Marvel Legends: Nimrod, Psylocke, and Fantomex by Hasbro

After detouring for a couple of Marvel Mondays, this week I’m back to looking at Marvel Legends. And yeah, I Know I said I was going to start digging into the Sugar Man Wave, but before I get into that, I thought I’d tear into this new three-figure set that hit my doorstep from Amazon last week. And I hope you aren’t all X-Men’ed out because… IT’S MORE X-MEN!!!

This rather large boxed set comes to us as an Amazon Exclusive, and these days I find those are the best kinds of exclusives. Not only was I able to pre-order it without a headache, but did you forget to pre-order? Well, no worries, it’s still up on the site, at least is at the time I’m writing this. The presentation is pretty snappy, with a silver box and a crisp and clean gold X-logo to brand it up. I wouldn’t mind returning these figures to the box for display, and I probably will for a while. That is until the Toy Closet gets too cluttered and I have to start taking extreme measures by culling boxes again. I’ll also throw out there that this is a damn heavy box, as it contains a lot of plastic! Let’s have a look at the figures, and I’ll start with Fantomex first!

We last saw Fantomex waaaaay back in Wave 2 of Modern Legends as part of the Anim Zola Wave. Holy hell, that was eight years and what seems like about a million figures ago! I actually expected a repack, which goes to show you how much I wanted Nimrod, but upon closer inspection I was pleased to see that this is an updated figure. Did we really need a second attempt at Fantomex after all this time? Are there not other characters without figures patiently waiting for their turn? Yeah, but I will say that I’ve always loved Fantomex’s costume. He just looks so bad-ass. But, honestly this one perplexes me a bit. It would have made more sense to just repack him, but let’s dig out the original and do a quick comparison!

At first glance they look quite similar, but a closer inspection shows that they are entirely different figures. I think the older figure still holds up quite well, but this new release has a better build and is slightly better proportioned. Hell, just getting rid of those prehistoric ball joints in the hips is a big improvement. I thought the jackets were the same, but it looks like the older one is sculpted to look like it’s blowing to the right a bit, while the newer one hangs down straight. Otherwise, the two plastic garments are nearly identical. The gunbelt is new, and that makes sense, since the guns are also new. The new figure has a smaller belt buckle, and thigh straps to hold the holsters in place. The older figure has sculpted straps just above the knees, whereas the new one does not. On the downside, the tops of the boots on the new figure are separate pieces and held on by friction. And when I say “held on” I’m being generous, because they are constantly sliding down to his ankles. The old figure had these sculpted on and it was much better. Finally, the gauntlets on the newer figure are flared much more dramatically at the elbows. I think this looks better, but it does interfere with the elbow hinges a bit. Both figures have balance issues, but I think the new one is slightly better. All in all, I’d say the new version is the better figure, but there are still some compromises going on here.

The head sculpt is definitely an improvement over the old one. The noggin is a little bigger to better fit the body, and the sculpting and paint are both tremendous improvements. The eyes on the new figure are look absolutely fantastic. The black striping is a little different, and this new head shows a little less of the facial features under the mask. I really love what they did here.

As I already mentioned, new Fantomex gets new guns, and these are pretty great little sculpts. They’re a little bigger and beefier than the old guns, and they look a little less sci-fi and a little more credible as real world automatics. They’re cast all in gray plastic, with no paint operations, but they have lots of great detail to make them stand out. Also a huge improvement is how well the new figure can hold his guns. The old figure could barely hold his and he couldn’t hold them straight at all. So, chalk that up as another win for new Fantomex!

This figure also comes with some really cool effect parts for his guns. You get a pair of blast effects and a pair of smoke effects, which simply peg into the ends of the muzzles. These are tiny, and hopefully I can keep from losing them, because they are probably some of my favorite effect parts I’ve seen in the Legends line so far.  All in all, this is an excellent update to what was already a pretty good figure. And while I’m not sure I really needed to pay out for a second release of the character, I’m not terribly put out by it either. And that brings us to Psylocke!

Psylocke is another double dip, but at least she’s a variant as she comes in her Uncanny X-Force costume. Sure, we just got her a couple of years back as part of the Apocalypse Wave, and I’m ashamed that I can’t post a link to that review, because I haven’t opened her yet and that entire wave is part of my backlog. I’ll get to that wave eventually! Either way, it’s nice to have this version to go with Fantomex. Plus the Apocalypse Wave Psylocke tends to go for a good chunk of change these days, so for some this may be Consolation Prize Psylocke! Like the previous release, this figure relies almost exclusively on paint to detail her costume, but it works just fine. The sash is actually a newly sculpted piece, now white and with an X-Force logo in the center.

The head sculpt looks new to me, but it’s close enough to the original that it may just be from variances in the molding process and paint. It’s also worth pointing out that the skintone on the new figure is a bit paler than the last one, but that may also be due to coloring variation as opposed to being intentional. Either way, the new figure looks great. The paint applied for her eyes and lips is nice and sharp, and I dig the purple they used for her hair.

X-Force Psylocke comes with the same effect parts as the previous release, although the coloring on these new ones is overall a lot nicer. She also comes with a swappable right fist, which works a little better with the blast part, but isn’t really necessary, as it will work well enough with the accessory holding hand too. All of these look great, but I’m extremely partial to the Katana. She just looks fantastic wielding it. It may seem like I’m running through this figure rather quickly, despite not having reviewed the original yet, but it’ll happen. Plus, I still have the main attraction from this three-pack to cover, so let’s have a look at Nimrod!

