Marvel Legends (Caliban Wave): Jubilee by Hasbro

Well, folks, I’m not off to a good start for the new year, as I wasn’t able to check back in again last week after Marvel Monday. I’m still swamped with stuff that’s wrestling for my time, and it’s probably going to be a few more months before I’m locked back down to regular updates. Nonetheless, I’m back to spread more X-Men loving today and I have a good feeling that the rest of the week will work out. Today I’m headed back into the Caliban Wave with a look at Jubilee!

I guess you can consider Jubilee here an apology figure. Hasbro gave us to her a few years back as a Build-A-Figure, which was an odd choice in and of itself. Then to add fuel to the fire, the Wave was notoriously hard to find and complete. I don’t think I ever saw any of the figures once, although I heard tell it wound up as a Toys R Us Exclusive. Needless to say the figures went for big money online. Beside that, the Jubilee BAF wasn’t based on the classic look for the character anyway, so here’s Hasbro taking a brand new stab at getting her into the hands of collectors.

I don’t own the BAF Jubilee, but comparing this one with some pictures, it looks like there’s definitely some recycling here, at the very least her yellow trademark jacket looks the same. And they did a nice job with it. It’s cast in retina-melting yellow plastic, features a high, popped collar, and comes down to behind her knees. The sleeves are sculpted onto the arms, rolled up to the elbows, and she sports a pair of blue gloves, which match her boots. Under the jacket, she casts off the black outfit from the previous release in exchange for her blue shorts and pink top. There are some lovely little touches in the sculpt, including the buttons and the pin on her chest, all of which are neatly painted in gold. Her sculpted black belt features a gray belt-buckle, and the shorts have some sculpted tailoring and cuffs around her thighs. The colors on this figure are fantastic!

The portrait is pretty tight, although my figure has a bit of a wall-eye thing going on. I’m not so sure that it’s just the paint to blame, as the eyes really do look a little too far apart. Everything else is fine, though. The paint on her lips is sharp and clean, the earrings look great, and I love the sculpting they did on her hair. I particularly dig the way her transparent pink glasses came out. It’s never easy doing eyewear in this scale, but these fit the figure perfectly.

Now, with all the gushing aside, I will say that while I was quite excited to get this figure, now that she’s in hand I’m a little cool on her. Part of the problem might be that the plastic is really gummy on mine, particularly in those double-hinged knees and in the neck hinge. It’s weird. Working some of her joints feels like a dubious prospect and most of those hinges would rather try to warp than actually work the way they’re supposed to. Add to that the lack of any effect parts, and she’s just not as much fun to play around with as she might have been. I’m surprised Hasbro couldn’t even cough up a few of those hex-type effect circles that clip to the wrists. Yeah, I’ve got tons of them, but that’s not really the point.

She does, however, come with a couple extras, namely this second portrait with removable glasses. And yup, this one has her blowing a bubble with her gum. I love that they included this one, it’s a wonderful effect, and the removable glasses were a nice touch. Unfortunately, this head does not fit right on my figure. It won’t snap in properly and when I try to apply pressure, the gummy neck joint just bends. I can sort of make it work, but it’s just another example of how the QC on my Jubilee isn’t up to snuff.

I guess Jubilee turned out a little disappointing. The figure looks great, and she’ll be fine representing on my X-Men shelf, but the mushy plastic on this figure drags her down a lot. When I open a figure for Marvel Mondays, that figure usually stays on my desk for the week so I can play around with them on my down time, but Jubilee just isn’t that much fun, so I think she’ll be going right up on the shelf. Next week, the X-Men train rolls on. Who will it be? I won’t know for sure until I start digging through the Legends pile, but I feel like I have a hankering for some crawdads and gumbo.

Marvel Legends (Caliban Wave): Beast by Hasbro

I’m going to keep an X-Men streak going on Marvel Mondays for at least a few more weeks, although I’m not sticking to any one wave. Today’s figure is one I was really excited to get and it is indeed Dr. Hank McCoy! I thought this was the first time I was dipping into the Caliban Wave, but it turns out I already opened and reviewed Blink a little while back.

Beast is so essential to the X-Men lineup, it surprises me it took this long to get him and this long for me to open him. It’s also impressive that even with his rather large stature, Hasbro was able to cram an extra set of hands and Caliban’s noggin in there. Hell, they probably could have made Hank a BAF himself and I would have been cool with that.

And I’m certainly pleased with the look Hasbro went for here, as this is definitely my favorite version of the character. He’s big, burly, no shirt, and just a big slab of muscle and blue fur. His entire outfit consists of some blue undies and his branded yellow X-Men belt. And I have to say, both the detail in the sculpt and the beautiful gradations of blue conspire to make Beast a great looking figure. Virtually his entire surface is covered in sculpted fur texture, with extra thick patches on his chest, shoulders, back, and around his neck. He’s got giant feet and hands, along with an additional set of swap-out hands, which include a hand-standing hand and a fist.

Hasbro went all out on the articulation here, so much so that I’m getting some flashbacks to the Toy Biz days, where articulation often took a front seat to aesthetics. Thankfully that’s not quite the case here, although I will say that with all these points of articulation, I think Beast looks better in action poses than simply standing prone. Nonetheless, lets run down all of those points! His arms have the butterfly shoulder crunches, rotating hinges in the proper shoulders, double hinges in the elbows, hinged pegs in the wrists, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed in the hips, double jointed in the knees, and have swivels in the thighs. The ankles have hinges and lateral rockers, and there are hinges in the feet. There’s a swivel in the waist, a ball joint under the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. Needless to say, this figure is tons of fun to play around with!

