#2114: Cyclops II

CYCLOPS II

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“The man called Cyclops possesses the uncanny mutant ability to fire beams of devastating energy from his eyes. These optic blasts are so powerful that they can only be effectively harnessed by a special ruby-quartz visor designed by Professor X. Over the years, Cyclops has grown from a sullen, withdrawn loner into the cool, confident, capable leader of the X-Men’s Blue Strike Force!”

While Wolverine got on the multiple figures bandwagon as soon as Toy Biz’s X-Men line had multiple series by which to deliver multiple figures, it took other characters a little longer to get there.  The villains got on the repeats a little quicker, but the first non-Wolverine duplicate from the main team was the X-Men’s leader man, Cyclops, who would end up getting a pretty major overhaul for his second figure, appropriately named “Cyclops II.”

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyclops II was released in Series 5 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  He was then subsequently re-released in 1995 as part of the cartoon-driven “Classics” assortment.  The figure seen here is officially the classics release, but the core figure is identical between the two.  Cyclops was sporting his Jim Lee costume, which was brand-new at the time, having replaced the previous X-Factor costume (which was used for the first figure, as well as his talking counterpart) right on top of said costume getting a toy.  It was about as timely as you could get, really.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  When I reviewed the 10-inch figure whose sculpt was based on this one, I noted that the larger figure had more articulation.  Due to the built-in action feature, this Cyclops lacks neck articulation, which is certainly a little bit restricting.  Additionally, the figure’s proportions are also thrown off by the batter compartment needed to power said light-up feature.  This means the torso’s really big, making the arms in particular look comparatively pretty small.  It also means this is a Cyclops that suffers from the opposite problem of the prior figure, being rather on the bulky side for a guy whose nickname is “slim.”  Proportions aside, there’s still some decent sculpted work on this figure.  The head is a respectable translation of his look from the comics, with some nice detail work on the hair in particular.  The pouches and straps mixed throughout the sculpt are also quite nicely detailed, which I’m sure was really a big hit with all the pouch and strap aficionados in ’93.  A shame there weren’t also some shoulder pads, right?  Cylcops’ paintwork was rather on the basic side, but solid stuff nevertheless.  The original release of this figure came packed with a backpack and a gun, which are, of course, the obvious accessories for Cyclops.  However, for the re-release, he was instead given Comcast’s hover platform, because, again, really the obvious choice, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While this figure was out when I started collecting, the rerelease hadn’t quite hit, so it was X-Factor Cyclops that had the honor of being my first Cyclops figure.  This guy came a little bit later, as a gift from a family friend who was well aware of how much I loved X-Men.  He quickly transitioned to being my main Cyclops, at least for a little bit.  He would eventually be outpaced by other Cyclops figures, and was amongst 23 of my X-Men figures that got boxed up and buried in the garage during my high school years, and would remain there until the summer after I finished college, when I finally unearthed them.  He’s not my first Cyclops, he’s not my best Cyclops, but he’s an important Cyclops, and I still enjoy the corny little guy.

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#2085: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

AVENGERS: UNITED THEY STAND (TOY BIZ)

“One of the original members of the Avengers, Steve Rogers – better known as Captain America – has always been the ultimate Wielding Soldier. Wearing the patriotic colors of the American flag, and wielding his trusty shield, he fights alongside his teammates in the name of truth and justice.”

