#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.

#2497: Warstar

WARSTAR

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Members of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, aliens B’nee and C’cll unite their superhuman abilities symbiotically as the unstoppable Warstar! Possessing superhuman strength and the ability to discharge electrical blasts, Warstar stands ready to strike at any and all enemies of the Shi’ar Empire – even if it means crossing the width of the galaxy itself!”

First appearing early in the Phoenix Saga, the Shi’ar Imperial Guard’s original membership were all homages to artist Dave Cockrum’s previous work on Legion of Super Heroes.  When the team reappeared during “The Dark Phoenix Saga” a few years later, Cockrum’s replacement John Byrne was tasked with a few more members to pad out the roster a bit during their fight with the X-Men.  Instead of creating more Legion homage characters, these new characters, including today’s focus Warstar, were wholly original, while still loosely fitting the theme.  No doubt for reasoning related to the potential issues that surround homage characters and toys, Warstar being a non-homage character made him a slightly cleaner choice when it came to toy coverage.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Warstar was another inclusion in the “Phoenix Saga” Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men toy line.  He is by far the most obscure character in that particular mix, but he did at least get a little bit of focus during the cartoon version of the Saga, which made him at least somewhat memorable to the buyer base, I suppose.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  He lacks a neck joint, but in his defense, there’s a sensible reason for that.  As touched on in the bio up top, Warstar is actually two symbiotically-linked beings.  The main body is C’cll, the larger of the pair.  It does a respectable job of replicating his larger mechanical frame.  He’s perhaps a touch more boxy than C’cll tends to be depicted, especially when Byrne was drawing him, but by and large, it’s a pretty close match.  Borrowing a page from the previously released Tusk figure, C’cll has a little hatch and a small lever on his back.  Sliding back the hatch and pushing up the lever reveals a tiny B’nee figurine, who’s been hiding back there the whole time.  Both of them are just a touch underscaled for the line, and B’nee doesn’t get any sort of articulation, but it’s a fun feature nevertheless.  Warstar’s paintwork is pretty solidly handled.  It’s largerly all one color (for C’cll, anyway; B’nee *is* one color), but it’s a pretty slick metallic green.  Mine’s taken quite a beating over the years, but that doesn’t seem like the worst thing in the world for a character with “war” in his name.  The only extra included here is the small B’nee figure; no other weaponry or weird accessories thrown in this time.  Also, he’s one of two figures in the “Phoenix Saga” assortment not to get any additional accessories when moved over to the larger card, presumably because of how sizable he was in the first place.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Warstar was a rather early addition to my collection, purchased for me by my Nana, specifically at my request.  Interestingly, I had no clue who the character was (I hadn’t yet seen his appearance on the cartoon), and actually thought he was a Titanium Man figure, who I wanted to have to face off against my Iron Man figure I’d just gotten.  It wasn’t until later that I realized my mix-up (and got a proper Titanium Man), though I can’t really say I was ever upset to own a Warstar.  He’s a pretty fun figure of a pretty fun character, and is probably one of my favorites from the line.  I’d love to see him get an update as a BaF or Deluxe Legends offering.

#2490: Space Wolverine

SPACE WOLVERINE

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“The X-Man known as Wolverine will travel anywhere for a good fight with the forces of evil – even to the far reaches of outer space! Wolverine’s space armor protects him from the hostile conditions of deep space, while still allowing him to bring his adamantium claws to bear on alien evildoers! Even in this harsh environment, Wolverine is still the best there is at what he does!”

