#2727: Magneto – House of X

MAGNETO — HOUSE OF X

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Magneto forges an unlikely partnership with Xavier in pursuit of a lofty common goal: the protection of all mutants.”

The counterpart to Charles Xavier’s peaceful co-existence philosophy since the very beginning has been the more militant Magneto.  Magneto, however, is a character defined by his tendency to switch sides as his morals check in and out.  Recently, they’ve been checked in more often than not, and he’s spent most of the last decade as an ally of the team, with “House of X” later retconning him as a secret ally the whole time, throwing out all pretense entirely.  At the same time, the comics have become big on going for this whole monochromatic set-up for his costume, because I guess that’s clever.  Or something.  Legends already gave us an all-black Magneto, so I guess it was only a matter of time before we got an all-white one.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Magneto is figure 6 in the Tri-Sentinel Series of Marvel Legends, and is, like the rest of the set, based on the character’s appearance in “House of X” and the ongoing titles that followed.  It’s not terribly far removed from the character’s handful of Marvel Now! looks, being Magneto’s classic costume set up with a new palette dropped on it.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Like the other two current gen comic Magnetos, this guy’s based on the Spider-UK base body, which continues to be a good base for the character.  He re-uses the cape add-on piece from the 3-pack Magneto, along with an all-new head, forearms, and belt.  The head’s got the separate pieces for the helmet and underlying head, much like the last two releases.  It’s quite similar to, but still distinct from, the calm head from the 3-pack.  It feels like it didn’t need to be new to me, but Hasbro presumably felt differently.  The helmet’s nice, but there’s definitely something a little bit off about the underlying face.  It looks rather goofy, and maybe not as stern as they were aiming for.  The new arms and belt help to bring the figure’s design more in line with the comics appearance, and do their job pretty well.  I was a little disappointed that they didn’t take advantage of retooling the forearms to remove the exposed pins, as they have on a few other recent revisions, but it’s possible it didn’t cost out.  Other than that, the figure’s sculpt is pretty much just business as usual.  In terms of paint, this guy embraces the monochromatic nature of the modern Magneto design, so there’s not a ton of variance going on.  There are some silvers and blacks thrown in for accenting, and they aren’t bad.  The application’s also pretty sharp, which is a plus.  He does ditch some of the ribbing on the sides of his costume, but at least he doesn’t ditch everything wholesale like Xavier did.  Magneto is packed with three sets of hands, open gesture, gripping, and fists.  It’s a nice assortment, and nice to get all the variety.  Additionally, he’s packed with all three of the Tri-Sentinel Build-A-Figure’s heads.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Magneto’s classic color scheme is really hard to top for me, so I tend to be resistant to current trends of going all black or all white.  The all white look in particular tends to strike me as being just sort of odd for the character.  So, with that said, I wasn’t really feeling this guy when he was announced.  And, if I’m entirely honest, I don’t know how much I’m feeling this guy in-hand.  The 2019 release is just hard to top, and this one’s got the issue of that wonky face to deal with.  It’s not bad, I suppose, just a little uninspired feeling at the end of the day.

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.

#2735: Elektra

ELEKTRA

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Seeking to put her past behind her, the ninja warrior known as Elektra found kinship during her time spend with the X-Men’s Wolverine. Along with Wolverine’s help, she began a new chapter in her life devoted to righting the wrongs of her past. Now facing her future as a hero, Elektra relies on the lessons she has learned and her twin ninja sais to overcome the evil force that would sway her from her path!”

