Super-Articulate: Marvel Legends Age of Apocalypse
Greetings! We’re still playing catch-up here, but I did hold off long enough for my deluxe Apocalypse to arrive so that we could include him with the wave that bears his name. Let’s get into it.
What is the Age of Apocalypse?: For those that don’t know, The Age of Apocalypse was a massive 1995 crossover in the X-books, spreading through roughly 45 issues (including the LegionQuest prelude). When Legion went back in time to kill Magneto (perceiving that such an act would help his father, Professor X), he accidentally killed his father. The timeline radically shifted, and the regular X-titles were replaced for four months with various AoA books. While the timeline was righted at the end of the story, the AoA has been revisited in a 2014 series and in the Secret Wars event. With AoA giving us some radically different versions of characters, it’s a natural for producing figures; the original Toy Biz line of the ‘90s did a few of the characters. The Marvel Legends line has done four AoA characters previously: Weapon X (Wolverine), Sabretooth, Sunfire (as an exclusive) and, much more recently, Blink. Here’s a look at the most recent assortment, the Sugar Man Build-A-Figure, and the deluxe AoA Apocalypse.
X-Man: X-Man is one of my favorites of the bunch, in part because the little details are right. He has a somewhat complicated costume in terms of deco, but it looks great. The real winner is the power-effect piece constructed for his eye to mimic that flare that occurs when he uses his powers in the comics. That’s that extra bit of effort that puts the figure over the top. My only quibble is that the figure has weirdly small feet, which makes it a bit harder to stand in some poses.
Morph: Morph was one of the breakout characters of the original comic stories, and he got to carry on after that crossover in Exiles. The face here is excellent, totally capturing the fun-loving personality of the shape-shifting character. Morph has kind of an interesting history, as his resurrection and inclusion in the series was inspired by the popularity of a different version of Morph from the X-Men animated series (who was based on the Changeling character who a brief antagonist and brief ally of the team in the 1960s). The costume details are right on and the colors pop. It’s a fun figure.
Jean Grey: Jean is probably my least favorite of the bunch, but only because she’s a little vanilla. It’s a good sculpt, and well-done, but it pales against strong entries in the group.
Weapon X: This take on Weapon X is superior in every way to the earlier version. This head sculpt with the crazy hair is fantastic. He’s short, which Wolverine is supposed to be, and the hand accessories are tremendous. In the comics, Wolverine wore the cap over a severed hand, but a late surprise showed that he claws on that arm still worked as they came busting out of the cap. Hasbro gave you both the cap and the claws-extended-cap, which is great. The figure’s short stature looks even better next to Apocalypse. Rock-solid entry.
Sunfire: This was a fan-favorite design for the books, and the design team nailed it in the sculpt. Yes, a version existed before, but this is excellent. The flame effects, the molding, and the paint job are great. The power effects are a nice boost to the overall look. This is one of my favorites from the group; it’s a striking figure.
Wild Child: Poor Wild Child was made in the 1990s Toy Biz line, but only as a dinky sidekick figure to the regularly-sized Sabretooth. He gets much more due here. The crazy, feral face-sculpt is great, and I like that they worked hard to make him thin and wiry as in the comics. The chain accessory is comic appropriate, and I photographed him with the earlier figure for his “handler,” Sabretooth. If there’s another wave, I hope they update Sabretooth, as I think this figure will stand out more with an appropriately scaled Victor Creed companion.
Dark Beast: The Toy Biz Dark Beast was comically oversized with a face-sculpt that looked more like an orc that a sinister Hank McCoy. This figure (still big, but better) is a vast improvement, especially in the face. This figure has a terrific evil expression. There’s some tremendous detail in the hair, too. The metal finish on the pants comes off well against the gray fur body, too. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this one when it was announced, but in person, it’s great.
Sugar Man BAF: The gross, four-armed Sugar Man debuted as a new character in AoA, and Toy Biz did an oversized figure of him as well. However, that was more appropriate to the character, and Hasbro kept that in mind for the BAF. He’s huge. And ugly. And pretty awesome. This is a great realization of the BAF concept, breaking expectations with a design that took a lot of thought and original pieces to produce. It’s a pretty awesome thing to see on a shelf; it’s a really unique piece. (And that tongue, man; hilarious). Great job by all involved.
Apocalypse: I like Hasbro’s commitment to making larger-sized figures in separate, deluxe boxing. Apocalypse is big. Really big. Especially when you match him up to Weapon X. Both of the included head sculpts are equally strong; you’re going to have to make your own call on “angry” or “maniacal laugh.” The cape attaches well, and the skull accessory (which can be cradled in an interchangeable open hand) is fun. I like the strategy of using the deluxe program to make bigger figures that would succeed easily on their own while using the BAFs to support other characters.
I know that there was some fan grumbling (shocking, I know) about this sub-line, but I liked it a lot. There are some great sculpts here, and it gives an added dimension to displays. I wouldn’t mind seeing more; I’m personally more invested in House of X/Powers of X getting filled out, as well as classic rosters for teams like X-Force (Rictor, Siryn, Feral) and Excalibur (Shadowcat, Meggan, Phoenix II). That’s my take; what do you think?