#2003: Professor X

PROFESSOR X

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Professor Charles Xavier, better known as Professor X, is a highly gifted telepath and scientific genius who develops the Cerebro device to aid in the ability to control and manipulate psionic abilities.”

Professor X is a character that doesn’t seem outwardly like he’d make for a lot of really good action figures, but he sure does have quite a few.  I guess naming the team after yourself is a good way to make yourself essential to a line-up.  It helps that toy companies have actually gotten pretty decent at squeezing some cool concepts out of his figures.  Despite their usual knack for adding interesting touches to their figures, the original Toy Biz Marvel Legends Xavier, is one of his less thrilling toy entries, not doing much to move past his “bald guy in a suit sitting in a wheelchair.”  He was also released 14 years ago, so it seems like a good time for an update, especially with all these X-Men Legends we’ve been getting lately!  Fortunately, Hasbro was more than happy to deliver that update.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Professor X is the second figure in the third series of the Legendary Riders sub-line of Marvel Legends.  The “rider” tag seems like a *little* bit more of a stretch for Xavier, but becomes more sensible when you take into account that Hasbro’s gone with the ’90s hoverchair version of the character.  The actual basic figure on his own stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation.  He’s built on the basic suited body, which is a sensible choice for Xavier, what with him tending to be a guy in a suit and all.  I’ll admit, I’m still hoping to see his tactical jumpsuit from the ’90s, but there’s no denying this is the more distinctive look, and it’s a lot of re-use, which I’m sure Hasbro was fond of.  Xavier has a new head and hands, both of which are well tailored to the body.  The head’s perhaps a little more on the cartoony side than I was expecting, especially given the general Jim Lee-inspired nature of this figure and the others he’s meant to go with.  With that said, after getting him in hand, I don’t mind the appearance so much, though I can understand why it’s not for everyone.  I do really like the new hands, though, and they’re just pure classic Xavier poses.  Xavier’s suit is green, a new color for this mold, with a stylish blue and black striped tie, just like he used to sport on the animated series.  But enough about the main figure.  Though he may be the title item, he’s not the main selling point here.  No, that would be his hoverchair.  Introduced in the ’90s as a more hi-tech replacement for the wheelchair in which he’d spent three decades, the hoverchair was really only at the forefront of the comics during the ’90s.  Of course, the X-Men were at the height of their popularity, and they got a cartoon, meaning the chair is the go-to look for Xavier for a whole bunch of fans.  It’s also got a little bit of that “one that got away” thing going for it; Toy Biz’s Xavier was originally supposed to have its own version, but it was cut from the release when they decided to offer Galactus as a Build-A-Figure.  In the 14 years since, we’ve been patiently waiting to finally see it show up in this scale.  Hasbro previously offered up this design at a smaller scale as part of their Marvel Universe line, but since he was offered as a standard figure, the chair was rather downsized and compressed.  This time, a focus has been placed on making the chair as accurately proportioned as possible.  It’s split down the middle in the package, but assembles easily enough, and stays together once assembled.  The sculpt is cleanly defined, with a nice, mechanized fixture appearance on the outside, and a nice stitched-leather looking interior.  Additionally, the armrests slide open, in a similar fashion to the old TB 5-inch figure, giving us a view of a pair of hidden consoles.  In order to simulate his hovering, the chair has a little exhaust effect piece that plugs into the bottom, keeping it stably held aloft.  Xavier slides into the chair without much fuss, and can be easily removed, so you’ve got your options.  The figure and the chair is a pretty impressive package already, but this set also includes a few more extras.  There’s always a threat of Xavier’s legs getting cold in a big metal chair like this, so to fight off that cold, he’s got himself a blanket.  It’s something that always accompanied the chair in the comics, and in this case it slips over Xavier’s legs to help hold him in place when in the chair.  Also included is Xavier’s Cerebro helmet, along with a clip-on effect piece for added dynamics.  Lastly, following the “accent another figure” trend that Hasbro’s gotten so into recently, there’s also a head included for Xavier’s long-time foe, Amahl Farouk, better known as the Shadow King.  It’s designed to fit the body of the recent Kingpin BaF, and it’s a pretty pitch-perfect fit.  It captures his design well, and I really dig those removable glasses.  I do sort of wish I had an extra Kingpin figure now, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been waiting for this figure for 14 years.  I still have the TB figure, but only because I bought him to finish my Galactus.  He’s never stayed up on the shelf, and he certainly hasn’t had a spot with all the Hasbro figures.  I’ve always been partial to the hoverchair look, and I was definitely looking to see it done proper justice.  I’m happy to say this release undeniably does it that justice.  He’ll be a nice centerpiece for the ever growing ’90s X-Men figures to be sure.  Throw in a pretty sweet Shadow King head, and you’ve got another winning set.

