#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.

#2199: Morph

MORPH

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Once a member of the uncanny X-Men, Morph sacrificed his life to save his teammates from the mutant-hunting Sentinels. Resurrected by the evil Mister Sinister and set against his one-time allies, Morph now uses his shape-shifting abilities in an attempt to put an end to his former friends!”

When launching X-Men: The Animated Series, the makers of the cartoon wanted to demonstrate the serious nature of the situations the team faced by presenting the audience with an ill-fated mission that would end with one member of the team killed in battle.  Of course, they weren’t exactly looking to throw out any of the highly profitable a-list characters in the initial starting line-up, meaning they needed to build a character specifically for the purpose of sacrificing.  Combing through the back catalog of X-Men characters, they came across Changeling, a rather minor foe-turned-teammate from the ’60s, who died in Xavier’s place at one point.  The character was updated and renamed “Morph” and boom, sacrificial offering for the TV gods.  What they didn’t count on, however, was the character being as popular in his debut appearance as he was, leading to a whole assortment of shenanigans to bring him back during the show’s second season, and enough prominence to get this boy an action figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Morph was released in Series 6 of the Toy Biz X-Men line, and is notable for being pretty much the only figure in the line to be completely based on the show.  Others were clearly using the show for inspiration of character and costume choice, but Morph was the one true instance of something only from the show making its way into the line.  Morph would also see a subsequent re-release not too long after the release of the X-Men movie in 2000, as part of a KB Toys-exclusive line of reissues and repaints.  The two releases are more or less identical, though the reissue his a slightly darker skintone.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  He’s honestly one of the most practical implementations of articulation this era of the line offered, with elbows, knees, and a waist joint.  None of those were strictly standard at this point.  His sculpt was an all-new affair, and is a pretty decent offering.  He remains faithful to the cartoon’s design while still adapting the character to better fit the design of toys as a whole.  For the purposes of Morph himself, there are two heads included: good Morph and evil Morph.  Both are conceivably the same guy, and capture the cartoon’s versions of the looks nicely, making him an easy match for his show appearances.  In terms of paint, Morph is pretty basic, but still pretty cleanly done.  The application is sharp, and the colors are all nice and eye-catching.  It’s worth noting that they changed his default hair from black to brown, presumably so that he would match Changeling in the comics (it’s also worth noting that the show would change his hair color to match in his later appearances).  In addition to his own extra head, Morph also included two additional heads to demonstrate his changing ability.  There’s a Wolverine and a Cyclops, which both work reasonably well in conjunction with the body to sell them as the “real” character, while still showing that there’s something a little off about them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Morph was pretty much gone from shelves when I really started collecting, so my first figure of him was actually the ToyFare-exclusive AoA version.  I then picked up the KB Toys re-release when he came out, and I was always very fond of him, as I quite like the character.  That figure ended up going missing (along with a bunch of my other X-Men figures), and I eventually ended up replacing him with a proper Series 6 release.  Of course, then I found my original, so I’ve got them both again.  Cool!

#2197: Cyclops

CYCLOPS

ONE:12 COLLECTIVE (MEZCO)

Cyclops sure does seem to be getting a good bit of love these days, with a headlining role in the latest X-Men relaunch, plus all sorts of toys.  I mean, he’s had no less than two Marvel Legends in one single year.  That’s a pretty big deal for him, especially after the less than stellar treatment he’s gotten for the better part of the last decade.  Riding in on the Cyclops-hype train as well is Mezco, who are finally expanding the X-Men portion of their One:12 Collective line to more than just variants of Wolverine, and adding both long-time foe Magneto and old-school leaderman Cyclops to the docket.  I’m an unabashed Cyclops fan, so it’s not much of a surprise who I’m looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyclops is a Fall 2019 release for Mezco’s One:12 Collective line.  He took his sweet time getting onto shelves, but he started arriving just within the last month.  This is the standard Cyclops offering, which depicts him in a ’90s Jim Lee-inspired get-up.  There’s also a more Cockrum/Byrne-inspired variant, which should be arriving at retail shortly.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has over 30 points of articulation.

