#1336: Astonishing Wolverine

ASTONISHING WOLVERINE

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

“Little is known about the man known as Logan whose past remains shrouded in mystery. The feral warrior, code-named Wolverine, possesses genetically endowed animal-keen senses of smell, sight, and hearing, as well as a mutant healing factor that can mend almost any wound. His deadliest weapons are his razor-sharp claws and skeleton both made of unbreakable metal alloy called Adamantium. However, with these abilities comes a curse, a bezerker rage that he must forever struggle to control. Now Logan must contain the beast raging within while he battles to protect a world that fears and hates him.”

Though my opinion of it has waned in recent years, at the time of its release, Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men was a serious breath of fresh air.  I was never much impressed by Morrison’s “let’s put everyone in black leather and completely disregard prior character interpretation” New X-Men run that immediately preceded it, so taking the X-Men a bit more back to basics was pretty cool.  I also really liked John Cassidy’s art for the series, as well as his returning of several of the cast to more classically inspired costumes.  While most of the team eventually made it into toy form, it took quite a while.  Unsurprisingly, the first team member to make it into plastic was Wolverine, who I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Astonishing Wolverine was released in the 12th Series of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends, also known as the “Apocalypse Series.”  It was the fourth Wolverine in the line, and was at the time his current look. There were both masked and unmasked versions of this guy; the one I’m looking at today is the masked version, obviously.  This figure also served as the inspiration for the larger Marvel Legends Icons version of the character, although he was slightly tweaked to offer an alternate version of this costume.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall (it’s one of the first times they actually got his scale right) and he has 40 points of articulation.  In terms of sculpt, this figure was all-new, and he’s based on Cassidy’s work from the comics, albeit somewhat loosely, since Cassidy’s style doesn’t quite lend itself to super-articulated action figures.  The head’s definitely the best work; there’s a lot of smaller detail work that looks really nice, without being too over-done like a lot of Legends Wolverines.  The rest of the body was good for the time, but doesn’t as much hold up to scrutiny these days.  Once again, there’s a lot detail work that’s really nice on the stitching and the piping.  However, he’s really, really scrawny, which removes some of his intimidation factor.  It’s the worst in the legs, where the precedence clearly went to the joints, resulting in an almost skeletal set of limbs.  And of course, they split the belt in two for the waist articulation.  Why did they do that?  Beats me.  Seems it would have made a lot more sense to go either above or below.  Worst case scenario, you could do the joint where it is currently and have the belt be an add-on.  But splitting it right down the middle just seems lazy to me, like the base body was already sculpted and they added the details later without taking placement into account.  On the plus side of things, he’s probably got the best claws we got on a TB ML Wolverine; they’re well-shaped, unlikely to break off, and resistant to heavy warping.  In terms of paint work, the figure’s decent enough.  The base colors match up pretty well with what was being used on the comics, and most of the application is fairly clean.  The only part that’s a little odd is the arm hair, which really just looks like a bunch of brown tally marks that someone’s drawn on him.  Wolverine included no accessories of his own, but he did come packed with one of the legs of Apocalypse.  So, that’s cool, I guess.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy was a Christmas present from my friend Charlie.  He and I shared a love of Marvel Legends, and in particular, we were both on the lookout for the perfect Wolverine.  So, when this series hit, he made sure that I got this guy, which was very nice of him (I repaid the favor a year later when I made sure he got a completed Mojo Build-A-Figure).  He’s definitely got some flaws, but I really do think he was Toy Biz’s best take on Wolverine, and the best Legends version  of the character until Hasbro’s recent Brown Costume figure.  It’s honestly a little surprising that TB never retooled him into a more conventional Wolverine.

