#3180: Sauron

SAURON

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Sauron is the most terrifying Evil Mutant. Sauron loves to silently swoop down and use his mutant power to hypnotize and drain the energy out of his victim! Then in the blink of an eye, he flies away ready to strike again! The more energy he drains, the more powerful he becomes. Because he can drain the energy from anyone, even another Evil Mutant, even Magneto, the leader of the Evil Mutants, fears him!”

Not to be confused with the evil ruler of Mordor, Sauron is one of the X-Men’s older foes, predating quite a few of the team’s more popular members–Wait a minute…didn’t I review this figure already?  well, hypothetical reader, the answer to that question is…not technically.  And, technically is what really matters here.  Why?  Because it’s my site, that’s why.  Okay, maybe I should actually explain what the heck I’m reviewing this guy again.  It’s quite simple:  early in the days of their X-Men line, Toy Biz liked to justify the re-releases of figures they’d already done by doing minor tweaks to their color schemes, in dedicated “Repaint” series, in order to not only keep those figures out, but also freshen up the shelves a bit, but without having to actually produce a whole new figure.  Generally, I like to bundle those repaints into the main review, but, well, I don’t always own them when I review a figure the first time, so I guess I just have to follow them up this way.  How about that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sauron (the repaint) was added to Toy Biz’s X-Men line in 1993-1994, right around the same time as Series 4 and 5 of the line, alongside a whole assortment of repainted figures.  Of all the figures present amongst the repaints, his was the oddest choice, given how minor the character was, but perhaps they were looking to tie in with the show’s second season, where he actually had a pretty important role to play.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  He’s 100% the same sculpt as the standard release of Sauron.  It was a decent sculpt for the time, and honestly holds up pretty alright.  Still not sure exactly what he’s wearing, but what are you gonna do?  The change to this one’s paint is honestly pretty subtle; instead of orange pants, his are gold with a little bit of black.  It’s super minor, but I actually quite like it.  It’s nice that they actually added, rather than just doing a straight palette swap.  Interestingly, the card back prototype showed him with red shorts, a figure that, to date, no one has any evidence actually existed.  As with his original release, Sauron was packed with a big ol’ club.  Yay big ol’ club.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wound up going back to the toy show where I’d gotten my standard Sauron the next year, in hopes of finding more Toy Biz stuff.  I discovered it was rather slim pickings that year, but managed to fish a handful of the repaint figures out of a loose figure bin.  Sauron was one of those figures.  He’s not a bad figure, but the two offerings do feel slightly redundant when in the same collection together, I suppose.

#1803: Sauron

SAURON

MARVEL LEGENDS

Despite being a classic foe of one of Marvel’s biggest super hero teams, Sauron is pretty sparse in the world of toys.  He’s had three to date, and one of those wasn’t even technically a figure of him.  I’ve actually already looked at two of those three, just in the last year, in fact, and I’ll be looking at the newest addition today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sauron—or should I say Dr. Karl Lykos (Marvel’s Sauron), as he is fully named on the box—is the Build-A-Figure for the second Deadpool-themed series of Marvel Legends.  I don’t know that Sauron and Deadpool have aver had any notable interactions, but if it gets me a Sauron figure, I’m certainly not going to complain.  The figure is 7 1/2 inches tall with a 12 inch wing-span, and he has 33 points of articulation.  There’s a lot of very unique types of articulation, especially within the torso, where a combination of ball-joints gives him a very wide range of very smooth movement.  He’s also got an articulated jaw, just like the old 5-inch figure.  Sauron is sporting an all-new sculpt, and what a beauty it is.  There’s amazing texture work all throughout it, detailing his craggly reptilian skin quite nicely.  He’s quite accurate to what we tend to see of Sauron in the comics, but it’s got this nice real-life feel to him as well.  It’s the kind of detail work that really calls back to when Toy Biz was doing figures like Man-Thing, and that’s a definite plus.  It’s great to see that Hasbro can pull off this sort of work when they put the effort in.  But of course, even the best sculpt can be marred by a sub-par paint job.  Fortunately for Sauron, he gets one of Hasbro’s best offerings in this arena.  His skin features some quite subtle highlight work, which helps to keep him from looking too bland with all those large patches of the same color.  The paint also properly lines up with all of the sculpted details, including the various pouches on his belt, and all of his teeth.  No missed applications here, which is always quite nice to see.  His wings are molded in a partially translucent plastic, giving them the proper stretched skin appearance.  There’s quite a nice fade-in front he solid green to the translucent, which helps to really sell it all as one thing.  Sauron has no accessories, but given the size of the sculpt including the wings and such, it’s definitely acceptable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Being only a moderate fan of Deadpool, I wasn’t really sold on this whole second series of figures, but as soon as Sauron was shown off, I knew I wanted to build him somehow.  Fortunately, Max from All Time was really only interested in the Deadpool figures, so we were able to split a set, and I got myself a Sauron.  And boy am I glad I did, because he’s easily one of the best things Hasbro’s every offered from their Legends line.  He’s really, really well done, and a fantastic offering for a character that’s not likely to see another release any time soon.

