#2630: Iceman II

ICEMAN II

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“One of the youngest X-Men, Bobby Drake always resigned himself to the role of the jokester, using his ice powers to cool off the attitudes of his more serious team-mates. But for the short time the White Queen inhabited his body, Iceman’s powers were pushed to the max, affecting his appearance and the performance of his mutant ability. Now back in control of his own body, Iceman has begun to redefine himself, testing his limits to discover how powerful he really is.”

Though a founding member of the team, Iceman was not really one of the X-Men’s most prominent members in the ‘90s, at least when it came time to make the cartoon and pick its main cast of characters.  He got one guest appearance, but that was all, and subsequently, he didn’t get a *ton* of coverage in the toy line at the time, either.  Granted, he still got a little bit of coverage, by virtue of that whole helping to found the team, thing, so he wasn’t left completely high and dry.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iceman II was released in the Invasion Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  In the comics, Bobby’s body had been taken over by Emma Frost for a brief period of time, and she’d unlocked Bobby’s ability to actually make himself out of ice, resulting in a slightly different appearance for the character, which this figure was based on.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  I’ve actually looked at most of this figure before, as all but the head was re-used for the Mutant Armor version of the character.  It’s not a bad sculpt at all, and the head included here is a rare look at a proper Bobby Drake face, albeit a slightly icy one.  The whole sculpt was used again for a two-pack release with Pyro in 2000, but with a slightly different coloring (which is the one seen next to Wilson in the photos).  The standard release of this one was molded in clear blue plastic, with a little bit of white airbrushed on to help give him that frosted appearance.  It didn’t work so well on the Mutant armor release, but I think it looks a bit better here.  For the two pack, he was a more opaque blue, which also isn’t a bad look.  Iceman II (and the two pack release) was packed with two ice hand attachments, done up to match the figure’s finish.  They’re a pretty cool extra.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I didn’t have the original Iceman II in my collection as a kid (though I did have the two-pack version, who I mostly got because I wanted the Pyro he was packed with), I do remember looking at him during the mega 5-inch figure purchase period that was local comic shop Ageless Heroes going out of business back in 2000.  I almost picked this figure up at the time, as I was working on putting together a set of Champions figures.  However, I already had *an* Iceman, even if it wasn’t this one, so I refrained in favor of someone I didn’t already own (fairly certain it was Black Widow).  This one here came into my collection via a bunch of figures that just came into All Time a few weeks ago.  He was complete and I didn’t already have him, so why not?

#2623: Spiral

SPIRAL

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Any place the other dimensional sorceress known as Spiral chooses to dance her spells of mayhem, is not a good place to be. A humanoid creation of the slave driving television personality Mojo, Spiral’s six arms lend themselves as adeptly to combat skills and swordplay as they do to the casting of spells. Of fleeting allegiance and no apparent agenda, Spiral teleports herself across dimensions searching for ways to satisfy her disorderly whim.”

The denizen’s of X-Foe Mojo’s Mojoverse first appeared in the comics as part of 1985’s Longshot miniseries.  Appearing in issue #1 along side the title character was Mojo’s right-hand woman, Spiral, a character whose backstory is just as convoluted and dependent on time travel shenanigans as any other Mojoverse resident.  She and the rest of the Mojoverse characters made their way into the main stream universe shortly after, and have all been bouncing around the background of the Marvel Universe since.  Spiral’s got a pretty unique look, which has graced her with a small handful of figures over the years, including today’s figure, her very first offering.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spiral was released as part of the Invasion Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line in 1995, a decade after her debut in the comics.  She joined the previously released Longshot, but was rather curiously separated from her boss, who wound up in the X-Force line instead.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and she has 9 points of articulation.  Though she’s got all those extra arms, it doesn’t do anything to bump up her articulation count, since only the upper-most arms get elbow movement, and they have just a single cut joint running across all three shoulders.  It’s odd that she didn’t get at least the elbows, since 6-Arm Spider-Man got those, but I guess they weren’t willing to throw Spider-Man level money at Spiral.  Her sculpt was an all-new offering, and never got any re-use, no doubt due to its more unique nature.  It’s not too bad.  It’s perhaps a little stiff, and the unmoving splayed arms are some what limiting when it comes to posing, but she’s at least a good recreation of Spiral’s comics design.  The only weird part is how far her arms jut out to the sides.  It’s a side effect of the lack of joints in those arms, since they’d be liable to bash into her legs and sides otherwise.  It’s not the worst, I guess, and fits with the general aesthetic of these figures when you get down to it.  Spiral’s paint work was generally pretty on point for the character.  It’s not one of the more colorful designs of the era, but it also doesn’t make your eyes bleed either, so that’s generally a plus.  The application is decent overall, with minimal slop or bleed over.  Spiral’s accessories were pretty straight to the point.  She had two of the same sword.  Only two, despite the four open hands.  I know.  Seems a little light.  She also had an arm-spinning action feature, which was engaged when her legs were squeezed.  It’s not actually that bad for a swordswoman, so I’m alright with it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Spiral was a bit of a pegwarmer back in the day, at least according to my dad.  Apparently, we saw her a lot, but I wasn’t interested at the time.  She was kind of minor on the show, I suppose, which probably contributed.  Ultimately, I only just recently got her, because she’s not quite as prevalent as she once was.  She came out of a rather large lot of 5 inch Marvel that came in at All Time, most of which ended up coming home with me.  She’s not a bad figure, but she does seem a little bit limited by some of Toy Biz’s design choices.  Still, I’m glad to have her, and I’ll never say no to another Invasion Series figure.

