#3232: Morph

MORPH

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“The mutant shapeshifter Morph returns to haunt the X-Men after being captured and manipulated by Mr. Sinister.”

Oh, yeah, it’s all finally starting to pay off, you guys!  Remember all those X-Men: The Animated Series-themed Marvel Legends I’ve been looking at since June?  And remember how up until this point they’ve all just been reworks of other Legends releases?  Well, today, that changes!  Admittedly, it only changes for the one release, and then it’s back to the reworks, but I’ll take the wins where I can get them.  When The Animated Series launched, the creators wanted to show the seriousness of the X-Men’s battle with the Sentinels by having a casualty within the first episode.  So, they dusted off a rather minor ’60s character, Changeling, re-christened him “Morph,” and went forth with their plan of killing the poor guy off just as soon as possible.  They didn’t anticipate him being nearly as popular as he wound up being, so in the show’s second season, he was revealed to be still alive, and under the control of the season’s arc-villain, Mr. Sinister.  Though not completely original to the show, Morph is still a very show-centered concept, so he’s not been quite as privy to all the toy goodness that the rest of the team received.  He got a standard figure, a Metal Mutant, and even a Shape Shifter back in the day, but it’s only now, 20 years into Legends, that he finally shows up there.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Morph is the sixth figure in the X-Men: The Animated Series sub-line of Marvel Legends, and the first figure to debut a character in Legends….well, unless you count his AoA counterpart as his actual debut, but that’s a legal grey area at best.  Following Jean’s precedent, Morph was shown off and put up for sale on his own.  Like the rest of the line, Morph ships in a VHS-styled box (sporting art by Dan Veesenmeyer), and I still really dig these things.  Morph’s is certainly a lot of fun.  The figure stands just over 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Structurally, Morph is built on the Vulcan body, which is a sensible enough starting point, especially if Hasbro’s looking to really cement it as the Bucky Cap’s replacement.  He also makes use of the jacket piece from Old Man Logan and the arms are from Punisher, as well as an all-new head, belt, and altered legs.  All of the new pieces are courtesy of sculptor Paul Harding, and they’re quite an impressive selection.  The head does a good job of capturing the animated Morph’s general character, while also being just a touch more in line with the standard stylings of the line.  The new legs replicate the various ’90s X-Men straps, previously handled via add-on pieces that tended to fall down a lot.  Now, they’re worked into the legs, and it’s honestly so much nicer this way.  Morph’s paint work continues with cel-shading that we’ve seen with the rest of the line, thought this time around it does seem just a touch less present, so that he won’t look nearly as out of place with non-animation based figures.  It’s rather considerate, since this is Morph’s first 6-inch figure.  Morph is packed with a second head sculpt, based on his “evil” look from Season 2, and two sets of hands in fists and relaxed poses.  The extra head is really nicely handled, looking consistent to the standard head, but again capturing the feel of the show design.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Morph is the figure I was most hoping to see in this line, right from the beginning.  He wound up going up for order while I was on the road, actually, but I was able to get him ordered without too much fuss.  I’ve been eagerly awaiting his release, and I’m thrilled to have him in hand.  He’s easily my favorite figure from this set thus far, and he gives me a bit more hope for the line after being a little bit underwhelmed by a few of the mid-run figures.  He turned out really well, and he’s a great update to the original Toy Biz figure.

#3230: Nimrod

NIMROD

X-FORCE (TOY BIZ)

“The most dangerous Sentinel of a dark future timeline, the robot known as Nimrod has returned to the present to achieve his prime directive — the eradication of all mutants! With an arsenal of weapons and a virtually indestructible body, there’s little anyone can do to stop him… even the X-Men!”