If there’s one thing that I’m torn on here it’s the portrait. Don’t get me wrong, it looks great, but it also lacks some detail in the sculpt, particularly around the mouth and the teeth. The teeth are really just painted lines, and the paint is a little rough. It looks more like an animated portrait, and that’s not a bad thing, but it’s at odds with some of the more detailed head sculpts we’ve seen out of Hasbro in the past. With that being said, the hair and whiskers looks great and the fierce expression is certainly packed with personality. Still, I’m going to have to say it. We should have gotten a second head sculpt with this figure. Beast shouldn’t only be characterized in a furor like this. I would have loved a calm portrait for Hank.

But hey, I don’t want to end this look on a downer, because I really do dig this figure a lot! I was still playing around with him long after I was done snapping pictures, and this big lovable guy has been sitting on my desk for a few days now so I can pick him up and play with him on my downtime. With Beast, the core X-Men characters continue to pour onto my Legends shelves, and I say keep ’em coming, Hasbro. I ran short of time to do a decent group shot this week, but I’ll make up for it next week when I keep the Legends X-Men love train rolling along!

Marvel Legends (X-Men): Wolverine, Jean Grey, and Cyclops by Hasbro

Hey, folks! It’s the last Marvel Monday of the year! I keep wanting to wrap up that Wendigo Wave, but distractions keep coming my way. In particular, I had several X-Men-themed boxed sets hit my stoop by way of Santa himself, and I thought I’d knock out one of these before the end of the year. Today I’m checking out what I like to call The Apology Pack, wherein Hasbro says they’re sorry and makes good on a new Jean Grey figure. But they can’t be too sorry, because they’re making us buy two other re-do’s with her! Well, sort of. Trust me, it’s all worth it in the end.

Because there’s nothing about this glorious set that would even make me hesitate buying it had I not received it as a Christmas gift. Sure, I don’t consider “Bomber Jacket” Summers essential, and sure Hasbro could have just thrown in the extra Logan heads with a single Jean Grey release, but just looking at this set makes me so happy, I don’t care. I don’t know if it’s the snappy blue color of the box that makes that X-Men logo stand out. Or maybe it’s just seeing this much 90’s-Jim Lee-glory in one package. Either way, it’s hard to quantify how much greatness is packed into this box. There’s a lot of stuff to look at, so let’s jump right in! And going from left to right, we’ll start with Logan!

If you collected the Apocalypse Wave then surely you recognize this figure, or at least the body, which appears to be completely recycled here. I haven’t gotten around to opening all of that wave yet, so that makes him relatively new to me. Although, to compare him to a figure I have opened, he does still share a lot of the body used for Wolverine from the Juggernaut Wave. You get those wonderful flared boots, a belt with an X-buckle, and shoulder armor. The coloring here is absolutely exquisite, with the bright yellow leggings and top, complete with tiger stripes. The boots are blue with black trim, and his gauntlets, undies, and shoulders are all matching blue. Toss in the bright red belt and you’ve got a feast for the eyes. This figure comes out of the package with Logan’s bone claws equipped, which is a little something more to set it apart from the Apocalypse Wave Logan.

The figure also comes with the battle damaged head sculpt, and man is this thing great! The flared out “ears’ are tattered, and rips in the top of his mask have his sculpted hair spilling out on top. Couple all that with an absolutely raging expression, and this makes for one badass portrait. Between this head and the bone claws, there’s definitely good incentive for double-dipping on this version of Wolverine, should you already own the previous release.

The articulation here is identical to what we’ve seen with the past two Wolverines I mentioned, so I won’t go through a whole run down. I will, however, point out that he features those shoulder crunches, which adds to the posing possibilities. To be honest, if the damaged mask head and bone claw fists were all he came with, I think it still would have been a very worthwhile variant for my collection, but there’s still more to talk about.

If you don’t have that Apocalypse release, you also get the regular masked head and the regular adamantium claws seen on that figure, which certainly adds to the value of the set. The claws are included in separate fists, so you don’t have to pull out and swap each one. The middle claw on my figure’s right hand angles a little funny, but they are pretty fragile and prone to warping.

The regular masked head sculpt appears to me to be identical to the one included with the Apocalyse Wave, and that ain’t a bad thing because it’s a fantastic sculpt. But wait, we’re still not done!

You also get a completely unmasked head with a mask that can be worn down the back of the neck. I think these are the same that were included with the brown suit retro release, another figure I haven’t gotten around to opening yet, but still a nice bonus. So with three sets of heads, two different sets of clawed hands, and the mask, I sure don’t feel bad about having to buy what is essentially a figure that I already own. Let’s move on to Jean Grey.

For many, Jean Grey will be the star of this set, because the last Jean that Hasbro released in modern Legends wasn’t so great. I didn’t have a big problem with it at the time, but looking at it now, I can certainly admit that it hasn’t aged well. Here we get the same Classic 90’s look for the character, but completely redone. Gone are the hideous ball-shaped hips, and in its place a body that looks a bit better proportioned and less awkward. The suit has a bit more of a mustard color to it than the brighter yellows of Logan and Scott’s costumes. And while I will admit to liking the metallic blue they used for the original figure, the more subdued darker matte blue they used for this suit is a lot more sensible. And the bracers still have a glossy finish to them to satiate my love of shiny things. The thigh panels are also more subtle here, and the shoulder pads are redesigned.