IF YOU’RE READING THIS ON TOYNEWZ, THAT MEANS IT WAS STOLEN FROM THEFIGUREINQUESTION.COM.  THAT’S NOT VERY NICE, IS IT?

#2621: Rogue

ROGUE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Rogue can absorb superpowers, personality traits, strength, and even memories from others with a single touch, making her capabilities in any matchup nearly limitless. These talents have naturally led her to be a leader among the X-Men.”

I guess this year’s not a bad year to be Rogue, is it?  I mean, I guess it’s rather fitting that 2020 might be okay for a person who can’t come in contact with others on a regular day to day, right?  Rogue’s history with Marvel Legends isn’t the best, really.  Despite her rather popular status among the X-Men, her only figure during the Toy Biz run was exclusive to a rather large boxed set (and not a very good figure at that), and then Hasbro didn’t tackle her for the first few years they had the license.  Their first attempt would have been part of the Puck Series in 2013, but it was one of two figures dropped when the assortment moved from mass retail to specialty.  Her ’90s costume got a release in the Juggernaut Series in 2016, but it was also the hardest to find figure in the set by far.  When a Rogue/Pyro two-pack was announced early this year, there were hopes it would be another go at the ’90s Rogue, but it wasn’t.  Fortunately, another go wasn’t too far behind, it seemed.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rogue is in the same boat as yesterday’s Gambit figure, a Target-exclusive offering in the Retro Collection sub-line of Marvel Legends.  She and Gambit were shown off and released together, shipping in the same store display, which went up just after Black Friday.  Much like how Gambit serves as just a slight tweaking on the Caliban Series Gambit from last year, this Rogue serves as a slight rework on the Juggernaut Series Rogue mentioned in the intro.  She stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 26 points of articulation.  Rogue is, for the most part, the same sculpturally as the 2016 version.  While the Moonstone body is starting to show its age these days, Rogue is definitely a character for whom the body works well.  The add-on pieces also sit a little tighter on this release, as well, making her feel like an overall sturdier figure.  The one sculptural change up on this figure is her head, which is an all-new piece.  The head on the old figure wasn’t bad at all, and in fact I really quite liked it, but it was a little removed from the art style of the ’90s, and made it feel more like a 2010s take on the ’90s design.  This one goes closer to the source, and it’s another solid piece, and one that feels perhaps a bit more at home with the more recent ’90s X-Men offerings.  And it certainly gets her big ’90s hair down, doesn’t it?  The paint work marks another notable change for this release.  She follows in the footsteps of Gambit, Cyclops, and Wolverine, with a color scheme that more closely matches up with her animated counter part, making the yellow much less orange, and darkening the green a bit, and making it flat instead of metallic.  It definitely works well.  The only part I don’t really care that much for is the color in the cheeks.  It’s not as bad as some as Hasbro’s attempts, but it could stand to be a touch more subtle.  Rogue is packed with an extra set of hands.  Like her prior release, there’s the ungloved right hand, and this one also adds in an all-new left hand which is holding the right glove.  I already liked the extra hand the last time, and the left hand holding the glove just makes it even better.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As much as I liked the Juggernaut Series Rogue, mine had that pesky incorrect upper arm on the right side, and then even wound up with a broken foot within a year of me getting her.  Finding a replacement wasn’t a cheap prospect, so the plan to re-issue her wasn’t a problem for me.  Her being a Target exclusive was a bit more of a problem.  But, as I mentioned in yesterday’s Gambit review, I wound up having no issues getting her ordered through Target’s website, so here she is.  She’s again an improvement on the prior figure, although I personally have trouble choosing which of them is my favorite.  First world problems, am I right?

