#1313: Northstar & Aurora

NORTHSTAR & AURORA

ALPHA FLIGHT (TOY BIZ)

“Jean-Paul and Jeanne-Marie Beaubier were not your average set of twins. During their adolescence, they each separately found that they possessed the mutant abilities to fly and travel at superhuman speeds.  They have since discovered that whenever they join hands, they produce a radiant strobe effect, often blinding their adversaries into submission!  Putting their respective lives as a professional skier and history teacher behind, “Northstar” and “Aurora” joined Alpha Flight, Canada’s very own super heroes.”

The United States doesn’t hold a total monopoly on North American super hero teams.  Case in point, today’s pair of figures comes from Canada’s premiere super-team, Alpha Flight, who are sort of a cross between the Avengers and the X-Men, but, you know, in Canada.  They’ve never really taken off as a smash success or anything, but the team has something of a cult following.  This was enough to get them a short series of figures during Toy Biz’s long-running 5-inch line.  The whole series was made up of two-packs, and today’s figures are the ones that make the most sense paired up.  Yes, it’s siblings Northstar and Aurora!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were one of the three two-packs released in the first (and only) series of Alpha Flight, released by Toy Biz in 1998. 

NORTHSTAR

Northstar’s probably one of the best known members of Alpha Flight, thanks largely to his affiliation with the X-Men, and thanks also to being one of Marvel’s most prominent gay characters.  He’s had a number of different looks over the years, but he’s seen here in his original costume, which I find to be his best.  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and has 10 points of articulation.  The movement on this guy is really odd; he lacks the elbow and knee joints that were fairly standard on 5-inch Marvel figures, but gains extra shoulder and ankle movement, as well as a cut joint on one wrist.  Why just one wrist?  I have no idea.  It’s always bugged me.  The sculpt for Northstar was all-new to him.  It’s okay, but not really one of Toy Biz’s stronger sculpts from this era.  His proportions are kind of odd, and he’s got this strange sort of weird twist to his pose, like he’s trying to pop his back or something.  I mean, there are some interesting elements to the sculpt, and it’s far from bad, but it’s just sort of meh.  The paintwork on Northstar is passable; pretty straightforward color work for the most part.  There’s some slight accenting work on the white sections, which actually looks pretty decent.  As you can see, some of the paint hasn’t held up the best over time, but that’s not really on them.  There’s a bit of slop around the edges, but nothing super awful.

AURORA

Though she’s a little lesser known than her brother, Aurora is still pretty well known, even if it’s largely in connection to her brother.  She’s had less costumes than Northstar, but they’ve wisely gone with the one that matches her brother’s design, and once again I think it’s her best look, so I’m happy it showed up here.  The figure’s about the same height as Northstar and has the same basic articulation, although she has those freaking v-hips that plagued my collecting habits in the ‘90s.  The articulation’s still rather weird, but at least it’s consistent with Northstar.  The wrist articulation is on the other side this time, allowing for them to touch hands.  In general, I find Aurora’s sculpt to be of a higher quality than her brother’s.  The proportions are still kind of off, but less so, and the pre-posing is downplayed.  The head is definitely my favorite part, and it sports a ton of really awesome detail work, especially on the hair.  Her paintwork is fairly similar to Northstar’s, but once again, it’s a slight step up.  Things are a bit cleaner, and the accenting on the white parts are a little more noticeable, which I thing looks a bit better.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked this set up new, I’m fairly certain from a Target.  I didn’t actually know the characters at the time, and mostly wanted them because they sort of resembled the Wonder Twins.  My dad, who bought them for me, also got me the first Essential collection of X-Men around the same time, and had me read Alpha Flight’s first appearance, which was contained there-in, so I knew who they were.  I remember getting them pretty fondly.  They aren’t Toy Biz’s best or anything, but they were probably the best from this particular series of figures, and I’m still pretty happy with them.

Side bar:  I reviewed these figures while at my friend Scott Farquar’s house.  He also owns this set of figures, which were actually given to him by me, almost 20 years ago.  He wanted me to mention that here.  He’s sort of goofy like that.

#1312: Gambit

GAMBIT

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Training in the Danger Room, Gambit has his hands full with a holographic Sentinel when he is rushed by a fully-armed Robot Fighter! Caught between a Sentinel and a hard place, Gambit pauses when the Robot Fighter suddenly launches its missiles!  Ducking just in time, Gambit turns to see the missiles destroy the Sentinel behind him, giving him a chance to fire his explosively-charged playing cards at the Robot Fighter and bringing him a hard-earned victory.”