Advertisements

#1318: Logan

LOGAN

X-MEN: THE MOVIE (TOY BIZ)

“Logan is a loner by nature and a hunter by trade.  Dressed in civilian gear of jeans, leather jacket, and flannel shirt, no one would ever know this ordinary looking man possesses the untamed savagery of a wild beast combined with the battle-skills of an international secret agent.  His power to heal virtually any wound in minutes combined with his superhumanly keen animal senses and razor sharp adamantium claws and skeleton make him the perfect fighting machine called Wolverine”

Who wrote this bio?  And did they have any idea who the character was going in?  Or what figure this bio would be going with?  I enjoy that the bio describes a completely different set of civilian clothes than this figure is actually wearing, but I think my favorite part may be “battle-skills of an international secret agent.”  That’s one specific descriptor, let me tell you.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Logan was released in Series 3* of Toy Biz’s X-Men: The Movie line, which tied in with (big surprise here) 2000’s X-Men film.  The figure stands a whopping 7 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  The X-Men: The Movie figures were already pretty out of scale at the time of their release (being Toy Biz’s very first 6-inch figures), but Wolverine takes this to ridiculous levels, being about an inch out of scale with even the figures from his own line.  He’s larger than Sabertooth for pete’s sake!  Why is he so freaking huge?  Because of re-use, that’s why.  He’s built on the body of the Power Slam WCW Wrestlers Hak figure.  The WCW stuff was always much larger than the Marvel stuff Toy Biz did, and Hak was even pretty sizable for his own line.  I’m not entirely sure why Toy Biz opted to re-use this particular body.  I guess they felt they just had to have another Wolverine in there?  Completely divorced from the line that spawned him, I guess Logan’s sculpt isn’t terrible.  He got a new set of lower arms and feet, and what appears to be the Series 1 Wolverine head sculpt scaled up.  The pieces all mesh okay together.  The head definitely resembles Jackman as Wolverine, though it’s not quite as good as later figures would be.  The build seems rather on the bulky side for Wolverine as seen in the movies, and his proportions in some spots look like he’s trying to smuggle meat in his clothes or something. You’ll note that my figure is missing three of his claws; this isn’t by design, they just fell off, because this figure had some of the most easy to tear claws of any Wolverine figure.  In addition to the sculpted parts, Logan also has a cloth jacket.  It’s kind of thick and oddly shaped, and makes him look even puffier than he already was.  Paint on this guy was okay, but nothing tremendously exciting.  The colors are well chosen, and the jeans in particular have some nice accent work.  This Logan is from post movie release, so he’s after Toy Biz started adding the goofy painted on sideburns to all the movie Wolverines in an effort to make them more accurate.  It looks really goofy.  Super goofy.  Crazy goofy.  The figure was packed with a small dog tag that isn’t even remotely close to proper scale.  He’s also got the “action feature” which I think is supposed to swing his arms back and forth when the torso is turned, but it never looks like anything more than panicked flailing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Series 3 X-Men: The Movie figures were rather hard to come by at first, even Logan.  He was one of the last ones I got, courtesy of my parents, who bought him for me while they were on a weekend trip to the beach.  I know I really wanted one at the time, but boy is this figure odd in retrospect.  Not only does he feel rather redundant (he was the fourth civilian version of the character in the line), but he’s also just laden with strange design choices.

*Though this series was dubbed “Series 3” by Toy Biz, it was effectively Series 2 of the line, as the first 2 series were released simultaneously in order to have all of the main characters on shelves for the film’s release.

#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!

#1272: Wolverine – Old Man Logan

WOLVERINE — OLD MAN LOGAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“With incredible powers of strength and healing, Wolverine reveals his claws and uses them to slash down opponents.”

Okay, I know I’m trying not to critique the bios, but shouldn’t there be at least some mention of this being Old Man Logan in there?  Just seems a touch generic.  Oh well.