#2620: Gambit

GAMBIT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Gambit has the ability to mentally charge objects with explosive kinetic energy! Remy LeBeau relies on his superior card-throwing abilities and lightning-fast reflexes to turn the tide of battle in favor of the X-Men.”

Today is Super Awesome Wife’s birthday, and so, in her honor, I’m going to use today’s review to focus in on one of her favorite characters (at least in recent years) from the X-Men franchise, one Remy LeBaua, aka Gambit!  Gambit spent a few years away from Legends (due in part to a diminishing prominence in the comics in more recent years), but got a pretty solid release last year as part of the main line.  With Legends generally on the rise, that figure came and went relatively quickly, so Hasbro’s doubled back, tweaked him, and given him another release, which I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gambit is a Target-exclusive Marvel Legends offering, as part of the Retro Collection sub-line.  To that end, he takes last year’s Gambit, and pushes him a bit further into that Animated Series territory, crafting the character’s third time as a Legends release proper.  Like the prior figure, he stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Gambit is predominantly the same sculpt as the previous figure, which is quite alright by me, because that was a rather strong sculpt, and it had a lot of new parts that have yet to see any other use.  The only sculptural change actually addresses my only complaint about the sculpt the last time I looked at it: his hair.  The last release had the hair all blowing a single direction, and just generally looked far too lop-sided for my taste.  This one replaces that piece with one that’s got a part and a little more of that traditional Gambit hair bounce we’ve all come to know and love.  For me, it just ends up working out a lot better for the character.  I’m glad they took this opportunity to fix that.  The next big change up on this figure is the paint work.  The prior scheme was definitely more comics-based, while this one goes for a much brighter and more saturated look that’s more in line with Gambit’s animated appearance.  I honestly had no issue with the previous paint scheme, but I’ll admit that this one feels like an improvement to my eyes.  The only thing about it I’m not entirely sold on is the swapping out a very dark blue for the black sections.  It’s not bad at all, but I’m just more used to the straight black.  This looks cool too, though.  The last Gambit had a good selection of extras, and this release keeps them all, as well as adding one more.  He’s got the staff, the two playing card effects, and the open hand of the last release, plus a new gripping hand for his left side, so he can two hand the staff.  I also really appreciate how they actually painted the card details on this time; I didn’t miss it the last time, but it adds an extra touch this time around.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I loved the Toy Biz Gambit, and I loved the last Hasbro Gambit, so I wasn’t really feeling like I needed to be in the market for another Gambit.  I’ve got two very good ones to choose from.  So, when Hasbro announced this one (as well as the fact that it was yet another Target exclusive), I was game to skip…until I saw that damned hair, and realized they fixed my one and only complaint about the last figure.  I was expecting him to be really hard to get, but I actually found acquiring him to be quite a breeze.  I caught a message that he’d shown up in stock on Target’s web site, and I was able to get on and get him ordered with no fuss.  Yay!  He’s an awesome figure, and hands down the best Gambit out there.  I don’t really know what could be done to improve him, honestly.

#2619: Wolverine

WOLVERINE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Weapon X infused Wolverine with adamantium to make him a powerful mutant with superhuman healing ability.”

