MARVEL UNIVERSE (TOY BIZ)
I was just talking about Hulu’s M.O.D.O.K. earlier this week, so why not talk about it a little bit more? The show brings in a lot of slightly more obscure characters, and does some fun stuff with them. Amongst those characters is Simon Williams, aka Wonder Man, who is voiced by Nathan Fillion (who was previous supposed to cameo as Williams in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but had his role cut), and who serves as the rebound fling for M.O.D.O.K.’s wife Jodie. As someone who’s been a Wonder Man fan since way before it was even approaching cool to be a Wonder Man fan (which, honestly, is any time before, like the last month), I was thrilled to see him show up, and loved the hell out of Fillion in the role. I’d still love to see him pull it off in live action, though. Wonder Man’s actually had a small handful of figures over the years, but today, I’m going back to the beginning and taking a look at his very first!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Wonder Man was the exclusive mail-away offer in ToyFare #3, made available for order in November of 1997, and shipping out the following spring. Interestingly, the character was actually still dead at the time of the figure’s release, although his return in the third volume of Avengers would wind up happening in the same year as this figure’s official release, by coincidence no doubt. While Havok had ties to the X-Men line specifically, Wonder Man was a far more open-ended figure, since there was no dedicated Avengers line at the time. Unlike the later figures, he got no fancy package and just shipped in a plain white mailer. The figure stands just over 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation. Wonder Man’s sculpt is a complete re-use, namely of Archangel II, minus the wings, of course. As I’ve discussed before, it was a sculpt that Toy Biz rather liked. It’s not a terrible choice for Wonder Man, especially for that late ’80s, John Byrne West Coast Avengers look they seemed to be aiming for. The head sculpt’s still a little bit wonky, and he’s got the remnants of the wing-flapping mechanism on his back still. But, for a straight repaint, he actually really works, so I’ve got to give them some serious props on that. The paint work’s fairly straight forward on this guy, but it certainly gets the job done, and conveys his design properly. Wonder Man included no accessories, but he certainly falls into that territory of “what would you give him?”
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I think I’ve mentioned this before, but Busiek and Perez’s relaunch of Avengers was happening right as I got into reading comics, and my dad was picking it up and letting me read it with him. Wonder Man’s return is kind of a notable part of that, and I definitely gained an attachment to the character through that. I remember that there was a comic store near my parents’ house that had this figure in their glass case, for the unthinkable price of, like $25, and I used to stare at it all the time, but never got it. My dad wound up getting me this one as, I believe, and Easter gift, more than likely in 2000 or so. His nature as a repaint makes him a little iffy, but ultimately, he does work pretty well.