#2798: Wonder Man



NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.

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!


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?”


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.

#1823: Wonder Man



“Simon Williams became Wonder Man as a result of scientific experiments that bombarded his body with tonic energy. Now his eyes glow with power and he possesses superhuman strength, speed and durability. Originally an enemy of the Avengers, Wonder Man soon realized he had been manipulated into attacking the team and now he uses his amazing powers as a full-fledged Avenger. Wearing his Avengers symbol ring, this mighty hero will always heed the call, “Avengers Assemble!””

After the success of X-Men: The Animated Series, Spider-Man: The Animated Series, and the Iron Man and Fantastic Four segments of the Marvel Action Hour, in 1999, Marvel tried their luck again, with a cartoon based on The Avengers.  Titled Avengers: United They Stand, the show placed its focus on the typically more supporting Avengers, rather than the likes of Cap, Thor, and Iron Man.  Also, unlike prior Marvel cartoons, it leaned heavily on selling the toys, leading to some…interesting design choices.  It wasn’t incredibly well-received with the fanbase, and only ended up lasting a single, 13-episode season.  But, like I said, it was definitely designed to sell toys, so it got a pretty decent run of those.  Today, I’m looking at my favorite member of the team from the show, Wonder Man!


The initial assortment of Avengers: United They Stand figures were spilt into two series.  Wonder Man was officially part of the second, but they were all released at the same time, so it didn’t really matter in the end.  Anyway, Wonder Man was a big guy on the show, and that’s reflected with this figure, who stood just shy of 6 inches tall and had 9 points of articulation.  Wonder Man’s movement is an interesting mix.  He’s got ball-joints hips, and hinged ankles, which weren’t standard issue at the time, giving him a leg (heh) up, but due to his two separate action features, the arms are limited just to cut joints at the shoulders, and rather restricted ones at that.  On the plus side, his sculpt was actually a pretty good one.  The only other figure I’ve looked at from this line, Ultron, took some liberties with the show’s design (to the figure’s benefit, in Toy Biz’s defense), but Wonder Man follows the trend of the rest of the line, crafting a fairly show accurate figure.  He still departs from the show design a little bit, just so he can fit in a little bit better with some of Toy Biz’s other figures from the time, but you can definitely see where the inspiration for the figure came from.  He’s definitely a stylized figure, but I feel it works pretty well.  The head in particular really seems to get down the character’s personality quite well.  Wonder Man’s paint work is actually pretty impressive.  Not only is the base application very clean, but he’s also got some nice variation in the finish on areas such as the boots, and some very well-rendered accenting on his legs, arms, and face.  They even included the distinctive red reflection on his sunglasses!  Mine’s taken a little bit of beating, of course, but has certainly held up better than other figures from the same era.  Winder Man was packed with a life-sized version of his Avengers ring from the cartoon (not entirely sure why, but there it was), and nothing else.  It makes him one of the lightest packed figures from the line, but he’s also the largest, so I guess it works out.  He does have the two action features previously mentioned.  The first is a light-up feature, which lights up his hands and sunglasses.  Why?  Not a clue.  I’d say it was related to his ionic abilities, but those are usually purple, and these light-up red.  The second is a punching feature on his right arm.  It’s rather basic; push down the lever on his back, and the arm swings up.  Again, I have to ask “why?”  Certainly there were better, less-articulation-restricting features to work in?


I am an unabashed lover of United They Stand.  I vividly remember awaiting its premiere, and, of course, its accompanying toys.  I wanted the whole line-up, and made detailed lists of the exact order I’d be buying them in.  Wonder Man was at the very top of the list; my absolute most wanted figure in the set.  Unfortunately, United They Stand marked the first time I really ran into troubles with distribution and scarcity on such a line, so I kind of had to take the figures in the order my dad was able to find them for me.  Wonder Man ended up as the fourth figure I added to my collection, procured for me by my dad after he stopped at lord knows how many stores on his way home from work.  This guy remained a favorite of mine for quite a while.  Ultimately, he’s not without his flaws. Most of them are related to those shoulders, and just how locked in place they are.  That said, I still kinda love this figure, and I still kinda love the show he’s from.