Hugh Jackman’s turn as Wolverine was one of the constants of Fox’s X-Men movies, appearing in all but one of the films (Dark Phoenix, for those curious), and just generally being as much of a pop culture icon as the character’s comics incarnation.  He’s been no stranger to action figures, since he’s, you know, Wolverine and all.  The fall out between Fox and Disney meant we went a good gap of time between releases, of course, but he’s back in full force, with three different variants in Hasbro’s Legends assortment devoted to the movies.  I’m looking at the one standard release in the bunch today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wolverine is the last of the three standard release single-packed figures in the X-Men Movie sub-line of Marvel Legends, following Domino and Mystique.  It’s an interesting selection of characters to say the least.  This Wolverine is based on his jacketed appearance, which is certainly a distinct look for the character.  That said, they’ve opted to specifically base him on Origins: Wolverine, which seems like a slightly odd choice.  I mean, the look doesn’t shift much between the films, but it feels weird to specifically base him on a far less regarded film.  Could be worse, I suppose.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 33 points of articulation.  The articulation scheme on this guy is pretty impressive.  The butterfly joints on the shoulders add some nice extra posability to him, and the ball joint on the neck is great for adding a bit more expression to the figure when posing.  Wolverine’s sculpt is another all-new offering (although the legs are shared with the Amazon-exclusive Wolverine variant).  The body sculpt does a good job of capturing Jackman’s build from the movies, as well as translating all of the textures and layers of his clothing.  This guy includes two different head sculpts, giving us differing expressions.  The one he comes wearing is an intense, screaming head, which is kind of a weak offering.  The expression’s certainly got an intensity to it, but it ends up looking goofy, and the Jackman likeness really isn’t there.  The second head is a more neutral expression, and this one is definitely the stronger of the two.  The Jackman likeness isn’t spot on, but it’s still close enough for recognizability.  The paint work on this guy is a bit of a mixed bag.  The head works out well enough, and the weathering on the pants isn’t *terrible*, but it’s not great either.  The wear on the jacket isn’t really that great.  It just kind of looks like a bird pooped on him to be honest.  Not exactly the most imposing look.  In addition to the previously mentioned extra head, he also includes hands with both claws and without.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m still recovering a bit from some serious Wolverine exhaustion from last year, so this guy being the first of the movie figures shown off didn’t exactly thrill me.  I mean, he looked cool and all, but he’s Wolverine.  I have a lot of Wolverine.  He benefits from the fact that I got the rest of the set first, so as to cushion the whole “it’s another Wolverine” bit.  He’s a pretty solid figure on his own, and I look forward to having more figures to go with him.

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

#2618: Magneto & Professor X

MAGNETO & PROFESSOR X

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Magneto and Professor X clash in a struggle that will impact the future of all mankind.”

This year, the X-Men movie franchise turned 20.  It may have been easy to miss, what with the world falling apart and time being an illusion for most of the year.  Also, the movie franchise having died a kind of whimpering death in the last two years.  That may have somewhat contributed.  With Fox purchased by Disney, and all of the rights for the movies back under the main Marvel branding again, we’re finally getting to see proper merchandising (outside of Minimates) for the first time since…gosh…Origins?  Yikes, that’s a sad one to leave off on.  Hasbro’s got a whole sub-set of figures devoted to the films, picking and choosing a bit from the whole of the franchise.  They’ve tried to stick with some of the broadest characters at the start, opting for characters who stuck it out the whole time, and really, whose broader than Magneto and Professor X, whose turbulent relationship has formed the back bone of most of the films?

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Magneto and Professor X are one of the pair of two-packs in the X-Men Movie sub-line of Marvel Legends.  Unlike the rest of the stuff we’ve gotten, where there’s been a single movie focus, these two are meant to cover multiple films, and indeed multiple actors.  It gets…well, it gets a little wonky, but it’s best to bring it up in the figure’s respective sections.

MAGNETO

As Ian McKellen, Magneto was decently served by prior X-Men movie toys, getting coverage from both the first film and X2, but as Michael Fassbender, he’s only gotten Minimates up until now.  This figure is actually pretty targeted in terms of design, at least at his core, being based on Magneto’s fully geared up appearance from the ’70s portion of Days of Future Past.  It’s not just a good look, it’s arguably Magneto’s best look in the movies, and one of my favorite designs spawned from the whole of the X-films.  It’s also very toy friendly, so that’s always a good starting point.  The figure is 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation.  The articulation on this guy is a little bit stiff compared to other recent Legends figures, notably in the shoulder and elbow area.  It’s not terrible, but I did have a little difficulty getting him into some poses.  The sculpt on this guy is all new, and makes use of the new “pinless” style joints for the elbows and knees, which certainly do make it look more cohesive.  Generally, I quite like how this sculpt turned out.  The costume is well-crafted, and replicates the various layers and textures of the costume from the movie, and translates them pretty well into plastic form.  The actual build on the body under said costume isn’t quite as spot-on.  The body’s generally just a bit bulkier than Fassbender in Days, which makes the arms look a little bit stubbier than they should.  The head also sits a touch higher on the neck than it should, as well, which requires some more careful posing to not look goofy.  All that’s pretty minor, though.  My biggest issue with the figure lies with the primary, helmeted Fassbender head.  The helmet’s great, and the Fassbender likeness on the head beneath it’s not bad either, but for some reason, they opted to give him a weird teeth baring expression, which doesn’t really feel right for Fassbender’s take on the character.  It’s not terrible, but it’s not quite what I want.  In terms of paint, the figure’s actually pretty solid.  There’s not a ton going on, but what’s there is a good replication of the film design.  Magneto includes two sets of hands in open in closed poses, as well as an alternate un-helmeted head.  The second head is a nice piece, with a strong Fassbender likeness, and a much calmer expression.  I kind of wish the helmeted head matched, and I’m tempted to try and find extras of the two heads to kitbash my own.  This set’s big claim to fame when Hasbro showed it off at Toy Fair this year was its ability to double as multiple versions of the two characters, across their multiple actors.  To facilitate this, there are also two Ian McKellen heads included, one helmeted and one not.  And, would you look at that?  They both have the same expression, unlike the Fassbender heads.  Why couldn’t they just keep that consistency across the board?  In general, the McKellen heads are a bit of a cheat, of course, since he never wore anything remotely like Fassbender’s costume in the movies.  That said, what he did wear is rather easy to approximate on your own, so just getting the heads is still a nice touch.