Where would we be without our dangerous Sentinels from a dark future timeline?  In a much worse place, I assure you.  I mean, without Nimrod, we wouldn’t have Bastion, or all of the Orchis subplots from Hickman’s X-Men.  Could you imagine a world without those things?  Because I can.  And…actually I wouldn’t mind it so much.  But I guess I’d miss Nimrod a little bit.  But, fortunately, he does exist.  So, you know, here we are.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nimrod was released in Series 6 of Toy Biz’s X-Force line.  This marked his very first time as a figure, and would more or less remain his only version for a surprisingly long time.  Unfortunately, due to an issue of timing, they wound up going with a very modern and up to the moment look that Nimrod was sporting in the X-Force comics at the time, which was a rather divergent look that didn’t stick.  But, I guess it’s better than nothing?  Sure, let’s go with that.  The figure stands a little under 5 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  Nimrod wasn’t particularly posable, with no neck or elbow movement, as well as greatly restricted movement on his shoulders and knees.  Not really a ton you can do with it all, but it’s kind of something you have to deal with on any version of Nimrod.  He’s just clunky.  The figure’s also rather on the small side for Nimrod, who’s classically a pretty sizable guy.  He’s chunkier than other figures, but not actually any larger, which does make him seem…less than imposing.  The figure does an alright job of capturing the design from the comics, for better or for worse.  It’s not as sleek a design as the usual, but there’s at least some cool tech detailing.  Nimrod’s colorscheme is largely red, which isn’t the usual, but it’s again accurate.  All of the red is molded, with painted yellow and black accenting.  Nimrod was originally packed with a missile for his wrist cannon, which my figure is missing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Nimrod wasn’t really much on radar as a kid, largely due to him not actually looking like the character in anything I knew him from.  I wound up getting him much later, during one of my 5-inch Marvel sprees in the summer of 2017.  He’s not really the figure anyone wanted.  He’s not bad, though.  Just limited by the source material he came from.  It’s just a shame they didn’t at least do him in the more classic Nimrod colors at some point, just to sort of do that half step.  But, nowadays, we’ve got the Legends release, so I guess it all worked out.

#3225: Stryfe

STRYFE

X-FORCE (TOY BIZ)

“Stryfe is the mysterious evil mutant who could be Cable’s brother – or perhaps even Cable himself! No one knows the truth about this fearsome warrior, and anyone who came close to finding out learned never to do it again! Styfe’s armor is not only shatter-proof, it’s packed with amazing weapons systems. But his most dangerous weapon is his energy mace – with just a touch it can destroy a skyscraper.”

Ah, Stryfe.  He’s so ’90s, it’s painful.  Definition of try-hard.  Just way too much going on.  Ooooh, what if he’s Cable?  Or what if he’s a clone?  And what if he looks like Wolverine, but with more Wolverine stuff shoved on his face?  But he’s also in a full suit of armor?  And he’s maybe a telepath?  And there’s a random “y” in his name, in place of the proper vowel?  See what I mean?  Too much going on.  He’s just so hard to follow.  At least he had a short run of action figures, I guess.  Well, here’s the first one of those.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Stryfe was released in Series 1 of Toy Biz’s X-Force line.  He was one of two outright villains in the first assortment, the other being the wonderfully named “Forearm.”  Gotta love that one.  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation, as well as a flip-up helmet.  The figure’s sculpt was all-new.  Apart from the head, which was re-used for one of the X-Men boxed sets later down the line, it was a sculpt that remained unique.  I looked at the slightly miniaturized version of the sculpt when it was in the Steel Mutants line-up, and I wasn’t particularly enamored by it at the time.  I’m still not really enamored by it here.  He’s scrawny, strangely shaped, and still largely devoid of detailing.  The flip-up helmet is an interesting concept, but it just winds up looking really strange.  It’s just so flat, and the underlying head just winds up looking silly.  The cape piece is removable, and….well, it connects at a very unfortunate spot, right in the middle of the butt.  Yes, this figure has a butthole.  Why connect it there?  Doesn’t it just feel like it’s asking for trouble?  The paint work on this figure is very basic.  Lots of silver.  All very flat.  It’s alright.  Stryfe was packed with his weirdly shaped mace, which is just about as goofy as he is.

 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t like Stryfe.  I’ve never liked Stryfe.  This figure’s always looked lame, and I stand by that.  I bought him because I want all of them, and he was cheap because I bought him loose.  He’s not great.  He’s really not.  He’s a try-hard, and that comes through on the figure, too.  I guess it could be worse.  It could be Ahab.  But that’s not a lot to clear, really.

#3224: Toad

TOAD

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Mortimer Toynbee was a greedy, pathetic little toady when the genetic evil mutant known as Magneto took him in as a member of his original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. But years of hard knocks toughened the Toad’s hide, and the once-sniveling creature grew a spine. Now, a leaner, meaner Mortimer stands poised to exact revenge on all those who mistreated him.”

