#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.

#2334: Colossus & Juggernaut

COLOSSUS & JUGGERNAUT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“1976 Saw the release of X-Men 102, with its iconic cover featuring the mighty Colossus and unstoppable Juggernaut locked in combat, setting the stage for a rivalry that would shake the Marvel universe For decades.”

Do you ever feel like your intro’s been stolen right out from under you by Hasbro’s own copy writers?  Just me?  Yeah, I guess that might be a more exclusively me sort of an issue.  Well, you know, 1976 did see the release of X-Men 102…which, uhh, had this here iconic cover, and it–ah, it’s just not the same.  Look, you guys know the song and dance here.  I’m just gonna get right to reviewing the action figures.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Colossus and Juggernaut are the second of the two comic-based “80 Years of Marvel” Legends two-packs (the other being Wolverine and Hulk).  As with that one, it pairs one BaF-sized figure with one smaller one, although smaller is certainly a relative term in this case.  As the text above notes, the two are themed around their X-Men #102 appearance, though the individual figures do more or less adhere to the line’s already established style.

COLOSSUS

A mutant with the ability to transform his body into metal, Peter Rasputin left his farm community to join the X-Men and fight for good.”

Colossus was a fairly early addition to Legends in the Toy Biz days, appearing just five series into the line.  That figure was one of the line’s best, and replacing him was certainly a daunting task.  When Hasbro finally got around to releasing a Piotr figure of their own, they opted for a more modern appearance that wasn’t actually a direct replacement, but we all kind of knew a proper classic version would come around eventually.  It took three years, but here he is!  The figure stands just shy of 8 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  This guy makes moderate use of the parts from the previous Colossus figure, namely the head, arms, and pelvis.  The torso, wrist bands, belt, legs, and feet are new to this guy.  The new parts are all very nicely handled, and I like the extensive selection of character-specific elements.  The old parts I’m admittedly slightly iffy on.  I liked the previous figure a lot, but he was from three years ago, and even in that time they’ve really made some strides forward, so things like the range of motion on the arms is a little disappointing.  Also, I understand Hasbro opting to re-use the clean shaven head from the last figure, but for me it just doesn’t quite feel right for a ’70s/’80s Colossus.  Were this, say, the Jim Lee design, it would be fine, but he lacks that particular flair of character that Cockrum and Byrne drew him with.  It’s not a bad sculpt at all, but slightly misses the mark for me.  Colossus’s paintwork is clean, bright, and bold, which is honestly a first for a Legends Colossus, since both the Toy Biz one and Hasbro’s prior figure went for a much murkier palette.  I like this look, and it reminds me a bit of the Marvel Select figure, which isn’t a bad thing.  Colossus is packed with two sets of hands, one in fists, and one in an open pose.  They match the hands included with the previous figure, but instead of one of each, now we get matching pairs.

JUGGERNAUT

Cain Marko possesses superhuman strength and extreme durability that allows him to rampage through any situation as an unstoppable juggernaut of force.”

Juggernaut’s last time in Legends wasn’t long before Colossus’s, since he was the Build-A-Figure for the prior year and all.  I reviewed that one back when it was new, and I liked it a fair bit then.  Of course, the trouble with Build-A-Figures is that sometimes one or two of the figures that include their pieces are hard to get, making completing them quite tricky, so Hasbro’s seen fit to do a slight redux of that release for this two-pack.  Like that one, this figure stands 9 1/2 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation.  The sculpt is almost exactly the same.  The helmet is ever so slightly different, being a little smoother in texture than the first one.  He also ditches the original figure’s belt in order to be more accurate to the older Juggernaut appearances.  Further changing things up is the paintwork, which trades in the more strictly brown colors of the last figure for a much redder palette, which is again a far more classic look.  He also ditches the pupilled eyes from the last year for straight white ones, with sort of a shaded effect over the eyes for a slightly more dramatic appearance.  It’s probably the one change I don’t feel is an outright improvement, but it’s not a bad look either.  While the original Juggernaut was a Build-A-Figure, and therefore didn’t get any accessories, this guy actually gets quite an assortment.  There’s an extra unmasked head, a torn up helmet piece to go with it, and a spare set of open hands to trade out for the BaF’s closed fists.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Classic Colossus has been on my list since the more modern one hit three years ago, so he served as the major selling point for me on this particular set, with Juggernaut more or less just being along for the ride.  That said, I definitely dig the two of them being paired together, since it really calls back to their scenes together in Pryde of the X-Men, which remains a defining X-Men entry for me.  In hand, Colossus is okay, but has his definite flaws.  Juggernaut on the other hand takes the already pretty awesome Build-A-Figure and just builds more awesome into it, making this a truly fantastic version of the character.

