#2890: Havok & Emma Frost

HAVOK & EMMA FROST

MARVEL MINIMATES

Summers and Frost are usually two things that don’t mix.  That is, unless we’re talking X-Men, in which case, those two things seem to mix a lot.  Unless, of course, we’re talking about X-Men: First Class, where it’s Alex Summers, not Scott, and therefore no real reason for the two to interact, so they actually never do, and therefore they again don’t mix.  Well, that is, unless you’re talking about the tie-in Minimates.  Which I am.  Yay?

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Havok and Emma Frost were part of the TRU-exclusive First Class tie-in assortment of Marvel Minimates, and are by far the most oddball pairing of the line-up, since, as noted, the two characters never actually meet.  Still, here we are.

HAVOK

Since Scott Summers had been used for the first three X-Men flicks, and was therefore unavailable to be a founding member of the team for the prequel, his brother Alex, better known as Havok, was chosen in his stead, netting himself his second Minimate in the process.  The figure is built on the standard post-C3 ‘mate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Alex uses add-on pieces for his hair and belt.  The belt is the same piece used for Xavier and Magneto, as well as countless other figures.  It’s basic and it gets the job done.  The hair’s another story.  It’s re-used from Ultimate Iron Man, and it’s not really much of a match for Havok, who was sporting a much more high-and-tight hair style in the film. That said, if you look at some of the concept art from the film, Havok is seen with something much closer to this style. Ultimately, you can swap it out with one of the many MCU Captain America hair pieces, which results in a more accurate appearance.  Havok’s paintwork is about on par with the previously reviewed Xavier figure.  It’s still quite strong, though I’m not sure his likeness is quite as spot-on.  On the plus side, the control-thingy on his chest is still pretty darn cool.  Havok included no accessories.  An effects piece might have been nice, but it was a re-use wave, so no luck there.

EMMA FROST

Since Emma Frost had been used for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and was therefore unavailable for a prequel, Fox decided to say “ah, screw it” and just use her again, but played by a totally different actress and written as an almost entirely different character, with absolutely no explanations.  Sure, let’s go with it.  Emma’s one lone add-on piece is her hair.  It was *technically* new, by virtue of Emma hitting shelves shortly before Peggy Carter, the character it was sculpted for.  It’s still a re-use in essence, though.  It works reasonably well for Emma, and matches up decently with how she looked on-screen.  The paintwork on Emma is reasonably well handled.  Like Havok, I’m not sure the likeness is really there, but it’s not like it looks un-like her.  They’ve opted for Emma’s leather jumpsuited look from early scenes on Shaw’s submarine.  While perhaps not her most distinctive look from the film, I suppose it’s not the most awful choice ever.  On the plus side, this choice of costume also makes it very easy to convert her into a comics-accurate version of Agent 13.  So she’s got that going for her.  Just like Havok, Emma’s got no accessories.  Given how little exposed skin she has, it might have been nice to at the very least get a diamond-form head and hands for her, since there’s no new tooling needed.  As it stands, quite light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As mentioned previously, I snagged this whole assortment on a family road trip, just before seeing the movie.  I’m a big Havok fan, so I certainly wanted at least him.  While this Havok isn’t quite as strong a ‘mate as either Xavier or Magneto, with one quick fix, he actually turns out pretty alright.  Not a bad addition to the line-up.  Emma’s a perfectly serviceable Minimate, but suffers from not being terribly distinctive.  Overall, an okay set, that’s really the most middle of the pack.