So, back in March, Logan was released, and met with near unanimous praise.  I gotta say, I didn’t really get it.  I mean, it was far from the worst comic movie I’ve seen, but I felt it had a lot of the same problems of the last two Wolverine films, but without Origins’ fun cameos or The Wolverine’s slightly more cohesive story to make up for it.  All it really had going for it was the R-rating, and I’ll be honest, there’s only so many times you can see people getting stabbed in the face before it loses its edge.  On the plus side, it did inspire an action figure, so that’s good.  Since Disney is discouraging licensees from releasing any direct tie-ins to the Fox movies, we didn’t get a Hugh Jackman Logan, but rather a Logan based on “Old Man Logan,” the Wolverine from the bad-future story that Logan the movie drew some inspiration from.  Yay?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wolverine is part of the Warlock Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s the one figure in the set not to include a Build-A-Figure piece, taking the the loosely movie-themed figure slot from last year’s Deadpool figure.  The package just calls him “Wolverine”; no denotation of the storyline he comes from or anything.  There’s a part of me that wonders if they were initially planning for this to be a more standard civilian Wolverine figure at some point and that’s why the name and bio are more generic.  Who knows?  Anyway, the figure stands about 6 inches tall (just a smidge taller than the Juggernaut Series Wolverine), and he has 32 points of articulation.  Logan is based on OML’s look after he was integrated into the main Marvel universe.  It’s not wildly different from his prior appearances, but this way he fits in a bit better with the main X-Men figures.  He sports an all-new sculpt, which depicts him in his usual civilian garb.  I feel almost certain we’ll be seeing the body again for a 616 Logan at some point, just to get some more milage out of it.  The body is pretty solid; his general build is a pretty close match for the last Wolverine, so it looks more or less like the same guy.  The level of detail on the various bits of clothing is quite nice; not quite Star-Lord level, but given this is supposed to be a comic figure, that’s excusable.  The head is a pretty nice piece of work, and sells Logan as being as old and cranky as he should be.  Once again, the features on the face line up pretty well with his younger counterpart, or at least what we could see of his face.  He loses the wacky Wolverine hair, which makes him look a bit more average, but is also accurate to this take on the character.  The paintwork on this figure is pretty subdued; there’s a whole lot of brown going on here.  That’s pretty accurate, I guess.  The paint is all pretty cleanly done, and there’s even a touch of accent work on his face, to bring out all of those extra wrinkles.  Some of the rest of him could do with a little accenting work as well, but he’s on par with the rest of the line as of late, so I’m not really going to complain.  What I am going to complain about, however, is the complete lack of accessories.  When this figure was first shown, a lot of people were hoping there would be an extra 616 Logan head included.  Not only does he not get that, he also doesn’t even get extra non-claw bearing hands, which wouldn’t have even required any new tooling.  And on top of that, he’s the only figure in the set not to get a Build-A-Figure piece, leaving him feeling very empty for the $20 most places are charging.  Compared to last series’ Deadpool, who lacked the BAF piece but made up for it in spades with all the other extras he included, this is incredibly disappointing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Logan was the third of the figures I found from this series, alongside Sunfire.  I wasn’t sure I was going to pick him up at first, but I sort of got caught up in the thrill of the hunt, and thus he was purchased.  He’s not a bad figure, but the lack of any extras really hurts him when he’s compared to the rest of the series, which makes him the weakest in the set, in my opinion.  Still, weakest in this particular set isn’t the worst thing ever, since the Warlock Series is probably my favorite Legends line-up in recent history.  And with that, my reviews of this series come to a close!

#1157: Cyclops & Wolverine

ULTIMATE CYCLOPS & ULTIMATE WOLVERINE

MARVEL MINIMATES

ultcyclopswolv1

Minimates sure have come a long way.  There was a time when we all thought the line might just get those first three series and nothing else.  As such, many of the characters and designs represented in those early series were influenced by what was timely.  For instance, the earliest X-Men Minimates weren’t really based on any of the classic iterations of the team, but rather the just recently launched Ultimate X-Men, who also had the added benefit of having a slightly closer resemblance to the X-Men of the movies.  The characters released were also much more top tier, including today’s focus figures, Cyclops and Wolverine!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cyclops and Wolverine, like several of the other earliest ‘mates, were available in a few different ways.  The first way was as part of Series 3 of the main Marvel Minimates line, where Cyclops was paired with Jean Grey and Wolverine was paired with Storm.  They were also part of the TRU-exclusive five-pack with Storm, Logan, and Sabertooth.  The pair I’m looking at today are part of the first group of Target-exclusive ‘mates, which is the only time these two were packed together.

CYCLOPS

ultcyclopswolv3Poor Cyclops gets no respect, but the Ultimate universe certainly tried to give him his due.  On the plus side of things, he had one of the less sucky redesigns of the Ultimate ‘verse, since it pretty much stuck to his usual costume roots.  The figure stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and has 14 inches tall.  He’s built on the pre-C3 base ‘mate body, so he’s got those weird long feet.  He’s got add-ons for his hair/visor and his belt.  Both pieces are certainly good for the time.  Not quite as detailed as later ‘mates would be, but also not as simplistic.  This is definitely one of the figures where elegant simplicity comes into play.  I like how they’ve summed up all the basic elements of Cyclops with as few details as possible.  The paintwork on Cyclops is decent enough.  What’s there is mostly pretty sharp, though there are a handful of misplaced lines, especially on the boots.  Obviously, he lacks the musculature and finer detailing that we’ve come to expect on more recent stuff, which look a little off.  Of course, thanks to the darker colorscheme, it’s a lot less of an issue here than it is on other ‘mates from the same time period.

