MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)
“The mutant shapeshifter Morph returns to haunt the X-Men after being captured and manipulated by Mr. Sinister.”
Oh, yeah, it’s all finally starting to pay off, you guys! Remember all those X-Men: The Animated Series-themed Marvel Legends I’ve been looking at since June? And remember how up until this point they’ve all just been reworks of other Legends releases? Well, today, that changes! Admittedly, it only changes for the one release, and then it’s back to the reworks, but I’ll take the wins where I can get them. When The Animated Series launched, the creators wanted to show the seriousness of the X-Men’s battle with the Sentinels by having a casualty within the first episode. So, they dusted off a rather minor ’60s character, Changeling, re-christened him “Morph,” and went forth with their plan of killing the poor guy off just as soon as possible. They didn’t anticipate him being nearly as popular as he wound up being, so in the show’s second season, he was revealed to be still alive, and under the control of the season’s arc-villain, Mr. Sinister. Though not completely original to the show, Morph is still a very show-centered concept, so he’s not been quite as privy to all the toy goodness that the rest of the team received. He got a standard figure, a Metal Mutant, and even a Shape Shifter back in the day, but it’s only now, 20 years into Legends, that he finally shows up there.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Morph is the sixth figure in the X-Men: The Animated Series sub-line of Marvel Legends, and the first figure to debut a character in Legends….well, unless you count his AoA counterpart as his actual debut, but that’s a legal grey area at best. Following Jean’s precedent, Morph was shown off and put up for sale on his own. Like the rest of the line, Morph ships in a VHS-styled box (sporting art by Dan Veesenmeyer), and I still really dig these things. Morph’s is certainly a lot of fun. The figure stands just over 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation. Structurally, Morph is built on the Vulcan body, which is a sensible enough starting point, especially if Hasbro’s looking to really cement it as the Bucky Cap’s replacement. He also makes use of the jacket piece from Old Man Logan and the arms are from Punisher, as well as an all-new head, belt, and altered legs. All of the new pieces are courtesy of sculptor Paul Harding, and they’re quite an impressive selection. The head does a good job of capturing the animated Morph’s general character, while also being just a touch more in line with the standard stylings of the line. The new legs replicate the various ’90s X-Men straps, previously handled via add-on pieces that tended to fall down a lot. Now, they’re worked into the legs, and it’s honestly so much nicer this way. Morph’s paint work continues with cel-shading that we’ve seen with the rest of the line, thought this time around it does seem just a touch less present, so that he won’t look nearly as out of place with non-animation based figures. It’s rather considerate, since this is Morph’s first 6-inch figure. Morph is packed with a second head sculpt, based on his “evil” look from Season 2, and two sets of hands in fists and relaxed poses. The extra head is really nicely handled, looking consistent to the standard head, but again capturing the feel of the show design.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Morph is the figure I was most hoping to see in this line, right from the beginning. He wound up going up for order while I was on the road, actually, but I was able to get him ordered without too much fuss. I’ve been eagerly awaiting his release, and I’m thrilled to have him in hand. He’s easily my favorite figure from this set thus far, and he gives me a bit more hope for the line after being a little bit underwhelmed by a few of the mid-run figures. He turned out really well, and he’s a great update to the original Toy Biz figure.