#2875: Synch

SYNCH

GENERATION X (TOY BIZ)

One of the primary appeals of ToyFare‘s exclusive mail away offers, for the 5-inch Marvel stuff, at least, was the ability to fill in some teams and line-ups that were just missing one stray character here or there, or at least give them at least a touch more depth to their numbers.  There were a lot of short-lived lines from Toy Biz in the ’90s, so they had plenty of loose ends to worry about.  Case in point: Generation X.  The X-spin-off team had their own line, which ran two series, and left the central team without a number of its core members.  While it was still rather lacking at the end of the day, they did get at least one extra core member via the mail-away set-up, and gave current main X-Men team member Everett Thomas, aka Synch, his very first (and to date, only) figure in the process.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Synch was offered up in ToyFare Magazine #9, first becoming available for order in May of 1998, and shipping out later that year.  After nine Marvel exclusives, they had a Witchblade figure for issue #8, and then came back to Marvel with this guy.  He was then the last Marvel exclusive for six months, when Havok picked up the baton.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  The Generation X figures were at a weird spot for Toy Biz, articulation wise, as they decided to eliminate the elbow and knee joints on all of the figures for some reason.  Synch did at least get extra shoulder movement, by virtue of making use of Banshee’s body from the main line.  Toy Biz apparently felt Banshee always needed the extra movement, and Synch got that on a technicality.  Or, perhaps he just copied it from Banshee using his powers.  That’s a pretty solid explanation, right?  In addition to using all of Banshee’s parts below the neck, Synch also got the head from the Space Riders version of Professor X.  It’s not quite the face I envision Synch having, but it was a bald head that actually had ears, which made it a better fit than the Silver Surfer head, I suppose.  It’s honestly not the worst choice.  The rest of the work is handled with the paint.  It does an okay job for the most part, but for some reason the belt buckle is way larger than the actual sculpted piece, which makes it look really strange.  That said, they did actually try on this one, and he even got some extra accenting on the yellow parts of his costume.  It’s a bit heavy handed in some spots, but the effort’s at least nice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I actually kinda liked Generation X back in the day, and I really liked my figures of Jubilee, Chamber, and Skin from the toyline.  I didn’t have a Synch growing up, though, mostly because he just wasn’t a figure I ever saw turn up anywhere.  I know he’s not generally regarded as being a very good one, but I’ve never much looked into that.  Whatever the case, my first real chance to get one came quite recently, when he got traded into All Time, which made him an easy pick-up for me.  He’s not a bad figure.  Maybe not great, but he gets the job done.  It’s a shame that they didn’t ever get M or Husk out, leaving the team incomplete, even with this guy included.  Of course, with him just being added to the main X-team, maybe this won’t be the only Synch figure for too much longer.  Fingers crossed.

#2868: Multiple Man

MULTIPLE MAN

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

The ‘90s X-spin-off teams that weren’t X-Force all had to sort of find their footing within the already established lines that Toy Biz was putting out, which meant that some of them were fewer and further between.  The line up to Peter David’s X-Factor run was definitely a slow build, as they sort of trickled out of the main X-Men line.  The likes of Strong Guy, Havok, and Polaris all found spots, but Jaime Maddrox was, I guess, a step too far for the main line at the time.  Good thing we had the exclusives game to rely on, huh?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Multiple Man was the mail away offer in ToyFare Magazine #4, offered up in December of 1997, and shipping out in early 1998.  Though ostensibly part of the X-Men line still running from Toy Biz at the time, his box had no such branding, or any branding at all.  It was just an all-white shipper, with him bagged up inside.  They hadn’t gotten very fancy yet at this point.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  He got extra joints at the ankles!  Good for him, I suppose.  Multiple Man was built on the body of Octo-Spider-Man, which was one of Toy Biz’s favorites to repaint.  It’s a pretty decent slender build body, and it fits usual depictions of the character, so it works well for him.  His head is re-used from Silver Surfer, and, apart from being perhaps a little devoid of character, it works perfectly alright for his full cowled look.  It does have a slightly weird fit on the body, but generally it works okay.  The rest of the magic is done with paint.  Much like the Polaris figure, Multiple Man’s paint work gives him a weird amalgam of his various costume designs over the years.  It was blue and yellow to match the rest of X-Factor, and it also had the x-symbol on the head, but the overall detailing on the main suit more matches up with his original costume design.  Ultimately, this is a case where I think the amalgamated approach may really work better, since it just feels like a classic Multiple Man.  It’s sort of a greatest hits set-up.  He’s unfortunately missing out on his usual overcoat of the era; surely a cloth one wouldn’t have messed up their margins too badly?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was exactly a year behind on getting a Multiple Man new, so I had to wait a few years.  He still wound up as one of my earlier additions when I started actually get them.  I remember seeing him in the same glass case that held the Wonder Man I was always looking at, but my first one actually came out of a $5 bin of loose figures, which was a real steal at the time.  I also picked up a second one, quite recently, when it got traded into All Time, because it really never hurts to have more Multiple Men.  He’s a simple figure, but I really liked him when I got him, and he’s a surprisingly effective figure.

