#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.

IF YOU’RE READING THIS ON TOYNEWZ, THAT MEANS IT WAS STOLEN FROM THEFIGUREINQUESTION.COM.  THAT’S NOT VERY NICE, IS IT?

#2616: Captive Sabretooth

CAPTIVE SABRETOOTH

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Captured and restrained, Sabretooth, one of the X-Men’s most bitter enemies, has reached out to Professor Xavier for help. Sabretooth has never held back the more bestial side of his personality, and now that same side threatens to overwhelm him. A hostile air hangs throughout the mansion as the X-Men share their home with this ‘guest’, knowing that until his savage urge is suppressed, Sabretooth remains a ferocious animal, chained in a cage.”

As Wolverine’s most recurring nemesis (who, amusingly enough, started with no connection to Wolverine in the slightest), Sabretooth has generally had decent luck when it comes to the world of toys.  In the ’90s, when Wolverine was filling up every peg, Sabretooth was making the rounds with him.  Toy Biz had already covered his two actual costumed looks, but lucky them, there was another look floating around in the comics at the time, just ripe for the toy making.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captive Sabretooth was released in 1995 as part of the “Invasion” series, the eleventh series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  He’s based on Sabretooth’s appearance from roughly around the same time in the comics, while he was in captivity at the X-Mansion, as described in the figure’s bio.  It’s a more “civilian” appearance, though certainly plays up the more bestial side as well.  The figure stands 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  I’ve looked at the majority of this figure’s sculpt before, when it was rather oddly re-used for a Wolverine figure in 1997 as part of the Battle Blasters line-up.  I was not very kind to it that time, because it’s really wrong for a Wolverine, since it’s, you know, not one.  Even for it’s intended purpose as a Sabretooth, it’s still really not great.  I mean, I guess it’s slightly less awful in this context, but only slightly.  It still remains a rather hideous and really stiff in terms of movement.  It’s also got a rather lame action feature, which is partially responsible for the stiffness and the ugliness.  The figure’s color scheme is at least more character appropriate this time, and not trying to again force the sculpt into something it’s not.  It’s still not great, being rather drab and a bit uninspired if I’m honest, but at least the application’s pretty clean.  Captive Sabretooth was originally packaged with a set of restraints, which mine is missing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though the Invasion Series was the one on shelves when I started collecting, this was not anywhere near my first Sabretooth.  In fact, it was one of my last, only being added to my collection a couple of years ago, when I found it in a bag of other figures at the 2nd Avenue near my house.  Given how inexpensive he was, it was kind of hard to pass him up.  I can’t say I really like this figure all that much, but he’s also not the worst thing Toy Biz did at the time.

#2609: X-Cutioner

X-CUTIONER

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Concerned about the growing menace of evil mutants, FBI agent Carl Denti assembled an arsenal of weapons obtained from the X-Men’s greatest foes. Now, in the guise of the X-Cutioner, he seeks out those mutants he deems a threat to human society, and ruthlessly eliminates them!”

Ah, yes, X-Cutioner. Guy with a name that’s so ’90s X-Men that it actually got used twice, because, if you can believe it, this guy who is named “X-Cutioner” has absolutely nothing to do the the big grand X-crossover “X-Cutioner’s Song” from ’92.  I know, I was as shocked as you.  You feel like two uses of the same really stupid misspelling would be at least a little related, right? No, that’s stupid!  What was I thinking?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

X-Cutioner was released in the “Mutant Genesis” Series, the tenth assortment of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  He hit in 1995, just two years after the character’s debut in the comics, which is a pretty short turn around time when you get right down to it.  X-Cutioner is the last figure from his assortment that I’ve taken a look at, and, were it not for freaking Senyaka, he’d be the most obscure of a rather low tier list of characters.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  His movement scheme is up to the standard count, but isn’t really a standard set-up, thanks to the wonky set-up of the right arm and the presence of the hood piece on his head.  His sculpt is a rather stiff one, surprising for this late in the game.  By this point, the stances were getting a little looser, but X-Cutioner seemed to miss the memo.  He did get the memo on the super swoll muscles, though, so I guess that’s good.  He’s not gonna look out of place.  X-Cutioner had one of those color schemes that looked like he threw darts at the wall to decide what to use, and that’s replicated here.  The silver makes sense, but the blue and the two colors of green, plus that weird orange/brown are all rather odd looking.  X-Cutioner included his mask/hood piece, which could fit down over his head and generally improves the look of the figure.  He also had two weapons, which mine is missing.  He also had a spinning feature worked into his right arm, for spinning purposes, of course.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

X-Cutioner is a figure that I definitely remember seeing as a kid, but also one that I definitely remember not really wanting.  He’s never been much of a presence in the comics, nor is he a particularly exciting design.  But, I’m all about those ’90s Toy Biz figures, so I’m slowly but surely picking everyone up as I find them.  This guy came into All Time about 2 months ago, with a bunch of others.  Yeah, he’s missing his weapons, but honestly, is that really stopping me now?