Man, doesn’t that bio seem like a rather convoluted and forced way to justify putting Elektra into an X-Men toyline?  I mean, when you think Elektra, don’t you think “X-Men”?  Certainly there are no other areas of the Marvel universe that she’s got any closer ties to at all.  Clearly, Wolverine is Elektra’s closest connection from the Marvel universe who has also had a definitive run featuring Frank Miller on the creative duties.  No one else would have a more sensible place in the bio at all.  Uh huh.  Well, uh, let’s look at this totally naturally placed Elektra figure, then, I guess.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Elektra was released in the “Classic Light-Up Weapons” Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, released in mid-1996.  Now, I’m going to go in hard contrast to my intro up there and say that Elektra’s a pretty wonky choice of a character for an X-Men assortment.  Why in the world?  Well, I’ll sort of get to that in a moment.  The figure stands about 4 3/4 inches tall and she has 9 points of articulation.  If you feel like you’ve seen this sculpt before, that’s because you have.  I reviewed it once before, back when it was Psylocke, from this same assortment.  While the other figures in the line-up all got paint variants that were the same character, for some reason, Psylocke’s alternate colors were used to make her an entirely new, entirely unrelated character instead.  I guess that Elektra and Psylocke have vaguely similar designs, but it’s really hard to say it’s not a stretch.  The paint serves as the main change up, here, of course, with the costume switching from blue to red, her hair from purple to black, and her skin tone shifting ever so slightly.  It looks more like Elektra than it did before, I suppose, but it’s not like it’s spot on, or anything.  Elektra is packed with the same accessories as Psylocke was, a katana and the light-up psychic knife.  They’re definitely more Psylocke than they are Elektra, and it means she lacks the sais her bio quite blatantly mentions, but I suppose it could be worse.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Elektra’s presence in this line-up has always perplexed me.  This figure was my first real knowledge of the character, and lead to me being rather confused about who exactly she was, given that, you know, she’s not an X-Men character, but she was in an X-Men assortment just the same.  I’m not really sure what possessed Toy Biz to do Elektra this way, but I guess it got her a figure, and it was her first time as a toy and all, so it was better than nothing.  I ultimately wound up getting this figure from All Time a few years back, after putting off getting her for a while, just because of the weirdness of the figure.  She’s really just exactly what she is, which is a Psylocke repaint.  And I guess that’s not the worst thing, but it’s just…weird.

#2734: Moira MacTaggert

MOIRA MACTAGGERT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Through the course of many lives and deaths, Moira MacTaggert pursues justice for all mutants.”

Introduced by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum in X-Men #96, Dr. Moira MacTaggert would serve as a rather prominent supporting character in the X-Men universe until well into the ’90s.  She was a notable human character amongst the book’s largely mutant cast, and even more notably, a human who not only didn’t hate mutants, but was actively seeking to help them….that was, until “House of X” went and revealed that Moira wasn’t a human at all, but was instead a mutant with the ability to reincarnate and relive her life over and over, but exactly in such a fashion that her mutant nature was undetectable through all usual means of detection so as to not openly violate the four decades of history of the character being, you know, not a mutant.  Look, I have feelings about this whole thing, and they’re definitely mixed.  But, I mean, it means that Moira is prominent again, and it means she got an action figure, and isn’t that what matters the most?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Moira is figure 4 in the Tri-Sentinel Series of Marvel Legends.  Like the others in the set, she’s based on “House of X”, specifically on Moira’s look from her current life/timeline.  While I personally would prefer her jumpsuited look from the ’70s, I guess this one’s okay too.  The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Fortunately, her articulation’s more useful than yesterday’s Jean Grey, which is a definite plus.  Moira’s largely built out of the same bank of parts as last year’s Gwen Stacy figure, but with a new head and coat piece, as well as the Peggy Carter shoes again.  The shoes at least make more sense here, and it’s possible their use here is why they showed up on Jean as well.  The re-used parts work well for the look they’re aiming for, and the new head and jacket likewise match up pretty well for the character.  The default head is sporting glasses, which are a thing that Moira had occasionally, though they again aren’t necessarily out of place for the character.  They’re also well-rendered, especially for the scale, and the really look quite nice.  The jacket piece sits just a touch high on the shoulders, but is other wise a nicely sculpted piece. They’ve even sculpted the pens in her pocket.  Moira’s color work is a bit more subdued than the usual Legends figure, but it matches the source material, and it’s again pretty solid for the character.  The paint work is pretty basic, but it hits all the right marks and the application is pretty clean and sharp.  In terms of accessories, Moira’s pretty well packed.  She gets a spare head, arms, hands, and a neckerchief piece, allowing for a rather different second look for the character, based on her less scientific attire from the miniseries.  It’s not my bag personally, but getting an extra look’s really not a bad thing.  Moira also includes a scientific textbook of some sort, as well as the left leg of the Tri-Sentinel Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Moira’s pretty rooted into the ’70s-’80s X-Men run, as well as the ’90s cartoon, which are really my main sources of X-Men, so I definitely like the character, but the concept of getting her as a toy seemed rather unlikely, given her typically less action oriented role in the franchise.  Personally, I’m not much of a fan of the move to make Moira a mutant, as I feel it removes some of what’s special about the character, but at least her increased roll gave Hasbro a good excuse to make a figure of her.  It’s honestly a pretty solid figure, and one of the bigger draws to this set for me.  I’ll still keep holding out for a ’70s version, but given how slim the chances of getting that one are, I can at least make due with this one.