Like yesterday’s Deadpool, this set was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  He’s currently out of stock, but they’ll be getting him back in soon. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

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#1998: Sabretooth

SABRETOOTH

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Sabretooth is Wolverine’s greatest enemy. Both are products of the Top-Secret Weapon X program. But instead of using his super-sharp claws and fighting abilities for good, Sabretooth became the Evil Mutants’ master assassin! Sabretooth has the same powers as Wolverine, including a mutant healing ability. What makes Sabretooth so dangerous is the fact that he’s even more savage in battle than Wolverine! When the two of them fight, it’s anyone’s guess who will win.”

Despite his connection to Wolverine, Victor Creed, better known as Sabretooth, first appeared as a foe to Iron Fist.  Like fellow X-foe Mystique, he was an example of long-time X-scribe Chris Claremont spreading the love so to speak, and introducing characters he intended to use in X-Men in some of his other books.   Whatever his source, he’s been an enduring foe for Wolverine and the X-Men, and was at the height of his popularity alongside them in the ’90s, when he got his first action figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sabretooth was released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  He’s based on Sabretooth’s original John Byrne-designed costume, which, interestingly enough, Sabretooth had just ditched in the comics at the time of this figure’s release.  The early line was kind of plagued with things like this, which is why characters had a tendency to show up a second time pretty quickly (Sabretooth’s second figure would arrive just three series later).  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  Sabretooth lacked neck articulation, a surprisingly common phenomenon in the early years of the line.  Unlike other figures this happened to, Sabretooth doesn’t really have any specific gimmicks preventing a neck joint from being added, so I guess it was just a design thing.  Whatever the case, it’s a bit limiting on posing.  Sabretooth’s sculpt was unique to him.  It’s okay, but not really anything to write home about.  It leans closer to the weaker of the Series 1 sculpts than it does the stronger Series 2 sculpts.  The details are rather soft, especially on the face, the hair is rather oddly shaped, and the proportions are really on the scrawny side for a Sabretooth figure.  His paintwork is pretty basic; the standard colors are all handled decently.  The two shades of yellow for the fur and his hair are kind of close to each other, meaning they kind of blend together and look kind of odd.  Sabretooth was packed with this weird sort of claw thing to hold.  He also had an action feature, where the front plate of his stomach could be flipped back and forth.  One side is clean, while the other has claw marks, thereby simulating his healing factor.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

By the time I was collecting, this figure had vanished from shelves, replaced by his more cartoon-indicative second figure, so that was the one I had.  I picked this one up a couple of years ago second hand.  Part of his appeal was being the first copy of this guy I’d seen without horrible paint scraping on the eyes.  He’s not really a great figure…or even a particularly good figure.  I guess if you really like his original costume, that’s a plus, but it’s not even the best version of that costume on the market.

#1997: Xavier & Shaw

XAVIER & SHAW

MARVEL MINIMATES

After the critical failures of X-Men 3 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the X-Men franchise was looking for a fresh start.  They found it in X-Men: First Class, which returned the X-Men to their original decade of the ’60s.  It was something of an unexpected hit, truth be told, so it’s merchandising was almost non-existent.  Fortunately, Minimates were there to save the day, with an assortment of TRU-exclusive two-packs.  Today, I’ll be looking at one of the film’s two leading men, Charles Xavier, alongside the film’s main antagonist, Sebastian Shaw.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Xavier and Shaw were part of the TRU-exclusive X-Men: First Class assortment of Marvel Minimates, released to coincide with the movie’s release in 2011.