The figure comes out of the box with a brand new head sculpt depicting Jean’s voluminous flowing red coif, which mostly conceals her form fitting partial hood. And I have to say this portrait is a little hit and miss. The hair looks great, the eyes look great, and the lips… well, that’s where it starts to lose me. I’m sure they were going for full and sultry, but what we got is just a little off. I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly it is, but I think the mouth is the one part of this portrait that lets it down.

You also get a second portrait, this time with her hair pouring up out the top of her headpiece in a sort of pony-tail affair. This portrait is also overall pretty good, but once again, there’s just something about the lips. Here I think it’s just a case of them being too big. I don’t know. I’m not totally hating on either of these heads, but Hasbro has been doing a great job with the female portraits lately, and these two just feel like they missed the mark a bit.

Other than the improved hips, the articulation here is right in line with all the other Legends gals. That means no bicep swivels and rotating hinges in the elbows instead of double-hinges. It’s worth noting that Jean comes up the lightest of the three figures when it comes to extras. There are no extra hands or anything other than the second head. Moving on to the final figure…

I said earlier that Jean Grey was probably going to be the star of this set for a lot of collectors, but I have to imagine Cyclops is coming in a close second. Sure, we just got him a little while back in the Warlock Wave, but that figure has gone on to command some ridiculous prices on the second hand market. Hell, you can buy this whole set for less than what you’re likely to pay for that earlier release of Scott Summers. As a result, the fact that this guy is mostly a recycled release maybe ain’t so bad. Obviously the big change here is the bomber jacket with newly sculpted arm sleeves, otherwise the rest of the sculpt seems to be the same, albeit with a brighter shade of yellow paint and plastic. The jacket is a great new sculpt with nice detail in the stitching and even the zipper. There’s also an X-patch on the left shoulder. I will note that the thigh and boot straps stay on a bit better on this one, but the peg that holds his belt on in the back will not stay in at all. Fortunately the jacket covers it, so you can’t really tell that it’s popped. I may just go ahead and glue it together.

The figure comes out of the box with the same head sculpt as the Warlock Wave with only the paint being notably different on the visor. Last time it had something of a glossy gold finish, now it’s straight up bright yellow to match the rest of the costume. They’re both fine, but I think I prefer this one. And while Scott comes with two fists, he does have a swap-out left hand so he can activate his visor.

The box also includes two more heads for Cyclops, each with a different style of eyeware. These include a set of red conventional shades, and a set of visor-type shades. Both are good looks, but the painted hairline on my second head is a little off and the red glasses paint on my third head is too. Neither are huge issues for me, but worth mentioning nonetheless. Ultimately, I like this figure a lot, and I haven’t decided which Scott Summers I’ll use for my regular X-Men display, but either way I think this is a fine alternative for collectors who missed out on the previous Cyclops and don’t want to drop a lot of money grabbing him from a second-hand seller.

I’m glad I was able to wrap up my 2019 run of Marvel Mondays with something special, not to mention a triple-figure review. This three-pack is an example of a box set done right. It gave us a brand new Jean Grey, a variant of a figure that is very tough to get at an affordable price, and a fan favorite with plenty of extras bundled in. And while I toss 90% of my Legends boxes because of space considerations, I was really tempted to keep this one, just because the presentation is so damn pretty. Indeed, I had such a great time playing around with these figures, I think I’m going to keep the X-Men love going a little longer. Next week, I’ll check out Beast! In the meantime, that’ll be it for me for this year. I’m going to try to make it back on New Year’s Day, but if that doesn’t happen, I’ll catch you all on Friday!

Marvel Gallery: Goblin Queen by Diamond Select

It’s Christmas week and that’s always a busy week for me, but I’m still going to try to get in three reviews this week, including one for Christmas morning. Since there are only two more Marvel Mondays this year, I decided to get one more non-Marvel Legends review in before we say goodbye to 2019, so let’s open up another one of Diamond Select’s wonderful Marvel Gallery statues. This time we’re checking out Madelyne Pryor… The Goblin Queen!

If you’re still unfamiliar with DST’s Marvel Gallery statues, please have a look through some of my past reviews, because these roughly 9-inch scale PVC figures are perfect for statue collectors on a budget. As always, they come in display boxes with windows on the top, front, and side panels to let in plenty of light and show off the goods inside. Everything is collector friendly and the statue comes fully assembled and ready to go!

And it’s no wonder why all those Goblins follow her around, because Maddie is smoking hawt! The composition features her standing atop an arcane-looking stony ground with plumes of semi-transparent smoke and a lone Goblin prostrate at her feet and huddled over some skulls. It’s definitely more of what I would call a museum pose, but the placement of her legs and the blowing of her cape do offer a whiff of possible action.

I’ll confess that I don’t recognize this precise costume from any books that I’ve read, but I’m going to assume it’s somewhat contemporary. And that’s fine because Maddie’s costumes tend to have a running theme and this one isn’t all that different from what we’ve seen in the past. She dons a pair of skin-tight leggings and a top that could only be considered modest if you find bare arms provocative. As is often the case, she’s showing off her mid-riff and more than a modicum of cleavage. Almost every facet of the costume is part of the sculpt, including the coiled wire around her arms, the fasteners for her cape.

