, this guy, not really for me.  Still, I decided I may as well build him, just to see what all the fuss was about.  He’s a decently put together figure, but there’s just nothing that really grabs me.  The design is so-so, and I have no real spot for him in my collection.  Ultimately, this really isn’t one I see myself hanging onto.

This assortment is one that I was iffy on from the beginning.  Only Phage really jumped out at me from the start.  But, I went into it with an open mind, because the last Venom assortment wound up impressing me a lot more than I’d expected it to.  This one just really didn’t change my mind.  I like Phage, and Carnage is cool.  Even Ghost-Spider is at least a neat visual.  The rest of the assortment left me cold, and even the presentation didn’t really sell it.  It’s notably a small set, and ultimately feels more cobbled together from left-overs than other recent assortments.  Without so much connective tissue, the assortment relies more heavily on the individual figures, and they’re all fine from a technical stand point, but are largely “meh” from a design standpoint.  I’m probably the outlier on this one, though.

#2653: Venom

VENOM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Failed reporter Eddie Brock is hijacked by an alien entity that takes a liking to Earth and decides to protect it.”

There’s been a Venom solo film in the works since at least as far back as Spider-Man 3, back when it would have been starring Topher Grace, and then again during the Amazing Spider-Man era, but it finally came to fruition in 2018.  It was far from high art, and wasn’t much of a critical success, but it was enough of financial success to justify a sequel, which should be released this year.  The film was in a dubious spot in terms of merchandising in 2018, but at this point things are a little more comfortable between Marvel and Sony, and we’re finally getting a proper movie version of the character now.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Venom is technically part of the “Venompool Series” of Marvel Legends, in that he ships in the same case.  However, he has no number, doesn’t list “Venompool Series” at the top of his box, and shows none of the other figures in the set on the back.  Furthermore, none of the other figures in the set show him either.  One has to wonder if he was originally intended for some sort of solo release, ala the Fan Channel figures, and wound up slotted into an assortment at the last minute.  The figure stands 7 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  The articulation scheme on this figure is a heavy re-work for a Marvel figure, following the lead of other lines like Lightning Collection.  It’s a pretty good set-up, and works particularly well for a larger character like Venom.  His sculpt is an all-new offering, and not a bad one at that.  It gets the general proportions of the character down pretty nicely, making him tall and pretty bulked up, without quite going to the absurd cartoonish levels of some of the larger Venom figures out there.  There’s also quite a bit of detail work going into the figure; rather than just being smooth, he’s got texturing all throughout the body, helping him to look rather slimy and gross, which certainly feels appropriate.  It also sets him apart from the more comic-based figures in this assortment from a stylistic stand point.  He gets two different heads, one with tongue and one without.  He comes wearing the one with the tongue, and that one’s the stronger of the two.  Both of them are fairly accurate to the film design, which is the main aim.  My biggest issue is that it’s really hard, on my figure at least, to swap the heads; it required heating the joint, and even then it was a real chore.  The paint work on him is generally pretty basic, since the vast majority of it’s just molded black plastic.  He does get the painted elements on the heads, of course, as well as some white detailing on the shoulders and forearms, but as the movie Venom lacks the usual symbol, he’s otherwise unembellished.  In addition to the extra head, Venom also includes two sets of hands, one open, and one in fists.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t interested in Venom at all when it was released in theaters, so I skipped the theatrical run, and only caught it at home much later.  It didn’t really do much for me, and I wasn’t really missing getting toys.  When this guy was shown off, I was about as interested in him as I was the movie that spawned him.  In hand, I’ll admit he’s a lot better than I was expecting.  I’m not much for the film design overall, but I’ll certainly join in with all the other people that want to see this retooled into something more comic-inspired.  I’d definitely be down for that.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2650: Ghost Spider – Maximum Venom

GHOST-SPIDER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“When the Venom symbiote attaches to Gwen Stacy, she gains extreme new powers as Ghost-Spider.”