XAVIER

James McAvoy had some serious shoes to fill when he took over the part of Xavier from Patrick Stewart, but he did it quite masterfully, creating a different, but still very much the same person, take on the character.  This figure opts for his flightsuit look, which is a solid choice since it a) is by far his most exciting look from the movie, and b) matches the rest of the team released in this assortment.  Xavier uses the basic body, with add-ons for his hair and his belt.  The hair is borrowed from DC Series 7’s Nightwing.  It’s not quite an exact match for the look Xavier’s sporting in the movie, but it’s close enough, and it’s a good enough piece that I’m really not going to complain about seeing it re-used.  The belt’s just a basic piece, with no detailing, used dozens of other times.  Nothing to write home about, but it gets the job down.  Xavier’s paintwork is definitely top-notch.  The likeness on the face is a very good match for McAvoy, and the detailing on the jumpsuit is just tremendous.  All of the small details and stitching are included, just s they should be.  The back of the figure is slightly less detailed than the rest, but he’s at least not totally void of detail like some less fortunate ‘mates have been.  They’ve even painted his neck yellow, differentiating his uniform from Magneto’s, just as it was in the movie.  Xavier included no accessories. A Cerebro helmet would have been nice, but this assortment’s completely re-used nature ruled that out.

SHAW

Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw was a slightly different take on the character, combining elements of Shaw’s comics counterpart with later X-foe Mr. Sinister.  The end result is a more calculating, far less hand-to-hand combat sort of a character, who was quite entertaining to watch.  Shaw uses add-ons for his hair and jacket/shirt piece.  The hair is re-used from Back to the Future Part II‘s Biff Tannen.  It’s not a perfect match for Shaw, and definitely not as close as the piece chosen for Xavier.  That said, it’s the best piece they had on hand at the time, and it’s serviceable.  The jacket is from 24‘s Tony Almeida, and is a well sculpted piece that fits the style Shaw was sporting throughout the movie.  Shaw’s paint work is not quite as complex as Xavier’s.  For the most part, it’s just the face that matters, and I gotta say, this guy doesn’t look all that much like Kevin Bacon.  I think he’s one of those people whose likeness is very dependent on his nose.  Without it, he’s very hard to convey.  Shaw also includes no accessories.  The helmet’s about the only thing I could think of to give him, and that got (rather sensibly) packed in with Magneto.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though lacking in accessories, Xavier is an otherwise very fun figure, and once again goes to show just how far you can get without needing any new parts.  Shaw’s an important part of the movie.  That said, he’s never quite as “battle-ready” as some of the others, which translates to another “guy in a suit” Minimate, and not a particularly notable one at that.

#1983: Phoenix

PHOENIX

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“The embodiment of the life force of the universe itself, the mysterious Phoenix Entity merged with the telekinetic X-Man named Jean Grey, transforming her into Phoenix! As Phoenix, Jean possessed nearly unlimited telepathic and telekinetic abilities – but the scope of her powers overwhelmed, corrupted and eventually consumed her. But, in the manner of her namesake, Jean later rose from the ashes of her demise, alive once again!”

