#2287: Wolverine & Sabretooth

WOLVERINE & SABRETOOTH

MARVEL MINIMATES

In a lot of ways, the earliest assortments of Marvel Minimates are an interesting time capsule of Mavel’s media presence in the early ’00s.  That’s why the first series is based on the two properties that were getting movies in 2003, and why our first set of X-Men weren’t based on anything from the mainstream universe, but rather the Ultimate line, which was getting Marvel’s big push at the time.  Though not the resounding success of Ultimate Spider-ManUltimate X-Men was still pretty big deal.  We got four sets dedicated to the team, plus a bunch of repacks made up of those sets.  Today, I’m looking at Wolverine and Sabretooth.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Wolverine and Sabretooth were released in Series 3 of Marvel Minimates, specifically the specialty assortment.  Both were available at TRU in a five-pack, and Wolverine was also packed with Cyclops at Target and Walmart (and I’ve already reviewed him here). Both characters are, as noted above, based on their ultimate universe incarnations.

Sabretooth’s Ultimate incarnation started out fairly close to his mainstream counterpart, with some of his first movie counterpart injected in.  Also four adamantium claws, because four is more than three, so he’s better than Wolverine.  Take that Wolverine.  The figure is built on the original long-footed ‘mate body, meaning he stands 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  The articulation is a bit restricted by the add-on pieces, so it’s mostly just the arms that move.  He’s got add-ons for his hair, hands, belt, and jacket.  They fit that older, much more simple aesthetic of the line, but are still pretty nicely sculpted pieces.  Honestly, the only part that looks really dated is the hair, and that’s amusingly the one piece of this figure that was re-used later in the line.  His paint work is again in line with the rest of the older stuff, but there’s a fair bit of detail going on, especially on the face and torso, showing some shades of where the line would go with such details.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The only Series 3 set I picked up new was Cyclops and Jean Grey.  Everyone else I passed on, I guess probably because they were the Ultimate versions…of course, then I also passed on the GSXM boxed set, so I have no idea.  This set is one I picked up from Luke’s Toy Store during one of their many sales for a ridiculously low price.  I already had the Wolverine, but it’s worth it just for Sabretooth.  He may not be my preferred version of the character, but he was quite an under-appreciated ‘mate.

#2282: Strong Guy

STRONG GUY

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Strong Guy joined X-Factor for the simplest of reasons–the regular paycheck!  Caring little about the problems between man and mutantkind, he lives instead for the finer things in life–wine, women and song!  And he’s not above using his tremendous mutant strength to put those who would criticize his lifestyle in their place!”

After three assortments of pretty solid team building, the fourth series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line is one of the stranger line-ups the line would produce.  I mean, it doesn’t have the weirdest character choices per se (well, apart from Tusk, because who the heck went “where’s my Tusk action figure?”), but more that it seems generally unfocused and all over the place.  It would be this assortment which introduced off-shoot team X-Factor into the line.  And what character would they use to launch?  Would it be team leader Havok (who had been scrapped from the Series 3 line-up), or even X-universe mainstays Polaris, Multiple Man, or Wolfsbane?  Nope, it was Lila Cheney’s bodyguard Guido, who had just taken the name “Strong Guy,” denoting his status as a…uhh….strong…guy.  Yeah…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Strong Guy was added to the Toy Biz X-Men  line-up in 1993 as part of the aforementioned Series 4 line-up.  He would see a re-issue in 2000 in ever so slightly different colors as part of the KB-exclusive X-Men line, but beyond that, this was it for Guido, at least until last year’s Minimate and this year’s Legend.  Lucky Guido.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  He’s a little bit on the small side for Strong Guy (though that made him a nice fit with Hasbro’s Marvel Universe a few years later), but he’s got enough of a size difference that it works.  Strong Guy is missing joints at the elbows and knees, I can only assume due to his larger size.  Honestly, he makes out alright without them, so it’s not the end of the world.  Much like Ch’od, who was similarly limited in terms of articulation and also similarly-sized, Strong Guy’s sculpt ends up as a pretty solid offering.  The character’s distinctive proportions are well captured, and there’s a lot of character in the figure’s face, which helps to keep him looking fairly unique.  He also matches up well with the art stylings of the time, honestly in a far better fashion than any of the other X-Factor characters.  Strong Guy’s paint work is pretty solid for the time.  All of the important details are there, and the application is fairly clean.  Technically, there should be a patch of blue on his vest, but honestly the X-Factor art was stylized enough at the time that Toy Biz can be forgiven for not realizing that wasn’t just a harshly shaded patch.  Strong Guy included no accessories (though, like most Toy Biz figures of the time, he has his hands molded to hold *something*), but he did have a “Power Punch” action, which raises his arms up and down when his torso is spun around.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Strong Guy is not a figure I had growing up.  He actually was added to my collection during my post-freshman-year-of-college Toy Biz binge, after finding him at All Time Toys.  He was still packaged, and, for whatever reason, I just never got around to opening him.  He ended up sitting unopened for another 8 years, until I finally cracked him open a month ago in preparation for this review.  I don’t know why I delayed so long, but he’s a pretty fun little figure, truth be told.

