Although I wasn't sufficiently interested in the entire assortment to round them all up and build Apocalypse, there were four interesting entries in the assortment that I did add to my collection. Let's take a look at them individually, shall we?
BISHOP: One of my favorite characters in the X-Men has long been Bishop. Introduced in the mid-90's, Bishop, to some degree, amounted to the X-Men's version of Worf, from Star Trek The Next Generation. Worf was a Klingon warrior amidst the peaceful members of Starfleet, specifically the crew of the Enterprise (and later Deep Space Nine, where he actually fit in a little better). Bishop, similarly, was a warrior from a possible future, a member of the XSE - Xavier Security Enforcers, whose job it was to patrol and round up unruly mutants. He wound up in the present day, and had to try to fit in with the X-Men, people whom he had always regarded as legends, but who were nowhere near the warriors he had likely perceived them to be -- with the possible exception of Wolverine.
Bishop, also like Worf, was big, burly, and menacing even when he wasn't trying to be, and had all the social skills of a brick. I'm not saying that the creators of the X-Men title at the time deliberately bounced Bishop off of a certain Klingon when they came up with him, but neither would I be surprised to learn that they did.
Bishop proved popular enough to carry his own four-issue mini-series, a somewhat short-lived regular monthly series which saw him cast into an entirely different alternate world from the one he'd initially arrived from, and ultimately into yet another short-lived regular series which teamed him with Gambit, not one of his favorite individuals on the face of the planet. He even turned up in the Star Trek/X-Men crossover, and Scotty put him to use to make better use of the Enterprise's weapons. Bishop also appeared occasionally on the excellent 1990's X-Men animated series.
The last I knew, Bishop was working on the police force of an established mutant community, although that is likely to have changed following the events of the "House of M" storyline, which saw the Marvel Universe's mutant population diminished to a couple of hundred.
Bishop's power is to absorb and reflect almost any energy source, especially mutant energy. But this is hardly his only skill. A trained combatant, Bishop possesses military-level expertise in a wide range of combat forms, including weapons, and he's generally armed. He has no qualms about shooting someone, and is hardly reliant on his mutant power in a fight.
He had a sister named Shard, who turned up in photonic form at one point, but if I start getting into that, this review is going to digress way too much.
There have been several Bishop action figures over the years. There was an excellent one that was just part of the standard X-Men line back in the 90's. Curiously, it was available in several uniform colors -- traditional blue, as well as grey and red, despite the fact that Bishop didn't tend to wear those colors. There was also a 10" "Marvel Universe" version of this figure.
Unfortunately, Bishop didn't find his way into the Famous Covers line, but when I heard that he was going to turn up in Marvel Legends, I knew I had to have this newest version of Bishop.
There's a variant of the figure, with a slightly recolored uniform and, more notably, a bald head, and indeed at once point not long after the "Age of Apocalypse" storyline, Bishop lost his formerly long locks, but I wanted the traditional, original Bishop.
The figure is excellent. Standing about 7" in height, Bishop has the muscular, powerful body of his character in the comic book. His uniform sports the traditional dark blue and yellow gold of Xavier's customary uniform, although it's clearly a more militaristic design. Bishop is wearing a red neckerchief, and heavy black boots and gloves.
There are some interesting features to the figure. His eyes have been painted metallic red! This is a new procedure, and it's an interesting one. It gives Bishop's eyes a certain "glow" in the right light without doing the old "transparent hole in the head backlighting the eyes" gimmick that, while cool in some cases, tends to create a rather odd effect on the top of the figure's head.
Another interesting feature is that Bishop's fingers are all INDIVIDUALLY articulated! Wow -- nice touch! While this isn't something that can be done with everyone, of course, Bishop is burly enough so that the sculpt of the figure can get away with it.
Any complaints? Not many. The head looks a little too big for the body, but not severely so. The right leg is a little loose at the hip and knee, but that could just be this particular figure. If I have one significant gripe, it's with the massive rifle holster attached to Bishop's back. Yes, he goes into battle as armed as possible, but it's not like he wears this CONSTANTLY. This should've been a detachable accessory.
And indeed, he does have two different firearms as accessories. Although futuristic in design, there's also no mistaking the fact that these are guns -- period -- and nasty-looking ones at that. These aren't cute little Star Trek phasers. These things mean business.