Remember everything I mentioned about Miles yesterday?  Yep, that pretty much all applies to today’s figure, except that now it’s about Ghost-Spider, aka Gwen Stacy going by her latest supranym.  Can we also, for a moment, bring up that Miles just gets his name on the box, but Gwen gets an up-to-the-minute super hero identity?  That seems unfair to at least one of them.  Not sure which, if I’m entirely honest, but it’s one of them.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ghost-Spider is figure 5 in the “Venompool Series” of Marvel Legends, and is the final figure in the set to contribute to the Build-A-Figure.  Like Miles, it’s our third Spider-Gwen, but the first not to be standard issue.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  As with Miles, Gwen uses the same body as prior version of the character, but with a few new parts to properly Venomize her.  In her case, it’s a new head, upper torso, forearms, hands, and feet, as well as a new jacket overlay piece.  While Miles’ new parts were all very texture heavy and didn’t really mesh well with the old parts, Gwen’s are actually a bit more sleek and clean, meaning they line-up a bit better.  Aside from the tongue being a bit clumsy and hard to pose around, it’s actually a pretty cool looking design.  It’s more cohesive, and less of a direct take-off from the standard Spider-Gwen design, making it feel a lot more in line with the classic symbiote Spider-Man design, while still respecting the more character-specific elements of Gwen’s appearance.  Even the tongue’s not a terrible idea, just one that’s a little harder to do in toy form.  If it was posable in some fashion, I feel like it would be a bit better, but there are of course drawbacks to that approach as well.  The paint work on Gwen is also a bit more intriguing than on Miles.  It’s certainly got a better visual contrast to it, making it pop a bit more.  Application is pretty clean for the most part, although there’s a bit of slop around the edges of the hood.  Nothing terrible, but it could be cleaner.  Gwen is without accessories of her own, which is again a shame.  Certainly there was some extra they could have thrown in here?  She does at least get the torso and swords for Venompool, which is by far the largest section of the Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted yesterday, I’m not big on the Venomized figures.  That being said, Gwen’s design is a little more appealing to me, so I was slightly more interested.  In hand, I do quite like the figure. The tongue’s still weird, but the design translates well, and generally feels less lazy than Miles.  I’m glad I got this figure, and I’ll make space for her with my other Symbiotes.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2649: Miles Morales – Maximum Venom

MILES MORALES — MAXIMUM VENOM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“When the Venom symbiote attaches to Miles Morales, he gains extreme new powers.”

Season 3 of Marvel’s latest Spider-Man cartoon was dedicated to an overarching theme: “Maximum Vemom.”  Essentially, the symbiotes got proper Oprah treatment and were just handed out to everyone in the studio audience super hero community.  While Peter Parker is classically the Spider-Man with symbiote experience, this time around Miles got in on the action, getting his own Venomized appearance in the process.  Marvel Legends doesn’t tend to cover the cartoons, but they’ve made a little bit of an exception here, with a few Venomized figures to help fill out this Venom assortment, and Miles is included among them.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Miles Morales is figure 4 in the “Venompool Series” of Marvel Legends.  He marks our third variant of Miles under the modern banner, though this one’s certainly less all-purpose than the last two.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Miles is largely built out of the same parts as the prior, more standard Miles, using the smaller male base body.  He does get a new head, arms, hands, and feet to grant him that more venomous appearance.  They add a fair bit more detail and texturing, which is cool on its own, but does make him feel generally less cohesive when compared to the pre-existing parts.  Honestly, the way the jaw ends up looking more beak-like and the feet end up looking a touch on the large side, the whole figure kind of screams “chicken” to my eyes, but maybe that’s just me.  Whatever the case, he’s not a very imposing looking figure by my count, nor do I feel he really does all that great a job of translating Miles into a more symbiote-inspired appearance.  He winds up looking like someone got Miles’ regular design a bit wet.  He’s just…droopy.  At the very least, the core body’s a good one, so he’s at least a solid figure from a just playing around with him sense.  In terms of paint work, he follows the general Miles color scheme, albeit with some more metallic finish on the black sections. It’s not terrible, but the whole thing does sort of contribute to the overall runny feeling of the design.  Miles includes no accessories of his own, which is a real shame.  He does include the left arm and alternate hand to the Venompool Build-A-Figure, however.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The venomized designs aren’t really my thing, so I had no interest to speak of in this figure.  In hand, I still don’t have much interest in it.  The base body is good, so he’s at least some fun to mess with, but otherwise he really does nothing for me, other than give me an opportunity to reflect on how good the standard Miles figure still is.  I guess that’s not the worst thing, but it doesn’t speak well to a figure if the best thing it does is remind you of how much you like a figure you already owned previously.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2648: Phage

PHAGE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“The Phage symbiote gives its host the ability to forge incredibly dangerous bladed weapons to attack its victims.”