The ‘90s X-Men line initially started as a pretty straight cartoon/comics-influenced, but as it progressed, Toy Biz started running out go authentic variants of the main characters, and had to start creating their own.  There were a number of gimmicky-themed series.  Today’s focus hails from one of those series.  So, let’s have a look at the X-Men’s resident lovable rogue (who also loves Rogue…wait, I’ve done that joke before…), Gambit!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gambit was one of the five figures that made up the “Robot Fighters” series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  It was Gambit’s third 5-inch figure, following the Light-Up Series release.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall (thanks to the hunch) and has 8 points of articulation.  At this point in the line, they were cutting back on the articulation on most of the figures (likely in an attempt to capture some of the McFarlane Toys style), so Gambit wasn’t unique in this.  The Robot Fighters designs were (largely) unique to the figures; Gambit takes a lot of influence from his main design, sans the coat, albeit with a few more armored bits and such.  I’m not really sure how the Danger Room set-up given in the bio text translates to this new design, but I find the design to be pretty cool, so I’m hardly complaining.  As far as the sculpt goes, the best part is definitely the head, which I think may be my favorite Gambit sculpt out there (Toy Biz seemed to like it too; it was re-used later down the line on a Strike Team Gambit).  It’s just really sharply detailed, and they expression looks really dynamic, and almost Kirby-esque.  I’m not sure what the headset is for, but it looks kinda neat.  This whole series was really hit pretty hard by pre-posing, and Gambit sticks with that.  He’s in this really deep crouching pose, and the articulation doesn’t let him get out of it.  It’s not the worst pose ever (there were some far worse ones in this very series), and you can actually change it up a bit and get some really cool mid-action poses, which works well for the proposed setting.  The detail work on the body is a little varied, which some areas being a little more detailed than others, but it’s pretty solid overall.  I particularly like the molded playing cards; the removable ones always seem to get lost!  The figure’s paint is pretty straightforward; the palette is definitely Gambit-like, and the application is all nice and clean.  Nothing’s been left unpainted, and there’s even some nice accent work on the hair and a few of the torso’s elements.  Gambit was originally packed with the Robot Fighter mentioned in his bio, officially dubbed the “Attack Robot Drone.”  It shots missiles, because it was the late ‘90s and everything had to shoot missiles.  I don’t have that piece, having acquired my Gambit figure second hand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember the Robot Fighters Series hitting retail, and I remember seeing them all over the place, but somehow I never ended up with a single one of them.  Gambit amends that.  I fished him out of the loose figures bin at All Time Toys.  This is the first figure I’ve bought from them since they re-opened after Ellicott City’s Main Street flood, so he’s kind of special to me.  The actual figure is honestly not half bad.  I mean, he’s uber-‘90s, but it’s at an enjoyable level.  I’m happy that I finally tracked this guy down.  I guess I should get the rest of them at some point.

#1308: Wolverine

WOLVERINE

X-MEN: DELUXE EDITION (TOY BIZ)

“The most feared member of the X-Men, and some would say, the most loyal as well.  His razor-sharp claws and his ferocious attitude make his enemies think twice about crossing him!”

Did you know that wolverines are part of the weasel family?  That’s your fun FiQ fact of the day!