I gotta say, I absolutely love the design of the character. He’s got a sort of Bruce Timm stylized look to him that is so bizarre and unique when presented among the regular looking characters. It’s like because he hails from the future, he actually looks out of context in the present. Same goes for how smooth and nearly featureless his body is, making him look sterile and super advanced. It’s just brilliant and it’s even better when presented as this giant slab of an action figure! The entire body is comprised of some lovely pearlescent white plastic that gives him a cool sheen, disturbed only by the pink pin-striping and the translucent pink triangle embedded in his chest and showing off just a hint of some finely sculpted circuitry. From behind, Nimrod shows off some red paint accents and his translucent pink wings, which peg into his back, making him look all the more impressive.

Nimrod’s head is barely a head, but more like a bump coming out of his torso with a face in it. The silver face is framed with some red paint, and otherwise just sports white eyes, a black slit for a mouth, and some black grills in his cheeks. Elegant, simple, and just a tad creepy.

And if you want to go for something a little more classic looking, Nimrod comes with a swappable head with a red face. At first glance it looked fairly similar to the standard head, but it is actually a completely new sculpt, and I think I’m actually partial to it. It has a little more personality and adds a bit more color to the figure.

In terms of articulation, he does indeed feel like a Build-A-FIgure, in that he has all the right points, but being a chunky boi, some of these points don’t offer  quite as much range of motion. The exception would be in the shoulders’ rotating hinges and the fact that the shoulder armor is happily quite flexible. As a result, I was surprised at the amount of movement I could get out of the arms. There are swivels in the biceps, and the elbows are only single-hinged, but you can get a full 90-degree flex out of them. The hands are on hinged pegs. I believe that’s a ball joint in the torso, but mine only wants to swivel, and it snaps back each time I swivel it. I’m not sure what’s going on in there, but I’m not going to risk forcing it, just in case something is stuck. The legs appear to have rotating hinges in the hips, but there’s really very little range in them. The knees are double-hinged, and thus quite good and the ankles have a little bit of movement in a hinge, but not much.

In addition to the extra head, Nimrod comes with two sets of hands, fists and open, and two blast effect parts that plug into the open hands and look pretty sweet.

Marvel Legends never ceases to surprise and amaze me. I mean, it’s been clear that Hasbro has pulled out all the stops with this line a long time ago, but still… getting a set like this is just so magical and I think it really demonstrates what a strong following this line has. It’s an $80 set, which is probably why it wound up as an online exclusive, I’m not sure the Walmarts and Targets would want to take up this much real estate on a planogram for a set this expensive, and populated by characters that your average normie isn’t going to recognize. But while the set may seem pricey, it costs out fairly well at $20 each for Psylocke and Fantomex, that leaves $40 for Nimrod. OK, so Hasbro’s repacks of Build-A-Figures usually run out at the $30 price point, but since this is an entirely new figure, that’s probably where the extra ten bucks comes into play. Either way, it’s a fantastic set and three solid additions to my ever growing Legends collection.

Marvel Legends (Wendigo Wave): Boom-Boom by Hasbro

My work schedule continues to be crazy, folks, and I have Easter to thank for me chipping away a little time to get this week’s Marvel Monday posted on schedule. Now, I had originally planned to look at both Boom-Boom and the Wendigo Build-A-Figure today, but I had to scale back on that because of a time crunch. I’m hoping to get back to Wendigo before the end of the week, but we’ll see how that goes. In the meantime, It’s always exciting to be putting another wave behind me, and while Boom-Boom happens to be the last figure in this assortment that I’m opening, don’t read anything into that. The Fallen Angels series hit the spinner racks at a perfect time for me, (I was 15!) and I ate that shit up and was quite smitten with Tabitha. Naturally, I’m happy to be getting her in my Legends collection.

Here she is in the package, offering up the final piece I need to build my Wendigo, and sporting that lovely X-Force logo. I’m happy with the look they went with, although I’d be equally happy to get a different costume as a future release. Hey, with how prolific this line has been, anything is possible! Let’s blast her out of there and take a look. OK, Boomer?

Boom-Boom is one of those figures that gets by with a colored buck and some added pieces. And while that might be an incentive for Hasbro to cheap out, this is another example of them going above and beyond. The buck is cast in mauve plastic to depict her featureless bodysuit and brown bits are added to complete the costume. Mauve and brown are not two colors I would think to put together, but they kind of work here. That’s why I leave character design to the pros.

The hands and feet are painted brown and pieces are added to the wrists and ankles to make them look like boots and gloves and it works great. A wide brown belt wraps around her left thigh, and while it is held on by friction, mine is happily stuck firmly in place. A thin brown belt hangs around her waist, speckled with some tiny pouches, and advertising the X-logo on the buckle. Finally, she has a brown half-vest with a segmented collar.

I’m not going to run down all the articulation, because there’s simply nothing new here. If you have some Legends ladies in your collection you should know what to expect. I will toss in my obligatory griping about the rotating hinges in the elbows. Those hinges lock in at 90-degrees of movement and that feels so damn limiting, especially when most of the Legends dudes get the double-hinged elbow treatment.

Boom-Boom features two heads and both sculpts are excellent. She has her large green visor covering her eyes and leaving only her nose and brightly painted lips visible. The sculpting for her curly hair is fantastic and highly detailed. There’s even a wayward curl or two falling over her visor. She also sports a nice pair of sculpted her some star-shaped earrings. If anything lets this portrait down a bit it’s the paint application on her lips. It looks like she applied her lipstick in a moving car… driving through a minefield… in the dark.

 

Tabitha joins the Jubilee School of Bubble Blowers, as her second head comes with a blown bubblegum bubble. The rest of the head sculpt is pretty much identical, but it’s nice to see that Hasbro was able to roll out that neat effect again so soon. This head has a few minor seam and mold flashing issues, which aren’t a big deal, but I mention it because it seems to be happening more and more lately.

Of course, Boom-Boom sports one of the more useful mutant powers out there, the ability to create explosions, and we get a couple of effect parts to help communicate that. One is just a flaming ball of combustion, which she can hold in either hand. The other is a replacement left hand with the fireball effect built in. Both look great and I’ve had some fun fooling around with them.

