#2128: Wolverine

WOLVERINE

MARVEL LEGENDS VINGTAGE (HASBRO)

“Wolverine is the X-Men’s greatest fighter! A master of all forms of hand-to-hand combat, Wolverine also has a fearsome secret weapon – razor sharp retractable adamantium claws that can slice through anything.”

What’s an X-Men assortment without a Wolverine variant?  Statistically, not made.  They’re quite the hard sell.  For that reason, Wolverine gets toy love for just about every costume change, no matter how minor, no matter how restrained.  Case in point, today’s offering.  It’s Wolverine in his “Madripor” costume, an all-black number he picked up right around the time of his ongoing solo series starting up in 1988.  He wore it for a few of his world travelling adventures, before ditching it after less than a year.  Not exactly stuck in the minds of fans, but it’s only had one toy before, and it goes with Silver Samurai, so how about that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wolverine is the final figure in the X-Men-themed third series of the Marvel Legends Vintage line, where he fills the required Wolverine slot.  Though the Madripor costume was featured back during the Toy Biz days, it was much later in the line, and under a bunch of goofy armor, meaning he’s not quite a direct counterpart for any of those earlier figures.  Nevertheless, he gets the retro styled card, which honestly suits him better than the standard packaging might.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s built on the re-engineered brown costume body, since that’s our new standard for Wolverine.  It’s a solid choice given the simple spandex nature of the costume.  He gets a new head and shins (which give us clean shins without the usual Wolverine boots for a change), plus the wrist bands from Union Jack (which are a very tight fit here) and the belt from Brown Wolverine. The new head goes for a screaming expression, which works well enough, and is honestly a nice change up from the slightly more reserved Wolverines we’ve gotten recently.  The rest of the parts a pretty standard issue, which works well enough.  The rest of the figure is sold by the paint, or at least what there is of it.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the body suit is actually a slightly off-black, with the “boots” being a more straight black.  It’s subtle, but I like it.  What I’m not as crazy about is the face, or more specifically the eyes.  In Hasbro’s defense, the weird fishnet look is accurate to the comics…it’s just really goofy, and the lack of extra head means you’re stuck with it.  Wolverine is packed with a spare set of gripping hands and a katana.  But it’s not just any katana, it’s actually the Black Blade, which figured into the Madrior story and was wielded by Wolverine in this costume.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve got no attachment to this Wolverine at all, nor do I find it to be a particularly exciting variant.  However, I was grabbing the rest of the set and felt bad about just skipping one figure, meaning he was along for the ride.  I can’t really say that he swayed my opinion on the design or anything, but it’s not like he’s a bad figure, and he’s certainly a nice accent piece for the Silver Samurai.

I picked up this Wolverine from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

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#2125: Iceman

ICEMAN

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

“Iceman has the mutant ability to turn himself into a being of living ice. Once he does that, he can create almost anything he wants: ice slides, ice weapons, ice shields, not to mention icicles and snowballs.”