The eighth assortment of Toy Biz’s X-Men line was the first to properly theme itself, being based on the Pheonix Saga, which had just been adapted for the cartoon.  While a number of the character choices were pretty self-explanatory, they were still faced with a need for a Wolverine variant.  So, they kind of made one?  I mean, it’s not too far of a reach.  It’s a space suit variant, and in both comics and cartoon, the team does go into space.  Never in anything that looks like this, but still…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Space Wolverine was, as noted in the into, released in the eighth series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  He marked the line’s first dabble into made up Wolverine variants, something that anyone who followed the Day of Wolverines will know was far from at its end here.  At least this one was tame, I suppose.  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall (continuing the upward size trend on Wolverines) and has 8 points of articulation.  Due to a returning of the Series 1 style retractable claws, he lacks any sort of elbow movement, but at least the posing isn’t quite as stiff as it was on the Street Clothes Wolverine.  As far as sculpting goes, this Wolverine gets a head that’s really similar to Wolverine II’s, albeit with some slightly sharper details.  The body is kind of on the wide side, at least in contrast to previous Wolverines.  It does match the overall bulking up trend that Logan went through as the line and the decade progressed, however.  The space suit for some reason doesn’t actually cover Wolverine’s whole body, leaving part of his costume exposed.  I guess his costume really doesn’t breathe?  That can’t be all that comfortable, can it?  Like going everywhere in a tyvek suit.  Yuck.  I guess it helps with branding, though, so there’s that.  In terms of paint, Wolverine again stays on-brand, with what we see of his costume being the usual colors, and the space suit continuing those general colors, but in a more metallic sense, so it’s more golds instead of yellows.  It honestly works pretty well.  There was also a variant of this figure released a bit later alongside a CD-Rom including the original Phoenix Saga issues, which swapped out the gold for a metallic blue.  I also have this figure…somewhere.  Unfortunately, all I could find at the time of this review was his helmet.  Maybe I’ll find him and I can run an addendum, I guess.  For the original release, as with all of the Phoenix Saga figures, there were two releases, once with the short card and once with the wider card the following year.  The initial version included just his removable helmet, second version(which is the one I had) added a gun and two of Shatterstar’s swords to the mix.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was still new to the collecting game when these guys came out, so I got most of the assortment new, Wolverine included.  He was a gift to me from my parents, shortly after we moved into the house they live in now, and I recall that he was accompanied by an X-Men carrying case to keep all of my figures in (which was a far more realistic goal back when I received the case and it could actually hold all of my X-Men figures).  He’s a little more gimmicky than earlier Wolverines, but he is at least a somewhat sensible variant.

#2483: Corsair

CORSAIR

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Snatched from the Earth by a passing Shi’ar spacecraft, Christopher Summers was pressed into service as a slave of that galactic empire. But Summers burst the bonds of his captivity, and now in the company of his fellow Starjammers, he roams the cosmos as the free booting space pirate known as Corsair!”

“The Phoenix Saga” opened up a lot of new avenues for the X-Men.  I guess going into space will do that for you.  In addition to contending with the whole Shi’ar Empire, they also came upon a band of space pirates, the Starjammers.  Originally pitched by artist Dave Cockrum as a standalone set of characters, they were reworked into the crew of a displaced Christopher Summers, the man eventually revealed to be the father of X-Men Cyclops and Havok (and Vulcan, too, but I don’t wanna talk about it).  As the bio above notes, Christopher took on the name “Corsair” and even managed to get himself an action figure, which I’m looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Corsair was released in the 8th Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men series, officially dubbed the “Phoenix Saga” Series, and designed to tie-in with the storyline’s adaptation on the cartoon.  Corsair played a large role in that adaptation, so his presence in the tie-in made quite a bit of sense.  Interestingly, Corsair was actually the third Starjammer to grace the line, following Ch’od and Raza’s inclusion in Series 7.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  He’s a pretty standard offering for the line in terms of mobility and construction, being hampered by no odd lack of joints or the addition of any weird action features.  He’s just a nice, basic sculpt.  The details are all pretty cleanly handled, and he’s got a nicely balanced set of proportions.  He’s perhaps a touch exaggerated, but certainly no where near as badly as later figures in the line.  He does go for Corsair’s slightly updated shoulder pad-bearing design, introduced in the early ’90s (because everyone had to have shoulder pads in the ’90s, of course).  It’s the one used on the cartoon, and it really wasn’t much of a change from the original design, so it ended up working out okay.  If there was one change I’d like to see on this figure, I wouldn’t have minded if his hair had a little bit more of a dynamic flair to it; it was usually pretty fabulous, and it seems a little tame here.  It’s not the end of the world, though; I’ll learn to live, I’m sure.  Corsair’s paint work is overall pretty cleanly handled. It’s basic, but it’s also bright and eye-catching, as Corsair should be.  Corsair was originally packed with a sword, gun, and grapple.  My figure’s only got the sword left, but that’s honestly the best part, so I’m okay with it.  Interestingly, Corsair is one of only two figures in the Phoenix Saga Series not to gain extra accessories when the assortment was moved over to the larger-style cards.  I guess they felt like he had enough already.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got Corsair as gift from my Nana back when he was new.  I don’t remember exactly the occasion, but I know it wasn’t a birthday, because my cousin Rusty also got one at the same time.  Maybe it was an end of school thing?  Or possibly an Easter thing?  I don’t know.  I do know that Rusty had no clue who Corsair was and definitely didn’t appreciate getting him as much as I did.  He’s a pretty solid figure, so I definitely am glad he was one I held onto.