I have reviewed a surprisingly small number of Wolverine figures on this site, which is a little odd, given how many I owned growing up.  It was the ‘90s, after all, and he was at critical mass in terms of popularity.  I’ve reviewed even less of Toy Biz’s 10-inch figures, the larger scale brethren of their main 5-inch line.  Today, I’m killing two birds with one stone, and looking at one of the many 10-inch Wolverine figures in my collection!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wolverine is one of the earliest entries in this scale, released as part of the first series of the X-Men: Deluxe Edition line.  That’s right, he’s from before the whole scale was thrown together under one line, and while they were still passing them off as a more “premium” line.  Both those went out the window pretty quickly.  This figure stands 10 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  This figure was an up-scaling of the Wolverine II figure from the smaller-scale X-Men line; it’s about as basic Wolverine as you can get.  He’s actually one of the better classic Wolverine sculpts out there, presenting a solid late ‘70s-style Wolverine that we’ve pretty much not seen since.  It’s also one of the sculpts that really benefited from the larger scale treatment; the smaller figure was a bit rudimentary in certain areas, but this figure looks a bit more organic, and thus more aesthetically pleasing.  There are some very clear differences in place. The sculpt’s still pretty stylized, but it’s less so than, say, the Cyclops figure.  He’s at the very least internally consistent.  Like a lot of the up-scaled figures, Wolverine removes the action features of his smaller figure, namely the torso spinner-thin and the spring-loaded claws.  Of course, my figure actually just removes the claws entirely, but that’s purely limited to mine.  They were there at one point, and they looked cool, I assume.  I was rather amused to see that the two sets attached to the hands in two completely different ways.  That seems kind of odd to me, but whatever.  The paint on Wolverine is pretty straight forward; it’s just basic color work, but it’s all pretty clean.  The colors are bright and vibrant, and everything really pops.  In particular, I think the blue just really hits the right hue, which is something that has been lost on a lot of more recent Wolverines.  Wolverine was originally packed with a weird gun thing.  Because why not, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was just a bit young for the earliest 10-inch figures, so I didn’t have this guy new (though I had a handful of the repaints based on him).  This figure actually came into my possession more than a decade after his release, at a time when I was largely beyond collecting these guys.  My brother’s second grade teacher had this box of various toys that her students were allowed to take something from when they did a particularly good job in class.  Apparently, this guy was in the box, and my brother got him and rather excitedly brought him home for me.  Because he’s thoughtful like that.  It’s actually a pretty solid figure, especially for the time!

#1305: Captain America – Addendum

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

-ADDENDUM-

Since Hasbro relaunched Marvel Legends, I’ve been consistently displeased with the heads on their Steve Rogers figures.  When the line was relaunched, all of the unmasked males suffered from what I call “Hasbro-Face”: they would have a deep scowl and incredibly squared-off features, and just generally look more like the titular character from The Goon than the superhero characters they were supposed to be replicating.  As the line has progressed, the Hasbro-Face has slowly died out, with the exception of Steve Rogers.  I guess Hasbro wants to keep all of the versions of him consistent, but it means I haven’t truly been happy with a Legends Captain America since Toy Biz.

In today’s review of Captain America, I noted that a major contributing factor to my finally acquiring him was seeing an image online of a mod for the figure.  This mod replaced the stock figure’s atrocious head with that of the very first ML Cap figure, which, in my opinion, is still the best Cap head ever.  The biggest hoop in performing this mod is getting the first TB Cap.  I have my old one, but I really didn’t want to put that one under the knife (or drill, as the case may be).  Fortunately, I was able to find a loose one sans accessories for $5, which is really the main thing that sparked this whole project (ironically, I actually paid a dollar more for my “junk” Cap than I did my original).

Perhaps the most difficult part of this whole project was just getting the TB Cap’s head off the body.  Toy Biz heads weren’t really designed for easy removal like their Hasbro brethren, so you’re pretty much going to have to use the boil-and-pop method, and even then, it took me a few rounds to finally get it popped off the joint.

As you can clearly see from the photo, the socket on the TB Cap’s head is maybe an eighth the size of the åHasbro figure’s ball-joint.  In order to get it to fit, it needed some significant plastic removal.  The best tool for such a project is really a dremel; I didn’t have one handy, so I just made do with a basic power drill, starting with a drill bit just a little larger than the socket and slowly working my way to larger bits, until it was a good fit.  I actually went the slightest bit too large on the socket, but that’s an easy fix.  All you need is to put little bit of super glue in the socket, do a few turns while on the joint, and then take the head off and let it dry for a few minutes.  This gives the socket a little more texture, which helps the head stay put on the joint.

Throw in the shoulder harness from the Target 3-pack Cap to replace the wonky straps from the original figure, and I’m pretty happy with this figure.  The head/body paint matches up surprisingly well (any differences are virtually invisible to the naked eye).  The smaller head is scaled much better with the body, and it even makes the body look a little less chunky (I think the chunkiness I was seeing was actually an optical illusion).  And, best of all, he cost me less than the retail of your average Legends release to put together.  Now I have a Legends Captain America I can be proud of! Added bonus: with the left over parts I can put together a pretty sweet Cap Wolf!