I got this pair from my friends All Time Toys, where they are currently in stock here If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2333: Jean Grey, Cyclops, & Wolverine

JEAN GREY, CYCLOPS, & WOLVERINE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Love triangles are far from uncommon in serialized fiction, with a good deal of narratives being built around at least one.  The X-Men have been host to a fair number of them, but I don’t think any of them will ever beat out the Jean Grey/Cyclops/Wolverine triad…which is kind of amusing, because it was originally only a minor plot line, mostly meant as a way to give Logan a little character development, while also strengthening Scott and Jean’s relationship and solidifying them as the definitive couple.  Then Wolverine’s popularity went through the roof, Jean died and came back a few times, and Scott became the X-writers’ favorite punching bag, and now they’ve got some sort of vague polyamorous relationship going on?  Listen, the X-books are being written by Hickman, and he hasn’t deigned that they make any sort of sense yet, so we’ll all just have to sit back and wait for him to tell us whether or not we understand anything that’s going on, alright?  While we’re waiting for that, let’s flash back to the ’90s, when things were simpler, and we just had your basic love triangle between a newly married couple and their surly 100-year-old friend.  The basics!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Wolverine were released late last year as a Fan Channel-exclusive Marvel Legends three-pack.  Like the Havok and Polaris pack, they are loosely built into the “80 Years of Marvel” celebration, and also like that pack, the box is all themed around the trading cards of the ’90s.  It’s a cool design, but as with most of my figures, these things could ship in plastic baggies for all I care–actually no, I do care!  Paper bags!  Let’s be a little more environmentally conscious!  Until then, I guess a throwback to the ’90s trading cards is alright.  What was I doing?  Grand standing?  No, wait–action figure review! Yeah, let’s go with that!

JEAN GREY

“Jean Grey is an incredibly powerful mutant with the psychic powers of telepathy and telekinesis.”

After being Marvel Girl, then Phoenix, then Dark Phoenix, then dead, then not dead anymore, Jean decided to ditch the whole supramyn concept and go with her regular-ass name.  Seems fair, honestly.  It does make marketing her a little tricky, though, since everyone else is using these really sweet code names and she’s just regular-old “Jean.”  Whatever the case this particular regular old Jean is an important one, because she finally completes the core ’90s X-Men line-up (though we still need a proper Colossus)…well, for most fans, anyway.  Some people were fortunate enough to have found the Rocket Raccoon Series Jean, which had this same costume, but to call that release “hard to find” would be something of an understatement.  Plus, that was just before Legends really got the formula down, so an update is not unprecedented.  So, here Jean is in all her head-band-wearing, Jim Lee-designed-glory.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  She’s built on a variant of the same body that Phoenix was built on, but with a new upper torso and thighs.  She also re-uses the bracers and belt from the previous ’90s Jean, which seems pretty sensible.  She does not re-use the head from that figure, instead getting not one, but two new ones.  She gets one that’s a direct recreation of the last one, being the more comics-accurate hairdo (seen with Wilson on the right there), but also gets an X-Men: The Animated Series accurate head with her slightly tweaked headgear from the show.  That’s actually a first for toys, and I’m genuinely thrilled that I can now have a cartoon accurate roster.  Jean’s paintwork is mostly pretty basic, though I will say that there’s a little bit of slop on the blue portions of the costume on mine, and I had to check a few samples to get the best one.  Hasbro was definitely having a more lax QC day on this figure.  Jean doesn’t get any accessories beyond the extra head…well, I mean, unless you want to count the next two figures, which would be somewhat valid.

CYCLOPS

Scott Summers can fire optic blasts so powerful that they can only be harnessed by a special ruby-quartz visor.”