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.

#2733: Jean Grey – House of X

JEAN GREY — HOUSE OF X

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Jean Grey leads her fellow mutants to the island sanctuary of Krakoa in a bid to declare sovereignty from humankind.”

After sticking with their matching gear for their first 38 comic appearances, the X-Men finally got their own customized looks courtesy of artist Werner Roth in Uncanny X-Men #39.  While some of the designs (mainly Angel’s really) would be rather quickly ditched, a few of them really stuck in there, and influenced the main looks for the characters going forward.  This was most evident with both Cyclops and Jean Grey, whose main designs, no matter what they may be, have a tendency to call back pretty heavily to these earlier designs.  Jean’s Marvel Girl costume actually got a fair bit of play, even going forward, managing to even get a reappearance during “The Dark Phoenix Saga,” and has once again resurfaced as Jean’s primary design in the new ongoing run of the title.  I have…mixed feelings about that last part, but I do like the design well enough that I won’t complain too much about it getting Legends treatment as a result of its new prominence.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jean Grey is figure 3 in the Tri-Sentinel Series of Marvel Legends.  While technically “House of X”-based like the rest of this assortment, this particular figure is a little more multi-purpose, what with the re-used design and all.  This is the second time that this particular design’s been made as a Legends release, following Hasbro’s kind of janky version from that two-pack very early in their run from the license.  This one aims to be less janky.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  In terms of mobility, Jean’s a rather restricted figure by modern standards.  The hair rather predictably blocks a bit of the neck movement, but on top of that, the skirt piece is rather thick and leaves no real movement on the hips, and the way the ball-jointed waist has been sculpted means it doesn’t get much of range either.  In general, it’s not ideal, and makes it tricky to get her to do much other than stand there.  Of course, she struggles with standing a bit, too, so maybe that’s not her strong suit, either.  Movement may not really be there, but does the figure at least look good?  Yeah, for the most part.  She uses the Phoenix body as a loose starting point, which is sensible, and also uses the flared glove forearms from Kitty Pryde.  She also uses the feet from Peggy Carter, which was an odd choice, since it’s clearly got sculpted shoes, and Jean’s clearly wearing boots.  It’s not like there aren’t heeled feet without the shoe line sculpted, so I’m confused by the choice.  Other than that, Jean’s got a new head, torso, and skirt piece.  They may not allow for a ton of movement, but they do certainly look nice, with nice, balanced proportions, and some quite impressive smaller detail work on the folds and wrinkles on the clothes.  The paint work on Jean is pretty simple, largely relying on molded colors and slightly more complex assembly of pieces.  The paint that’s actually there is all pretty cleanly handled, with no slop or bleed over to speak of.  The colors are on the bright side, which generally works, although it does make the purely painted distinction between the boots and the legs a little less noticeable than it should be.  That’s a very minor complaint, of course.  Jean is packed with two sets of hands, one set in fists, and the other in open gesture, as well as a small Krakoa plant.  The plant’s cool, but she does have a little bit of trouble holding it, since neither set of hands is really designed for it.  Also included is the right leg to the Tri-Sentinel Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is a pretty classic design, and one that’s toy coverage has classically been less than stellar, so I’ve been hoping for a more proper Legends release.  When this set was first hinted at by Hasbro, I was hoping this figure would be in the line-up, and I was quite happy when that proved to be true.  The final figure’s not quite as strong as I was hoping, mostly due to that restricted motion.  That said, she’s at the very least a nice looking figure, which is more than could be said for the last Legends version.