When Marvel Legends launched 20 years ago under Toy Biz’s lead, it launched with a four figure assortment sporting some of Marvel’s big names….and Toad.  Okay, so, technically, in Toad’s defense, he was actually the only one of the four debut characters to have been in a theatrical film at the time.  But that’s not what got him into the line-up.  In actuality, it was all sheer luck.  Iron Man, Captain America, and Hulk were supposed to debut alongside Dr. Doom, a far more formidable opponent.  However, Doom was delayed, and Toy Biz was in need of a quick replacement.  So, they grabbed the completed mold they had for the comic-style Toad from their cancelled “Evolution of X” line and stuck him in Doom’s place.  To say he was out of place is something of an understatement, and the figure was rather infamous early in the line for how unwanted he was by the fanbase.  While the figure would eventually gain a rather hefty aftermarket value, the poor sales early in the line effectively guaranteed no follow-up release for the character.  And, that’s why, 20 years later, he’s just now getting his second Legends figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Toad is the final figure in Series 1 of the “20th Anniversary” sub-line of Marvel Legends.  He’s a fair bit removed from the other three, both in terms of when he was shown off and when he arrived at retail, which is all rather fitting, I suppose.  The figure stands roughly 6 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  The previous Toad was rather infamously under-articulated, since he was a pre-Legends mold being re-purposed.  This one, on the other hand, is a fair bit better, and is in fact the most posable of the four figures in this subset.  Unlike the prior figure, he can actually crouch and get into generally Toad-like poses.  The figure’s sculpt is largely new, though there’s just a touch of re-use.  I know that the upper arms at the very least are Pizza Spidey; I’m not sure about the lower arms, because they look just a little bit off.  Beyond those pieces, though, the rest of it’s all-new.  It’s….a mixed bag.  The original Legends Toad was very definitely a ’60s Toad in terms of styling.  This one’s something else.  He seems to lean a little bit more on the ’90s vibe overall, but even then, it’s kind of non-committal.  Given how closely Cap and Hulk both stuck to direct updates on their original figures*, it’s certainly an odd choice to change things up on Toad, especially since he’s still got X-Men #4 as his backdrop piece.  Like, he’s not even really in the same costume as the Toy Biz one.  You could be forgiven for thinking they’re different characters entirely.  I will say, I do at the very least like the way the costume is detailed on the body; Toad’s costume was always somewhat in disarray, and I like all the wrinkles and seams on this sculpt.  The part I’m the least fond of, however, is the head, which is the part that really loses the hold on what version of the character they’re going for.  It’s just sort of messy.  Like, the facial features seem to not really jibe with each other, and it’s kind of large for the body, and then there’s the hair, which makes him look a bit like he’s wearing a wig modeled after Leonardo DiCaprio’s ’90s hair.  Just a lot of odd choices.  In terms of paint work, Toad’s alright.  He again removes himself from the first Legends figure by changing up the palette, with the purple in particular being a totally different shade.  He’s not nearly as dirty either, though that’s I suppose a change that’s part of the wider line-wide shift under Hasbro.  I do like the accenting on the main body suit, though, as it really helps to sell the detail work of the sculpt.  Toad is packed with an extra head (with tongue extended), two sets of hands (fists and open gesture), two different toads, and a display stand with a cardboard backdrop.  The extra head still has all the same issues as the main one, which is a little disappointing, but it does at least have some more variety to it.  The toads are a fun reference to the original figure, and I appreciate that a lot.  The stand is the same one included with the other three, and his backdrop has one side with a recreation of the Series 1 figure’s swampy stand, with the other being X-Men #4’s cover.  Compared to the other figures, Toad feels a little light, but he’s also the figure with the most new tooling, so I suppose it evens out.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I never bought the original Toad figure.  I don’t really know why, honestly.  It’s not like I dislike the character, and I had a pretty decent X-Men selection going at the time.  But, for whatever reason, I didn’t, and then he was expensive, and he just didn’t feel worth it.  I did sort of hope for an update, and was kind of looking forward to this one.  I had hoped, with him being so far back from the other three, that Hasbro might have been building up to something truly amazing.  Sadly, in hand, he doesn’t quite feel that way.  In a line-up that gives us definitive takes on Cap and Hulk, as well as a really solid new Iron Man variant, Toad, much like his original release, feels like the odd man out.  He feels like a figure we’d have all been very happy with a few years ago, before Hasbro had really gotten to their current level of quality with the line.  But, with the other three being very on-point, it’s hard not to see this figure as a little bit confused in its purpose.  These figures were billed as proper updates on the Series 1 figures, but Toad’s not really an update or an improvement; he’s just a completely different figure that happens to have the same name.  He’s not terrible by any stretch, but he’s not particularly great either.