Cyclops has already gotten his modern-Legends-take-on-the-’90s-design due, with a pretty darn cool figure, I might add. However, in a similar fashion to the Jean situation above, said figure was never amazingly easy to find, and he’s kind of an essential piece to a ’90s X-Men set-up.  However, Hasbro didn’t want to just do a straight re-issue, so they’ve given us a figure that works to fill in the roster for fans that missed the first figure, while still having something to offer for fans who already have him.  What’d they do to change things up: bomber jacket.  Yeah, Scott was prone to wearing a jacket over his costume in the ’90s (especially on the cartoon), so that’s what this guy replicates.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  He uses the same starting point as his predecessor, the Bucky Cap body, and also gets the same head and collection of straps as the previous, minus the wrist straps.  He then gets the jacket from Old Man Logan and the arms from Punisher.  The jacket works better with the straps than I’d expected it to, and while I’m still not sure it’s 100% perfect, it’s decent.  I do wish the arms had a better range of motion, but that’s really the only thing.  The other thing that this guy changes up quite a bit is the paint.  While the last one went more for the Capcom colors for the costume, this one leans more heavily on those animated colors, so there’s a darker blue and a brighter yellow.  I wasn’t sure about the change at first, but I kinda like it in person.  The only downside is that now I want an un-jacketed version to match this and a jacketed one to match the prior.  Oh darn.  Cyclops is packed with two extra heads, one depicting his ’90s sunglasses, and the second his ’70s/’80s, allowing for some nice options on the civilian front.  He also includes a second left hand in a standard fist, for those that don’t like the optic blast hand.

WOLVERINE

“The mutant known as Wolverine possesses razor-sharp Adamantium claws and the ability to heal virtually any wound.”

Did you know that Wolverines have an average lifespan between 7 and 12 years in the wild?  That’s your fun FiQ fact for this tiger-stripe Wolverine review!  Wolverine is *definitely* no stranger to the toy world, the Legends world, or even the modern-Legends-take-on-the-’90s-design world.  We got his brown costume twice, and so now I guess it was time to even things out with the tiger-stripe design, especially since, even at two-to-a-case, the last release had really disappeared.  This one acts as something of a smaller-scale companion to the 12-inch Legends Wolverine.  I loved the heck out of that figure, so the prospects of it translating to the smaller line were definitely a plus for me.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s the same as the Apocalypse Series Wolverine, which makes sense, that being a very ’90s Wolverine and all.  It’s also just a really solid sculpt, and Hasbro can hardly be faulted for getting a little more mileage out of it.  The paint work changes up in a fashion quite similar to how it worked on Cyclops.  In fact, the shades of yellow and blue appear to be identical.  I don’t like the dark blue quite as much, but the yellow’s not bad.  Wolverine gets the best accessory selection of the set, with two extra heads, a pulled down mask, and an alternate set of hands with bone claws.  The two extra heads replicate the ones included with the larger figure, so there’s an unmasked head and an angry battle-damaged head.  I really like that battle-damaged head, and I’m glad we got it at the smaller scale.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was fortunate enough to get both Wolverine and Cyclops’ original releases at retail pricing, but Jean pre-dates me getting back into Legends collecting, and honestly I probably wouldn’t have found one anyway.  As I got more and more of the ’90s team, the lack of a Jean was more and more of an issue.  I was hoping for at least a re-issue, but when Hasbro announced an all-new figure, I was definitely happy, even more so when I saw that animated head.  I know a lot of people weren’t thrilled about the prospect of having to re-buy the other two, but I don’t mind so much, and find that both figures have something to offer even if you’ve got those previous releases.  All in all, this is a great set and I’m glad we got it.  Now I can finally stop using Phoenix in my X-Men display!

I picked this trio up from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2287: Wolverine & Sabretooth

WOLVERINE & SABRETOOTH

MARVEL MINIMATES

In a lot of ways, the earliest assortments of Marvel Minimates are an interesting time capsule of Mavel’s media presence in the early ’00s.  That’s why the first series is based on the two properties that were getting movies in 2003, and why our first set of X-Men weren’t based on anything from the mainstream universe, but rather the Ultimate line, which was getting Marvel’s big push at the time.  Though not the resounding success of Ultimate Spider-ManUltimate X-Men was still pretty big deal.  We got four sets dedicated to the team, plus a bunch of repacks made up of those sets.  Today, I’m looking at Wolverine and Sabretooth.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Wolverine and Sabretooth were released in Series 3 of Marvel Minimates, specifically the specialty assortment.  Both were available at TRU in a five-pack, and Wolverine was also packed with Cyclops at Target and Walmart (and I’ve already reviewed him here). Both characters are, as noted above, based on their ultimate universe incarnations.