I’m not really tuned into the Marvel fanbase these days, so I’m not sure how much demand there was for Boom-Boom here, but I suspect most old-timers like me are going to be happy to have her. This is a release that once again shows how committed Hasbro is to the depth of character selection here and I’ll be honest, I can never have too many Mutants. Are there still characters that should probably be hitting the shelves before Boom-Boom? Yeah, most definitely, but I have no doubt Hasbro will get to everyone eventually. I’ll be back at some point this week to check out the Wendigo Build-A-Figure!

Marvel Legends (Wendigo Wave): Nightcrawler by Hasbro

The X-Men hits keep on coming, folks, and I’m only two figures away from finishing off the Wendigo Wave. I was going to save the best for last, but truth be told this figure has been waiting long enough to be opened. So let’s check out Herr Kurt Wagner. BAMPF!!!

Nightcrawler has been kicking around the X-Men funnybooks for a long time. Indeed, he’s almost as old as I am! I was a big fan of his growing up, mainly because he looked cool and I thought teleportation would be one of the best mutant powers to have. At the same time, I always thought he was one of the better examples of the Mutant dilemma, since so many could hide their mutations in the guise of their normal appearances. To me, the really interesting Mutants were the ones who traded their great gift for an appearance that instantly placed them outside normal society. And That was the case with Nightcrawler. Is it long past time we got him in modern Marvel Legends? Hell, yeah it is!

And it sure was well worth the wait! Hasbro just poured the love into this figure and appropriately so, because he is such a fan favorite. He’s built off a rather lean and almost lanky buck, which plays well to his superhuman agility. The body is cast in black plastic with some red and white paint for the boots and gloves. Yeah, there’s some bleed through on the red paint, which is a shame, but surprisingly there’s none at all on the white.

Kurt’s V-shaped vest is painted on below the chest, but sculpted above it and it flares out from the shoulders. The red paint doesn’t quite match between the two pieces, but it’s close enough. His hands are sculpted appropriately with three fingers and his feet with two toes. The figure is rounded out with a thin blue tail with a devilish point. The tail is pre-posed in a snaking fashion, so no bendy plastic here, however it’s sculpted in a way that really makes use of the swivel at the base, allowing for some varied poses.

Hasbro included not one but two extra heads! The first is a fairly neutral expression. Maybe a little perturbed or just plain stoic. Whatever the case, it’s absolutely fantastic. There is some excellent definition in his facial details, the bushy eyebrows look like they’re judging me a bit. His pointed ears jut out from behind his sculpted sideburns, and the hair is beautifully sculpted and swept back. The pupil-less yellow eyes and the deep blue skin coloring complete the portrait perfectly.

The second head offers a broad smile and I’m very glad that Hasbro included this one as it very much suits his personality, particularly in the earlier appearances. Everything that I said about the previous face holds true for this one, however, I do have a couple nitpicks here. Firstly the paint on the teeth could have been executed better. There’s a little slop from his fangs onto his bottom lip, and there isn’t any white paint on his lower row of teeth. This second bit isn’t a huge problem, as it looks like maybe they’re concealed behind his bottom lip, but I don’t think that was the intention. Also, the paint on my figure’s left eye here is a little miffed.

The third head is Kurt’s battle face and it is most definitely successful at showing off his rage. The paint on the teeth here still has some issues, but it’s a little better than the previous head. You also get some paint inside the mouth on his tongue. The furled brow and the chiseled lines on either side of his gaping mouth are quite well done.

As for articulation, Hasbro graced Nightcrawler with one of the more poseable bodies, which includes the lateral crunches on the shoulders. In addition to those, his arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, double hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps, and hinged pegs for the hands. His right hand can be swapped between an accessory holding hand and a graspy hand. The legs are ball jointed in the hips, have double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and the ankles are both hinged and have lateral rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab-crunch hinge under the chest, and his neck is both hinged and ball jointed. And once again, there is a swivel at the base of the tail.

In addition to two extra heads and an extra right hand, Nightcrawler comes with his swashbuckling sword. This weapon is influenced by the sword on the pirate-themed cover of Nightcrawler #1 only with a straight blade. The hilt is gold and fits snugly into his extra right hand. This is about as perfect an accessory as I could think to include with him, and he’s a lot of fun to pose with it.

I don’t feel like it’s hyperbole for me to say that Nightcrawler is one of my absolute favorite figures to come out of Legends in a while. Do I say that a lot? It feels like I say that a lot. Well, this time I really mean it. He’s definitely the best offering of this wave, and that’s not something I say lightly since this wave also gave us an excellent figure of mah-man, Sinister. Sure, I have a few nitpicks here, but some of them may be QC issues unique to my figure. And besides that, the broad strokes here are all just perfect. The articulation is excellent, the extra heads are most welcome, the tail has just enough versatility for posing, and Kurt looks great swinging into action with his sword. It feels like Hasbro has given us a ton of excellent X-Men figures in a short space of time, and I haven’t even dug into the Apocalypse Wave yet! But first things first, and next week I’ll wrap up this wave with a look at Boom-Boom and the Wendigo Build-A-Figure!

Marvel Legends (Wendigo Wave): Mr Sinister by Hasbro

Yes, it’s Marvel Monday on a Friday, folks! I am just barely getting this one in under the wire and it still wound up having to be an abbreviated update. I had one day off this week, that was yesterday, and I spent it reading comics, playing some Nintendo Switch and drifting in and out of sleep. I intended to get some more time taking photos, but it’s been so long since I’ve had time to do that, the cats have taken up residency on my photo stage and I didn’t want to roust them. Anyway, things continue to be crazy busy for me and I won’t make any promises for next week, other than I will get another Marvel Legends review in at some point. And that’s it. Keep on keeping on out there. Be smart. Be safe. Cling to your happy things, and hopefully this will all blow over sooner rather than later. OK, on to Marvel Monday…er, Marvel Friday!

