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    Oct 2001
    Fredericksburg, VA

    Kotobukiya X-Force Archangel Fine Art Statue

    Former X-Man looks great in black...

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    The modern reinvention of X-Force has proven to be one of Marvel’s coolest and most action-packed comics, with great characters and an edge you don’t often see these days. Starting essentially as Cyclops’ hit squad targeting threats to mutantkind, the team was and remains comprised of deadly and “morally flexible” heroes willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. With the series’ adult tone and themes you don’t see an overwhelming amount of X-Force products, but what’s out there is generally pretty cool. Nothing, however, comes close to Kotobukiya’s line of X-Force Fine Art Statues. With dynamic representations of the team’s members, this series has been consistently solid with X-23 (read our review HERE, Deadpool, and Warpath). The final release captures one of my favorite Marvel characters as he appeared specifically on this team: X-Force Archangel!

    Warren Worthington III has been around in comics for a long time. One of the five original X-Men way back in 1963, his feathered wings and love of flying earned him the nickname Angel. Years later as a member of the next generation team X-Factor, Angel lost those organic wings and seemingly died. Shortly thereafter it was revealed that his death was faked, and Warren was altered by the villain Apocalypse. With blue skin and razor-sharp metallic wings capable of shooting projectiles the transformed hero served his new master until the remembered bonds of friendship brought him back to the light. With his new look and abilities, not to mention a much more somber attitude, Warren called himself Archangel. Much later “Angel” would return when his original feathered wings grew back... until a convoluted plot by the mutant-hating Purifiers resulted in their amputation once again. In the aftermath Warren discovered that he could transform between Angel and Archangel forms nearly at will. And as the aggressive, bloodthirsty Archangel he fit right in with X-Force, even getting the chance to confront Apocalypse again in the process. Warren would serve with distinction on the team and become a co-leader of the Uncanny X-Force up until the recently completed Dark Archangel Saga.

    Like X-23 before him, the X-Force Archangel Fine Art Statue comes packaged in an ultra-clean white box that looks very sophisticated. With the sheer size of the statue and its wings the box is quite large, measuring about 18 inches wide, 19 ½ inches tall, and 9 inches long. All of the panels except for the back are pure white with some text. The front of the box uses gold lettering for the statue’s name and X-Force logo with a clean, minimalist look. The sides of the box repeat the logo in a subtle un-colored embossing that’s nearly impossible to photograph while the top flap will show your specific statue’s edition number.

    Meanwhile, the back panel really stands out for its imagery. Eschewing descriptive text, here you’ll find the name (and Koto logo) at the top. Dominating the panel is a huge photo of the statue with an image from the comics in the background and a small notation at the bottom to call out the sculptor Erick Sosa. On the left side is a rear view of Archangel and close-up photos of X-Force Deadpool and Warpath. Inside the box is a two-part styrofoam shell containing the four parts of the statue.

    Flying characters are always tricky to capture in statue form. Often the character is either neutered by being posed about to take off or an attempt is made to disguise or hide the connection from the flyer to its base. For Archangel, Sosa chose a sort of combination that works really well for the character. Attached to his uneven base by both feet with an aggressive pose and his wings spread around him, Warren maintains a sense of movement and lightness that makes it easy to imagine him coming in for a graceful landing OR spreading his wings to launch into the air. Overall, Archangel is over 17 inches tall from base to wingtips and makes for quite a presentation. As he perches on the broken column and pile of bricks the mutant twists at the waist with a natural movement to his arms, curled up from his sides, while he stares straight ahead with a fierce scowl. Meanwhile, his multi-paneled wings unfurl behind him and to his sides, extending far above his head and below his feet.

    One of Kotobukiya’s go-to sculptors, Erick Sosa knocked this one out of the park. Using lots of reference imagery from the comics he’s captured Archangel both in his overall look and essence. Warren wears only a skin-tight bodysuit so there’s not much to him as far as textures go, but in peak physical condition he has a lean muscular sculpt with tons of muscle definition. The physicality of the Archangel statue is really aggressive with the aforementioned torso twist that emphasizes his chest and abs while the alternating bent and straight legs show add even more dynamic tension in the sculpt. As a “billionaire playboy” one moment and vicious killing machine the next Warren Worthington III is sometimes depicted with almost animalistic, even ugly, features in the comics, but Sosa went the extra step to capture the character’s attractive features which better represent him. Archangel may not win any beauty contests with his focused scowl and arching eyebrows, but he’s definitely believable as the dark side of a handsome socialite and his profile is dead on.

    Of course, any Archangel statue’s success is going to depend greatly on the treatment of his wings and here again the sculpt does not disappoint. Warren’s celestial technology wings have been portrayed in various ways in the comics from metal feathers to huge clusters of stacked and layered sheets. The Fine Art Statue takes its cues from some classic designs as well as modern X-Force art by Choi and Crain with two pairs of two wings, the foremost pair large and expansive with a secondary smaller set behind the first. All four wings are smooth and sharp-looking, with nice points at their tips, deep cut grooves, and substantial borders along the top edges.

    When Warren first became Archangel in the pages of X-Factor, he got an interesting new costume to go along with his metal wings. Dark blue with a pink design spider-webbing from the chest onto the arms and legs, it was a pretty bold fashion statement. Unlike the more mainstream X-Men and X-Factor teams, X-Force operates primarily in darkness, with costumes/uniforms in black and gray or silver. And so when Warren became Archangel once again in the pages of X-Force his traditional costume returned but with a simple color palette swap! Koto’s Archangel matches this pretty perfectly, essentially a black suit decorated with a shiny, reflective silver pattern. The matte black really makes the silver stand out, and the borders between the colors expertly ripple and bend across the mutant’s physique beneath the suit. Archangel’s wings add a whole bunch of metallic silver to the scene, with nary a spot of other color. The real highlight then is Warren’s pale blue face complete with authentic blonde eyebrows and beady red eyes. Another potential danger in an Archangel statue or toy is that the blue face can make it look silly or cartoony; the intense expression on his face certainly precludes that here. Overall the paint job is excellent and I have no complaints.

    The last thing to talk about in this Fine Art Statue is the base. X-23 established the theme of X-Force standing on blasted architectural terrain, and it was continued with Deadpool and Warpath (the former standing on a ledge very similar to X’s and the latter on more of a broken flat surface). Archangel’s base is another such bit of terrain, a square area with a protruding column. The outer bricks have broken off and lie in a huge pile at the bottom, while the column is mostly concrete with a couple patches of plaster. As with the statue itself the sculpt and paint here is very good, though it really gets overshadowed by Archangel. On the bottom of the base is the statue’s info and edition number (out of 1000).

    If you’re a fan of Archangel, X-Force, or Uncanny X-Force, you really need to check out this Fine Art Statue. There are a handful of toys and statues of this specific character, but this one really blows them all away. Now, as the biggest and most impressive of Koto’s X-Force line it’s not cheap at $230 (but definitely worth it). There’s also a small issue of the four members not exactly matching in terms of color (grays vs. silver), but that’s really just a nitpick as the colors were fluid between artists and issues. To get your X-Force Archangel head over to Kotobukiya.

    Review and Photos by Scott Rubin

    Review Sample Courtesy of Kotobukiya

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