I tend to think of Maddie wearing black, but here she has a very deep and beautiful metallic purple sheen to her outfit, with only the tattered cape being black. The coils on her arms are painted gold, as is the fastener for her cape. The lighter purple pattern running down her right leg appears to be a decal, which is the first time I remember seeing that used on one of these statues. It looks great, and hopefully it will be durable enough to last without chipping. The paint applications here are overall good. If I want to really nitpick, I could see a few minor areas for improvement in the lines between her skin and costume, but I’m talking very minor. To be fair I’ve seen far more expensive statues than this one with worse.

The portrait is quite lovely, with her pretty face shadowed by her luxurious coif of flowing red hair. You do have to get in and under her to really appreciate the work they did here, but I love the way the hair partially obscures it. The paint used for her lips and green eyes is sharp.

If there’s one area where these Gallery Statues sometimes come up short it’s the base designs, although that’s not the case here. The semi-transparent plumes of smoke make for a cool effect and the extra sculpt and paint that went into the goblin really takes this base above and beyond what we usually get. He’s got a ton of personality to him, and it’s clear that they poured just as much love into him as the rest of the piece. The skulls are a nice touch too!

DST has been killing it with the Marvel Gallery lately. Not only are the sculpts and paint on point, but I’m really digging the diverse character selection. I can’t think of all that much merch devoted to Maddie Pryor, and that makes this all the more of a welcome treat. It also makes for a nice consolation prize, because I was once considering picking up the Bowen version of The Gobln Queen, but by the time I decided to pull the trigger the prices had gone too rich for my blood. Meanwhile, this lovely little piece only set me back about $35 and you simply can’t beat that. The craftsmanship here is definitely on par with more expensive pieces I’ve seen. And that’s why despite the fact that I’ve run out of room to display these a long time ago, I’m still buying them, because I just can’t say no.

Marvel Legends (Wendigo Wave): Cannonball and X-Force Wolverine by Hasbro

Welcome to another Marvel Monday! I’m doubling up today in a never-ending effort to get caught up on the unopened Pile of Shame¬© in my closet. Yeah, it still feels like digging a hole in the sand, but for the first time in a while, I feel like I don’t have quite as many Marvel Legends coming in, so maybe I am getting a little closer to being current.

And let’s just go ahead and hit the Wendigo Wave again, because most of that assortment is on top of the Pile and I don’t feel like digging through it only to have it collapse and bury one of my cats in the avalanche. Plus, Cannonball and X-Force Wolverine are a couple of figures that I think I can do proper justice to in a somewhat abbreviated format. I’m going to start with Wolverine!

I was expecting X-Force Wolverine to be mostly a repaint of the Logan we got back in the Juggernaut Wave some three years ago, and while I was partially right, there is just enough new sculpting here to make it feel a little fresh. The main changes are in the forearms and lower legs. The previous figure featured the flared comic-style boots, whereas this one sports a pair of heavier combat-style kicks with chunky treads. On the arms, he’s got heavy gauntlets and the more robust blades protruding from his fists. Unfortunately and inexplicably, Hasbro omitted the extra pair of claw-less fists and that sucks. What’s the deal, Hasbro? There was certainly plenty of room in the package for them. Finally, we get a new belt, this time with the X-logo on the buckle. With the recycled body comes identical articulation, right down to those wonderful extra crunches in the shoulders.

I was surprised to see a few sculpting tweaks to the head. It’s nothing major, but welcome all the same. My only complaint here is that the features on the lower half of his face are a little soft, like they were on the previous release. The gray and black deco looks great on the mask and the eyes are painted red giving him a distinctly sinister look.

The rest of the suit is repainted in the X-Force colors, giving us that sharp black and gray combo with the space behind the X on the buckle red. Nitpickers will have prime opportunity to complain that the pegs inside the knee hinges are left unpainted, thus showing gray in a field of black. The elbow hinges aren’t effected because his elbows are left bare. The paint lines on my figure are pretty crisp and clean, although there is a bit of gray on the black area of his chest. All in all, X-Force Wolverine is a solid variant that fills a very obvious hole in the Legends X-Men roster. It’s a well put together figure, and seeing as how long it’s been since the Juggsy Wave, I’m not complaining about seeing this one again so soon. Let’s move on to Cannonball!

Oh boy! There’s two ways for me to approach Cannonball. One is based on what we got, and one is based on what we didn’t get, and y’all no doubt know where I’m going here. What we got is pretty great. From the waist up the sculpt is excellent. He features his purple bombers jacket, brown gauntlets, and a painted white shirt.

The portrait is also pretty great. He’s got a rather fierce expression with the kind of gritted teeth one would have if one was shooting explosive force out one’s lower half. The goggles and aviator style cap look fantastic, especially with his short blonde hair spilling out the top of it. I got no complaints here!

From the waist down we get this effect part of Cannonball flexing his Mutant abilities and blasting off. It’s a decent looking piece, although I would have liked a little more paint around the transition between his body and the blast effect. As it is, it’s just a sharp and jarring line where the effect part plugs into the waist. Ahh, but maybe that’s a minor gripe, especially where I’m going next. That’s right, Cannoball has no legs, and this is outright inexcusable, and yeah, I know I already used that word in this review about Logan’s missing fists. I get it, throwing in a normal lower half for Cannonball is a lot more costly than repacking a couple of fists for Wolverine, and yet I can’t help but feel it’s the more outrageous omission of the two. Hasbro gets so many things right with Legends. They go above and beyond so many times. To not include a normal lower half for Cannonball is just so wrong. And as good as the effect part looks, the figure still looks kind of dopey just standing there on it. It feels like it should have been sculpted with a wider base that would have allowed Sam to be on an angle like he’s in flight.