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

*Iron Man gets a pass, since the 80 Years release had already updated the Series 1 design, and he was serving to properly adapt the variant figure from Series 1.

#3220: Warpath

WARPATH

X-FORCE (TOY BIZ)

“He’s super-strong and super loyal! He’s the Native American known as Warpath! The X-Force team loves him for his rock-steady calm in even the most dangerous situations. Because he’s so big and so strong, Evil Mutants often attack him first, thinking that “the bigger they are, the harder they fall”. But in Warpath’s case, it’s the Evil Mutants who fall!”

The X-Men were really big in the ’90s, and the best way to capitalize on that is spin-offs!  Previous X-book The New Mutants was made more x-friendly with its own x-themed title, X-Force, and, with X-Force itself becoming a pretty big deal, it got its own spin-off of Toy Biz’s own X-Men toyline.  They got right to work filling in the team’s roster, in an assortment that, in a form of dramatic irony, didn’t actually feature any of the New Mutants members who had transferred over.  It did, however, feature Warpath, brother to X-Man proper Thunderbird, getting a figure years before his brother did.  How about that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Warpath was released in the first series of Toy Biz’s X-Force toyline.  He was one of three actual team members in the set.  The X-Force line was a bit slower on getting out actual team members than the X-Men line, but then again, the actual book was far more focused on side characters most of the time too.  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  Warpath lacks elbows and knees, which were still kind of phasing in and out at this point.  Presumably, the lack of them here was somehow linked to his slightly larger stature.  Not much larger, mind you; he’s actually surprisingly small for Warpath, who is classically a quite large and imposing guy, especially in the ’90s.  The sculpt is also kind of soft in terms of detailing, and sort of pre-posed, but also really stiff?  It’s an odd mix.  His muscles are also just kind of odd lumps.  I mean, aside from the very definite presence of feet, he’s not a bad match for a Liefeld drawing.  Perhaps not in terms of actual look, but certainly in terms of vibe.  The paint work on the figure is honestly not bad.  It’s bright and colorful, and the application is pretty sharp and clean.  Warpath is packed with…a red bazooka?  Not really sure why.  Not exactly true to the character, but, well, there it is.  He also featured a “Thunder Punch Action,” which just means his arms swing opposite directions when he’s twisted at the waist.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is another one of those figures that I looked at a lot growing up, but never actually wound up buying until I was an adult.  I snagged him sealed in the summer of 2017, alongside a bunch of other ’90s Toy Biz stuff.  He’s…not a terribly impressive figure.  I mean, he’s not awful either, I guess, but that’s not exactly a lot to write home about.

#3195: White Queen

WHITE QUEEN

GENERATION X (TOY BIZ)

“The former White Queen of the sinister Inner Circle, the telepathic Emma Frost, recently re-evaluated her philosophy and alliances. As a result, she has accepted Professor Charles Xavier’s offer to join Banshee in training Generation X, the next class of young mutants enrolled at his school. Shrewd, manipulative, and hardened by her villainous past, Emma Frost will provide the tough guidance necessary for her new students to make it through the turbulent times ahead.”

During the events of the X-Men crossover “Phalanx Covenant”, Marvel formed a new X-team, Generation X.  It was a bunch of younger mutants (essentially the ’90s answer to the New Mutants, who by this point had all been folded into X-Force and X-Factor), under the tutelage of two reformed X-foes: Banshee, who’d been on the main team for years, and the very recently reformed Emma Frost, aka the White Queen.  The reformed White Queen angle wound up sticking, and she’s pretty much been there since.  Her Generation X run wound up getting Emma her first action figure, which is pretty cool, all things considered.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