PROFESSOR X

Much like the McKellen/Fassbender split on figures above, Patrick Stewart’s Xavier got some toy coverage early on in the X-Men movie run, but James McAvoy’s take wasn’t quite so lucky.  Unlike Magneto, this figure’s a far less targeted offering when it comes to the design.  In fact, it’s…well, it’s a bit of a mess.  I’ll get into the “why” in a moment.  The figure is 6 1/4 inches tall standing (obviously less sitting, of course) and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s built on the Coulson-style suit body, with a new jacket piece that’s got the vest underneath.  There are also two heads included, one of McAvoy and one of Stewart.  Both likenesses are pretty strong, so I’ve definitely got to give Hasbro credit on that.  McAvoy’s is bald, indicating that this figure is supposed to be post Apocalypse version of him.  The blue suit set up of the figure supports that, and is also sensible given that it’s the same style of suit that Stewart’s version of the character typically wore.  It’s a little weird from the perspective of it meaning that he doesn’t at all match the Magneto he’s packed with, but if we’re going for iconic looks, I guess this makes more sense.  The new jacket/vest piece is pretty nice, and is actually sculpted to allow a more proper seated position as well, which is a nice touch.  In terms of paint work, he’s again pretty basic, but also pretty good.  Both heads look pretty life like, and I can certainly get behind them.  Okay, now let’s tackle the rough stuff: the accessories.  So, remember how I mentioned the whole thing about this being a post-Apocalypse McAvoy?  Or even a movies 1-3 Stewart?  You know what completely wrecks that set-up?  The chair.  Stewart has the same chair in the first three movies, and the same chair is used by McAvoy in First Class and Days of Future Past, and then again at the tail end of Apocalypse when he’s got the fully classic Xavier look again.  That’s not the chair included here.  Instead, we get a more generic wheel chair, which is in fact shared with the Old Man version of Charles from the Logan two-pack.  Logan is the only time that Stewart’s Xavier used such a chair, and he’s obviously not in the full suit and tie.  McAvoy’s Xavier uses such a chair in the climax of Days, but he’s wearing a tweed jacket and sweater, and is also still sporting the hair and beard.  So, this chair matches nothing about the figure.  I also found it interesting that, while the Magneto gets four different heads, Xavier only gets the two.  If we got a McAvoy head with the hair and beard, we could at least sort of approximate Xavier from the climax of Days (which would also help him match Magneto), thereby making the chair less inaccurate.  Generally, the lack of McAvoy heads covering his evolving hair styles from the films kind of takes the wind out of the sails of this whole “cross movie” thing this set was sold on.  At least the chair is a nice chair, I guess, even if it’s inaccurate.  He also gets a selection of extra hands, which do make for some good posing options.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set is by far the piece I was most looking forward to out of all of the X-Men movie stuff.  Days‘ take on Magneto is, as noted above, a favorite of mine, and I’ve been wanting a proper figure of it for a while.  This one’s not without his flaws, and I’m definitely not big on that helmeted facial expression, but the overall figure is still pretty cool, and certainly better than not having him at all.  The McKellen heads aren’t really meant for this body, but they do look really cool, and make for an easier time building your own.  Xavier’s shakier than Magneto for sure.  The core body’s fine, and both heads are pretty nice, but that chair’s just wrong, and the fact that he doesn’t line-up with the Magneto at all in terms of looks makes the whole two-pack aspect of this pair seem slightly forced.  Still, it’s not a bad pair, and there’s certainly a lot more good than bad in this set.  Overall, it’s still my favorite piece out of the bunch, so I can’t really complain.