Mr Sinister! He was far up on my short list of modern Legends figures that I wanted on my shelf. I was the optimal age of 15 when he first appeared in Uncanny X-Men and over the years he would proceed to blow my teenage mind out the back of my head. I thought he as so cool, so bad-ass, and so damn creepy at the same time. Whenever I was reading an X-Men comic and Mr. Sinister wasn’t in the panel, I was asking, “Where’s Mr. Sinister?” He was one of the very last Toy Biz Marvel Legends I got rid of. Indeed, I think I even featured that figure in one of my Deadpool reviews within the last few years. Despite being a beefy character, Hasbro still managed to cram a Wendigo arm in there. Oh, and can I say how unbelievably thankful I am that Hasbro didn’t give us the terrible suit-wearing modern look of Sinister from Secret Warriors. THANK YOU, HASBRO!!! Ok, let’s get him open.

Yup, that’s the classic Sinister that I know and love. He’s sporting the metallic blue segmented body, which exudes a very strong Colossus flavor and looks absolutely stunning. The midnight blue boots come all the way up to his thighs and flare out at the sides, he’s got matching gloves and flared out shoulders, all of which produce a sharp contrast between the matte finish and the metallic body. The body is rounded out by a red diamond on his chest and a simple red belt around the waist. Hasbro did a beautiful job updating the body from the old Toy Biz version. I think the build is perfect, the sculpt is simple but effective, and the colors look great.

And then there’s the cape! Sinestro is sporting his bizarre cape, which looks like it got stuck in a paper shredder. It’s also got that great gravity-defying plunge up and over the shoulders and a high collar that would make Dracula jealous. This garment looks fantastic in the comics, but I’m not sure it was ever meant to really translate into the real world. To be fair, I think it looks pretty good from the front, but from the back, it’s just an eyesore of a mess. It’s not the figure’s fault. I think they did the best with what they had to work with.

The head sculpt is excellent. Sinister is offering a wide and toothy smile, sports high-arching and proper evil looking eyebrows, red eyes, and has the diamond right in the middle of his forehead. They did a fine job with the flat-top hair cut too. The black of his lips and hair accentuates the white of his skin. Personally, I would have preferred a bit of a wash on the face paint to bring out some of those details. It’s maybe a little too white, but now I may be nitpicking. I also feel that a second head would have been called for here. Something a little more dire and grim.

Sinister sports all the usual articulation for a Legends figure. That includes rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the knees, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels at the tops of the boots, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The torso has a waist swivel and an ab-crunch hinge, and finally the neck has both a hinge and ball joint. The hands are sculpted into a fist on the right arm and an open grasping hand on the left, which works about as well as anything I would have come up with.

After all that gushing, I will say that I didn’t have a lot of inspiration for photographing Mr. Sinister. Maybe that has something to do with the cape being rather unwieldy. Maybe it has to do with his one-note expression not really fitting in with a lot of action poses. I’m not sure, but it kind of worked out this week since I didn’t have a lot of time to spend on him. But don’t take that as a slight on this figure, because I absolutely love him. He’s probably one of my most anticipated Legends figures in a long while and the fact that he lived up to my expectations says a lot. Not to mention that he makes the Toy Biz version (a figure that I’ve loved for many years) look positively prehistoric by comparison. Everything from sculpt to coloring just came out so well on this guy, and I’m happy to be able to cross him off my X-Men Legends Want List.

Marvel Legends: Stepford Cuckoos by Hasbro

Congratulations, you made it to another Marvel Monday! I hope y’all are staying safe, washing your hands, and for God sake, STOP TOUCHING YOUR FACE!!! I never realized until now how hard that is to do sometimes. Anyway, since I wrapped up the Caliban Wave last week, I thought I’d open a stand alone figure today before jumping into another assortment. But, we’re going to keep that X-Men love train rolling with a look at one of Walgreens’ exclusives… The Stepford Cuckoos!

Generally speaking, the Walgreens-Hasbro partnership has been good to me, as not being able to find these exclusives has been the exception and not the rule. Every now and again I have to hit a scalper, but not often. But with that being said, I had all but given up on finding the Cuckoos. And wouldn’t you know it on a random stop for cold meds and a frozen pizza I actually found one of these gals standing on the shelf. It’s always when you least expect it! As you can see from the packaged shot, Hasbro included two extra heads, so you can buy three figures and get three Cuckoos, and that very well could be part of the reason I had trouble finding just one.

Now, I have to confess some ignorance here, because my experience was the Five-in-One were identical quintuplet clones of Emma Frost and thereby looked identical and were depicted all with the same blonde hair. Granted, Hasbro was going for the Three-in-One here, so I presumed these are Celeste, Irma, and Phoebe? But with completely different looking heads? I’m going to write this off as a modern Marvel thing, because I’ve given up on reading Marvel’s books until they start focusing on hiring talent and not entitled social shills. As a result I’m not up on a lot of the modern character looks. Sorry, I started drifting into a rant there.

OK, so, I had to turn to the Internets to learn the identities. So as I make it, Phoebe is the redhead, Irma is the brunette, and that would make Celeste the blonde head that comes on the body? Let’s go with that, but feel free to slag me and tell me I’m wrong. Other than the heads, I guess the identical bodies make sense because of the whole school uniform thing. I keep wrapping my head around whether Hasbro will ever get to use this body again, and I can’t come up with any reasons.