#2567: Gladiator

GLADIATOR

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“The most powerful member of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, the alien super hero known as Gladiator is also its most devoted protector! Possessing nearly unlimited strength, virtual invulnerability, and a bevy of other abilities, Gladiator uses his powers on behalf of the throne of the Shi’ar Empire – no matter who may occupy it!”

The similarities between Marvel’s Shi’ar Imperial Guard and DC’s Legion of Super Heroes aren’t exactly a secret amongst the fans, and this especially comes to a head with the Imperial Guard’s leader, Kallark, aka Gladiator, who is a pretty thinly veiled take on Superman.  The differences are, however, enough to not actually cross any legal boundaries, making Gladiator a somewhat recurring character when it comes to action feature treatment.  Today, let’s have a look at his very first.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gladiator is part of the Phoenix Saga series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, released in 1994 to tie-in with the cartoon’s adaptation of the story from the comics.  Gladiator gets some decent focus in the story, making him a pretty sensible choice for inclusion (certainly a more logical choice than the other Guardsman in the assortment, Warstar), and he helped to sort of round out all of the factions present in the story.  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  Gladiator’s sculpt was quite a bulked up affair, befitting most renditions of the character.  He seems to have misplaced most of his neck somewhere, and his arms seem a touch long, but beyond that the proportions aren’t bad.  This body wound up getting reworked to remove the Gladiator-specific elements and was re-used for Toy Biz’s Hercules tie-in line, before making its way back to Marvel in the Marvel Gold line, where it was used for Moon Knight, among others.  The cape’s a separate piece, though, like Dr. Doom, the chain for the clasp is actually sculpted on the main figure, rather than being a part of the cape proper.  The cape sits a little high on the figure, and also has a hole in it to facilitate the action feature, but it’s overall not a bad piece.  The paint work on Gladiator is pretty basic, but also pretty decent.  It’s appropriately bright and bold.  His skin tone seems a touch on the light side, but that’s pretty minor.  Gladiator’s initial short card release didn’t have any accessories, but his long card release added Stryfe’s mace and Silver Samurai’s sword for…reasons?  They had all that space to fill, I guess.  Both versions got the same “Super Strength Power Punch” action feature, which causes his right arm to jut forward when the button on his back is pressed.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Gladiator is the only of the Phoenix Saga figures I didn’t have growing up.  I couldn’t tell you why, because I was a big fan of the whole saga, and I’ve always liked Gladiator as a character.  I guess I just never found him at the right time…I mean, until I did, obviously, since I’m, you know, reviewing the figure and all.  I snagged him very recently, as he was part of a collection of X-Men figures that came through All Time.  He’s a somewhat goofy figure, but I’m glad to have finally finished up the Phoenix set after all these years.

#2559: Wolverine – Battle Ravaged

WOLVERINE — BATTLE RAVAGED

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Since long before he joined the X-Men, Wolverine has been squaring off against opponents in all types of battles, from silent ambushes to brawls. His mutant healing factor allows Wolverine to recover from wounds and injuries at a rate much faster than normal, letting him take greater risks when in combat. Fighting is in this man’s nature, but Wolverine must always take care to hold his berserker fury in check and keep his animal nature from taking control.”