Sabretooth’s Ultimate incarnation started out fairly close to his mainstream counterpart, with some of his first movie counterpart injected in.  Also four adamantium claws, because four is more than three, so he’s better than Wolverine.  Take that Wolverine.  The figure is built on the original long-footed ‘mate body, meaning he stands 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  The articulation is a bit restricted by the add-on pieces, so it’s mostly just the arms that move.  He’s got add-ons for his hair, hands, belt, and jacket.  They fit that older, much more simple aesthetic of the line, but are still pretty nicely sculpted pieces.  Honestly, the only part that looks really dated is the hair, and that’s amusingly the one piece of this figure that was re-used later in the line.  His paint work is again in line with the rest of the older stuff, but there’s a fair bit of detail going on, especially on the face and torso, showing some shades of where the line would go with such details.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The only Series 3 set I picked up new was Cyclops and Jean Grey.  Everyone else I passed on, I guess probably because they were the Ultimate versions…of course, then I also passed on the GSXM boxed set, so I have no idea.  This set is one I picked up from Luke’s Toy Store during one of their many sales for a ridiculously low price.  I already had the Wolverine, but it’s worth it just for Sabretooth.  He may not be my preferred version of the character, but he was quite an under-appreciated ‘mate.

#2282: Strong Guy

STRONG GUY

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Strong Guy joined X-Factor for the simplest of reasons–the regular paycheck!  Caring little about the problems between man and mutantkind, he lives instead for the finer things in life–wine, women and song!  And he’s not above using his tremendous mutant strength to put those who would criticize his lifestyle in their place!”

After three assortments of pretty solid team building, the fourth series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line is one of the stranger line-ups the line would produce.  I mean, it doesn’t have the weirdest character choices per se (well, apart from Tusk, because who the heck went “where’s my Tusk action figure?”), but more that it seems generally unfocused and all over the place.  It would be this assortment which introduced off-shoot team X-Factor into the line.  And what character would they use to launch?  Would it be team leader Havok (who had been scrapped from the Series 3 line-up), or even X-universe mainstays Polaris, Multiple Man, or Wolfsbane?  Nope, it was Lila Cheney’s bodyguard Guido, who had just taken the name “Strong Guy,” denoting his status as a…uhh….strong…guy.  Yeah…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Strong Guy was added to the Toy Biz X-Men  line-up in 1993 as part of the aforementioned Series 4 line-up.  He would see a re-issue in 2000 in ever so slightly different colors as part of the KB-exclusive X-Men line, but beyond that, this was it for Guido, at least until last year’s Minimate and this year’s Legend.  Lucky Guido.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  He’s a little bit on the small side for Strong Guy (though that made him a nice fit with Hasbro’s Marvel Universe a few years later), but he’s got enough of a size difference that it works.  Strong Guy is missing joints at the elbows and knees, I can only assume due to his larger size.  Honestly, he makes out alright without them, so it’s not the end of the world.  Much like Ch’od, who was similarly limited in terms of articulation and also similarly-sized, Strong Guy’s sculpt ends up as a pretty solid offering.  The character’s distinctive proportions are well captured, and there’s a lot of character in the figure’s face, which helps to keep him looking fairly unique.  He also matches up well with the art stylings of the time, honestly in a far better fashion than any of the other X-Factor characters.  Strong Guy’s paint work is pretty solid for the time.  All of the important details are there, and the application is fairly clean.  Technically, there should be a patch of blue on his vest, but honestly the X-Factor art was stylized enough at the time that Toy Biz can be forgiven for not realizing that wasn’t just a harshly shaded patch.  Strong Guy included no accessories (though, like most Toy Biz figures of the time, he has his hands molded to hold *something*), but he did have a “Power Punch” action, which raises his arms up and down when his torso is spun around.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Strong Guy is not a figure I had growing up.  He actually was added to my collection during my post-freshman-year-of-college Toy Biz binge, after finding him at All Time Toys.  He was still packaged, and, for whatever reason, I just never got around to opening him.  He ended up sitting unopened for another 8 years, until I finally cracked him open a month ago in preparation for this review.  I don’t know why I delayed so long, but he’s a pretty fun little figure, truth be told.

