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Wonder Man

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

The first superhero to gain powers by eating too many preservatives in his bread.

Longtime Avenger Simon Williams makes a move out West to join his friends as a founding member of the West-Coast Avengers.

Fun fact: although the book began as West Coast Avengers, that only lasted about four years: beginning with issue #48, the book was retitled Avengers West Coast. Can you guess why? Hint: it's a totally nerdy reason. No joke, they changed the title so that it would be next to the main Avengers book when alphabetized. Okay, it was more for sales than for appeasing obsessive archivists - putting the related books together on the shelf would ensure people browsing would spot them - but the idea remains the same. And in fact, West Coast Avengers wasn't the only book this happened to: the reprint title Classic X-Men became X-Men Classic at the same time.

This is, against all odds, not the worst costume Wonder Man has ever worn. The combo of a blue turtleneck and a red smoking jacket is very, very '80s (technically "very very '70s," but comicbook design always lags behind the real world by a few years). The arms and legs come from Red Skull, and the torso may as well, but since it's under his new jacket mold, who can say? The chest has to be new, because no one else has worn a connected turtleneck like this. The upper and lower parts of the jacket are separate molds, as is the belt. His fists and open hands are existing molds as well, as are the inexplicable wristbands.

This is definitely the best-looking Wonder Man figure yet. The last one looked like John Cena and less said about the ToyBiz one the better, but this one is based on John Byrne's art for the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. The jawline is a little wider, but Paul Harding perfectly captured the friendly smile and even the curls of his hair over his forehead. His translucent red sunglasses are a separate piece, but not removable.

Wondy's jacket and boots are a dark red, which actually accents the gold of his belt and bracelets really nicely. The pants are black and his sweater is blue, which is how it was drawn - and we can be sure those colors are correct, because the artists tended to have his legs inked as a solid black mass, while the chest was not. Technically at this point in time his hair was gray, not black (he eventually started dyeing it), but this looks better.

Assuming the chest is the only new part of the torso, that would mean there's still a hinge joint between it and the abdomen that we don't get to use because of the jacket. Other than that, there's a barbell head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a swivel waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel boots, and swivel/hinge ankles. The lower edge of his jacket is soft PVC, so it flexes out of the way nicely when you lift the legs.

Since Wonder Man's power is "more strongness," you normally wouldn't expect him to have any accessories. However, while he would be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, he couldn't fly: so Tony Stark built him a little flight harness; he originally wore it as a harness device, but eventually turned it into a belt. When you open the paper bag the accessories are in, you'll not only find his gripping hands, but also two of the short muzzle flash accessories Hasbro's been making lately. They can plug into the underside of the pods on Simon's hips, making those more than just decorative!

The figure comes with the left arm and right hand of Puff Adder, this series' Build-A-Figure.

This may be a fairly dopey costume, but it's also the best Wonder Man toy there's been. How dare they! Hasbro's announced a West Coast Avengers box set coming out later this year, so you can get this Wonder Man (along with Vision, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, and the existing USAgent) to really up the ranks.

-- 06/14/23

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