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    Oct 2001
    Fredericksburg, VA

    REVIEW: Diamond Select Toys Marvel Select STORM & ULTRON

    A Mutant Goddess And A Killer Robot...

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    Diamond Select Toys has lots of popular product lines with properties ranging from Ghostbusters to Star Trek, Knight Rider, Star Wars, and many more. One of the longest running and continually impressive is the Marvel Select lineup, bringing characters from the comics and films to life in a high quality 7 inch scale. Known for its figures as well as its display bases and substantial packaging, the series continues to expand all the time with great new figures, and today we’re going to look at two of the latest releases, X-Men’s Storm and the villainous Ultron!

    Marvel Select figures are always easy to spot on store shelves, mostly because they take up an awful lot of room! Sized to hold everything from a standard humanoid figure up through a bulky character like a Hulk or Abomination, the display-worthy Select packaging features a huge plastic tray holding the contents attached to a wraparound cardboard card. You can see pretty much all of the components (figure, display base/backdrop, etc.), and there’s a ton of art and graphics. The front of the cardboard wraparound has the individual character’s name and design (“X” logo for Storm, Ultron’s faceplate), and there are images from the comics behind the figure and on the side of the package. The back panel of each Marvel Select package has a beauty photo of the figure, a short bio, a classic comic book cover, and photos of other available figures. While I open all of my toys, I can see how MIB/MOC collectors could show off and enjoy these.

    While there have been dozens of figures already released in the Marvel Select line, there’s no shortage of cool characters left to immortalize in plastic from the comics. Joining other previous X-Men characters with parts of the Danger Room is Storm, born Ororo Munroe. An immensely powerful mutant with the powers of flight and control over weather, Storm first joined the X-Men in 1975’s Giant-Size X-Men #1. She has appeared in “X” stories ever since, and has been featured in most other media spinoffs like cartoons and films. The Marvel Select figure captures Storm in her classic, first appearance outfit. About as far from the mutant’s heroism as you can get is the other new figure, longtime Avengers enemy Ultron. Originally built by Hank Pym to be a helpful android assistant, Ultron later gained independent sentience and determined that humanity and the Earth must be conquered. Though it’s suffered countless defeats, the machine comes back time after time with new schemes and upgraded abilities, and it will gain worldwide popularity with the upcoming film The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

    While they couldn’t be more different, both Storm and Ultron figures show off the quality of the Marvel Select line sculpts. On the one hand you’ve got the mutant weather controller with her slim physique, skintight outfit, huge cape, and lifelike head sculpt, and on the other is the metallic menace with a robotic musculature, armored and segmented body, and striking head with its leering faceplate. Storm’s costume is nicely detailed with the swimsuit-like sections, cut outs at her thighs, attaching ring on her chest, and of course her groovy headdress and bracelets. Ororo’s massive cape has tons of sculpted creases and flowing lines along with the large gem at the neck, and the figure has a beautifully serene face sculpt and detailed long hair. The killer robot, meanwhile, at first glance looks like a silver coated bodybuilder with a surprising amount of lifelike muscles in his humanoid appearance. Look closer to see the robotic elements like the thickly armored torso, collar, and thighs, the deeply cut lines outlining the segments of its body, and the shapes of its joints like the knees and ankles. Of course, everything on Ultron serves to draw the eye to its excellent head sculpt capturing the fearsome entity’s trademark smiling/menacing open-mouthed leer, its highly pointed eye slits, antennae-like “ears,” and more. There are even cool sculpted details on the bottom of Ultron’s feet!

    The two figures also feature very different looks from their paint and colorations. Ultron is all over metallic silver, silver, and more silver. There are some slight shadings here and there, and all of the deeply carved lines and trenches are filled in with matte black. The interior of Ultron’s eye and mouth parts are bright red... and that’s it. It’s a neat monochrome look, and it totally works for the evil robot. Storm, meanwhile, has some nice contrasts with an inky black on her costume and cape, a deep chocolate shade for her skin tone, and the bright white of her hair and eyes. She also has nice details like the metallic gold on her bracelets, the hem of her cape, and the ring in her costume. The gem at Storm’s chest is metallic red, and her lips and fingernails are painted pink. The costume details and colors are spot on to the character’s classic appearance in the X-Men comic books.

    While Marvel Select figures are presented in the same scale and display well together, they don’t always share the same degree of articulation. However, these two have a good amount of joints for posing and positioning, with the gold star going to Ultron. Storm has a ball-jointed neck, ball-jointed shoulders, elbows, wrists, ball-jointed hips, double-jointed knees, and ball-jointed ankles. While that sounds pretty darn good, I did have some difficulty posing the figure due to her enormous cape, the slightly odd configuration of the hips, and the figure’s high heels. Thankfully she comes with a display stand which really helps. Ultron is loaded with articulation: ball-jointed neck that tilts all the way back, ball-jointed shoulders, biceps, ball-jointed elbows, wrists, torso, waist, ball-jointed hips, thighs, double-jointed knees, and triple-jointed ankles (rotate, rocker, hinge). The robot can achieve a nice range of poses, hindered only by some loose hip joints.

    In addition to the previously display stand for Storm, both figures come with additional display accessories. Storm adds to the previously released X-Men figures with sections of the Danger Room, the mutant team’s training center. Ororo’s section is a corner of the room with two tall walls and a square floor, each of which is detailed with a myriad of sections at different elevations, square and rectangular panels, etc. The “room” is colored in the traditional palette of green, blue, silver, and black, and will match those that came with the other figures. Also included are two “obstacles” that plug into one of the walls: a flame blast and an arm-mounted buzz saw!

    Ultron comes with a very cool, highly detailed display base capturing the remains of his latest battle against the Avengers. There’s a broken wall with bricks spilling forth, debris covering a muddy battlefield, smashed arrows used by Hawkeye, and even the battered forms of Ant-Man and Wasp! There are two posts in the base that you can plug into Ultron’s feet, or you can just stand him wherever you like; thanks to his solid build and excellent articulation he’s very poseable.

    Both Ultron and Storm are available now from Diamond Select Toys, and can only be found in specialty stores like your local comic book store. Their MSRP of $24.99 gets you the display-worthy packaging, high quality figures, and the intricate display elements. There’s also a Storm variant you can hunt down; at one in cases of six the figure feature’s Ororo’s shorter hair style. Fans of these characters should absolutely check these out, especially if you’ve already been collecting the Select X-Men figures or other Avengers to thrown against Ultron. With upcoming films featuring both of these characters (X-Men: Days of Future Past and The Avengers: Age of Ultron), they’re going to be very popular.

    Review and Photos by Scott Rubin

    Review Samples Courtesy of Diamond Select Toys

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