WOLVERINE

ultcyclopswolv2Wolverine is no stranger to Minimates, but this was one of the first two he ever got.  It’s kind of strange to think that neither of his first two ‘mates featured his signature mask.  It’s worth noting that this figure is sporting Ultimate Wolverine’s second costume design.  It was a sensible choice, since it not only incorporates more of his classic costume’s design elements, but also fits better with the rest of the team.   Like Cyclops, he’s built on the pre-C3 body.  He has add-ons for his hair and belt, as well as clawed hands.  The hair isn’t the classic Wolverine style hair, but that’s actually accurate to the comic.  It’s a decent enough sculpt, and it would later see re-use on the first version of Quicksilver.  The claws are an older version of the hands, and are a little more rudimentary than those of the most recent Wolverines.  They’re not awful, but the improved versions were definitely warranted. The paint work on Wolverine is decent overall, but not without issue.  Most noticeably, there’s just a splotch of fellow on his right hand and wrist, which just looks rather odd.  Still, the overall appearance is decent enough.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Cyclops was actually one of my earliest Minimates (as part of the first three two-packs I picked up), but that was the specialty release with Jean.  Over the years, I lost a number of pieces to both of them, so they’ve been incomplete for a while now.  I ended up finding this set at Player’s Choice, a gaming and collectibles store in the local mall, a few weekends ago.  Since I was looking to replace Cyclops and I never actually owned this Wolverine, I figured it was worth it to pick them up.  They’re not a bad set.  Sure, there have been lost of subsequent releases of both characters, but for Cyclops especially, it’s truly hard to top that first release in terms of memorability.

#1129: Wolverine & Thunderbird

WOLVERINE & THUNDERBIRD

MARVEL MINIMATES

wolvthunderbird1

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers out there!  And, to all my non-American readers, happy Thursday!  Hey, there’s nothing wrong with some general positivity, right?  Today, I’m wrapping up my Giant Size X-Men Minimates, which includes Thunderbird, the team’s Native American member.  Him being half of the set I’m looking at today is really just a coincidence, but it works out, I guess.  And hey, it gives me a chance to post this Bulletin Bits strip, featuring Thunderbird’s brother Warpath!

mmbb28

Alright, so let’s have a look at Thunderbird and his pack-mate Wolverine!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Wolverine and Thunderbird are the fourth and final set in Series 68 of Marvel Minimates.  These two make for an interesting pair.  While Thunderbird famously died during the team’s second mission (spoiler on a 41 year old  comic, I guess), Chris Claremont has gone on record that both Thunderbird and Wolverine were on the chopping block for issue 95’s fatality.  Wolverine was ultimately only saved by having a slightly more defined power set than Thunderbird.  Imagine how different the X-Men might have been had those roles been reversed!

WOLVERINE

wolvthunderbird3Wolverine is no stranger to Minimates, with this particular ‘mate being his 59th entry in the line.  It’s also out fifth version of his basic Tiger-Stipe look, but it’s the first one in a little while, and, as with the others in this series, he’s specifically patterned after Dave Cockrum’s illustrations.  The figure is about 2 1/2 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He has add-ons for his mask, shoulder pads, clawed hands, and boots.  All of these pieces are from the Series 28 version of this costume.  While that was 7 years ago, the pieces still work, so the re-use is more than warranted.  The mask could, I suppose, be a little more streamlined, as it was in the ‘70s, but at this scale it’s negligible.  Wolverine’s paintwork is pretty great all-around.  The colors are a good match for the classic Wolverine, and the line work does a very nice job of translating Cockrum’s drawings into the ‘mate form.  I will say, he definitely looks better with the mask on than without.  There’s something about the unmasked look that’s a little off.  Of course, I’ve got plenty of unmasked Wolverines, so a good masked one is fine by me.  Wolverine includes an extra hairpiece for his unmasked look, as well as a clear display stand.  It feels rather on the light side, especially compared to some of the others in the series.  At the very least, a spare set of normal hands should be standard, and I would have also appreciated the hanging mask piece from the Series 47 Wolverine, just to give him some extra display options.

