#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.

#2470: Weapon X

WEAPON X

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Armed with adamantium claws and superhuman healing abilities, Weapon X joins the battle against Apocalypse.”

And we’re jumping back into the Age of Apocalypse fray.  We last left off with a figure that didn’t fill me with much enthusiasm, and we’re picking up with…another one of those.  Yeah, it’s a Wolverine episode, guys.  Oh, wait, I’m sorry…Age of Apocalypse…it’s a Weapon X episode, guys.  While others around him got new backgrounds and personalities, Logan more or less remained the same in AoA, apart from not being “Wolverine” and being down a hand.  Not that either of those ended up making much of a difference.  I guess it helps justify the toy, though.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Weapon X is figure 5 in the Sugar Man Series, which seems surprisingly late in the number scheme for a Wolverine, but, well, I guess he’s not a Wolverine, is he?  By the way, if you guys think that joke’s going away, you’re sadly mistaken.  That joke’s here to stay, unlike the Wolverine name…or Logan’s hand…or self-respect.  This marks the third time as Legends figure for AoA Logan, but given that the last one was during the Toy Biz days, an update feels like a good call.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Like most Logans these days, he’s built on the body from the Juggernaut Series Wolverine, with the cleaned up shins from Weapon X and a new head and forearms.  Essentially, it’s just a pretty straight update on the old figure in terms of part re-use, since that one was also built on its era’s brown costume body.  The new head’s definitely the star attraction here.  Logan’s hair got crazier and crazier as we got further into the ’90s, and in AoA it was at almost peak craziness.  That’s translated here, as this guy’s got one hell of a mane on him.  It puts all other Wolverine hair to shame, really.  How much hair gel do you think he has to use to get that all to stay in place?  I bet it’s a lot.  Like, obscene amounts.  And in a post-apocalyptic setting no less.  The intensity of the hair is matched only by the intensity of his facial expression.  This guy’s definitely feeling a need to show all of those teeth he’s got, in just the most intense way possible.  On the new forearms front, the right one’s not too different from previous releases, but the left of course gives us Logan’s stump, albeit with his claws extended from it.  The paint work on this guy is generally pretty decent.  The basics are all pretty sharp and clean, and they’ve done a respectable job handling the stubble and his arm hair.  He’s also got his signature forehead tattoos, which beg the question of how exactly does Logan manage to get tattoos?  Seems like too much thought for a ’90s comic, I suppose.  Weapon X is packed with a spare stump without the claws extended, thereby allowing for his appearance from earlier in the story, as well as one of Sugar Man’s legs.  It’s too bad we couldn’t also get an alternate burned head to fully replicate all of the looks from the two Toy Biz offerings.  That would have helped to up this figure’s appeal a little bit.

THE ME HALF OF EQUATION

I owned the Toy Biz Weapon X.  I sold the Toy Biz Weapon X (well, okay, not the burned head variant).  I didn’t really miss the Toy Biz Weapon X.  I can’t say I really felt the need for a new and improved version either.  But, I was getting the rest of the set, and I’m kind of doing this completist thing with the line, so I guess I wasn’t missing him, was I?  He’s fine.  Better than I expected, honestly.  It’s just that the AoA version of Logan isn’t really as exciting as other characters.  But, it’s not like we were going to ever get this assortment without him, so I guess it could be worse.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2462: Civilian Logan & Juggernaut

CIVILIAN LOGAN & JUGGERNAUT

MARVEL MINIMATES

The first year of Marvel Minimates had assortments that were all themed, but when they entered their second year, most of the assortments got a little more mixed.  For Series 5, we really saw that kick in, with each two-pack representing a different facet of the Marvel Universe.  We got our first taste of the Avengers with the previously reviewed Captain America & Absorbing Man, as well as a return to the X-Men with today’s focus, Civilian Logan and Juggernaut.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Logan and Juggernaut were released in Series 5 of Marvel Minimates.  Both would also be included in a TRU 4-pack, alongside Battle-Damaged Daredevil and Masked Spider-Man, and Logan also hit Walmarts and Targets in a two-pack with Masked Spider-Man again.  A slightly tweaked version of Juggernaut was also included in the very easily found Darktide boxed set, meaning these two are definitely numerous.

CIVILIAN LOGAN

We got a civilian version of Wolverine in Series 3, but I guess we needed one more, because, you know, Wolverine.  This time, he doesn’t have the jacket, though, so I guess there’s that.  The figure uses the older basic body (with the long feet), so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He gets a new hair piece, which is a little wilder than the previous ones (it would be re-used a few times), and also re-uses the clawed hands from the prior three Wolverines.  It’s a fairly basic set-up, but it works well enough.  I myself am not the biggest fan of the larger Wolverine hair, however there’s certainly precedent.  The paint work is pretty strong on this guy.  He gets a far more detailed facial expression, which is really angry, and the torso block gets quite a bit of detailing, making it stand out a fair bit from these earlier ‘mates it was released alongside.  It’s a little weird that his feet are the same grey as the rest of the leg, but it doesn’t look terrible or anything.

JUGGERNAUT

Nothing stops the Juggernaut…is a surprising phrase to attach to this particular iteration of the character, because, quite frankly, he looks like he could be stopped by a stiff breeze.  The larger characters were still a ways away from getting any bulked up parts, so Juggernaut just gets his helmet and bracers.  It’s definitely a different look, and makes him look a lot punier than he should.  At least he has the slightly larger hands to give him something more.  That’s better than either Hulk or Venom got.  Juggernaut’s paint work isn’t quite as impressive as Logan’s, but there’s still quite a bit of detailing going on, especially on that face.  Speaking of his face, since Cain’s visage is pretty much entirely covered by his helmet, Juggernaut was the very first ‘mate to get an alternate hair piece to allow for a sans helmet display.  It’s not really the best piece ever, but it’s certainly better than nothing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had this set when it was new, but I can’t say it was ever really a favorite of mine or anything.  I mean, it was serviceable, but it was the first of the kind of unnecessary Wolverine variants that would come to plague the line, and Juggernaut feels somewhat underwhelming.  I ended up losing most of the parts to my originals, and got a replacement pair when All Time got their big Minimates collection in last year.  I still don’t really have much connection to them, but I can admit that they were both better than I recalled.