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.

#2732: Omega Sentinel

OMEGA SENTINEL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Harnessing the power of enhanced sensors, flight, and nanite regeneration, Omega Sentinel dispatches enemies with ease.”

In the ’90s, the giant, lumbering, mutant-hunting robots the Sentinels found themselves upgraded for the times, becoming the Prime Sentinels, a merging of humans with robotic components and programming.  Amongst this new breed of Sentinels was Karima Shapandar.  Karima was a reluctant foe of the X-Men, and would ultimately work by their side a handful of times over the years, taking on the name “Omega Sentinel”.  More recently, her Sentinel programming has taken over more and more, leading to her playing the role of antagonist during the “House of X” story line.  Hey, it got her a figure, at least, right?  Full disclosure: I have virtually no first hand knowledge of Omega Sentinel, and am entirely operating off of what I could find online for the purposes of this review.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Omega Sentinel is figure 2 in the Tri-Sentinel Series of Marvel Legends, and is the only non-team member included in the line-up.  She’s shown here in her more fully Sentinel-ized appearance, as seen in the mini-series, which is a fairly distinctive appearance, and certainly on-brand with the current set-up of figures.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Omega Sentinel is sporting an all-new sculpt, just for her.  It’s a tiny bit surprising, especially given how a Xavier wound up on the Pizza Spidey body, but it means that all of her costume elements can be actual sculpted elements, as opposed to relying more heavily on paint.  It’s actually a pretty nice visual set-up, and generally gives her a little more pop than she might otherwise have.  By far, the most impressive piece of the figure’s sculpt is the arms, which have that proper mechanical design, and a lot of very nice smaller detail work.  Her standard head out of the box is based on her primary look from the mini-series, which had her bald, as she has been a few times prior.  It’s really the coolest look, I think, and it presents well here.  Omega Sentinel’s paint work is pretty standard Legends fare; base work that’s generally pretty well applied.  There’s a little bit of missed coverage on her upper legs, but otherwise my figure’s pretty solid, and it’s a pretty striking color palette.  Omega is packed with both an alternate head and lower arms.  The head is supposed to be Karima from earlier in her career, before the whole bad guy thing, and it’s not awful from a sculpting stand point, but the coloring is just plain wrong.  Karima’s supposed to be Indian in the comics, and has classically been depicted with close to black hair and a darker complexion.  This one goes for more of an auburn hair color and a much lighter skin tone, making her look rather caucasian, which is just inaccurate.  I’m not exactly sure why they went this direction with it.  I prefer the other head anyway, but it still would be nice if this one was accurate.  On the plus side, the alternate arms are far cooler, and haver her lower arms shaped into weapons of some sort.  I like them a lot, and they’re going to be my default set-up for the character.  In addition to the character-specific pieces, Omega Sentinel also includes the torso for the Tri-Sentinel Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted in the intro, I had no prior knowledge of Omega Sentinel prior to this figure’s announcement, and actually had to look her up when she was shown off.  I was honestly not really much looking forward to this one, and expected her to kind of be the week point of the set for me.  However, I did some reading up on the character, and I can get behind the concept, and I can also get behind actually getting some new characters in figure form.  It helps that, in hand, I found myself quite liking this figure, and she’s far from the dead weight I thought she would be.  She’s honestly just a pretty nice figure, and I look forward to putting her with my Prime Sentinels once they arrive.

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.

#2731: Charles Xavier – House of X

CHARLES XAVIER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Xavier reveals his master plan … one that will bring mutants out of humankind’s shadow and once again into the light.”