#1144: Wonder Man – Energized Emissaries




Remember that bio I ran with Captain Britain that was no help as an intro?  I don’t think it’s any more help for Wonder Man.  That’s okay, I think I did an alright job of introducing the guy yesterday.  So, without further ado, here’s another Wonder Man figure!


wondermanhas2Wonder Man is the fifth figure in the recent Abomination Series of Marvel Legends.  His official name is “Energized Emissaries,” which he shares with Captain Britain.  It’s…well, it’s not really a name that works particularly well for either of them.  They seem like an odd pair to share packaging really, since it’s not like they really have anything at all in common.  Ah, who cares about the names, it’s the figures that matter, right?  This figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s based on Wonder Man’s most recent costume design, which he was sporting in Uncanny Avengers.  Admittedly, it’s a design I have some issues with.  Most notably, the swapping out the belt for the straps on the upper arms and legs just feels like change for the sake of change.  Still, it’s far from the worst costume the guy’s ever worn, and at least it’s current.  Wonder Man is built on the Grim Reaper body, a fitting choice, given that Grim Reaper is Simon’s brother Eric.  It’s also the same body now being used for Captain America, who is canonically the same height as Simon, so it’s a good fit all around.  Certainly a better choice than the last ML Wonder Man!  Wonder Man gets an all-new head sculpt, which is a decent enough piece.  I personally would have liked the hair to be a touch longer, but this matches up with most of the character’s depictions while in this costume.  He also makes use of the bracer-wearing forearms we saw on the Walgreens-exclusive Namor figure, which are a great bit of re-use.  Honestly, it wouldn’t shock me to find out the pieces were deliberately designed for use with both of them, given how close the figures are in terms of release.  Wonder Man continues the trend of very clean paintwork that we’ve been seeing from Hasbro as of late.  There’s a little bot of slop on his leg bands, but aside from that, the work is very clean.  There’s even the slightest hint of blue on his hair, which adds a nice bit of pop.  Also of note: they actually got his logo right!  Finally!  The last few Wonder Men have all had the Ionic powers represented by a separate figure, but this time around they’ve just been rolled into the main figure, by way of some extra hands and some effects pieces.  He gets a pair of fists (slightly underscaled due to being outsourced from the Bucky Cap body.  How has Hasbro not yet sculpted fists for the Reaper body?) in translucent purple, along with the effects pieces from Havok done up to match.  It’s admittedly not a bad way of showcasing the powers, though I certainly wouldn’t say not to a fully Ionic re-paint.  I’m not sure the effects pieces work quite as well for Simon as they did for Havok, but they work well enough that they don’t bug me.  In addition to the Ionic pieces, he also includes the right leg of the BAF Abomination.


As I noted yesterday, Wonder Man’s always been one of my favorites.  That, coupled with his last Legends figure being somewhat lackluster, meant I was pretty excited for this guy.  I ended up grabbing him off of Amazon at the same time as Captain Britain and Scarlet Witch.  Aside from not being my ideal costume choice, he’s a pretty solid take on the character, and a much worthier rendition than the last figure.  Wonder Man gets to be part of the default Avengers set-up again!


#1143: Wonder Man




In a world where death is already meaningless, Simon Williams, aka Wonder Man, is the type of guy who’s still noted for not staying dead.  He’s the male equivalent of Jean Grey in that respect, I suppose.  The guy died at the end of his very first appearance (way back in the *first* Avengers #9) and thanks to a friendly warning from Marvel’s Distinguished Competition on the potential problems with infringing upon established brands, he stayed that way for a while.  But then the Competition didn’t actually follow their own warnings, and Marvel felt comfortable enough bringing Wonder Man back a few years later, ultimately making him full-fledged member of the Avengers for several years.  He’s died at least two more times since then (currently he’s sharing a body with Rogue, which is awkward to say the least, what with her killing him and all), but never been gone for all that long.  Simon’s never been an A-list character, but he’s managed to get his fair share of figures over the years, including three Marvel Legends figures, two of which I’ll be looking at today!