So, today’s Marvel Monday was a real mixed bag. X-Force Wolverine is fine, so long as you weren’t expecting anything terribly new and exciting. It’s just a costume change, and not a terribly dramatic one at that, and that’s OK. Cannonball is superb from the waist up, the effect part is fine, and what’s here is so much better than the one we got from the old Legends line in that two-pack with Domino. But not being able to display him with his powers turned off really sucks. Maybe Hasbro will do right by us and toss in those legs in a later wave, but at this point I kind of doubt it. At best, I’m thinking we might just get an apology figure with legs in a future multi-pack. And you know what? I’ll be the idiot that lines up to buy it!

Marvel Legends: Emma Frost (Walgreens Exclusive) by Hasbro

Folks, I’m really trying to get back to a regular three-post rotation for content each week, but it hasn’t been easy. I almost had it last week, but stuff came up and I just didn’t have the time. Maybe this week will be different. In the meantime, it’s another Monday, and that means time to open another Marvel Legends. And today I am once again forgoing random chance and taking a look at a figure that was just pitched at my porch by an Amazon delivery driver. It’s the Walgreens Exclusive Emma Frost!

No, that’s no mistake. I had to go to Amazon to get this figure, which is unusual because my Walgreens has been pretty good at getting their exclusives on the shelves. I’m not sure if I missed this one, or just didn’t get lucky, but when I saw her turn up on Amazon at a sort of reasonable price, I gave up on my luck changing and jumped at the chance. Hasbro’s last crack at Frost wasn’t exactly a 10 out of 10, but I still would have been happy to have found her at a price that wouldn’t have prohibited me eating for a week.

And yes, this new release is sort of a consolation prize, because she isn’t Emma in her traditional white costume. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Dark Reign, and I can’t deny the appeal of the black costume, but seeing as how this is currently my only Emma Frost on my Legends shelf, it’s not the iconic look I would have preferred. In terms of sculpting, this is one of those figures that relies heavily on paint to create the costume. Her black one-piece is all paint, with skin-tone recreating the split down the middle. Likewise, her sleeves are painted to be cropped short, and even her thigh-high stockings are painted with some gray lines running across them. She has high-heels, which I’m sure we’ve seen before, and there are separate pieces that hang around her wrists and ankles to create the illusion of the tops of her boots and gloves.

From the neck down the only other new stuff we get is a wide belt, a pair of shoulder armor, and her jacket-cape-thingy. I do really dig the slight billowing effect of her cape, and the sculpted stitch lines are a great touch. She also features red branded X’s on her shoulders, which I don’t really remember from the art, but I like them all the same. With that having been said, everything looks pretty good, although there’s fair amount of black paint spray around her chest. At least the silver buckle and eyelets on her belt are neatly painted.

The head sculpt here is absolutely fantastic. She’s very pretty and the paintwork is a heck of a lot more crisp and clean than some of those lines on her costume. The metallic blue lipstick is a nice touch too. The blonde hair is sculpted as a separate piece of plastic, which gives it that lovely degree of depth. It partially hides her right ear and the left side of her face.

The articulation here follows the usual Legends gal pattern. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows. The wrists are on rotating pins, allowing you to swap the hands between fists and the open magic-casting hands we’ve seen plenty of times before. The legs have ball jointed hips, double-hinges in the knees, swivels at the tops of her stockings, and ankles with both hinges and lateral rockers. And yes, it is a royal paint in the butt to get her to stand with those heels, but hey who needs practical when they look that good, eh? Finally, Emma has a ball joint under her chest and a hinged ball joint in her neck.

And in case you thought I forgot, Emma does come with a second head sculpt featuring her shorter cropped hair and metallic red lipstick. It’s every bit as good as the other head, possibly even a tad better, but you know what? It’s also like a big F*CK YOU to me, because now I have a perfectly iconic Emma Frost head without an iconic body to put it on.

Does it sound like I’m a little angry at this figure? Eh, I’m really not. It’s a great looking figure and certainly not a bad addition to my Legends line-up, but it isn’t the Emma Frost I wanted. Hell, I don’t even have any Dark X-Men to display her with on the shelf. Hey, Hasbro! There’s a great idea for an Amazon Exclusive. Do a Dark X-Men six-pack like you did with A-Force and Alpha-Flight to go along with this Emma. Hell, most of them would just be repaints anyway, and dopes like me will buy it. Anyway, Consolation Prize Emma set me back $28 on Amazon with that lovely free Prime shipping. So, yeah, I had to pay a premium for her, but at least I didn’t get too beaten up. Now if only Danni Moonstar would drop a couple of bucks, I’d bite the bullet and pick her up as well.

Marvel Gallery: Dazzler by Diamond Select

Apparently this week is all about doubling-down. I started it with Marvel Monday and here we are back to Marvel content on Friday. Plus, I looked at a couple of the Diamond Select Real Ghostbusters on Wednesday, and here we are back to DST today. Honestly, I didn’t plan it like that, it just happened! Dazzler showed up at my door a few days ago, and since I also recently picked up a CGC graded copy of Dazzler #1, it seemed like I should bump her to the head of the stack. And so without further delay, let’s brush up on our 70’s vernacular, crank up the Bee Gees, and boogie on down!