The figure makes use of a smaller teenage body, similar to Nico from the Dormammu Wave. I’ll confess I expected a lot of reuse here, but that’s not the case. The school outfit consists of a green and white plaid pleated skirt, a white button-down blouse with green tie, and a black blazer. Down below you get white socks and black shoes. The outfit employs a lot of new sculpting, which is impressive in a character like this, and an exclusive to boot! The jacket is the usual fake-out with what is basically a sleeveless vest cast in soft plastic with the sleeves sculpted on the arms. The articulation is standard for Marvel Legends ladies, including the rotating hinges in the elbows instead of double-hinges. Although they do have swivels in the legs at the thighs and again down at the tops of the socks.

The three portraits are pretty solid, although two of mine have some mold flashing on their chins that I’ll have to shave off. The different hair sculpts range from the mundane brunette bowl cut to the more dynamic red windblown look. The eyes on all three are whited out and there’s some red painted in around the edges, which looks suitably creepy.

In addition to three heads and two sets of hands, you get a few more accessories in the box. The first are these milky-translucent plastic effect parts for their arms. They’re OK, but not much to write home about.

You also get Cerebro, and it’s the same one that came with the Deluxe Riders Professor X. It even still has the hole in the back for the effect part that came with that set. A nice, albeit unnecessary bonus.

And so Marvel Legends continues to dig deep for characters and Hasbro continues to find fun and creative ways to release them. The Cuckoos are what I would consider a perfect exclusive. I don’t consider them essential, so limiting their release wasn’t a big deal to me. That’s not to say there aren’t people out there who consider them must-haves, but that certainly wasn’t the case with me. Indeed, I would have more expected something like this to be released in a Comic Con Exclusive multi-pack rather than on the shelf at my local Walgreens. So I guess the question remains, am I going to triple-down on these gals? Nah, I don’t think so. If they were a wide release and turned up on Amazon for $15 a pop, I might be tempted, but I can’t see dropping another $40 to complete the Three-In-One. I have even since found one more on the shelf, and I wound up leaving her there.

Marvel Comics: Domino (Exclusive) Premium Format by Sideshow

Yeah, another week of abbreviated content. I didn’t make it back on Wednesday because of real life craziness, but at least I did double up for Marvel Monday. And to make up for it a bit more, I’m tackling a big one to end off the week! Sideshow’s delectable quarter-scale Premium Format figures are the bane of my existence. They’re so big and expensive, and yet they’re so damn pretty. I shouldn’t buy them, but I always want to. I’ve only reviewed one of these beauties before, and that was the Batman Returns Catwoman I won from one of Sideshow’s contests about three years ago. Yup, people actually win those! Free is great, but as any good drug dealer knows, it’s that first free hit that hooks you. Since then I’ve picked up a few more but haven’t gotten around to reviewing them, mainly because it takes a lot of effort to gerry-rig my little photo stage to handle them. Anyway, I’d like to remedy that by starting to review some of these, and what better place to start than the one I got in this week! I’m like a kid on Christmas morning!

It’s Domino! A character that I’ve been in love with ever since lucky Neena Thurman first graced the pages of Marvel Comics. Hell, X-Force #11 from 1992 was one of the first comics I ever got CGC graded. When Sideshow solicited this one, I knew I had to have it, but not just because it’s Domino, but because the composition is so amazing. But I’m getting ahead of myself. As always the statue comes in a box massive enough to house the 20-inch tall statue and plenty of Styrofoam to protect it. The box is made up to look like a giant slot machine and has some cool touches, like X-Men stickers ripped off one side and the machine’s marquee branded after Domino herself. There’s a silver foil sticker on the bottom left corner of the front panel to denote that this one is a Sideshow Exclusive, limited to 1,000 pieces.

Inside the Styrofoam, it looks like something that’s been cocooned by spiders. As expected, there is some unwrapping and assembly required here, and this phase tends to be the most stressful of the un-boxing. Are all the parts going to be OK? Is everything going to fit together properly? In this case I’m happy to say, Yes and Yes. Assembly includes attaching the figure to the base with a key tab that protrudes from her butt. Next up, the hands (each holding a gun) gets attached and held by magnets. The slot machine arm keys into the side and attaches to the toe of Domino’s boot with a magnet, and finally the head attaches by magnet as well. When all is said and done, this is a very solid and pretty heavy piece all ready for display. I’ll also note here that there is no mixed-media in this figure, so the entire costume is part of the sculpt.

And what a display it is! Domino sits playfully on top of a leaning X-Men-themed slot machine with her legs crossed and one foot resting on the arm. She leans back to support herself with her right hand, still holding a pistol, while she draws the pistol in her left hand up near her neck and points it to the ceiling. I don’t think Sideshow has ever managed to have the base upstage the figure itself in one of these Premium Formats, this might be pretty close. In truth, they both just complicate each other tremendously well. I tend to waffle between preferring classic museum style poses and something more dynamic and action-y, but this one introduces a whole new ballgame. It’s wildly creative, it’s deliciously meta, and it understands the character so well.

Of course, this is a pretty modern look for Domino, which really just means that her traditional black cat suit is enhanced with a lot more detail and a more tactical look to it. And while we already have a Domino for the films and I wouldn’t take any of that away from the glorious Zazie Beetz, I do think that this version of Domino has a realistic quality to her, which would have worked fine for the big screen. The bulk of the suit is a delightful mix of black and blue, which comes out beautifully under the studio lights, and is enhanced with patches of exposed ribbed blue “material,” presumably to add a little flexibility. Again, it’s all sculpted, but I have no quarrel with the decision because the end results are quite spectacular. Everything from the zipper track to the stitch lines, and the subtle wrinkles here and there make for a very convincing garment, even if it is all polyresin.

The suit is covered with tactical gear, all held on by sculpted segmented belts. Her inventory includes all sorts of pouches, slots for extra magazines, empty shoulder holsters under each arm, and a futuristic looking gun strapped to her right thigh. The gun is a great example of all the detail that went into the sculpt. The hard-molded style holster is textured and features sculpted rivets that simulate holding it together. There’s a sculpted retaining strap locking the weapon into place and the weapon itself is just brimming with detail. The twin pistols in her hands enjoy all that same great attention to detail. The X-branded belt buckle breaks up the blues and blacks with a bright red glossy background.