And here we are, making it to a full-on seven years here with the site.  How about that?  This takes dedication…or insanity.  I’ve certainly got one of those two things.  Speaking of a strange mix of dedication and insanity, this year, one of my favorite days of reviewing was the “Day of the Wolverines,” where I took a look at 18 of Toy Biz’s 5-inch Wolverine figures.  During that day, I noted that I was skipping the ones I’d actually had as a kid, which meant skipping out on 1995’s Wolverines entirely, since that was the year I got into collecting the line, and I already owned all of that year’s variants.  Since the Day of, I’ve been filling in some of the Wolverines from that year, and today I get to the final, and honestly most important one: Battle Ravaged Wolverine!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Battle Ravaged Wolverine was released in the Invasion Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, the eleventh series of the line.  Truth be told, it’s probably my favorite series of the line, for reasons I’ll get to in the relevant section.  The concept on this guy is pretty straight forward: take the basic Tiger Stripe Wolverine design, and just tear it to shreds, as if in battle.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  While I didn’t look at this figure proper during the Day of the Wolverines, I did look at his sculpt, which was re-used in the 1997 “Greatest Archenemies” set.  As I noted in that review, it’s a sculpt I actually quite like.  It’s a little on the large side for a Wolverine, but the build actually works pretty well, and the battle damage is quite well implemented throughout the figure.  There’s a great intensity to the sculpt on this guy, and I just really dig it.  The paintwork is really the main differing thing here, as it gives him a more classic color scheme than the later release.  It works a lot better, and just results in a nicer overall figure than the later release.  There’s actually another repaint of this guy, released as part of 1996’s KB Toys-exclusive Overpower line.  It tweaks the coloring on the claws so that they’re now bone claws, and also makes the shoulders silver….for some reason.  I guess they really needed to keep that silver paint quotient up.  The original release and all subsequent re-uses of the mold had a “Berserker Rage Action” action feature, which slashes the arms downward when you push the lever on his back.  The original release also featured a set of doors, which you could use the action feature to “split” and knock down.  It’s very basic, but a cool extra piece of scenery.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Remember how I said that the Invasion Series is probably my favorite?  There’s a good reason for that.  I got into toys in late 1995, and because of that, the Invasion Series was the one on shelves when I started collecting.  That’s why Havok and Erik the Red were my first two X-Men action figures, and that’s why this particular Wolverine was my very first Wolverine…well, *a* Battle Ravaged Wolverine was my first Wolverine.  This one’s a replacement, because my original went missing at some point along the way.  Whatever the case, I have a real nostalgic appreciation for this figure, and he’s definitely very high up on my list of favorite Wolverines.

#2552: Wolverine Fang

WOLVERINE FANG

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“The adamantium-clawed Wolverine is the best there is at what he does – no matter what the venue! And, dressed in the guise of the Shi’ar Imperial Guardsman known as Fang, he intends to prove it – by doing battle with intergalactic evil on a cosmic scale!”

Wolverine’s had more than a few costume changes over the years, beginning with a somewhat unintentional change to his mask when Gil Kane drew up the cover to GSXM #1.  That one definitely stuck.  The ones that would follow had varying degrees of success.  Neither Dave Cockrum nor John Byrne was ever much for the tiger stripe design, and both attempted their own replacements.  Byrne’s was the brown costume, a rather successful alternate look for the character, which clung to the roots of the tiger stripe design.  Cockrum’s, introduced just before he left the book in issue #107, was more drastically different, and decidedly not quite as successful.  During a battle with the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, Logan’s costume is destroyed, and he has to quickly find a replacement, which he does by taking down the Guard’s own resident feral guy, Timber Wolf Fang, and stealing his threads.  It’s a unique look, to be sure, and when Toy Biz was looking for excuses for more Wolverine figures (before just deciding to start making stuff up), it proved worthy enough for inclusion as a toy.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wolverine Fang was the Wolverine variant for the “Mutant Genesis” series, the tenth series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  It’s rather amusing that he didn’t arrive until two series after the Phoenix Saga, given that’s where the costume showed up in the comics.  However, not being in Fox’s animated adaptation of the story probably didn’t make it the most sensible inclusion there.  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  While this figure was an all-new mold when he was released, the following year saw it repurposed as Savage Land Wolverine, a figure I looked at during the Day of the Wolverines.  As I noted when I reviewed that figure, this is probably the best Wolverine sculpt to come out of this line.  Certainly one of my favorites, and definitely the closest we ever saw to anything really approaching Cockrum’s style for this line.  The paint work on the figure is pretty decent, albeit pretty basic and straightforward.  It’s certainly very brown, which is pretty accurate.  Wolverine’s accessories are the same as Savage Land Wolverine, so the weapons tree of blades from Spy Wolverine and the two additional blades.  It’s a little bit overkill, what with him already having the claws, coupled with him only actually having one hand to actually grip things with.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Fang Wolverine was not a figure I personally had growing up, but he was my Dad’s Wolverine for his collection, and I rather fondly remember when he got that figure.  When I went on my first real dive back into Toy Biz Marvel the summer after my Freshman year of college, this guy was one of the very first figures I picked up.  Toy Biz figures were being cleared out at frankly insane prices on Amazon at the time, and that’s how I got him, along with a nice little thank you note post-it from the seller, which honestly made my day at the time.  This figure’s really strong, and remains a favorite.  I’d really love to see him updated for Legends.