#2448: Bonebreaker

BONEBREAKER

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“The villainous cyborg known only as Bonebreaker desires nothing more than the chance to wreak havoc. Employing his robotic abilities first as a mercenary and then as a member of the nefarious Reavers, Bonebreaker leaves a trail of destruction wherever his travels lead him!”

Man, we are just jumping into the deep end with the obscure ’90s X-Men characters, aren’t we?  I mean, it’s kinda hard to top Senyaka and his lack of any staying power in the slightest, so that does give today’s entry a slight leg up…okay, so not “leg up”…because, you know, the lack of legs and all.  Tank up?  Tread up?  Ah, this is definitely way too much thought to put into a Bonebreaker intro.  Look, he’s half-man, half-tank.  It’s pretty cut and dry stuff, really.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bonebreaker was released in Series 7 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  It was the final series to be released solely on the more character-specific short cards, which actually proved a little tricky for the breaker of bones here, since they had to manage fitting his lower half into the package with him.  You have to wonder if that may have slightly influenced the decision to go to the larger cards.  By and large, Series 7’s line-up is one of the softer selection of characters in this line, with only two real “heavy hitters” in the line-up, one of them being quite possibly the most boring Wolverine the line ever produced.  Of the remaining five figures, Bonebreaker may possibly be amongst the best known (although I myself tend to favor Ch’od and Raza on that front; it really comes down to which era of the comics you’re most familiar with).  Why am I talking so much about all of this not Bonebreaker stuff?  I don’t know.  I’m honestly not sure I can bear to talk only about Bonebreaker for quite this long.  But, I suppose I’ve stalled for long enough.  The figure stands 3 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation, as well as rolling wheels (though not proper moving treads, unfortunately).  There aren’t exactly a lot of potential posing options with this guy, but it’s not exactly for lack of trying; there’s really only so much you can do with the design.  The sculpt is decent enough for the time, with a pretty on-brand sculpt for the human portions.  His lower tank half is actually pretty impressive, with fairly sharp and solid technical detailing throughout.  It rivals Ch’od for the best sculpting work in this assortment.  The paint work on Bonebreaker is fairly drab and basic, which I guess is more or less a clean translation of the source material.  The tank’s sculpt kind of suffers here, because the nice detail work ends up getting a bit lost in all that un-painted turquoise plastic.  It’s perhaps not the best choice of coloring.  Bonebreaker was originally packed with two guns, one hand-held, and the other for mounting to the tank.  I have neither.  For shame.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Bonebreaker’s a figure I remember seeing…a lot.  This whole assortment (barring Rogue) was everywhere for a long time, but Bonebreaker is the one I recall seeing the most.  I didn’t get one, I guess because the design didn’t really speak to me, and because his appearance in X-Men: The Animated Series wasn’t one of my favorites.  But, I’m getting pretty serious about the Toy Biz X-Men collection, so I ended up picking up Bonebreaker here loose while on vacation last summer.  He’s honestly a bit better than I’d expected, and I’d like to see how he might turn out in Legends form.