Of the original X-Men, Iceman is probably the one with the most raw potential, power-wise.  As a way of keeping him in check, he’s also the one saddled with the most regressive personality, a permanent goof-off who never quite advanced forward the way the other four members did.  Rather tellingly, when the time-displaced versions of the original five were introduced, the two Icemen were virtually identical, and most of his storyline revolved around confronting some long-theorized ideas about his sexuality, rather than the “what did I become?” plot that faced the other four.  Bobby is just very consistent, I suppose.  So consistent that he’s really only got a handful of looks, which can be tricky when it comes to action figures.  While it means that figures can often play double or triple duty in era-specific displays, it also means that he can go a while between updated figures.  Fortunately, he didn’t have to wait too long this time.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iceman is part of the X-themed third assortment of Hasbro’s Vintage sub-set of the Marvel Legends brand.  He follows Cyclops’ trend of being a direct homage to a vintage Toy Biz figure, specifically the first Iceman figure, released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s line.  This pretty much means he covers Iceman’s look post-snowman and pre-ice armor, which is a period of about 25 years.  Not a bad stretch of coverage.  It’s also a look that has been done before in the scale, with both his original Toy Biz Legends release and the ANAD boxed set release covering the same ground.  Both of those figures, it should be noted, had some definite issues, meaning another go at the design is far from a bad thing.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Iceman is built on the 2099 body, in contrast to his last figure being built on the skinnier Pizza Spidey body.  It’s honestly a better fit for the character, especially the version they’re going for.  He gets a new head, as well as an add-on piece for the belt.  Unlike a lot of the heads we’ve gotten for the 2099 body, I actually think this one is pretty well scaled to the body, and doesn’t sit too high on the neck.  I quite like the slight grin on his face, as well as the blocky construction of his features.  The belt isn’t designed to be removable, which is a slight point against him, since the belt’s presence in his ice form was very much dependent on the artist.  I think making it more easily removed would have added more to the figure, but it’s not the end of the world as is.  Iceman’s pant is minimal, with the only details being the whites of his eyes, and the x-logo on the belt.  There’s still some interesting colorwork going on with the molded plastic, which is a slightly translucent affair.  It’s more opaque than the last figure, and lacks the blue tint, which honestly makes it look more like actual ice.  It’s worth noting that there’s a fair bit of variance between copies of this Iceman’s coloring, with some being darker and some lighter, likely dependent on when in the run they were produced.  Additionally, nearly ever figure has a seam running down the face, but the exact placement and how contrasting it is with the plastic around it is variable.  Iceman is packed with an ice sled stand, simulating the one his original Toy Biz figure included.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was more or less content with the Juggernaut Series Iceman.  He’s not a perfect figure, but I liked him for what he was, and he’s been filling that spot in my X-Men set-up since I got him.  This one’s announcement didn’t exactly blow my mind, especially given the figures he was shown alongside.  Even when I picked up my set, I wasn’t really sure about the figure.  After taking him out and playing with him a bit, I’m pleasantly surprised by this figure.  He’s not going to be my favorite in the set or anything, but he’s certainly our best Legends Iceman, and he’ll go well with the rest of the ’90s line-up.

I picked up Iceman from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2124: Dazzler

DAZZLER

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

“Dazzler uses sonic vibrations and impressive speed to take down her enemies.  Though she can channel sonic energy in many forms, her preferred method of sonic battle is through the power of music.”

Before they were shoving the likes of Deadpool and Squirrel-Girl into everything under the sun, Marvel’s first real go at pushing a character was Dazzler.  She was supposed to be a whole cross-platform phenomenon, with a solo comic being joined by music, videos, and even real performances by “Dazzler.”  For a number of reasons, the project never took off, and Marvel was left with a character they’d put a lot of work into and nowhere to put her.  So, Chris Claremont and John Byrne introduced her in the pages of X-Men, during the “Dark Phoenix Saga.”  By the time she was actually added to the team line-up, disco was officially the thing that things were said to be “deader than,” so Dazzler was reworked with an ’80s jazzercize bend.  It was this version of the character that was used in both the failed cartoon pilot “Pryde of the X-Men”, as well as the ’90s arcade game, meaning this version was burned pretty firmly into the heads of a whole decade of X-Fans.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dazzler is part of the X-Men-themed third series of the Marvel Legends Vintage line.  Unlike yesterday’s Cyclops, this Dazzler has no direct equivalent from the Toy Biz days, as their only Dazzler figure was based on her prior costume, and wasn’t even part of the X-Men line to boot.  In fact, the only prior toy of this particular costume design was the Minimate.  It is, of course, her second time as a Legends figure in general, though, since her disco attire was released as part of the Warlock Series in 2017.  The figure is just over 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation. There’s a fair bit of re-use going on here. Her base body is Phoenix’s (which was also the basis of the first Dazzler), and she also gets the upper arms, jacket, belt, and cuffs from Rogue (since it was actually Dazzler that originated the bomber jacket over spandex look).  If you want to get technical, the gloves weren’t usually worn with the jacket, but its not entirely without precedent for them to be there, and I really don’t mind it myself. The figure is topped off with a new head sculpt, which does a respectable job of capturing Dazzler’s general look from this era.  The paintwork on the figure isn’t bad, especially when compared to the Cyclops.  The blue is perhaps a little flat (either metallics or a brighter shade would have been cool), but the application is nicely handled and all of the proper details are there.  Dazzler is packed with two of the Scarlet Witch hex pieces, this time in a translucent pink with sparkly flecks in them.  While it’s not quite as fun as the multi-colored piece from the last Dazzler, they’re still pretty decent additions.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My first introduction to Dazzler was via “Pryde of the X-Men”, which I had a VHS copy of in the ’90s.  The fact that her only figure at the time was based on her disco look always bummed me out a little bit (though I’ve since gained an appreciation for that design as well).  When Disco Dazzler was again picked for the Legends release, I was fine with it, and I really did enjoy the figure, but something always felt a little bit off.  This figure just feels right to me.  I look forward to getting a proper Longshot update to go alongside her (as well as a classic Storm to round out my “Pryde” cast).