The standard portrait is superb. Domino sports her trademark pixie cut and offers a sideways glance and a knowing smirk. It’s like she’s thinking, “My luck is going to hold out, but yours is about to change.” I love the pale coloring they used for her rather unusual skin tone and the iconic spot around her left eye is crisp. For that matter all the paint work on the face is sharp and crisp. The sculpt for her hair is intricate and almost looks like it’s layered. The hair color follows the same pattern as her suit, being black with some blue-purple highlights. The only thing that sucks about this portrait is that the Sideshow Exclusive comes with a second, and that’s going to make for some tough decisions…

The Exclusive head features longer hair, the left side of which is blowing off to the side a bit. The head is turned to face her gun and her lips are pursed. It looks fine just like this, but it’s intended to be displayed with the addition of one extra piece.

 

Add the smoke effect to the gun barrel and now she looks like she’s blowing the barrel of her pistol after having fired it. I love the way this turned out and it’s creating quite the conundrum on which look to go for. The pixie cut from the standard head is more Domino to me, but the Exclusive looks so good. Luckily they are easy to swap, so I may just wind up doing that every couple of weeks.

And that brings us to the base, which is usually not something I need to spend a lot of time on when discussing statues, but here’s the exception to that rule. This is just amazing from both a composition standpoint as well as execution. It offers an on the nose nod to Domino’s mutant power, but it has a lot of fun with it too.

Sideshow went above and beyond with the detail in the bullet-ridden one-armed bandit. It has a steel sheen to the sides and back and the sculpted bullet holes look quite realistic. The back of the unit has all the vents and bits that you would expect to find on something like this. The coloring on the upper and lower marquee are beautifully illustrated. It would have been cool if SIdeshow added some lights to this base, but I don’t think that’s something they ever do in the Premium Formats. I particularly love the bullet holes in the plastic screens that cover the top marquee and the rollers. The later of which look convincing enough that I’d swear I could pull the lever and watch them spin.

Finally, the Days of Future Cash slot-machine rests on top a pile of Deadpool-branded tokens with spent bullet casings peppered generously throughout. Under this pile of loot is a simple black circular base. Lift it up and you get a little Domino artwork along with the limitation of the statue. Mine is hand-numbered 208/1000.

It’s s funny thing buying these Premium Formats. I always go into the purchase with sweaty, nervous palms and yet I’ve yet to be disappointed with one of these pieces when they arrive. And that’s saying a lot because they sure ain’t cheap. At $585 ($570 for the regular edition), I fear these statues are creeping past my budget right when I’m starting to get into them. But it’s easy to see where the money went, as Domino makes for an impressive presence on the shelf, and I can’t find anything on the piece to even nitpick about. The sculpt, paint, and overall design came together so beautifully. I’m certainly glad I didn’t pass this one oup.

Marvel Legends (Caliban Wave): Caliban Build-A-Figure by Hasbro

What’s this? Marvel Monday on Tuesday? Yeah, this happens from time to time when I want to put a wave to bed and tack on a review of the BAF after the last figure in the assortment. To be fair, I really could have just posted a Double Feature yesterday, because I’m not sure that today’s content warrants a day all to himself. Not to slight the character selection here, because we are indeed checking out Mutant-sniffer extraordinare Caliban, but as you’ll soon see, it isn’t going to take a lot of time to discuss what he’s all about. Also, apologies for the pictures. I tried a new background so as not to wash out his white and I am not at all happy with the end results. And with that ringing endorsement out of the way, let’s check out Caliban!

There’s nothing crazy here when it comes to building him. Caliban is comprised of six parts (legs, limbs, torso, and head), each acquired in part by buying Blink, Weapon X Wolverine, Forge, Skullbuster, Jubilee, and Gambit. Yup, Beast is in the wave too, but you don’t need him to build Caliban. Honestly, there isn’t a figure in this wave that I bought solely for the BAF part, nor was there a figure I would have passed on if not for building Caliban. Granted, that’s usually the case for me, because I’m all about the universe building, but it’s worth pointing out that I thought this was a solid wave.

So, obviously this is Apocalypse Horseman Caliban because he’s a big boy! I have no doubt we’ve seen this BAF body before, as it’s pretty generic, but I’m not placing it off the top of my head. Suffice it to say it’s a giant slab of plastic muscle with some veins sculpted in here and there. He’s got heavy wrist bracers, grabby monster mitts, and his feet look like Ninja tabi boots. There’s not a lot new and original going on here from the neck down, other than the coloring. And the coloring is nice. The white pearlescent plastic exposed on the legs, shoulders and upper torso sure is pretty and the deep maroon paint for the rest of the body suit compliments it well. The bracers are dark gray and you get some blue and white necrotic skin for his big claws. The paint lines on my figure are pretty sharp and all in all I got no complaints.

The head sculpt is nothing short of fantastic, featuring some amazing attention to detail in the facial features. Caliban is captured in full scream with his mouth open and exposing his fanged teeth and a fully realized tongue. The deep set yellow beady eyes are placed under a prominent brow ridge, which sweeps up to the sides to form what look like horns. The paint is the same great stuff used for the hands and it has a slight gloss to it, giving the skin a rather disgusting, moist finish. Hasbro has done some epic head sculpts in this line, and Caliban ranks up there with the best of them.

The articulation holds no surprises. Hasbro usually manages to pack a lot of great poseability into these big and beefy BAFs, and Caliban is no exception to that rule. The legs have ball joints at the hips, double-hinged knees, swivels at the thighs and lower legs, and the ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. The torso has a swivel in the waist, an ab-crunch hinge under the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and single hinges in the elbows. Not bad!