#2418: Wolverines (and friends)

WOLVERINE — MODERN AGE/BATTLE RAVAGED/POWER SLAMMER, LADY DEATHSTRIKE, & SABRETOOTH

X-MEN/MODERN AGE (TOY BIZ)

Alright, let’s wrap this bad boy up, bub! When I was divvying up the figures for these reviews, I was doing it by the year of release, and in the process, I actually erroneously listed one of today’s offerings as being from ’99, rather than ’97, as it should be.  With the ’97 review as crowded as it already was, I’m just going to give myself a slight break on that, and group it in here.  It fits better here anyway, since none of today’s figures are truly from the X-Men line proper.  It’s gonna get a little bit complicated, so I might as well jump right in, I suppose.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

“His past shrouded in mystery, the man known simply as Logan was once a Canadian secret agent.  As Wolverine, Logan is a deadly, living weapon.  Besides being a master of a myriad of both armed and unarmed combat, Wolverine’s senses are superhumanly acute and rival many animals, making him a superior tracker and hunter.  Wolverine’s skeleton is laced with an unbreakable metal known as adamantium.  Wolverine is also equipped with foot-long adamantium claws that retract into his hand and can slice through nearly anything.  Coupled with a mutant healing factor that automatically regenerates any damaged or destroyed cells in his body, Wolverine’s ferocity in combat makes him a virtually unstoppable opponent.” 

I’ve delved once before (and rather recently) into Toy Biz’s Modern Age line, which was a direct market line of figures dropped in ’99.  Obviously, Wolverine is a far less obscure entry than Captain Britain, and far less in need of yet another figure, but he was very likely the figure that actually got retailers to support such a venture in the first place.  In that regard, he’s actually a valid comics variant, being a new take on the Brown Costume, which hadn’t actually seen an update since the very first series of X-Men back in 1991.  An update was probably a good idea, though whether this update was an improvement is perhaps more up for debate.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  Structurally, there’s not anything new to this guy.  He’s the Ninja Wolverine with the forearms and lower legs of the Water Wars Wolverine.  It all meshes together well enough, I suppose, but it means the figure is as much a caricature of Wolverine as the Ninja figure was.  With the unmasked appearance, they’re clearly aiming to capture his appearance from the cover of his first solo series, but these parts are pretty far from that look stylistically.  I’m also just not a huge fan of this particular head.  He’s got some major underbite going on there.  Wolverine’s packed with a sword and dagger…and, well, I mean, I think they’re meant to tie into his being based on the miniseries, wherein Logan travels to Japan and makes use of such things.  Trouble is, they’re re-used from the Hercules and Xena lines respectively, so they don’t look even vaguely Japanese in origin.  On the plus side, this guy does bring the trading card back.  Nifty!

“Flying at each other with berserker rage and vengeance are Lady Deathstrike and Wolverine.  Each possessing claws infused with the super-strong metal adamantium, Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike are sworn archenemies.  Believing Wolverine to be the key to unlocking the secrets of her father’s research, Lady Deathstrike will stop at nothing until she has defeated the mutant X-Man.  With a rivalry sure to explode when they next meet, Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike are headed for trouble.”

We now enter into the realm that makes up the rest of this review: two-packs.  Toy Biz was rather fond of them, especially later in the 5-inch run, as they were a pretty quick and easy way to turn around some “new” product with a small, concise theme.  It was also a way to get slightly harder to find figures back out in a way that assured a sale of two figures instead of just one.  The “Greatest __” set-up was a popular one for the two-packs, and this particular set, made up of Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike, was dubbed “Greatest Archenemies,” and hit shelves in 1997 (yes, this is the offending item that broke my whole yearly break down).  I’m a little skeptical about Deathstrike being Logan’s greatest archenemy, but whatever.  The Wolverine included in this pack was a re-deco of the Invasion Series’ Battle-Ravaged Wolverine, which is honestly a pretty solid figure.  He stands 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  Again, he’s quite tall for Wolverine.  And just kind of large in general, really.  This sculpt is one I’m fairly nostalgic about, the original release being my first Wolverine figure, and I do think it overall holds up pretty well.  The paint for this guy is rather drastically different, with it being a metallic paint scheme in contrast to the flat colors of the original.  This one also dials up the battle damage throughout, in contrast to the nature of the sculpt.  It’s not terrible, but I feel the coloring on the original is far superior to this release.  He was also given the weird armor from Patch, which isn’t a good fit for the body, or particularly great just as an accessory, but it sure is here.

Pairing off with this Wolverine was another go at Lady Deathstrike, previously seen in the Battle Brigade assortment.  She had two different decos there, but gets yet another here.  She stands 5 1/4 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation.  Her sculpt’s, uh, well, her sculpt’s not great.  I mean, I guess it’s not terrible, but it’s definitely not great.  I mean, all the important details are there, but the proportions are kinda wonky, and it’s really stiff.  It’s got those v-hips, and that’s pretty much never any fun for anyone.  For some reason, her forearms and hands are really soft and rubbery as well, and I’ve got no clue as to why.  Perhaps they were a safety hazard if cast in hard plastic?  She’s also got a radically changed color scheme, and I’m not really sure what it’s going for.  She’s pretty much only had the one color scheme in the comics, so this is an odd choice.  It’s also not very cleanly applied, and still feels kind of tacky in a number of places.  She gets the infrared headset and forearm cannon from the original Deathstrike release, but loses out on the big gross claw.  Also included in this set is a metal X-Men ring, if that’s the sort of thing you’re into.

In 2000, things began winding down for the 5-inch line.  To somewhat tie-in with the X-Men movie and the subsequent re-runs of the cartoon on Fox, Toy Biz put together a brief line of repaints and re-issues for the 5-inch figures.  There were three series of single-packed figures, and three different two-packs as well.  Wolverine and Sabretooth, whose rivalry was highlighted in the film, paired off for one of the sets.  The Wolverine figure in this set is essentially just a straight re-issue of the Wolverine included in the Power Slammers Series, one of the two Wolvies released in 1998 (a year I’ve pretty much skipped today). The figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  While the Rogue and Gambit figures that accompanied this Wolverine figure in his original series were based on the Shi’ar attire they were wearing in the comics at the time, Wolverine had no such attire, so Toy Biz just sort of made up something to loosely match them, I suppose.  It’s not one of my favorite designs, and looks more like a snowboarding suit than something Wolverine would wear.  The sculpt is at least a relatively decent one, with a fair bit of detailing mixed in and a reasonable set of prioportions.  They even kept the pre-posing to a minimum.  It’s really just the costume design that’s whacky.  The original release came with a power slammer contraption, but this one instead gets the splitting door accessory from the Battle Ravaged Wolverine figure.