#1545: Shanna the She-Devil & Savage Land Reaper

SHANNA THE SHE-DEVIL & SAVAGE LAND REAPER

MARVEL MINIMATES

One the cooler, yet sadly under-used, aspects of the X-Men universe is the Savage Land, a secret tropical area located within Antartica.  It’s a fairly standard hidden land sort of idea, and the X-Men have a tendency to find themselves stranded there every 20 years or so.  Because, honestly, what’s cooler than watching your favorite heroes duking it out with actual dinosaurs?  Very little.  While the typical “lead” in any given Savage Land story is Ka-Zar (Marvel’s answer to Tarzan), in recent years, the breakaway character has actually been his frequent co-star (and eventual wife) Shanna the She-Devil, who, interestingly enough, was actually imported to the Savage Land after she and the location had both been established.  She and her pack-mate the Savage Land Reaper became the first residents of the Savage Land to make it into DST’s Marvel Minimates line back in 2013.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Shanna and the Reaper were released in Series 51 of Marvel Minimates.  The whole series was themed around Marvel’s then-current “Marvel Now!” relaunch.  Shanna was serving as a major player in the Savage Wolverine title, so she found herself in this assortment, with the Wolverine that went with her being packed into the 15th TRU-exclusive assortment released at the same time.  Both figures were packed with a Savage Land Reaper, which served somewhat as an army builder.

SHANNA THE SHE-DEVIL

“Shanna O’Hara is a former Olympic athlete and a licensed veterinarian, and she has made the Savage Land her adopted home. Her fierce hatred of firearms arose from the accidental shooting death of her mother.”

Shanna gained some additional notoriety in the early 00s when Frank Cho helmed a heavily cheesecake-driven solo series featuring the character.  It was actually an alternate universe Shanna, with very little connection to the real character, but it served to elevate her somewhat in the public eye, and it was successful enough for Cho to be able to work her main universe counterpart in when he launched Savage Wolverine.  This figure draws her look from that series, meaning she’s kind of an amalgam of the two Shannas.  She’s built on the standard ‘mate body, meaning she stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation (though the hair restricts a lot of the neck movement).  She has add-ons for her hair and her belt/loincloth, both of which were new to this particular figure.  The hair’s a little bulky for my taste, but it’s not terrible.  The belt piece is actually pretty nice, and I particularly like the the sheath for her knife.  In terms of paintwork, Shanna’s okay, but she certainly leans far heavier on the Frank Cho alternate universe side of things.  Her hair’s straight blond, rather than the starwberry blond the 616 version’s supposed to have.  She’s also wearing a far more revealing bikini, which is perhaps not the most flattering thing on a block figure.  Ultimately, she looks okay, but I can’t say it’s my ideal take on the character.  She’s packed with a knife (to go in that cool sheath on the belt), a spear, and a clear display stand.