#2256: Deadpool

DEADPOOL

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

Boy howdy am I running out of compelling ways to start Deadpool-themed reviews.  To say he’s overdone may be something of an understatement.  There’s *only* been three figures of him this year for Marvel Legends though, so I guess that represents Hasbro backing things off a little bit.  Lucky us.  I’ve managed to pick up all of them so far, so why stop now, I guess.  So, here’s one more Deadpool.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Deadpool is a standalone Marvel Legends release, done up in the retro style cardback packaging.  Like the Grey Hulk I reviewed earlier this month, he was originally slated to be a con-exclusive release, before being moved to the fan channel.  This Deadpool is designed to be an earlier in his career Deadpool, specifically patterned after the ’90s Toy Biz figure whose packaging this one mimics.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation. Sculpturally, he’s essentially identical to the classic Deadpool figure released in the Sasquatch Series last year.  The only difference between the two is that this one adds a second strap of pouches to the left leg so as to better mimic the old figure.  He’s using the 2099 body, which is a solid starting point, especially for a character like Deadpool.  He then has add-ons for his webgear/belt, the pouches on his legs, and his neck, wrist, and ankle straps.  He’s also got the classic Deadpool head, which fits the body a lot better than the Juggernaut Series one did for the X-uniform Deadpool.  Ultimately, it results in a pretty solid figure, especially if you missed the Classic Deadpool like me.  The figure’s paint mixes things up a little bit as well.  This is in part to more closely match the old toy, so things like the belt and torso gear have been left red like on that figure.  However, they’ve also changed the black parts of the costume to a dark metallic blue, which is honestly a pretty cool look, and really feels like it hearkens back to those early ’90s appearances of the character.  The application is all very clean, and the colors really pop off of each other.  Deadpool is actually pretty decently accessorized for a vintage-packed release, with two swords, two small machine guns, a pistol, and a larger assault rifle.  Given that the Classic Deadpool only included the swords, that’s actually kind of surprising, and I’m definitely glad they went the extra mile.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Much like Hulk, when this was still planned for a con release, I paid very little attention to it.  I passed on the Sasquatch Series release numerous times, and this one, while certainly a neat look, didn’t feel any more essential than that one.  The shift to Fan Channel meant that he more or less arrived in my lap, and going in with no expectations, he’s another figure I ended up liking quite a bit.  Honestly, that’s kind of been the case with all of this year’s Deadpool figures, so maybe I should just stop complaining about them.

#2254: Beast

BEAST

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Blue-furred and boisterous, the Beast’s monstrous exterior conceals the fact that he possesses the mind of an articulate, well-read genius! Ever ready to answer the call should either man or mutant be in peril, the Beast employs both his dexterous digits and his scientific skills as a member of the X-Men.”

The ’90s X-Men line-up was a pretty sizeable, even just going by the cartoon’s more paired down version of the cast, which for a burgeoning toy line can be a slightly daunting prospect.  It took several assortments to make their way through the main cast.  Founding member Beast was a later addition, though certainly not the latest.  I’m taking a look at that figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Beast was released in Series 6 of the Toy Biz X-Men line.  Aside from the cartoon-creation Morph, he was the only X-Man proper in the line-up.  The same figure would subsequently be re-issued as part of the “Classics” line-up which put out all of the main cartoon cast in one assortment, and then again as part of the Marvel Universe line.  The three figures are essentially identical, and it’s worth noting that my figure comes from the “Classics” release.  This figure’s sculpt would also serve as the inspiration for both the 10-inch and Steel Mutants figures.  The figure stands just over 5 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation…in theory.  In reality, it’s more like 7, because his action feature makes the joints at the knees and ankles effectively useless.  Said action feature is dubbed “Mutant Flipping Power” and means that there are springs in his knee and ankle joints, which are supposed to allow him to flip.  In my experience, it was never a very reliable feature and just made it rather hard to keep the figure standing.  Tied into the feature was this weird switch thing on the figure’s back, for which I’ve never figured out the purpose.  His sculpt definitely follows that early ’90s look for the character, at his most bulked up and monstrous.  Nevertheless, he’s still got that sophisticated Henry McCoy expression on his face, as if he’s contemplating the moral quandaries of his current heroic endeavor.  The rest of the sculpt is surprisingly smooth for such a hairy guy, especially when compared to other, similarly textured characters from this and surrounding series.  I can only guess they were going for more of a stylistic thing on Hank.  The figure’s pretty light on the paint front, with most of him being just molded in a light blue.  There’s a bit of paint for his shorts and belt, as well as his eyes and teeth.  For whatever reason, his eyes are solid yellow; he’s gone back and forth between having pupils and pure white eyes, but the yellow’s more of a Nightcrawler thing usually. Beast was packed with a suction cup-sporting bar to hang from, which was cool enough, though the suction cup long ago fell off of mine.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t actually recall much about getting this figure.  I think he was one of those “my Dad got one and then I also wanted one” figures.  I certainly would have wanted him for the purposes of filling out my X-Men line-up.  He’s an okay figure.  The action feature gets in the way here more than on most Toy Biz figures, which can be annoying, but his sculpt’s fairly decent, and he definitely fit with that toon aesthetic.