I picked up Dazzler from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2123: Cyclops

CYCLOPS

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

“Cyclops has mutant-energy optic blasts so powerful that they can smash through solid steel.  He can make the beams so small that they can pass through a key hole without touching the sides, or so wide they can cover space the size of a football field.”

Okay, so I want to start this review off by giving mad props to Hasbro for going back to the original Toy Biz packaging for that bio up there.  Only true Toy Biz package text can fully capture the insanity that was Toy Biz package text.  I love the idea that there’s this need to quality Cyclops powers with such specific circumstances, as if someone heard he could smash solid steel and said “that’s all well and good, but how is he at getting through key holes without touching the sides?  What of all of the football field-sized spaced that we need covered?”  It just goes to show, no matter how much you do for them, people always want more.  It’s okay Scott, I can sympathize.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyclops is the first figure in the third assortment of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Vintage line-up.  While the last two have covered the full Marvel Universe, this round is exclusively X-themed, and *most* of the figures contained are direct call-backs to Toy Biz’s old 5-inch X-Men line.  Additionally, building off of what we saw last time, all of the figures in this round are new offerings, rather than slight tweaks of prior figures.  Cyclops is patterned on his very first figure, which was sporting his second X-Factor uniform.  He spent a decent amount of time in it, and its presence on his original release has certainly given it a lot of prominence in toy collectors’ minds.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  As with every Cyclops in since the Puck Series figure, this one is built on the Bucky Cap body, which I still like for the character, even if it is getting a little older.  Perhaps the most shocking thing about this figure is how many new parts he’s got.  The prior two Vintage line ups had a sum total of two new pieces between them (Wolverine’s mask and Vision’s cape, for those keeping track), instead being largely a venue for figures that could be built from re-used parts.  That aspect has been discarded for this assortment, and Cyclops gets two new head sculpts, a pair of new forearms, new shins, and even new feet if you can believe it.  I had fully expected to see a lot more parts re-use on this guy.  While the angry head was obviously new (and very fun for dynamic posing, I might add), the calm head I had thought might just be the same one seen on the Two-Pack Cyclops, but this one adds two energy effects to either side of the of his visor, which is kind of a fun callback to the old figure’s light-up feature.  There’s a part of me that sort of wishes the effect were removable, but I’ve honestly got enough other Legends Cyclopses that I can dig this one being different.  The slightly raised cuffs to the gloves I had honestly expected to be overlooked, or just replaced by flared gloves (that’s what the TB Legends version did), but what shocked me the most were the new boots.  I was very much expecting to see the same buccaneer boots we’ve seen countless times before.  These, however, are without all of the crazy texturing of the prior boots, meaning they better fit the usual depictions for this costume.  What’s more, the feet, the last hold out of those boots, the textured feet that have been on damn near every Bucky Cap figure, have been replaced by new smooth pieces.  I anticipate these will be low key turning up on some of the upcoming figures on the body.  The point is, there’s a lot that didn’t *need* to be done on this figure that still was, and that’s mighty cool.  Perhaps the only downside to this figure is the paint work.  It’s not awful, but it’s not as good as some of Hasbro’s more recent offerings.  There’s some noticeable slop on the change overs from blue to white, plus a few spots that are just outright missing paint.  My figure also has a weird brown spot at the top of his right boot, of which I really don’t know the origin.  Cyclops’s accessories are his extra head, plus an attachable optic beam for it, which I definitely dig.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The original blue and white Cyclops was my first Cyclops figure, so I’ve definitely got a sentimental streak for this particular design.  When Hasbro showed him off, and announced he would be in vintage style packaging to boot, I was instantly sold.  The paint work is a bit iffy, but I really like all of the new parts distributed throughout, and the effects pieces are a lot fun.  I look forward to seeing these parts crop up on future Cyclopses.