Jean Grey’s spot in the X-Men has long been a tricky one.  She was a founding member of the team, and stuck with them until the “All-New, All-Different” team took over in Giant-Size X-Men #1.  Jean only actually departed for four issues, before returning for a rematch with the Sentinels that ended in her gaining the powers of the Phoenix Force.  She then remained a major player until “The Dark Phoenix Saga” ended with Jean sacrificing herself to save the day…from herself.  Then, like some sort of mythological bird that I can’t remember the name of, she rose from the ashes a few years later.  From that point forward, she was still a prominent member of the team, but never quite seemed in phase with the rest of them.  This kind of reared its head in tie-in materials as well.  For the ’90s X-Men toyline, it took three years to get a single Jean Grey figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Phoenix was the central figure of the “Phoenix Saga” assortment, the eighth series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  The assortment was designed to tie-in with the cartoon’s re-telling of the “Phoenix Saga,” and as such featured a number of pivotal players from it (and also Warstar, but we’ll talk about him later), and would not only be the first assortment to abandon a strict numbering system for assortments, but also has the notoriety of being both the last assortment to be released on the slimmer character specific card backs and the first to be released on the newer generic cards, via two separate releases.  This was not only Jean’s first figure in the line, but also her very first action figure in general, which was a pretty big deal.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  Like a good number of this line’s early figures, she lacks any sort of neck articulation, due to a light-up feature in the hair.  Of course, given the shaping of said hair, it’s unlikely that she would have had much movement going on anyway.  Jean’s sculpt was new to her, but would see an inevitable re-use for a Dark Phoenix figure (pictured with Wilson 4) in 1996 as part of the KB Toys-exclusive Marvel Universe line.  It’s really not a bad sculpt, especially for the time.  The proportions are decently balanced, and not terribly unrealistic, and kind of breaking from a lot of female figures for the time, she’s not hideous or horribly distorted, which was a pretty big deal.  Compared to the Rogue figure from the assortment prior, she’s definitely superior, and she blows the Series 1 Storm figure completely away.  There have been better Phoenix sculpts since, but it took them a good long while.  The paintwork is fairly basic stuff; the colors are bright and fairly eye-catching.  The green could maybe stand to be a little darker to better contrast with the yellow, but it’s not terrible.  The clear plastic for the hair actually works pretty well, especially when you have the right lighting.  The Dark Phoenix figure is pretty much the same paint, but palette-swapped.  The yellow parts are now gold, which was an interesting choice, but perhaps not the wisest, as it again leaves the two parts of the costume without much contrast.  Phoenix was packed with a launcher stand, re-used from the X-Force line’s Cannonball (yes, Cannonball had a figure before Jean Grey; try not to dwell on it).  It’s not the most thrilling extra, nor is it super specific, which is probably why the Dark Phoenix figure dropped it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Jean Grey has been my Dad’s favorite member of the X-Men pretty much since he started reading X-Men.  After discovering the Iron Man line on that fateful trip to Service Merchandise, he discovered the X-Men line via this figure (well, his copy of this figure, anyway), which he found at a dealer’s table at a con for the total insane crazy no one would ever pay this much for an action figure price of $20.  But hey, it was Jean Grey’s first figure, and he wasn’t going to pass it up, so he did not. …And then KB Toys did their buyout of Toy Biz figures, and you could get pretty much everyone in the line for under $5.  Not one to dwell on such things, my dad get me a Phoenix of my own, which I got alongside a Blackbird for the rest of my figures, if I recall correctly.  She was amongst 23 X-Men figures of mine that went missing for a few years during my high school/college days, but was discovered during “The Find” and has been on active display since then, because she’s just genuinely my favorite Jean Grey in my collection.

#1979: Mystique

MYSTIQUE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

An expert of duplication – and duplicity – Mystique uses powers of shape-shifting to assume others’ identities and complete covert missions.”