White Queen was released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s Generation X line.  After years with more or less the same look, Generation X had placed her in a more toned down outfit.  It’s not classic White Queen, but a solid argument can be made that it’s far more appropriate for a toyline that’s selling at mass retail.  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall (the Generation X line as a whole was just a touch scaled up), and she has 5 points of articulation.  The articulation on this figure is more or less pointless.  She’s kind of just a statue that you can slightly move the head and arms on.  The hip joints in particular are rather pointless.  Any real change means she can’t stand at all.  So, she just really stands there.  Which, I guess, is what Emma tends to do in the comics.  You know what, I guess it’s the perfect set-up, isn’t it?  The sculpt is a rather stylized one.  Her hands are notably quite large, and the body’s got some definite pre-posed-ness to it.  The proportions are generally just all over the place, and she winds up looking a little bit odd.  I do like how the detailing on the outfit worked out, though.  The paint work on White Queen was the source of a variant for the figure.  The main release has a flesh tone painted on the upper legs, suggesting she’s wearing short shorts, while a rarer version of the release drops the extra paint app, and effectively gives her pants.  Not  huge change, but there it is.  There was also a later variation of the figure in the Marvel Hall of Fame line, dubbed “Black Queen,” which, predictably, swaps black in for all of the white parts, as well as the hair.  Presumably, it’s supposed to be Selene, but it really just winds up looking like Emma’s going through a goth phase.  White Queen’s orignal release was packed with a Psychic Energy Spear, whatever that is, as well as the Generation X display stand.  Black Queen gets the same Spear, but in silver.  Again, no clue what it is, but, you know, there it is.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

There was a long trek to getting all of the variants of this particular figure.  I got the standard release version first, courtesy of Jess, who bought it for me from Power Comics, the comic shop near our apartment when we first moved in together in 2016.  A few years later, I picked up Black Queen loose at a toy show in 2018.  And, I finally wrapped it up with the variant of White Queen, which I snagged from a collection that came into All Time in 2021.  They’re all kind of goofy, and not particularly unique, but there’s a novelty behind how I got them all, which is pretty nice.

#3190: Iceman

ICEMAN

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Iceman has the mutant ability to turn himself into a being of living ice. Once he does that, he can create almost anything he wants: ice slides, ice weapons, ice shields, not to mention icicles and snowballs. And when he really concentrates, he can create a blinding snowstorm even in the middle of July! But most important of all, the X-Men know that no matter how hot the battle, Iceman always keeps his cool.”

Sometimes in the toy world, you discover an issue with an item way too late in the production process, or perhaps even completely after the production has wrapped, leaving you with no way to actually fix the issue.  So, what are you to do?  Well, sometimes you just ignore it.  Other times, you decide to double down on the money train, and do something to fix the issue quickly, all so you can rake in that sweet, sweet cheddar.  Or, ice, as it may be in this case.  This case being the first Toy Biz X-Men Iceman, whose clear plastic and thermochromatic paint caused issues with the intended “stick him in the freezer” gimmick, and meant that the figure just broke.  But it’s okay.  They made another one!  And this time he’s different!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iceman was released as part of Toy Biz’s first dedicated Repaint series of X-Men, released in late 1993/early 1994, around the main line’s 4th and 5th assortments.  He was perhaps the most sensible of the repaint choices, given the issues with the first release.  The figure stands a little under 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  It’s the same mold as the prior release, which is a respectable classic Iceman sculpt, and fits in quite nicely with the early line figures.  The major difference between this one and the original is now he’s blue.  It’s a nice, consistent, transparent blue, which looks really cool, and makes him immediately different from his Series 2 counterpart.  He includes the same ice sled piece, which can still work with the freezing gimmick, with a little bit less risk of him breaking right away.  That said, you have to be careful with these things, especially given the age of the plastics.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Back when I was a kid, this was the Iceman that my dad had in his collection, so I got to use it with my collection from time to time.  I never had one of my own, but did eventually get the re-release of the clear version from KB a few years later.  I eventually found this guy on his own in a bin of loose figures a few years ago, and, viola, now I have both.  Woo-hoo!

#3180: Sauron

SAURON

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Sauron is the most terrifying Evil Mutant. Sauron loves to silently swoop down and use his mutant power to hypnotize and drain the energy out of his victim! Then in the blink of an eye, he flies away ready to strike again! The more energy he drains, the more powerful he becomes. Because he can drain the energy from anyone, even another Evil Mutant, even Magneto, the leader of the Evil Mutants, fears him!”