Well, this isn’t a Spider-Man review.  What gives?  Fear not, dear readers, the Molten Man series reviews will return tomorrow,  but I’m taking a slight detour in honor of Steve Rogers’ birthday, July 4th!  Oh, also it’s some American holiday as well.  Whatever the case, I’m taking a look at a Captain America figure, because that’s how I do.  In the ’90s, Captain America figures were nowhere near as plentiful as they are now, and somewhat astoundingly, Toy Biz’s huge 5-inch line only spawned five figures of him over the course of the whole decade.  Today, I’m looking at one that just barely squeaked in under the radar in 1999, as part of the tie-in line for Avengers: United They Stand.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America was part of the first series of the Avengers: United They Stand line (though, like other Toy Biz tie-in lines from the same time, both Series 1 and 2 hit shelves simultaneously).  Though not a series regular in the cartoon, Cap did have a prominent guest star appearance, and would have been joined by fellow guest star Iron Man had Series 3 ever been produced.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  If the sculpt on this guy looks familiar, it’s because I’ve looked at most of it before.  In a line otherwise made up of entirely new sculpts, Cap re-used the body of the Electro Spark Cap from the ’90s Spider-Man line.  Sort of an interesting choice, since it didn’t really match Cap’s design from the show, and all of the packaging actually showed the Marvel Vs Capcom Cap instead.  As I noted the first time I reviewed the sculpt, It’s quite large and exaggerated, which does make him look rather goofy.  He gets a new head and an Avengers belt buckle to differentiate him.  The head is a decent enough piece, and certainly feels more like your usual Captain America than the Electro Spark one, but it’s also really small, especially when compared to the body.  This only furthers the body’s proportion issues.  Cap’s paintwork is actually quite bright and eye-catching, and an improvement over the prior use of this mold.  There are some minor issues with bleed-over, but they’re as prefaced: minor.  Cap was packed with his usual shield, once again saddled with a gimmick, but this time not one that total destroys the aesthetics.  It’s just got a little magnet imbedded on one side, which triggers an “explosion” on the included droid accessory, where part of it pops out.  It never worked super well, but it also didn’t really ruin the figure, so I can’t complain.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The United They Stand figures were pretty hard to find when they were released, so I got them as I found them.  Cap was nearer the end of my completion of the set, fourth to last.  I found him on a trip with my parents to a Kmart, which was sort of out of the ordinary for us.  It also marked an important change in my collecting, as my parents both tried to assure me that I pretty much already had this figure.  They were right, but still bought the figure for me, starting me down a path of buying nearly identical variants of the characters I like.

#2073: Robot Wolverine

ROBOT WOLVERINE (ALBERT)

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Created by the villainous Reavers to be an exact duplicate of the X-Man Wolverine, Albert gained real feelings in an electrical accident. Now constantly rebuilding himself out of whatever materials he can find, Albert scours the world for his heroic doppelganger – but whether to befriend him or to harm him, even he is not sure!”

Desperate for a steady stream of Wolverine variants to keep their line running, but not quite ready to just start outright making them up (that would come later), Toy Biz delved into the X-Men villains roster, and pulled out te robotic Wolverine duplicate Albert.  Never a majorly prominent character in the mythos, Albert would ultimately serve as an inspiration for Logan‘s antagonist X-24, whatever your take on that may be.  His only figure still remains that original Toy Biz figure, which I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Robot Wolverine was released in Series 6 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line and was the sixth Wolverine variant to grace the line (a fact that the packaging proudly proclaimed).  The figure stands 5 1/4 inches tall (continuing the trend of Toy Biz’s Wolverine figures steadily climbing in height as the line progressed) and he has 7 points of articulation.  He lacks elbow articulation often seen on these figures because…reasons?  The figure’s sculpt was an all-new offering, based on the character’s rebuilt appearance following his time locked up in police impound, which is fair, since otherwise he’d just be a slightly off-looking brown-costumed Wolverine.  It’s admittedly an interesting design, with something of a post-apocalyptic Mad Max vibe to it.  It’s certainly a different sort of look for the line.  There are some pretty neat little touches mixed throughout, and I particularly like the handcuffs stitched onto his torso.  It’s a goofy little touch which is totally accurate to the source material, and shows off Toy Biz usual commitment to the material nicely.  The rest of the sculpt matches the usual Toy Biz style of the time, which I suppose is pretty okay from a consistency standpoint.  The figure’s sculpt is accented by a solid paintjob.  While it’s perhaps not the most exciting or eye-catching colorscheme, it’s accurate to how he looked in the comics, and there’s no shortage of detail work, with most of the sculpted details getting proper paint as well.  He’s the sort of figure that could have possibly benefited from a wash, but that really wasn’t Toy Biz’s speed at the time.  Albert was packed with a spare set of arms, with a more robotic appearance and claws attached.  They swap out for the standard via the figure’s action feature.  Squeeze his legs and his arms spring out of their sockets, and then you can install the new ones.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Albert *just* predates me getting into the line, and was late enough that he wasn’t one of the ones resurfacing right as I got into things, so I didn’t have him growing up.  In fact, he’s quite a recent addition to my collection.  I had to see Endgame at a slightly out of the way theater, and while killing a little time before the movie, my dad found a comic book store, Beyond Comics, to check out.  They had a rather nice selection of ’90s Marvel stuff.  What caught my eye wasn’t actually this figure, but was instead the Invasion Series Havok, who I will literally buy every time I see him.  However, I felt a little silly having my only purchase be a figure I already own five of, so I scoured the racks for another figure I didn’t have.  Albert was the winner of that particular lottery.  He’s actually not a bad figure, and is unique among Wolverine variants for being not a Wolverine variant at all.