wondermanml4Wonder Man was part of the eleventh series of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends, officially dubbed the “Legendary Riders Series.” There were two different versions of Wonder Man available: the regular flesh-and-blood Wonder Man, and the variant Ionic Wonder Man.  Regardless of version, the figure stands 6 inches tall and has 35 points of articulation. Wonder Man has more than a few parts in common with the recently reviewed Captain Britain, being constructed from that same Black Panther body.  As I noted in my Captain Britain review, while the Panther body was certainly fine on it’s own, it was a slightly odd choice for pretty much every other character they used it for.  While it’s not quite as blatantly out of scale for Simon as it was for the good Captain, it’s still rather on the small side.  Also, for whatever reason, while the body looks decent enough on Panther and Captain Britain, it ends up looking kind of misshapen when used for poor Simon.  Not sure what the difference is.  One of the defining  traits of the Panther body was the unique texturing, which showed that it was a full-body costume.  Since Wonder Man’s design shows a fair bit of skin, his arms are all-new, and his torso has been slightly retooled to smooth out his neck a bit.  The weird thing is that they only removed the actual texturing, not all traces of those pieces being clothed, which means that Wonder Man ends up with these strange folds and wrinkles on his arms and neck.  Wonder Man also featured new pieces for his head, forearms, hands, shins, and feet, as well as an add-on piece for his belt.  Independently, all of the new pieces are decent enough.  The face seems a little low on the head, but not terribly so, and the boots, wrist bands, and belt all feature some cool detailing.  Why did I specify “independently?”   Because the pieces aren’t actually in scale with each other.  The head is too wondermanml1small, and the hands and feet are definitely too big.  The end result is a really odd looking guy.  The standard Wonder Man was painted to be sporting Simon’s fourth costume, which is probably his best known.  It’s not my personal favorite, but the odds of the Safari Jacket look ever getting a proper Legends release are probably slim.  The paint work is decent enough.  There’s some room for improvement, especially on the “W” logo, which isn’t quite shaped the right way and could have probably used a second coat.  That being said, the overall quality of the paint is pretty solid.  The variant Wonder Man represents his powered up Ionic look from when Busiek and Perez brought him back in the 90s.  Pretty much, he’s just molded in translucent indigo plastic, with some red for his eyes, logo, and belt.  Like the Hasbro version of this look, the inclusion of the belt on the Ionic form really isn’t accurate, and it’s made even weirder by the decision to paint the belt red.  Why would the belt remain red, but the wristbands and boots turn blue?  That makes no sense!  Ah well.  Each figure in the Legendary Riders Series included a vehicle of some sort.  Wonder Man’s is some weird W-shaped moped-thingy, which seems to exist for the sole purpose of reminding us all that Toy Biz didn’t have the foresight to realize just how few Marvel characters really fit the “Legendary Riders” theme.  He also included a little Yellowjacket figure, which could be plugged into his back, as well as a copy of Avengers #51 (an odd choice to include with this guy, since it doesn’t really explain the character very well, isn’t really anyone’s favorite Wonder Man story, and the look he’s sporting in the story is not the look he’s sporting on either figure).


I’m a pretty big Wonder Man fan, so I was pretty anxiously awaiting his addition to the line for most of Toy Biz’s run on Marvel Legends.  Then the prototype was shown, and I was more than a little disappointed.  Then the final product showed up and I was slightly less disappointed.  I ended up getting the regular version as a Christmas present from my parents the year he was released, and I later picked up the variant loose from All Time Toys a few years later.  Ultimately, neither figure is really perfect, and I was always pretty aware of that, but I was happy to have them nonetheless.


#0336: Marvel’s Wonder Man




Is a rather commonly known fact that death in comics is far from a permanent thing. Characters die and come back at the drop of a hat. In some cases, the same character will do this several times. The usual go to example of such a character is Jean Grey, but in reality Jean’s only actually died and come back once. A great example is Simon Williams, aka Wonder Man (or Marvel’s Wonder Man, as the packaging would lead you to believe), a character who has died and returned no less than three times, which is actually impressive for a character who is relatively minor. When Kurt Busiek brough Simon back to life from his second death, he was given an extra set of “Ionic Powers” which manifested as a cool new energy look, just ripe for the toy form! This look was recently brought into toy form for the second time in Hasbro’s Avengers Infinite line.