THUNDERBIRD

wolvthunderbird2This marks Thunderbird’s second time as a Minimate, after his figure in the GSXM boxed set.  Given his relative obscurity, it’s not really much of a surprise.  That being said, that figure’s been rather outdated for quite some time now, so an update is very much appreciated.  The figure uses add ons for his hair, sleeves, belt, and boots.  The belt is a standard piece, but the rest of the parts are new to this figure.  They look pretty good, and certainly do a nice job of capturing Thunderbird’s look from the comics.  This new method of construction works a fair bit better than the way the costume was handled not he first Thunderbird ‘mate.  The paint work on Thunderbird is pretty well handled.  The colors are certainly vibrant, and I appreciate that his skin tone is a little different from the rest of the figures in the series.  I also appreciate the Cockrum-style shading on the various parts of the costume.  It takes him from a potentially “meh” ‘mate to a pretty interesting one.  Thunderbird’s only accessory is a clear display stand.  That being said, I can think of pretty much nothing else that a Thunderbird figure really should have, so he doesn’t feel unnecessarily light (the fact that he has quite a few new pieces helps a fair bit too).   

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is probably the set from this series I was the least excited for.  I’ve got plenty of Wolverines, and as cool as Thunderbird is, he’s never been near the top of the list of figures I needed.  In hand, I do really like both of them to be sure.  Wolverine will be my definitive version, and Thunderbird definitely feels like a solid ‘mate all-around.  That being said, compared to the more parts heavy sets in the series, these two do feel like the come up a bit short, especially since half of the set is a character we’ve gotten 58 times before, in a costume we’ve gotten four times before, built entirely out of re-used parts.  This set could definitely have used a little something extra to help it pop.  It’s not bad at all, but it is a little less exciting than the others.

anadxmenmates

#1049: Wolverine

WOLVERINE

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES (HASBRO)

WolvHas1

“Virtually indestructible and always ready for a fight, Wolverine’s specialty is sending bad guys running.”

Well, I’m out of figures to compare to the new X-Men Legends.  Not because the remaining figures aren’t re-dos (because they are), but because I don’t own the originals (shocking, I know).  Today’s focus, Wolverine, is no stranger to action figures.  He’s not even a stranger to Marvel Legends (though he’s been a little more absent as of late).  So, he’s not really anything new.  Except that this might very well be the most anticipated Marvel Legends Wolverine since the very first one.  Because he’s that cool, that’s why.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

WolvHas2Wolverine is figure 1 in the Juggernaut series of Marvel Legends.  He’s the 24th version of Logan to grace the Marvel Legends line.  Wolverine is wearing his brown and yellow costume from the late ‘80s (making its first Legends appearance since way back in Series 6 of Toy Biz’s Legends).  The figure stands just under 6 inches tall and has 34 points of articulation.  One of the big things about this particular Wolverine is that he’s the first Wolverine since very early in Hasbro’s run to get a new body sculpt.  Yes, after over a decade of use, the old Brown Costume Wolverine mold has finally been retired.  Now it’s been replaced by…the Brown Costume Wolverine body.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.  So, how is the new body?  Well, it’s not perfect (what is?), but it’s pretty good.  It does short and stocky very well. I might like it if the arms were just a little more worked into the rest of the sculpt, but they aren’t awful.  Also, the range of motion on a lot of the joints, especially the shoulders is awesome, which is a definite plus. More than any of Hasbro’s base bodies, this one feels specifically tailored to the character premiering it.  I can’t really think of many characters who are built similarly to Wolverine, so I imagine Hasbro’s more thinking of using this for variations of just him.  The character specific elements (the head, hands, boots, and belt) are very nicely sculpted.  The head sits just a touch high on the neck, but it’s otherwise a pretty great sculpt.  It’s a lot cleaner than earlier Legends Wolverines, which I actually quite like, especially since this is supposed to be Wolverine from before he got quite as grungy.  The belt and boots fit well on the body, and both sport some decent texture work.  The hands are the best hands any Wolverine figure has ever gotten, due mostly to the claws being separate pieces, which prevents them from warping.  They aren’t perfect, but they’re very close.  Paint is probably this figure’s weakest part.  It’s not awful, but it’s a bit sloppier than I’d like.  Still, he’s not as bad as some Hasbro figures.  My biggest issue is the mismatched yellow from the hips to the thighs, which just throws the whole figure off.  Overall, though, he looks really cool.  Wolverine was packed with a spare set of hands with the claws retracted, as well as the head for Juggernaut.  The hands are particularly noteworthy, as it makes him one of only two Legends Wolverines to include such a thing, which is surprising, because they’re such a cool, easy to do feature.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, you know how I said this was the start of the reviews where I didn’t have the older figures to compare to?  Well, I actually did at one point own the Toy Biz Brown Costume Wolverine.  For reasons I can’t begin to explain, I sold him, which I’ve greatly regretted ever since.  Because of that, I’ve been greatly anticipating this guy.  I ended up finding him at Toys R Us, without much fanfare, which I was quite happy about.  He’s not a perfect figure, but he’s a very nice one, and one I’m very happy to have.