Of course, as a Marvel Legends figure, Bishop is superbly well articulated. The package boasts 38 points of articulation, and that sounds about right. Granted, that takes the fingers into consideration, but overall, it's still very impressive.
Bishop comes with a comic book, the second (!) issue of his mini-series, which I suspect may cause a few annoyed readers to head to their local comic shops and track down the first, third, and fourth issues.
Bottom line -- for any longtime X-Men fan who's always liked Bishop, and is interested in a really cool figure of him as he appeared when he first came on the scene, this is a truly superb rendition of this popular mutant. The Marvel Legends BISHOP figure has my highest recommendation!
SASQUATCH: Back in the 80's, the legendary comics artist John Byrne used his tenure on the X-Men title to bring out his own team of super-heroes. Since Byrne was of Canadian origin -- and proud of it -- he made his team Canadian. Interestingly, this group -- ALPHA FLIGHT -- actually got their own series of action figures from Toy Biz a number of years ago, with new package art by Byrne. The figures were pretty cool for what Toy Biz was doing at the time, but the team was just a little too obscure at the time, having had their hey-day some time prior, to really sell all that well.
But, the characters are still out there, many of them, and in many cases are still fondly remembered by committed Marvel fans. Certainly one of the more notable -- not to mention hard-to-miss -- Alpha Flight members is SASQUATCH.
Sasquatch is, in reality, Professor Walter Langkowski, a former associate of Dr. Bruce Banner's. Langkowski, after seeing what happened when Banner was exposed to a massive amount of gamma radiation, transforming him into the Incredible Hulk, believed that a more controlled exposure to gamma radiation could imbue the recipient with a similar level of power, but without the loss of intellect that Banner tended to suffer. Conducting the experiment and subjecting himself to it, Langkowski was transformed into the massive being that would become known as Sasquatch.
The story of the character takes some interesting turns after that. Although Langkowski was indeed able to gain control over his massive furry form, he believed that his orange coloration, rather than the traditional green that gamma recipients in the Marvel Universe tend to turn, was a result of some cosmic rays being blended into the mix, much as they turned Benjamin Grimm into the orange-hued, rocky Thing of the Fantastic Four.
This was not the case. Somehow, in his experiment, Langkowski had not only exposed himself to gamma radiation, but opened a portal to a realm of mythic "great beasts" that were part of Canadian legend. One of which was a big hairy sasquatch-like creature. Ultimately, Langkowski lost control of his Sasquatch form to the "great beast", and was killed by Snowbird, another member of Alpha Flight, who was herself a shape- changer, and transformed herself into a sasquatch to combat her one-time teammate.
Whatever was left of Langkowski's intellect was transferred into a symbiotic robot (please don't ask me to explain this overmuch) called Box, that had recently joined Alpha Flight. Somewhere along the way in the midst of all of this, and certainly well after I'd stopped reading Alpha Flight (probably because it had gotten too weird), Langkowski was able to reclaim both a normal human body, and his Sasquatch persona. He still turns up from time to time in the Marvel Universe, including one memorable confrontation with Deadpool, which is how I know he reclaimed his human form and large, furry counterpart, although he seems largely content to continue his scientific research these days.
The Sasquatch figure that came with the Alpha Flight line of toys was really very good. The Marvel Legends Sasquatch is nothing short of spectacular.
For starters, it's immense. Sasquatch stands close to 9 inches in height. He needs to, though. In the Marvel Universe, Sasquatch is a big boy. He's even larger than the Hulk. Generally speaking, the Hulk measures in at around 7 feet in height. Sasquatch is closer to 10 feet. That doesn't necessarily make Sasquatch more powerful than the Hulk. Ol' Purple Pants still has that "The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets" thing going for him, not to mention a really nasty temper to keep making him madder, but given Sasquatch's sheer size, he's certainly no wimp in the strength department, and it'd take a lot to bring him down.
In his first appearance in the Uncanny X-Men, he literally stopped a jumbo jet in its tracks on a snow-covered runway, then picked it up and threw it back most of the length of that runway. There's not a lot of beings around that can go one on one against a jumbo jet coming at them full throttle and not only live to tell about it, but the plane ends up looking the worse for it.