I picked up Cyclops from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2114: Cyclops II

CYCLOPS II

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#2091: Family Matters

MAGNETO, QUICKSILVER, & SCARLET WITCH

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

The parentage of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch has been quite a storytelling merry-go-round.  Originally just a pair of mutant siblings born to unnamed parents, they were eventually revealed to be the children of a Gypsy couple.  That couple then revealed they were actually the twins’ adoptive parents, and their real parents were the Golden Age heroes the Whizzer and Miss America.  That story stuck for a little bit, before the best known twist occurred, and X-Men foe Magneto was revealed to be their father.  That’s the story that stuck…well apart from a few years back when Marvel toyed with removing their connection to Magneto in the midst of their troubles with getting the X-characters’ media rights back from Fox.  It would seem they’ve decided to role back that decision, at least as far as other media is concerned.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Magneto, Quicksilver, and Scarlet Witch make up the “Family Matters” boxed set, an Amazon-exclusive Marvel Legends offering, coinciding with the “80 Years of Marvel” celebration.  The set was put up for order a few months ago, and just started shipping out two weeks ago.

MAGNETO

The biggest name in the set, and certainly the one with the most action figure coverage, Magneto actually has gotten two Legends releases since the line relaunched in the new packaging style.  The first was using old parts, and the second, while a solid figure, put Mags in a more recent, less classically-inspired costume.  This one goes for about as classic as you can get for Magneto, placing him with his early ’80s/’90s red and purple design.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  Like the last figure, this Magneto is built on the Spider-UK body, which is honestly a fantastic choice for the character.  Beyond the base body, there actually aren’t any parts shared between the two figures.  This one gets a new set of forearms and boots, plus add-ons for his cape and belt, and is topped off with two brand-new head sculpts.  The forearms and boots fit right in with the pre-existing Spider-UK tooling, and give him all of the proper details he should have.  The cape is definitely one of Hasbro’s best, as it pretty much pitch-perfectly captures the way his cape is often drawn in the comics.  I really love how it sits over the shoulders.  The belt’s a pretty darn basic piece, but it works well enough for what it’s supposed to be doing.  The two heads are fairly similar, with the helmets in particular being the same sculpt.  I can appreciate that from a consistency stand-point.  Beneath the helmets is where the difference lies.  There’s a calmer, friendlier head, and an angrier, more power-crazed head.  Both are really nice, and work for the diverging takes on the character.  The helmet sits a little higher than I’d prefer on the calm head, but it’s not awful, and I don’t know which one will end up as my default.  Magneto’s paintwork is a definite step-up from the last figure.  It’s bright and eye-catching, and the application’s all very clean.  I really dig the glossy finish on the helmet, and the mix of metallic and flat finish on the purple sections.  Also, I dig that they used the same red and purple on this guy that they did for Onslaught, allowing for another head-swap option.  Magneto is packed with two pairs of hands (fists and open gesture), as well as a pair of energy effect pieces molded in a flecked purple plastic.

QUICKSILVER

Pietro Maximoff is the member of family who’s been absent from Legends for the longest period of time.  His first, and only, release was way back when Hasbro first took over in 2007, with no updates since then.  As the least prominent of the three, it’s not a huge shock, though it was a little surprising that he didn’t get any coverage around Age of Ultron.  Whatever the case, he’s here now, based on his classic blue and white attire.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Quicksilver is built on the ANAD 2099 body, which isn’t necessarily ideal.  I mean, it’s okay in theory, but not quite in practice.  I like this body’s posability, and general build, but the narrower shoulders compared to other bodies make scaling on the head a much more delicate art, and they just missed it with this guy.  His head’s just a tad too large for the body, which results in Quicksilver looking rather cartoony and goofy, at least in most poses.  Placed on something like the Bucky Cap body, it actually looks okay, so I wonder if they originally intended to build him that way.  I do like the head on its own; it captures that arrogance that only Pietro Maximoff can pull off, and the hair’s been translated in a pretty realistic, not super crazy fashion.  Quicksilver’s paint ends up as the weakest in the set, though that’s largely just my figure.  The base work is fine, and I particularly dig the slightly pearlescent finish on the boots and gloves.  However, my figure’s got some pretty serious slop on the lightning detailing on his front.  It’s pretty distracting, and hopefully this isn’t a widespread issue.  Pietro is packed with two pairs of hands in fists and flat-handed poses.