Though considered an X-Men character by pretty much every metric, Mystique’s first appearance came in the pages of Ms. Marvel (which was, at the time, being helmed by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum, the then-current writer and just-departed artist of X-Men).  She wouldn’t run into the X-Men until 1981’s “Days of Future Past” story, which had her forming  a new iteration of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.  Since then, she’s been pretty well interweaved with the team and all their exploits, and has become one of the franchise’s most bankable characters.  Despite all of this, she’s actually not the most prevalent character when it comes to toys.  She’s got a few, but not as many as you might expect.  I’ll be looking at the latest of those today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mystique is the second offering in the latest Walgreens-exclusive theme of Marvel Legends, which appears to be all about the ladies of X-Men, since she follows Magik and precedes Emma Frost.  She’s the third Legends release of Mystique, following Hasbro’s first go back in 2012.  Of course, that was a modern take on the character.  Our last classic Mystique was back during the Toy Biz days, a whopping 14 years ago.  And that figure wasn’t even good *for the time*, to say nothing of how it looks now.  To say an update was needed is something of an understatement.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  She’s built on the Phoenix body, which is a decent enough choice for Mystique.  Certainly better than either of the last two figures.  Mystique gets a new head sculpt, as well as an add-on piece for her skirt.  Both of these pieces are nicely rendered, with the head in particular being a really solid piece of character work.  The paintwork on Mystique is pretty standard fare at this point, but that certainly isn’t a bad thing.  It’s cleanly applied, nice and bold, and eye-catching.  The standard straight white works better than the attempts at shading we’ve gotten over the years.  There’s also some quite nicely handled and very subtle accent work on her hair, which I can definitely appreciate.  Mystique is packed with two styles of gun: a handgun and the futuristic tommy gun from Chameleon.  Both are molded in gold plastic and fit nicely in her hands.  She is also packed with two extra heads.  The first is a re-use of Rogue‘s, but painted up to be in mid transformation.  It works well on this figure to show off her shapeshifting, or, if you have the Rogue figure already, it also makes for a nifty reveal figure.  The second head is a toy debut for a major X-Men player.  Yes, it’s leader of the Shi’ar Empire, and the once-love-interest of Charles Xavier, Lilandra.  Kind of an interesting choice for a Mystique figure, but it sure does look nice on the recent Silver Sable body.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I actually had that truly terrible Toy Biz Mystique back in the day…for about 30 seconds, before she promptly sprung apart at the mid-section in an irreparable fashion.  So, no Mystique for my collection.  This one was a very welcome addition, and she’s a very nice figure, and I’m also really digging the extra Lilandra head, because how cool is it to finally have a Lilandra?

#1977: Rogue & Colossus

ROGUE & COLOSSUS

MARVEL MINIMATES

The X-Men are a team with distinctive eras.  The late ’80s, just preceding the Jim Lee-designed re-launch of the ’90s, was known as the Outback-era, when the team find themselves in the Australian Outback.  It was during this era that Rogue really came into her own on the team, and Colossus found himself a more prominent figure than before.  How fitting that the pair would make their way into Marvel Minimates‘ Outback-inspired Series 47.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pairing was part of the aforementioned Series 47 of Marvel Minimates, which arrived at retail in late October of 2012.

ROGUE

“Unable to touch others, Anna Marie saw her mutant ability to absorb memories, powers and life energy as a curse. But after fighting the X-Men as part of the evil Brotherhood, she later sought them out to ask for help and eventually joined the team.”

Rogue has been a prominent member of the team since Marvel Minimates‘ launch, so she had found her way into the line-up four times before this figure’s release.  This one stands out as distinctly different than the others, calling back to before yellow became a prominent color in her palette.  The figure makes use of one add-on piece for her hair, which was new to this figure.  It’s a nice piece, definitely capturing her ’80s ‘do well.  The squared-off nature of the style actually lends itself quite naturally to the blocky stylings of the Minimate base body.  Beyond that, she’s just a basic ‘mate body, which suits the design.  The figure’s paintwork is clean, and eye-catching.  The metallic green pairs well with the black, and the detail line-work is all sharp and captures her look from the comics well.  Rogue is packed with a flight stand, simulating the powers she got after accidentally drained Ms. Marvel.  We’re still one assortment out from the display stands becoming a standard inclusion.

COLOSSUS

“Piotr Rasputin’s ability to turn his body into organic steel makes him super-strong, nearly indestructible, and able to throw objects a great distance at great speed. When the object is his teammate Wolverine, this maneuver is known as a “fastball special.””