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

#2616: Captive Sabretooth

CAPTIVE SABRETOOTH

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Captured and restrained, Sabretooth, one of the X-Men’s most bitter enemies, has reached out to Professor Xavier for help. Sabretooth has never held back the more bestial side of his personality, and now that same side threatens to overwhelm him. A hostile air hangs throughout the mansion as the X-Men share their home with this ‘guest’, knowing that until his savage urge is suppressed, Sabretooth remains a ferocious animal, chained in a cage.”

As Wolverine’s most recurring nemesis (who, amusingly enough, started with no connection to Wolverine in the slightest), Sabretooth has generally had decent luck when it comes to the world of toys.  In the ’90s, when Wolverine was filling up every peg, Sabretooth was making the rounds with him.  Toy Biz had already covered his two actual costumed looks, but lucky them, there was another look floating around in the comics at the time, just ripe for the toy making.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captive Sabretooth was released in 1995 as part of the “Invasion” series, the eleventh series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  He’s based on Sabretooth’s appearance from roughly around the same time in the comics, while he was in captivity at the X-Mansion, as described in the figure’s bio.  It’s a more “civilian” appearance, though certainly plays up the more bestial side as well.  The figure stands 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  I’ve looked at the majority of this figure’s sculpt before, when it was rather oddly re-used for a Wolverine figure in 1997 as part of the Battle Blasters line-up.  I was not very kind to it that time, because it’s really wrong for a Wolverine, since it’s, you know, not one.  Even for it’s intended purpose as a Sabretooth, it’s still really not great.  I mean, I guess it’s slightly less awful in this context, but only slightly.  It still remains a rather hideous and really stiff in terms of movement.  It’s also got a rather lame action feature, which is partially responsible for the stiffness and the ugliness.  The figure’s color scheme is at least more character appropriate this time, and not trying to again force the sculpt into something it’s not.  It’s still not great, being rather drab and a bit uninspired if I’m honest, but at least the application’s pretty clean.  Captive Sabretooth was originally packaged with a set of restraints, which mine is missing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though the Invasion Series was the one on shelves when I started collecting, this was not anywhere near my first Sabretooth.  In fact, it was one of my last, only being added to my collection a couple of years ago, when I found it in a bag of other figures at the 2nd Avenue near my house.  Given how inexpensive he was, it was kind of hard to pass him up.  I can’t say I really like this figure all that much, but he’s also not the worst thing Toy Biz did at the time.

#2609: X-Cutioner

X-CUTIONER

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Concerned about the growing menace of evil mutants, FBI agent Carl Denti assembled an arsenal of weapons obtained from the X-Men’s greatest foes. Now, in the guise of the X-Cutioner, he seeks out those mutants he deems a threat to human society, and ruthlessly eliminates them!”

Ah, yes, X-Cutioner. Guy with a name that’s so ’90s X-Men that it actually got used twice, because, if you can believe it, this guy who is named “X-Cutioner” has absolutely nothing to do the the big grand X-crossover “X-Cutioner’s Song” from ’92.  I know, I was as shocked as you.  You feel like two uses of the same really stupid misspelling would be at least a little related, right? No, that’s stupid!  What was I thinking?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

X-Cutioner was released in the “Mutant Genesis” Series, the tenth assortment of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  He hit in 1995, just two years after the character’s debut in the comics, which is a pretty short turn around time when you get right down to it.  X-Cutioner is the last figure from his assortment that I’ve taken a look at, and, were it not for freaking Senyaka, he’d be the most obscure of a rather low tier list of characters.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  His movement scheme is up to the standard count, but isn’t really a standard set-up, thanks to the wonky set-up of the right arm and the presence of the hood piece on his head.  His sculpt is a rather stiff one, surprising for this late in the game.  By this point, the stances were getting a little looser, but X-Cutioner seemed to miss the memo.  He did get the memo on the super swoll muscles, though, so I guess that’s good.  He’s not gonna look out of place.  X-Cutioner had one of those color schemes that looked like he threw darts at the wall to decide what to use, and that’s replicated here.  The silver makes sense, but the blue and the two colors of green, plus that weird orange/brown are all rather odd looking.  X-Cutioner included his mask/hood piece, which could fit down over his head and generally improves the look of the figure.  He also had two weapons, which mine is missing.  He also had a spinning feature worked into his right arm, for spinning purposes, of course.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

X-Cutioner is a figure that I definitely remember seeing as a kid, but also one that I definitely remember not really wanting.  He’s never been much of a presence in the comics, nor is he a particularly exciting design.  But, I’m all about those ’90s Toy Biz figures, so I’m slowly but surely picking everyone up as I find them.  This guy came into All Time about 2 months ago, with a bunch of others.  Yeah, he’s missing his weapons, but honestly, is that really stopping me now?