#2059: Longshot

LONGSHOT

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Once a slave to the extradimensional tyrant Mojo, Longshot eventually escaped, came ot Earth and joined forces with the X-Men. Armed with razor-sharp throwing knives, his combined abilities of amazing agility and incredible luck allow him to take on the fiercest foes. Recently, Longshot left the X-Men to search for the secrets of his past and travel to parts unknown!”

Have I reviewed a Longshot figure before on this site?  I feel like I have. <checks backlog>  Why yes, yes I have, waaaaaaaaaay back in review #0034.  Wow, that was a while ago.  It also predates me being quite as in-depth with these intros, so I guess I haven’t really talked about him much, apart from saying he’s nobody’s favorite.  Aw, that feels a little bit cruel.  Past-Ethan’s a little bit of a jerk, isn’t he?  Well, on the Longshot front, it’s worth noting that the guy hasn’t had the best luck when it comes to action figures, both in terms of quantity and quality.  He had exactly one figure during the Toy Biz 5-inch days, and that’s the one I’m looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Longshot was part of Series 4 of Toy Biz’s ’90s X-Men line.  He falls into one of the line’s most oddball series, with Professor X, Cyclops II, Ahab, Sabretooth II, and the Brood as his fellow releases.  Longshot joined Ahab and the Brood in the club of “not having been relevant in several years” at the time of release.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  He’s a bit more limited in movement than a lot of the other figures from this line, and I’m not entirely sure why.  He’s only got one elbow joint (the left), which is in order to facilitate his knife-throwing action feature.  That I can kind of get.  But he’s also got no neck movement, for seemingly no reason.  That I don’t get.  Were they just not sure how to articulate it with the mullet?  Whatever the case, it’s not doing him any favors.  Also not doing him any favors is the general quality of the sculpt.  This early in the line, Toy Biz’s sculpts were still very hit-or-miss, and this one’s more miss.  It’s largely that head, which just looks downright goony.  Longshot’s usually depicted as being a somewhat charming fellow, but none of that’s visible, unless you are particularly charmed by the face of a chimpanzee.  Which maybe you are.  I’m not one to judge.  But Longshot isn’t classically this simian.  Toy Biz’s sculptors also seem to have understood the basic concept of the mullet, but not really the implementation, resulting in a hairstyle that’s…well, it’s certainly something.  The head is also rather small when compared to the rest of the body, which, it should be noted, is a much better example of sculpting, comparatively at least.  Longshot’s paintwork is fairly standard.  It’s clean and the colors match his usual depictions.  The face again gets the worst work, though, getting those round, wide eyes, making him look like he’s in a constant state of surprise.  Longshot was packed with two knives (in case you lost one, I guess) and a bandolier, which helped to complete his usual look.  He also had the “KNIFE THROWING ACTION!”, where his right arm will swing forward when pulled back.  It’s not the most technically impressive feature, but at least it wasn’t overly intrusive.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t get Longshot new, but I did get him fairly quickly after the fact (probably around 1999-2000), courtesy of Cosmic Comix during one of their legendary Midnight Madness sales back when they were still on Main Street in Ellicott City.  I don’t know exactly why I got Longshot, but I remember wanting him, for one reason or another.  He’s…not a great figure.  Of course, he’s in luck, because he’s not even the worst figure in this particular series (that’s Ahab).  Longshot’s goofy, and not a good take on the character, but I suppose he’s got his own sort of charm.

