Super-Articulate: Marvel Legends X-Men Caliban Wave
Every year for the past three, the X-Men wave has been one of the most hotly anticipated arrivals in the world of Marvel Legends. This year generated particular excitement, as a number of long-requested characters either got new versions or finally joined the ranks with their first interpretation. Let’s dive in for a look at what’s sure to be a strong seller. But first, we need to thank Hasbro for sending us these figures for free for the purposes of review. We certainly appreciate their assistance.
The wave comes with seven figures; of the group, Gambit contains no BAF piece. The remaining six are Weapon X Wolverine, Jubilee, Forge, Blink, Skullbuster, and Beast (Jim Lee-style). The BAF is Caliban in his X-Force iteration. This is a very, very ‘90s-inspired wave with a particular emphasis on the Silvestri/Lee runs on the book (indeed, this version of Forge, Skullbuster, Jubilee, Gambit, and Beast come right from that era). It hits a lot of sweet spots for obvious reasons. Let’s dig.
Jubilee: It sort of blows my mind that there has never been a classic Jubilee that captures her early appearance from the comic and the celebrated animated series. In the original Toy Biz line, there was a Generation X version and a sort of anime-inspired version (in the Robot Fighters assortment), and Marvel Legends had the scarce BAF the featured the black outfit prominently seen in stories like “Curse of the Mutants.” But the vaguely-Robineseque original look never got committed to Legends plastic. Until now.
This figure is an automatic winner. The body is appropriately teen-scaled. The second head that sports a bubble-gum-bubble is absolute genius. Removable glasses are a solid idea. And the trenchcoat sculpt is tight. In short, Hasbro killed it. I can’t believe that this figure FINALLY exists after literal decades. If the internal goal is to produce the entire line-up seen in the biggest selling single issue of all time, they’ve almost got on. Good on Hasbro, and great work.
Weapon X: I might be the least excited about this figure, because I was pretty happy with the one produced for the line several years ago. However, I love one thing in particular, and that’s the height. Wolverine is SUPPOSED to be short. He’s roughly 5’3” in the comics, but he’s gotten progressively taller in extra-media protrayals, particularly by Hugh Jackman. Still, this is a great sculpt, and I’m well aware that many collectors may have missed the original version. It’s well done, but it didn’t check any boxes for me.
Forge: Similarly, Forge is a redo of a figure made years ago in an exclusive two-pack. Of the two, THIS is the superior figure. It’s a really strong version of the character as he appeared in the issues transitioning from Silverstri to Lee; it’s also appropriate that he appears in the wave with Skullbuster, as Forge and Banshee kicked huge Reaver ass on Muir Island when they began to search for the then-missing X-Men. I love the look of the figure, down to the boots and the two weapons. The original Forge is decently rare, so this is actually a much-needed upgrade that a lot of X-fans are going to scoop up. Another really solid job.
Beast: Holy crap, man. It’s been YEARS since we got a Beast (what, like OG Legends wave 5?). This is a massive, massive improvement and absolutely captures the Jim Lee look. It’s frankly stunning. The figure has size and heft, too. It also comes with two spare hands to give closed fist and open hand options. My singular, minor regret is that there isn’t an extra bespectacled head. But, again, that’s minor. This is a really, really good, much-demanded figure, and it’s, not to be repetitive, another home run.
Gambit: In the wider span of Marvel Legends history, there have been a few Gambits. The “best Gambit” question has now been answered. This one. Part of that comes from the sculpt, which is rock-solid. Part of that comes from the hand attachments, which are perfect. One is a splay-fingered card throwing attachment. Another accessory is a “charged card” that slides between another hand’s index and middle fingers. The staff is well crafted, and it’s a good height. I also like the flair of the trenchcoat and the facial expression. This one’s pretty immaculate, kids.
Skullbuster: I was pretty happy to see Skullbuster. He never got made in the OG Toy Biz days, and he’s never been represented in Legends. In fact, the only extant Reaver in the line is a years-old Lady Deathstrike. As I said, the figure plays a role alongside Forge, so that’s really cool. I LOVE that there’s a second head for Reese, another Reaver; as I’ve said in the past, those little touches make for great value-adds. The ammo belt is well-done, and the pistol is comic-accurate. What a cool, surprising figure.
Blink: OH MY GOD. Blink is beautiful. This is exceptional. Blink has one of the best faces in the line, period. The teleportation portal is great, the “energy knives” look really cool, and the sweep of the tunic/skirt is nicely realized. The figure is also sculpted in such a way that you can pose her in a position that makes it look like she’s emerging from the portal. That’s just nuts. I didn’t know how much I wanted a Blink in the line until I saw it revealed, and now that I see it in person, I’m just crazy about it. My favorite figure from the wave, and one of my favorite Legends this year. A must-buy.
Caliban: I’ve heard a few people say that Caliban wouldn’t have been one of their choices for the BAF. That’s fine; I dig him. The powered-and-sized-up X-Force version is rather cool, and the sculptors obviously had a field day. The head/face is just great, and I like the general mass of the figure. I’d really like to see more X-Force/X-Factor figures realized in the line, and with Caliban, the updated Cannonball, and Boom-Boom, it seems like Hasbro is committing to it. We really need Sunspot, Feral, Siryn, and Rictor, but I get that it takes time. Nevertheless, I like this figure and it was probably the best opportunity for Hasbro to execute on it, so good for them.
It’s a tough call, but this might be my favorite Legends wave of the year so far. It’s a really strong set of sculpts that leverages in some much-requested characters along with a couple of surprises. A whole lot of collectors are going to be saying, “To me, my X-Men!”