#2861: Morph – Age of Apocalypse

MORPH — AGE OF APOCALYPSE

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

Toy Biz’s tie-in to the big X-books crossover “Age of Apocalypse” in 1996 was a pretty quick, almost slapdash sort of a thing.  A single assortment, one and done, with no real follow-up.  They covered some of the heaviest hitters from the set, but with a story so widespread, there were certainly some gaps.  Toy Biz wound up filling in the line-up a little bit in the ensuing years via a handful of one-off and oddball releases, including a mail away offer to get our boy Morph out to people.  I mean, really, how can you not have Morph, right?  It would just be wrong.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Morph was offered up as an exclusive through ToyFare Magazine #22, first made available to order in June of 1999, and shipping out later that year.  He was the fifth post-line addition to the AoA line-up, following Gambit, Rogue, Nemesis, Blink, and X-Man.  He wound up being the last addition, actually, which seems both fitting and also downright unreasonable.  I mean, sure, he’s a great character to end the line-up on, but also how could you wait so long to do him?  How could you do that, now defunct toy company?  I demand answers!  Okay, maybe not so much.  The figure stands about 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  As with all of these mail aways, he was constructed from as few new parts as possible, which was effectively none.  He uses the body of the AoA Magneto, with the modified torso piece from the Battle Brigade release, which adds in the neck articulation.  In place of either of the Magneto heads, Morph instead gets the standard head from the Spider-Man line’s Chameleon.  It’s all topped off with a cloth cape, which is affixed to the back of the torso, which is also really prone to fraying at the edges.  In general, it’s a selection of parts that gets a lot of the specifics of his design down, but misses the broader design elements of the character.  Like, the head is bald, lacks a nose and ears, and has wider eyes, which is all accurate, but he’s also really angry and mean looking, and very square jawed, which isn’t so much.  Likewise, the body gets some of the costume details down, but then it’s also way too bulked up for him.  Given that he’s a shape shifter, you can make it work, but he does feel a little bit like he’s missing the forest for the trees.  Generally speaking, the paint’s not too bad for a Toy Biz release of the era.  All of the important details are there, and he matches Morph’s design from the books.  He’s perhaps a touch too bright, but I don’t mind that so much.  Some of the application is a little sloppy, but not terribly so.  That said, I did have a weird issue with the one in all the pictures here, which is that the cape sat up against his boot in the package, and now he’s got a weird pattern on that boot.  Morph included no accessories, but honestly, what is there to give him?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure is the reason I know that AoA Morph exists.  Well, not specifically this figure; this figure is a replacement I picked up last year, when a sealed one got traded into All Time.  My original’s not quite as photogenic these days (like I said, that cape likes to fray), but he was given to me by a family friend, who had ordered him specifically for me back in the day.  It was how I found out about the character, and a few years later, it was why I picked up the first trade of Exiles, because he was on the cover.  Subsequently, I’ve become quite a fan of the character.  This figure may not be the best version, but it was better than nothing, and I certainly have a soft spot for him.

 

#2841: Beast & Azazel

BEAST & AZAZEL

MARVEL MINIMATES

Since no other licensors were really looking to dive their hands into the X-franchise after the financial failures of X3 and Wolverine: OriginsX-Men: First Class‘s entire tie-in output was in the form of Minimates, who had previously been rather light on coverage of the X-films.  But here they were, doing Minimates from the movie, I guess.  And good for them, really.  So, today, I’m taking a look at Beast and Azazel!  What do the two figures in this set have in common?  Well, if we’re going by the comics, nothing.  If we’re going by the movies…still nothing.  But, if you view them through the strange nexus of both of those things, both of them are romantically linked to Mystique.  How about that?