Not to be confused with the evil ruler of Mordor, Sauron is one of the X-Men’s older foes, predating quite a few of the team’s more popular members–Wait a minute…didn’t I review this figure already?  well, hypothetical reader, the answer to that question is…not technically.  And, technically is what really matters here.  Why?  Because it’s my site, that’s why.  Okay, maybe I should actually explain what the heck I’m reviewing this guy again.  It’s quite simple:  early in the days of their X-Men line, Toy Biz liked to justify the re-releases of figures they’d already done by doing minor tweaks to their color schemes, in dedicated “Repaint” series, in order to not only keep those figures out, but also freshen up the shelves a bit, but without having to actually produce a whole new figure.  Generally, I like to bundle those repaints into the main review, but, well, I don’t always own them when I review a figure the first time, so I guess I just have to follow them up this way.  How about that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sauron (the repaint) was added to Toy Biz’s X-Men line in 1993-1994, right around the same time as Series 4 and 5 of the line, alongside a whole assortment of repainted figures.  Of all the figures present amongst the repaints, his was the oddest choice, given how minor the character was, but perhaps they were looking to tie in with the show’s second season, where he actually had a pretty important role to play.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  He’s 100% the same sculpt as the standard release of Sauron.  It was a decent sculpt for the time, and honestly holds up pretty alright.  Still not sure exactly what he’s wearing, but what are you gonna do?  The change to this one’s paint is honestly pretty subtle; instead of orange pants, his are gold with a little bit of black.  It’s super minor, but I actually quite like it.  It’s nice that they actually added, rather than just doing a straight palette swap.  Interestingly, the card back prototype showed him with red shorts, a figure that, to date, no one has any evidence actually existed.  As with his original release, Sauron was packed with a big ol’ club.  Yay big ol’ club.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wound up going back to the toy show where I’d gotten my standard Sauron the next year, in hopes of finding more Toy Biz stuff.  I discovered it was rather slim pickings that year, but managed to fish a handful of the repaint figures out of a loose figure bin.  Sauron was one of those figures.  He’s not a bad figure, but the two offerings do feel slightly redundant when in the same collection together, I suppose.

#3171: Savage Wolverine & Reaper

SAVAGE WOLVERINE & SAVAGE LAND REAPER

MARVEL MINIMATES

In 2013, Marvel decided to a soft re-branding of their comics, under the banner “Marvel Now!” which would do new and and innovative things with the line.  Like giving Wolverine another book!  Nobody had done that before!  Okay, so Savage Wolverine may not have been the most unique thing, but it did get some decent buzz, thanks to Frank Cho’s name being attached to it. When DST put together some complimentary assortments of Minimates, Savage Wolverine got not one, but two packs dedicated to it.  I looked at the first, which featured Shanna the She-Devil (Wolverine’s co-star in the book) and a Savage Land Reaper, back in January of 2018.  Today, I’m looking at Wolverine proper…and the Reaper again…

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Savage Wolverine and the Savage Land Reaper were released in the 16th TRU-exclusive series of Marvel Minimates, which was TRU’s equivalent to the 51st specialty assortment.  The Reaper was the only cross-over between the two assortments, and is the same figure between both of its pack-outs.

SAVAGE WOLVERINE

Wolverine has had a lot of Minimates.  This particular one was his 48th.  It’s a derivation of the John Cassady Astonishing X-Men design, which had gotten a number of tweaks from several artists at this point.  This one marked his most current at the time, and it remained his most current until his padded number from the “Payback” story.  The figure is based on the standard ‘mate body, so he’s 2 1/2 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation .  Wolverine uses add-ons for his mask and belt, as well as “unique” pieces for the clawed hands.  The mask was the first actual, proper update to the mask we’d gotten since the Series 26 version, and I quite like it.  It’s got a unique shaping to it, and I dig the sculpted seams running along the head.  The belt, which I believe was new to this figure, but it can be hard to tell, is another nice piece, full of lots of fun details.  The hands are the same hands used initially on the Series 47 Wolverine, and they’re my favorite of the clawed hands we’ve gotten.  The paint is my favorite aspect of this figure, because at the surface, it’s just a basic Wolverine paint job, but there’s so much else going on.  The yellow with black in place of blue makes for a figure that’s quite striking, and while there are still some spots of slop on some of the edges, the small detail work is crisp, and very plentiful.  The face gives us a great, intense, Wolverine-style snarl, the hair on the arms is sharp and well defined, the muscles are subtly handled in a fashion that mimics Cho’s artwork pretty well, and they’ve even included all of the laces on his boots.  There’s a ton of attention to detail, and a lot of details that could have easily been overlooked.  Logan is packed with an extra hair piece and a clear display stand.  It’s a shame they stopped giving Wolverines extra, non-clawed hands, but at least in this one’s case, it won’t be hard to find a pair that matches.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t really intending to get this figure when he was shown off, since who really needs the 48th version of Wolverine?  Well, me, apparently.  Once packaged shots surfaced, I found myself really liking the look, and at the time, it was easiest to just order a whole assortment from TRU.com, to make sure you didn’t randomly get the wrong pack in place of what you actually wanted.  Wolverine pairs off well with this same assortment’s version of Captain America.  He’s a variant of an A-lister that no one was necessarily asking for, but DST put in some of their best work here, and the end result is a figure that really rocks.