Charles Xavier, more commonly referred to as Professor X, doesn’t, in his default state, tend to make a classically exciting action figure.  Bald guy in a suit and tie, sitting in a wheel chair isn’t exactly getting kids to go crazy for the toys (unless they’re some weirdo kid who wants Xavier before Wolverine and Magneto because he’s far more plot important and is less likely to get  another toy as quickly, and why don’t you understand that, Nana?…sorry, I went places there…).  Because of this, various media does have a tendency to give Xavier excuses to put on slightly more toy-etic gear.  Most recently, Xavier’s ditched the suit and the wheelchair, and is wearing something more classically comic-book-y, I guess?  Well, there’s a toy of it, so let’s check that out.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Charles Xavier is figure 1 in the Tri-Sentinel Series of Marvel Legends, and like Wolverine, he’s officially “House of X” branded.  Xavier is in his current default attire, which puts him in a spandex jumpsuit, and makes the Cerebro helmet a more permanent fixture.  It’s a different visual for the character.  I don’t know that it’s all that different a visual for the formerly-idealistic-now-morally-grey-leader-of-the-team-following-a-relaunch, since it’s rather thematically similar to Cyclops’ Marvel Now appearance.  But, maybe that’s on purpose?  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Xavier is built on the Pizza Spidey body…which is an interesting choice.  I guess it’s not the worst, as Xavier’s been depicted as rather svelte, especially recently, but it feels weird for Professor X to be on a Spider-Man body, to me.  They’ve replaced the hands with ones from the suit body, so that fixes those slightly cartoonier proportions, but the feet remain the same, so that’s still going on.  He’s got a new head sculpt wearing his new helmet.  It’s an okay sculpt, and certainly is the most visually intriguing portion of the figure.  Paint on this guy is exceedingly basic.  There’s paint on the visor of the helmet.  That’s it.  The body’s all black plastic, which isn’t technically accurate; there should be some piping or minor detailing on the suit.  There’s also been inconsistency about whether Xavier has gloves on his suit or not;  I would have preferred not, since it would break up the colors a bit.  Xavier has a decent selection of accessories, with two sets of hands (in relaxed, and pointing/telepathy hand combo), an alternate un-helmeted head with a telepathy effect, and the right arm to the Tri-Sentinel Build-A-Figure.  The alternate head’s definitely the coolest part, especially given it’s potential uses with the previous Professor X figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Xavier’s newest design is one of the more drastically changed ones, but I find it to be too drastically different to really feel like Xavier.  When it comes to more action-oriented Xaviers, I’ve always been more partial to the tactical gear in the hover chair look from the ’90s, and I’m still waiting for that one to get some proper toy coverage.  But that’s not what I got here, and I suppose I shouldn’t hold it against him.  Of course, what I probably can hold against him is the slightly phoned-in nature on this guy.  The extra head’s cool, but there’s not really much else about him that really speaks to me.

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.

#2730: Wolverine – House of X

WOLVERINE — HOUSE OF X

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“With adamantium claws unleashed, Wolverine is prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice in the fight for freedom for all mutants.”