Hey, do you guys remember Lasher?  Or perhaps Scream?  Because that saves me a lot of trouble and explaining if so.  Or, you could just follow the links I dropped in there.  That would also save me some explaining.  Look, the long and short of it is that Lasher and Scream, the spin-offs of a spin-off of a spin-off, were actually from a whole group of spin-offs, created in the comics by the Life Foundation.  It was five symbiote crew, and we’ve just gotten another member of said crew, my boy Phage here, who I’ll be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Phage is figure 3 in the “Venompool Series” of Marvel Legends.  He’s the third Life Foundation Symbiote, and definitely the most obscure of the characters included in this line-up.  Phage has had one prior figure, back in the Toy Biz days, but that one was…well, let’s be diplomatic and say it wasn’t very comic book faithful.  This one, on the other hand, aims for a slightly more faithful appearance.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Phage is built on the Bucky Cap body, which was just vacated by Carnage, thereby meaning it doesn’t suffer from any overuse in this assortment.  He’s also the first of the Life Foundation Symbiotes to use it, so again, there’s the diversity factor there.  He gets a new head, forearms, shins, and hands, and an add-on piece for his back piece.  It’s all pretty straight forward stuff, and matches with how they’ve handled the various symbiotes in this line previously, while still being different enough to stand out.  It fits pretty well with how Phage was depicted in the comics in the ’90s, and is just generally pretty decent looking.  In terms of coloring, Phage was somewhat similar to Scream in the comics, with them both being largely yellow.  Phage, however, was usually depicted as being slightly darker, and a touch redder in hue.  This figure replicates that pretty decently overall, and that, coupled with black accenting in contrast with the brown on Scream, means he’s not too similar to her in color scheme.  Phage is packed with an alternate arm piece, replicating the blade that Phage would usually use.  It’s a shame it’s just the one, but it’s cool never the less.  Phage also includes both legs to the Venompool Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve got a soft spot for the Life Foundation Symbiotes, and after getting Lasher and Scream, I was definitely looking forward to getting more of them.  Phage was definitely my most wanted figure from this assortment because of that.  Phage is a fairly by the numbers figure, but it works, and he definitely looks cool with the other two.  Now, can we get Riot and Agony?  And possibly a deluxe Hybrid?

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2647: Carnage

CARNAGE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Twisted criminal Cletus Kasady sows chaos in the streets as the bloodthirsty villain Carnage.”

Another film amongst the planned films for release this year is a sequel to 2018’s Venom, which will, in addition to bringing back the title character, be bringing in Venom’s best-known spin-off, Carnage.  In honor of the whole thing, much like we saw in 2018, we’re getting a whole assortment of Symbiote-themed Marvel Legends.  Headlining the assortment are both Venom and Carnage, and I’ll be taking a look at the latter figure today, because, hey, you can never have enough Carnages right?  I mean, I can’t.  Or can I?  Question for another time, I suppose, because here’s a new one right now!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Carnage is figure 2 in the Venompool Series of Marvel Legends. Carnage was one of two double-packs in this assortment, just like he was the last time there was a Venom assortment.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  While this Carnage is, in many ways, a classic Carnage, unlike the last release, he’s not actually mostly a re-issue of an older figure.  Instead, he’s head-to-toe an all-new sculpt.  It seems to be at least a little bit patterned on the 2099 body, at least in terms of build and articulation scheme.  How ever, in contrast the smooth and more or less featureless base body, this one is very Carnage-specific.  It goes back more to the Toy Biz style of handling the character, actually sculpting in the more flowy details of the symbiote as texture, rather than just leaving them as painted details the way the last few figures have.  It looks really nice, and adds a nice, visual pop to the appearance of the figure.  I don’t dislike the painted appearance of the earlier figure, and I think it has its own place in the collection, but there’s no denying that this looks really, really good.  The only part I’m not really up on is how the back tendrils turned out; they just feel a little too built up at the base for my taste, turning them into more of a backpack thing.  Fortunately, the piece can be removed, and you can even replace it with the tendril piece from the two earlier figures if you so choose.  The paint work on this guy goes hand-in-hand with the sculpt, and does a great job of making all that texturing really work.  The red’s back to the flatter shade used for the first figure, rather than the metallics of the last one.  I think I like the flatter shade just a bit more, so I’m really okay with that.  The one slight downside here is the accessory compliment.  He loses the Kassady head and extra hand attachments from the last one, and gets an alternate “Absolute Carnage” inspired head in their place. It’s a fine piece, but not one I see myself putting to much use.  He also includes the head for the Build-A-Figure Venompool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was quite happy with the first Hasbro Carnage and didn’t feel like I needed an upgrade.  I was then very happy with the upgrade to the figure that I didn’t feel I needed an upgrade for, and in fact felt that the upgrade himself was without need for upgrade.  I should honestly have expected Hasbro to prove me wrong again, I guess.  When this figure was shown, I wasn’t sure I *needed* him, but picked him up in-hand, because at this point, why not.  He’s awesome, and just the best Carnage out there, really.  I’m glad I picked him up, and he’s a highlight of this set for me.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2646: Morbius

MORBIUS

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Michael Morbius, the living vampire, prowls the night tortured by his life-sustaining thirst.”