#1299: Bloodstorm

BLOODSTORM

MUTANT X (TOY BIZ)

“Ororo Munroe was once the X-Man code-named Storm for her ability to control the weather.  After a horrific encounter with Dracula, she died and returned as a vampire.  Soon thereafter, she left the X-Men, seeking answers about her self and her new state-of-being.  She later returned to join Havok’s mutant superteazm, The Six, calling herself Bloodstorm.  Ororo retained her mutant power of weather control but now has the preternatural gifts of the living dead at her disposal making her an even more formidable opponent.  Bloodstorm can transform her body into mist, summon and control the myriad of creatures of the night and on occasion use a “hypnotic stare” to hold humans in her thrall.  Her vampiric nature amplifies her control of the forces of nature but makes her unpredictable in battle.”

Well, I don’t think I can get any more in-depth than that there bio, now can I?  So, this particular variant of Storm hails from Mutant X, an alternate reality-based X-Men series from the ‘90s.  I only have a handful of issues from the series, but I always enjoyed it (having Havok as the main character probably helped a lot).  There were a handful of action figures released, and I had to whole set.  Today, I’ll be looking at the alternate version of Storm, dubbed “Bloodstorm” because it was the ‘90s.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bloodstorm is one of the four figures in the Previews-exclusive Mutant X series, put out by Toy Biz in 1998.  You’d think that with the main team being called “The Six” and all, they might try to, you know, release *six* figures and finish out the whole team, but this was the same company that on more than one occasion neglected to release all four of the Fantastic Four in a given style, so I guess it wasn’t a huge shock.  Storm stands about 5 inches tall and has 10 points of articulation.  While much of Storm’s mold was technically new to her, she was largely built on top of the Alpha Flight Guardian body, with the extra details sculpted on where needed.  In the end, only the arms are truly identical between the two figures.  The body is decent enough for how Bloodstorm tended to be drawn in the comics, and I like the extra details, but I did always feel she was a little on the short side for Storm (this was a common issue with the Toy Biz Storm figures).  She got an all-new head sculpt, which is really good, almost too good for the body it’s been placed on.  There’s a ton of detail work, and it’s really sharply handled.  I really love the intensity of the facial expression.  About the only issue I have with it is the pony tail, which is made from a soft rubber material and can be rather easily torn off if you aren’t careful.  Her coat is a soft goods piece, which looks alright, I guess.  It was supposed to be actually sculpted on, going by the prototype, but I guess it didn’t cost out.  At least this way you get the extra look.  The paintwork on this figure is generally pretty good, apart from a few oddities here and there.  I’m really not sure what’s going on with her abdomen; it looks like they tried to airbrush it or something, but it just didn’t work out right.  On the flip side, the work on the head is fantastic, and does a wonderful job of showing off the already great head sculpt.  Her one accessory is a metallic green “X” stand, which is the same stand included with all of the Generation X figure, just in a different color.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the previously reviewed The Fallen figure (sorry about that review in advance; it’s not one of my better ones), Bloodstorm was Christmas gift from my parents.  I recall not having much of an opinion one way or the other about her when I got her (Bloodstorm wasn’t really one of my favorite characters from the series), but I have to say, after taking her back out to review her, I was pleasantly surprised by this figure.

Flashback Friday Figure Addendum #0014: Cyclops

Hi-dy-ho-there readers!  It’s Friday again, and you know what that means: another Flashback Friday Figure Addendum!  We’re going to continue trending with the Marvel thing today, and take a look back at another one of my Toy Biz X-Men reviews.  Let’s have a second look at the very first Toy Biz Cyclops(es), shall we?