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Beast and Azazel were, like the rest of the First Class ‘mates, released in the Toys R Us-exclusive FC-tie-in assortment of Marvel Minimates, which hit in early summer 2011.

BEAST

Hank McCoy had the good fortune of being the only founding X-Man from the comics who was also allowed to be a founding member in the movies, as well as the good fortune to be part of both of the first two X-Men-movie-related Minimate assortments.  What a lucky guy!  This figure details him after his transformation into a blue furry monster guy, which I guess is sensible.  Certainly more exciting than “guy in glasses and a sweater vest.”  The figure is on a standard ‘mate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Beast makes use of the most sculpted parts of any figure in this assortment.  He has add-ons for his hair, torso cap, and belt, as well as non-standard hands and feet.  As with everyone else, all of these pieces are re-used.  The hair was previously Weapon X’s from the Wolverine Through the Ages Boxed Set.  It’s a reasonably well-sculpted piece, but it’s not at all close to Beast’s design from the movie.  Certainly there were other pieces that would have worked better?  The torso cap is the bulked up Hulk piece introduced in Series 22.  It’s not the best powerhouse piece, and it’s especially restrictive to the arms, but it was the standard at the time, so not an unreasonable choice.  His hands and feet are borrowed from the Universal Monsters line’s Wolf Man, and are definitely the best chosen re-use pieces here.  They’re very nicely sculpted parts, and they actually match up pretty decently with Beast’s look in the movie.  The paintwork on Beast is decent enough.  His uniform details more or less match up with the rest of the team, which is certainly a plus, given how great those all were.  There are some slight fur details on the wrists and ankles that help to differentiate him a bit.  If there’s one major flaw, it’s this: he has a nose.  Minimates aren’t supposed to have noses, but Beast does.  It really over-crowds his face, and makes him just look…strange.  Beast included no accessories.  Not a change for this assortment, of course, and Beast is another instance where I’m not sure what you *could* give him anyway.

AZAZEL

I don’t think anybody was particularly happy when Azazel was announced for First Class.  The arc that introduced him in the comics is rather infamously bad, and he’s more than a little convoluted.  Then the movie came along and just used him as “Red Nightcrawler”, and that actually worked a fair bit better.  Azazel is constructed with two add-ons and a pair of non-standard hands.  All of these are re-used from the GSXM-version of his son Nightcrawler, which is at the very least a nice touch.  That being said, it doesn’t necessarily lend itself to the most accurate figure.  The least accurate piece is definitely the hair, which is just flat-out wrong for the character.  I get that they wanted to keep his pointy ears, but couldn’t they have at least used the updated piece from the Excalibur boxed set?  It still wouldn’t be 100% accurate, but it’s a little closer, and it’s at least got some smaller detail work going on.  This one, being from very early in the line’s run, is a lot simpler than more recent offerings, and it looks out of place.  The hands are another point of inaccuracy, though slightly less frustrating.  Azazel’s more or less got normal hands in the movie, rather than Nightcrawler’s three-fingered hands.  That said, they don’t distract too much, and it’s the sort of detail you can more easily overlook.  Plus, it’s not that hard to come by normal ‘mate hands.  His tail is the piece that works best, because how do you screw up something like that?  Azazel’s paintwork is actually pretty decent.  There’s some really great contrast going on between the red and black.  The red in particular is really bright, and very eye catching.  The likeness on the face bears a very strong resemblance to actor Jason Flemyng, and is generally just very sharp looking.  They even included Azazel’s scar over his left eye!  Azazel brakes from the norm for this assortment, and actually gets an accessory.  It’s the “bamf” cloud from the Excalibur set, but done up in red, so as to match Azazel’s effect from the movie.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up my set of these figures while on a family road trip in 2011.  It was before I’d seen the movie, and therefore knew how much I’d liked it, but after it had become clear that the film stood a chance of not totally sucking.  This set’s not the assortment’s strongest.  Beast is definitely the weakest of the main team in this assortment.  While the others were all perfectly do-able using stock parts, it’s ultimately robbed Beast of any real screen accuracy.  He’s fine for rounding out the set, but that’s about it.  Like Beast, Azazel is rather inaccurate, and a bit hampered by the lack of new parts.  However, in his case, he still ends up as a rather entertaining figure despite that, and really carries this set.