#2012: Apocalypse

APOCALYPSE

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“The megalomaniacal mutant villain known as Apocalypse believes that total war between humans and mutants is inevitable. In order to weed out those he feels are weak and unsuitable for the coming conflict, he manipulates mutants into battling one another, calculating that with the help of the strongest and most ruthless survivors he can conquer the world and become ruler of all – both man and mutant!”

Introduced in the ’80s, as a foe for the recently launched X-spin-off X-Factor, Apocalypse has gone on to become one of the X-franchise’s most enduring foes.  Throughout the ’90s, he maintained a rather prominent place in at the center of a lot of conflicts and cross-overs, and also wound up as a big-bad for the ’90s X-Men: The Animated Series, and, by extension, got some pretty solid coverage from the toyline that ran alongside it.  He was actually among the very first figures released in the line, but due to evolution of the character’s design, he found himself up for a second figure quite quickly.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Apocalypse was released in Series 4 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, just two years after his initial figure debut.  Following Magneto, he was the second true remake of a Series 1 figure (Wolverine had also shown back up, but all of his figures up to this point were using unique designs, so it’s every so slightly different).  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  He’s actually quite a step-down on the articulation front when compared to his predecessor.  He got an all-new, much more bulked up sculpt, based on the steady changes to Apocalypse’s design since he’d first appeared in the ’80s.  This was very much the current Apocalypse design at the time, making him a more definitive take on the character than his prior release had been.  His sculpt is a fairly decent one, and definitely had a little more menace to it.  The head in particular really captured how Apocalypse looked in the comics at the time.  His color work was another marked change from the prior figure, and again befitted the changing design of the character.  This one, with his brighter blue accents, follows the lead of the cartoon design.  I do miss the black details, but overall, it’s a decent colorscheme, and certainly one that’s accurate to the character.  Apocalypse was packed with a spare set of arms, simulating his techno-shifting abilities. There’s a claw arm and a drill arm, both of which are pretty neat.  They swap out at the shoulders, which means that both they and the regular arms do have a slight tendency to pop out of place when you don’t want them to.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had a copy of this guy growing up, but it was a ways after getting the first one, who remained my favorite.  That one went missing, so I picked up this replacement during one of my splurges of 5-inch Marvel figures, about a year or two ago.  He’s an okay figure, and was certainly a more accurate figure at the time of his release.  Personally, though, I find that the changes make for a figure that’s just not as much fun to play with as the original was, so he’s always been second gear to me.

#1998: Sabretooth

SABRETOOTH

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Sabretooth is Wolverine’s greatest enemy. Both are products of the Top-Secret Weapon X program. But instead of using his super-sharp claws and fighting abilities for good, Sabretooth became the Evil Mutants’ master assassin! Sabretooth has the same powers as Wolverine, including a mutant healing ability. What makes Sabretooth so dangerous is the fact that he’s even more savage in battle than Wolverine! When the two of them fight, it’s anyone’s guess who will win.”

Despite his connection to Wolverine, Victor Creed, better known as Sabretooth, first appeared as a foe to Iron Fist.  Like fellow X-foe Mystique, he was an example of long-time X-scribe Chris Claremont spreading the love so to speak, and introducing characters he intended to use in X-Men in some of his other books.   Whatever his source, he’s been an enduring foe for Wolverine and the X-Men, and was at the height of his popularity alongside them in the ’90s, when he got his first action figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sabretooth was released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  He’s based on Sabretooth’s original John Byrne-designed costume, which, interestingly enough, Sabretooth had just ditched in the comics at the time of this figure’s release.  The early line was kind of plagued with things like this, which is why characters had a tendency to show up a second time pretty quickly (Sabretooth’s second figure would arrive just three series later).  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  Sabretooth lacked neck articulation, a surprisingly common phenomenon in the early years of the line.  Unlike other figures this happened to, Sabretooth doesn’t really have any specific gimmicks preventing a neck joint from being added, so I guess it was just a design thing.  Whatever the case, it’s a bit limiting on posing.  Sabretooth’s sculpt was unique to him.  It’s okay, but not really anything to write home about.  It leans closer to the weaker of the Series 1 sculpts than it does the stronger Series 2 sculpts.  The details are rather soft, especially on the face, the hair is rather oddly shaped, and the proportions are really on the scrawny side for a Sabretooth figure.  His paintwork is pretty basic; the standard colors are all handled decently.  The two shades of yellow for the fur and his hair are kind of close to each other, meaning they kind of blend together and look kind of odd.  Sabretooth was packed with this weird sort of claw thing to hold.  He also had an action feature, where the front plate of his stomach could be flipped back and forth.  One side is clean, while the other has claw marks, thereby simulating his healing factor.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