Toy Biz may have become one of the most prominent toy makers in the industry in the late 90s, but less than a decade before that, they were just a small upstart company that was recovering from having totally tanked the DC Comics license. In a move baffling to pretty much everyone at the time, Marvel Comics decided to give them a second chance at the world of comics. They kicked off things with a line of figures based on Marvel’s premiere super-team at the time, the X-Men! And, why not take a look at their very first take on the very first X-Man, Cyclops.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyclops was released as part of the first series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line. He was available in two different color schemes. He was originally released in his second X-Factor costume (which he had JUST replaced in the comics), and when the first series was re-released he was also available in his classic Dave Cockrum costume. I, of course, have both. Both figures stand right at 5 inches tall and feature 8 points of articulation. The heads don’t move, due to the inclusion of a light-up feature for the visor. Unfortunately, there was no way to remove and replace the batteries to this feature, so both of my figures lost this feature years ago. Also, this feature results in a rather noticeable lever on the back of both figures. But what about the actual sculpt? Well, there’s no denying that this figure shows its age. The proportions are somewhat cartoony, and the details are rather primitive and basic. He does have sculpted outlines for the white parts of his costume which is pretty neat (for the X-Factor version, at least). I don’t know if anybody else remembers the Dial M for Monkey segments from Dexter’s Laboratory, but I can’t help but see Monkey when I look at Cyclops’ head sculpt, and I feel like that wasn’t Toy Biz’s intention. It’s not a terrible sculpt; this guy just doesn’t have quite the presence of the comics version of the esteemed Mr. Summers. The paint is where these two diverge. The original X-Factor version is the one with the big white X on his chest, and it’s pretty decently painted, with most of the details staying where they’re supposed to. There’s some slop on the edges of the boots and gloves, but that’s really it. The second, Cockrum-based version adds a few more colors and gets rid of the white. He’s got the same issue with the boots and gloves, but is otherwise pretty well handled. However, he’s stuck by one issue that doesn’t hit the first Cyclops: his paint clearly doesn’t line up with the figures sculpted outlines. It’s not the most noticeable thing ever, and Toy Biz didn’t originally intend for this sculpt to be used for both costumes, so it’s pretty easy to overlook. Both Cyclops included a weird blaster thing that clipped over the figures’ hands. It was strange and completely made up for the toys.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The X-Factor Cyclops is actually my very first Cyclops action figure, purchased for me by my Dad one of our many runs to the local KB Toys, just as I was getting into this whole collecting thing. I had the choice of either paint scheme, but I went with this one, I think due to it being closer to his look from the cartoon. The second version was a later addition to my collection, after the figures had left most retail stores. I picked him up from my local comicbook store, Cosmic Comix, who just happened to have one. Neither of these figures has aged very well, but I do still have a bit of a nostalgic love for both of them.

I was intending to open this discussion with “hey, this review’s pretty recent,” but it was posted back in October of 2015.  That’s not forever ago, but it *has* been more than a year and a half.  Time flies, huh?  This review hit right around the time that I started putting actual effort into making sure my older items were finding their way onto the review schedule, following a summer that was rather jam-packed with newly-acquired figures.  He was also almost the pick for my final Year 2 review, but I opted for Nightwing instead, since I’d reviewed the Toy Biz Havok for my final Year 1 review.

I think my review for this figure was pretty on point.  It’s definitely a goofy figure, no denying that.  I can’t say there’s really anything else I feel I should have touched on.  During The Find, I dug out that strange blaster thing that both figures included.  It’s definitely odd.  I had no clue what this was supposed to be, but now my figures have their’s again, so, you know, there it is.

And thus end the Flashback Friday Figure Addendums.  Well, for the foreseeable future, anyway.  Thanks for reading!

Flashback Friday Figure Addendum #0013: Quicksilver

Hey ho, it’s Friday at The Figure in Question, so welcome to another Flashback Friday Figure Addendum!  Today I once more dive back into my extensive archive of Marvel-centered reviews, taking a look at Quicksilver.  Quicksilver was originally reviewed in May of 2015, a month that is notable because it’s a month that was completely made-up of Marvel reviews.  Not even on purpose either!

Countdown to Avengers: Age of Ultron: 7 days remaining.