#2256: Deadpool

DEADPOOL

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

Boy howdy am I running out of compelling ways to start Deadpool-themed reviews.  To say he’s overdone may be something of an understatement.  There’s *only* been three figures of him this year for Marvel Legends though, so I guess that represents Hasbro backing things off a little bit.  Lucky us.  I’ve managed to pick up all of them so far, so why stop now, I guess.  So, here’s one more Deadpool.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Deadpool is a standalone Marvel Legends release, done up in the retro style cardback packaging.  Like the Grey Hulk I reviewed earlier this month, he was originally slated to be a con-exclusive release, before being moved to the fan channel.  This Deadpool is designed to be an earlier in his career Deadpool, specifically patterned after the ’90s Toy Biz figure whose packaging this one mimics.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation. Sculpturally, he’s essentially identical to the classic Deadpool figure released in the Sasquatch Series last year.  The only difference between the two is that this one adds a second strap of pouches to the left leg so as to better mimic the old figure.  He’s using the 2099 body, which is a solid starting point, especially for a character like Deadpool.  He then has add-ons for his webgear/belt, the pouches on his legs, and his neck, wrist, and ankle straps.  He’s also got the classic Deadpool head, which fits the body a lot better than the Juggernaut Series one did for the X-uniform Deadpool.  Ultimately, it results in a pretty solid figure, especially if you missed the Classic Deadpool like me.  The figure’s paint mixes things up a little bit as well.  This is in part to more closely match the old toy, so things like the belt and torso gear have been left red like on that figure.  However, they’ve also changed the black parts of the costume to a dark metallic blue, which is honestly a pretty cool look, and really feels like it hearkens back to those early ’90s appearances of the character.  The application is all very clean, and the colors really pop off of each other.  Deadpool is actually pretty decently accessorized for a vintage-packed release, with two swords, two small machine guns, a pistol, and a larger assault rifle.  Given that the Classic Deadpool only included the swords, that’s actually kind of surprising, and I’m definitely glad they went the extra mile.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Much like Hulk, when this was still planned for a con release, I paid very little attention to it.  I passed on the Sasquatch Series release numerous times, and this one, while certainly a neat look, didn’t feel any more essential than that one.  The shift to Fan Channel meant that he more or less arrived in my lap, and going in with no expectations, he’s another figure I ended up liking quite a bit.  Honestly, that’s kind of been the case with all of this year’s Deadpool figures, so maybe I should just stop complaining about them.

#2254: Beast

BEAST

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Blue-furred and boisterous, the Beast’s monstrous exterior conceals the fact that he possesses the mind of an articulate, well-read genius! Ever ready to answer the call should either man or mutant be in peril, the Beast employs both his dexterous digits and his scientific skills as a member of the X-Men.”