Originally slated for last year, and now (hopefully) on the slate for this year, alongside a lot of other displaced films, is Sony’s Morbius.  It follows the lead of Venom in spinning a Spider-Foe off into his own exclusively Sony-produced solo flick, but this time around, the ties to the actual Spider-Man films are more tangible, if Michael Keaton’s appearance as Adrian Toomes in the trailers is anything to go by.  As of yet, there’s not direct merchandise tie-ins for the film, but Morbius’ comics counterpart is getting another appearance in Hasbro’s Marvel Legends, so I guess that *sorta* counts?  Hey, it means less Jared Leto to deal with, right?  Silver lining?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Morbius is the first figure in the “Venompool Series” of Marvel Legends, the Venom-themed assortment for this year.  Well, it’s technically for this year, although it actually started showing up in October/November of last year, because to hell with the schedules, it was 2020.  Things were just gonna happen when they happened and we weren’t gonna stop them. Morbius being in a Venom assortment is iffy at best, and he’s certainly the figure with the least reason to be here, but he’s not horribly far removed, at least thematically.  While the last Legends Morbius was very definitely based on his classic ’70s appearance, this one is instead based on his design from his solo series in 1992.  It’s…certainly different.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s based on the Spider-UK body, albeit with a lot of new parts, including a new head, torso, pelvis, and hands, as well as add-ons for the cape and wrist bands.  The ’92 design is a very stylized one, and this figure is himself very stylized in turn.  There’s a lot of detailing going into his outfit, and all of its various straps and such.  It’s certainly visually interesting if nothing else.  The head’s a pretty extreme piece, with the hair flowing back dynamically, and the face shows off his fangs in a screaming expression.  The cape piece matches this dynamic set up, with a notable flair to it, though it honestly never really looks natural to my eye.  In terms of paint work, he’s accurate to the ’90s color scheme, which means he kind of ends up looking a bit washed out, especially when compared to his prior incarnation.  I also find that the face really could use some sort of accenting or something.  As is, he seems really devoid of any detail there. At the very least, some extra shadowing around the eyes would help.  Morbius lacks any accessories of his own, but does include the right arm and alternate hand for this assortment’s Build-A-Figure, Venompool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was initially skeptical about the first Hasbro Morbius, but that figure wound up being one of my favorites out of his particular series, so there’s precedent for me being wrong about Morbius figures.  I kept that in mind when I was likewise skeptical about this one.  Unfortunately, unlike the last figure, this one winds up leaving me feeling rather cold, not unlike one of those not-living Vampires that Morbius isn’t one of.  This particular design just doesn’t fell as clean or bold as the last one, and generally doesn’t do anything for me.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2636: Captain America & Motorcycle

CAPTAIN AMERICA & MOTORCYCLE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“When Steve Rogers joins the secret Super Soldier program during World War II, he emerges as the incredibly strong and fiercely patriotic hero, Captain America.”

Ah, here we go, something very familiar: Marvel Legends.  These gifts are really hitting that comfortable territory for me now.  I mean, slightly more comfortable, I suppose.  At this point, “action figures” is comfortable territory for me, so it’s not like anything has really thrown for a loop so far.  Whatever the case, I’m certainly alright with a touch of normality, and perhaps even more of a return to it than you might expect.  I have previously discussed the “Legendary Riders” sub-line of Hasbro’s Legends, and its sort of up-and-down relationship with the reality of the characters and their described rides.  Some of the pairings do end up a bit better than others, and I suppose today’s is one of those slightly more sensible ones, given just how often Captain America has been seen riding a bike from one place to another.  Bonus points if it really plays up those World War II overtones, which this one most certainly does.