#2603: Battle Damaged Thing & Gajin Wolverine II

BATTLE-SCARRED THING & GAJIN WOLVERINE II

MARVEL MINIMATES

The trouble with a four member team, at least when it came to Minimates and their early three two-pack per assortment structure, is that you end up with extra slots.  In the case of the Fantastic Four, there have been a number of different approaches to filling those extra slots.  In the case of their first entry into the line, the approach was hard-lining the heavy hitter mash-ups.  More Thing!  More Wolverine!  Yes!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Battle-Scarred Thing and Gajin Wolverine II are the last set from the Fantastic Four-themed eighth series of Marvel Minimates.  Battle-Scarred Thing remained exclusive to this assortment (for his own good, really), while Wolverine was re-packed with a standard Spider-Man for Target.

THING

Battle-Scarred Thing is actually interesting, in that he’s Minimates’ first real stab at a figure based on a specific comics appearance.  He was patterned on the Thing’s torn up appearance following a run-in with Wolverine in Fantastic Four #374, which I guess is meant to really give Wolverine an excuse to be in this set.  It doesn’t really work out quite so well.  This was the fourth version of Thing we’d gotten, and he follows the “Clobberin’ Time” model of putting Ben in one of his actual uniforms.  He’s built on the standard C3 body, so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s the same as the more basic Thing from this assortment, with the same head piece, chest block, and bulked up hands.  The powerhouse piece is still fine, but I really don’t like that head piece.  Fortunately, this would mark its last use.  The paint work changes things up here, obviously to give Ben his costume change.  I do find it interesting how he has a standard looking musculature on the uniform, despite the standard one from this set not getting any musculature at all.  Also, thanks to this costume being a post-Byrne one, it’s got white boots, so it doesn’t really match the rest of the team from this same assortment.  And that’s not even getting started on the blue sections being actually blue, rather than the black they should properly be.  Thing’s face gets adjusted detailing to include the scarring he got from Wolverine.  It doesn’t help the already less than stellar Thing head from the regular version in this set.  What does help that face, however, is the full helmet that this guy includes as an accessory, replicating the one he wore in the comics after getting injured.  It’s actually a pretty cool piece, and it’s nice that they gave him an accessory, and even a unique one at that.

WOLVERINE

This Wolverine’s official name is “Gajin Wolverine II”, which is quite the monicker.  “What happened to Gajin Wolverine I?” you might ask?  He was a summer con exclusive in 2004, and he’s honestly only very minorly different from this guy.  “Why Gajin?” you may follow up?  I guess it’s in reference to his first solo series, where he was in Japan, and referred to as “Gajin” fairly regularly.  It’s a very specific reference for something that would far more simply be summed up with the name “Brown Costume Wolverine”, but here we are.  Also, it’s worth noting that, while the Thing in this set is very specifically patterned on an issue where he has a run-in with Wolverine, in said issue, Wolverine was sporting his tiger stripe costume, not the brown one presented here.  Oh well.  Structurally, this guy’s *mostly* the same as the GSXM Wolvie.  The only change up is that instead of having the long feet under his boot pieces, he’s got the C3 feet, which means there’s a gap between the two of them at the front.  He doesn’t have the peg hole in his head, because they weren’t quite standard yet, and the older mask piece meant it wasn’t required.   The paint work on this guy’s overall not bad.  There’s one small gaffe with the secondary color on his mask being brown instead of orange, but beyond that the colors work well, and the detailing on both the face and the torso is pretty much straight out of Miller’s illustrations from the miniseries.  He was certainly one of the most detailed ‘mates at the time, and rather starkly contrasts with his assortment mates.  Wolverine had no accessories, as neither extra hands nor hair pieces had become standard quite yet.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This whole series got passed on by me, but even before that, this one wasn’t really high on my radar.  The appeal of such an extraneous re-pops of heavy hitters was kind of low for me.  When I finally got around to picking up this series from All Time last year, I still hesitated on these two, but they were there, and I figured “why not?”  Wolverine’s actually pretty solid, even by later standards.  The Thing, on the other hand, was iffy when he was new, and has not been helped by time.

#2590: Storm & Thunderbird

STORM & THUNDERBIRD

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Weather changer Ororo Monroe and noble Apache warrior John Proudstar wield their mutant powers for good.”