The ’90s X-Men line-up was a pretty sizeable, even just going by the cartoon’s more paired down version of the cast, which for a burgeoning toy line can be a slightly daunting prospect.  It took several assortments to make their way through the main cast.  Founding member Beast was a later addition, though certainly not the latest.  I’m taking a look at that figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Beast was released in Series 6 of the Toy Biz X-Men line.  Aside from the cartoon-creation Morph, he was the only X-Man proper in the line-up.  The same figure would subsequently be re-issued as part of the “Classics” line-up which put out all of the main cartoon cast in one assortment, and then again as part of the Marvel Universe line.  The three figures are essentially identical, and it’s worth noting that my figure comes from the “Classics” release.  This figure’s sculpt would also serve as the inspiration for both the 10-inch and Steel Mutants figures.  The figure stands just over 5 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation…in theory.  In reality, it’s more like 7, because his action feature makes the joints at the knees and ankles effectively useless.  Said action feature is dubbed “Mutant Flipping Power” and means that there are springs in his knee and ankle joints, which are supposed to allow him to flip.  In my experience, it was never a very reliable feature and just made it rather hard to keep the figure standing.  Tied into the feature was this weird switch thing on the figure’s back, for which I’ve never figured out the purpose.  His sculpt definitely follows that early ’90s look for the character, at his most bulked up and monstrous.  Nevertheless, he’s still got that sophisticated Henry McCoy expression on his face, as if he’s contemplating the moral quandaries of his current heroic endeavor.  The rest of the sculpt is surprisingly smooth for such a hairy guy, especially when compared to other, similarly textured characters from this and surrounding series.  I can only guess they were going for more of a stylistic thing on Hank.  The figure’s pretty light on the paint front, with most of him being just molded in a light blue.  There’s a bit of paint for his shorts and belt, as well as his eyes and teeth.  For whatever reason, his eyes are solid yellow; he’s gone back and forth between having pupils and pure white eyes, but the yellow’s more of a Nightcrawler thing usually. Beast was packed with a suction cup-sporting bar to hang from, which was cool enough, though the suction cup long ago fell off of mine.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t actually recall much about getting this figure.  I think he was one of those “my Dad got one and then I also wanted one” figures.  I certainly would have wanted him for the purposes of filling out my X-Men line-up.  He’s an okay figure.  The action feature gets in the way here more than on most Toy Biz figures, which can be annoying, but his sculpt’s fairly decent, and he definitely fit with that toon aesthetic.

#2240: Wolverine – Street Clothes

WOLVERINE — STREET CLOTHES

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Outside of the X-Men, Wolverine often escapes form the pressure of being a super hero by slipping into his secret identity, Logan. Unfortunately, trouble always seems to find Wolverine even when he’s out of costume! Still, uniform or not, with his six adamantium claws and one bad attitude, Wolverine has a way of taking care of just about any problem which comes his way!”