This release marked Colossus’s fourth time as a Minimate, though his first in 33 series, making his re-release quite warranted.  This figure also pulls double-duty, filling a Colossus-shaped hole in both the Outback line-up of this wave, and the Jim Lee looks of Series 34.  He comes packaged in his Lee-designed look, which is really just a minor rework of his original design. Colossus uses add-ons for his hair, torso cap, torso extender, hands, and boots.  All of these were new to this particular figure, and for the most part, they’re pretty decent offerings.  The new hair isn’t that far removed from the prior piece, but is sharper in its detailing and shaping.  The new gauntlets and boots match up well with the design, and fit nicely to the body.  The only slightly troublesome piece is the torso.  In an effort to bulk him up, they’ve made it a whole cap, rather than just focussing on his tunic like prior figures.  The end result makes him look a little bit pudgy, though it’s far from terrible. Colossus’s paint is solid work.  It’s bright and eye-catching, and the detail lines, especially for his metal skin, looks really sharp.  There’s some slop on his torso piece, but otherwise its pretty cleanly done. To facilitate the double-duty being pulled by this figure, he includes a plethora of swap-out add-ons, including a new torso cap, gauntlets, boot cuffs, and standard hands and feet.  It all swaps out to create Colossus’s less covering ’80s look.  He also includes two extra right hands, designed to allow either version of Colossus to perform his signature “Fastball Special” with this wave’s Wolverine, as well as a clear display stand to help keep the two balanced.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was pretty excited for this whole line-up at the time of its release, though this particular set was a little lower on the totem pole than its compatriots.  This Rogue is somewhat removed from the version that most people would consider definitive, but the figure is still a well-put-together ‘mate.  Colossus’s main look may be slightly flawed, but the ability to get a second look out of the figure makes him a strong, and necessary figure.

#1941: Colossus

COLOSSUS

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“The strongest of the X-Men, Colossus has the awesome mutant ability to turn his body into living steel! When he is in his living steel form, Colossus can lift as many as forty cars at once. His steel body is so hard that not even a bomb blast can hurt him! Normally Colossus is a quiet and gentle man, but when an evil mutant attacks, Colossus can be as fearsome a foe as any X-Man!”

Okay, so, umm, I was doing this thing where I was trying to work through Toy Biz’s X-Men line series by series.  And I was doing pretty good.  And then I was double checking things and realized I jumped the gun going to Series 2, so I have to do just the tiniest bit of back-tracking and take a look at the team’s resident metal bruiser, Colossus!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Colossus is the final figure in Series 1 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  At the time of this figure’s release, Piotr had been on the team pretty consistently since his introduction in the ’70s, so he was a natural choice for the line-up.  He’s seen here in his classic costume, which he had just returned to at the time of the figure’s release.  The figure stands 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  All of the figures in the set were originally designed with the lessened articulation, but most of them had it upgraded by the time they hit stores.  Colossus, for whatever reason, was one of two exceptions to this rule.  His sculpt is definitely scrawnier than later Colossi, but honestly he’s not that bad, especially in comparison to the rest of the assortment.  He’s actually a lot more proportionately balanced than most of them, so he looks pretty decent.  He’s rather pre-posed, in order facilitate his action feature.  What is this amazing action feature, you ask?  Well, there’s this lever on his back, and when you pull it down, his arms lift upward, in a weight-lifting sort of action.  I don’t know that it’s really worth the investment the figure gives it, but it’s not the worst.  The paintwork on Colossus is clean and bright.  It’s pretty basic, but it works.  Colossus is packed with a large weight, in order to help sell that weight lifting feature.  It’s a little tricky to keep him standing with it, but it’s doable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Colossus was not part of my collection growing up.  He was, however, part of my brother’s collection.  And as of late, my brother’s been purging a lot of his old figures, and Colossus was the only one I was missing, so, hey, that worked out pretty alright.  There have been better Colossus figures, but as far as 5-inch figures go, he actually still brings quite a bit to the table.

#1918: Havok

HAVOK

MARVEL UNIVERSE (HASBRO)

“Separated from his brother Scott — who would eventually grow into the mutant Cyclops — and cut off from his own powers by Mr. Sinister, Alex Summers grew up ignorant of his mutant heritage. As a result, he wasn’t trained in the use of his powers until late in life. He has since overcome that obstacle and turned into a powerful hero in his own right, leading a team of mutant adventurers into deep space against the insane despot Vulcan.”