And that closes the book on another solid wave of figures and a pretty damn cool Build-A-Figure. Hasbro keeps pouring on the X-Men love over and over again, wave after wave, and I’ve got no problem with it. They have a lot of lost time to make up for, and they’re doing just that. Personally, I would have preferred a regular version of Caliban before getting this one, but that’s fine. I’m sure they’ll get around to him eventually.

Next week, I’m going to look at a one-off exclusive and then after that I’ll probably jump back into the Wendigo Wave to wrap that one up.

 

Marvel Legends (Caliban Wave): Weapon X by Hasbro

Hey hey, it’s another Marvel Monday and I’m happy to say this week I’ll be wrapping up another wave of Hasbro’s ridiculously prolific Marvel Legends series. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to say that, and I’m beginning to think that Random Mode has been holding me back, and maybe I’m better off going back to tackling these figures one wave at a time. Or perhaps an even mix of the two is in order. We’ll see. In any event, today I’m opening the last figure in the Caliban wave and I’ve saved one of my more anticipated figures in the assortment for last.

Weapon X Wolverine! This one had me excited because somehow I’ve never owned a figure of this version of Wolverine before! That’s even including the old Toybiz X-Men figures and I must have had nearly all of them! So why not? Well, to be honest this version has always creeped me the hell out. Because who doesn’t want a figure based on one of their heroes suffering horrific surgeries, mental conditioning, and general all around excruciating pain and suffering. Kids comics, folks! Yeah, this version pretty much defines the character, but it’s not something that I like to be constantly reminded of. I guess it falls into the same argument that I don’t really need a Steve Rogers (After getting the shit beaten out of him in an ally before the Super Soldier Serum) figure either.

But holy shit is this figure iconic. I can’t argue with that. Straightaway, I’ll toss out there how much I hope this is as close Hasbro ever comes to releasing a completely naked action figure. I think this one even gives Namor a run for his money. Habro invested a lot of great sculpting into this buck, providing Logan with lots of muscle tone and even painting in his patches of body hair. And they went so far as to use the extra articulated body with the shoulder crunches, which is always a welcome treat. Mercifully, there is a pair of skimpy black underwear painted onto his groinular region to leave something to the imagination. And it’s no mistake that this design leaves Logan sans clothes. It’s a vulnerable look that really helps to communicates the horrible and invasive shit that they did to him.

Everything else is Logan is wearing is actually sculpted as separate pieces and attached to the figure. The gear consists of a chest harness, which is cast in brown plastic and features silver paint on the buckles, a belt with some of the Weapon X devices attached, and two brown wrist cuffs. There are tubes that connect from the boxes on his belt to the wrist cuffs and these are cast in translucent plastic, which makes them look like they’re conveying blood. Personally, this adds a lot to the creep factor, because I can watch the most horrible gore in horror movies, but I still get squeamish around IV tubes and seeing blood being drawn. Go figure. The tubes are made of super bendy plastic and have enough slack to them that they don’t impede the articulation.

The control boxes on his belt are big and bulky and something that I always thought looked weird about the design here. They seem like they would have been more appropriately placed on some kind of master control box in a backpack. But I guess the design they went with looks more experimental and kind of thrown-together. Either way, these boxes have some sculpted details as well as some paint applications for the instruments and they look pretty good.

Logan comes with two heads, the first of which features the helmet, which encompasses the top half of his head and has a tube running down to one of the boxes on his belt. The helmet looks great, with some panel lines and extra bits and bobs and a single red bar that makes up a visor. The way the helmet is sculpted with the hair spilling out the bottom makes it almost look as if it’s removable. But instead of going that route, Hasbro just gave us a second head without all the Weapon X gear.

The second head gives me some mixed feelings. First of all, it was ridiculously hard to get onto the ball joint. I had to use a crazy amount of force to finally get it to pop. The portrait is supposed to reflect Logan in a state of unbridled rage, and I guess it does that, but there’s something about it that just doesn’t sit right. There’s nothing wrong with the quality of sculpt or detail, and even the paint is pretty solid. Maybe it looks a little too cartoony compared to some of the other Legends portraits? I honestly can’t put my finger on what it is, but I don’t think I’m going to be using this head for display a lot.

Considering the myriad versions and variants of Wolverine that we’ve seen so far, it’s amazing to me that it took this long for Hasbro to give Logan the Weapon X treatment. But we’re finally there and I think they did a pretty fine job with the figure. But it’s still not going to be a favorite of mine. Indeed, in the fight for precious space on my Legends shelves, I’m not sure Weapon X Logan will find a permanent spot for display. Or if he does, it may just be in the back corner of one of the X-men shelves. He is, however, a pretty cool figure and I’m happy to finally have him in the collection. And with all the figures from this wave in the bag, I’m going to come back tomorrow and wrap things up with a look at the Caliban Build-A-Figure!

Marvel Legends (Caliban Wave): Skullbuster by Hasbro

I’m almost through my look at the Caliban Wave! And besides wrapping up a wave of Marvel Legends, there are few things more exciting than busting into a new team or sub-group in Marvel Legends, and today we’re doing exactly that. The Reavers! These guys are all sorts of cool, and touch on some pretty twisted shit in the X-Men comics, not the least of which being Spiral’s Body Shop, alien cybernetic replacement parts, and good old fashioned body horror.

Oh yeah! Here he is just waiting to get freed from his package prison so he can start kicking ass. From Doctor Who’s Cybermen to RoboCop, the idea of people replacing their parts with cybernetic attachments has always creeped me the hell out. There’s always that nagging question about how much you can replace before you aren’t you anymore. And keep in mind, The Reavers debuted the year before Star Trek would introduce us to The Borg, albeit they are very different treatments on the idea. So where best for Marvel Legends to start but with one of the original Reavers, Skullbuster!