And here she is in the package, can you dig it? Like all Marvel Gallery statues, Dazzler’s box has windows on the front, top and both side panels to let the light in and let you get a good look at what you’re getting. As always, I recommend picking up these statues at a comic shop whenever possible, that way you can scrutinize the piece and make sure you aren’t getting no jive-ass paint job. You also support your local comic shop while doing it and that’s groovy! Alas, there’s nowhere around me that sells them, so I have to take my chances online. Still, I am rarely disappointed in what I get. If you’re unfamiliar, these Gallery statues are roughly 9-inch scale and cast in durable PVC plastic.

Out of the box, Alison is looking totally fab. She stands with legs together, one knee slightly drawn up, her microphone in her left grasp and her right hand outstretched to display a bit of her mutant razzle-dazzle. I like the composition here a lot. It’s not quite a museum-style pose, it’s not terribly dynamic, but maybe just the best of both worlds. It definitely captures the essence of her character. Also, she also doesn’t require a lot of real estate to display. That’s pretty important to me, since I’m running out of space and probably shouldn’t be buying more statues.

Ms. Blaire’s threads consist of her classic costume, and that’s a very good thing, because this is undoubtedly my favorite look for Dazzler. She dons her radical pearlescent-white sleeveless pantsuit with a plunging collar up top and flared bottoms down below. It hugs her body showing off all her stellar curves. And finally, Dazzler swings onto the scene in a pair of skates with a crisscross pattern designed to emulate a disco ball. Nifty!

I’m happy to say that the paintwork on my statue is sound as a pound. No, the costume doesn’t require a lot of intricate paint, but it does have a nice sheen and it’s smooth and clean. Likewise, her skin-tone is even and warm. Other than the neat silver zipper line, you get some silver on her wrist bangles, bicep cuff, microphone skates, and the miniature disco ball that hangs around her neck. She also has a perfectly painted pearl choker.

The statue makes good use of some translucent plastic for her dazzle effect. It actually reminds me a bit of the pieces that were included with Hasbro’s Marvel Legends figure. It’s attached to her wrist, but looks like it’s suspended there. I think it would have been cool to do some kind of floating light effects behind her with wire or something, but that’s probably far beyond the scope of what is a budget line. Anyway, the wheels on her skates are also translucent blue plastic, which is a great touch and totally off the hook.

And check out the portrait! She’s a stone fox, man! Her face is painted with her trademark blue eye mask, which is sharp and has a subtle glittery finish to it. Alison’s pupil-less eyes have a silver sheen to match her costume, and her pink lipstick is a little understated. Finally her hair radical orange-blonde coif of hair flows nearly symmetrically behind her. I think I would have liked more of a yellow hue to her hair, but I’m still fine with what we got.

Our final stop on this statue is a look at the funkadelic base, I think DST did a great job designing this one. You get a blue platform with a couple of sculpted stage lights, a cluster of groovy gold and silver stars, and a partial mirror ball behind her feet. It’s not as elaborate as it could have been. I was thinking her balanced atop half a disco ball, but there’s something to be said for being understated. Either way, every bit of this base fits Dazzler to a tee.

There’s no doubt about it, Gallery Dazzler is one foxy mama, and it’s great to see DST continue to slip some not so prominent characters into their Gallery lineup. It’s a little risk taking like this that shows a company has confidence in their line. And it worked well enough on me, as I’m more likely to sit up and take notice of releases like Dazzler than I am the umpteenth version of an A-Lister. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that this statue captures the character perfectly, delivers up a solid sculpt, and some classy paint. “The man” hit me up for about forty bones on this one, and if you ask me it’s money well spent, and the Gallery series continues to offer some of the best values on the statue market today. Catch ya on the flipside!

Marvel Legends (Caliban Wave): Blink by Hasbro

I’m here to try to get Marvel Mondays back on track and this makes two in a row, which is a nice start. I actually began writing this review weeks ago and the original intro is no longer relevant, so let’s just scrap it. Blink is a recent addition to my Marvel Legends pile of shame, and I didn’t feel like digging through the pile for the sake of randomness, so let’s just jump right in and check her out!

It’s an interesting time to be an X-Men fan. The movie rights are now solidified with the MCU. Marvel is shaking up the X-Men comics and it sounds like they’re handing the reigns to Jonathan Hickman. And the X-Men are rapidly catching up to Spider-Man as the new darlings of the Marvel Legends line. There have been more than a few great waves of Marvel’s Mutants hitting the pegs, offering up some great Triple-A classic characters, as well as some of the lower tier ones, like Blink here. I guess it didn’t hurt that Blink appeared in live action X-Men spin-off series, The Gifted, but I can’t say as I watched it.

And here she is out of the box and looking like she just rode cross-country on a Bison. Yeah, before even getting into the figure, I have to mention that Blink came off the tray with her legs warped all to hell. I knew this would be the case before I even opened her. It’s easy to tell by the way she’s packaged, and oh boy is this a pet peeve of mine. Why would you knowingly damage a figure by posing it a certain way in the box? I’m sure I will have some luck straightening out those gams, but I’m not going to do Hasbro the favor of fixing the figure before reviewing it. This shit is just adding more misery to my life. But setting aside her bow-legged-ness, Blink feels a lot like the recent release of Mystique. I don’t think the body is a total reuse, but it’s close enough and when you couple that with the sculpted belt and sash, and the similarities in painted costume, it’s hard to shake that flavor of sameness. I’m not complaining, the figure is definitely faithful to the character design and I appreciate the extra touches like the sculpting on the tops of her buccaneer boots and the studded choker that matches her belt. Plus, the sash on the belt is pretty convincing as the lower extension of her painted dress. Although I do find the way it’s pinched almost the same on the front and back to be a little odd looking. The coloring here is also fine. I like the mauve they used for her skin and the green for the dress, sleeves, and boots. The studs on the belt and choker are also neatly painted.

