The Ultimate Marvel line is a chance to take these characters that have 40-plus years of history and strip them down to their essences, to give new readers a chance to get in on the story without the decades of history. It's also a great excuse to introduce new costumes, which can then be made into new toys. The ranks of the plastic Ultimate Universe have just grown by one, with Marvel Legends' take on Ultimate Wolverine.
As an assassin for the Brotherhood of Mutants, Wolverine was sent by Magneto to infiltrate the X-Men and kill Charles Xavier. However, after seeing firsthand how they operate and what they stand for, he abandoned his original mission and joined the X-Men. With his amazing ability to heal almost any injury and his adamantium-laced claws, Wolverine is an unstoppable fighting machine as he battles against the Brotherhood and Sabertooth, the leader of the mysterious Weapon X program.
They say it's seeing firsthand how the X-Men operate that cause Wolverine to switch sides, but that's not the entire story. It probably had more to do with the teenaged Jean Grey, who was in bed with him by the fifth issue. That's enough to make any man change his mind.
Ultimate Wolverine isn't as short and stocky as his 616 counterpart, and the figure reflects that. He stands just under 6" tall, and is somewhat slender - at least by Wolverine standards. The sculpt is muscular, but not overdone, and there's a slight texture on his pants.
His gloves are layered, and the detailing on his boots is complex. The claws are just as warped on this Wolverine as they ever were with ToyBiz, despite a weird triangular shape. Some things just never change, I suppose. How disappointing.
The figure moves at the head, shoulders, elbows, wrists, torso, waist, hips, thighs, knees and ankles. The elbows are balljoints, which is a Hasbro innovation - and also one of the things the fanboys complain about. There's no biceps swivel, but the elbow makes up for it. You can't fold the arm as far up as you could if it was a double-hinge, but that's a problem Hasbro will apparently be correcting in HL3. Really, bitching about these new joints is one of the fanboys' dumber moves - it's a decent step forward, and will be really good once they improve the upward range of motion.
Wolverine's head is a slightly different sculpt than the one seen in promotional shots.
For some reason, the sculpt and paint on the prototype made Wolverine look like the Gorton's Fisherman or something - his face was covered in deep wrinkles, and his sideburns were painted all the way down his jaw to meet his little goatee. Somehow "Amish" is not a word you think of when you think of Wolverine. The final production figure, though, has had some of that corrected. His mouth has been slightly resculpted, and the wrinkles seem to have smoothed out slightly - he still looks too old, though. At least now there's skin visible between his cheeks and chin.
The paint is decent. The yellow could have easily spilled onto the darker sections, but it's very good all around. Some of the stripes on his shoulders might not be as sharp as they could be, but that's not a major problem. The thin, black hairs on his arms are done really well, and there's even a black line between his teeth. The white dots on his eyes should be smaller, and the loose strands of hair have been handled nicely. Unfortunately, they've painted his costume black, rather than the dark blue it should be. Take a look at Ultimate Nightcrawler - the Ultimate X-Men uniforms are dark blue, but they're still blue. Diamond will be offering an exclusive Blue vaiant some time in the future, but you can bet it won't include one item this figure does.
All the figures in Hasbro Legends 2 come with a piece of Blob, the series' Build-A-Figure - Wolverine actually comes with two.
Because Blob is so freaking huge, his stomach and groin are molded as one, but the front and back halves need to be snapped together after you open the package. It's too big to fit in the card in one piece, which should give you an idea of how big this guy is going to be once you get him all assembled. Start clearing some space now. And baking some pies.
You have to give Hasbro some credit for their Marvel Legends line - they waited until HL2 to give us a Wolverine, which shows remarkable restraint. And more than that, there are no more Wolverines on the schedule for the next four series, either. People complain about Hasbro's character assortments? What, they want to go back to three series in a row with an Iron Man, or a gap of no more than three series without a Wolverine? No thanks.