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Marvel Legends
by yo go re

Emigrant, orphan, pickpocket, goddesss, hero, alien, human, leader, child, adult... Ororo Munroe has never been one afraid of change.

Orphaned as a child, Ororo Munroe developed the power to command the forces of nature - and once was worshipped as a goddess in Africa for that very reason. As a member of the X-Men, she wields her unique genetic gifts to protect a world that hates and fears mutants!

It may seem that putting a black woman on the team was a fairly forward-thinking move for X-Men, but that's hardly the case. Sure, the X-Men were, up until that point, just as WASPy [no pun intended --ed.] as the Avengers (Earth's Whitiest Heroes), but the book was also on the verge of being cancelled: there was no risk in having her join the team, since no one cared what happened to it, anyway. But the book flourished - thanks in part to its new, wider scope - and Storm became an example of the equality of Marvel Comics, eventually becoming one of the strongest X-Men and the leader of several incarnations of the team.

Storm got her first action figure in ToyBiz's 1991 X-Men line and, amazingly enough, this figure is wearing the exact same costume. Well, almost. That costume and this are both based on Jim Lee's version, though the old one picked up a lightning bolt on the chest that the comic version had worn in a previous incarnation.

Storm is 6⅝" tall at the top of her wild white hair, and moves at the ankles, shins, knees, thighs, hips, waist, torso, shoulders (doubled up), biceps, elbows, wrists and neck. This is the first female Marvel Legend not based on the Elektra body, so every inch of her is brand-new.

The sculpt is good, if a bit over-detailed: there are so many tiny wrinkles all over that, instead of cloth or leather, it looks like Storm is wearing a trash bag. She's got her distinctive weird cape, which attaches to her wrists so she can make herself fly. The plastic that ToyBiz used for the cape is great: it's thin and flexible enough to move with the figure, but thick enough to hold sculptural detail and not rip in half. Holy crap, this is how action figure capes should be made!

Unfortunately, the costume choice was pretty bad. It's unclear why ToyBiz chose this look instead of the one that debuted in Giant Size X-Men #1 - after all, that would have been more "legendary." You can expect to see a lot of Storm customs in the coming months.

Storm's hair, changed several times since the figure was seen at Toy Fair last year, is a large, wind-swept piece, just as it should be. However, since it's molded from solid ABS, it's heavy as all hell. Heavier even than Phoenix's mighty 'do. Makes balancing skinny little storm a bit of a problem. It can be done, though. Her hair isn't even on both sides, so if you have her posed with it touching her back, she'll be looking a little off to the side.

There's a variant Storm figure available, featuring the mohawk she picked up around issue #173. Too bad she's not wearing the more urban costume she had at the time. It, too, would have been better than this. ToyBiz did manage to get the highly exaggerated eye makeup right, though.

Series 8 will be the last Marvel Legends to come with display bases for a while, and Storm's is really nice. It's a large gray storm cloud with a few lightning bolts stabbing outward. The base is actually in two pieces: the actual "body" of the cloud and a rising swirl that circles the figure's feet when she's on the base. The swirl turns so that the base can be mounted on a wall or placed on a flat surface; neither way is truly parallel or perpendicular to the ground, but the angle is slight enough that Storm looks good when in place.

Storm comes with a reprint of Uncanny X-Men #96, a rather crummy comic that features the X-Men fighting off some kind of demon. It's spectacularly unimpressive, and there are a lot better Storm stories out there. This was just a bad choice.

-- 02/27/05

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