Last year’s main X-Men-theme per Marvel Legends was very event-based, specifically centering on 1995’s “Age of Apocalypse” event.  For the first X-themed assortment of this year, Hasbro is once again going event-based, but this time around is something far more recent, this time being 2019’s “House of X”, the event which served as the launching point for the Jonathan Hickman-driven current era of X-Men.  A lot of the team’s biggest names were central to both that event and what’s followed in the on-going books, making this a nice way of refreshing some of the X-Men’s heaviest hitters.  You don’t get much heavier hitter than Wolverine, I guess, making him a pretty solid starting point if I do say so myself.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wolverine is part of the Tri-Sentinel Series of Marvel Legends, and is officially branded as “House of X,” much like the rest of the assortment.  He’s the only non-numbered figure in the set, as the only figure not to include a Build-A-Figure part.  He’s sporting his current costume design, first showcased in the event.  It’s an update on his brown costume, with a little bit of the Black/Grey X-Force layout worked in.  It’s not a bad look for the character, and really checks a lot of the classic Wolverine boxes.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s built on the modern Wolverine base first introduced in the Juggernaut Series.  He uses the more utilitarian gloves and boots from X-Force Wolverine, which are good match for what he’s sporting in the comics these days.  He’s also got a new head sculpt, and an add-on for his belt, both of which are pretty decent pieces.  The head in particular I quite like, as it’s got him actually cracking a smile, which is a nice change of pace for a Wolverine figure.  I also like that the mask is differently shaped than other Wolverine figures, and that they’ve included all of the seams and such on the cowl that help to “modernize” this design.  Wolverine’s paint work is generally pretty solid.  He follows the established color scheme from the comics well, and there’s no notable slop or bleed over, so that’s good.  I do like that they actually went to the trouble of differentiating the browns on the main costume vs the accessories.  The arm hair detailing on the arms is about the same as other recent Wolverines, which works from a consistency stand point if nothing else. Wolverine is the lightest figure in the assortment on the accessory front, due largely to the lack of a Build-A-Figure part.  He does at least get an extra head, based on his time as “War” in the future sequences of “Powers of X.”  The main difference is the presence of a beard.  Very different.  It’s a decent extra, I suppose, although the likelihood of getting the other three horsemen seems slim, giving this particular piece limited applications.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The whole House of X thing just sort of happened around me, I guess.  I read it, and I was familiar with the whole concept, and I’ve stuck with the comics since then.  The designs are generally pretty decent, and Wolverine’s a good, fairly standard Wolverine.  The figure doesn’t really do anything new, but he’s not bad, either, and certainly has more reason to exist than some of the other recent Wolverines.

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.

#2728: Nightcrawler

NIGHTCRAWLER

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Once misunderstood because of his appearance, Nightcrawler is the warmest and most charming member of the X-Men. A trained swordsmen and acrobat, Nightcrawler’s mutant ability to teleport lends itself well to his unique fighting style! A swashbuckler at heart, Nightcrawler would be at home in the age of pirates and buccaneers – but finds more than enough adventure with the X-Men!”

Though there were plenty of variants of the titular team’s members to be found, the early run of Toy Biz’s X-Men line was really without a lot of straight up redos of prior figures, at least from a ground up sort of approach.  That changed in 1996, when, five years into the line, they realized some outright updates might be an okay idea.  Our first taste of this new mission statement for the line came in the form of the “Classic Light Up Weapons” assortment, which gave us proper updates on the likes of Gambit, Juggernaut, and today’s focus, Nightcrawler.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nightcrawler was released in the above mentioned “Classic Light Up Weapons” set of Toy Biz’s X-Men in mid-1996.  It marked his second inclusion in the line, after a rather lengthy hiatus following his Series 1 inclusion.  The figure stands about 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  Like the others in this assortment, his light up feature hampers the movement on his right arm, and his left removes the usual elbow joint in order to more properly match-up.  He does, however, gain ankle joint movement, which is quite useful for him, as well as an additional cut joint at the base of the tail (which is not bendable this time).  Nightcrawler gained an entirely new sculpt for this figure, and one more in line with the line’s stylings by this point.  It’s not bad, but it’s definitely removed from the more classic interpretations of Kurt I tend to prefer.  It also makes him a bit taller than he really should be, as well as amping up the definition in his muscles.  At least he wasn’t as majorly bulked up as the other male figures in the set.  Nightcrawler’s paint work is generally pretty decently handled, with all the usual colors.  There was a variant of this figure with less of the usual colors, which swapped out silver for the spots that are usually red.  It was an odd color variant, but it was there.  It’s not one of the one’s I have, though.  Nightcrawler’s only accessory was a sword, which was also the source of most of his gimmick, as it wasn’t just any sword: it was a flaming sword.  Pretty nifty, and definitely on the better front as far as the light-up accessories for this set went.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Any reliable stock of Series 1 Nightcrawler had long since dried up by the time I got into the line, so this Nightcrawler was my first shot at the character.  For whatever reason, this one never really clicked with me.  I mean, he’s not bad, or anything, but I guess he doesn’t quite fit my mind’s eye version of the character.  He got replaced by the Series 1 version as soon as I got a hold of one, and that one’s still the one I stick with for my main display.  That said, I have warmed more to this guy in recent years, and I can acknowledge his pretty cool, even if he’s not my preferred.