#2240: Wolverine – Street Clothes

WOLVERINE — STREET CLOTHES

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Outside of the X-Men, Wolverine often escapes form the pressure of being a super hero by slipping into his secret identity, Logan. Unfortunately, trouble always seems to find Wolverine even when he’s out of costume! Still, uniform or not, with his six adamantium claws and one bad attitude, Wolverine has a way of taking care of just about any problem which comes his way!”

Two years into Toy Biz’s X-Men line, getting a new Wolverine was practically a clockwork affair.  Marvel made Toy Biz’s job fairly easy at first, since he had a whole assortment of reasonable costume changes to take advantage of.  By Series 6, they were definitely running thin on valid variants, though (hence that assortment’s Wolverine technically not being a Wolverine).  Fortunately, they did still manage to squeeze out a few more sensible variants before descending into completely made-up nonsense.  Today’s figure is one of those “sensible variants,” depicting Logan in civilian attire, as he was frequently seen in the comics.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Street Clothes Wolverine was released in Series 7 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, and was proudly marked as the “7th Edition” of Wolverine.  The figure stands just over 5 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  He misses out on the usual elbow articulation due to his action feature, which I’ll touch on in just a moment.  Wolverine’s sculpt was all-new to him and would remain unique, never being used for any other figures.  And that’s really the best thing to be said about it, that it was never used again, because boy is it not one of Toy Biz’s stronger offerings.  By this point in the line, Toy Biz was actually starting to get the hang of that whole sculpting thing, so the fact that this Wolverine ends up so rudimentary and backwards is a little bit of a surprise.  This guy was in the same assortment as Ch’od!  That sculpt was awesome and fairly naturally posed.  This one?  Well, natural certainly doesn’t describe how he looks.  Let’s start with the head.  Of all the unmasked Wolverines that Toy Biz produced, this one’s got to be one of the least intimidating takes they presented.  He just ends up looking a little lost and bemused.  He’s also got those dopey looking super straight arms.  The illustration on the back of the box shows the arms having a slight bend to them, but there’s nothing of the sort on the final product, which makes the whole upper torso feel rather stiff.  The arms are of course like this thanks to the claw-popping feature.  We had last seen in on Wolverine I, where it honestly worked a fair bit better.  This just really didn’t hold to it.  Even the detailing on this figure seems rather soft compared to others in the same set, with most of the figure being very smooth and without texture.  Comparing the jacket on this figure to the one on the Rogue from the same assortment is like night and day.  Hers looks sleek and sharp and cool; his just looks puffy.  His paint work is alright, I guess.  Nothing amazing, but they did manage to keep his usual colors in the mix, and he doesn’t look any more awful than the sculpt already has him looking.  Street Clothes Wolverine included no accessories.  What, not even a goofy, out of place gun?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As a kid, I didn’t have this figure, but my cousin did.  It wasn’t one of my favorites.  Or one of his favorites.  Or one of anyone’s favorites, I’d wager.  Mine was fished out of a bin of loose figures a few years ago, alongside some other X-Men figures.  He’s not great.  That’s about the most I can muster.  Like, he’s not actively bad, so I can’t really say I hate him, but boy is he just uninspiring.

#2213: Bishop

BISHOP

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Accidentally wrenched back through several decades by the time-twisting evil mutant named Fitzroy, Bishop arrived in our era from one of Earth’s many possible futures. Bishop survived the battle that followed, thanks to his mutant ability to absorb the energy attacks of others and turn that power back against his foes. Stranded in our time, Bishop has added his might to that of the present-day X-Men by joining their Gold Team!”