#2791: Havok

HAVOK

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

In the Series 3 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, the original line-up included a Havok figure, who, like US Agent and Adam Warlock later would be, was cut from the line-up due to the slow-roll of scaling back how many figures were in each assortment.  Unlike those two, however, Havok was scrapped before getting to the prototyping stage, so the only thing we saw of him was an illustration of his head alongside the others in the assortment on the card backs for that set.  While Havok would of course make his way into the line proper several years later as part of the Invasion Series, that was after he had changed over to his X-Factor team uniform.  His classic attire would go un-produced for another six years, when it would finally make its way into toy form as an exclusive through ToyFare magazine.  I’ll be looking at that figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Havok was offered up as an exclusive mail-away figure in ToyFare #16, officially going up for order at the end of 1998, and arriving to collectors in early 1999.  Though clearly designed to accent Toy Biz’s ongoing X-Men line, the only branding on his fairly simple white box was his own name and the ToyFare logo.  Honestly, it was a bit surprising that he got anything at all, as earlier figures had just been in plain white boxes.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has an impressive 16 points of articulation.  Havok is based on the body of the Spider-Man line’s Daredevil, one of Toy Biz’s very best bodies from their 5-inch days, not only on a sculpt front, but especially on an articulation front.  It also was a fairly blank canvas, which made it a decent starting point for Havok.  There are some remnant details for the glove, boot, and belt lines, but given that he’s all black, they’re easy enough to look past.  Havok’s head sculpt is borrowed from Black Bolt, but with the tuning fork on the head removed and replaced with Havok’s usual head gear.  That head gear does have a tendency to come loose if you’re not careful, and the actual head’s eye holes on the mask don’t line up with Havok’s, but it’s generally an okay set-up, and certainly good given the standards for prior exclusives up to this point.  Havok’s paint work is fairly basic, but follows the design well.  It does have to contend with the sculpt not matching with the paint on the head, but it could be worse.  It hits the right notes, and that’s what’s important.  Havok included no accessories, but I’m honestly not sure what he could have gotten.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s again a Havok figure’s fault for a huge chunk of my collecting.  I know; you’re all terribly surprised.  I already had the main line Havok by this point, but when this guy was announced as an exclusive and I read about it on my main source for toy news, one Raving Toy Maniac, I was all about getting him, which meant buying my first issue of this weird ToyFare thing.  Upon reading this weird ToyFare thing, I was pretty well hooked, and got myself a subscription, which I hung onto until rather close to the end of the magazine’s publication.  It undoubtedly was responsible for me being as up-to-date with toys as I was at the time, and got me buying plenty of things I would have otherwise not even known had existed.  Havok himself is a pretty nice little figure.  Sure, he’s mostly repaint, but he’s a good repaint, and probably one of the stronger 5-inch Marvel exclusives from ToyFare.

#2786: Dani Moonstar

DANI MOONSTAR

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Part of a group of young mutants, Dani Moonstar has the ability to conjure illusions based on her enemy’s deepest fears.”

