I was thinking of how it would be easy to wax (somewhat) poetic about waiting out the formation of the Giant Size X-Men team in Marvel Legends in an article like this. Because, while we might need some additional updating, this new GSX Storm and Thunderbird two-pack is really big deal for those of us who are fans of that seminal era. Marvel Legends has been around for the better part of two decades and we finally — FINALLY — have this iconic version of Storm. What a time we live in.
Don’t me wrong, it is a thrill to finally have Thunderbird in the line, too, since he was one of the original members of the GSX team, but c’mon – Storm is the big deal here. This debut version of one of the most popular and important X-Men leaders of all-time has been requested, teased, and almost-had for so long now, I started to get numb over it. Like, maybe it was just an inside joke that Ororo would never see plastic in this outfit or something, and while that was completely fabricated in my own head, it became harder to deal with not having this version as of late because Storm has been treated really well in ML. I love the Mohawk version, and I think that her Jim Lee costume is one of the better ones from that era, but both of them have have been very well rendered in Legends, so while it might be unoriginal to say, this version has been way past due.
Holding dread over the fact that you are worried about a certain character or version of a character making into a given toy line is completely ridiculous, but also 100% real. When a figure like this GSX Storm finally lands, it is almost more like the release of a pressure valve than anything else. However, that does not take away from the fact that Hasbro has offered us a really good figure here, and it is not something that is just acceptable by virtue of existing. Apparently it too a Target exclusive to get us here, but in doing so, this extremely demanded figure also did the lifting to carry a teammate that might not ever have had a real chance in the ML line, so the wait seems to be worth it on multiple fronts. Now, this set isn’t perfect, but i have to say that it is really nice overall, and a lot fun.
Out of respect for the dead, I am going to start with Thunderbird. I am a devout completist when it comes to finishing teams that hold meaning for me, so despite his short-lived status on the team and in life, Thunderbird was always going to be an essential ML addition for me. I am not sure he has ever cracked my top ten or anything, but when considering a list of essential characters and variations I would need to feel like my Marvel collection was complete, he has always been included. I think like most people, I spend more time thinking about what he could have accomplished on the team, rather than what he did accomplish, but he was/has been important for representation of a group with diverse backgrounds, and his look is pretty cool, too.
This new T-Bird figure is a serviceable addition to the Legends line. I know that sounds negative, but I really mean it in a positive way that it represents the character well, it has the things it needs to achieve that representation like a new belt, boot and sleeve tassels, and a very nice new portrait. It is just that compared to Storm, and all of the extras afforded her figure in this set, Thunderbird just struggles to compete from an excitement standpoint. I like the figure a lot, and once I reminded myself that Warpath has made me think that Thunderbird is bigger than he actually is/was, so I had to check myself when originally thinking the figure was on too small of a base, when it actually isn’t.
Thunderbird is built on the Wonderman base and uses the same boot tassels we have seen with Forge, but still fit this larger body. This is another one of those instances where you will need to glue the tassels down in order for them to stay in place, but if you have been MLing for awhile now, you know the drill. I *think* the sleeve tassels are new, and belt most certainly is, so the combination of these pieces on that relative blank base body does a convincing job of realizing Mr. Proudstar. The new head is obvious highlight, and I think the detail and likeness are both good. The head might sit slightly too high on the neck, but it is nothing too flagrant. The lines and patterning on the costume are all clean for the most part, but this figure, as well as the set overall, does suffer from some paint slop, and definitely more than I am accustomed to seeing in ML as of late. I had to use some acetone to clean some red and white paint off of the hair near the feathers, and the headband is inconsistent in terms of application as some post still show the underlying black plastic. This quality will obviously vary from set to set, but it was enough for me to notice several instances. Other than that though, Thunderbird is a perfectly fine Legend, and I am glad to have him in my display.
Storm is the big one though, and she was definitely treated like the main draw that she is in this set. Not only is the main figure nicely rendered, but she also go all of the extra pieces in this set which includes three sets of hands, two heads, and two capes. Frankly, this is the right call because these extras make the figure very, very dynamic, and her powers necessitate these extras more than John’s do. The effect really does beg the need to have two of these figures in your collection because both portraits and capes display so well. Storm also takes advantage of the latest in Hasbro engineering advances as he has the “invisible pin” articulation system in her knees and ankles. I think this is my first figure with that feature, and I have to say I am liking is a lot, both from an aesthetic standpoint, as well as for joint stability. ML has often fallen victim to having too strong of detents within some joints, and this actually solves a lot of that without reducing the stability. I look forward to see a lot more of this in the future.
Overall, Storm casts an appropriate shadow, but I would personally liked her to have been a bit less skinny and more muscular in some areas, but that is just my opinion. Her arms are pretty thin, which isn’t a huge deal, but the elbow pin/wheel does stick out when the joint is bent all the way, so it can look weird in certain poses. I love the shiny black plastic used on the costume and cape, the latter of which is was pleasantly surprised was actually achieved in plastic. I was afraid that this figure would get that same cloth cape the Lee Storm got, but having two separate capes for dynamic and static posing does a LOT for the effect of both, and is worth the extra effort and materials. This figure does have some skittish yellow paint here and there, but nothing too terrible and I totally understand the challenge that comes with yellow paint on black plastic, that is terrifying even in the best situations. But, if you see these in stores and have a chance to pick from a few, do a quick scan to get the cleanest lines.
Storm does have fists, as well as the open female hands we have see countless times at this point (time to retire them!), as well as her lightning hands. The latter are obviously the highlight, especially with the open cape and screaming head, so they are really effective in showing off her powers. The blue color kind of threw me at first (I would have expected yellow), but the sculpt itself is neat, and you can see the effect actually coming through her fingers before it gets to the points. I think those bumps should probably be in the matching blue, but they have been painted, so it looks more like raised skin when looking closely.
Finally, Storm gets two really awesome portraits, and whether you are a static/vanilla poser or an action poser for your display. you are getting something you are really going to like. I generally shy away from screaming head sculpts, but when it is combined with the lightning hands and the dynamic cape, the full-on Storm powers effect is really, really convincing. I love the flowing hair, too, and it looks like it is getting blown by an oncoming wind, rather than having a messy look with no rhyme or reason. I have already added this figure to my GSX display with the more stoic portrait, and it looks right out of a Cockrum panel, and I love that the high hair bump was not overlooked for this one. I really am having trouble deciding which version of Storm to display, so I am fearful of seeing this set out in the wild (I was able to order mine via the Target website in a shocking twist of fate) because I might come home with another one.
If it feels like you have been waiting on these figures/this set for half of your like, it is because you probably have been. Completing the Giant Size X-Men team is a BIG deal to me, so getting this version of Storm and Thunderbird is important. This is my favorite incarnation of the team, and has what are probably the most iconic looks for most of the characters, so it does fall into that “Legends” status, if you take the line title literally. Now, this is, of course, a Target exclusive, so you will need to be hunting there to get it. Banshee is still left undone in the modern era of ML, so getting a new version of him remains important to me, I just hope Dwight doesn’t make good on the “last ML he will do” to make it happen.