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Cannonball & Domino

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

The breakdown of the two new "Hasbro Legends" Wal*Mart two-packs is interesting. One of the sets has two new versions of characters we've seen before, while the other has two characters that haven't been seen in plastic form in over a decade.

Erstwhile teammates and mutual friends of the mutant freedom fighter Cable, Domino and Cannonball are just two of the unique crew of mutants Nathan Summers has gathered around himself since his arrival in our timeline. Domino, genetically engineered and trained from birth to be the ultimate fighter, locally warps probability in her favor, making her an ideal partner in a firefight. Every shot Domino fires is a lucky shot. Cannonall is a living explosion, able to absorb, generate and redirect explosive, kinetic force. This allows him to fly, renders him nearly invulnerable to physical attack and grants him the ability to direct punishing, concussive attacks against his foes. Cable also suspects he's a rare immortal mutant and hopes to awaken that potential.

Okay, to begin with, you can forget that "immortal mutant" stuff. That was part of a plot that's pretty much been swept under the rug in recent years, because it was basically a rip-off of Highlander. A group of secret immortals who age normally until they "die," then the only way to kill them is to cut off their heads? Oh, wait, you had to cut off their arms and legs, too. That's totally different.

Though the X-Men books go through cast changes they way you go through clean socks, Sam Guthrie is a rare mutant with staying power: he was the only character in the New Mutants book to last all 100 issues on the team. While everyone else came and left, Cannonball was constant. And he followed that up with another 44 issues of X-Force before "graduating" to the X-Men.

Sam uses the same body as ML7's Johnny Blaze, which was a really inspired choie on Hasbro's part. Converting Ghost Rider's leathers into Cannonball's padded costume is merely a matter of paint. Sure, this costume isn't an exact replica of one he ever wore in the comics, but the feeling is definitely there. The pads on the shoulders, the high collar, the snap-front jacket... you look at this and it's instantly Cannonball.

That's really helped by the head - the only new sculpt on the figure. Well, okay, the upper chest, too, but who's counting that? Sam is a good ol' Kentucky boy, and he was always drawn as fairly tall and thin in those early years. The face captures the slenderness, and he even has the big jug ears sticking out to the sides. His hair looks windswept, as you might expect from someone with his powers, and his goggles are sculpted in place on his forehead.

Cannonball tops out at 6¼" tall, and has hinged toes, full ankles, swivel boots, double knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, swivel waist, hinged fingers, hinged wrists, swivel gloves, double elbows, swivel biceps, balljointed and sliding shoulders, a hinged torso and a balljointed head. The upper part of his jacket is made from soft rubber, for whatever reason, but it was that way on the original figure, too. Watch out for the way he's posed in the package: if his leg wasn't lined up properly when he was put in the plastic tray, his knees are probably warped to the side by now. You saw this kind of thing all the time with ToyBiz's Marvel Legends - it's not poor construction, just poor packaging.

All the articulation means you can get Sam into a really nice flying pose, so he'll look like he's blasting through the air. If Cannonball had been released by himself in the first few series of ML, he'd probably have a display base that simulated his blast effect; in this two-pack, he has nothing. The paint is pretty good, but you still need to choose carefully. The majority of the suit is a pale lavender, just as it was in the comics, and the boots, gloves and padding is a rich brown. The piping on the suit is a very light gray, but it can get a bit sloppy, so look carefully. Still, you're more likely to run into a twisted knee than a messy paint app. At least he isn't wearing pink, like the first Cannonball ToyBiz made in 1993.

If not for the Marvel Girl in the other two-pack, this whole series could have been all about X-Force. Of course, if they had done that, then you'd probably expect Cable to come with the second figure in this set, Domino. Alternately Cable's friend, former teammate, lover, and enemy, Domino has had a figure before, but it was way back in 1995 - and while that figure was one of the best in the old series, we really needed an update.

Domino was one of those mutants with a poorly defined power. In fact, for the first few years of her existence, the only evidence she was a mutant at all was that she hung out in the X-Books. Eventually there was some vague notion that things tended to go her way (hence the name), and more recently that's been expanded upon. Low-level probablity alteration is pretty similar to Longshot's powers, or like a subconscious Scarlet Witch, but at least she doesn't have yet another healing factor.

The re-used body for this figure comes from X-Treme X-Men Rogue - more specifically, from the variant. Domino doesn't wear a jacket, so she doesn't have sleeves sculpted on her arms. She is wearing a belt and two holsters, though, and has newly sculpted hands to hold her guns. All the small sculpted details on Rogue's suit have translated well to Domino, since she usually wore some kind of tactical gear. Domino moves at the head, shoulders, biceps, elbows, forearms, wrists, chest, torso, hips, thighs, knees, shins, ankles and toes.

Her chest joint is loose, which seems to just be a problem with this specific sample. A more pervasive problem, however, is her right thigh. The first set I bought, the thigh was painted together and ripped when I tried to move it. I exchanged it for a replacement, and the problem still exists. This time I'm not forcing it. If yours feels stuck, it probably is.

Domino has a new head, though they might have been able to get away with repainting Rogue's. Her "Petey the Dog" eyespot is just a paint app, without a sculpted edge, but it's crisp. Her face isn't pure white, but at least it isn't draped in pastel blue guns and holsters shadows like the white areas on a ToyBiz Marvel Legend. As someone who got into comic because of Rob Liefeld, I have to admit that I miss the weird head-pad he drew Domino (and a lot of his characters) with.

Like Cable, Domino comes with guns. She just has a simple pair of pistols, but they're new sculpts. They look very large in her hands, but that just's just because she isn't some huge beast of a character. She holds them well, and they fit perfectly in the holsters. Overall, fine accessories.

The choice to pack Cannonball and Domino together is an unexpected one. If anything, you'd think we'd get Cable and Domino in one set, and Canonball and... someone in the other. Marvel Girl just wouldn't have worked for him. Maybe they could have thrown together a Boom Boom or something. There's still a big chunk of the X-Force team missing, but this two-pack is a good start.

-- 11/04/07


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