Marvel Legends Mystique
Ha! Even with your shape-shifting mutant abilities and “Blueberry” code name, you cannot evade us, Mystique! That said, somehow, even after a couple of swipes by two different companies, Mystique has been able to evade having a GOOD Marvel Legends figure, that is, until now. Yes, once again, it took the amazing team-up of Hasbro and Walgreens to get us what we have been needing for years, but Mystique can now stand proud with her ML contemporaries.
If you are an X-Men fan (like me), it is one heck of time to be collecting Marvel Legends. Ever since they started getting their own devoted series a few years ago, the X-Men have had some of the strongest ML releases ever, and the new Caliban wave that is about to hit might be one of the best Legends assortments EVER. The Jim Lee 90s team is barreling towards completion, and other iterations and X-characters have continued to fill in alongside those releases as well. I am GIDDY over (hopefully) seeing more of the Wendigo series reveals, as well as some possible confirmation of the rumored “Marvel 80th Anniversary” sets at Toy Fair in a couple of weeks. You KNOW Robo and I will be live and in person for the Hasbro showcase, and that is a perennial highlight of Toy Fair.
While we wait, Mystique is the perfect figure to whet our collective appetites for new toys as she should start finding her way into Walgreens stores stateside very soon. Yes, she is trickling out in Asia now, and YES we are very impatient when it comes to these figures, but a little bit of patience should serve you well. I have said it countless times in previous features, but Walgreens continues to be king of the mountain when it comes to Marvel Legends exclusives. We have the whole damned Fantastic Four in their best action figures ever thanks to them, and for that, they will always hold a special spot for me. With Magik and now Mistique, it looks like Walgreens is pivoting in terms theme, so while the F4 fan in me is sad, the X-Fan is already dying to see what is next.
Getting fresh new Marvel Legends X-Men is wonderful, but let’s not forget that they can do little past looking pretty without having some villains to fight. Sure, it is neat getting teams like the Reavers, and what not, but getting some classic Brotherhood members is my priority for the bad guys, and this Mistique, along with the Mangeto/Scarlet Witch/Quicksilver tease we got at SDCC last summer, certainly helps to further that cause. Store exclusives generally limit the amount of resources that can be put into a figure in terms of new parts and unique pieces, but since Walgreens doesn’t shy away from new tooling (the Thing is 100% new for chrissakes) Mistique benefits from that and it gives the chain the accessibility to a character who could not simply be something that is color palette swap of total parts reuse.
That said, like (almost) all Marvel Legends figures, this new Mystique makes great use of some pre-existing parts, and those base pieces carry a lot of the weight when it comes to providing a body that is not 100% TERRIBLE. I am not pulling any punches here: the Toy Biz and previous Hasbro ML versions of Mystique are horrific. I am not saying that to be mean, but hot damn, do those figures both suck, and the base bodies are mostly to blame. Getting to wash them both from my memory is a wonderful thing because the base body for this iteration of Mystique is finally great. She is made up mostly of Elektra parts, and I was already a great fan of that figure, so the build works well again here. From the neck down there are identical from what I can tell save for paint and the fact that Mystique gets her unique skull belt and skirt piece. The latter was the teaser piece for this figure back at SDCC and I am glad that it is free floating so the belt can be moved to limit any possible posing restrictions.
As is the case with many successful figures, the big win with Mystique is in the head sculpt, and again, friggin’ FINALLY. I get it, Mystique is a shape-shifter, so technically, she could really look like anything, but at the same time, THIS is what Mystique looks like. The sculpt captures her features well, and applies the perfect amount of sinister to her expression to make it all very effective. Not to continue to crap on the past again, but the previous Mystiques looked nothing like her, though that Madame Hydra reuse could be argued that she was in the midst of transforming into a horse for some manner of undercover espionage. You get my point, though, and simply put, this release catapults Mystique into that “I-probably-don’t-need-another-ML-figure-of-her-again” company, rather than being one who causes me to wince when I pass her on the toy shelf. The light to dark red transition in the hair is also a very nice touch, and it carries over into the faker Rogue head.
Mystique also comes with several accessories, and they make for an interesting assortment. First, for weaponry, you get a pistol that is very much in-line with classic arms she has been known to use, and then a giant crazy gun thingee. Both of them are reused, which is fine, but I would have preferred getting two of the pistols instead of the big gun, but that is just me. You also get two additional heads, though neither of them are meant to be used with the actual Mystique figure. The first head is also Mystique, but disguised as Rogue and in mid-transformation. This is a neat inclusion that is accomplished with paint, so if you have an extra Rogue hanging about, or want to use yours for some X-Mansion recon in your adventures, you are all set.
The really neat inclusion though, is the head of Shi’ar leader Lilandra in her battle helmet. Now, TECHNICALLY, this could also be Mystique, but c’mon, it’s totally Lilandra. This piece has already inspired more speculation and conspiracy theories than I can to count, but MAYBE there is a different version of her coming out later this year, or MAYBE she is the start of a year-long Build-a-Figure across Walgreens releases, but no one really knows right now. We might learn more next weekend at Toy Fair, but for now, I am just going to be lazy and use an extra Silver Sable body to stand in for a “pretty” close base for Lilandra, much like I did with Madcap and a Batroc body. I DO hope both of these characters are fully realized in ML at some point, but for now, I will use my kitbash and have a little faith.
Well, Mystique kicks off a year that looks to be a banner one for X-men characters, and Walgreens is already off on the right foot. I cannot wait to see what is next from them at this point, and while some supposed computer leaks point to things like Emma Frost, Dani Moonstar, and Iron Man Dr. Doom, I am going to bet we have a least some of it sorted in New York at the Hasbro event. Regardless, this looks to be another fun year for Walgreens in terms of exclusives, so my “happily along for the ride” approach shall continue with ML, and I plan on nursing my wallet back to health several times.
Like I said, don’t get an itchy trigger finger with buying Mystique, she will be hitting Walgreens stores very soon.