Cyclops is another figure on the multiple heads band-wagon.  There are two included here, each with the same basic design, but each with a different expression.  The standard is the more classic calm Cyclops, fit for the more usual standing poses, while the alternate is sporting an intense scream, just right for all that…screaming that Cyclops is wont to do.  It means that you’ve got some decent options for posing, to be sure.  Both sculpts do a respectable job for capturing that classic Cyclops likeness.  While I’m still more partial to the Legends ’90 Cyclops head sculpt as a whole, I can definitely respect these heads for what they do, and there’s a more real world quality to them.  Both heads are designed to work with the light-up feature built into the body.  It’s not a super complex system or anything, but the battery is built into a compartment which is housed in the neck joint.  The ball-joint contains a small LED, the desired head pops onto the ball-joint, the switch on the housing is turned on, and the whole housing is slid back down into the main neck and turned to lock into place for posing.  It’s not a bad design, and it’s a rare light-up feature for a Cyclops that doesn’t completely hinder his neck joint.  However, I found the actual lighting to be a little unreliable and tempermental, making it difficult to keep it illuminated during posing.  I don’t know if this is just my figure or an across the board thing.

Cyclops is built on a smaller male body than a lot of the line, but it seems suitably sized to the character.  He’s a mixed-media affair, with a slightly rubberized jumpsuit, plus hard plastic add-ons for his belt/shoulder strap, wrist cuffs, leg straps, and boots.   There have been a few adjustments made to the design, such as removing the yellow shorts (which the classic-styled figure will be adding back), adding a proper collar, and adding some piping and panelling lines to the main body suit.  It’s really not terribly different from how they updated, say, Iron Man’s design, and is generally in pretty good keeping with the line’s stylings as a while.  It also keeps all of the major points for selling this as a Jim Lee Cyclops, so they seem to have done a pretty respectable job of boiling things down.

Cyclops has a decent selection of accessories included.  In addition to the previously mentioned extra head, he’s also got a selection of five extra visors to swap out between the two, which includes a few duplicates, presumably in case you accidentally lose one.  The “smoking eye” piece is great for subtle poses, and the two extremes of the blasts pair well with the two different expressions on the heads.  There are also three included pairs of hands in fists, open gesture, and a flat/visor operating pose combo.  He also includes the usual display stand, this time with a big ol’ X on it.  Lastly, and most impressively by my count, is the removable (faux) leather jacket, which is pretty much essential to completing a proper ’90s Cyclops, and was the only notable thing missing from Hasbro’s first release (although they’re going to be amending that very soon).  The accessories for Cyclops are definitely an improvement over the comparatively rather light Vigilante Daredevil figure, which is a pretty good thing, even if Cyclops technically retails for $10 more.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I waffled a lot on this figure, truth be told.  At it’s core, I love the idea, and honestly, I’m very happy with the execution.  The problem I run into with most of the One:12 stuff is the cost relative to other lines in the same scale, and I won’t lie that Hasbro’s announcement of the reissue of the Jim Lee Cyclops with an added jacket did knock this one down ever so slightly in my book.  I get *why* these figures are more expensive, but that doesn’t make it easy for me to justify.  And Cyclops even retails for $20 higher than the previous base price point on these figures, making him an even harder justification.  That said, when I saw this guy in person, he really spoke to me, and I decided that a good figure of Cyclops was the sort of thing I could invest in.  Well, I’m glad I did.  Despite being the most I’ve paid for a One:12 figure, I’d say this one’s the one I’m the most satisfied with at the end of the day.  He’s a very nice piece on his own, and I think stands apart enough from the likes of Legends to be worth the additional investment.

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

#2184: Ch’od

CH’OD

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“An alien from the Shi’ar galaxy, Ch’od’s monstrous, reptillian form belittles his keen intellect and heroic heart. Once a slave, he has regained his freedom, and now travels the spaceways in the company of the Starjammers, always on the lookout for other victims of tyranny in need of his aid!”