Debuting in 1982, the New Mutants were an attempt to go back to the “troubled youngsters” angle of the original X-Men pitch, which had been since lost in the main book.  Included in the team’s five-member founding line-up was Dani Moonstar, who initially went by the alias of “Psyche”, before switching over to “Mirage”, and then ultimately just going by her own name, because if you’ve got a name as cool as “Dani Moonstar” maybe you don’t need to try to make it cooler.  Dani was ultimately written out of the book before it’s conclusion (though she was at least lucky enough not to be killed on her way out, which was more than could be said for poor Cypher and Karma), and that meant she wasn’t folded into X-Force, so she didn’t take off quite the same way that Canonball, Sunspot, and Wolfsbane.  However, she’s still got some things going for her, such as a Marvel Legends figure.  How about that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dani Moonstar was released in late 2019/early 2020, as part of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.  She was initially a Walgreens-exclusive figure, and followed in the store’s trend of getting female X-characters as their exclusives.  Earlier this year, she was offered up for a fan channel release as well, making her generally more accessible.  Yay!  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  She’s built on the Phoenix body, with newly sculpted parts for her head, forearms, and boots.  Dani is based on her mid-00s team suit design, from after they’d relaunched the New Mutants in light of most of them not being dead anymore.  It’s an update on their original black and yellow costumes, in turn based on the original X-Men designs.  It’s a pretty basic design, but not a bad one from a team stand-point.  Technically, there should be a few more character specific elements for it to be properly customized to Dani’s look from the comics, but there’s a decent reason it’s not: because this figure’s designed to be more than just Dani.  She includes two extra heads, as well as two extra sets of hands, which allow her to be displayed as her team-mates Karma and Wolfsbane, also in their mid-00s team suits.  The heads are pretty nice pieces themselves, and the overall appearance works out way more convincingly than, say, the Lilandra head included with Mystique, so there’s more out of the box value here.  In terms of paint work, the figure’s overall pretty basic. The work on the suit is nice and clean, and the individual heads all feel sufficiently distinct from each other in terms of how they handle the palette and themes of the characters.  In addition to the whole extra set of head and hands for the two separate characters, Dani does also get a couple of accessories of her own, namely a bow and a single arrow, which both appear to be new pieces, as near as I can tell.  She has a little trouble holding the arrow, but it’s still a good look overall.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m generally not a huge New Mutants fan (though I’m all about Cypher and Warlock), so I wasn’t in a hurry to get this particular release.  That was probably for the best, because it was never all that numerous around these parts.  I think I saw it once, while driving between locations for work, and I just wasn’t feeling it enough to grab it at the time.  That being said, when she was just at All Time, and I was already grabbing a handful of other figures that came in that day, Dani was harder to pass up.  She’s a decent figure, if perhaps not quite as impressive as more uniquely designed figures.  Still, it’s a cool concept, and her being a 3-in-1 is certainly a nifty prospect.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2749: Polaris

POLARIS

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Lorna Dane, a long-time friend to the X-Men, is the mutant known as Polaris! Able to manipulate the forces of magnetism, she has learned to utilize her powers in various ways, such as creating force fields and firing pure bolts of magnetic energy! As a member of the government sanctioned X-Factor Team, Polaris will not hesitate to use her powerful mutant abilities to help the X-Men whenever she is needed!”

“Long-time friend” kind of down plays that whole period in the ’60s when she was an actual member of the team.  Or that period in the ’80s when she was an actual member of the team.  Heck, you can’t even use the “maybe they were trying to keep it in line with the cartoon” excuse, because, there too, she was an actual member of the team.  What I’m getting at here is a simple question: why does this unnamed Toy Biz copy writer have a personal vendetta against Lorna Dane?  Is it because of all the times she’s been brainwashed and crazy?  Because you’re going to have to rule out, like, 90% of the X-Men, if that’s your thing.  I will not stand for this slander libel against Lorna.  It’s unreasonable, I tell you!  I’m so mad, I’m gonna review this action figure.  I know, that’s so out of character for me.  See?  See how mad I am?  It’s your move, person that wrote the packaging text on a figure from 25 years ago for a toy company that’s been defunct for over a decade…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Polaris was released in the “Flashback Series” of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, which hit shelves in 1996, and was the 15th assortment in the line.  It was that year’s requisite repaint series, which they’d gotten somewhat attached to, I suppose.  Polaris marked the third member of the ’90s X-Factor team added, and would be the last one added to the mainstream line.  She’s ostensibly in her ’90s team attire, but I’ll get a bit more into that in a moment.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation.  Since it was a repaint series, Polaris is, unsurprisingly, a repaint, specifically of the Series 6 Rogue figure.  It’s not a terrible sculpt, I suppose, but it was a little outdated by this point, making her a little stiffer than other figures from the same year.  And, while the overall design of the character matches up alright with the sculpt if you squint, it’s not a super close match, and ends up amalgamates a few of her different X-Facter looks.  It’s seems to be closes to the sleeveless w/ headband look she had slightly later in the run, but adds a jacket to the mix (since Rogue’s was sculpted in place), and somewhat awkwardly recreates a few of her costume design elements by ignoring or reinterpreting the actual sculpted Rogue elements.  This is largely done by the paint work, which does the heavy lifting to make Rogue look like Polaris.  Honestly, it does a pretty respectable job, and while it looks like she’s a repaint, she’s at least distinctly different enough to not look totally out of place if both figures are on the shelf.  Polaris was packed with a removable belt, and a weird translucent green gun thing…I suppose to make up for Rogue’s general lack of the obligatory unnecessary gun?  She also keeps Rogue’s “Power Upper Punch” action feature, which is a little out of place with Lorna, but it’s a part of the sculpt, so it stays.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had Havok in my X-Men collection from the very beginning, so I couldn’t very well not have Polaris to go with him, right?  I got her back when she was new, and if I’m recalling correctly, I believe she was given to me by my parents, alongside the second of the two X-Men carrying cases I had as a kid.  I actually got her before Rogue, if I recall correctly, which made her stand out a bit more in my collection at the time.  She’s perhaps not the most exciting or inventive figure in the line, but she’s not a bad figure either, and that places her into the half of the “Flashback” assortment that wasn’t totally pointless.  Good for her.