By the time I was collecting, this figure had vanished from shelves, replaced by his more cartoon-indicative second figure, so that was the one I had.  I picked this one up a couple of years ago second hand.  Part of his appeal was being the first copy of this guy I’d seen without horrible paint scraping on the eyes.  He’s not really a great figure…or even a particularly good figure.  I guess if you really like his original costume, that’s a plus, but it’s not even the best version of that costume on the market.

#1983: Phoenix

PHOENIX

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“The embodiment of the life force of the universe itself, the mysterious Phoenix Entity merged with the telekinetic X-Man named Jean Grey, transforming her into Phoenix! As Phoenix, Jean possessed nearly unlimited telepathic and telekinetic abilities – but the scope of her powers overwhelmed, corrupted and eventually consumed her. But, in the manner of her namesake, Jean later rose from the ashes of her demise, alive once again!”

Jean Grey’s spot in the X-Men has long been a tricky one.  She was a founding member of the team, and stuck with them until the “All-New, All-Different” team took over in Giant-Size X-Men #1.  Jean only actually departed for four issues, before returning for a rematch with the Sentinels that ended in her gaining the powers of the Phoenix Force.  She then remained a major player until “The Dark Phoenix Saga” ended with Jean sacrificing herself to save the day…from herself.  Then, like some sort of mythological bird that I can’t remember the name of, she rose from the ashes a few years later.  From that point forward, she was still a prominent member of the team, but never quite seemed in phase with the rest of them.  This kind of reared its head in tie-in materials as well.  For the ’90s X-Men toyline, it took three years to get a single Jean Grey figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Phoenix was the central figure of the “Phoenix Saga” assortment, the eighth series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  The assortment was designed to tie-in with the cartoon’s re-telling of the “Phoenix Saga,” and as such featured a number of pivotal players from it (and also Warstar, but we’ll talk about him later), and would not only be the first assortment to abandon a strict numbering system for assortments, but also has the notoriety of being both the last assortment to be released on the slimmer character specific card backs and the first to be released on the newer generic cards, via two separate releases.  This was not only Jean’s first figure in the line, but also her very first action figure in general, which was a pretty big deal.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  Like a good number of this line’s early figures, she lacks any sort of neck articulation, due to a light-up feature in the hair.  Of course, given the shaping of said hair, it’s unlikely that she would have had much movement going on anyway.  Jean’s sculpt was new to her, but would see an inevitable re-use for a Dark Phoenix figure (pictured with Wilson 4) in 1996 as part of the KB Toys-exclusive Marvel Universe line.  It’s really not a bad sculpt, especially for the time.  The proportions are decently balanced, and not terribly unrealistic, and kind of breaking from a lot of female figures for the time, she’s not hideous or horribly distorted, which was a pretty big deal.  Compared to the Rogue figure from the assortment prior, she’s definitely superior, and she blows the Series 1 Storm figure completely away.  There have been better Phoenix sculpts since, but it took them a good long while.  The paintwork is fairly basic stuff; the colors are bright and fairly eye-catching.  The green could maybe stand to be a little darker to better contrast with the yellow, but it’s not terrible.  The clear plastic for the hair actually works pretty well, especially when you have the right lighting.  The Dark Phoenix figure is pretty much the same paint, but palette-swapped.  The yellow parts are now gold, which was an interesting choice, but perhaps not the wisest, as it again leaves the two parts of the costume without much contrast.  Phoenix was packed with a launcher stand, re-used from the X-Force line’s Cannonball (yes, Cannonball had a figure before Jean Grey; try not to dwell on it).  It’s not the most thrilling extra, nor is it super specific, which is probably why the Dark Phoenix figure dropped it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Jean Grey has been my Dad’s favorite member of the X-Men pretty much since he started reading X-Men.  After discovering the Iron Man line on that fateful trip to Service Merchandise, he discovered the X-Men line via this figure (well, his copy of this figure, anyway), which he found at a dealer’s table at a con for the total insane crazy no one would ever pay this much for an action figure price of $20.  But hey, it was Jean Grey’s first figure, and he wasn’t going to pass it up, so he did not. …And then KB Toys did their buyout of Toy Biz figures, and you could get pretty much everyone in the line for under $5.  Not one to dwell on such things, my dad get me a Phoenix of my own, which I got alongside a Blackbird for the rest of my figures, if I recall correctly.  She was amongst 23 X-Men figures of mine that went missing for a few years during my high school/college days, but was discovered during “The Find” and has been on active display since then, because she’s just genuinely my favorite Jean Grey in my collection.

