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Skull Jack

by Shocka

It's been a long time since we've actually reviewed any Xevoz figures, but I'm happy to get back into them now. It's no secret that we OAFEs love Xevoz, the highly underrated toyline from the early 2000s that built upon the success of Stikfas to deliver a line of super-articulated toy-character-cliches with interchangeable parts.

And I don't mean "toy-character-cliches" in a bad way - no, part of the joy of this line was the way Hasbro created terrific characters based on stereotypical archetypes, like monsters or space marines or ninjas or whatever, with a unique and customisable angle that gave collectors complete control of their toys, down to the base design. Consider the OAFE-reviewed Franken'Punker, who is at his base a stylised super-articulated Frankenstein's Monster. Stripping away his extra parts, he can be entirely that, if one desires, a simple but terrific action figure that fits into many-a-collection.

But Hasbro goes the next step, giving him his own style as a punk rocker, complete with an electric guitar and different facial expressions that suit the theme and other accessories. They even work the pull-lever-switch and electric Jacob's Ladder into the design in a neat and fun way - these toys are inspired in ways other toys are not. They're art, as well as great fun, and also a major risk, something we just don't see nowadays. (And that's not even getting into the game that Hasbro created with them as well!)

Skull Jack warriors are Unnatural warrior spirits in skeletal form. They might look like lightweights, but don't let that charming grin fool you: they are extremely difficult to beat. Some even possess the ability to reassemble themselves in battle, so it's not a great idea to turn your back on one who seems to have been defeated. Infinitely greedy (this is perhaps their greatest weakness) they will resort to any means to acqiuire armor, money, and artifacts, but they love hand-held weapons above all. Skull Jacks stash their plunder in hidden underground crypts, using subtle clues and intricate maps to mark the spot. Some say a curse lies over their treasure. If you happen to find a Skull Jack's head, resist the temptation to carry it off.

Going back to the verrry beginning, the very first Xevoz release from the very first series was Skull Jack, today's review. Skull Jack encompasses everything that is amazing about this line, beginning with the very plain fact that he's an awesome super-articulated skeleton! Stripping him down, this guy rocks! Just under 5" tall, his bony stylised body features balljointed shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, legs and ankles, as well as a balljoint at the neck and pelvis. Who doesn't want one, or more, super-articulated skeletons in their collection? If sales of the terrific Revoltech Ray Harryhausen skeletons are anything to go by, there are lots of collectors who want just this thing, and Xevoz tackled it a decade before.

The sculpt, while simple, is very effective, and that's part of the draw of these kinds of toys. There's nothing to stop a good customizer from painting (or etching) out extra detail on the sculpt, but as it is the simple bony design looks great. It's a human skeleton! The head only has eye sockets, no nose or teeth. Poor chap!

And then, we come to the accessories. Are they actually accessories? They're more like add-ons, really. The advertised pictures of Skull Jack depict him as the combined Skeleton-Pirate-Samurai, in which he has a peg leg, an armored chest plate, Samurai-like flags on his back, and an awesome hammer. This is only the beginning!

Skull Jack features numerous other pieces, including swords, an eye-patch, an additional leg-piece and extra armor. Any of these can be added or taken off to create whatever character you want - completely in your hands, and it is awesome. Not to mention the bonus you get if you own more of the Xevoz, as their excellent system of interchangeable parts means you can mix and match from others to your heart's content, and it's superb! Plus, you get an entire sheet of stickers for decoration if you like.

The "Battle Helix" (the thing that serves as the die for the built-in game Hasbro used to help these sell) gives names for many of his parts and pieces: his sword is the Blood Blade; his hook, the Bone Cracker; the pale green tentacle, Sticky Fingers; his Black Heart chest; the guns are known as Flintshocks; his pegleg is the Iron Kick; and the head is known as Eye Beam.

Skull Jack is a great figure and he boded well of the future awesome to come. Xevoz was a terrific line, one that I proudly hold up with toylines like Palisades' Muppets and Takara's Masterpiece Transformers as one of the greatest of all time.

-- 02/23/14

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