Alright, we just took a look at Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye, two of the most important Avengers in my books. They both joined the team back in Avengers #16, along with the subject of today’s review, Quicksilver. They were led by Captain America and dubbed “Cap’s Kooky Quartet.” Yeah, it was the 60s. Anyway, Quicksilver is an Avenger of moderate importance, though he’s not quite on the same level as the other two. Still, he’s an important guy, and seeing as he’s Scarlet Witch’s twin brother, it’s a little difficult to have one without the other. Plus he had that fantastic scene in X-Men: Days of Future Past, so he’s going places. Let’s look at one of his action figures!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Quicksilver was released in ToyBiz’s 90s X-Men line as part of their infamous “Muntant Armor” series. The figure was available in two possible decos: his classic blue and white and his current (at the time) white and grey. This one, in case you hadn’t already noted, is the white and grey, which, for those interested, was designed by legendary artist George Perez when he helped re-launch The Avengers in the 90s. The figure is 5 inches tall and has 11 points of articulation. Quicksilver was built on one of ToyBiz’s recurring male bodies of their 5 inch lines, which first popped up in the sixth series of ToyBiz’s Spider-Man line. It’s a pretty decent sculpt, with a nice, lean look, and a decent amount of movement. The only real downside is the left hand, which was hastily retooled from a web-shooting pose, resulting in a rather strange looking fist. In addition to the base body, Quicksilver features a head that is sort of new. The facial structure is the same as that of the “Battle Brigade” series Archangel, but the hair is completely new, giving us Pietro’s signature ‘do. The face is actually a lot better for Quicksilver than it was for Archangel, and the hair is very nicely handled, so it works very well. The figure’s paintwork is generally pretty well-done, though mine has taken its fair share of wear and tear. The lines are a bit fuzzy in some places, but overall the figure is pretty decent. The semi-metallic sheen on the dark grey parts is actually pretty cool, so there’s that. Quicksilver was packed with a stands shaped like a dust cloud and some sort of strange machine gun thing. Most intriguing about this is that he doesn’t actually have any armor, not even of the “Muntant” variety.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got Quicksilver at a local toyshow, which my dad took me to, probably about 15 years ago. I remember that I was never able to find either of the Quicksilver figures when they were at retail. My dad had the blue and white version, but my collection was sadly Quicksilver-less. So, when I found this guy, I was pretty excited. I didn’t have a choice in deco, but I actually like this one, so it worked out. This figure’s still a pretty strong figure, even after almost 20 years. I’m certainly glad I found one!

Oh man, this review was part of my rather lengthy countdown to Age of Ultron’s release.  I was very excited for that movie.  It’s funny to see my line about him “going places” seeing as the MCU Quicksilver won’t be going much of anywhere.  You didn’t see that coming?

My actual review for this guy is pretty solid, I think.  It’s worth nothing that, despite this being the fourth figure I reviewed on this body, I do believe it’s the first time I actually reviewed it.  I kept referencing the Fallen figure’s review, but I never actually discussed the body there at all.  Pro tip, guys: re-read the reviews you reference.

During The Find, I dug up this guy’s little dust cloud base thingy.  It was re-used from the X-Men 2099 line’s Mean Streak figure.  Quicksilver’s feet slide into the two slots, and he looks like he’s running.  I guess.  There are also wheels on the bottom, so you can push him around like he’s a parade float or something.  Nifty.

I still like this guy a lot.  One of these days, I’ll need to track down the other costume.

#1278: Jean Grey

JEAN GREY

MARVEL UNIVERSE 10-INCH (TOY BIZ)

“When the X-Men investigate a rash of mutant disappearances, they find that crime fighter Daredevil is working on the same case. Tracking down clues connected to the crimes takes Daredevil and Wolverine to an abandoned chemical factory while Jean Grey and Professor X use their incredible psi-talents to locate the kidnapped mutants inside. Battling and defeating their captors, the X-Men and Daredevil are able to give the kidnapped mutants back their freedom.”

I know I just got through reviewing a ton of X-Men figures but I’m gonna review another one.  Why?  Because this is my site and I do what I want.  Also because this figure was the next on the randomized list that tells me what figures to review.  Don’t let that undermine my previous statement.  Anyway, today I’ll be looking at founding X-Men member, Jean Grey!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jean Grey was released in 1997 as part of Toy Biz’s 10-Inch-scaled Marvel Universe line.  As the bio might have clued you in, she was released alongside Daredevil and Professor X (the both had matching bios).  Wolverine is also mentioned, but I wasn’t able to find any reference to a specific Wolverine that had this matching bio, so it’s possible they were just counting on kids to already have a Wolverine.  Jean is based on her Jim Lee-designed look from the ‘90s, which was an oddly rare design to see at the time. Not exactly her most attractive design, but it was the one on the cartoon (more or less). This figure stands about 9 1/2 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation.  Jean, like all but one of the female figures from this line, is a repaint of the X-Men line’s Rogue figure (which was a larger scale version of the 5-inch figure I just reviewed).  It wasn’t an ideal set-up, since Rogue and Jean aren’t *that* similar in design, especially in their Jim Lee costumes.  That being said, I suppose it could have been worse.  Jean’s aided by the fact that she ditches the belt and coat from Rogue (which is better than can be said for Polaris or Mystique), which at least gives her a different silhouette than Rogue.  The proportions on this figure are passable.  Obviously, they’re rather off, but in the context of the rest of the line, they don’t look too bad.  The paint carries most of the weight of turing this figure into Jean Grey.  It’s okay, I guess.  They try to use the paint to make her costume look more appropriate.  It’s not awful on the head, where the only real issue is the texture of the headband not matching the rest.  The shoulders should technically be raised shoulder pads, but even that doesn’t look so bad.  It really starts to fall apart with the wrist bands, which not only paint over the cuffs of the gloves as if they aren’t there, they also don’t even try to follow the shaping of the wrists from the comic design.  There is similarly do nothing to hide the tops of Rogue’s boots; I get that new tooling was out of the option, but at least the other figures to use this body did some slight tweaking to try and include the boots organically.  They look really weird totally unpainted.  Jean’s one accessory was a….big…bazooka?  You know, that bazooka thing that Jean always hauled around in the ‘90s!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I was growing up, my Dad had his own small collection of 10-inch figures (in retrospect, three of them were Jean, Professor X, and Yellow Daredevil, all of whom were part of this same subset).  Eventually, they were passed on to me.  Even as a kid, I always found Jean to be one of the weaker 10-inch figures that Toy Biz released.  Making an important character like Jean nothing more than a cheap repaint was seriously messed up.  She’s alright, I guess, but really, really, really, really disappointing.