#1941: Colossus

COLOSSUS

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“The strongest of the X-Men, Colossus has the awesome mutant ability to turn his body into living steel! When he is in his living steel form, Colossus can lift as many as forty cars at once. His steel body is so hard that not even a bomb blast can hurt him! Normally Colossus is a quiet and gentle man, but when an evil mutant attacks, Colossus can be as fearsome a foe as any X-Man!”

Okay, so, umm, I was doing this thing where I was trying to work through Toy Biz’s X-Men line series by series.  And I was doing pretty good.  And then I was double checking things and realized I jumped the gun going to Series 2, so I have to do just the tiniest bit of back-tracking and take a look at the team’s resident metal bruiser, Colossus!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Colossus is the final figure in Series 1 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  At the time of this figure’s release, Piotr had been on the team pretty consistently since his introduction in the ’70s, so he was a natural choice for the line-up.  He’s seen here in his classic costume, which he had just returned to at the time of the figure’s release.  The figure stands 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  All of the figures in the set were originally designed with the lessened articulation, but most of them had it upgraded by the time they hit stores.  Colossus, for whatever reason, was one of two exceptions to this rule.  His sculpt is definitely scrawnier than later Colossi, but honestly he’s not that bad, especially in comparison to the rest of the assortment.  He’s actually a lot more proportionately balanced than most of them, so he looks pretty decent.  He’s rather pre-posed, in order facilitate his action feature.  What is this amazing action feature, you ask?  Well, there’s this lever on his back, and when you pull it down, his arms lift upward, in a weight-lifting sort of action.  I don’t know that it’s really worth the investment the figure gives it, but it’s not the worst.  The paintwork on Colossus is clean and bright.  It’s pretty basic, but it works.  Colossus is packed with a large weight, in order to help sell that weight lifting feature.  It’s a little tricky to keep him standing with it, but it’s doable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Colossus was not part of my collection growing up.  He was, however, part of my brother’s collection.  And as of late, my brother’s been purging a lot of his old figures, and Colossus was the only one I was missing, so, hey, that worked out pretty alright.  There have been better Colossus figures, but as far as 5-inch figures go, he actually still brings quite a bit to the table.

#1907: Magneto

MAGNETO

X-MEN: DELUXE EDITION (TOY BIZ)

“After his interment in a concentration camp, Erik Lehnsherr realized that the only way mutants could survive would be to dominate mankind. Turning his complete control of magnetism to his newfound cause, Lehnsherr became the mutant terorrist Magneto, determined to win freedom from oppression for his fellow mutants, no matter what the cost. His mad dream has only been kept in check thanks to the ever-vigilant actions of the X-Men!”

