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Cable & Marvel Girl

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

Remember last year, when a series of Wal*Mart-exclusive Marvel Legends caused no small headache for frustrated collectors everywhere? Well, now Hasbro's in charge of the license, and they're giving it another shot. Prepare to tear your hair out all over again.

Few relationships are so complicated as that between a mother and her son. Cable and Marvel Girl are no different. Jean Grey is only Nathan Summers' mother in the most broad of definitions, of course, since it was actually her clone who gave birth to him. Summoned as a psychic duplicate by the Mother Askani to the desolate alternate future of 40th Century Earth, however, Jean Grey raised Nathan as her own. For twelve years, she worked with the young son she would never know in her real life on present-day Earth, training him in the use of his powerful psychic abilities. It is her guiding hand that can be seen in everything about him, from the way in which he uses his powers, to the idealism that motivates him. It is thanks to her formidable talents as a teacher that he was able to realize his destiny in that forgotten future age, and defeat Apocalypse.

Jesus H. Sammich, what a long intro! I know the X-Men's story is a Gordian knot of plot threads as labyrinthine as any daytime soap opera, but has no one ever heard of brevity? "He's a warrior from the future. She's a student from the past. Together, they fight crime!" Maybe a little more involved than that, but still.

If you want a specific bio for Cable, check out the review of the ML6 release. All you need to know is there. If you don't want a specific bio, Cable's the big muscular guy with the metal arm, the padded costume and the giant freaking guns. The end.

This figure stands just a hair over 6⅜" tall, which is right on par with the previous version. Cable has hinged toes, hinged and rocker ankles, swivel shins, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, swivel waist, hinged torso, hinged fingers and wrists, swivel gloves, double-hinged elbows, swivel biceps, balljointed shoulders on sliding pecs, and a balljointed head. Thus, lots of mobility.

If Cable looks familiar, there's a good reason for that: his head is new, but everything else has been re-used. The new head is a lot less lantern-jawed than the previous release, but still manages to look like Cable. The scars on his right eye are subtler, and overall he looks less cartoony and more human. I'm sure some folks are unhappy about that, but it suits this figure. It's like having different artists draw him differently: change is not necessarily a bad thing.

So that's the head - what about everything below the neck? Cable's arms come from the ML6 release, since resculpting that techno-organic appendage would have been a major pain, and using a different "human" arm would have made him look lopsided. The rest of the body is taken in its entirety from X-Men Series 1's Stealth Wolverine, one of the rare variations that was worth getting on its own. The body really works much better for Cable than it did for Wolverine (a figure of Logan that's over 6" tall? That ain't right), and the X-shaped body armor strapped in place is true to the character. If you didn't know this was a repaint, you'd never suspect it.

Cable doesn't come with one of his comically oversized bazookas, but he's still armed. He's got a matching pair of... well, to anyone else, they'd be huge hand-cannons, but by Cable's standards, they're probably little more than Derringers. One gun can fit in the holster on his right hip - the other will have to remain handheld for now.

The paint is nice, proving you don't need a wash for a figure to look good. The body of the suit is navy blue, with neon yellow armor. The buckles on the straps and the communicator on his chest are silver. His hair is gray instead of white, and his cyborg eye is no longer yellow. Because of his scarring (lined faintly in pink), he only has one eyebrow - a nice detail. They even seem to have molded his mechanical arm from gray rather than flesh tone, this time. Even compared to the existing figure, this is an excellent Cable.

Of the four figures in these Wal*Mart two-packs, Jean is the only one who doesn't re-use any parts. Yes, technically this is the same sculpt from the Hasbro Legends 3 Rachel Summers Marvel Girl figure, but since that hasn't been released yet, Jean owns the body first. After all, can a repaint really come out before the original? That'd be like a cover being released before the actual song. Just too weird to think about.

Long before she became the Phoenix, Jean Grey was just a student at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. In fact, she was one of the first recruits. This figure depicts her in her "graduation" costume - when the kids no longer had to wear the matching blue and yellow jumpsuits, and Jeanie designed new looks for everyone. If you want to get technical, a toy has been made of this costume before, but it was only available as an overpriced exclusive repaint. Hmmm.

Since she's supposed to be a teenager, Marvel Girl's slight 5¾" stature suits her. Since she uses a Hasbro body, she mostly has the new balljoints, which are supposed to provide the same range of motion as ToyBiz's joints. Yeah, they're good, but they're not quite that good, yet. Jean moves at the ankles, knees, hips, waist, torso, wrists, elbows, shoulders and neck - only the waist and wrists are swivel joints.

The sculpt on Marvel Girl is mostly smooth and featureless - standing next to Cable, she looks positively cartoony. And while I'm sure some fanboys will hold this up as an example of how Hasbro sucks, they're full of it. The figure portrays a teenaged girl, which means she shouldn't be covered with bulging muscles and veins. In fact, there's more detail on this body than on most of the ToyBiz ML women. The lesson here? Never listen to the bitching of nitwits. Shame about her oddly square clavicles, though.

The face is cute, though her hair is more of a muted orange than the previous version's. Watch out for that mask when you go shopping, too - the gold is unevenly applied on some samples, but it's hard to tell what's mis-painted and what's just reflecting the light. The green is a nice shade, though, and contrasts with the pale skin. Other than the edges of the mask, the paint is all applied well. Jean doesn't have any accessories, of course, since she doesn't regularly use any.

Cable and Marvel Girl may not be the most obvious pair to throw in a box together, but they still make a good set. Cable shows how reusing parts can be really smart, if you do it correctly, and Jean gives us a character that probably wasn't at the top of anyone's must-have lists, but still fills a gap in the Marvel Legends line. It's just too bad that the ML10 Cyclops is so over-buffed, or he'd look perfect next to her. In any case, with two nice figures, this pack is certainly worth getting.

-- 11/02/07

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