SCARLET WITCH

Wanda’s gotten some pretty good toy coverage recently, no doubt because of her breakaway success in the movies.  We haven’t gotten a comics-based release of her since the Allfather Series in 2015, and I actually liked that figure a lot.  Apart from some minor issues, I really wouldn’t have expected another release.  The theme of the set kind of begs for her inclusion, though, and a more modern variant wouln’t really fit with the other two.  Hasbro took advantage of this opportunity to give us a proper ’80s Scarlet Witch, rather than the slightly amalgamated design we got last time.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  The majority of the body, as well as the cape of this figure are the same parts used on the Maidens of Might release (though I erroneously referred to them as Moonstone and Emma Frost parts the first time I reviewed them), which is fine, since they were pretty good the first time around.  She swaps out the heeled feet for flat soled ones, fixing my main complaint about that figure, and also swaps out the forearms for Kitty Pryde‘s flared gloves.  It’s all topped off with a brand-new head, which is not only an immense improvement on the old Toy Biz monstrosity, it’s also one of the most attractive female heads that Hasbro’s produced for this line.  The details on the head are crisp and numerous, and I really like how they’ve worked in all of the layers between the hair, headpiece, and face.  Wanda’s paintwork is pretty solid.  At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it compared to the prior figure, since the two shades of the costume look rather close, and I didn’t know how the metallics would work out.  In person, I actually think it looks really nice, and I prefer it to the straight red and pink from before.  Additionally, there’s a lot of very nice small detail work on the face, especially on the eyes, just further accenting the already very strong sculpt.  Wanda is packed with the two energy effect pieces introduced with the Infinity War Scarlet Witch, which have the advantage of not being super over-used yet.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been waiting for a classic Magneto pretty much since the line relaunched, and as much as I liked last year’s figure, I knew I wanted this one as soon as he was shown off.  The other two were really just along for the ride when I jumped on the preorder as soon as it went up.  I sort of forgot about them, if I’m honest, and after dropping a lot of money on two new series of figures two weekends ago, the last thing I thought I needed was more Legends. Then I got notification that these shipped, and boom, three more.  Magneto’s awesome, no doubt.  Definitely the definitive take on the figure, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he gets singled out for his own release later down the line.  Quicksilver is the real weak link of the set for me.  The body choice doesn’t work, and the paint issues just make things worse.  He’s not awful, but he could be better.  The real surprise for me is the one figure in the set I didn’t think I needed at all: Scarlet Witch.  Not only is she just an unquestionably superior figure to the last comics release, she’s also just my favorite part of the set, no doubt.

#2073: Robot Wolverine

ROBOT WOLVERINE (ALBERT)

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#2059: Longshot

LONGSHOT

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#2047: Caliban

CALIBAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

In the early ’80s, it occurred to Chris Claremont that the X-Men were generally pretty attractive and normal-looking for a bunch of so-called “mutants,” so he introduced the Morlocks (named after the creatures from HG Wells’ The Time Machine), a band of sewer-dwelling mutants whose mutations weren’t as presentable as the more heroic X-Men.  One of the more prominent Morlocks, Caliban, actually wasn’t originally intended to be one of them and even predated their 1983 appearance by two years.  He’s subsequently served as an ongoing recurring character in the background of various X-Men stories, and has in his tenure been part of the X-Men, X-Factor, X-Force, and has even been one of Apocalypse’s Horsemen on two separate occasions.  Despite being around for a good long while, he’s not been graced with an abundance of figures, with a single figure during Toy Biz’s 5-inch run.  That’s finally changed, though!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Caliban is the Build-A-Figure for the latest X-themed series of Marvel Legends.  In keeping with the ’90s theme of the line-up, he’s based on his design during his time as the Horseman Death for Apocalypse.  Yeah, now we’ve got two of the Four Horsemen, and their both the same role…bleh.  Of all of Caliban’s designs, this one’s really the easiest to sell as a toy, which is probably why both of his toys, released two decades apart, are sporting this same design.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Caliban makes use of a number of parts from last year’s Apocalypse, specifically the arms and upper legs.  The rest is new, with the head and hands in particular being the most character specific.  They’re nicely crafted parts, and provide some nice expressiveness.  The screaming expression on the face in particular seems very well-suited to this incarnation of the character.  The other parts I can definitely see having been designed with future re-use for other bulked up characters.  The new torso actually makes him a little bigger than Apocalypse, for what it’s worth.  The most impressive bits of Caliban’s paintwork are definitely the head and hands, which do a nice job of keeping Caliban’s exposed skin from being just a stark white.  The head even uses some slight printing around the eyes for a more subtle transition between colors.  The paint on his uniform is a bit more straightforward.  There’s a bit more slop here than on the single offerings, but I definitely dig the pearlescent white.  Caliban includes no accessories, but then again, he’s kind of an accessory himself.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve never had much of an affinity for Caliban.  He sort of falls right into the gap of my X-Men fandom, since I’m really big on the ’70s stuff, then dip out, and then come back into things for the Animated Series era.  Caliban’s not really part of either of those things, nor is he a design that I really feel like I *need* to have.  Ultimately, this figure is a pretty serviceable one, and while I don’t think he’s going to be BaF of the year, he’s still a decent offering.  Maybe he’ll open the doors to some more Morlocks.