#3170: Jean Grey

JEAN GREY

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Possessing near-limitless psychic potential, Jean Grey is Charles Xavier’s first student, and could someday become the greatest psychic on earth, and beyond.”

At the beginning of the month, I continued my look into Hasbro’s X-Men: The Animated Series-inspired sub-line of Marvel Legends with a look at the updated version of Storm, who got reviewed all on her lonesome because I didn’t really need another Mr. Sinister, and the figure that I ordered alongside hadn’t shipped out yet.  Well, as luck would have it, I got that other figure, and I’m going to be looking at it today!  Which figure is it?  Why, it’s Jean Grey!  Yes, founding member of the X-Men, and central piece to a bunch of the show’s storylines, to say nothing of her spot in the show’s main love triangle, Jean is finally getting her due in the line, especially given that she didn’t really even get her due in the line that was running when the show was on the air.  It’s just overdue, really.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jean Grey is the fifth figure in the X-Men: The Animated Series sub-line of Marvel Legends.  Unlike the last two rounds, Jean was shown off on her own, which has been the trend since.  It was a little odd at the time, since it kind of felt like Cyclops would be her natural pairing figure, but as of yet we’re still waiting on him to be added to the line.  Oh well.  Guess I’ll just make do.  This is the third time we’ve gotten a ’90s-based Jean Grey in Legends, with all three of them being under the Hasbro banner, and the most recent one being under this same incarnation of Legends, even.  As with the rest of the line, she ships in a VHS-inspired box, and I’m continuing to love these, guys.  They just look so fun and nostalgic.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Structurally, this Jean Grey is the same as the last ’90s Jean Grey, making use of all of the same parts.  For the most part, that’s okay.  The body in particular gets the point across, and there are a lot of really solid unique pieces just for this design.  The only real issue is that the hands don’t have the proper sculpting for how the gauntlets looked in animation, but that’s quite minor.  The heads are…well, they’re a bit of a different story.  While they’re certainly not bad, especially from a comics perspective, they don’t quite match up with the animation models as well.  Wolverine and Storm both got new heads, and even Jubilee got a slightly better alternate head that was a little more accurate.  I’d have really liked to see them throw us a more animation accurate Jean head.  Honestly, they could have even done that and cut the extra head with the longer hair, since she only had that look in the final season of the show, and by that point, the model was already far different.  As it stands, the ponytail head is workable, but it’s not quite as good as it could be.  The paint work for Jean is cel-shaded, like the rest of them in the line.  There are some fuzzy edges, but it’s generally a good set-up, and I prefer the brighter palette of this release to the prior one.  Jean is packed with two sets of hands (open gesture and fists), as well as the two heads.  Again, this feels a bit lacking for the animation angle.  An extra head with her psychic effect, or even a Cerebro piece would have been really cool.  As it stands, it just really feels like bare minimum, especially with no new sculpting on the main figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was really excited about Jean initially.  Excited enough to actually get me to go back and order the Storm, who I had skipped at that point.  That said, getting her in hand, I’m a little letdown.  The complete lack of any new parts, and the barebones nature of the accessories is rather upsetting, especially after Wolverine kicked us off with such a good set-up of new parts and extras.  I’m worried that this line is already kind of losing its focus of animation accuracy, a mere five figures in.  I hope that’s not the case.  Perhaps Morph will change the tide of things a little bit.  As it stands, I do like the Jean more than the three pack release, and I’m glad that there’s another version of her available.