The X-Men really just became a haven for displaced time-travelers, didn’t they?  Also guys with vague, unrelated “cool” names that were just common place words, and whose abilities translated to “has a gun”.  All of these things nicely describe Bishop, an uber ’90s character, who could only be more ’90s if he wore a leather jacket and had shoulder pads.  I suppose he got off easy in that regard.  Bishop was prominent enough in the ’90s to feature on X-Men: The Animated Series, and by extension find his way into Toy Biz’s line of X-Men figures from the same period, getting what would be his very first action figure.  I’ll be taking a look at that figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bishop was initially released as part of Series 4 of the X-Men line, and would see subsequent re-release in the Marvel Universe line and as part of a multi-pack with Wolverine and Gambit.  All three releases of the figure are functionally identical, but it’s worth noting that mine is a Series 4 release.  Bishop is sporting his primary look from the ’90s, which was the only one he had at the time of the figure’s release.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  Though he’s rocking a waist swivel, he loses movement in his neck, presumably due to his hair.  Curiously, though, the Deluxe 10-inch figure and 2 1/2-inch Steel Mutants figure that are both patterned on the same sculpt both had a neck joint, so why it was missing from this guy is anyone’s guess.  Beyond that, the sculpt is fairly typical for the time.  He’s super bulky, but that’s just Bishop.  I will say that they were starting to run into the limits of this slightly simpler style of elbow joint they used, since it’s a little small for such a large arm.  It works overall, though.  The detailing on the hair is pretty nice, and definitely does his very dated hair cut proud.  Bishop’s paintwork is fairly basic, and a little bit messy on my figure.  There’s a lot of fuzzy edges, and the yellow sections are definitely prone to some serious bleedover.  In 1996, Bishop was also re-issued as part of the “Flashback” assortment, which was all repaints.  For that release, his blue was swapped for grey and black, and his yellow for gold, and his skintone was made somewhat lighter.  There was a second, predominantly red deco also shown, but it never hit shelves.  Whatever the case, the paint is a little cleaner on that release, but of course the trade off is that he’s not in his classic colors any more.  Whichever release you get, Bishop included two large blaster rifles in black, and features a “Quick-Draw Weapon Release” action feature.  Press the button on his back and his right arm swings upward.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have Bishop as a kid, largely because his episodes of the cartoon were some of my least favorite, so I never formed much of an enjoyment of the character.  That said, I really dig the ’90s X-Men line and I’m slowly working through building a complete collection, which meant getting this guy at some point, right?  I found both versions of Bishop at a toy show a while back, allowing me to close off that corner of the X-Mythos in one fell swoop, I suppose.  He’s not really one of the better Toy Biz X-Men, but then he’s far from the worst.  He fills in the roster pretty nicely.

#2207: Havok & Polaris

HAVOK & POLARIS

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Originally launched in 1986 as a way to re-unite the original founding five members of the X-Men, X-Factor found itself in a slightly tricky spot when it was decided to fold the founding five back into the main X-team in 1991.  With the X-books at the height of their popularity, Marvel wasn’t looking to just drop one of them entirely, meaning they would need a new roster of characters, but a selection of characters that were not going to be at all claimed by the two main X-books.  This new X-Factor was a government sanctioned team of mutants made up largely of second-string X-Men characters who had been rattling around in the background of the main book for most of the ’80s.  Taking Cyclops and Jean Grey’s role as the romantically-involved core of the team were Cyclops’ brother Havok and his on-again-off-again love interest Polaris, both of whom were recovering from a few bouts of “brainwashed and evil.”  The series would prove quite successful in elevating all of the characters included within, Havok and Polaris among them.  And, with most of the founding ’90s X-Men covered, now Marvel Legends is moving onto X-Factor.  Nice!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Havok and Polaris are one of two Fan Channel-exclusive two-packs of Marvel Legends, loosely built into Hasbro’s celebration of 80 years of Marvel.  This particular set’s packaging is noted as a throwback to the trading cards of the ’90s, which is admittedly a pretty fun, pretty vibrant idea.  I still don’t care what these figures arrive in as long as the toys themselves are good, but I can appreciate Hasbro honoring some of Marvel’s past exploits, and these are certainly a good pair of figures to tie-in with the trading card craze of the ’90s.  Okay, enough about the cardboard that carries these things, onto the figures!

HAVOK

“Alex Summers is an Alpha level mutant with the power to absorb cosmic energy and convert it to plasma.”