#2715: Cyclops & Dark Phoenix

CYCLOPS & DARK PHOENIX

MARVEL MINIMATES

The Giant-Size X-Men-themed boxed set which hit in Marvel Minimates’ second year was our first taste of that era of the team in Minimate form, and one we’d have to stick for a little bit.  We were notably two main members short of that team’s starting line-up, to say nothing of the various other players from that era.  Our first follow-up came not in the main line, but as one of 2005’s non-exclusive sets.  While it didn’t round out the team (it would be another 11 years before we’d get to that), it did give us a little treatment from the biggest X-Men story of that period, if not the biggest X-Men story in general, the “Dark Phoenix Saga.”  We got that story’s two major players, Jean Grey in her Dark Phoenix persona and Cyclops, both of whom I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Dark Phoenix and Cyclops were, as noted above, a con-exclusive Marvel Minimates two-pack, who officially dropped in March of 2005, and sort of toured the cons that year, rather than really being tied to one of them in particular, eventually even making their way to more regular release channels as well.  Both ‘mates here would remain exclusive to this particular pack, but this wasn’t the last time we got either of the characters.

DARK PHOENIX

Jean’s third Minimate finally put her in something with a little bit more staying power than the prior two, who were both outdated by the time they hit shelves.  And, depending how you classify things, this even kind of qualifies as a new character as well, so that’s doubly cool.  Jean was built on the C3 Minimate body, so she’s 2 1/4 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation.  She’s still without the peg hole in the head, which wasn’t a huge shock, since she’d been rattling around for a bit before getting an actual release slot.  She gets two add-on pieces, one for her hair, and the other for her sash.  Both were new to this figure, neither would remain unique.  They’re not bad pieces.  Not a ton of detailing or anything, but they certainly look the part.  I suppose the hair’s a bit too tame by later standards for the line and the character’s original design, but it looks okay.  Her paint work is actually pretty involved, seeing as they’ve put some definite effort into recreating some of the more dynamic lighting of the comics.  As such, the red sections of her costume all have black shadowing, her face is slightly darker in the center, and her yellow parts have lines suggesting reflectiveness.  Her face is also a far more intense expression than we tended to see at this point, especially for a female figure.  The lines on the yellow have a tendency to rub off a bit over time, but otherwise the paint’s really solid.  Dark Phoenix is packed with two flame effect pieces.  They’re nice in theory, but kind of clumsy in practice, since they require taking off the hands to put on and remove, and in their most natural configuration, they block the use of the elbow joints.  It’s weird, because they’re sculpted with one side sharply lower than the other, but it’s the wrong side, so it doesn’t end up helping.

CYCLOPS

Cyclops had already gotten the basics of this design covered in the GSXM set, but that particular release was lackluster to say the least, so a second go wasn’t the worst idea.  Structurally, this guy’s the same as the prior variant, apart from subbing in the C3 feet, of course.  He uses the cowl/visor piece from the last one, which was good the first time around, and was still good here.  The only issue I ran into was something limited to my copy of the figure, who wound up with two left arms, one of which doesn’t sit quite right on either shoulder, making it susceptible to falling off frequently.  Aside from that, he’s cool.  The big change-up to this guy is the paint work.  The basics remain the same, but he gains extra shading on the torso piece, simulating how he looked in the comics, and also gets a much more detailed face under the mask.  It’s a very definite improvement.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I snagged this set relatively shortly after its release.  It was probably a year or so after.  Cosmic Comix happened to get one in, and I was happy to pick it up.  This set did a lot to move Minimates forward in terms of how detailing was handled, with its actual attention to things like comics-inspired shading, and marks an interesting turn for the line.  It’s a good way of handling the extra detailing, really, and I think this was the real sweet spot for where the level of detail should have more or less stuck.