Two years into Toy Biz’s X-Men line, getting a new Wolverine was practically a clockwork affair.  Marvel made Toy Biz’s job fairly easy at first, since he had a whole assortment of reasonable costume changes to take advantage of.  By Series 6, they were definitely running thin on valid variants, though (hence that assortment’s Wolverine technically not being a Wolverine).  Fortunately, they did still manage to squeeze out a few more sensible variants before descending into completely made-up nonsense.  Today’s figure is one of those “sensible variants,” depicting Logan in civilian attire, as he was frequently seen in the comics.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Street Clothes Wolverine was released in Series 7 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, and was proudly marked as the “7th Edition” of Wolverine.  The figure stands just over 5 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  He misses out on the usual elbow articulation due to his action feature, which I’ll touch on in just a moment.  Wolverine’s sculpt was all-new to him and would remain unique, never being used for any other figures.  And that’s really the best thing to be said about it, that it was never used again, because boy is it not one of Toy Biz’s stronger offerings.  By this point in the line, Toy Biz was actually starting to get the hang of that whole sculpting thing, so the fact that this Wolverine ends up so rudimentary and backwards is a little bit of a surprise.  This guy was in the same assortment as Ch’od!  That sculpt was awesome and fairly naturally posed.  This one?  Well, natural certainly doesn’t describe how he looks.  Let’s start with the head.  Of all the unmasked Wolverines that Toy Biz produced, this one’s got to be one of the least intimidating takes they presented.  He just ends up looking a little lost and bemused.  He’s also got those dopey looking super straight arms.  The illustration on the back of the box shows the arms having a slight bend to them, but there’s nothing of the sort on the final product, which makes the whole upper torso feel rather stiff.  The arms are of course like this thanks to the claw-popping feature.  We had last seen in on Wolverine I, where it honestly worked a fair bit better.  This just really didn’t hold to it.  Even the detailing on this figure seems rather soft compared to others in the same set, with most of the figure being very smooth and without texture.  Comparing the jacket on this figure to the one on the Rogue from the same assortment is like night and day.  Hers looks sleek and sharp and cool; his just looks puffy.  His paint work is alright, I guess.  Nothing amazing, but they did manage to keep his usual colors in the mix, and he doesn’t look any more awful than the sculpt already has him looking.  Street Clothes Wolverine included no accessories.  What, not even a goofy, out of place gun?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As a kid, I didn’t have this figure, but my cousin did.  It wasn’t one of my favorites.  Or one of his favorites.  Or one of anyone’s favorites, I’d wager.  Mine was fished out of a bin of loose figures a few years ago, alongside some other X-Men figures.  He’s not great.  That’s about the most I can muster.  Like, he’s not actively bad, so I can’t really say I hate him, but boy is he just uninspiring.

#2213: Bishop

BISHOP

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Accidentally wrenched back through several decades by the time-twisting evil mutant named Fitzroy, Bishop arrived in our era from one of Earth’s many possible futures. Bishop survived the battle that followed, thanks to his mutant ability to absorb the energy attacks of others and turn that power back against his foes. Stranded in our time, Bishop has added his might to that of the present-day X-Men by joining their Gold Team!”

The X-Men really just became a haven for displaced time-travelers, didn’t they?  Also guys with vague, unrelated “cool” names that were just common place words, and whose abilities translated to “has a gun”.  All of these things nicely describe Bishop, an uber ’90s character, who could only be more ’90s if he wore a leather jacket and had shoulder pads.  I suppose he got off easy in that regard.  Bishop was prominent enough in the ’90s to feature on X-Men: The Animated Series, and by extension find his way into Toy Biz’s line of X-Men figures from the same period, getting what would be his very first action figure.  I’ll be taking a look at that figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bishop was initially released as part of Series 4 of the X-Men line, and would see subsequent re-release in the Marvel Universe line and as part of a multi-pack with Wolverine and Gambit.  All three releases of the figure are functionally identical, but it’s worth noting that mine is a Series 4 release.  Bishop is sporting his primary look from the ’90s, which was the only one he had at the time of the figure’s release.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  Though he’s rocking a waist swivel, he loses movement in his neck, presumably due to his hair.  Curiously, though, the Deluxe 10-inch figure and 2 1/2-inch Steel Mutants figure that are both patterned on the same sculpt both had a neck joint, so why it was missing from this guy is anyone’s guess.  Beyond that, the sculpt is fairly typical for the time.  He’s super bulky, but that’s just Bishop.  I will say that they were starting to run into the limits of this slightly simpler style of elbow joint they used, since it’s a little small for such a large arm.  It works overall, though.  The detailing on the hair is pretty nice, and definitely does his very dated hair cut proud.  Bishop’s paintwork is fairly basic, and a little bit messy on my figure.  There’s a lot of fuzzy edges, and the yellow sections are definitely prone to some serious bleedover.  In 1996, Bishop was also re-issued as part of the “Flashback” assortment, which was all repaints.  For that release, his blue was swapped for grey and black, and his yellow for gold, and his skintone was made somewhat lighter.  There was a second, predominantly red deco also shown, but it never hit shelves.  Whatever the case, the paint is a little cleaner on that release, but of course the trade off is that he’s not in his classic colors any more.  Whichever release you get, Bishop included two large blaster rifles in black, and features a “Quick-Draw Weapon Release” action feature.  Press the button on his back and his right arm swings upward.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have Bishop as a kid, largely because his episodes of the cartoon were some of my least favorite, so I never formed much of an enjoyment of the character.  That said, I really dig the ’90s X-Men line and I’m slowly working through building a complete collection, which meant getting this guy at some point, right?  I found both versions of Bishop at a toy show a while back, allowing me to close off that corner of the X-Mythos in one fell swoop, I suppose.  He’s not really one of the better Toy Biz X-Men, but then he’s far from the worst.  He fills in the roster pretty nicely.