Skullbuster borrows heavily from another cyborg figure we got back in the Sasquatch Wave, and that is indeed Deathlok. And when I say borrows heavily, I mean the body is identical from the neck down. Even the belt and holster is the same. I’m actually a little surprised at how much of him Hasbro did recycle without any re-touching at all. Does it work? I guess. The new jacket goes a long way in making him look a bit different and hiding some of the Deathlok stuff, like the giant hole in the chest where the cable attached. And damn, the jacket does look pretty great. The mis-matched shoulder pads include spikes on the right hand side, and a number of magazines sculpted into pouches on the front and back. The zipper tracks look great and they’re carefully painted silver. Sure it looks a lot like the primary costume piece from someone’s Mad Max cosplay, but it’s still pretty badass. The ensemble is punctuated by a shoulder strap of ammunition.

And of course, the head sculpt is all new and pretty damn creepy. We get a very normal looking face sculpt buried under black and white paint and a pair of piercing red eyes. The end result is a bitchin’ looking skull that’s more than a little bit intimidating.

Do you have Deathlok? If so, you know exactly what to expect out of the articulation here, because it is essentially the same body. I’ll just refer you back to that earlier review if you want to see the details.

Skullbuster comes with one accessory, and that’s the pistol he wears in the holster on his right hip. And yup, it is indeed the exact same pistol that came with Deathlok. I dig this gun quite a bit. It has a unique design and the new color plastic really brings out all those deep cuts and details in the sculpt. The scope is pretty cool and I like how the magazine extends down past the grips. That having been said, I do wish he came with some kind of assault rifle too. Besides it being nice to get a second weapon, it would have explained what some of those magazines sculpted onto his jacket are for.

Skullbuster comes with one cool surprise, and that’s the head of another Reaver, Murray Reese. I like the helmet, and the clear plastic face shield, but if I take off the shield it looks like Reese sneezed in there. There’s paint from his eyebrows all over the face. It’s not such a big deal with the helmet on, though. Of course, this is one of those situations where we have the head but no body. So, you can either choose which character you want to display the figure as, or you can pick up a second figure. I found that if you take off his jacket and ammo strap, he looks almost different enough to warrant making the second figure out of him. But either way they still look a lot like Deathlok.

I come away from Skullbuster a little conflicted. I love that we got him, but I do wish that Hasbro had invested just a little more original tooling. I’d even have happily sacrificed the Reese head if some of that money could have gone toward tweaking the Deathlok body just a little more. And considering that Hasbro already got a second release out of Deathlok with the X-Force version, this triple dip seems like a little much. But I can’t deny that he looks damn cool and so I can’t get too mad at him. Next week we’ll wrap this wave up with a look at Weapon X and the Caliban Build-A-Figure!

Marvel Legends (Caliban Wave): Forge by Hasbro

It’s Marvel Monday again and I have a powerful urge to build another BAF, folks! That means I’m going to toss randomness to the winds and dig into the wave that I am the closest to finishing. And yup, it’s the Caliban Wave, and that means I’m headed back into X-Men territory and opening Forge!

It’s weird, but I think I actually associate Forge more with action figures than I do with the comics. That’s probably because I was so into Toybiz’s Uncanny X-Men figures and Forge was up there among my favorites. I also thought his tech skills made for an interesting, if not terribly flashy, Mutant ability.

A good chunk of Forge’s costume is achieved with paint, and I’m happy to say we’re back to the glorious blue and yellow deco. This outfit just reaches right into my brain and wiggle its fingers in my nostalgia nerves. As always, the deep blue and bright yellow makes for a snappy combo, looking every bit as fantastic on an action figure as it does in the comic panels. Toss in the brown accents to ground it, and you have a great looking color palate.

Some original sculpting includes the exaggerated cones on his gauntlets, the fringe around the tops of his boots. The boot fringe is only held up by friction, but mine seems to stay put quite well. They’re certainly better than the straps on Cyclops’ legs, which are always falling down. Moving up, Forge has a brown holster strapped to his right thigh, a red belt with the X-logo painted on the buckle, and a brown shoulder harness with sculpted pouches. I totally dig how they sculpted his cybernetic leg, which consist of some circuit-like panel lining and a metallic blue sheen. It’s much better than just having it silver.

The portrait consists of another fantastic head sculpt, which features some well-defined cheek bones and a serious expression. The mustache is particularly well done, as is the red headband that’s tied off to the side. The head is punctuated by a copious ponytail. I also dig the darker complexion that they went with for his skin-tone.

Forge comes with a pair of weapons: One rifle and one pistol. The pistol is cast in gray plastic and fits into the holster on his right hip. It’s design is a bit of traditional automatic with a little bit of sci-fi mixed in.

 

The rifle is cast in the same gray plastic and has even more of a sci-fi vibe to it. No doubt these are weapons Forge cooked up and I think they suit him well. My one big gripe is that I wish they included a peg on the rifle so it could be attached to his back. I like when my figures can carry or wear all their weapons.

The articulation holds nothing new. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, and double-hinges in the elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels at the thighs and the tops of the boots, the knees are double hinged, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a swivel in the chest, an ab-crunch hinge in the torso, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. The wide gauntlets do inhibit his elbow articulation a bit, but I’m pleased that I can still get him into a firing position with the rifle up to his cheek.

I feel like Hasbro put just a little bit of extra love into this guy. The fringe on the boots is a nice touch, the bionic leg came out beautifully, and the portrait is as solid as the day is long. And with Forge, another fine X-Men joins my Marvel Legends shelves. Boy does Hasbro seem to be loving these guys lately. Not only do I have quite a few to go before I’m caught up, but Toy Fair showed us that the X-Men train is going to keep on rolling. Forge puts me at five down and two to go in the Caliban Wave. Next week I’ll take a look at Skullbuster!