Today we’re going to take a look at the X-Men’s premier field commander, and we’re going to do it in two of his most recognizable flavors. Which one is best?
…. does it undermine the whole process if I tell you they’re both excellent figures, and really either one if not all the above are great additions to the growing One:12 X-lineup? Damn, I’m bad at this. No wonder I’m broke all the time.
But if you need some finer details or more convincing, I’ve some text space to fill, so let me do what I can for you. The Mezco Cyclops figures are a new body, built to house the only action feature that really counts- his light-up visor. Going back to that iconic 1st series Toybiz Cyclops, it’s a feature that has had it’s share of ups and downs, but it’s the kind of feature you make concessions for; it’s one of those things that if you can do it, you have to at least try.
So Mezco gave it one helluva effort here. The LED and it’s batteries are housed in a cylinder that makes up the figure’s neck, and slots down into the torso. This naturally helps immensely in hiding the power switch and other needed components, but does so in a way that isn’t too hidden, like you don’t have to unzip a costume or partially disassemble a torso. And the other nice thing about this technique is that it preserves most of the figure’s torso articulation- he’s obviously not as limber as a figure without this feature, but he actually does better than I would have anticipated. And while not super powerful, the effect does pull it off pretty well, particularly paired with the more low-key optic effects, and even admirably with the big ones. We’ll come back to those in a second.
So the base body and even body suit to some degree on these figures is the same, as you’d expect. And other than the torso part we discussed above, Summers is about even with say Daredevil or Blade as far as articulation and range. Double knees and elbows, good range in the shoulder and hips (though the butterfly joint is either omitted or just smaller), and some good range in the boots and ankles. That deep wide stance with Scott’s fingers on the visor? No problem. And both base suits are really nice- a little bit of Mezco texture and styling, of course, but not at all a major departure in either look. And that subtle vinyl “X” incorporated into the chest is just begging for an X-Factor release.
Other than the shade of blue, the big differences here are gloves, trunks, and belts. Classic Cyclops goes all-in on the look, but the Jim Lee one gets very close to the inspiration. I’m very glaf the classic has the yellow trunks, and while it’s not a deal breaker to omit them on the Lee version- you may remember Marvel’s “house” adverising art did so for a time, even on the X-Men Classics packaging- it was something I had to add to mine. It was just so closee to that 90s comic/ Marvel vs Capcom look, I got some help from Tony Mei (MEI KAI) and finished it up. So out of the box, that might be a thing you chose to do. That aside, the Lee version has the extra thigh bands and shoulder harness, and if you have any other Mezcos with belts and bandoliers, you know they do a great job on these details. Sharp paints, good flexible plastic, and a solid overall aesthetic.
To compliment this, you of course need a full-masked and a open-topped mask and visor, and obviously these too share elements where it makes sense. Scott’s face is maybe a little on the plain side, compared to some of the really expressive stuff like Punisher, but I think it suits the character fine. Both have an option for an open-mouthed expression, and again, this makes sense for Scott, especially when he cuts loose.
The Classic gets some bonus points here though, with the inclusion of an unmasked, sunglass-wearing head. These actually helped sell me on the headsculpts overall, and while it’s a bummer the Lee version missed out, it’s nice the Classic had one. Hell, they could have done a pair, to cover both figures in a MAFEX sort of way. Being something you would more associate with the Lee style, maybe it was.
The Lee version does pick up a jacket instead though, and this is of course a fitting addition, and very 90s, and very similar, if not the same, to the one found on Logan. I love bomber jackets in general, I love the quality and material of this one, and how it makes for a perfect 90s addition to the figure. I would call it a straight sixes, except for one little detail- it’s a damn shame it doesn’t have the “X” sleeve patches. That detail made it onto the old Toybiz MvsC two-pack version, and with it, made my definitive Cyclops figure for years, and like a lot of you, I contorted that damn XMC Cyclops and got it on him too. It’s literally a tiny thing, but hey, when the figures are this good…
Other than that, accessories and hands are even. We get the usual assortment of fists, relaxed and grip hands, and y’all know I don’t usually get too much into those, but in this case, it’s the inclusion of those extended-fingers for the visor hands that make all the difference. And right along with that, you pair that hand with one of several visor effects, and you have a centerpiece in the making. For options there, you have a small firing effect, extending just out from his face, and then a massive unleashed effect that really conveys just how destructive Cyclops’s power is. And as a testament to the figure build, he can use this effect without becoming a tripod. The light up effect comes in handy here too- but more on the smaller effect. That big blast is just too much plastic to permeate effectively. But my personal favorite, for both figures, is that small smoldering visor effect, like he just finished firing or is just about to start. In a display, especially when lit, this figure comes to life for me with it.
So I know I already spoiled it a bit by saying how much I really like both figures, but the whole point here is to actually make a call. And really, there is one factor I can pick a winner over the other on here, and that is bang for your buck. And for that, the Previews Exclusive Classic version comes out ahead- the unmasked heads and not needing third party trunks give this Cyclops an advantage right out of the box. And that’s even with having more of a personal attachment to the Jim Lee look. So, if you can only do one, there’s my shake on it.
But you know you’re not really going to go wrong with either one. Especially if you reach out to my friend Tony (dandymei on Facebook) and get the Lee version some shorts. All in all, these are easily and definitively the best damn Cyclops figures I’ve ever seen.