I hope you guys are appreciating the calm nature I have maintained up until this point in the review.  Truly I am a master of my own emotions because HOLY CRAP THEY MADE IT THEY ACTUALLY MADE IT THEY MADE A MARVEL LEGENDS HAVOK IN HIS 90S COSTUME AND NOW I HAVE IT AND ITS MINE AND NO ONE CAN TAKE THAT FROM ME…well, I made it pretty far, I guess.  So, as the above shouting on my part may have cued you in, this would be Havok, wearing his attire from the ’90s X-Factor series, or at least a version of it.  The initial X-Factor costumes were designed to play well with the main team costumes from Lee’s X-Men book, but were not quite an exact match, and they also tended to change a little from issue to issue.  Havok’s design seen here is from around the time of the X-Tinction Agenda cross-over, which is when they added the yellow leg-straps to his design.  Given the whole cross-marketing synergy thing of the ’90s, it’s this version of the design that got used for the old Toy Biz figure, appeared on the cartoon, and generally gets picked up if their doing a ’90s Havok anywhere else, so it’s really the one everyone knows.  This is Havok’s third time as a Legend, though he’s never gotten one in this costume.  In fact, this is only the third time we’ve gotten a toy of this costume (there will also be a fourth later this year).  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Like the last Havok and also the Lee-style Cyclops, this figure is built on the Bucky Cap body, which is a sensible enough choice for Alex.  He gets a boatload of new pieces, though, with a new head and arms, plus add-ons for the jacket and belt.  The new pieces are all pretty fantastic, with the jacket and arms in particular really standing out to me, because they just capture that feel of the old 5-inch figure, right down to the overly defined forearms.  I also really like how the jacket clips shut at the front, but can be opened to allow for better use of his mid-torso joint.  I have exactly two complaints about the sculpt, both minor, and only one of them actually new.  The forearms, as nice as they are, do seem to connect a little oddly to the fists.  It feels like there should be a cuff piece there to join them, and that would actually be more accurate to the source material.  Of course, if you’re like me and you have that Madripor Wolverine with his ill-fitting glove cuffs, I would point out that they fit pretty much perfectly on this figure, and greatly improve his already awesome appearance.  My other complaint is kind of a hold over from a prior figure.  Havok re-uses the leg straps from Cyclops, which is sensible from a consistency standpoint, but also means that he’s got the same troubles with them staying in place that figure did.  That said, I’m used to them now, and there are possible fixes, such as gluing them in place, which could help.  Havok’s paintwork is actually quite impressive.  For the most part, it’s fairly basic work all throughout, but there’s some really strong work on the jacket, which does a nice fade from blue to black.  It’s subtle and it really works.  Havok is packed with a pair of effects pieces, which are the same as the ones from his last figure, but in yellow this time.

POLARIS

“Like her father Magneto, Lorna Dane has the mutant ability to control magnetism.”

Okay, so I promise to keep myself a little more reserved on this part.  It’s just Polaris, and much as I love Polaris, she’s not quite a ’90s Havok.  Polaris has had a slightly less fortunate time with action figures over the years, with her first two action figures both being repaints of Rogue figures.  She did get a dedicated Legends release in the Warlock Series, but that one was met with a lot of in-fighting about the costume choice, and ended up hanging around a lot of places, which put a serious question mark on this costume’s release.  Also, unlike Havok, Polaris’ X-Factor design didn’t quite follow the same structured look, so there are more options to choose from.  Hasbro opted to go with her first one for this release, which it’s worth noting is also the one that was on the cartoon, making it a pretty sensible choice.  The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  She uses the same base body as the last Polaris (yay for internal consistency), but gets a new head, torso, and upper arms, as well as add-ons for her wrist and boot cuffs.  The new parts mesh well with the old, and the torso and arms in particular exhibit a good range of motion, improving upon the standard pieces for his body.  The hair manages to capture the dynamic flow of the illustrations, while not being too restrictive to the movement or weighing her head down too much either.  Polaris’ paint work is nice and vibrant, and in particular I love that bright green they’ve chosen for the hair.  The dullness of the last one was one of my few complaints, and this one ends up looking a lot nice.  Polaris is packed with two sets of hands in open and closed poses, as well as the same effects pieces included with Havok, but this time in green.  I do wish they had come up with some more effects options, especially for two differently powered characters in the same pack, but this has admittedly been an issue since their solo-releases.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Oh boy, was this set a big deal for me.  Frequent readers of the site are no doubt aware that I’m a *pretty* big Havok fan, to the point where I literally own every figure of him (plus six copies of his ’90s figure just on its own).  I’ve been waiting for this particular Havok since before there were any Legends Havok figures at all, and in fact even made my own back in 2005.  I didn’t realize how long I’d be waiting for an official release.  Polaris is somewhat along for the ride, but I was certainly happy to get her too. These two are great releases, and Havok is probably my favorite Legends figure to date.  I’ve been saying that a lot recently, but he’s really good.

These two came from my friends at All Time Toys, who knew enough enough about my Havok craze to give me the heads up on its release.  Yay for me!  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.