Giant-Size X-Men #1 is one of the most distinctive covers in the history of comics, but that hasn’t always made getting all of the characters featured *on* said cover all that easy.  Typically, the X-Men’s second incarnation has had to rely on special releases to truly fill in their ranks.  In the case of Marvel Legends, we’ve been working on the line-up since 2003.  It’s…it’s been a long road.  Hasbro steered more toward completing the ’90s line-up more recently, but with that one more or less complete, they’ve moved back around to the better  earlier incarnation of the team. Right now, we’ve got a new two-pack featuring one of the team’s most prominent fixtures…and Thunderbird.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Storm and Thunderbird are a Target-exclusive Marvel Legends two-pack, which just started hitting back in October.  It was initially pretty scarce (thanks in part to its instantaneous sell-out online), but appears to have picked up in volume in the last few weeks.  Hopefully they remain that way for a bit.

STORM

First Appearance Storm is surprisingly illusive as a Legends figure.  She was never done during the Toy Biz days, and was eventually shown off during Hasbro’s Fan Choice Poll in 2007, where she lost (rather criminally, if I do say so myself) to the AoA version of Sunfire (who managed to also get an update before poor Storm even got one single release, furthering the criminality).  She’s been the most notably absent figure from the classic X-Men line-up, and there was definitely a lot of built up demand….and then they went and made her an exclusive.  Goody.  She was shown off at Toy Fair this year by herself, before being confirmed for this here multipack.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Her articulation is quite well implemented, with most of the joints (the elbows in particular) having a better range of motion than typically expected from such pieces.  The knees use the new pin-less design for their construction, which helps to give the whole thing a sleeker feel.  Storm’s sculpt is all-new, and it’s quite a nice piece.  She’s not quite a pitch-perfect Cockrum recreation, but she certainly captures the classic Storm feel.  The costume details, many of which could have just been painted on, are all actually sculpted elements, and the proportions are certainly well balanced.  The head and cape pieces are both sculpted with a dynamic flow to them, with a teeth-gritting expression, and a sweeping nature to both her hair and her cape, indicating that she’s right in the midst of using her powers.  It works really well.  The paint work works out okay for the most part, but there’s a lot of ups and downs.  The core figure’s paint is really strong, and I really dig the glossy finish on the black parts of the costume.  The cape is where the issues arise, mostly having to do with that yellow border.  It’s just really sloppily applied, on both of the capes.  Did I say “both”?  That’s right.  In addition to the more dynamic head and cape, Storm also gets extras of both for a more calm, just lounging around the X-Mansion look, as well as three sets of hands (in fists, open, and lightning effects).  Quite a nice selection of extras there.

THUNDERBIRD

The cover of GSXM #1 has five of the most prominent X-Men in the franchise…and Thunderbird.  Thunderbird’s primary contribution to the team is really just that he died, and he actually managed to stay that way, which I guess is pretty notable.  He tends to get one figure in every major scale eventually, and now he can add Legends to his list.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Thunderbird is largely built from parts re-use, making use of the Reaper body as his starting point.  It’s a decent enough match for Thunderbird build wise, as he’s always been depicted as a little bulkier than most of his team mates, but not quite the same size as his brother James.  It also matches his usually more balanced proportions pretty well.  He gets a new head, as well as add-ons for his sleeves, wrist guards, belt, and boot tops. The add-ons sit alright on the body, but the fringe pieces for the boots and shoulders do require a little bit of proper positioning to get them to stay in place.  The head is a nice piece on its own, but it sits a bit too high on the body, which looks really wonky.  Thunderbird’s paint work is pretty decent.  It’s brighter than the colors on Warpath, which seems more appropriate.  Thunderbird is packed with no accessories, which is a pretty stark contrast compared to his pack-mate Storm.  Not even some extra hands, guys?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was one of the fans who voted for Storm in the poll back in the day, so I was definitely waiting on this figure.  It’s been a long wait.  I was super thrilled when she was unveiled this year, but immediately less so when she was announced as a Target exclusive.  When she sold out in pre-order, I was definitely bummed, but I kept routinely checking the page, and happened to catch them in stock not too long after release.  All-in-all, pretty painless, I suppose.  Storm’s awesome, and by far my favorite release of the character.  I’m particularly thrilled to have y “Pryde of the X-Men” line-up complete.  Thunderbird is fine.  That’s the best I can muster, really.  He feels far more phoned in than Storm, and certainly feels like a late addition to the set-up.  He could be worse.  Now, can we get a proper update for Banshee so that we can complete the GSXM team?