From Amphibian Man to lizard man!  Prior to hitting it big over at Marvel with his stint on X-Men, Dave Cockrum had tried to pitch some of characters he’d been holding onto for a while to Marvel Spotlight and Marvel Premiere.  Among those concepts was The Starjammers, a group of space pirates who would eventually find their way into the Marvel Universe through the pages of X-Men, where they became the crew of Cyclops and Havok’s father Christopher Summers, aka Corsair.  The line up has had its fluctuations over the years, but one of the mainstays has been Ch’od, big reptilian guy who would really prefer you stopped confusing him with Abomination.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ch’od was released in series 6 of the Toy Biz X-Men line.  He, alongside series and team-mate Raza, was the line’s first introduction of the Starjammers.  Their leader Corsair would follow shortly after in the assortment based on The Phoenix Saga.  To date, this remains Ch’od’s only action figure, but who knows, maybe he’ll get some Legends love sometime soon.  The figure stands just over 5 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  He loses out on elbow and knee articulation, I can only guess due to his relative size and build.  He does get a waist joint, though, as well as a neck joint, which was frequently one of the first joints to go for this line.  Despite his slightly less posable nature, or perhaps because of it, Ch’od actually has one of the best sculpts from early in the line, certainly the best of his particular assortment.  He captures Cockrum’s rendition of the character quite nicely, and his sculpt has a surprising level of detail and texture work for the time.  Ch’od’s paintwork is fairly basic, with minimal detailing on the face, shorts, and belt.  The rest of the figure is just molded in a bright green, which is perhaps a touch on the bright side for Ch’od, but hardly the worst choice ever.  Ch’od is packed with his white furry companion Cr’eee, who pegs onto his shoulder via a rather obtrusive peg that’s pretty much going to guarantee that you don’t ever display one without the other.  Ch’od also has an action feature, dubbed “Double Arm Hurling Action” which is pretty self explanatory, and actually works surprisingly well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, so here’s an odd one for me: I have genuinely no idea where this guy came from.  I remember my dad having one when I was growing up.  I remember wanting to get one.  And I remember that I did *not* get one new.  A few years back, while prepping for a move, I found a box of 20-some X-Men figures I’d been missing, and Ch’od was in with them.  The timeline of when the box went missing means that he didn’t get bought during my big 5-inch buy in 2011, so I just don’t know what his deal was.  Whatever the case, I’m glad I have one because he’s a really nifty figure.  He just baffles me.

#2166: Cyclops

CYCLOPS

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“He has protected Earth against it, now, Cyclops wields the Power of The Phoenix Force!”

