#2904: X-Force Cannonball & Shatterstar



Marvel Minimates have always paid very close attention to ‘90s Marvel, specifically the X-Men side of things. In 2010, we even got a small subset of Liefeld-inspired X-Force Minimates, which included Liefeld-favorite Cannonball and Liefeld-creation Shatterstar!


Cannonball and Shatterstar were released in the ninth TRU-exclusive series of Marvel Minimates, which hit at the tail end of 2010.


Not Cannonball’s first or last time as a Minimate, this particular take on the former New Mutant gives us his first Liefeld design, which, despite my usual distaste for things Liefeld, is actually one of the better takes on Cannonball.  Cannonball is built with four add-on pieces, for his hair/goggles, coat, and gloves. The gloves are just standard flared gloves (DC flared gloves, though; not Captain America flared gloves), but do their job well enough. The hair piece and jacket are both new, and do a reasonable job of capturing Sam’s in-book appearance. The hair could perhaps stand to be a little sharper in terms of detailing, but the coat definitely turned out well.  The paint on Cannonball is reasonable overall, but some of the application is rather sloppy. The boots on my figure are particularly messy. This assortment falls during the stretch of time where the plastic quality on Minimates took a bit of a dive. They aren’t hit by the worst of it, but you can sort of see the difference in the coloring of the skin-tone on the head, and how the paint takes to the plastic (detail lines here are generally a bit duller).  In terms of accessories, Cannonball’s only got one, but it’s a good one. He’s got a blast effect piece that plugs into the bottom of his torso in place of his legs, depicting how he is usually drawn when using his powers.


This figure marked Shatterstar’s debut as a Minimate, appropriately in his debut costume from the pages of New Mutants #99. Shatterstar is a character with a history of truly hideous costumes. This one is hardly an exception.  Shatterstar has add-on pieces for his hair/headgear, shoulderpad/scarf, belt, and gloves. The gloves are the same ones used on Cannonball, but beyond that, all of the other add-ons were new to Shatterstar.  They’re decent enough recreations of his gear from the comics, goofy as they may be. Shatterstar also has the poofy sleeved upper arms that first showed up on the Series 29 90s Storm. I’ve never been overly fond of these pieces, given how far they stick out from the chest block. Just the standard arms might have worked better, especially on a figure that’s already as bulked up as this one.  Shatterstar’s paint is rather similar to Cannonball’s. There’s some serious slop on the changeover from white to black on the legs. He’s also plagued by the same issues of plastic quality. The skintone’s a sickly color, and the white has always been a little bit yellowed. Just an overall messy piece of work.  Shatterstar is packed with a pair of his signature twin-bladed swords. They’re decent enough on their own merits (apart from some slight warping from the packaging), but the choice of hands for him means he has some serious trouble properly holding them. Getting them into his hands can take some serious effort.


This pack marked a rather easy to acquire purchase for me back when they were new, surprisingly.  I wound up finding them on a last minute stop at TRU during the holiday season, when I wasn’t actually expecting to find anything.  Cannonball is an overall decent rendition of the character, slightly held back by a few quality issues.  Shatterstar is a flawed figure, in both design and execution. Had the execution been there, I think he still would have been fine, but he had the misfortune of being released during one of the roughest periods of quality control, so he ends up really middle of the road. Not awful, but not so great either.


#1267: Shatterstar



“Armed with superhuman physical and mental abilities, Shatterstar conquers his enemies with strength and certainty.”

Can you get more ‘90s than Shatterstar?  Created by Rob Liefeld?  Check.  Name made up of two unrelated “kewl” words?  Check.  Weird head gear?  Check.  A single eye tattoo?  Check.  A hairstyle that no human who ever lived has had?  Check.  Shoulder pads and pouches?  Check and check.  All this dude needs is a leather jacket, a giant gun, and a can of Surge, and he’ll check off the whole list.  As a paragon of all things ‘90s, he was a pretty popular guy back in the day, and got a whole three action figures from Toy Biz’s ‘90s X-Force line.  However, since then, he’s sort of fallen down (well, aside from a pair of Minimates).  With that being said, there’s been a slight resurgence of some of the ‘90s stuff, leading to Shatterstar being fortunate enough to get a figure courtesy of Hasbro’s latest set of Marvel Legends.


