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Marvel Legends
by yo go re

Oh the bitching! Oh the whining! Like a snake eating its own tail, the fanboys are trapped in a never-ending cycle of grousing and complaining. Whenever the slightest bit of news is revealed, they're right there ready to jump on it and tell everyone how bad it is, no matter how little information they really have or how little they understand. Case in point? Onslaught.

When Professor Charles Xavier became possessed by an unknown evil, no one could predict what the result would be. Soon the evil manifested itself as the ultra-powerful being called Onslaught! Possessing nearly unlimited levels of psionic power, Onslaught used Xavier's knowledge of the X-Men to defeat them. But when the remaining mutants and the world's heroes separated Xavier from Onslaught, the villain only changed form, growing even more powerful. Bent on the destruction of all mankind, Onslaught can only be stopped by the combined forces of all the world's heroes!

Onslaught was an interesting idea for a character that was unfortunately tied into one of the worst Marvel crossovers ever. The Onslaught Saga led into the abysmal failure that was "Heroes Reborn," which served no purpose other than to remind the world, briefly, why Rob Liefeld should not be allowed to draw. It's sort of the New Coke Solution: you replace a so-so product with a bad one, and people learn to appreciate the old one more.

The fanboys had two problems with Onslaught: first was the design. Onslaught had two forms in the comics - he evolved about ⅔ of the way through the story. Now, you say "Onslaught" and most fans think of his first form, sort of a bulked-up version of Magneto, first seen in X-Men #53. The figure, however, gives us the second form, a crazy anime monster thing.

Dave Cortes' sculpt on this figure is fantastic. ML13 was already a very intricate, good-looking series, but Onslaught is the best of it. Onslaught's second form was designed by '90s superstar Joe Madureira, who was responsible for introducing anime stylings to American comics - which is why Onslaught v2's armor is so busy and he bears slight resemblance to Sachiel, the third angel, from Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Actually, this whole figure was designed by Joe Mad - there weren't any clear reference shots of the whole guy, so ToyBiz had him come in and do the designs for them. That means that while the figure looks really excellent, he doesn't look exactly like he did in the comics. While the general shape is the same, it's the little details that are different. Still looks damn monstrous, that's for sure. There's a rough texture over the whole body, and lots of little plates on the armor. The horse legs were a bit weird at first, but they work. His legs were never shown in the comics, so who's to say they're wrong?

The second complaint about the figure didn't surface until it was seen alongside other BAFs: namely, that it was too small. Now, even if you don't straighten his legs out at all, Onslaught is 8⅜" tall, so he's already bigger than most of the Legends - extend those legs and he's nearly an inch and a half taller. But fans have been conditioned to think of 13" as a good BAF size (like Apocalypse and Giant Man), so they were pissed.

Onslaught's first form appeared to stand around 10' tall - it's hard to tell, since he never really had a body, just an illusion caused by the mingling of psychic and magnetic powers - so this size might have worked for him then. But when he changed into his second form, he grew much bigger. Like Galactus, he's more in scale with Superhero Showdown than Marvel Legends.

But the thing the fanboys failed to realize (or recognize) is that height is just one measurement, and Onslaught delivers in the one area most toys overlook. Sure, he's only one quarter inch taller than Juggernaut, but it's like we said for the movie Hulk figures - a big figure has to be thick, not just tall. Juggy's 2" from front to back; Onslaught's 3½". So he may not go up as high as the others, but his bulk is distributed more realistically, something that will be a great benefit when Mojo and Blob are released.

Onslaught also has more moving pieces than most of the other Legends. He's got balljoints at the shoulders, hips, hocks and fetlocks (that's ankles and toes, to those of you who didn't study horse anatomy). His head is on a balljoint, but he also has two freely rotating cuffs behind it, circling his neck. The elbows aren't balljoints, strictly speaking, but since they have a pin joint immediately next to a peg joint, the effect is the same. The knees are ratcheted pins, but they also have a piece of armor that moves above them. The wrists are balljoints, but the armor on the forearms prevents all but the slightest rotation. There are six finger joints on each hand: Onslaught has a smaller, second thumb on the outside of his palm. He doesn't have a waist, but there is a sturdy, ratcheted torso hinge and a matching pin joint to allow the purple carapace to flex with him. Throw in the hinged shoulders of his armor, which allow his arms to move freely, and that's 43 points of articulation.

At the end of things, if a figure with more detail, more bulk and more articulation than the other Marvel Legends isn't enough to make you happy, consider this: it's free. If you don't like it, no one's making you build it, but the fact remains that Onslaught didn't cost you anything. We now know that Hasbro is keeping the Marvel Legends line alive, almost unchanged, and that they'll be continuing the BAF program, so who knows: maybe someday we'll get a first-form Onslaught.

Blackheart | Lady Deathstrike | Pyro | Loki | Abomination | Green Goblin

-- 10/04/06

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