There was a time, believe it or not, when Marvel Legends wasn’t the toy power house it is now.  In fact, the Infinite Series re-branding of the line came about because retailers had no interest in carrying Marvel Legends in its then-current state.  In 2013, Hasbro dipped their feet into the waters of comic assortments that tied in with the movies out in theatres.  While the Iron Man 3 tie-in was able to get its six figures out, the assortment meant to tie-in with The Wolverine wouldn’t prove quite so lucky.  Despite the figures starting to go into production, mass retail interest was too small to support the line.  Ultimately, the line-up was reduced from six to four and distributed via Diamond Distributors, making it one of the rarest Legends assortments ever (really rivaled only by the Toys R Us-exclusive X-Men assortment from the following year).  Today, I’m looking at the Cyclops from that line-up.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyclops was released in the fall of 2013, in the aforementioned Wolverine assortment of Marvel Legends, which would end up being the final set of figures released in the Return of Marvel Legends-style packaging.  The bio may have clued you in to the fact that Cyclops was originally one half of a pair of swap figures, the other half being the cancelled Phoenix Force Cyclops figure.  This Cyclops represented his most current design at the time of its release, based on the Chris Bachallo reworking of his Astonishing X-Men design.  It stuck around for a fair chunk of time, making it a solid choice for toy treatment.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Cyclops is built on the Bucky Cap body.  Though not all that groundbreaking now, what with five other Cyclops on this exact body, this figure is notable for being the very first figure to place Cyclops on this base body.  He gets a new head and left hand; the head would see re-use on the ANAD Cyclops from the following year, and the hand’s been re-used on all but one Cyclops since.  They’re both pretty nice pieces, and I can dig the head’s slightly older look for Scott than other releases. He also avoids the dreaded Hasbro face, which is always a plus with these early run figures.  Cyclops’ paintwork is a bit of a mess; Hasbro hadn’t yet made their strides to correct that.  It’s not *awful*, but there’s some noticeably slop around the edges of his visor.  Additionally, some of the yellow application is a bit inconsistent, which makes for a slightly sub-par appearance.  Like I said, it’s not awful, but it’s not as good as some more recent figures.  Cyclops had no accessories for himself, but was originally packed with the arms for the Build-A-Figure Puck.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was still not fully invested in Legends when this line-up dropped, and I was certainly not into it enough to bother tracking down hard to find figures.  By the time I was back into Legends full time, he was rather pricey on the aftermarket.  He’s been on the back burner for me, especially with so many different options for Cyclops at the moment.  That said, when one got traded into All Time Toys loose a couple of months back, I seized my opportunity and picked him up for a reasonable price.  Compared to the figures that would come later, he’s perhaps not as technically impressive, but I definitely dig him for what he is, and I’m always happy to add another Cyclops to my collection.

Like I mentioned above, Cyclops came from my friends All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2155: Mr. Sinister

MISTER SINISTER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

A scientific genius with evil intentions, Nathaniel Essex genetically alters his human form to become the shape-shifting telepath known as Mister Sinister.”

When the X-Men were in need of a new big bad and Apocalypse wasn’t quite ready for the task, we got Mister Sinister!  Okay, yes, that’s quite an over-simplification of the character, but, like so many X-Men characters of his time period, there wasn’t much to over simplify for a good chunk of his time in the spotlight.  He lived and breathed “mysterious”, and we wouldn’t get the origin presented above until a decade after his creation.  Still, he’s been an on-again-off-again major foe of the X-Men, and he’s got a pretty darn striking design, so it’s only fair he get some action figure love every now and again.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mister Sinister is figure 6 in the Wendigo Series of Marvel Legends, and is the final figure in the line-up, as this assortment is slightly smaller than the usual.  This figure marks Sinister’s second time as a Legends figure, following his old Toy Biz figure from 2005.  That one was considered pretty top-notch at the time, and held up pretty decently, but even brand-new it was pretty hard to find.  Plus, Hasbro’s got this streak going with updating the more popular figures from the old line, so it just makes sense.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Sinister is an all-new sculpt, though he appears to be at the very least patterned on the Hyperion body, which is a good move size-wise.  It gives Sinister an imposing stature without making him too large in comparison to the X-Men.  He’s actually a touch shorter than the Toy Biz figure, which feels more appropriate for the character, especially given the fact that the X-Men he’s designed to go with are all a touch larger.  It’s definitely a strong sculpt, and I’m particularly a fan of the head sculpt.  That toothy grin’s just great for Sinister, and is surprisingly a look we’ve not seen before in action figure form.  Additionally, his cape is handled much better than prior versions; it’s neither a mess of free-floating straps, nor a solid chunk of plastic, which is a refreshing change of pace.  The paintwork on Mister Sinister is clean and quite sleek.  I will never not like that metallic blue that Hasbro’s so fond of, and I definitely like the high-gloss finish.  Sinister doesn’t have any accessories for himself, but he does include the right arm of the Wendigo Build-A-Figure.  And, honestly, of all the figures who have come with the dismembered bits of other figures, Sinister’s probably the one who it actually makes a little bit of sense for.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, I’m not actually the biggest fan of Sinister.  I had the old Legends figure for a while, but didn’t actually hold onto him, and wasn’t particularly eager to replace him with a new version.  While this figure was the hot figure in the line-up for a lot of collectors, I was far more excited by yesterday’s Nightcrawler, leaving this guy as a bit of an also-ran for me.  Still, once I actually got ahold of him, I have to say I think he made for a solid figure.  Maybe not quite as good as everyone’s been raving, but I’m a touch biased on that point.