Packed in with Wolvie was a variant of Sabretooth.  Like Wolverine, the core figure is essentially the same as a prior figure, specifically the Sabretooth from 1997’s Ninja Series.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  His sculpt is suitably large and imposing, something prior Sabretooths hadn’t quite gotten down.  He’s also fairly well articulated, and generally looked as being the best general Sabretooth sculpt of the 5-inch days, despite being such a non-standard design.  He gets him some Wolverine hair (making it a little surprising that this figure was never repainted into Logan), and sort of a onesie.  It’s perhaps not as intimidating a look as his sheer size would tend to hint at, but then again, Sabretooth has never really had much of a sense of fashion.  This figure’s paint is largely unchanged from his single-pack, but he did get white boots in place of the original silver ones.  He gets the two pieces of clip-on armor from the Ninja release, but lacks that figure’s mask and tunic.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Honestly, this last round of figures is pretty much all made up of figures that were on the chopping block when I was briefly considering *not* getting every figure I didn’t have from the collection at All Time.  I of course then came to my senses and realized how silly I was being not just filling in the set outright.  That said, this is definitely the weakest selection, with some kind of uninspired repaints, some really goofy toy-original designs that just don’t quite land, and a strangely not artist-specific take on an artist-specific concept.  Nothing here’s as terrible as, say Battle Blasters Wolverine, but none of its as fun as Unleashed or Missile Flyers.

Thanks to All Time Toys for setting me up with these guys to review.  If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2417: The 1997 Wolverines

WOLVERINE – NINJA, MONSTER ARMOR, UNLEASHED, FUTURE, HYDRO BLAST, & BATTLE BLASTER

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

It’s going to get worse before it gets better…well, depending on your perspective, anyway.  It’s certainly going to get more numerous before it gets less so.  Yes, it’s time for part four of the Day of the Wolverines, where we move to 1997, a year that was quite jam-packed with Wolverines.  I mean, really, just X-Men figures in general, but as the most marketable, Wolverine reaped a lot of those benefits.  However, this is really where the line gives up on its “lets just make a fairly straight adaptation of a lot of X-characters” mission statement in favor of a more crazy, experimental, frantic, “try to grab all the attention we can” ideal.  It was…well, it was an interesting time to be collecting for sure.  Onward we go!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

“Long ago trained in the ways of the martial arts, Ninja Wolverine formed a powerful bond with Japan and many of its people.  So when Dark Nemesis threatens to destroy Japan, Ninja Wolverine is ready to tear him to pieces.  Joined by fellow X-Man Ninja Psylocke, Ninja Wolverine uses his razor sharp claws and martial art abilities to do whatever it takes to stop the forces that would enslave his adopted home land!”

Man, they really like the word Ninja, don’t they?  After the success of the Light-Up series the prior year, Toy Biz opted to go even further down the themed assortment rabbit hole.  Their first venture was one that was pretty popular in the mid-to-late ’90s: Ninjas.  Admittedly, not the furthest reach for an X-Men assortment, and Wolverine himself is a pretty solid fit for such a theme.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and has 11 points of articulation.  After creep upward in scaling, Wolverine is back into a more regular scale…for now, anyway.  This was a new sculpt for Wolverine, and represents the line’s turn to more exaggerated proportions and expressions.  I’m not exactly sure what’s going on with Logan’s face, but I’m fairly certain I don’t like it.  We get our first acknowledgement of Wolverine’s bone claws for this figure, three years after the fact.  This marked the line’s first venture into a more mixed-media venture, which would prove a popular idea for Toy Biz, as it would re-surface for their X-Men vs Street Fighter line, as well as their Marvel’s Gold line.  It’s not the worst looking thing, I suppose, but Logan looks a little bit like he’s swimming in all that fabric.  Fortunately, it’s fairly easily removed if that’s not you jam.  In order, I suppose, to make up for his lack of metal claws, Wolverine includes a three-bladed sword, a ninja staff, a chain (which the kids dig, of course), and a grappling hook.

“Transformed by Mister Sinister into a creature possessing pure animal fury, Wolverine is now the monstrous beast, Fangor.  Breaking the bars of his holding cell, the monster Wolverine rages out of control.  Using his increased strength, Wolverine destroys Sinister’s mutagenic equipment and soon finds himself attacked by monster versions of Rogue and Cyclops!  Wolverine is mutantkind’s last, best hope against the power of Sinister!”

After being Ninjas and then fighting some robots for a bit, the X-Men played into their monstrous side, as well as their…armored side.  Look, they turned into monsters, okay?  And Wolverine was there because he kinda had to be, like contractually or something.  The figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall (again, with the hunch factored in, meaning he’s again jumping in size.) and has 5 points of articulation.  The Monster Armor series for whatever reason cut back on the articulation for the individual figures.  Others in the set get a few more unique points of movement, but Wolverine just has the standard 5 joints.  Wolverine is definitely a victim of a shift towards a pseudo-McFarlane style, with pre-posing, exaggerated proportions, and a more “intense” design.  Logan takes an admittedly far more simian appearance, even before the monster armor is taken into account.  He also ditches Logan’s usual hair, in exchange for something more free form.  Despite its very stylized nature, it’s actually a kind of nifty sculpt, partly because it’s a bit more unique.  I also quite dig the torn-up costume detailing.  One notable thing missing are his usual shoulder pads, which were present on the prototype, but were gone by the time he made it to production.  This figure also had a notable cut in paint apps from proto to final product, resulting in a somewhat bland paint scheme here.  Wolverine included the five clip-on pieces for turning him into “Fangor,” which do their job as well as any of the others.  I don’t know why he doesn’t turn into, say, a Wolverine, but hey, who am I to judge?

“Feeling responsible for Professor X’s possession by the evil Onslaught entity, Wolverine seeks to save his mentor.  Finding Onslaught unstoppable, Wolvie rescues the one person whose reality-warping powers might be able to defeat the villain–Franklin Richards.  Now in New York City’s Central Park, Wolverine stands with the greatest super heroes in the final assault against Onslaught!”

Following the…let’s loosely call it “success,” I suppose…of Marvel’s Onslaught crossover, we got a brief tie-in line as part of the X-Men line.  There’s not much to it, but there was a Wolverine.  Yay?  Sure, why not?  We’d already gotten a Wolverine with bone claws, but this one takes it a step further, giving us, to date, our only figure of Wolverine post-adamantium-removal-and-attempted-reintroduction-induced-secondary-mutation.  It’s a very specific time in his life, I assure you.  It’s also, like, peak ’90s craziness for Wolvie.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Again, the Onslaught series represents a cut back in the articulation, and more importantly it leans hardcore into the increasing size of Wolveine.  Were he standing straight, this guy would have at least another inch of height.  Even amongst the larger than average Onslaught figures, that’s nuts.  This guy’s too large to fit in with Marvel Legends, for Pete’s sake!  Befitting the time period and the version of Logan, the sculpt is by far the most exaggerated I’ve looked at yet.  He’s really cartoony, and really goofy. I dig the retractable claws for this guy, but the actual fur on the forearms is just a really strange choice (according to Super Awesome Wife: “He’s hairy in all the wrong places”).  Honestly, a lot about this figure’s strange, truth be told.  His only accessory is actually an additional figure: it’s a little Franklin Richards figurine, in what has got to be the most ’90s attire Franklin ever wore.

