Well, it looks like we’ve got another wave of X-men figures slamming online retailers and store pegs everywhere. While excitement mounts around every wave of Marvel Legends, the X-men waves really seem to grab people. I’ve heard from reliable sources that the X-men are popular. This one has been the source of even more anticipation than usual, since it features a handful of characters that complete a real, honest to gosh X-men team. Ladies and Gentlemen, your X-men Blue team is now complete:
Outside of that, this wave also features a long, long, long overdue brand new Beast. We haven’t had a new attempt at a comic-accurate blue-furred Beast since Wave 4 of Marvel Legends. We probably have Fwooshers who weren’t even born when Toybiz’s Beast lurked on shelves.
I’ll be tackling two figures a day throughout the week, so if I don’t cover the one you want to see today, just keep checking back. Eventually, with blood sweat and tears, I’ll be tackling them all. And then I’ll take a nap. But so I don’t make anybody wait for the one they really want to see, let’s start off with the star of the party: Beast.
Short review: Beast is excellent. This is a Jim Lee-era Beast all over the place, so this Beast is going to feature a brighter blue, a larger body and a distinctively Jim Lee-styled head, growling with whited out eyes and all. This is not necessarily my preferred style of Beast since I tend to skew more Bronze Age in my preferences, but I can’t deny a well-done figure.
Beast is, of course, a completely brand new sculpt, and he has been sculpted with maximum articulation in mind. There are some points of articulation here that we’ve never seen in Marvel Legends before, and each one heightens the overall playability of the figure. In many instances, I’ve often wished that the toy teams would hire a “designated player.” meaning somebody who literally sits down and plays with a toy at some stage behind the scenes and finds out if the toy does exactly what it should be able to do—and more—for each individual figure. Sometimes its a matter of clearance at a certain joint, others its giving Spider-Ham some friggin’ articulated legs.
Beast really feels like they went: “this is a dude known for his mobility, so let’s make the toy live up to that.”
Outside of the usual double jointed arms and legs, Beast features butterfly joint at the shoulders a ToyBiz-era attributes that are working their way back into Marvel Legends, although in a much more integrated and seamless manner than the sometimes harsh manner in which they were implemented by TB.
Additionally, he features toe hinges. This is a definite ToyBiz throwback, as Hasbro has usually shunned that joints for the vast majority of its new sculpts. While it’s not something that I care to see added on to every new figure, it’s practically a must for characters like Beast.
Beast’s torso features a dual-articulation that combines a traditional ab-crunch—albeit set lower than usual–with a swivel-crunch. It’s a similar setup to the recent DCC Icons figures, but it is far more functional here than on the few Icons that I picked up. The combination of these two joints allows beast to get into a far deeper crouch than each individual style of joint would have allowed.
In combination with the extreme torso motion, the hips are set up differently as well. Not only is there a wider range of clearance—essentially negating the plastic cup that usually hugs the hipballs–but the hips feature a different and inventive drop-down “notch” that allows you to pull the entire hip setup downward, allowing the leg to bend upward further. It’s a different approach to the type of drop-down hips you usually find in import toys. I haven’t seen this style of drop-down hip in anything before so I’m not sure if it has been influenced by any other figure or if it originates with this toy, but I love the results.
All of these various articulation methods make Beast the most articulated Marvel Legends figure to come out of Hasbro’s gates. He can crouch, he can do a handstand, he can do that three-point running thing he does in the comics, he can fly through the air with the greatest of ease. In fact, the only real articulation ding I could make is that his head doesn’t tilt back far enough to allow him to crouch at his maximum crouchiness and still look straight forward. But that’s me digging for something to complain about.
In addition to all that sweet sweet articulation, Beast comes with four hands: a fist, a flat palm, and two expressive hands.
One of the more common (and only) complaints is the lack of a calmer head. I do agree with those sentiments even if it feels greedy to ask for something else on top of everything we got with this one, but greed is built into the hobby. If it’s any consolation, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing that in some form down the road. Beast is such an excellent figure I doubt he’s not going to see a re-release in some fashion, maybe in the vintage line or a boxset, and I have no doubt he’ll come with that calm head that we want.
While nearly everyone wanted a new Beast, Skullbuster was met with one of three reactions. On one side, there was the “Yay, Reavers!’ contingent. Then there was the “Boo, Reavers!” group. And finally, you have the “who the F%$k is Skullbuster?” Group.
I’m firmly in the Yay! camp. The Reavers are cyborgs, which means they are awesome by virtue of the “anything cybernetic is awesome” laws inherent in fictional media. Skullbuster is a well-done introductory figure, as he features some smart reuse of the previously released (and excellent) Deathlok figure with some newly sculpted bits. Many of the other Reavers would have required much more work. I hope we can get a Bonebreaker out of this at the least, but I wouldn’t scoff at more.
Since Deathlok was a fun figure, Skullbuster is just as fun, well-articulated and aggressive looking. The extra vest helps differentiate him from being just a deathlok repaint, in addition to the awesome scowling head with the skull facepaint.
He comes with the same gun that Deathlok came with, which was fine, but he looks much better with something a little punchier. Skullbuster is not a name you hang on someone who is known for subtlety.
In the recent trend of DIY trend of Hasbro giving us someone’s head and letting us do the rest of the work, we also get a Reese head packed in with Skullbuster. Reese is yet another Reaver, so I can assume we won’t be getting a Reese all by himself. Reese isn’t burdened with as much bionics as Skullbuster, so you can either ignore that and get a second Skullbuster to use as Reese or cobble together something else for him. I think that’s the route I’ll be going, but I haven’t decided yet. I think I can use some of Killmonger, and maybe a Namor torso with a vest if they all work together. If not, there’s got to be something.
Either way, I am optimistic that this is the start of a trend and more Reavers are on the way.
Come back tomorrow for another pair of X-people!