REVIEW: Hasbro SDCC Exclusive Marvel Legends UNCANNY X-FORCE
Three-Pack Commemorates the Tragic "Fall of Archangel"...
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This summer at San Diego Comic-Con Hasbro unleashed a huge assortment of incredible exclusive products covering everything from Transformers to My Little Pony and everything in between. In the Marvel department the toy giant brought out two super popular team packs, one in the small Marvel Universe line and one in the larger Marvel Legends series. The latter brought together a trio of mutant heroes from one of the hottest teams in recent history: Uncanny X-Force. Gathering Wolverine, Psylocke, and Archangel in their fierce X-Force costumes the Fall of Archangel three-pack brought to life last year’s heart-breaking Dark Angel Saga.
A hallmark of Comic-Con exclusives is cool packaging, and this X-Force set certainly fulfills that requirement. A tall window box, the package features great new artwork of the characters. The front panel has a huge open window so you can see the three figures posed inside; around them the packaging has black and white artwork and brightly colored logos and titles. At the bottom left is the set’s name, and the ever-present SDCC sticker can be seen at the top-right of the window. One side of the box has a large version of the set’s name while the other has thumbnails of the three characters.
The back panel is dominated by a massive image of the X-Force team members launching into action, new artwork by X-Force series penciller Clayton Crain. At the bottom-left are super-enthusiastic comic book messages like “the relentless X-Force must not yield!” and “Only the Boldest Heroes Can Confront the Crushing Truth: to Save the World, They Must Destroy One of Their Own!”
The modern X-Force began in the pages of Messiah Complex in 2008, bringing together a team of mutant heroes with skills emphasizing hunting and fighting. Cyclops selected none other than the veteran Wolverine to lead this group, pointing them like an arrow at mutantkind’s enemies for swift and targeted elimination. While not one of the team’s original members, Warren Worthington III was introduced to it when they used his Colorado mansion as their headquarters. After a violent confrontation with a brainwashed Wolfsbane, Warren’s Archangel persona returned in force, metal wings, ruthless personality, and all. Archangel would go on to lead the team alongside Wolverine, and was instrumental in recruiting new members when the team went rogue in Uncanny X-Force. One of their additions then was longtime X-Men member Psylocke, martial artist and master of psychic blades. Her romance with Warren would be put to the ultimate test when he emerged as the heir of Apocalypse in the Dark Angel Saga, threatening to take over the world...
The Marvel Legends toy line has had a long and storied history with collectors, first put out by Toy Biz and then Hasbro. The 6 inch Marvel Comics figures have always been highly sought after for their great character selections, excellent sculpts, cool variants, and more. Despite its popularity with hardcore collectors, Marvel Legends petered out in 2009. Fans then rejoiced when Marvel brought it back like a phoenix from the ashes early this year, though, with two series already released. Thus it was perfect timing for a substantial SDCC Marvel Legends exclusive!
As we’ve come to expect from the Marvel Legends line (especially the new 2012 figures), the X-Force figures look great and are fun to pose and display. In 6 inch scale we’ve got Wolverine at just under 6 inches (too be fair he probably should be even shorter), Psylocke right at 6, and Archangel at a stately 6 ¼ inches. They’ve all got new sculpts, though we’re bound to see them again and at SDCC Hasbro had a classic Archangel on display with the same sculpt that will be out early next year. The figures capture the mutants’ Uncanny X-Force costumes complete with dark colors and even some added features like Psylocke’s sash belt and Wolverine’s strappy gloves and boots. Then of course there’s Archangel’s awesome set of wings, a vast improvement over older Marvel Legends versions of the character.
Sculpts are very good on the trio, each emphasizing the hero in his or her specific ways. Archangel has a muscular but not overly exaggerated body; his form-fitting costume has no other accoutrements. Wolverine is even more muscled with a wide barrel chest and thick neck with powerful limbs. As noted previously he’s got a bit more going on with a belt, thick gloves and boots, cowl with short “ears,” and naturally his unleashed claws. Psylocke stands out in the group, walking the line between femininity and deadliness. Female figures have come a long way and this one is pretty darn good. Like Archangel she doesn’t have a whole lot going on with regards to sculpt due to her skin-tight costume, but it should be noted that she doesn’t suffer from the oft-seen too stocky or too skinny syndromes (though unfortunately her hip articulation is a little ugly). Look closely to see Psylocke’s tabi-inspired Japanese footwear. All three figures have excellent head and face sculpts; Wolverine wears an angry sneer that looks like it’s about to erupt into a snarl, Archangel pulls off the haughty Apocalypse look, and Psylocke has exotic and beautiful features with long sculpted hair.
What really pops for these figures in the package is their unique dark paint job, especially in front of the brightly colored backdrop. As a stealth hit squad X-Force wears a lot of black, and that’s on display here. Psylocke’s skimpy bodysuit is black, as are her gloves, boots, and matching arm and leg bands. There’s plenty of flesh tone showing, and her hair and eyes feature the character’s iconic purple color. Wolverine has a black and gray costume, the former with nice shading and varying hues. The feral mutant adds some highlights in red (eyes and belt) and silver (buckles and claws). Archangel steps up the color scheme with a fantastic looking strict black and silver costume broken up only by his face with its dark blue skin, red eyes, and blonde eyebrows.
Marvel Legends have always been known for their great articulation, and these figures don’t disappoint in that department. As you can see from the photos they are chock full of joints for extreme poseability. Without going through every last one, Archangel shines with ball-jointed neck, shoulders, and hips with an ab crunch and double-jointed elbows and knees. Psylocke trades some articulation for graceful limbs but still has multi-jointed hips, ball-jointed neck, elbows, and ankles, and double-jointed knees. Wolverine has a pretty amazing articulation scheme with ball joints galore, double-jointed elbows and knees, swivel and hinged wrists, swiveling shoulders, etc. All three figures are highly poseable, but Wolverine in particular can be set up in just about any position you can imagine (his thick, heavy boots also really help with balance).
Technically this set of figures is light on accessories, but I’ll take a moment here to discuss Archangel’s wings; frankly, they’re awesome. But first, there is one true accessory here: Psylocke’s psychic katana. Fully transparent pink plastic, the sword has a good sculpt, is sturdy, and fits very well in one or two hands for a variety of sword-fighting poses. Okay, let’s get on to the main event... Fans of Angel/Archangel have had to put up with all sorts of weird or just plain bad wing designs over the years, but recently Hasbro has really perfected the celestial technology in plastic form. Like a super-sized version of the Marvel Universe Archangel wings, the Marvel Legends version has a “backpack” that plugs into the figure; connected to it are two sets of fully-articulated wings. The much larger front set is sculpted with layers of artificial feathers and is articulated at the backpack connector and at their mid-point. A second, smaller set of wings is mounted behind the first pair; these are also articulated where they connect to the assembly. On top of all that goodness, Archangel’s wings are painted in a very shiny silver to match his costume, and it comes together superbly. With the ab and neck articulation the figure is begging to be displayed in flying poses, so make sure you find a display base that will work for him (figure does NOT come with the base seen in my photos).
If you didn’t go to SDCC (or if you did but couldn’t get into Hasbro’s line), by now you’ve probably already determined whether or not it’s worth it to you to track down this Uncanny X-Force set on the secondary market. Prices have stabilized at around $100, which really isn’t that extreme when you think about it for three well done 6 inch figures that look really cool. Psylocke may be a little hit or miss for me, but Wolverine and especially Archangel are fantastic. If you’re a fan of X-Force you should track down this set or keep your eyes open for one that pops up for a decent price. Good hunting!
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
Review Sample Courtesy of Hasbro