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Wolverine, Jean Grey & Cyclops

X-Men Legends
by yo go re

I was about to call this "Marvel's favorite throuple," but then I remembered Emma Frost exists, so I guess it's really more of an... N-shaped polycule? In which Emma is free to go sleep with whoever she wants outside, and Wolverine is only interested in having naked beers with Nightcrawler and suspicious relationships with more teenage girls than Drake? This is what happens when you let Chris Claremont be so central to a group of characters' development for so long.

The mutant known as Wolverine possesses razor-sharp Adamantium claws and the ability to heal virtually any wound.

It's really weird that the text calls out his adamantium, when the big draw of this figure is he has bone claws. In fact, it's the first 6"-scale Wolverine to ever have bone claws. Other than those, this is basically the Capcom Wolverine with a paler yellow suit and a few extra heads. But sure, don't talk about the "Fatal Attractions" story or anything, packaging. Heck, just leaving the word "adamantium" out ("...possesses razor-sharp claws...") would have worked perfectly. The artwork on this package is inspired by the iconic trading cards from the early 1990s, but even those cards didn't focus on the metal so much.

In addition to the Capcom head, you get the unmasked smirking head (and the attendant pulled-back mask) from the 2017 Retro Collection Brown Costume Wolverine, and a scaled-down version of the battle-damaged head from that week Hasbro was doing 12" figures. Something seems off about the bare head: it's too youthful, or too happy, or something. The battle-worn head has its mouth open in a big comical shout, but the "damage" is just limited to a few spots where his hair is poking out and some cuts and slashes on the wings, like the ancient "Evolution of X" figure had.

You do get your choice of hands, so the mention of adamantium is not wholly without merit, but the bone claws are where it's really at. You surely remember that the original plan was not that Logan had natural claws, but that his body just regenerated new bones when his metal was pulled out - there's no way thick, lumpy claws like this would fit inside the thin metal that had always been sticking out of his hands. It wasn't until Origin that they became part of his mutation.

Jean Grey is an incredibly powerful mutant with the psychic powers of telepathy and telekinesis.

Continuing our trend, this is fundamentally the ML5 Jean (the one who came with Rocket Raccoon's whole-ass body), but we're not going to fault Hasbro for double-dipping: that figure was very hard to find, so there are a lot of fans for whom this is their first real chance at her; and considering how iconic the Jim Lee costume is for Jean, she deserves to be in the collection of everybody who wants one. And honestly, this isn't even a straight re-release. She's still got the familiar blue bracers, but the body is different, and the thighs are molded with new armored pads. And that's even before we get to the heads!

Jean's got two of them, and they're both unique. The old figure had a nice sculpt (though some definite paint issues), but six years later, Hasbro wanted to do even better. The first head is similar to the one we already had, with her hair falling free. It's bigger hair, though, wilder and spikier - if the previous Jean had "90s hair," this one has "90s music video" hair.

The second head is based on X-Men the Animated Series, because that's the only time she's ever worn her hair in a ponytail. The hair is long enough (on both heads) to reach past her waist, though this isn't a case of one sculpt being used twice: while the first head had her lips parted slightly and was showing the hint of a frown, this one has a pleasant smile, and the side of her head-frame thing come farther out onto her cheeks. The prototype images had these two hairstyles swapped, something you might be able to do yourself if you can pry the glue apart.

Scott Summers can fire optic blasts so powerful that they can only be harnessed by a special ruby-quartz visor.

Visually, Cyclops has seen the biggest change for this set. While it still uses the same body as before, and has the same rings around the thighs and boots, he's now wearing a leather jacket over his costume, because The '90s. It fits him a lot better than it did Old Man Logan, and he gets different sleeves, but this is something you'll easily recognize from the old cartoon or from his various Capcom appearances. There are X-logos on the shoulders, just like in the cartoon, and his yellow is the same faded color as Wolverine's. What's truly surprising, though, is that the strap going up his chest is no longer too big for his body. It's got the same sculpt as the Series 3 one, but it doesn't gap above his shoulders, so all we can assume is that Hasbro retooled it. Or that the jacket squashed it down.

Cyke comes with an alternate left hand, to adjust his visor controls, but that's not exciting. What is exciting [about Cyclops?! --ed.] is that he gets two unmasked heads: one wearing old-fashioned glasses with two separate lenses, and one wearing a more modern style. Call them '70s and '90s heads. Since the '70s one is a little too staid to fit with Cyclops and his cool leather jacket, you could give it to the "Dark Phoenix Saga" Cyclops from a couple years back. Sadly, we do not get any of the blast effects Retro Collection Cyclops introduced. Boo!

This "Love Triangle" multipack isn't as vital a set as Havok and Polaris were, but all three characters at least get something new to set them apart from earlier releases, making it feel a lot more worthwhile than straight repaints would. Now if you'll excuse them, this happy little domestic pod needs to go make somebody a sandwich.

-- 01/20/20

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