WonderManAI3Wonder Man was released as part of the fourth series of Avengers Infinite. He is the only actual Avenger in the line-up, so I guess he’s just there to maintain the name. The figure is about 4 inches in height and features 22 points of articulation. As mentioned in the intro, he’s based on the Ionic version of the character, which is what he looks like when he’s directly channeling his Ionic powers. Essentially, what this boils down to is that he’s a basic Wonder Man molded in a translucent blue/purple plastic. The figure is, head-to-toe, a complete re-use of the previous Wonder Man, released in the Marvel Universe line. Since I haven’t reviewed that figure yet, I may as well talk about the sculpt here. He makes use of the basic “larger male” buck that Hasbro used on the Wrecking Crew and the like, with the addition of a new head, plus wrist band and belt add-ons to make the figure more Wonder Man-specific. The body is one of the better base bodies that the MU line had to offer, and it’s a pretty good fit for Wonder Man. The head is a pretty great piece, and it captures Wonder Man’s personality pretty well. Technically, the belt and wrist bands aren’t accurate to the look, as they aren’t visible in his Ionic form, and they are even absent on all of the prototype shots, but here they are on the final figure. It’s hard to be mad at them for including extra pieces, but it does seem odd that they’d make use of unnecessary pieces. The figure features minimal paint, with details only for his eyes and logo. The eyes are clean, but the logo shows some pretty bad slop, especially on the shoulders. Wonder Man includes no accessories, but I can’t really think of anything he would need. Maybe a stand? Or a pointless missile launcher!


Kurt Busiek’s run on Avengers began just as I was starting to read comics on my own. I knew most of the characters already, but I didn’t know Wonder Man until Busiek brought him back. He quickly became one of my favorite Avengers, and in the last 20 years, I’ve managed to acquire every single figure of him. Okay, so there are only eight of them, but it’s still a thing. The MU version was my favorite version of the character for a while, so I certainly don’t mind having another figure built from the same pieces. Plus, he’s got that whole translucent plastic going for him, which is always cool! All in all, he’s a pretty cool figure, and he’s helped by the fact that he’s really the only new figure in series four.


#0233: Wonder Man & She-Hulk




Hey! More Minimates! Everybody’s favorite! Yes, it’s another review based on a piece of my extensive Minimates collection. Once again, this one comes from the flagship line, Marvel Minimates. This time around, the set contains two Avengers, Wonder Man and She-Hulk. For those of you unfamiliar with the characters (like a certain screen writer currently in Warner Brothers’ employ), click the links in their names to read about them in the Backstories section.


These two were released as part of the series 16 of the Marvel Minimates line. The series was Avengers themed.


Wonder Man is built on the basic Minimate body, which means he has the usual 14 points of articulation and stands about 2 ½ inches tall. He’s based on the character’s look during John Byrne’s run on West Coast Avengers (the hair and stern expression are the easiest giveaways) but he can also pass for several similar looks he’s sported. He features brand new hair and belt add-ons. I’m not crazy about the hair, but it does fit the mullet he sported for some of Byrne’s run. The belt is a pretty much perfect representation of the one the character sported, so that’s cool. Wonder Man’s paint is basic, but has a sort of an elegant simplicity to it. I might have liked a slightly more jovial facial expression, but this one’s still a valid choice. The paint is cleanly applied overall, though there is a slight bit of fuzz on the lines of his boots. Wonder Man included no accessories.


Like Wonder Man, She-Hulk is built on the standard Minimate body, so she has the usual stats. She is represented here in her purple and white costume that she wore during her tenure in the Avengers in the early 2000s, as well as her solo series from the same time. Seeing as this was the look she sported during her best known stint on the Avengers, it makes sense to place it in an Avengers themed series. She features a sculpted hair piece, which is a re-use from Ultimate Storm, way back in series 3. The hair isn’t bad, but it does have a sculpted lightning-bolt earring, which looks out of place on She-Hulk. It’s odd because the prototype pictures showed her reusing the oft-used Spider Woman hair, which lacks such distinctive features. The change is a bit baffling. Shulkie has a decent set of paint apps, and has some nice line work on her face and torso. The face has the appropriate light expression that she’s been known to sport, and it looks pretty good. She features the same fuzzy lines issue as Wonder Man, but it’s not too distracting. She-Hulk included a bent metal bar, though it was a bit too big for her to hold properly.


These were originally meant to be released on my birthday of that year. They ended up being pushed back about a month, but my Dad bought them for me anyway, just a bit late. They’re certainly older figures, but they aren’t horribly dated, especially if you can find some better hair pieces for the two of them. Wonder Man has always been one of my favorite Avengers, so I was glad to get him, especially so early into the line. She-Hulk is pretty cool, too, and great for people who are big fans of the character!