And I certainly have no complaints regarding the head sculpt. She’s definitely a Mutant hottie, with well defined features, her ears have points, and I love the way they sculpted her hair, giving the portrait a great sense of dimension and character.The markings on her face are sharp, and the thick eye-liner around her squinting yellow eyes looks great. Bravo on the portrait, Hasbro!

Blink comes with three effect parts, all showcasing her teleport capabilities. First up is this portal effect. It’s cast in semi-translucent hot pink plastic and it’s pretty fun to play around with. By now y’all should know that I’m never too enamored with effect parts, especially not the ones that Hasbro tends to churn out, but this one is easy to incorporate onto the shelf for display and I think it truly adds something to the figure.

Next up, you get two teleport spikes, for lack of a better word. She flings these at people and objects to teleport them. There isn’t a lot more to say about them, other than she can hold them in each of her hands.

As I’ve said many times over, Marvel Legends has been great for universe building, and that means getting characters like Blink right alongside heavier hitters like Beast, Jubilee, and Gambit. Maybe she wasn’t all that high up on my list, but she was definitely on it, and I’m happy to be able to cross her off of it. And from sculpt to paint, they did a fine job with her. No, I’m not happy about the warped legs, andI should be able to fix that with a little hot water or a blow dryer, but come on, Hasbro. You’ve been in this game long enough that you shouldn’t be making mistakes like that.

Marvel Legends (Sauron Wave): Omega Red by Hasbro

Hey, look! I showed up this week! I hope you weren’t waiting long. I’ve decided that if I can only manage one review a week this month (but I am aiming for better!), I’m going to keep the Marvel Legends love going, because that’s the one line where I’m backlogged the most. Although, with everything else piling up these past few weeks, everything is backlogged. So, no random grab this week, instead I’m going straight for the last figure I have to open in the Sauron Wave… Omega Red!

This bastard last graced FFZ back in 2014 when I reviewed the excellent 4-inch Marvel Universe version. It was a great figure, but even back in 2014 it seemed like Universe was getting steamrolled by Legends Now, that line is mostly just a memory that I keep in a box deep down in the bottom of the Toy Closet. Meanwhile, 6-inch Legends has become the dominant scale for true universe building. What a crazy, wonderful time it is to collect Marvel figures! Well, let’s open this asshole up and see if this bigger version is just as good.

Just as good? I’d say even better. Not to rag on the little guy, but I was in love with this figure the moment I got him out of the box. Or probably even before. To be fair, a lot of that comes from the character design, which I’ve always adored. This is every bit of that crazy, colorful, and bigger than life 90’s X-Men crack that I wish I could just inject right into my veins. And oh boy does it work beautifully as an action figure! OK, let’s give Hasbro the credit for executing it so brilliantly. Arkady is built on an appropriately beefy buck, which is a huge improvement over Red’s last Legends appearance. The bulk of the figure is cast in a snappy red plastic, with chalky white on the arms. New sculpting includes the massive knee and shoulder pads, harness, and the gauntlets which house his Carbonadium tendrils. I’ll circle back to those in just a bit. All in all, the costume here is just a nice mix of simple buck enhanced with add-on parts. I particularly dig the texturing in the shoulder armor and chest straps, as well as the painted bands on the canisters. The lick of silver paint on the gauntlets and kneepads looks great, as do the Omega symbols on the backs of his hands.

Hasbro continues to churn out some amazing portraits in Legends, and I tend to think the villains are among the best of the best. And here, Omega Red looks every bit the glorious monster that he is. He sports a frightfully wicked visage with his unsettling grimace and his face twisted into a snarl of rage. His blonde hair cascades down each side of his head and is partly kept in check with his red headband embossed with the Omega symbol. The rest of his coif is divided between spilling down his back and pluming out in a curiously placed ponytail. Arkady has always struck me as one of the more terrifying X-Men villains and this portrait lives up to my fears and expectations.

Omega Red’s tendrils allow for three display options. You can remove them entirely for a completely retracted look. You can put in the short ones, or you can go full-on Carbonadium mayhem with the really long ones. Both sets simply plug into the holes in the gauntlets, and you can use either one for either arm for extra display options.¬† Obviously, the longer tendrils are the most fun. They are cast in an extremely bendy plastic, which makes it easy to wrap them around other figures so Red can leach their energy.

And articulation adds to the fun too, because Omega Red features all those great points of poseability that I’ve come to expect in my Legends action figures. The legs have ball joints in the hips, double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. You get a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the chest, and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged.

The only reason I can’t come away saying Omega Red is the hands-down best figure in this wave is because Bishop was in here too. And between the two of them, they make up for Hasbro’s rather dubious idea of cramming two novelty Deadpool variants into one assortment. If I were really pressed to pick a favorite, I would probably have to give the nod to Bishop, but there’s no shame in that for Omega Red, because it is really close, and both of them are absolutely fantastic figures. Now, normally I like to do a double feature when I get to the end of a wave and knock off the Build-A-Figure too, but it was a struggle for time just to get this one done, so right now I’m going to pencil the Sauron BAF in for next week. Because, if I get time to squeeze in another review this week, it’ll be something non-Marvel. Otherwise, I’ll see you back here next Monday. Fingers crossed.