Sasquatch is hairy -- VERY hairy, head to toe, and I pity the sculptor that had to do it for this figure. The detailing is amazing on this figure. A very limited amount of washed-over detailing has been put on the figure, enough to bring out the detail without making the figure look dirty. But whoever the sculptor or sculptors were on this figure, I suspect they suffered hand cramps and eyestrain before they were done.
The head sculpt cannot have been easy. Sasquatch has this massive mane of hair that basically just flows right into his shoulders. That's impossible for an action figure and still expect the head to move, and after all, articulation is the name of the game with Marvel Legends. So they designed a backswept mane that, if the head is tilted all the way back, it does merge rather well with the figure's back. And Sasquatch does sometimes walk in a bent-over, almost ape-like position, so from that standpoint, it works.
Sasquatch's overall proportions are not entirely human. His arms are massive, his legs somewhat smaller. If anything, they made the legs a little too big on this figure, but the overall figure is so darn cool, I can't find it in my heart to complain.
And articulation? How about INDIVIDUALLY-ARTICULATED fingers? Sasquatch has these very long fingers, and distinctly large hands, and someone decided that there was enough room to work with here to give them individual joints. Nice touch -- a VERY nice touch.
Overall, Sasquatch has the same astounding articulation that we have come to expect from a Marvel Legends figure. The package lists him as having 42 points of articulation, and I'd say that's just about right. The figure can move at the head, arms, elbows, wrists, waist, legs, knees, and ankles -- and all of those areas have multiple points of articulation. Throw in the fingers, and I'd say you've got your 42.
Sasquatch comes with a reprint of ALPHA FLIGHT #10, which featured a very menacing close-up of Sasquatch on the cover. In this story, the big orange guy went up against the Super-Skrull. It was also the first time that Langkowski really lost control of his furrier side. Sasquatch goes completely ballistic on the Skrull. It's probably worth noting that the Super-Skrull has also recently been made as an action figure, as part of the Fantastic Four line, so if you like, you can probably re-enact this battle.
The Marvel Legends SASQUATCH is a superb addition to the Marvel Legends line, and an excellent action figure of this cool character in his own right. He certainly has my recommendation!
IRON FIST: Certain things were popular in the 1970's, that there just isn't a lot of explanation for. Disco was popular. Peanut farmer Presidents were -- popular enough to get elected, anyway. Kung fu was popular. Must've been all the stuff people were doing in the 60's -- which a lot of them were still doing in the 70's.
Marvel Comics had a kung fu specialist. His name was Shang-Chi, and he was in a title called Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu. See, I told you? But Shang-Chi didn't exactly fit the typical motif of a superhero. He didn't fly, didn't really have super powers, didn't have a secret identity, didn't hang around in New York, and he didn't wear spandex. In fact he spent most of his time wearing what looked like hippie pajamas, hanging around really bad neighborhoods in the Orient, and spouting philosophy like a bad fortune cookie.
Marvel needed a martial arts superhero, and it certainly wasn't going to be this David Carradine wannabee.
So they came up with IRON FIST. His real name was Danny Rand. Rand had been raised in some oddball otherworldly dimension called K'un-Lun, which looked a lot like what Shang-Chi might see in his dreams after some bad Chinese food. But here, Rand not only learned some impressive martial arts, but he also learned how to channel energy through his fists, making them impervious to harm and packing one heck of an energy- backed wallop.
Taking the name Iron Fist, Rand returned to Earth from K'un-Lun and became an adventurer. Even though he was never exactly first tier, he did have a comic of his own for a time, and also teamed up with another 70's super-hero, Luke Cage, better known as Power Man, for the reasonably successful title "Power Man & Iron Fist".
The title worked off the fact that the two characters were extremely
different. Rand believed in honor and dedication, attributes which even
in the 70's had worn pretty thin, and so tended to come across as a
bit naive. Luke Cage, on the other hand, was a super-strong mountain
of a black man, wearing a yellow open-fronted shirt (I told you this
In more recent times, Iron Fist organized a small band of heroes called "Heroes for Hire", which didn't last long, and Luke Cage is hanging with the New Avengers.
Cage is actually planned for a future assortment of Marvel Legends, and they're making him in his 70's gear, so I wanted to be sure I had Iron Fist. Marvel Legends versions of two 70's pop culture stereotypes. Gotta love that...