#2708: Emma Frost & New Cyclops

EMMA FROST & NEW CYCLOPS

MARVEL MINIMATES

Marvel Minimates‘ third year was headlined by the proper arrival of the Fantastic Four, but coupled with the assortment centered on them was a slightly more mixed bag assortment, combining the X-Men with some Marvel Knights branded characters.  The X-Men were of course no strangers to the line by this point, but they’re proper mainstream counterparts were just starting to dip their toes in the water, especially for the main two-packs.  Heading off the assortment were two X-Men mainstays, one new to the line, and one not, Emma Frost and Cyclops, who I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Emma Frost and New Cyclops were released in Series 9 of Marvel Minimates, which hit specialty stores the week after Series 8, in January of 2005.  This particular set was the variant, which featured Emma in her diamond form, as introduced in New X-Men.  Cyclops was shared between the two versions of the set, and would later be slightly tweaked for inclusion in the Darktide set in 2006.

EMMA FROST

Emma made her debut in the line with this release, but got two whole figures right off the bat, which I suppose is good for her.  There were both diamond form and regular form releases, denoted by the diamond form being called “Emma Frost”, and the regular being called “White Queen”…which is kinda backwards feeling, really, especially compared to how they handled the naming on the Sue Richards/Invisible Woman split.  Whatever, it’s just the name on the box, I suppose.  Emma is constructed from the new and improved C3 parts, with a peg hole on her head and everything.  She also gets new add-on pieces for her hair and cape, both of which were shared with her standard counterpart.  They’re basic, but get the job done.  Emma’s main thing is her paint work.  It’s nice from the technical side; the white sections are largely painted on, and look pretty crisp and clean.  Her face is also painted on, and is a respectable translation of smug classic Emma.  All of her exposed skin is clear plastic, showcasing her diamond form.  It looks pretty cool, but does lead to the somewhat lingering issue of this being Emma’s classic costume, which was before she had the diamond powers.  I get wanting to do her most distinctive look first (though it didn’t stop them from having weird starting looks for other characters), and also wanting a solid variant, but the two don’t quite reconcile here.  At least she looks pretty nice.

NEW CYCLOPS

Ah, yes, New Cyclops.  So much better than Old Cyclops.  This one’s New, you see.  Yes, this Cyclops is based on his leather uniformed design from New X-Men, joining the two other NXM figures, Jean and Logan, from the prior year.  And also joining no others, because they literally only did three members of this incarnation of the team.  As I mentioned in the Jean/Logan review, it was somewhat bad timing, since the looks had been abandoned in early 2004, with the launch of Astonishing X-Men, which put Scott back in a classic-inspired costume.  But, I guess it would have been weird to leave him out?  Scott notably gets the C3 feet, but *not* the head with the peg-hole.  Correspondingly, his new hairpiece/visor combo was also missing a peg, making it seem like this guy may have been designed at the same time as the other two, and just held back a bit.  He also gets a new jacket piece, as well as the belt piece from the other two.  It’s not a bad look overall, and the pieces hit that nice middle-ground of detail vs simplicity.  The paint work also treads this middle-ground, though perhaps not quite as well.  The face on this guy is really, really detailed.  Too detailed, if I’m honest; Scott ends up looking like he’s 80.  On the costume, rather than match Cyclops to the other two’s dark grey attire, Scott’s got black.  Not sure why they changed, and it means he doesn’t match anyone else.  I generally like this look a little more personally, but I’d probably still prefer consistency over anything else.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Back when these were new, I picked up the standard release of this set, mostly due to just wanting the Cyclops, because I like Cyclops.  I know, you’re all really shocked by this development.  I managed to hang onto all of his parts over the years, but lost most of the standard White Queen pieces, so I snagged the variant version when All Time got that big collection in 2019.  They’re not bad, but do sort of feel like an odd middle ground for the line.