Marvel Legends: Mystique by Hasbro

While scheduling the rest of my weeks’ normal content continues to be hit or miss, I have more or less managed to get back on track for Marvel Mondays. This is the one day of the week that I’m trying to preserve at all costs because my Legends backlog is so damn big. And today I have a little more time to invest than the previous two weeks, so I’ve decided to once again throw randomness to the wind and open up Mystique for a little action figure therapy.

The package doesn’t call it out, but Mystique is a Walgreens Exclusive, so she isn’t part of a regular wave and there’s no Build-A-Figure part. Hasbro does manage to make up for that by bundling some extra cool stuff into the box. Also, this is the new style of packaging, which doesn’t look any different, but features the window as a cover to the tray rather than as part of the box. I haven’t had a lot of trouble finding previous Walgreens Exclusives on the shelves, but Mystique turned out to be an exception. I hit a couple local stores before giving up and grabbing her through a third-party retailer. Luckily it only cost me a few dollars more. I had a hunch she’d be worth it, and I was right.

And here she is in what I would certainly consider her most iconic outfit, with her white dress, boots, and gloves, and her skull belt. We last saw Mystique way back in the third wave of modern Legends with her black outfit. I was really fond of that figure at the time, but I don’t think it has aged well, making this one all the more welcome. I do actually have a few minor gripes about this new one, but I’ll get to those in a second. Also, how is it that Hasbro hasn’t started selling figure stands with a connector that will plug into these back holes? With figures like Mystique here, it would make the otherwise useless hole serve a purpose. Anyway…

Most of the costume is achieved with paint, including the boots, gloves, and top of the dress. Original sculpting comes into play with the skull belt, and the front and back of her dress, which hangs down between her legs, and is sculpted as part of the belt. It looks good, and while it can ride up a bit with certain poses, I think it’s pretty convincing at creating the illusion of being all part of the same dress. The white parts of the outfit are nice and bright and they contrast beautifully with her deep blue skin. On the downside there are some sloppy lines, particularly around the tops of the boots. There are also some rough edges around the lower back of her dress and some other parts of the figure. It almost looks like something that was 3D printed and not properly sanded down.

Hasbro rarely disappoints when it comes to their Legends portraits, and Mystique here keeps that trend rolling along nicely. It’s impossible to overstate what an improvement this one is over the Wave 3 head sculpt. Here she sports some wonderfully defined contours to her cheeks and chin, and wears a rather wicked looking smile, which just oozes personality. Her narrow yellow eyes are punctuated by the sharp eyebrows, and her face is framed by the short sculpted hair. The portrait is topped off with a tiny silver skull set in the middle of her hairline. There are two extra heads in the package, but I’ll circle back to those at the end.

Mystique comes with two guns, which aren’t as impressive as the previous figure’s arsenal. And that’s the only time you’ll hear me praise anything about that figure over this one. The first is a gold Luger-like pistol that we’ve seen bundled with figures over and over (and over!) again. It’s also a slightly smaller version of the same pistol design that came with the Wave 3 Mystique. Truth be told, I don’t really mind this gun and I actually dig the design and sculpted detail quite a bit. But because it’s so distinctive, it’s all the more conspicuous when it keeps turning up with different figures. At least I think it’s pretty well suited for Mystique. Also, both her hands are sculpted with trigger fingers to wield it.

Next up, is this monstrosity! It looks like someone blended together elements of a sniper rifle, pump-action shotgun, and a drum-fed machine gun. In other words, it’s bat-shit crazy, but I also kind of like it. I do, however, wish that it wasn’t sculpted in gold plastic. The gold works OK for the pistol, but it just looks too garish for my tastes on this bigger weapon. On the plus side, the drum magazine is detachable and that’s pretty cool. But I’m still probably going to give Wave 3 Mystique’s weapons to this new version.

Mystique’s articulation is exactly what I’ve come to expect from my Legends Ladies. The legs feature ball joints in the hips, double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. There’s a ball joint under the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. As always, I lament Hasbro’s reluctance to put bicep swivels and double hinges in the arms of their femme figures, but even as she is, Mystique is a hell of a lot of fun to play around with.

Swinging back around to those extra heads, the first is Mystique in the middle of transforming into Rogue, and oh boy was this a great choice. It seems to be more or less the same sculpt as the portrait that came with the Rogue figure from the Juggernaut Wave. Besides the partially blue face, the other big paint difference is in the hair.

The other head is that of Majestrix of the Shi’ar Empire, Lilandra Neramani, and this one is a bit more of a poser. I’m going to go ahead and assume that it’s also supposed to be Mystique, but unlike the Rogue head, it’s not depicted in mid transformation, so it looks out of place on Mystique’s body. Collectors seem to be content to re-purpose the recent Silver Sable body for this purpose, and I have to admit it works OK.

If you twisted my arm and made me say something bad about this figure, I guess I’d cry foul at Hasbro giving such an important release to Walgreens as an exclusive. No, these aren’t usually hard to find, but c’mon, this is Mystique! In my book, Iconic versions of A-Listers shouldn’t be exclusives and it’s hard for me to reason against putting her into one of the regular X-Men waves. With that having been said, she is available at a number of online retailers for just a bit over regular retail, so I guess no harm, no foul. Either way, she’s an excellent figure with just a few minor quality control hiccups keeping her from being perfect.