THE TOYS THEMSELVES

Captain America is the headline offering in the fourth Legendary Riders assortment of Marvel Legends.  To date, all of the line’s even-numbered assortments have had just one new pack, which ships alongside the short-pack from the prior assortment.  In Cap’s case, he shipped alongside a re-pack of the ’90s Professor X, supposedly hitting at the end of last year.  That wasn’t really the case, unless you were one of the very fortunate souls who actually got one of these during it’s very scarce run at retail.  But I’ll get more into that later.  For this figure, Cap is sporting his WWII-era uniform from The Ultimates.  I’m really not keen on the Ultimates incarnation of Cap, but I’ll admit that this particular design has still always resonated with me.  Definitely one of Bryan Hitch’s stronger design pieces.  The design has been done once before in Legends form, as part of the two-packs that wrapped up Hasbro’s first run on the line in 2009.  A decade seems like a good enough wait for an update.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Structurally, the vast majority of this figure is the same as the Rescue Cap from the “80 Years of Marvel” set.  It was a solid offering the first time around, and it’s still a solid offering here, aided by the fact that the two designs are rather similar in the first place.  To complete the set-up, he gets a new head and upper and lower torso.  This gives him the goggles and aviator cap from the comics, as well as giving him the slightly more personalized front to his jacket.  They mesh well with the re-used parts, and honestly, I think they look even a little better as a whole than the Rescue Cap figure did.  Topping things off is a slightly tweaked version of the Rescue Cap helmet, this time without the goggles in place.  It’s otherwise the same piece, and works just as well.  Something I missed on my review of Rescue Cap, however, was the inclusion of details on the interior of the helmet, right were no one’s ever going to see them.  That’s quite a commitment to detailing.  The coloring on this guy is accurate to the source material, doing up Cap’s traditional patriotic colors in a slightly desaturated fashion.  The application’s all pretty clean, and fairly basic.  They’ve opted for opaque lenses on the aviator’s cap, which is less technically involved.  Ultimately, I actually like the design a little bit more this way, so I’m alright with it.  Cap’s accessory selection’s pretty solid, with his trusty shield, a 1911 Colt .45 pistol, a Thompson submachine gun, and a knife.  They’re all the same pieces that came in the 80th set (although the Thompson went to Peggy there), and they work just as well here as they did previously.

Also included here is the part that makes this thing a “Riders” set, Cap’s ride!  As I noted in the intro, Cap’s been seen on Motorcycles since early in his career, and it’s been prominently featured in most of his movie appearances.  It’s definitely a Harley Davidson-inspired ride, which is consistent with both the movies and the comics, though it bears no official branding, as that would undoubtedly require an extra license.  As it stands, it’s close enough to be recognizable, while still different enough to not really be infringing on any licensing.  It’s a lot of the same parts as the bike that came with Punisher (and by extension, Wolverine), which is a perfectly suitable point of re-use.  It was a good bike when I looked at it the first time, and it’s honestly just better here, thanks to the new updated parts that have been added, as well as the WWII military-style paint scheme.  It’s also got a few extra add-on pieces to differentiate it a bit, including two side bags, a holster for his machine gun, and an ammo box on one side.  Kinda crazy that Cap’s bike has more weapon storage than the Punisher’s, but I’m certainly not complaining on this front.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was very eager to get this set when it was shown off last year, which made all the more frustrating when All Time (and most retailers, for that matter) wound up getting shorted on this particular round, there by making him a very hard to acquire.  I’ve been doing my best to be patient and wait for one to actually show up for me, but it was certainly getting a little disheartening.  So, I was quite excited when I unwrapped this guy on Christmas, courtesy of Cheyenne (of Jess and Chey’s Ultimate Toy review, in case you’d forgotten) and her very kind parents.  I’m super thrilled to finally have this guy, and boy is he a lot of fun!

#2630: Iceman II

ICEMAN II

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“One of the youngest X-Men, Bobby Drake always resigned himself to the role of the jokester, using his ice powers to cool off the attitudes of his more serious team-mates. But for the short time the White Queen inhabited his body, Iceman’s powers were pushed to the max, affecting his appearance and the performance of his mutant ability. Now back in control of his own body, Iceman has begun to redefine himself, testing his limits to discover how powerful he really is.”

