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REVIEW:
MARVEL LEGENDS CHASE/VARIANT ANGEL & CYCLOPS
By Thomas Wheeler



Typical for any given assortment of Marvel Legends figures, there are one or two that are "chase" figures, or deliberately very short-packed variants of characters more standardly packed in the assortment. In Series 10, also known as the Sentinel Series, the distinction went to Angel and Cyclops.

I've already reviewed the standard Angel in a separate review, so I'll keep my background report on him relatively short here. Angel is Warren Worthington III, a founding member of the X-Men, a mutant who gained his name due to the fact that he has two immense feathered wings emerging from his back that enable him to fly. He went through a decidedly rough spot some years ago when his wings were damaged to the point of requiring amputation, and then he fell under the power of the evil mutant Apocalypse, who transformed him into his agent of death, Archangel, with mechanical wings. Worthington's original wings eventually regrew, and he escaped Apocalypse's influence, and became the Angel once again.

During his time as the Angel, after he "graduated" from the X-Men, he was best known for two virtually identical costumes. The costumes featured a wide, white, vertical stripe down the middle, with a gold "halo" logo, as well as white gloves and boots. The main color to the costume was either red or blue. I'm not certain that there was any great rhyme or reason to which outfit Angel wore at any given time, although the red one was the more common of the two. Hardly surprising, as such, that Toy Biz would made the blue one the "chase" variant.

The Angel figure is basically a good one, with only two notable problems. The wings are not articulated, and they make the figure so back-heavy with their massive outstretched wingspan that the figure is incapable of standing up on his own. He does include a display stand, thankfully, but one still has to think that there had to be some alternative here. If articulated wings were impossible, then perhaps they could have made them from a lighter-weight material, or included a second pair of "pop-off, pop-on" wings in a "folded down" position that would've been lighter weight even if they'd been made from the same type of plastic than the "full wingspan" versions, and might have allowed the figure to stand.

Let's turn now to Cyclops. Another founding member of the X-Men, Cyclops is Scott Summers. Summers was raised in an orphanage after being shoved out of an airplane along with his younger brother Alex, by the boys' parents. The plane was, we would learn years after the debut of the X- Men, attacked and captured by the alien Shi'Ar. Cyclops' father would go on to lead the group of extraterrestrial adventurers known as the Starjammers, taking the name Corsair.

Cyclops' mutant power is the ability to fire red beams of pure force energy from his eyes. Unfortunately, he doesn't have much control over this ability. It's thought that the parachute landing from his parents' plane was less than gentle (the chute caught fire on the way down), and Scott ended up with a bit of brain damage as a result, costing him conscious control over his power when it eventually emerged. Summers must constantly wear either a pair of ruby quartz glasses, or a special visor, to keep his powers in check. The visor has an adjustment setting on it that allows Cyclops to fire his eye beams at various intensities.

The basic figure of Cyclops offered in the Marvel Legends assortment was, indeed, pretty basic. It was essentially Cyclops from the Claremont/Byrne era -- dark blue uniform including head covering, with yellow trunks, gloves, and boots. To be honest, I prefer the later uniform design, sometimes called the "S.H.I.E.L.D. uniform" because of its resemblance to the uniforms worn by the government agency S.H.I.E.L.D. in the Marvel Universe, which allowed a bit of Cyclops' hair to show through, and overall, he uniform just had a bit more "personality" to it. So I wasn't all that interested in the Cyclops figure.

The chase variant for Cyclops was easy enough for Toy Biz to do, though. Cyclops was, along with the other original X-Men, one of the founders of a separate mutant team called X-Factor. Although later on, none of the original members remained, and the team name came under the auspices of the federal government, during his time with X-Factor, Cyclops wore a rather distinct variant of his then-standard uniform. It was a lighter blue in color, and rather than having any yellow trim on it, it had a white "X" across the middle, and white gloves and boots.

Personally, I think the uniform design offers a rather tempting target.

The figure is decently made, but excessively detailed. Someone along the way decided that dry-brushing paint detail across the entire costume would be a cool thing to do. It wasn't. It makes the figure look like he needs to take the uniform to the laundry. It's not a very good look. Even if I was impressed with this uniform design, I doubt I'd be especially interested in this figure, specifically for this reason. It looks like a cross between an overly detailed model kit, and something McFarlane dumped out of his factory.

I don't mind a bit of airbrush detailing here and there, bu I've seen too many instances lately where Toy Biz has gotten carried away, or used other methods of detailing, like this dry-brush method (it also turned up on the Superhero Showdown Hulk figure), and the results are awful. Somebody needs to persuade them to tone it down a bit. There's nothing wrong with a basically clean-looking action figure.

Still, on the whole, the Marvel Legends line is one of the more impressive action figure lines in existence at this time. Toy Biz is doing a generally good job. The odds of finding these two chase variants isn't very high, but really, any fan of Marvel Legends in general or the X-Men in particular, would not be displeased with them, if they don't mind the excessive detailing. If Toy Biz can learn to tone this down a bit in future assortments, and depending on their character choices, I expect I'll be reviewing more entries in the Marvel Legends line in the future.

And I'm pleased to have been able to report on these two particular entries.