#2742: Archangel

ARCHANGEL

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Rich playboy Warren Worthington III was the X-Men’s Angel until the day that he was captured and transformed into one of the horsemen of Apocalypse. A darker reflection of his previous self, Archangel now possessed wings made of metal – wings that he could barely control, wings that fired paralyzing “feathers” at friends as well as enemies. Constantly battling his dark side, Archangel longed to regain the goodness that he once stood for. Recently finding kinship with the X-Men’s Psylocke, Archangel has come to terms with his transformation, and has started to rebuild the life he thought he had lost forever!”

Though only a recurring guest star in the show the line was loosely attempting to tie into, Archangel was treated alright by Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  He was in the initial assortment (which, admittedly, predated the show, so, you know…), and got a follow up just a few years into the line, in the Invasion Series.  Thanks to a rather notable costume change, which also made it’s way into the show, he got a third time up to bat, this time with a more radically different figure, which I’m looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Archangel was released in the “Battle Brigade” Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, which was the 14th series of the line.  Unlike the last time around, Archangel stayed with this assortment through it’s whole run (although he, like the rest of the line-up, did get a color variant later into the run).  He’s sporting his white and blue costume, which had first appeared under Neal Adams’ tenure in the comics, and had been revived following Warren’s drive to distance himself further from Apocalypse’s influence.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  The figure is predominantly a re-use of the mold from Archangel II, sensible from a consistency stand point, I suppose.  I still think it’s a little bulky for Warren, and it’s still got the sculpted wrist bands from the prior costume, which this one just sort of pretends aren’t there.  Prototype shots had this guy reusing the entire sculpt, including the head, but the final product got a new head sculpt.  It would become one of Toy Biz’s favorites, with quite a few re-uses as the progressed.  It’s quite a lot thinner, and also really pouty, which was honestly pretty appropriate for Warren circa this era.  It does seem perhaps a touch small for the body, but it’s not awful, and I generally like this one more than the prior head sculpt.  The paint work on this one does its best to change the sculpt over to the changed costume, while ignoring the previously mentioned sculpted wrist bands.  It’s not terrible, but it’s kind of on the sloppy side, especially on the legs.  Definitely could be cleaner.  This Archangel had no accessories, but he retained the prior figure’s wing-flapping action feature, which is nifty enough.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Growing up, my go-to Archangel was the first one, but my Dad had this one, back when we were sort of sharing the collection a bit.  A few years later, I actually got one of my own, courtesy of a 5-inch Marvel collection that came through Cosmic Comix.  He was my favorite Archangel of the 5-inch run, but wound up getting lost in a box of other figures that got misplaced for about a decade or so.  In the mean time, I wound up getting a replacement at a con, but I was lucky enough to find that whole box of figures not long after, and, boom, now I have two.  Yay?  Yay.