“With his strong adamantium bones and claws, as well as a mutant healing factor, Wolverine can stand up to just about anything.  So when the X-Men take on Apocalypse in his flying fortress, Wolverine leads the charge.  Pounded by the fortress’ automated defense systems, Wolverine attacks.  Using his razor sharp claws, Wolverine makes quick work of the robot guards.  Facing off against Apocalypse in mid-air, Wolverine won’t stop until he sends the villain crashing down once and for all.”

At this point, the actual themes of the assortments kind of started to fall off, in favor of just leaning really heavily into the gimmicks.  The Missile Flyers series was, unsurprisingly, a bunch of figures with big missile-firing flying contraptions.  Also, it was supposedly in the future?  All of the figure’s had “future” in front of their name, anyway.  At least it didn’t get shoved into every instance of Wolvie’s name like with the Ninja figure.  Future Wolverine stands just shy of 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  Yay for knees and elbows again!  That said, he’s not a particularly posable figure, even with the returning joints.  Pretty much he’s hot the one pose.  His sculpt was all-new, and it was an all-new design and…well, there it its.  It, uh, it certainly happened.  His head’s real tiny, and his hands and feet are real big.  I’m glad that at least, unlike the Muntant Armor, this figure’s armor does actually mimic the classic Wolvie appearance a bit.  Also digging those groovy curved and wavy claws.  Very unique.  This Wolverine a mask (which the package proudly proclaims “fits over head”; that’s good, I guess) and a dragon-shaped wingpack with a launching missile for a head.  The wingpack is green for some reason, which clashes with the figure proper, but if I’m honest, doesn’t look half bad.

“When Los Angeles is attacked by deadly mutant hunting Sentinels, it’s up to the X-Men to stop them.  The Sentinels’ only weakness is their vulnerability to water.  Thus the X-Men arm themselves with powerful water shooting weapons in order to defeat the inhuman menace.

Fighting his way out of any situation is the most dangerous of all the X-Men — Wolverine!  Putting his enemies in their place with his retractable claws, Wolverine also has a powerful mutant healing factor making him quick to recover from any attack.  With heightened senses, no one can hide from Wolverine, making him an effective hunter as well.  Choosing the path of a hero, Wolverine fights along side the X-Men to create a world where humans and mutants co-exist in peace.”

1997 was the year that Toy Biz got into the water-themed stuff, with both of their main super hero lines getting in on the action.  Spider-Man had the Web-Splashers, and the X-Men had “Water Wars.”  The pretense of how they set up the need for these water-shooting gimmicks is pretty darn laughable, but removed from the gimmicks, they were actually an alright assortment of updates to some core looks.  We’d gone a little bit without just a standard tiger stripe Wolverine, and this one dropped right in nicely.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall (his stature was returning again to something more reasonable) and he has 11 points of articulation.  Though he lacked elbows, the rest of the added articulation sort of made up for it, and this was honestly Toy Biz’s most posable Wolverine at this scale.  The sculpt is far more stylized, and definitely more pre-posed than earlier entries in the line, but for the most part, this is a pretty respectably handled take on the character.  He’s packed with some shoulder armor, onto which you can mount his big water cannon.  It’s incredibly gimmicky, and incredibly tacked-on, but there it is.

“In a strange universe Wolverine brings a glimmer of hope to all mutants.  Fighting against the evil warlord Apocalypse, Wolverine slashes his way to making the world a better place for all mutantkind.  Along with Jean Grey, Wolverine is more trouble than he can claw his way out of, his transforming Claw Cannon Blaster and its secret weapon are more than able to finish the more than able to finish the job for him.”

Okay, I’m not even going to try and figure out what that bio’s *supposed* to say, because it certainly isn’t what it actually ended up saying, because that’s just an incomprehensible mess.  It’s okay, the figure it accompanies isn’t much better.  After Water Wars, Toy Biz decided they really liked this model of packing every figure with some sort of large gimmicky thing, so they launched the “Secret Weapon Force,” a subline that ran through the X-Men line for the next two years.  The first series was dubbed “Battle Blasters” because everyone had…big battle blasters.  I know, it’s real high-concept stuff.  Wolverine stands 5 1/4 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  All of the Battle Blasters figures were retools in some way, but while some of them were rather clever, Wolverine simply wasn’t.  For some reason, they opted to re-use not a pre-existing Wolverine mold, but rather a *Sabretooth* mold, specifically Captive Sabretooth from the Invasion Series.  It’s not a great mold to begin with, and is only made worse when co-opted to be something it’s not.  They’ve opted to do him up in his Age of Apocalypse colors, but he’s still got two hands, and no pupils, and hair that’s not even remotely right, so it just kind of falls apart.  It’s also just not a very attractive sculpt, and that jaw-opening action feature looks really weird.  No sir, I do not like it.  They weren’t willing to drop money on new tooling, but Toy Biz were quite happy to spring for this all-new Claw Cannon Blaster, which is…a thing.  Yeah, it’s dumb and I got nothing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The “I’ve probably got enough Wolverines” was really hitting by ’97, and so I really didn’t pick any of these up new, or even pay them much mind.  I’ve got other figures from the same assortments, so I was still collecting, of course, but not these guys.  In the case of Unleashed and Future Wolverine, I’ll admit to actually wanting them a little bit as a kid.  They were, in fact, the two I was most hoping to see in this collection when Jason called me about it.  Goofy as they may be, neither disappointed.  The others are kind of a range of quality.  Water Wars is surprisingly good, and Battle Blasters may well be the worst Wolverine Toy Biz ever produced, with the other two falling in between.  Oh good, I’m finally through with the ’97 review.  It gets easier from here.

Thanks to All Time Toys for setting me up with these guys to review.  If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2416: 1996 Wolverines

WOLVERINE — LIGHT-UP, PATCH, SAVAGE LAND, & BATTLE ARMOR

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

As we reach the middle of this crazy Day of the Wolverines event, I’m doing a bit of a time jump.  We last left off in 1993, just as the X-Men line was taking off.  The Wolverine craze was, admittedly, at a minimum.  I’ve already covered 1994’s Wolverines, and by 1995 I had gotten into collecting myself, meaning I bought those Wolverines when they were still new.  So, we pick things up in 1996, when the X-Men line is starting to dip its toes into the world of weird.  Don’t worry, guys, this one stays mostly on the rails; it’s the next one you have to worry about.  Okay, into the fray once more!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Long before joining the X-Men, Wolverine was a well-trained mercenary.  One of the most important skills to him was stealth training.  Now when Wolverine needs to get somewhere secretly, he utilizes this background and his stealth equipment!  Donning these advanced stealth weapons and gear, Wolverine becomes a one-man covert operation.”