Despite a less than thrilling Build-A-Figure, I was very happy with this assortment as a whole.  Gambit steals the show for me, but Beast, Blink, and Weapon X are all respectably cool offerings, Forge and Skullbuster are decent figures of characters I didn’t *need* to have, and Jubilee is at least an improvement on the really hard to find BaF.  This continues the trend of X-waves just being really solid complete sets.   If you’re interested in getting a set of your own, five of the seven single figures are still in-stock at All Time Toys’ webstore.  And, as always, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out All Time’s website and their eBay storefront.

#2046: Skullbuster

SKULLBUSTER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

An enemy of the X-Men, the cyborg Skullbuster is a member of the villainous gang called the Reavers.”

Introduced in 1988, the Reavers are a concept that’s sort of been in the background of the X-Men mythos since their introduction.  They’re not super high concept or anything, they’re just cyborg mercs who tend to make for good fodder for Wolverine to cut up from time to time.  I became familiar with them through their spot on X-Men: The Animated Series, but they also figured into the plot of 2017’s Logan.  None of the members of the group have ever really made it big (apart from their original leader Lady Deathstrike), so they’re haven’t really been toys galore for them.  But, hey, Skullbuster got a figure, so maybe things are looking up!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Skullbuster is figure 6 in the Caliban Series of Marvel Legends, and is our only single-carded antagonist this time around.  Skullbuster’s spot as the Reaver in this assortment was undoubtedly chosen because a) he’s somewhat distinctive and b) he doesn’t require much new tooling.  Bonecrusher’s definitely more distinct, but he’s got that freaking tank half to contend with.  Also, as an added bonus, Skullbuster’s the Reaver taken out by Forge during their siege on Muir Island, so he ties in with the rest of the set pretty well.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Skullbuster is a reskin of last year’s Deathlok, which I can’t say is super surprising.  It was an all-new sculpt that, up til now, had seen no re-use.  A new head, vest, and ammo belt completes the transformation from ‘lok to ‘buster.  The end result isn’t a perfect mach for any established Skullbuster designs, it’s a good approximation, and he’s really one of those character where approximation’s really good enough.  The important thing here is that he looks distinct from the Deathlok figure, which he does.  The paintwork on Skullbuster is on the drab side, which I suppose is appropriate for the character.  I do somewhat wish they’d opted for the red skull look, instead of the white, but they made it work.  Otherwise, the application’s all pretty clean, and the palette is well-chosen.  Skullbuster includes the smaller gun that came with Deathlok, as well as an extra headsculpt for Reaver Reese, one of the three ex-Hellfire Guard members who joined the group when Donald Pierce took over.  It’s a cool head, and I feel certain we’ll be seeing it re-painted for Cole and Macon down the line. Skullbuster also includes the right arm of the BaF Caliban.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve got no major attachment to the Reavers, apart from their spot on X-Men: TAS, so I wasn’t beating down the door to get them.  That said, Skullbuster’s got a cool look and is built on a base I liked, so I had no complaints about his inclusion in this line-up, especially not when they showed off the extra Reese head as well.  I don’t have a ton to say about this guy, but he’s kind of fun.

I picked up Skullbuster from All Time Toys, and he’s still currently in-stock at their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.