#2545: Cameron Hodge

CAMERON HODGE

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Once a mutant-hating businessman, Cameron Hodge had his entire body reconstructed into a biomechanical killing machine known as a Phalanx so that he could more readily pursue his murderous goal: the elimination of all mutants! Driven by hate and rage, Hodge is not the most stable of opponents – but his cybernetic abilities make him nonetheless a lethal one!”

Cameron Hodge was a good example of X-Men‘s ability to allow a recurring background character to really grow over the years, beginning as a seeming ally to the main heroes in the pages of X-Factor, before being revealed to be just as much of a bigot as some of the worst “normal” humans the mutants met.  After his original arc ended with his demise, he was eventually revived by the Phalanx, and wound up playing a role in a few more cross-overs, as well allowing him to play the role of main antagonist in one of the cartoons best episodes (I may be projecting some personal feelings onto that one).  And, since he did a bunch of stuff in the X-Men comics in the ’90s, of course he got a toy!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cameron Hodge was released in 1995, as part of the “Mutant Genesis” Series, the tenth series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  Believe it or not, Hodge was probably one of the best known characters in that particular assortment, which had some serious second and third stringers.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  Hodge is based on his appearance post-Phalanx-assimilation, which was firstly a relevant choice for when this figure hit shelves, and secondly a far more interesting choice than any of his other designs when it came to making toys.  Also, he looks like he’s got a thing of french fries on his head, and who doesn’t love that?  His sculpt was totally unique to him, which I guess makes sense, because, really, who’s he going to share with?  He definitely endorses the general bulking up of the line, which was getting near to critical mass at this paint.  Hodge was usually depicted as a little skinnier, but given the shape-shifting properties of the Phalanx, it’s not a crazy concept.  I particularly like the head on this figure, which does a solid job capturing Hodge’s particularly manic personality.  Cameron’s paint work is probably his weakest point, largely due to an issue of translation of what’s on the page into reality.  The technoarganic nature of the Phalanx just doesn’t look quite as impressive when it’s all just a rather unappealing yellow.  Later takes on the concept would make it work a bit better.  Hodge’s one accessory is a pump that plugs into the very large and very obvious spot on his back.  What does it do?  It lets him squirt water out of his gun hand, of course.  You know, like in the comics!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As much as I liked “Phalanx Covenant”, I never had much interest in this toy as a kid, and as such it went un-purchased by me for a rather long stretch of time.  I even avoided picking him up during my first real return to the line during college.  It wasn’t until very recently that I picked this figure up, and it was mostly because I was already picking up a bunch of other stuff, if I’m honest.  He’s not bad.  Not very exciting, but also not bad.  I’d say he’s better than I’d expected, in fact.

#2510: Archangel II

ARCHANGEL II

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“As the high-flying Angel, Warren Worthington III was one of the original members of the X-Men. Years later, Worthington’s real wings were dissected, replaced with razor sharp wings of steel, and he was transformed into Archangel, one of the four Horsemen of Apocalypse. Now, having fought against the conditioning that tainted and turned him into a living weapon, Archangel has embraced his humanity and strives to regain the purity that once surrounded him.”

The Toy Biz X-Men line came out of the gate pretty strong, marking off a good chunk of the core X-Men.  By a few years into the line, they were steadily supplying updates to those core characters.  While characters such as Wolverine or Cyclops were central to the then-running cartoon, and therefore higher on list for updates, Warren Worthington III, aka Archangel only had a guest-starring role on the show.  It was still enough to justify another figure, and so here we are!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Archangel II was released in the Invasion Series of X-Men, the eleventh assortment of the line.  Archangel was included in the initial cases of the series, but was replaced in later cases by the previously-reviewed Erik the Red, making this version of Archangel ultimately the rarer figure.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  Archangel II debuted an all-new sculpt, one that would prove a favorite of Toy Biz over the years.  Though I haven’t actually managed to review any of the later uses (something that kind of baffles me, honestly), it was used *a lot* over the years.  This is where is kicked off, though, so that’s pretty cool.  It’s an okay sculpt, but what’s somewhat interesting is that it doesn’t really feel like it works as well for Archangel as it did for the later figures it was used for, despite being sculpted specifically for this guy.  The build seems perhaps a touch bulky for Warren, but ultimately, it’s the head that seems the most off.  It’s also rather bulky, and I’m not sure exactly what that facial expression is, but it seems a bit unpleasant.  The new wings were actually pretty decent.  They were certainly more sizable than the Series 1 version, and the detail work is a little more in depth.  The softer material used for them make it a little easier to keep him standing, which is definitely a plus.  The paint work on Archangel is pretty decent.  It covers all of the basics of his hideous colorscheme from the time period, and the application is all pretty strong.  Mine’s taken a little bit of a beating, but that’s kind of the usual for these guys.  Archangel didn’t include any accessories, but he did get a wing-flapping action feature.  It’s super goofy, but I enjoy it and all its hokiness.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, so consulting my records shows that I *have* talked about Ageless Heroes here on the site, back when I reviewed Bespin Luke.  I got a good chunk of 5-inch Marvel figures that way, and Archangel was amongst that grouping of figures.  He was one of those figures that was kind of rare when he was new and I was getting into collecting.  I recall seeing him on the back of the packaging for a few of my figures, so when I found him at Ageless Heroes, I was pretty excited.  Ultimately, he’s maybe not the best Archangel, but I still appreciate him for what he is.