1996 was the year that the gimmicks really started to seep into the X-Men line, with the first one of note being the “Classic Light-Up Weapons” series.  Ah, yes, Light-Up weapons; what a classic.  While the general purpose of the assortment was to update some characters that hadn’t gotten figures since nearer the beginning of the line, Wolverine was also along for the ride, because, well, he’s Wolverine.  His standard figure for this release was, despite the “Classic” monicker, not a classic Wolverine, but instead a variant costume, which looks to be based on the stealth gear he wears in the Animated Series episode “Sanctuary Pt. 2.”  It’s not the worst thing to come out of the ’90s, and I guess it’s at least a fairly unique look.  The figure stands just over 5 inches tall (even crouching, again showcasing the upward trend of height) and he has 7 points of articulation.  As with all of the Light-Up figures, Wolverine suffered a bit of a restriction on the articulation front thanks to the light-up gimmick, meaning his right arm’s not going to be doing much, and he loses out on elbow movement.  He doesn’t even get the ankle joints that Gambit, Psylocke, and Nightcrawler did to make up for it!  The sculpt on this one is…well, it’s an interesting one.  It’s an intense one, too.  They were definitely going for dynamic, especially as the line continued and…well, this guy is dynamic, I suppose.  There’s quite a bit of pre-posing going on, something we really hadn’t seen in this line before.  It’s not ideal.  Wolverine is also really bulked up and…I don’t wanna say “puffy”?  Again, not ideal, but fitting with the line’s ongoing efforts to make Wolverine larger and larger (that’ll hit critical mass in the next set of reviews).  The whole Light-Up assortment was treated to a set of re-paints, meaning we got this figure not only in his weird stealth colors, but also in a semblance of his regular color scheme as well.  Whichever version you got, he included a large light-up…thing, and two belts full of pouches.  Yay pouches!  No trading card here, I’m afraid.

“A hero whose adamantium-laced bones and razor-sharp claws make him the bane of his enemies, Wolverine is a hard guy to miss.  So when he finds himself on the island of Madripoor in need of a disguise, Wolverine takes on the identity of ‘Patch!’  Now secretly moving among the island’s inhabitants, Wolverine waits for the moment when he can finish his covert operation and return home to the X-Men!  With amazing mutant abilities and years of martial arts training, one thing is for sure–no matter what guise he’s in, Wolverine is always ready for action!”

Ah, yes, Wolverine’s “Patch” identity.  An oft-mocked concept that really doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that would come even remotely close to working as a real-world disguise, largely due to usual renditions of the design still keeping Wolverine’s signature hairstyle.  Let’s all marvel at Toy Biz managing to actually make a legit comics thing somewhat less stupid for adaptation into a toy.  It was…certainly a change of pace for this particular era of figures.  Wolverine Patch stands 4 1/4 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  That includes an articulated ponytail.  Did I say ponytail?  Yes, I certainly did, because Toy Biz actually gave Patch a different hairstyle than your usual Wolverine.  He’s got it pulled back, which actually makes him look like a different guy.  There’s an illustration on the back of the box which also shows this hairstyle, so it may be something that actually came from later Patch appearances, but my searching online didn’t bring any up, so I’m crediting Toy Biz with changing this one up.  Beyond this newly patch-ed and ponytail-ed head, Wolvie makes use of a slightly retooled body from the AoA Weapon X figure, which had been released earlier the same year.  Virtually every part of the body had been changed in some fashion, though, so it seems it was more to save on sculpting time, and less to save on costs. The figure’s got a armored thing that the package dubs his “Total Assault Arsenal,” which is supposed to be removable.  I don’t know if this is the case across the board, mine being the only copy I’ve opened, but on my figure the tab at the back of the belt had been glued shut, in fact even gluing a portion of the belt to the body.  It freed from the body easy enough, but it was no easy task getting the two ends of the belt to separate for removal.  That’s not ideal.  There were two color schemes available for this guy.  The one seen here, and one that swaps out the dark blue body suit and the red cables for black and purple, respectively.  He brings back the trading card as well, with this one being dedicated to showing off the broken claws of a post-adamantium-extraction Wolverine.

“During his time with the X-Men, Wolverine has visited many strange places, but none can compare with the Savage Land! A tropical rain forest located in the heart of Antartica, filled with prehistoric creatures long thought extinct, it is as unique as Wolverine himself.  But with his adamantium claws and heightened mutant abilities, Wolverine is a primal force to be reckoned with, even in a place where dinosaurs still roam.” 

Repaints were a fairly regular affair for the line by this point, be they as accents to a main assortment, or as an assortment outright themselves.  For ’96, the repaint series was titled “Flashback,” I guess as a reference to the re-used molds?  It certainly didn’t have much of anything to do with the figures contained within.  The assortment was 50/50 split on good use of a repaint and bad use of a repaint.  Fortunately, its Wolverine variant fell into the former category.  While the whole X-team would journey to the Savage Land the next year, Wolverine got in ahead of the game.  Savage Land Wolverine stands 4 3/4 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation.  He’s a repaint of the Fang Wolverine mold, which is one I actually haven’t looked at here on the site yet.  It’s one of my favorites, and quite frankly, it’s probably the best Wolverine sculpt the line produced.  It’s proportions aren’t nuts, and pre-posing is at a minimum.  Even its action feature, which makes use of a primitive form of butterfly joints, for sort of a claw slashing maneuver, is pretty decently handled.  The new paint does a respectable job of transforming the original costume’s details into a sort of a tribal affair, which makes for a fairly unique design, and distances it from the original figure quite nicely.  He’s packed with the same weapons tree and two blades as the Spy Wolverine figures, as well as the two additional blades from the initial Fang Wolverine release.  And again, there’s a trading card, this time of Juggernaut!

“Everyone knows that one Sentinel is no match for Wolverine’s adamantium claws…but what about five Sentinel’s? or ten?  That’s why Professor X and Forge developed a special battle armor for Wolverine!  Using highly advanced Shi’ar technology, the armor boosts Wolverine’s strength, and emits a focused energy that temporarily neutralizes the Sentinels’ power cells.”