SAVAGE LAND REAPER

“In the Savage Land, the skies are owned by the Reapers, giant pterodactyls who resemble X-Men villain Sauron. When the attack Wolverine and Shanna, they quickly learn that the pair are not easy prey.”

Originally, this ‘mate didn’t just resemble Sauron, it actually was him.  When 51 was originally solicited, the Reaper was just called Sauron, despite being based on the more generic group of pterodactyl men from Savage Wolverine.  A number of people brought up the various design differences between them, and ultimately this figure was re-labeled.  24 Series later, the real Sauron still hasn’t made an appearance.  Poor guy.  This figure starts with the same basic body as Shanna, but gets a unique head, hands, and lower legs, as well as add-ons for his wings and tail.  The new pieces help to sell him as one of the Reapers, without removing him too much from the usual Minimate aesthetic.  His paint is mostly just a lot of the same shade of green, but it’s appropriate for the character, and the detail lines are all pretty decent.  The Reaper is packed with a clear display stand, specially molded to fit his slightly smaller than average feet.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When Series 51 was released, I was in the habit of ordering full cases of the latest series, so that’s what I did here.  While this wasn’t a set I was dying to have, I like both characters (or at least the characters that inspired both characters) enough to want them on my shelf. Both ‘mates are decent additions to the line, but neither is particularly thrilling.

#1387: Sauron

SAURON

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Sauron is the most terrifying Evil Mutant. Sauron loves to silently swoop down and use his mutant power to hypnotize and drain the energy out of his victim! Then in the blink of an eye, he flies away ready to strike again! The more energy he drains, the more powerful he becomes. Because he can drain the energy from anyone, even another Evil Mutant, even Magneto, the leader of the Evil Mutants, fears him!”

Not to be confused with the evil ruler of Mordor, Sauron is one of the X-Men’s older foes, predating quite a few of the team’s more popular members (including a certain Canadian who goes “snikt”).  Interestingly enough, despite what the bio above may tell you, he’s not a Mutant.  At least not in the same way as the X-Men.  He actually got his powers after being bitten by an Antarctic pteranodon and then being exposed to the mutant energies of Alex Summers, aka Havok.  Yes, really.  Just go with it.  Despite the inherent coolness of a Pterodactyl-man, Sauron himself has only ever gotten a single figure, which I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sauron was released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s ‘90s X-Men line.  He was one of four villains in the line-up, and he was the most obscure of the set (though that would change in quick fashion).  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  He lacks the elbow and knee movement that were standard at the time, but makes up for it with the addition of not only outward movement on his shoulders and a cut joint at the base of his tail, but also a hinge on his jaw, allowing for his mouth to open and close.  That’s a pretty wizard!  Sauron had a unique sculpt.  It’s a fairly decent sculpt, on par with the rest of the line at the time.  It does a nice enough job of capturing his classic comics design.  The shoulders are a little weak, and prone to tearing under stress.  Also, I’m no 100% sure what he’s supposed to be wearing, though.  Usually, he would wear the tattered remains of Karl Lykos’s pants, or perhaps a loincloth of some sort.  This is neither of those.  It’s some weird conglomeration, I guess.  Still, a solid sculpt overall.  The paint work on Sauron is pretty simple; he’s mostly just molded in a dark green plastic.  There’s a bit of paint for the eyes, the interior of the mouth, and the…whatever it is he’s wearing.  It’s all pretty cleanly applied, and what’s there works.  Less is definitely more on this one.  Sauron was packed with a big ol’ club.  You know, for clubbing stuff.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been looking for a Sauron for a little while. I haven’t been looking particularly hard, but I’ve been keeping an eye out.  The trouble with this guy is the shoulders; loose figures will almost always have one of them broken or about to break, which doesn’t work for me.  Recently, I decided to start working on completing my Toy Biz X-Men collection, and I went to the Dave Hart Toy Show last month with this in mind.  I looked though several bins of loose figures, and put back a handful of broken Saurons, before finally finding a fairly cheap packaged sample and calling that a win.  Not a bad figure overall.  A shame he’s not a touch more durable.