For the seventeenth, and I do believe final, entry in this year’s roundup of post-Christmas reviews, I’m touching on one of the little quirks of my collecting habits: owning every figure of certain characters.  There are just some characters that really resonate with me, and are minor enough that owning all of their figures is actually a totally attainable thing*.  One of those characters is my favorite member of the X-Men, Alex Summers, also known as Havok!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Havok was released in Wave 8 of Hasbro’s Marvel Universe line, which was the third assortment of the line’s second year.  He was numbered 018, following the relaunched numbering stucture of 2010, and was also one of the five Fan’s Choice figures released in the line that year.  There were two different versions of Havok to be had.  The regular release was his then-current costume, while the variant release, which I’m looking at here, was his classic gear.  The figure stands 4 inches tall and has 22 points of articulation.  Havok made use of the body originally used for Black-Costumed Spidey, one of Hasbro’s favorite bodies from this line.  It was one of the better bodies from the line’s debut year, but it was still a little wonky.  It feels a bit like the antithesis of the body Moon Knight was on; this figure seems to have gained the segment of torso length that was missing from the former.  Also, the very skinny nature of this figure’s legs had a tendency to give him some stability issues.  A later variant of this body added swivel joints to his thighs to aid somewhat, but no such luck this early into the line.  Havok sports a brand new head sculpt, which is definitely the highlight of the figure.  Early MU sculpts weren’t the most detailed, but Havok’s actually looks pretty decent, and I certainly applaud their choice not to go with a screaming look, while still giving him that proper Alex Summers pout.  His distinctive headgear is actually a separate piece, and it’s not held in place by anything more than some rather shallow pegs, meaning it’s a little on the floppy side.  I found that a small touch of super glue was needed to keep the figure from being too frustrating.  I’m not entirely sure why it wasn’t just glued down in the first place, but there you have it.  Havok’s paintwork is rather on the simple side, but the application is all pretty clean, and his design looks just as striking as it should.  Havok was packed with an energy effect piece (borrowed from the prior year’s classic Iron Man), as well as a display stand with his name and number on it. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure is the last Havok figure I didn’t own, and he’s kind of been my white whale for a little while.  I mean, not in a crazy, ranting and raving, risk my life to get him sort of a way, but more a “always be the one that got away” sort of a way.  I grabbed the standard Havok when he was new, and I knew this guy was supposed to be showing up in revision cases, but I never once saw him.  Then the line was done, and he was going for some crazy high prices for a while, and I just sort of gave up and accepted my little Havok collection as incomplete.  Of course, my parents, who got me into this whole Havok-collecting thing in the first place, weren’t going to stand for any of that nonsense, and so this guy was among my presents this past Christmas.  Is he the greatest Havok figure ever? Nah, but I do sure like him a lot, and I’m happy to have the whole group together!

*To date, I’ve attained this with three characters of note.  Havok, of course, as this review indicates, as well as Wonder Man and Elongated Man.

#1907: Magneto

MAGNETO

X-MEN: DELUXE EDITION (TOY BIZ)

“After his interment in a concentration camp, Erik Lehnsherr realized that the only way mutants could survive would be to dominate mankind. Turning his complete control of magnetism to his newfound cause, Lehnsherr became the mutant terorrist Magneto, determined to win freedom from oppression for his fellow mutants, no matter what the cost. His mad dream has only been kept in check thanks to the ever-vigilant actions of the X-Men!”