Mister Sinister came 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.

#2154: Nightcrawler

NIGHTCRAWLER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“With sticky hands, a sharp tail, and piercing yellow eyes, the trouble-making mutant Nightcrawler scales walls and teleports from place to place.”

When the X-Men were rebooted for the first time, all the way back in the pages of Giant-Size X-Men #1 in 1975, they were granted a much more colorful and diverse cast of characters.  While a few of them were grabbed from prior appearances in the Marvel Universe, it was up to artist Dave Cockrum to create three of the team’s most distinctive members, Storm, Colossus, and Nightcrawler.  Nightcrawler had the notoriety of being a character Cockrum had in his mind for quite some time before getting the X-Men assignment, and he in fact came quite close to starring in a Legion of Superheroes-spin-off called The Outsiders before Cockrum moved from DC to Marvel.  In the pages of X-Men, however, he found new life, and would become quite a popular member of the team…popular enough to star in a spin-off book, in fact.  Whatever the case, Nightcrawler’s a prominent enough character that his complete absence so far from Hasbro’s re-launch of Legends has been one of the biggest notable missing figures.  Fortunately, that changed.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nightcrawler is figure 5 from the Wendigo Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s more proper X-Men-themed than the rest of the figures so far in the line-up, but his Age of Apocalypse counterpart did serve on the cover ops X-Force at one point.  This Nightcrawler marks only the second time the character’s gotten the Legends treatment, with the first being back in the Toy Biz days, an insane 14 years ago.  That’s quite a bit of a gap between releases.  This one goes for Nightcrawler’s classic costume design, which has probably the best staying power of any of Cockrum’s designs; it’s just a really strong, clean look, which is probably why he never stays away from it for very long.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall (as Nightcrawler should) and has 33 points of articulation.  Nightcrawler uses the Pizza Spidey body as a starting point, sharing his arms and legs with all of the figures that use it as a base body.  He gets a new torso, pelvis, hips, hands, and feet, plus three brand-new heads in order to complete the look.  The torso gives Kurt his classic red unitard-looking thing, with proper etched lines and everything.  Additionally, it, coupled with the pelvis and hips, gradually reduces the height of Nightcrawler, removing about 1/4 of an inch when compared to other figures on the body.  The pelvis also includes his tail, which, though it may be a static piece, is sculpted in such a way that it looks nice in both basic and dynamic poses.  As minor a piece as they may be, I was impressed to see that the new hips so greatly improve the range of motion on the legs, allowing the figure to get into more of the deep stances that Nightcrawler’s typically seen in.  Nightcrawler is classically depicted as a rather expressive character, which generally puts his figures in a bit of a bind; what expression do you go with?  This figure throws the question out the window and just goes for the three most popular options.  The head he comes wearing is a fairly standard, rather stoic lookin head, which is nice and versatile.  The second head goes more for classic scary monster Nightcrawler (complete with extra shading on the face), while the third (and my favorite of the three) plays far more into Kurt’s more jovial nature from the comics, giving him a teeth-baring grin.  While any one of these heads would have been awesome on their own, getting all three is fantastic.  Nightcrawler’s paintwork is pretty basic, but it’s bright, it’s clean, and it’s striking, which is really everything you want from such a figure.  In addition to the previously mentioned extra heads.  Nightcrawler is packed with his cutlass (criminally missing from the Toy Biz figure) and an extra right gripping hand with which to hold it, as well as the left arm to the Wendigo Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I anxiously awaited the Toy Biz Legends Nightcrawler’s release back in the day…and pretty much started waiting for this one as soon as I got that one.  Okay, that’s not entirely true; that figure wasn’t bad for the time, but I always had some issues with him.  I’ve been waiting to see another go at him pretty much since we started getting X-Men Legends again.  The prototype for this figure looked mighty nice, but boy-oh-boy did it not fully sell just how good this figure would be.  Perhaps I’ll be proven wrong later, but as it stands right now, this is my Legend of the year.  He’s a fantastic update, and an incredibly faithful recreation of the character, with a bunch of fun extras to boot.  Hasbro brought their A-game on this one, and I couldn’t be happier.