Flashback Friday #0012: Green Goblin

Hello and welcome to another Friday at the Figure in Question!  It’s time for another Flashback Friday Figure Addendum!  Today, I’m taking a look at another Green Goblin figure, specifically the one from the ‘90s Spider-Man line.  This is from back *before* he was Willem Dafoe.

Alright guys, after a brief stop over into the strange bizzaro world of The Stapler in Question, we are back at home with the action figures. Yay! So, back in the 90s, the 5-inch scale Marvel figures, produced by the very much at the height of their game ToyBiz were totally my jam. The figures were (at least loosely) based on the then current cartoons. Amongst those cartoons was Spider-Man: The Animated Series, which ended up with a fairly nice toyline of its own, at least for a few series. So, let’s have a look at one of Spidey’s greatest foes, the Green Goblin, as he was presented in said line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Goblin was released as part of Series 3 of ToyBiz’s Spider-Man line. The cartoon did this odd thing where Hobgoblin preceded Green Goblin, which resulted in Hobs taking the Goblin slot in Series 1. And Goblins never go for even numbered series. That’s just not how they roll. The figure is about 5 inches tall, with 9 points of articulation. He’s pretty much standard for a ToyBiz figure of the time. He’s based on the character’s animated appearance, which itself was a fairly faithful recreation of the comics design. Mostly, it just comes down to style cues, resulting in a slightly “friendlier” looking Goblin. Surprisingly, Green Goblin got his own sculpt, which shared no pieces with Series 1’s Hobgoblin. I think that may be the only time these two have both appeared in a line with no re-use at all. Impressive. The sculpt itself ends up being quite impressive, with not only some pretty good proportions, but also some killer texturing, especially on the scaly arms and legs. They aren’t super-detailed like some of the sculpts that followed, but they are a great example of using just enough detail to suggest the rest (which, incidentally, is how Goblin was drawn for most of his classic appearances). Also, it’s an odd thing to point out, but this figure has some of the best hand sculpts of any figure from this time. Most were molded in a generic clasping positon, but Goblin has one splayed as if it’s just thrown a pumpkin bomb and one in a pointing position. I don’t know what he’s pointing at, but at least it’s different. Goblin’s paintwork isn’t quite up to the same level as the sculpt, but it’s pretty much on par with just about everything else being offered at the time. The colors match up pretty well to the show’s design. The colors don’t so much match up to themselves, however. The purple ends up changing a few times over the course of the figure, which is rather distracting. There is also some rather noticeable bleed over around the edges of the gloves and boots, and the edges on the shorts aren’t even close to being even. Green Goblin included his faithful goblin glider (which even launched missiles) and a pumpkin, but pesky child-Ethan lost them!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As into the ToyBiz Marvel stuff as I was as a kid, I actually ended up avoiding a lot of the Spider-Man line. The cartoon never really gripped me like the others, so I just never really had the connection. So, Goblin here wasn’t part of my “initial collection.” He was a later acquisition, fished out of a bin of low priced figures at a nearby comic book store sometime around the mid-00s. I don’t know exactly why I picked him up, but I imagine I was just filling in some gaps in the collection at low prices. Going back to review this guy, he surprised me. With most of the 5-inch figures, the nostalgia filter is firmly in place, but not for this one, and yet he still impressed me. That really says something.