Okay, so, a couple of things.  Firstly, I want it noted that I transferred the bio over directly from the back of the box, including that possessive “Senintel’s” that is meant to be a plural.  Secondly, though the bio talks all about this thing being anti-Sentinel armor, the descriptor on the front is “Anti-Magnetism Armor” which would lead you to believe that it would have something to do with Magneto.  Beast from this assortment *also* has Anti-Magnetism Armor, so I went to check if his bio was more properly oriented, only to discover that my figure came with the card back for Quicksilver.  I’d say it’s a safe bet that Wolverine’s “Anti-Magnetism” descriptor is yet another typo, especially given this is the infamous “Muntant Armor” series.  Let’s get away from the packaging and onto the figure.  This whole assortment was an excuse for Toy Biz to make use of the recently canceled fifth series of their Iron Man line, pumping them into the far more commercially viable X-Men as a string of goofy variants.  Wolverine made use of the planned Magnetic Armor (a little ironic, given the ultimate descriptor on this guy), sans the Iron Man head, and with the Space Wolverine head in its place.  It’s not a terrible construction, and certainly a much less forced set-up than the Beast figure from the same assortment.  It also ditches the more typical Wolverine color scheme for one that’s blue, red, and black.  It’s honestly kind of interesting that they didn’t go more on-brand with the colors, especially considering they already were tweaking them from the proposed Iron Man colors.  As a repurposed Iron Man, Wolverine’s got the same removable armor gimmick that most of that line did.  He also includes a trading card of Cable vs Nimrod, which is all holographic and stuff.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

By 1996, I was officially venturing into the realm of “I probably have too many Wolverines,” which is why I didn’t get most of these when they were new.  That’ll go double for the next entry.  I did get the standard Light-Up Wolvie new, though that was as a gift from my Nana, so I can hardly be blamed for that (he’s the only one form this set *not* from the All Time haul, but the variant did come from them).  What’s intriguing about this year’s line-up is how far away from potentially standard Wolverines we moved.  They’re all kinda specialized.  I think Savage Land is my favorite of this bunch, but that’s largely linked to him being a repaint of Fang Wolverine, who’s just a solid figure in his own right.  Light-Up is *not* a good figure, by pretty much any metrics.  I’ve got a little bit of a soft-spot for him, but I can recognize the many mistakes made there.  Armored Wolvie is a passable Iron Man figure, but really doesn’t feel like and X-Men figure, because he’s simply not one.  And Patch is…I mean, he’s just kind of there.

Thanks to All Time Toys for setting me up with these guys to review.  If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2415: Wolverine V – Part Deux

WOLVERINE V

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Before his transformation into the super hero called Wolverine, the man called Logan plied his trade as one of the world’s foremost secret agents!  His superhuman senses proved an invaluable asset in the realm of espionage, especially when enhanced by the most sophisticated sensing equipment money could buy!  And his unequaled skill with razor edged weapons made him an unbeatable fighter–much to the regret of the enemies of world peace!”

For the second part of my crazy Day of the Wolverines marathon run, I’m actually doing just a little bit of circling back, and taking a look at a figure I’ve kind of looked at before.  See, one of the things that Toy Biz experimented with a fair bit during their X-Men line was color variants.  They were a solid way of getting another sale or two out of the same mold, so there were a fair number of figures that wound up with one, or even two variant color schemes.  Sometimes there’d be a variant color scheme within the standard assortment, and then yet another as a retailer-exclusive, waiting just around the corner!  Such was the case with Wolverine V, Spy Wolverine!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spy Wolverine was part of Series 4 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, hitting shelves in 1993.  I’ve reviewed one of this figure before, back in 2014, and my general thoughts on its sculpt still pretty much stand.  I will say, that compared to the Weapon X figure from earlier, I’m a little surprised by the slight step back in quality on this figure, and honestly, on the Civilian Logan that hit the next year.  You almost have to wonder if there was some shuffling of figures in the line-up, or if maybe a few of the Wolverines were prepped at once.  Whatever the case, it’s a slight letdown, but certainly not a terrible sculpt in its own right.  I mean, who doesn’t want a bunch of snorkling Wolverines?  The difference between all of these figures is the paint.  For the main release, he came in either black and gold or blue and gold.  My initial review was of the blue, and the black is featured here. The KB Toys version swaps out the black/blue for an olive green, and the gold for bronze.  The general application across all of the figures is essentially the same, with even those darn goofy eyes appearing across the board.  For my figures, I found the KB version to be the cleanest.  All of the figures also included the same six knives, four still being on the tree behind him.  We also get more trading cards!  Black actually gets a Wolverine card (crazy, I know), but Olive gets Psylocke.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I picked up the blue guy back in 2014, I figured that would do me, and I wouldn’t need to worry about the variants.  However, when I came in to dig through this insane collection of Wolverines, I discovered that the only Spy Wolverine this guy didn’t have was the one I did.  It seemed almost criminal to not complete the set.  Right?  That’s a fair line of logic, right?  I’m not just making excuses for my habit, right?  The black version I don’t have much attachment to (aside from it feeling more chromatically correct based on the cartoon, I suppose), but I find myself really liking the olive Wolvie.  He just kinda works.

Thanks to All Time Toys for setting me up with these guys to review.  If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2414: Wolverines III & IV

WOLVERINES III & IV

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

The isolation…it’ll do crazy things to a man…things like give him grand, lofty, and possibly insane ideas.  What kind of ideas you ask?  Well, I may or may not have recently been getting a little bit nostalgic for my “Day of the Vipers” event I ran back in 2018.  You know, the day I was insane and wrote six separate reviews and published them all over the course of 24 hours.  Yes, I get nostalgic about the times that I put *way* too much work into this site.  I’m not well.  I thought to myself that it might even be nice to do such a thing again.  But, what could I possibly use for such a follow-up?  Clearly I didn’t have anything tailor-made for such a marathon of reviews…and then I had something kind of drop into my lap.  So, hey, let’s fully embrace my isolation-induced insanity for a bit.  Without further ado, I present the Day of the Wolverines.  Here they come, bub!  Let’s kick things off with a journey back to 1992.  Not a bad year if I do say so myself, and a solid year for X-Men.  Toy Biz’s line launched the year prior, and we got our second and third series over the course of ’92, which brought our Wolverine count up to a firm four.  I’ve already looked at Wolverine II, so let’s go ahead and round out that set with Wolverines III and IV.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

When it comes to fighting Evil Mutants, the X-Men know there’s no one better than Wolverine!  With his razor-sharp adamantium claws, his lightning-quick reflexes and his unmatched combat experience, Wolverine can outfight anyone!  Thanks to his super-fast mutant healing ability, in just a few short hours he’s totally healthy and ready for action again, no matter how serious his wounds!”

