That’s right… Welcome to Marvel Monday on a Wednesday! As I’m fond of pointing out in some of my Marvel Legends reviews, I stopped being a regular reader of Marvel Comics a while back when they decided to stop focusing on things like decent art, good stories, and respect for established characters. As always, there are exceptions to the rule, and I did poke my head in a couple years back to read Jonathan Hickman’s House of X because… well it was Jonathan Hickman and the art looked pretty good. I enjoyed it enough to eventually pick up the collected hardcover edition, and naturally I was pretty thrilled to see the book getting a full wave of Legends. Enough so that I pre-ordered this one, instead of hunting them down individually. So here we go, embarking on this wave with the two heavy hitters first… Magneto and Xavier!
House of X is full of all the standard Hickman-isms that I’ve grown to love. You get high concept stuff about evolution, the rise and fall of empires, secret knowledge, time travel, and lots of great nuggets of world-building, sometimes leaked between the pages of the actual story. I get that some people don’t dig his style of story telling, but I do. It keeps me invested in the story and getting the most out of it means my reading has to be less passive and more aggressive. The package branding looks great and even includes the characters’ name scrawled in the Krakoan language! I really wanted to keep these boxes, but in the end, space is too much of a limited commodity around here so into the bin they went! Let’s start with Professor X…
Cards on the table, Xavier’s appearance creeped me the hell out in this story. He’s out of his wheelchair sporting a lanky body in a tight body suit with the latest version of Cerebro worn pretty much all the time and covering most of his head. The combination of lanky body and giant head piece makes him look like some kind of cyborg-meat-lollypop and I just find it unsettling. And yeah, considering what Xavier gets up to in this book, that’s probably exactly what the look was going for. And while this figure conveys that look pretty well, it also means there’s really not a lot to it at all. From the neck down you get a completely generic black buck with no paint apps or detail at all.
At least they used one of the more articulated bodies, complete with those lateral crunches in the shoulders. You also get an extra pair of gesturing hands: One regular pointing hand and one “I’m pointing at my head because I’m concentrating” hand. On the downside, the joints on my figure are extremely soft and gummy, especially in the knees. It took me a bit of time to straighten them out enough so he would stand.
And while Hasbro banked a ton of time and effort on the body sculpt, the Cerebro head sculpt is quite excellent! The bulbous silver head piece includes a mess of wires and gizmos on the back, and a giant blue X-branded visor on the front.
You also get a head without Cerebro and with some psionic effects radiating from Xavier’s head. It’s a nice bonus to add some value, but it doesn’t do a lot for me. Ultimately, this figure accomplishes what it needs to do, but unless you’re a big fan of this story, I’m not sure it’s going to be worthy of a pick up. Sure, Cerebro looks awesome, but the rest of the figure is so drab and generic. I’m happy to have it, but I’m curious to see if it’ll be a peg-warmer around these parts. Moving on to Magneto…
Unlike Professor X, Magneto retains a lot of his classic costume design in this story, but he trades in his darker colors for a white-and-black outfit. And just as Xavier saved Hasbro the cost of a lot of new sculpting, much of Magneto here is just a repaint. I was, however, surprised to see some new stuff here. The boots and wrist bracers are different from the previous Magneto releases, and he also has a new belt with an X-branded buckle and some pouches. The cape, however, is a straight repaint from the his appearance in the three-pack with Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.
I was expecting the head sculpt to be a straight repaint from that three-pack version as well, but it looks like it’s been reworked here. His Barbute-style helmet has been reshaped in a few areas, but unfortunately the paint on mine is pretty sloppy. It’s not too bad when viewed with the naked eye, but the closer you get, the worse it looks.
Magneto does not come with any effect parts or an un-helmeted head, but he does come with three pairs of hands, which I thought was oddly excessive. The token fists and power-casting hands are to be expected, but the third pair of accessory-holding hands seems pointless, since he comes with nothing to hold. Whatever the case, I found this figure to be a lot more photogenic and fun to play around with than Professor X. Sure, his look is a lot less imaginative than Xavier’s, but as an action figure, Magneto gets the nod as the better figure.
I was extremely excited for this wave, but I’ll confess that it feels to be off to a rocky start. I want to like the Professor X figure a whole lot more than I do. I can’t fault the design, as it looks just like his appearance in the book, but it just doesn’t make for a great figure. Magneto, on the other hand, at least isn’t a total quick-and-dirty repaint, and I’ve found that I like this look for him a lot. Next week, I’ll keep the reviews on this wave rolling along. I doubled up today because I knew I didn’t have a whole lot to say about these two, and I’m not sure if next week I’ll tackle another two figures or just focus on one!
Great review as always! I so feel you on the death of comics. I was a die hard comic geek from age 5 to about 42 (2014ish). The constant reboots, the pointless deaths, lame re-births and horrible stories got to me and I finally threw in the towel. I regretfully had to sell my comic collection 5 years ago after moving back to Cali (to get a place, its so sick expensive to live here) complete with X-Men #1 (signed by Stan Lee),#94 & Giant size #1, plus every major comic, story & 1st appearance from 1977 and on. Broke my heart, but comics got so bad was able to get over it. Ive poked my head in comic shops from time to time to pick up some random Star Wars, independent or GI Joe comics or just to re-live the Wednesday comic experience, but Ive stayed away from Marvel mainstream. Maybe it got better, but it saved me a fortune on toys and I’ll always have my memories. I did keep 2 of the 22 long boxes of comics in my collection, just random comics I loved that weren’t worth much (like debut of Beta Ray Bill, some Deadpool stuff & dark comedy stuff like The Pro & Kickass, plus GI Joe & Star Wars expanded U). This X-Men story/ toys look wild, but I’m hard to please with alternate universe stories. The alternate universe plot-tool was really overused in comics (especially DC), but I loved the first Age of Apocalypse (wasn’t their a 2nd or return?). I think the death of Professor X killed me off too from comics, but maybe I’ll have a lame return and check out this story just based from figures. Thanks again for a great review!
I too have unloaded a TON of comics over the years. Most of my Marvel stuff is either some graded issues that are special to me and some Trade Paperback collections of runs I knew I would want to read over and over again. These days the only floppies I buy are from Zenescope and a few other Indie presses.