WolvHas3

#0945: Weapon X

WEAPON X – BURNED

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

WeaponXAoA1

The ‘90s had a lot of big comics “events,” especially compared to prior decades, which had virtually none. I think a lot of it had to do with the success of the likes of Crisis and Secret Wars in the ‘80s, prompting the Big Two to do whatever they could to recapture some of that glory. Marvel’s efforts were primarily focused on their cash cow of the time, the X-Men, who found themselves dealing with all sorts of events of epic proportions. At one point, Marvel deemed that it wasn’t enough to make life hell for our own merry mutants, so they showed us how much worse things could have been by launching the alternate reality-based Age of Apocalypse, which examined what the X-Men ‘verse would have been like without Professor Charles Xavier. The storyline took over all of the X-Men-related books, and was generally pretty successful for Marvel. There’s been a smattering of different figures from it all over the years and today I’ll be looking at one of the four Marvel Legends to be based on the event, Weapon X! Apparently, one of the things that changed in the AoA reality was that the title “Wolverine” went to a different character, so poor Logan had to stick with his Weapon X title. Thrilling! Let’s look at the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

WeaponXAoA2Weapon X was part of the Giant-Man Series of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends. It was exclusive to Walmart and was one of the last series to be produced under Toy Biz’s tenure. There were two versions of Weapon X offered: normal and burned. The difference between the two versions is the head and the stump on the left arm. The figure here is the burned version (the only one of the two I still have). Though this figure was technically a variant, he was packed in equal numbers to his regular counterpart and also featured a different Giant-Man piece, which was quite frustrating for a lot of collectors at the time. The figure is about 6 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation. Weapon X made use of a lot of pieces from the Series 6 brown costume Wolverine. It was one of Toy Biz’s best Wolverines, and one of the best parts about it was that they really got down Logan’s short, stocky physique. The re-use here was definitely warranted. He got a new head, lower arms, and lower legs, all of which fit pretty well with the rest of the parts, and make for an overall pretty cohesive looking figure. The head is actually really cool. I’m not sure if it’s based on a specific instance of Logan getting burned, since it happens a few times, but the level of detail is pretty awesome, and it’s a nice, refreshing take on the usual Wolverine look. The other unique piece here is the stump, which has claws on this version. In the story, it was revealed that Logan’s claws had been retracted when he lost his hand, so he could still pop them out of his wrist. That’s cool, I guess. The claws suffer from a bit of warping, but are otherwise pretty cool. Weapon X’s paint isn’t bad, provided you ignore his rather doofy looking outfit. Most of the work is pretty clean, and there’s some rather nice accent work in several places. There’s a few instances of scratches or slop, but that’s relatively minor. Also, the painted on arm hair’s a bit silly in some places, but it’s overall an okay attempt. The best part is once again the head, which looks convincingly burned, while still managing to not look too out of place next to the unburned skin of the neck and arms. The only accessory included with Weapon X was the left hand of Giant-Man. Honestly, it feels like the burned head and clawed stump would have made for decent accessories to the regular Weapon X, rather than being a separate figure, but I guess Toy Biz really wanted to sell that extra Logan.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Weapon X was given to me as a birthday present by my friend Cindy Woods. I was super into Marvel Legends at the time, and this particular series was fairly difficult to get. She was so excited to find this guy for me that she didn’t notice that some jerk had stolen the Giant-Man piece right out of the side of the box (in her defense, the piece was hidden by the figure’s name tag. Also, who steals just the piece? The figures were like $8!). Fortunately, my dad was able to find another Weapon X online with the piece, so it worked out alright. On the face, this feels like an extraneous Wolverine variant that nobody really asked for. However, this guy’s fun and different enough that he ended up being my one of my favorite Legends Wolverines produced. Definitely a winner!

