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X-Men Origins: Wolverine
by Poe Ghostal

While I loved Star Wars toys as a kid, I've never really been interested in 3¾"-scale action figures, and so neither Mattel's Infinite Heroes nor Hasbro's Marvel Universe hold much interest for me. However, I am obligated to buy any and all action figures of Wolverine in his brown-and-yellow costume, and so I dropped the (sigh) eight bucks for this figure when I saw it at Toys Я Us.

Haunted by a past long forgotten, Wolverine spent years trying to recover his lost memories. Once they returned to him, he discovered he had left a lot of business unfinished, and evil men still standing. From one end of the world to another, he tracked those men, determined to avenge their crimes.

Despite this figure being part of a line called X-Men Origins Wolverine, it's in scale with the Marvel Universe figures. Since this line is meant to tie in to the upcoming movie, the packaging features Hugh Jackman on the front. There are some nice graphics on the back, along with a bio that appears to be specific to this particular version of Wolverine, since it describes events in the Wolverine: Origins comic.

The body sculpt is quite impressive for a figure of this size. There's good muscle definition, and even some smaller details such as folds in the clothing. However, the face could be better; the nose looks smashed and the mouth looks less vicious than constipated. At least the head isn't shared with any of the other Wolverines, which would have been the easy way out.

The claws are both a solid piece, with black paint between each claw until about a millimeter from the end. Ironically, this means this is the first Wolverine in ages with perfectly straight claws right out of the package. The darker shade of yellow (goldenrod?) they used for the light parts of the costume are nice. The paint apps are smooth everywhere except the head, which looks a bit sloppy.

Wolvie features Marvel Legends-like articulation, and frankly, for a 3¾" figure, it's impressive. He has balljoints at the shoulders, hips, neck, and upper torso; double-hinges at the knees; hinges at the ankles; swivels at the wrists; and those odd Hasbro half-swivel, half-balljoints at the elbows and ankles. All of the articulation is pleasing except for the neck: while it purports to be a balljoint, it barely moves up and down. Of course, Palisades introduced this level of articulation on 3¾" figures years ago with their Army of Darkness line, but it's great to see it becoming the norm (hear that, Mattel?).

Wolverine comes with the red Muramasa blade, which is a bit odd, since to my (admittedly limited) knowledge the Muramasa blade was red when it was forged, but now looks like a normal sword in the comics. A stand (like the ones that come with the GI Joe figures) would have been a nice inclusion, for action poses.

For such a small, well-articulated figure, Wolverine is surprisingly durable, and would probably survive plenty of child play.

We hear a lot of complaints about the $12 price point for DCUC figures, but eight bucks at retail for this thing? It doesn't even come with a BAF part. Six bucks seems like a more reasonable price for these. Wolverine is pretty good - for a 3¾" figure (closer to 4"). The more I play around with him, the more I like him. If Mattel's Infinite Heroes had sculpting and articulation of this quality, people would probably be collecting them. However, Wolverine's limited neck articulation, lack of a stand, and pricetag are disappointing.

-- 03/02/09

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