Though a founding member of the team, Iceman was not really one of the X-Men’s most prominent members in the ‘90s, at least when it came time to make the cartoon and pick its main cast of characters.  He got one guest appearance, but that was all, and subsequently, he didn’t get a *ton* of coverage in the toy line at the time, either.  Granted, he still got a little bit of coverage, by virtue of that whole helping to found the team, thing, so he wasn’t left completely high and dry.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iceman II was released in the Invasion Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  In the comics, Bobby’s body had been taken over by Emma Frost for a brief period of time, and she’d unlocked Bobby’s ability to actually make himself out of ice, resulting in a slightly different appearance for the character, which this figure was based on.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  I’ve actually looked at most of this figure before, as all but the head was re-used for the Mutant Armor version of the character.  It’s not a bad sculpt at all, and the head included here is a rare look at a proper Bobby Drake face, albeit a slightly icy one.  The whole sculpt was used again for a two-pack release with Pyro in 2000, but with a slightly different coloring (which is the one seen next to Wilson in the photos).  The standard release of this one was molded in clear blue plastic, with a little bit of white airbrushed on to help give him that frosted appearance.  It didn’t work so well on the Mutant armor release, but I think it looks a bit better here.  For the two pack, he was a more opaque blue, which also isn’t a bad look.  Iceman II (and the two pack release) was packed with two ice hand attachments, done up to match the figure’s finish.  They’re a pretty cool extra.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I didn’t have the original Iceman II in my collection as a kid (though I did have the two-pack version, who I mostly got because I wanted the Pyro he was packed with), I do remember looking at him during the mega 5-inch figure purchase period that was local comic shop Ageless Heroes going out of business back in 2000.  I almost picked this figure up at the time, as I was working on putting together a set of Champions figures.  However, I already had *an* Iceman, even if it wasn’t this one, so I refrained in favor of someone I didn’t already own (fairly certain it was Black Widow).  This one here came into my collection via a bunch of figures that just came into All Time a few weeks ago.  He was complete and I didn’t already have him, so why not?

#2623: Spiral

SPIRAL

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Any place the other dimensional sorceress known as Spiral chooses to dance her spells of mayhem, is not a good place to be. A humanoid creation of the slave driving television personality Mojo, Spiral’s six arms lend themselves as adeptly to combat skills and swordplay as they do to the casting of spells. Of fleeting allegiance and no apparent agenda, Spiral teleports herself across dimensions searching for ways to satisfy her disorderly whim.”

The denizen’s of X-Foe Mojo’s Mojoverse first appeared in the comics as part of 1985’s Longshot miniseries.  Appearing in issue #1 along side the title character was Mojo’s right-hand woman, Spiral, a character whose backstory is just as convoluted and dependent on time travel shenanigans as any other Mojoverse resident.  She and the rest of the Mojoverse characters made their way into the main stream universe shortly after, and have all been bouncing around the background of the Marvel Universe since.  Spiral’s got a pretty unique look, which has graced her with a small handful of figures over the years, including today’s figure, her very first offering.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spiral was released as part of the Invasion Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line in 1995, a decade after her debut in the comics.  She joined the previously released Longshot, but was rather curiously separated from her boss, who wound up in the X-Force line instead.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and she has 9 points of articulation.  Though she’s got all those extra arms, it doesn’t do anything to bump up her articulation count, since only the upper-most arms get elbow movement, and they have just a single cut joint running across all three shoulders.  It’s odd that she didn’t get at least the elbows, since 6-Arm Spider-Man got those, but I guess they weren’t willing to throw Spider-Man level money at Spiral.  Her sculpt was an all-new offering, and never got any re-use, no doubt due to its more unique nature.  It’s not too bad.  It’s perhaps a little stiff, and the unmoving splayed arms are some what limiting when it comes to posing, but she’s at least a good recreation of Spiral’s comics design.  The only weird part is how far her arms jut out to the sides.  It’s a side effect of the lack of joints in those arms, since they’d be liable to bash into her legs and sides otherwise.  It’s not the worst, I guess, and fits with the general aesthetic of these figures when you get down to it.  Spiral’s paint work was generally pretty on point for the character.  It’s not one of the more colorful designs of the era, but it also doesn’t make your eyes bleed either, so that’s generally a plus.  The application is decent overall, with minimal slop or bleed over.  Spiral’s accessories were pretty straight to the point.  She had two of the same sword.  Only two, despite the four open hands.  I know.  Seems a little light.  She also had an arm-spinning action feature, which was engaged when her legs were squeezed.  It’s not actually that bad for a swordswoman, so I’m alright with it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Spiral was a bit of a pegwarmer back in the day, at least according to my dad.  Apparently, we saw her a lot, but I wasn’t interested at the time.  She was kind of minor on the show, I suppose, which probably contributed.  Ultimately, I only just recently got her, because she’s not quite as prevalent as she once was.  She came out of a rather large lot of 5 inch Marvel that came in at All Time, most of which ended up coming home with me.  She’s not a bad figure, but she does seem a little bit limited by some of Toy Biz’s design choices.  Still, I’m glad to have her, and I’ll never say no to another Invasion Series figure.

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