#2207: Havok & Polaris

HAVOK & POLARIS

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Originally launched in 1986 as a way to re-unite the original founding five members of the X-Men, X-Factor found itself in a slightly tricky spot when it was decided to fold the founding five back into the main X-team in 1991.  With the X-books at the height of their popularity, Marvel wasn’t looking to just drop one of them entirely, meaning they would need a new roster of characters, but a selection of characters that were not going to be at all claimed by the two main X-books.  This new X-Factor was a government sanctioned team of mutants made up largely of second-string X-Men characters who had been rattling around in the background of the main book for most of the ’80s.  Taking Cyclops and Jean Grey’s role as the romantically-involved core of the team were Cyclops’ brother Havok and his on-again-off-again love interest Polaris, both of whom were recovering from a few bouts of “brainwashed and evil.”  The series would prove quite successful in elevating all of the characters included within, Havok and Polaris among them.  And, with most of the founding ’90s X-Men covered, now Marvel Legends is moving onto X-Factor.  Nice!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Havok and Polaris are one of two Fan Channel-exclusive two-packs of Marvel Legends, loosely built into Hasbro’s celebration of 80 years of Marvel.  This particular set’s packaging is noted as a throwback to the trading cards of the ’90s, which is admittedly a pretty fun, pretty vibrant idea.  I still don’t care what these figures arrive in as long as the toys themselves are good, but I can appreciate Hasbro honoring some of Marvel’s past exploits, and these are certainly a good pair of figures to tie-in with the trading card craze of the ’90s.  Okay, enough about the cardboard that carries these things, onto the figures!

HAVOK

“Alex Summers is an Alpha level mutant with the power to absorb cosmic energy and convert it to plasma.”