#2739: Tri-Sentinel

TRI-SENTINEL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

The Sentinels, a recurring X-Men foe since their introduction in the ’60s, continue this trend as foes into the “House of X” story line, where they and the humans present the primary faction warring against the titular team of mutants.  As the story jumps around, we see the Sentinels in a variety of forms, as their designs advance.  During the sequences set 90 years in the future, amongst the Sentinel forces are a new form of the Tri-Sentinel, dubbed the Theta Sentinels.  Despite their quite minor role, they nevertheless serve as the inspiration for the newest X-themed Build-A-Figure for Marvel Legends, which I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Theta Sentinel, or “Tri-Sentinel” as it’s been dubbed by Hasbro on the packaging, is the Build-A-Figure for the Tri-Sentinel Series of Marvel Legends.  It’s based on the Theta Sentinel design as seen in the future sequences of “Powers of X”, tying it in with the rest of the assortment…sort of.  I mean, most of them are present day designs, and it’s from the future.  I guess Wolverine goes with it?  Maybe that was the main reason for him getting the extra head?  That would actually make sense.  Good form on Hasbro, I guess.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  There was discussion when this figure was unveiled (well, after the resounding “wait, what is that?” reaction) about it making use of parts from the SP//dr Build-A-Figure, but it actually doesn’t share any parts with that release at all.  Instead, it’s an all-new sculpt, based directly on the art from the book.  It’s not a bad piece.  It captures the design from the series pretty closely, and it’s fairly clean.  The detailing does feel a little soft in a few spots, especially on the core body, but it’s not terrible.  The articulation is also pretty solid, allowing for a rather wide range of motion, without too much impact on the sculpt.  The only real issue is with the way the heads connect to the torso.  Firstly, the sculpting doesn’t allow for a ton of range at the base of the heads, and secondly, they just really don’t want to stay in place.  That middle head in particular just keeps wanting to pop out of place on mine.  I think the socket for the joint is just a little too shallow for it to properly seat.  On top of that, it’s pretty hard to get the heads in there in the first place, due to the tight, cluttered placement, and how small the necks are relative to the heads.  It wasn’t a very pleasant experience putting it together, really, especially for my hands.  The paint work on the Tri-Sentinel is pretty basic, and follows the usual Sentinel set-up.  A few different purples, and some silver and grey.  There’s a lot of metallics in the finish, which does look pretty good.  The application’s generally pretty clean.  There are some slightly fuzzy edges, but for the most part it’s pretty good.  This figure gets no addition accessories, but as a Build-A-Figure, that’s not really a point against him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Theta Sentinel is a really minor player, enough that I had literally no clue who the Build-A-Figure was supposed to be when Hasbro announced this set.  I had to actually look it up, and even that didn’t exactly give me a lot to go on, especially given how minor the Theta Sentinels were.  Getting this figure wasn’t much of a driving factor behind getting the set or anything, so I just, sort of, completed it.  It’s an alright figure.  The posability on the body is nice, but the heads are frustrating, and having no attachment to the character leaves me in an odd spot with it.  It feels like there were probably better choices for this slot, but I guess they tried to make the best of what it was.

I find this whole assortment to sort of illicit almost a non-response from me.  I’ve been keeping current with the current X-books, but “House of X” itself wasn’t much for me.  Ultimately, this set’s kind of middling, I guess.  Moira and Jean are two long term wants, that turned out decent, if perhaps not quite as good as I’d hoped.  Wolverine and Cyclops are both solid, if perhaps slightly redundant, variants of core characters and a lot of fun.  Xavier and Magneto aren’t really designs I care for, nor do the figures really do a lot to win me over.  The pleasant surprise for me was definitely Omega Sentinel, who I had knowledge of going in, but who makes for a pretty fun little figure.  Overall, it’s a set I like well enough, but I don’t know if it’s much to write home about.