For Day 6 of the Post Christmas reviews, I’m keeping that 10-inch Marvel thing going.  After a more broad Marvel Universe look with Nick Fury, I’m heading over to the ’90s commercial juggernaut that was X-Men.  Today’s focus is on the X-Men’s very first baddie, Magneto.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Magneto was released in the second “Deluxe Edition” series of the X-Men line, which preceded the larger Marvel Universe line by a couple of years.  The figure stands 10 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  For whatever reason, he doesn’t have a joint on his right elbow.  Left one’s still there, and the smaller counterpart figure has both of them, but this guy doesn’t.  I have no clue why, and I don’t know if anyone really does, but there it is.  The figure is patterned on the Magneto II figure from the 5-inch line, though, as with a number of these figures, the larger version allows for a much better formed sculpt.  In particular, he has less of the odd pin-headed nature that the smaller figure possessed, which makes the figure much more appealing.  The arms are still a touch stubby, but that’s a minor complaint.  Overall, though, it’s a really strong classic Magneto sculpt, unmarred by the action features that sort of held back the smaller figure.  Even his paintwork is a fair bit better.  The colors are brighter, the application is cleaner, and the use of molded flesh tone instead of painted makes him look far more lifelike.  Magneto was packed with a blaster pistol, because that was just how you did with these figures in the ’90s.  Hey, at least it wasn’t a wooden gun, right?  That would just break his mind right in two.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Magneto never got a reissue in any of the later lines, unlike a lot of the others, and as one of the more prominent characters released, he never really hung around all that much.  As such, I don’t believe I ever saw one in person.  Like Fury, this figure was a stocking stuffer from my parents.  I actually really like him, and I think he’s one of the line’s nicest offerings.  Its kind of a shame he didn’t get any reissues.

#1892: Wolverine II

WOLVERINE II

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“His super-sharp adamantium claws can slash through steel. His mutant healing ability can mend even the worst wounds in minutes. He’s Wolverine, the best at what he does and what he does best is fight Evil Mutants! With his keen senses of sight, smell and hearing, and his frighteningly fierce fighting style, enemies claim Wolverine is more animal than mutant. But his fellow X-Men know that he’s the best friend they have, especially when the going gets deadly dangerous!”

Did you know that wolverines use snow as refrigerators to keep their food fresh?  That’s your fun FiQ fact for today…’s Tiger Stripe Wolverine review.  You guys thought I was going to forget about the running gag, didn’t you?  Well, I didn’t!  Okay, let’s just take a look at the figure, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wolverine, or “Wolverine II” as he is referred to on all of the packaging, is part of the second series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line. The first series had used Wolverine’s then-current brown costume, but Logan had reverted back to an approximation of his classic look not too long after that figure’s release, so Toy Biz followed suit with this figure.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  Wolverine’s sculpt was new to him, and would serve as the basis for a number of figures that would follow, including when it was up-scaled for the 10-inch Deluxe Edition figure (reviewed here).  While the smaller scale doesn’t quite serve the sculpt quite as well as the larger, but all of the basics are still there, and it’s still a pretty strong offering for the character.  He’s a little on the tall side for a proper Logan, but that was the trend of the time, and he’s certainly not as bad as some of the figures that would follow.  The primary differences between this figure and the larger one are to do with his claws and the raised lever on his back to allow for an “action feature” when spinning his torso.  The claws are an interesting choice.  They’re spring loaded, but since there’s no locking mechanism, they just pop right back into place.  Also, they’re stubby and curved, and the spring feature makes his forearms really boxy, so I’m not really sure it’s worth the tradeoff.  Wolverine’s paintwork is decent enough.  Fairly basic, and not without some slop, especially around the edges of the blue parts of the costume.  The black details also seem to extend a bit further into the rest of the costume than they traditionally do in the comics, but that’s rather minor.  Wolverine was packed with a gun, because, when you get down to it, isn’t that really Wolverine’s defining trait?  Having a gun?  Well, not my Wolverine, because his gun is missing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, this figure was *not* my first Wolverine.  That would be the Battle-Ravaged Wolverine from the Invasion Series, which was the current figure of Wolverine when I got into collecting.  The trouble with that figure, as cool as it is, arose when I got the Black Bird, which the larger Battle-Ravaged figure couldn’t actually fit inside of, meaning I really needed a smaller figure.  Around the time I got my Black Bird, my parents were in the process of buying a new house, and my dad was going back and forth many days getting things ready to move in.  I accompanied on many of those trips, Black Bird in tow, with only my Series 1 Cyclops in it, since he was the only one who actually fit.  On one of those days, my dad had to go and pick up carpet from the mall, where there was also a KB Toys.  In exchange for accompanying, my Dad bought me this guy (he also bought himself a Ch’od figure, because him also getting a figure was part of the ritual) to go with my Black Bird.  He stuck with me for the whole move in process at the new house.  Is he the best Wolverine ever?  Maybe not, but I do still really like him.