Wolverine’s numerous costume changes in the early ’90s proved fortuitous for Toy Biz’s growing little X-Men line, allowing for three totally valid variants of the pint-sized hero right off the bat.  We’d gotten the brown costume and the Tiger-Stripe costume, so the only main look left was Logan’s strike team uniform, Jim Lee’s take on the old Kirby uniforms.  This figure, dubbed Wolverine III, was released in early 1992 as part of the Series 2 line-up, and then showed up again the same year in the Series 3 line-up as well (it’s believed he was the shortpack in both assortments, and this was Toy Biz’s way of getting him out in decent numbers).  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  Structurally, this figure’s pretty similar to Wolverine II, although it’s worth noting that the only part shared between them was the torso (well, that was *supposed* to be the only part, anyway.  A good number of this figure actually shipped with Wolverine II’s legs in place of his proper ones.  This variant is commonly referred to as “Wolverine 2.5”).  The head’s also pretty close to the head that was used later as an alt-head for Series 5’s Morph.  Stylistically, this guy fits right in with the rest of the Series 2/3 stuff, and it’s honestly not a bad mold, all things considered.  I don’t think it’s aged quite as well as the Tiger Stripe figure, but that could also be the slightly more dated costume design at play.  This guy keeps both of the action features of the Wolverine II figure, for better or for worse.  I’m still not entirely sure what the purpose of the thumb tab on the back of these figures was, but Toy Biz sure liked it.  The claws were an interesting idea, but one I’m glad Toy Biz ultimately moved away from.  His paint’s fairly standard of the time.  The overall application’s not bad, but there’s definitely some wobbly lines on the edges of the costume. Wolverine III, like Wolverine II, included a gun, because why not?  Also, a trading card of Widget, a character I have no familiarity with whatsoever.  So there’s that.

“A top-secret government project transformed the Mutant named Logan into the unbeatable warrior Weapon X.  He was given unbreakable adamantium claws and a battle simulation helmet which created imaginary battle screens that looked virtually real.  Using these unique training weapons, Weapon X sharpened his combat skills to perfection.  The ultimate secret agent, Weapon X later used his high-tech training to become the heroic X-Man Wolverine!”

Still relatively new at the time, Wolverine’s Weapon X get-up was a pretty popular look, and pretty divergent from his main look to boot.  It’s use for Wolverine IV was pretty sensible, I suppose.  The figure starts Logan’s crawl upwards in height, standing just shy of 5 inches tall, and he has 9 points of articulation.  His sculpt is all-new, and it feels almost out of place with the others in its series.  While the early X-Men figures all adhere to a simpler style, this guy honestly feels like he belongs a bit later in the line.  The proportions are a little more buffed up (though not to crazy levels yet), and the detail work on the sculpt is actually quite sharp.  He’d end up getting the style of claws that most of the later line versions of Wolverine got, as well, resulting in a figure that just feels more advanced than his compatriots.  He’s definitely the most technically impressive of the Series 3 line-up, and one of the most impressive of the early line figures as a whole.  His paint’s pretty decent as well, with all of the basics covered, plus proper detailing for the cables and such.  This one’s the standard release, but KB also had an exclusive repaint, which had red cables and grey shorts.  Weapon X included his helmet and harness, which are a little bulky and loose fitting, but certainly not bad additions to the figure.  This marks the first time that the line didn’t stick Wolverine with an extra weapon of some sort.  He also got a Rogue trading card.  I do know her, so we’re doing alright there.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, this pair is interesting, because they’re both figures I sort of owned growing up.  Why “sort of”?  Well, my Wolverine III was actually the 2.5 figure, which KB had a lot of back in the day.  I tried painting him in the proper colors, but never got it right.  Weapon X I only had the core figure to, as he accompanied a loose Professor X my dad bought from eBay.  But, as you can see, I have the proper full versions of both now.  See, I got a call from Jason at All Time a little while back asking if there were any Toy Biz Wolverines I needed.  I said there were a number and he said “great, I just got pretty much all of them.  Swing by the store and you can dig through them.”  So…there’s your preview of what the rest of the day holds, I suppose.

Thanks to All Time Toys for setting me up with these guys to review.  If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2395: Giant-Size X-Men

CYCLOPS, WOLVERINE, COLOSSUS, STORM, NIGHTCRAWLER, & THUNDERBIRD

MARVEL MINIMATES

The first year of Marvel Minimates was all kind of consolidated around the summer of 2003, so it was a little while before we well and truly got a follow-up, but they kickstarted their second year off with a bang.  After focussing purely on the Ultimate incarnation of the X-Men, for their first two entries in year two, DST decided to circle back around and give us classic X-Men in spades.  When it comes to classic X-Men, it’s hard to get more classic than the cover of Giant-Size X-Men #1, which is what the line’s first dedicated boxed set was based around.  So, without further ado, let’s jump right in!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Giant-Size X-Men boxed set hit in January of 2004, and was the first boxed set to be available through specialty shops.  It (and the AFX-exclusive Professor X and Magneto) introduced the totally windowless packaging that would become the norm for the line for the next four years.  In the case of this particular set, it was probably the nicest box the line produced, replicating the cover to the original issue quite nicely.  I’ve included a shot of it here, courtesy of minimatedatabase.com.  Of the six figures contained in this set, five would eventually be made available as part of a set of Target exclusive two-packs (Thunderbird wound up as the odd man out), with the major difference between the two releases being C3-style feet on the later figures.

CYCLOPS

Already two ‘mates in by this point, this set finally gave us Cyclops with his classic cowled appearance.  It wouldn’t be the last time we’d see it, even just for a short while, but it sure was important at the time.  He’s built on the standard old-style body, so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and he’s got 14 points of articulation.  He’s got one add-on piece for his mask/visor, which is a pretty nicely sculpted piece.  I always appreciated how the visor on it was so instantly unique from the one on the Series 3 Cyclops.  It was also a nice enough piece that it lasted through to 2010 before being retired.  The rest of things are handled through paint, and admittedly not a lot of it.  Of the six figures included here, Scott was by far the least detailed, with not even chest detailing to make him stand out.  Given how he was always so creatively shaded in the comics, it’s a shame they didn’t go for that here.  They’d end up fixing that on later figures.

WOLVERINE

Already two ‘mates in by this point, this set finally gave us Wolverine with his classic…cowled appearance…wait, I just did this.  Sorry!  I mean, yeah, it’s the same deal as Cyclops, though.  Woverine’s two prior releases lacked his distinctive mask, so this was our first shot at it.  He got a new add-on piece for it, as well as new boots, and the same clawed hands from the two Series 3 releases.  It’s not a bad selection of parts, but it definitely didn’t hold up as well as the Cyclops mask did.  These parts would see only one more use before being retired.  Everything else is paint, and that includes the shoulder pads, which was an…interesting choice.  Clearly, they’re a three dimensional item, but they were just painted on here.  The separate pieces that came later were a better fit.  The rest of the paintwork is pretty decent.  Like Scott, he doesn’t have any sort of musculature on his chest, but he does at least get his tiger stripes, so it’s not a total blank void.