For Day 6 of the Post Christmas reviews, I’m keeping that 10-inch Marvel thing going.  After a more broad Marvel Universe look with Nick Fury, I’m heading over to the ’90s commercial juggernaut that was X-Men.  Today’s focus is on the X-Men’s very first baddie, Magneto.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Magneto was released in the second “Deluxe Edition” series of the X-Men line, which preceded the larger Marvel Universe line by a couple of years.  The figure stands 10 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  For whatever reason, he doesn’t have a joint on his right elbow.  Left one’s still there, and the smaller counterpart figure has both of them, but this guy doesn’t.  I have no clue why, and I don’t know if anyone really does, but there it is.  The figure is patterned on the Magneto II figure from the 5-inch line, though, as with a number of these figures, the larger version allows for a much better formed sculpt.  In particular, he has less of the odd pin-headed nature that the smaller figure possessed, which makes the figure much more appealing.  The arms are still a touch stubby, but that’s a minor complaint.  Overall, though, it’s a really strong classic Magneto sculpt, unmarred by the action features that sort of held back the smaller figure.  Even his paintwork is a fair bit better.  The colors are brighter, the application is cleaner, and the use of molded flesh tone instead of painted makes him look far more lifelike.  Magneto was packed with a blaster pistol, because that was just how you did with these figures in the ’90s.  Hey, at least it wasn’t a wooden gun, right?  That would just break his mind right in two.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Magneto never got a reissue in any of the later lines, unlike a lot of the others, and as one of the more prominent characters released, he never really hung around all that much.  As such, I don’t believe I ever saw one in person.  Like Fury, this figure was a stocking stuffer from my parents.  I actually really like him, and I think he’s one of the line’s nicest offerings.  Its kind of a shame he didn’t get any reissues.

#1906: Nick Fury

NICK FURY

MARVEL UNIVERSE 10-INCH (TOY BIZ)

“When a military robot from World War II is accidentally reactivated in the present, chaos sets in! Resuming its 50-year-old mission to destroy London, the robot begins smashing its way through the crowded city streets. Called in to stop the giant steel behemoth are Wolverine, Britain’s own Union Jack and Nick Fury agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.! With Fury using his advanced S.H.I.E.L.D. technology, Wolverine striking out with unbreakable adamantium claws and Union Jack relying on sheer cunning, the three heroes successfully neutralize the robot and leave it looking like scrap metal.”

For my fifth day of Post-Christmas reviews, I’m returning to a very comfortable ground, and looking back at one of my earliest collecting sources: Toy Biz’s run with the Marvel license.  While their 5-inch line was the real star of the ‘90s, running in tandem with it was a line of double-sized figures which proved pretty popular with the younger audience.  And in the ‘90s, the “younger audience” definitely included me.  Through creative parts re-use, Toy Biz racked up quite an impressive roster for the scale, and today I’m looking at Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nick was one of the larger scale Marvel Universe line’s 1998 offerings, hitting in an assortment that contained the Union Jack and a fairly standard Wolverine variant mentioned in the figure’s bio up there.  I’m always quite amused by this line’s way of creating a playable story from the seemingly off the wall character choices.  This one is admittedly one the most plausible of the ones I’ve found.  This figure stands 10 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  While Nick had a 5-inch figure with its own unique sculpt, this figure was released after the 10-inch line was almost entirely in repaint territory, so that sculpt was never actually sized up.  Instead, Nick is a repaint of the Spider-Man line’s Punisher.  I looked the the 5-inch release of that sculpt a little while back.  The designs of the two characters are similar enough that it’s really not much of a stretch I suppose.  It’s a nice enough sculpt, especially for its time of release, so there are no complaints there.  The larger version of the sculpt has the removable shoulder holster of the smaller figure permanently affixed, but this actually works out even better for Nick, since the shoulder piece is a pretty consistent element of his design.  The main change is the addition of his eye-patch, with is a soft-goods piece that’s been glued in place over his eye.  It’s a reasonable, cost effective way of handling the design change.  Nick’s paint gives him a more SHIELD appropriate color scheme of blue and white.  It ends up adding some details where there aren’t any on the sculpt, as well as overlooking some details that *are* on the sculpt, but that’s about par for the line.  The coolest work is definitely on his hair, which is actually a black base with the brown dry brushed over, giving it a neat layered appearance.  Pretty nifty!  Nick was originally packed with a rather larger gun piece, which my figure lacks.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Nick was a stocking stuffer from my parents, and what a stocking stuffer he was!  Obviously, I didn’t have this guy growing up.  In fact, I remember seeing him only one time as a kid, and not even at a regular retail store.  The nature of the line by the time Nick hit was really one of get as many different figures out as you can and don’t look back, so there are a large number of them whose existence is really only known to the people who happened upon them for the window the figures were available.  Nick was definitely one such figure.  The Punisher mold’s a good fit for the character, and is perhaps an even better mold than his 5-inch figure had.  While he’s certainly on the goofy side by today’s standards, Nick’s still a lot of fun.