Ah yes, this was the first review following 2015’s “Stapler In Question” gag, which was my second April Fools Day post.  I had originally pegged this figure as the subject of that year’s gag post, but I couldn’t come up with any good gimmicks, so he was pushed back a day, and the Stapler replaced him.

My review for this guy was pretty on point.  I had thoroughly shaken the off slump that plagued a chunk of my 2014 reviews, and was back to having some more fun with the writing again.  It probably helps that he immediately followed my SiQ review, which really reignited my writing spirit.  It should be noted that this was my second-to-last review to be published using one of my old catalogue shots.  He still had a Wilson photo I’d shot later, but I apparently deemed the original lead photo as “good enough.”  Not something I’d do nowadays, or even a month after for that matter.

Missing from my original review were his Goblin Glider and pumpkin bomb.  They cropped up during The Find.  Still don’t have the glider’s missiles, and technically there should be a second bomb, but I’m calling this close enough.   The glider is a little on the flat side, but not a bad piece for the time, and it’s honestly not noticeably worse than any of the other pack-in gliders we’ve gotten (barring the Famous Covers one, because that thing is goddamned perfection).  The pumpkin bomb could actually plug into the base of GG’s right hand, allowing for some pretty sweet posing options.  Nice forethought on that guys!

I was pleasantly surprised by this guy when I reviewed him the first time, and I’m still surprised by how much I like him now.  And, as an added bonus, he’s even more complete!

Flashback Friday Figure Addendum #0010: Green Goblin

Oh yeah, it’s Friday!  You know what that means: it’s time for another installment of Flashback Friday Figure Addendum!  Today, we flip back over to the Marvel side of things, with long-time Spidey foe Green Goblin, from back when he was Willem Dafoe!

The first Spider-Man movie may have been surpassed by other superhero movies in recent years, but when it was released it was my favorite superhero movie, and remained in that spot until it was dislodged by its sequel. The movie was also one of the earliest comicbook based movies to get a decent tie-in toyline, on par with, and perhaps even better than the comic stuff at the time. I’m certain it surprises no one that I owned a few of the figures from that toyline, and today I’ll be looking at one of the figures of the film’s big bad, the Green Goblin.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Goblin was part of the first series of Spider-Man movie figures. The figure stands 6 inches tall and features 38 points of articulation. He has an all new sculpt based on Willem Dafoe’s performance as the character in the film. It’s a pretty good sculpt and, whether you like the suit or not, it’s a good representation of the suit’s design. Under the figure’s removable mask is an unmasked Norman Osborn head, which bares more than a passing resemblance to Dafoe. The resemblance might be a bit closer were it not for the slick back hair style, but it was necessary in order to facilitate the removable mask feature. The mask is a well done piece and is essentially a scaled down version of the real thing, though it is missing the backing it had in the movie. This is once again to aid the removability. The paintwork is cleanly applied, with no real issues with slop or bleed over. His skin tone is a tad too yellow for my tastes, but only a tad. The figure came packaged with his goblin glider and a flight stand, but both of mine have been lost. Sorry!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got Green Goblin from the KB Toys in my local mall shortly after the first series was released. That would have been a few months before the release of the movie. For some reason, I wanted Green Goblin, but none of the other figures in the series. So, I only had the Goblin for a while. He’s a quality figure for sure, but that goblin costume looks worse every time I see it.

Okay, so first of all, I feel the need to apologize for the complete lack of a shot of his unmasked face in the original review.  I’m not sure how that got completely left out.  It’s now been added as part of his Wilson photo.

This was another short review, though it does hit on most of the major points.  Perhaps I should try for brevity more often? Nah, that’s silly!  Anyway, as nice as the actual details on the costume are, the actual body they’ve been placed on is rather oddly proportioned, and suffers from a lack of any useful articulation on the torso.  Still, he’s on par with most of the early Marvel Legends and Spider-Man Classics, so he’s not awful.  Missing from my original review was his Goblin Glider, which I discovered during The Find.  It was actually split between several different boxes, so finding the whole thing was quite an accomplishment.  It’s honestly one of the best parts of this figure.  There’s a ton of detail and it’s not undersized like so many of the gliders end up being.  There’s even some slight articulation, so you can get him posed on it just right.

This guy feels a lot more complete now.  His design’s still really, really goofy, but this was a pretty fun figure for its time, and it was honestly the best Goblin Toy Biz put out until the Series 13 Legends release.