I picked up Nightcrawler from All Time Toys.  He’s one of the double-packs this time around, so he’s actually still in stock.  Buy him; buy him now.  If you’re looking for other Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

 

#2151: Cannonball

CANNONBALL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Samuel Guthrie creates a powerful forcefield to fly at superhuman speeds as a leader of the New Mutants known as Cannonball.”

Cannonball is actually a pretty solid success story for a “late run” X-character.  Introduced in the pages of New Mutants as one of the team’s founding members, he was one of the few to stick with the team for its original run and well into its rebranding as X-Force.  He was eventually promoted into the main X-Men team for a bit, and has even had a go at being an Avenger for a span of time.  How about that?  Though not the most prevalent character in action figure form, he tends to get at least one figure for every stylistic iteration of Marvel toys, and he’s found himself included in the latest round of X-themed Marvel Legends.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cannonball is figure 2 in the Wendigo Series of Marvel Legends.  He fits well with the running undercurrent of an X-Force theme in this particular assortment, especially since he’s in his ’90s X-Force costume.  Said ’90s costume is probably the design most evocative of the character, so it’s a good choice.  It’s also the same design that inspired his last Legends figure, some 12 years ago, so it’s got that whole direct replacement thing going for it.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 18 points of articulation.  While not super low, that articulation count is a lot lower than most Legends figures.  And why might that be?  Well, as you may have noticed from the photos, Sam doesn’t actually have a lower half.  In the comics, Sam’s ability is usually showcased by sort of a rocket boost effect that consumes his lower half.  It’s a dynamic way of illustrating the level of force behind his abilities.  It’s also something that his figures beyond his Minimates have never really tackled, instead giving us Sam in his powered down state.  This figure instead goes for a fully-powered look.  I’m of mixed feelings on this choice.  While I like to have effects pieces, and the rocket boost is certainly a signature appearance for Cannonball, the choice to release him with only the blast effect and no actual legs severely limits what can be done with this figure.  Additionally, the blast effect is pointed straight up, unlike the Minimates piece, which was angled, thereby making it look like he was flying towards something.  This just makes it look like Sam is angrily propelling himself straight upward, which doesn’t really work all that well, dynamically.  His upper half is fairly decent, I suppose.  He uses the arms from Shatterstar, in conjunction with a new head, torso, and jacket.  The teeth-gritting expression is appropriately Liefeldian, and the new parts create a solid recreation of his costume from the comics.  The upper torso is also removable from the blast effect, if you want to try and give him a set of legs that they didn’t include.  The paintwork on the figure is decent enough; it’s pretty much what we’ve come to expect from the line.  The linework is clean and all of the important elements are there.  The variation from red to yellow on the blast is pretty cool too.  Cannonball has no accessories of his own (which really just further emphasizes that whole lack of legs issue), but does include a leg of the Build-A-Figure Wendigo (again emphasizing his own missing legs).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m actually still quite fond of the first Legends Cannonball, so this one was already going to have a rough time of clearing that bar, but the confirmation that he wasn’t going to include legs just further put me off.  I’m still all-in on Legends so I was planning to buy him anyway, but I was sure hoping to be surprised by the figure in-hand.  The figure still fills me with mixed emotions.  The upper half is decent, and I don’t hate that he has the effect piece, but it’s really, really limiting, and questionably implemented.  There were definitely better ways of handling this.

Cannonball was purchased from my sponsors over at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.