But, that's not to say that Iron Fist is a bad figure. In fact, the figure is excellent. It can't have been easy to figure out a way to do that high collar on his uniform, if nothing else. And unlike a lot of Marvel characters, who have some sort of weird, exaggerated physique or some such, Iron Fist is actually a pretty ordinary human, for the most part. Okay, he's got a dragon tattoo on his chest, and he's wearing green pajamas and little yellow slippers (and he actually got away with walking around the meaner streets of New York dressed like this!?), but his overall size and shape are nothing at all extreme. One has to wonder if the sculptors find doing a relatively ordinary human more of a challenge than doing something weird like Sasquatch or The Thing.
The figure is very well designed. Iron Fist stands about 6-1/4" in height, and has a slender but muscular build. His hands are a bit pre- posed into martial arts moves, but the fingers, as a group, are articulated. Iron Fist's accessories include two glowing streaks of "energy" molded out of orange transparent plastic, that are a demonstration of Iron Fist's power, and his right hand, which can move its fingers in to form a fist, holds these the best.
The figure boasts 36 points of articulation, excellent for any action figure, and has all of the points of articulation you would expect him to have.
Iron Fist comes with a reprint of IRON FIST #8, interestingly with art by John Byrne -- certainly a legend in the comics world these days, with successful runs on X-Men, Superman, Fantastic Four, and many more -- and certainly Iron Fist isn't one of the characters that tends to turn up on his resume very often.
There is also a variant of Iron Fist out there, one of the "chase" figures in the line, which presents Iron Fist in a red costume, although he is better known for the green.
Iron Fist may seem like an odd choice for the Marvel Legends like, and indeed, perhaps he is. But that doesn't mean that he's not a cool figure. And this is a very cool Marvel Legends figure. Let's hope his longtime friend Luke Cage is as cool when he comes on the scene. Meanwhile, I definitely recommend IRON FIST!
WOLVERINE: Certainly Wolverine isn't new to the world of Marvel Legends. There have been several versions of him over the years. But the Wolverine that is part of the recent "Apocalypse" series is a sufficiently notable figure that he was worth adding to my collection.
For those who came to the party late, Wolverine is a member of the X- Men. His real name, or at least the one he gives out, is Logan. He's been around for about 100 years or so, but thanks to a mutant healing factor, ages extremely slowly. His mutant abilities include heightened senses, and claws that pop out from the backs of his hands.
Thanks to experimentation done by a secret Canadian government agency, Wolverine's skeleton, including the claws, is sheathed in adamantium, a super-strong, unbreakable metal. He also has a really nasty temper, that earns him part of his code-name.
In the comics, Wolverine first appeared in a two-part storyline in The Incredible Hulk, back in the early 1970's. Not too long after, he was drafted into the X-Men when Professor Xavier first rebuilt the team, and has pretty much stayed with them ever since. His background, gradually revealed but kept as something of a mystery even to the readers, indicates that he has had adventures in Canada and Japan, mostly doing covert "secret ops" work prior to his "superhero" career.
Granted, that's a summary roughly equivalent to saying of the average person, "I was born, went to school, and got a job", but I'd like to keep the length of this review shorter than the typical suburban telephone directory.
Most recently, Wolverine's entire memory was restored in the aftermath of the "House of M" storyline, sending him on a quest to find some of the people from his past that made him the man he is today -- literally in some cases -- and have a quiet sit-down chat with them over tea. Right. When word got out that THIS guy now remembered EVERYTHING, every undercover operations center in half a dozen countries panicked. Files were destroyed, people died, and buildings were burned down, and that was before he even started out.
He's also joined the New Avengers, although that isn't common knowledge to the public. Basically, given the events that led to the dissolution of the original Avengers, Wolverine is on the team to deal with certain matters that might come up in a fashion that Captain America or Spider- Man just might not be comfortable with or prepared to do.
As to the latest Marvel Legends Wolverine? There's an interesting origin here, too. For a while, in the comics, pretty much on the heels of the popularity of the first movie, the X-Men abandoned their "superhero spandex" look and went for leather-like uniforms that, to a degree, resembled those in the movie. I wasn't closely following the X-titles at the time, so I'm not really sure of the reasons within the story for this, if any were even given, but clearly the look of the characters in the movie was a factor.