I hope you guys are appreciating the calm nature I have maintained up until this point in the review.  Truly I am a master of my own emotions because HOLY CRAP THEY MADE IT THEY ACTUALLY MADE IT THEY MADE A MARVEL LEGENDS HAVOK IN HIS 90S COSTUME AND NOW I HAVE IT AND ITS MINE AND NO ONE CAN TAKE THAT FROM ME…well, I made it pretty far, I guess.  So, as the above shouting on my part may have cued you in, this would be Havok, wearing his attire from the ’90s X-Factor series, or at least a version of it.  The initial X-Factor costumes were designed to play well with the main team costumes from Lee’s X-Men book, but were not quite an exact match, and they also tended to change a little from issue to issue.  Havok’s design seen here is from around the time of the X-Tinction Agenda cross-over, which is when they added the yellow leg-straps to his design.  Given the whole cross-marketing synergy thing of the ’90s, it’s this version of the design that got used for the old Toy Biz figure, appeared on the cartoon, and generally gets picked up if their doing a ’90s Havok anywhere else, so it’s really the one everyone knows.  This is Havok’s third time as a Legend, though he’s never gotten one in this costume.  In fact, this is only the third time we’ve gotten a toy of this costume (there will also be a fourth later this year).  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Like the last Havok and also the Lee-style Cyclops, this figure is built on the Bucky Cap body, which is a sensible enough choice for Alex.  He gets a boatload of new pieces, though, with a new head and arms, plus add-ons for the jacket and belt.  The new pieces are all pretty fantastic, with the jacket and arms in particular really standing out to me, because they just capture that feel of the old 5-inch figure, right down to the overly defined forearms.  I also really like how the jacket clips shut at the front, but can be opened to allow for better use of his mid-torso joint.  I have exactly two complaints about the sculpt, both minor, and only one of them actually new.  The forearms, as nice as they are, do seem to connect a little oddly to the fists.  It feels like there should be a cuff piece there to join them, and that would actually be more accurate to the source material.  Of course, if you’re like me and you have that Madripor Wolverine with his ill-fitting glove cuffs, I would point out that they fit pretty much perfectly on this figure, and greatly improve his already awesome appearance.  My other complaint is kind of a hold over from a prior figure.  Havok re-uses the leg straps from Cyclops, which is sensible from a consistency standpoint, but also means that he’s got the same troubles with them staying in place that figure did.  That said, I’m used to them now, and there are possible fixes, such as gluing them in place, which could help.  Havok’s paintwork is actually quite impressive.  For the most part, it’s fairly basic work all throughout, but there’s some really strong work on the jacket, which does a nice fade from blue to black.  It’s subtle and it really works.  Havok is packed with a pair of effects pieces, which are the same as the ones from his last figure, but in yellow this time.

POLARIS

“Like her father Magneto, Lorna Dane has the mutant ability to control magnetism.”

Okay, so I promise to keep myself a little more reserved on this part.  It’s just Polaris, and much as I love Polaris, she’s not quite a ’90s Havok.  Polaris has had a slightly less fortunate time with action figures over the years, with her first two action figures both being repaints of Rogue figures.  She did get a dedicated Legends release in the Warlock Series, but that one was met with a lot of in-fighting about the costume choice, and ended up hanging around a lot of places, which put a serious question mark on this costume’s release.  Also, unlike Havok, Polaris’ X-Factor design didn’t quite follow the same structured look, so there are more options to choose from.  Hasbro opted to go with her first one for this release, which it’s worth noting is also the one that was on the cartoon, making it a pretty sensible choice.  The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  She uses the same base body as the last Polaris (yay for internal consistency), but gets a new head, torso, and upper arms, as well as add-ons for her wrist and boot cuffs.  The new parts mesh well with the old, and the torso and arms in particular exhibit a good range of motion, improving upon the standard pieces for his body.  The hair manages to capture the dynamic flow of the illustrations, while not being too restrictive to the movement or weighing her head down too much either.  Polaris’ paint work is nice and vibrant, and in particular I love that bright green they’ve chosen for the hair.  The dullness of the last one was one of my few complaints, and this one ends up looking a lot nice.  Polaris is packed with two sets of hands in open and closed poses, as well as the same effects pieces included with Havok, but this time in green.  I do wish they had come up with some more effects options, especially for two differently powered characters in the same pack, but this has admittedly been an issue since their solo-releases.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Oh boy, was this set a big deal for me.  Frequent readers of the site are no doubt aware that I’m a *pretty* big Havok fan, to the point where I literally own every figure of him (plus six copies of his ’90s figure just on its own).  I’ve been waiting for this particular Havok since before there were any Legends Havok figures at all, and in fact even made my own back in 2005.  I didn’t realize how long I’d be waiting for an official release.  Polaris is somewhat along for the ride, but I was certainly happy to get her too. These two are great releases, and Havok is probably my favorite Legends figure to date.  I’ve been saying that a lot recently, but he’s really good.

These two came from my friends at All Time Toys, who knew enough enough about my Havok craze to give me the heads up on its release.  Yay for me!  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2199: Morph

MORPH

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#2197: Cyclops

CYCLOPS

ONE:12 COLLECTIVE (MEZCO)

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

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

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

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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

#2184: Ch’od

CH’OD

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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