Shatterstar is figure 2 in the Warlock Series of Marvel Legends, taking the X-Force slot established by Stryfe and Cable in the last two series.  This is the first time he’s had a Legends figure, which actually seems a little surprising, given his popularity in the ‘90s.  In terms of design, he more or less goes back to the original Liefeld look.  I know there was a contingent that was hoping for his more recent X-Factor look (I myself was sort of pulling for that look), but if Shatterstar’s only going to get one Marvel Legend (which seems rather likely), you kind of *have* to do the ridiculous ‘90s monstrosity.  On the plus side, they really did make it suck a lot less than it could have.  I think that’s partly to do with them actually drawing the main influence from the Marvel: Avengers Alliance design for him, which is a nice, cleaned up version of his original design.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  He’s built on the Bucky Cap body, specifically the Doctor Strange variation of it, which works nicely to replicate his poofy shirt.  Also aiding in the poofy shirt bit are the new arms, which are built similarly to the normal ones, but with lots of wrinkles.  I do wish his arms could sit a bit closer to the arms, but that’s a minor complaint.  He’s also got the flared glove pieces, which are bulkier than the ones seen on Zemo and Boomerang.  The lower half is mostly the basic pieces, with add-ons for the belt and thigh pouches (which are kind of a necessity), and a pair of brand new boots (which Super Awesome Girlfriend has classified as “fabulous”).  He’s topped off with an all-new head and an add-on for his scarf/halfcape/shoulderpad.  The single shoulder pad has always perplexed me.  It would make sense if he favored one arm over the other in sword fighting, but he’s pretty much always dual wielded, so, what’s the deal?  To Hasbro’s credit, the shoulder pad sports some pretty sweet detailing, so good on them for that.  The head sculpt is commendable in its ability to faithful recreate Shatterstar’s goof hair and headgear without getting too laughably bad.  They’ve gone for a calmer facial expression than Liefeld would have given him, but it’s actually one that better fits the persona Shatterstar took on after Liefeld left the book.  Shatterstar’s paint work is really solid.  The basic color work is ask nice and clean, with only minor coverage issues on the legs.  The brown bits have all been given a bit of a wash to accent the details, which once again shows how nice a Hasbro sculpt can look with the tiniest bit of extra accent work.  It’s worth noting that Hasbro did tweak Shatterstar’s colors a little bit, making the gloves and scarf a light grey instead of the straight white they were in the comics.  It’s only a minor change, and honestly, it helps to break up the colors a bit more than they otherwise would be.  Shatterstar was packed with a pair of swords; since Liefeld could never make up his mind about whether Shatterstar’s swords were two bladed or just one single blade, Hasbro’s been nice enough to give us one of each.  Aside from possibly benefiting from a little bit of paint, the swords are pretty cool, and Shatterstar has an easy time holding them.  The figure also includes the right arm of Warlock, who is shaping up to be pretty cool.


I know I’m hyper-critical of the ‘90s, but I do have an appreciation for Shatterstar as a character.  When he was announced, I was actually pretty excited, especially after how well the Juggernaut Series Cable turned out.  Shatterstar was nearer the end of my discoveries of this set; I found him at the slightly further away Target near me, which had just put out a case, albeit one that was already missing Cyclops.  While I’d still like to see the X-Factor version at some point, this guy, like Cable before him, is a lot better than I’d expected.  Once again, the Rob Liefeld character is one of the stronger figures in the series.  How do they keep doing that?

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#0598: Shatterstar II




Ah, the 90s. What wondrous creations you gave us. The X-Men were super hyped up, so, obviously, it being the 90s, they needed an edgier, x-ier spin-off team. Enter X-Force, a slightly re-worked version of the New Mutants, with several new, more x-treme members. It had art done by Rob Liefeld, who seemed to set out to make it the most 90s thing imaginable. One of his additions was the character Shatterstar, who was either an alien or a mutant who had the amazing ability to…ummm….have swords? Yeah, I don’t know.


Shatterstar here was released as part of Series 3 of ToyBiz’s X-Force, which, like the comic, was a spin-off of the X-Men line. As the name denotes, this is the second figure of Shatterstar that the line offered. Shatterstar stands roughly 5 inches tall and features 9 points of articulation. This figure is actually based on Greg Capullo’s redesign of the character following Liefeld’s departure from the series. It’s…a little better? It’s more symmetrical, that’s for sure.  That being said, he’s still got many of the 90s trademarks. He’s got pouches, shoulder pads, pouches, some weird headband thing, pouches, and that funky sunburst tattoo over just the one eye. Though, I guess you need some of that 90s flare to recognize it as Shatterstar, right? It should also be noted that Shatterstar also appears to have been doing a bit of juicing since his first figure. He looks…I don’t want to say puffy… but, yeah. He’s gotta be at least twice the size of the previous Shatterstar figure. Now, to be fair, that figure did seem a little emaciated, but this one seems to have gone a bit too far the other way. It’s not completely off the mark for Capullo’s rendition of the character, but the size feels a little bit laughable. That being said, the figure has a sculpt that is up to the standards of other ToyBiz Marvel stuff of the time. The details are nice and clean (which is certainly better that the comics) and the figure does a pretty good job of translating the comics design to three dimensions. The paintwork on Shatterstar is generally pretty clean. There’s some bleed over here and there, but nothing too noticeable. The colors are nice and bright, which is always a plus. Shatterstar included a pair of his trademark (and oh so silly looking) twin-bladed swords. Sadly, my figure doesn’t have them. He does, however, still have his action feature. His arms can be raised and locked into place, and then released by pressing the button on his pack, resulting in a slashing effect of sorts. So there!


Whilst at Balticon this year, I dug this guy out of a dollar bin of loose figures. I kind of have an addiction to the old 90s ToyBiz stuff, so I obviously had to get him (and several others…). Truth be told, goofy as he is, I kind of like Shatterstar, and this is definitely the best of his 90s figures. Certainly worth the dollar I paid!