 

#2503: Battle-Action Mega Armor Wolverine

BATTLE-ACTION MEGA ARMOR WOLVERINE

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

Toy Biz’s ’90s Iron Man, though far from a failure, was also not quite the success of some of their other Marvel-based toy lines from the same period.  Following the slow sales of its fourth assortment, the line was brought to a close, cancelling not only its fifth set of figures, but also some off-shoot products, which included a line of items dubbed “Mega Armor,” which would effectively take off from the Hulkbuster armor and give both Iron Man and War Machine larger mecha suits to pilot.  It was a cool concept, but not one that Toy Biz could get retailers to support under the Iron Man name.  However, with the molds ready to go, they had to do *something* with them, so they were quick to repurpose them under two of their more successful brands, X-Men and Spider-Man.  Why Spider-Man and the X-Men were running around in big mechs is anyone’s guess, but I try not to complain too much about such things.  Whatever the case, it gives me a Wolverine variant I haven’t yet looked at, so I might as well jump in on that, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Battle Action Mega Armor Wolverine hit shelves in 1997, under the main X-Men line branding.  To start with, they did Wolverine and Storm with the armor, but others would eventually follow down the line.  The Mech suit is about 9 inches tall and has movement at the shoulders and wrists, as well as a cockpit that opens in two spots to let the standard figure inside out.  Said standard figure is about 5 inches tall and has 10 points of articulation.  Wolverine’s mech suit is the one that was originally intended for Iron Man, and as such it’s definitely got a lot of details that really match up with both the modular armor and with the Hulkbuster armor’s depiction on the Iron Man cartoon in the ’90s.  It’s certainly a cool looking piece, though the very stiff nature of it does make it a little more difficult to really play with.  It’s more of a set piece than anything, and that becomes really even more apparent when you stick Wolverine in it instead of its original intended occupant.  The included Wolverine figure is interesting in that, when you really get down to it, he’s not *technically* a Wolverine at all.  He’s actually a re-use of the main line’s Morph figure, just with that figure’s alternate Wolverine head in place instead of the standard.  While the Wolverine head works fine on that figure as a more quick gimmicky set-up, the two character’s really don’t share the same build, resulting in a very anemic looking Wolverine.  He’s still very posable, however, so he’s at least a pretty playable figure.  When it comes to paint, the mech suit gets a pretty notable overhaul on the color scheme, moving away from the intended Iron Man scheme into something more in line with Wolverine’s usual palette.  It’s not a terrible look, but it’s definitely a departure, and I don’t know that it suits the mold as well as the original set-up would have.  For his part, the included Wolverine also gets a pretty major overhaul as well, with a totally blue number, some silver accenting and a whole bunch of weird gold techno lines thrown in to top it all off.  Really weird set-up, and I’m really not sure exactly what they were going for.  It’s certainly….different?  Oh, and he’s of course wall-eyed, because that’s just how you do, I suppose.  In addition to the Wolverine figure being included, the mech suit also gets a claw weapon thing to hold in one hand, and has a spinning hand feature on his right side and an extending punch feature on the left.  He’s certainly got his fighting options all laid out for him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have the whole mech suit thing as a kid, but I did have just the Wolverine from it, as it had been found at my Dad’s work, and he ended up bringing it home for me.  I always wanted the whole suit, in any of its many released forms, but I just never did get one.  But lucky me, one came into All Time in a collection, and also lucky me, Christian had just happened upon some really good trade fodder for me at Goodwill, sort of kind of as a birthday thing, meaning I was able to get this guy essentially free of charge.  That worked out pretty darn well.  This thing is so majorly goofy, and I so majorly love it.