COLOSSUS

Notably missing from the Series 3 X-Men line-up (despite Ultimate Colossus being a prominent member at the time), Colossus made his debut here.  He was one of the most involved ‘mates in the set in terms of parts count, with add-ons for his hair, tunic/belt, and boots.  All of the parts were new at the time, and they’re honestly the best of the parts introduced here.  They just do a really great job of replicating the feel of the character, and I always liked how they bulked him up a bit when compared to the others in the set.  In addition to having the most extra parts, Colossus also had by far the most involved paint work of the whole set, and honestly of most of the line at this point.  The banding on his metal skin wraps all the way around on his arms and legs, and he’s got a fully detailed front and back to the torso block under his tunic.  His face also is just so full of character.  It’s honestly a little shocking that this guy and Cyclops are from the same set.

STORM

Storm had gotten one ‘mate prior to this, but that was a modern design, so the classic was kind of needed, I guess.  Her original costume is pretty darn distinctive, and I think more properly captured that regal side of the character.  She had add-ons for her hair and cape.  The hair is huge, to comical standards, honestly, and makes her quite tricky to keep standing.  The cape, on the other hand, is small and very understated, and rather easily missed, I feel.  That was kind of the nature of the capes, at this point, though, so I can’t really say it was out of the ordinary or weird.  The paint is alright on her, but not the same level as Colossus.  She has the basics, and she does at least get torso detailing of some sort, so she’s a bit ahead of Cyclops and Wolverine.  That said, it’s also a lot messier in application than the others in this set.

NIGHTCRAWLER

Nightcrawler has been pretty sparse when it comes to Minimates.  This was his first, and remained his only until 2011.  So, this guy had to keep us content for 7 whole years.  Certainly, he must have been really good, right?  …Ehhh.  He did get a lot of new parts, with add-ons for the hair, chest cap, and tail, as well as unique hands and feet.  The hair seems a little too demonic, if I’m honest, but the hands, feet, and tail all are pretty dope.  The biggest problem I’ve got with this guy is that chest cap, which bulks him way up, despite the fact that Nightcrawler should actually be the smallest of the six figures included here. Why would they do this?  And then not fix it for soooooo long?  The paint was okay on this guy, at least.  The face again leans more into the demonic thing, but at least that fits okay with the GSXM-stylings.

THUNDERBIRD

The one truly exclusive figure in the set, this Thunderbird wouldn’t see a re-issue at all, and the character wouldn’t appear again until 2016, when we got another GSXM-set.  He’s the one that seems to diverge the most from the comics appearance, falling back more into a general ‘mate aesthetic.  He had a new hair piece and shoulder pads, both of which would remain unique.  They’re…well, they’re there.  Neither’s all that impressive, but I guess they aren’t bad either. The bit of his forehead that’s visible on the hairpiece looks really odd, and he’s missing the feathers from the back of his headband.  The paintwork brings in a few more inaccuracies.  He’s got visible pupils, which he shouldn’t, and his feet are the wrong color (they should be red).  Also, his face just doesn’t feel at all like Thunderbird.  I could see it passing for Warpath, but definitely not Thunderbird.  At least he got torso detailing?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like a fool, an absolute fool, I passed on this set when it came out.  I saw it at Cosmic Comix, I had the money to spend, and I dropped on the DC Direct import of the Batman Kubricks instead.  Why?  WHY!?!  I was young and stupid, that’s why.  This set’s never been super plentiful, and was going for a bit on the aftermarket for a while, so I just never got one.  I finally ended up getting the Series 68 set, and figured that was good enough, but I still had this little nagging need for this set too.  Fortunately, it came into All Time as part of a big Minimates collection they bought last fall, so, hey, I finally got it.  Honestly, this set hasn’t aged so well, but it’s really worth the price of admission just for that Colossus.  That’s still the best version of him the line produced!

As I mentioned above,  I got this set from my friends at All Time Toys.  They’ve still got a lot of that Minimate collection, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2350: Storm & Logan

STORM & LOGAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

Back in January, I delved into the time capsule of the earliest assortments of Marvel Minimates, and their choice to use the Ultimate universe’s versions of Marvel’s merry mutants over their mainstream counterparts.  Some of the characters weren’t too heavily changed, while some of them were.  Today’s set pairs both sides of that coin, with Storm (a character whose backstory and characterization were both fairly divergent from 616) and Wolverine (a character so unchanged from his mainstream counterpart that no one really noticed that the one included in this particular set *isn’t* actually the Ultimate incarnation).

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were paired up for the specialty Series 3 assortment of Marvel Minimates, and they would both also be included in the TRU 5-pack and 4-pack that corresponded to the assortment.  They were split up and matched with their opposite numbers in the Wolverine/Sabretooth set for the Canadian release, and then Logan found his way into one more stray two-pack for Walmart and Target.

STORM

Storm’s Ultimate incarnation may have been different in terms of character, but in terms of design, she really wasn’t that far removed.  I could see regular Storm wearing this at some point in the ’90s.  The figure is built on the pre-c3 ‘mate body, with long feet and all.  She had four add-on pieces for her hair, necklace, and boots.  The necklace is shared with her assortment-mate Jean Grey, and the hairpiece was re-used twice more (for Emma Frost and She-Hulk).  The boots remained unique to this release, though, and use the older style slipping over the standard feet style of design.  Like the others in these early assortments, the general style on these parts is rather basic, though she’s certainly one of the most built-up ‘mates of the earliest releases.  It’s a little odd for Storm to be one of the largest characters, but that’s really just how the trappings of the early line work out.  Storm’s paintwork is actually pretty good for the early figures.  It’s still more on the basic line, but there’s a fair bit going on, with the coolest bit by far being the wraps on her arms.  That said, she does miss out on actually getting the sculpted earrings painted; at least they got her ears, though.

LOGAN

The standard Ultimate version of Wolverine was packed with Sabretooth (and Cyclops), but you can’t have just one lone Wolverine, can you?  Of course not.  As I touched on in the intro, he’s actually the one figure in this assortment who wasn’t from the Ultimate universe, instead being just a regular civilian version of the original Logan, as denoted by the hair’s distinctive shaping and his lack of goatee.  He too uses the standard old body, but with a set of the old-style claw hands as well as an add-on for the hair.  This is probably my favorite Wolverine hair piece the line produced, which makes it rather a shame that this was the only time it was used (though it was shown on prototype shots for the DOFP Wolverine, before being replaced with the New X-Men Wolverine piece). The rest of the figure is handled via paint, and it ends up working out alright.  The face is a rather unique expression for Logan, but one that works in the context of the earlier ‘mates, and the detailing on the jacket is actually pretty impressive.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I mentioned in my Wolverine and Sabretooth review, the only Series 3 set I picked up when these were new was Cyclops and Jean.  I got this one along with a handful of other older sets from Luke’s Toy Store back during one of their sales.  I’ve always wanted this pair, so I was glad to finally get them.  Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from them, but they’re both pretty solid ‘mates, even by more modern standards.