 

#0931: Yukio, Viper, & Black Clan Ninjas

URBAN YUKIO, VIPER, & BLACK CLAN NINJAS

MARVEL MINIMATES

YukioViperNinjas1

It seems hard to believe that the second Wolverine film came out three years ago.  Wedged in between Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, and as the last X-Men film before Days of Future Past overwrote the original timeline, it kind of got lost.  It’s a shame; it’s not a perfect film, but it was a fair bit of fun, and fixed a lot of issues presented by X-Men 3 and Wolverine: Origins.  The movie got a handful of Minimates, and today I’ll be looking at the specialty assortment’s Viper & Black Clan Ninja pack, as well as the variant Urban Yukio & Black Clan Ninja Pack.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two sets were released in Series 52 of Marvel Minimates, which was based on The Wolverine.

URBAN YUKIO

YukioNinja2Yukio is a relatively minor X-Men character, but she plays an important role in the Wolverine mini-series that the movie based its plot on, so she found herself with a decently sized role.  In the comics, she was just a normal human with ninja training, but the film made her a mutant with the ability to foresee death.  She had two rather distinct looks in the movie (neither of which really resembled her comics appearance).  This figure represents the less formal look that Yukio sports towards the end of the movie. She stands about 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. Yukio has add-on pieces for her hair, skirt, and the tops of her boots.  All of these are re-used, with the hair coming from the TRU Series 9 Magik, the boots coming from Series 34’s 90s Rogue, and the skirt coming from BSG’s President Roslin.  The parts are all fairly decent matches for her look from the film, so the re-use is reasonable here, though the boots have the unintended side effect of making her taller than everyone else in the series. The paintwork on Yukio is decent.  She’s got a lot of color, and she’s pretty bold looking, which is nice.  The detailing on the torso is nice and sharp.  The face doesn’t really look like Rila Fukushima; for some reason, they’ve given her a slight smile, which doesn’t seem right for the character.  That said, the face is nice and sharp, and looks suitably unique. Yukio includes a clear display stand and…nothing else.  Not even a sword.  That’s quite a letdown, especially since Yukio is pretty much never seen without her sword in the film.

VIPER

ViperNinja5Viper was an interesting inclusion in The Wolverine, given that her most prominent role is being highly placed in Hydra, an organization that Fox isn’t allowed to use.  Fox seemed to skirt the issue by only referring to her only as Viper (not her alias Madame Hydra) and by making her a mutant, with no known ties to Hydra.  For this figure, DST based Viper on her look during Yashida’s funeral, which is a rather short-lived look when all is said and done, but we got several others in their funeral attire. Viper has two add-on pieces, one for her hair and one for her skirt.  The skirt is a re-use of the Gwen Stacy skirt from the SM3 series, which is still fairly modern looking.  The hair is a new piece, based on her hair from the scene in the film.  It’s a pretty great sculpt, with a lot of detail, and it captures her look very nicely. Viper’s  paint is overall is nicely handled, at least from a purely technical standpoint.  Everything’s pretty clean, and the line work is all pretty sharp.  The likeness is pretty good; certainly closer than Yukio.  The sunglasses stand out, as the details make them look convincingly shiny.  You can actually make out the reflection of some of the reflections from the funeral’s setting.  All that said, the design is rather drab and not terribly exciting. For accessories, Viper includes a clear display stand, and an extra head, without the sunglasses.