Except it didn't really work that well for Wolverine. While the guy's appearance is such that wearing a mask is a little superfluous, he had a tendency in the comics to wear his jacket open with no shirt, giving everyone a too-good look at his hairy chest and probably making some people wonder if he was still interested in Jean Grey or if he might try to start up with Scott Summers. Granted, Wolverine's probably the last person on earth you'd want to accuse of being less than manly, especially if you wanted to keep your own, but it wasn't exactly a flattering look for the character.
Fortunately, a new creative team came on board, and very wisely decided to go back to at least something fairly close to super-hero costumes, although the darker colors and some visible stitching was maintained.
Wolverine's new costume, showcased on this figure, is actually one of the better designs, and a more than agreeable compromise between his original costume, and the modern-day look that the creators were trying to get for the entire team.
Yellow and blue have tended to be Wolverine's best-known colors (although a lot of people liked the gold-and-brown costume he wore for quite a few years), and that's reflected in this costume. Wolverine has his traditional mask, with the two black points going up along either side of the head, although they're not quite as pronounced as they used to be. Neither are they on his boots, either. In the comics, it sort of depends on who's drawing them.
The costume is predominantly yellow, although it's a darker yellow than before. And rather than the blue trunks and the black stripes on the sides of the shirt, there are dark blue stripes running from the shoulders, ending in a point just above the knees, and there are three dark yellow stripes within these dark blue stripes, right about where the black ones used to be. There's also one small yellow stripe on each shoulder.
The costume also has the blue shoulder pads that the original had. As I said, it's a more than acceptable revision of Wolverine's original costume, looking modern without abandoning the original.
The figure is sculpted in such a way that the visible "stitching" often seen in the comic book is visible here, too, along the dark blue and yellow stripes, as well as elsewhere on the uniform. In a way, it makes sense. While superhero comics in general require a certain "willing suspension of disbelief", sometimes you do have to wonder how your favorite members of the spandex set get into those outfits.
Of course, Wolverine has his traditional three claws protruding from each hand. These are molded, as one would expect, from fairly flexible plastic. Sometimes this can be a problem if they get warped in package, but the ones on this figure that I purchased seem to be fine. The figure, as one would expect from a Marvel Legends figure, of course, has a generous amount of articulation, advertised as 34 points on the package. Not hard to believe. He also comes with a reprint of Astonishing X-Men #6, which has Wolvie in his current uniform on the cover.
If I have one complaint about the figure, its with regard to one articulation point, and how it was designed into the figure. And that would be the waist. Wolverine wears a fairly wide belt with this uniform, with a prominent belt buckle that has a red circle with a black "X" -- the X-Men's logo -- in it.
So what designer decided that it was all right to put the articulation point for the waist right across the middle of the belt!? Was this REALLY necessary? I don't have an X-ray machine, so I can't see how the figure is assembled internally, but I'd think there had to have been some way to avoid this, and put the entire belt either on the upper or lower waist piece. It wouldn't've made much difference if Wolverine was wearing just a plain belt with no buckle, but as it is, the buckle is a very visible detail, and it splits in two every time the figure is moved at the waist! (The waist articulation on my Wolverine is just a little loose, too, but I have no way of knowing if that's the case with all of them.)
There's a variant of Wolverine out there, too. This particular assortment of Marvel Legends seems to have quite a few of them. Most are just recolors. But the "chase" variant Wolverine is a little more than that. It's an unmasked version. Probably not as scarce as the unmasked Wolverine from the early assortments of Marvel Legends, but probably not that easy to find, either. I can say that I have seen it, which is something I can't say about the previous ones.
Do I recommend this figure? Belt buckle problem aside, yes, I do, for several reasons. One -- it's a good Wolverine figure, and he's certainly a popular character. Two -- this new uniform design isn't bad at all. It's a cool version of Wolverine. I hope he burned, or at least shredded, his leather jacket. Three -- with Hasbro taking over the Marvel toy license in 2007, there's no way of knowing if the Marvel Legends line on the whole is going to continue in any form whatsoever, so we'd better enjoy them while we can.
With all that in mind, I definitely recommend the new Marvel Legends WOLVERINE! Overall, this was a very decent assortment of Marvel Legends figures, none of which I'm really putting down, but which just didn't really have any great interest to me. But they might to you. And certainly no one can deny the excellence of Marvel Legends!