BLACK CLAN NINJAS

YukioNinja3The Black Clan Ninjas took the role occupied by the Hand in the original story.  They were initially supposed to be the Hand, but Fox lost the rights to Daredevil and all associated characters in the middle of production on The Wolverine, necessitating a quick name change.  It’s not like it really matters, though; they’re fairly basic ninjas either way. The Ninjas use add-on pieces for their jackets and the edges of their gloves.  The jacket is a new piece.  It has a scabbard attached to the back, so that they can stow their swords.  The jacket’s a little on the bulky side, but looks alright overall, and captures the basic look from the film pretty well. The paintwork on the Ninja is fairly basic.  It’s mostly just black, though there’s a bit of variation to the finish, which is nice.  The eyes feature an impressive level of detail, and add a nice bit of character, without removing the ability of the figure to be an army builder. The Ninjas each include a basic sword, which can be stowed in the sheath on their back, as well as the usual clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Yukio set was one of the ones I wanted from Series 52, but she ended up being a bit difficult to get, so I had to order a full series set from Luke’s Toy Store. This is probably Yukio’s most prominent look from the movie, and it has the advantage of being bright and colorful in a series of mostly drab figures.  However, the lack of accessories knocks her down a peg, and the likeness really isn’t there. Viper is certainly a well put together ‘mate, but the decision to go with her less exciting funeral look over her more comics accurate final battle look hurts the figure.  As it stands, she’s better than you’d expect, but still a bit lackluster. The Ninjas are really the stars of these sets.  They’re fairly simple, but in just the right way, and they benefit from the fact that you don’t even need to be a fan of The Wolverine to like them.

#0820: Wolverine

WOLVERINE

MARVEL SUPER HEROES SECRET WARS (MATTEL)

WolverineSW1

I’ve no doubt that a number of people looked at yesterday’s review of the All-New, All-Different X-Men and thought to themselves: “Where’s Wolverine?” Well, the answer to that question is that Wolverine action figures were all over the place in the ‘90s, so Toy Biz felt he didn’t need to also be part of the set. But, who am I to ruin everyone’s fun? Let’s look at a Wolverine figure. In fact, let’s look at the very first Wolverine figure, from all the way back in 1984!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

WolverineSW2Wolverine was released as part of the first series of Mattel’s Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars line. The line was, of course, designed to tie-in with the Marvel’s Secret Wars comic (the first one!).  However, it was kind of a round-a-bout sort of tie-in, since the comic was actually published at Mattel’s request, because they wanted their toys to have a more direct tie-in. Thanks Mattel. Anyway, Wolverine was in the comic. So was the whole current roster of X-Men at the time, but he was the only one to get a figure from it. This was the true start of the “Wolverine publicity,” I suppose. Since it was 1984, Wolverine was sporting his spiffy brown costume, instead of his usually more known yellow and blue get-up. The figure stands 4 ½ inches tall and has 5 points of articulation. Like pretty much every Mattel line ever, Secret Wars was built on a hefty sum of parts re-use. Wolverine uses the basic arms and legs of the line, along with a unique head and a slightly larger torso piece, which he shared with Doctor Octopus and Hobgoblin. In general, the sculpt is rather on the soft side, with the exception of the soles of his boots, which are oddly well-defined. Of course, they’re only defined right at the base, so the tops don’t stick out from the sides like they should. The head isn’t anything particularly amazing, but it’s a decent enough likeness of Wolverine, and it certainly fits in with the rest of the body sculpt. The general proportions of the figure are fairly decent; the torso’s a bit on the flat side, but not terribly so. Most of this figure is carried by the paint job, since that’s where most of the character-specific elements come in. The paintwork is decent enough, and the colors are nice and bold (even if they did make him brown and yellow, instead of the proper brown and orange). There are some fuzzy edges, but nothing too bad. Wolverine was originally packed with a pair of snap-on claws (which came in either silver or black), and a lenticular shield thingy. Mine has neither of these, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, clearly I didn’t pick this figure up when it was new. Truth be told, Secret Wars was never a line I really thought about trying to track down, due to them lacking a lot of the quality of their contemporary, DC Super Powers, of which I am quite a fan. However, while at a small nick-knack shop on Small Business Saturday, my brother told me there was “some Wolverine figure” on one of the low-sitting shelves. It ended up being this guy, who was marked $1.99. For that price, I certainly wasn’t going to pass on a vintage figure in decent shape. There’s no denying that this figure is far from the quality of other lines from the same time period, but he’s a cool piece of history, and I’m happy to have him.