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X-Men Retro Collection
by yo go re

Winter is coming.

Iceman has the mutant ability to turn himself into a being of living ice. Once he does that, he can create almost anything he wants: ice weapons, ice shields, not to mention icicles and snowballs.

This figure is part of the X-Men Retro Collection, meaning it's a reference to an old ToyBiz figure - and unlike Dazzler, it really is! ToyBiz's ultra-rare figure came out in 1992, so this version of Bobby Drake would predate the character learning about just how vast his powers really were. The bio above is taken directly from that old figure, but it originally went on, saying "And when he really concentrates, he can create a blinding snowstorm even in the middle of July! But most important of all, the X-Men know that no matter how hot the battle, Iceman always keeps his cool." But when you have to print all your text in four languages, space dictates how much you can say.

This is Hasbro's third attempt at making an Iceman, after the teenage and modern versions. It's pretty interesting that no two of them use the same molds. Like the spiky blue one, this Iceman uses Spider-Man body, but it's a bigger one. The sculpt does have a certain angularity to it, which is how Iceman was drawn at the time, so in that regard, it suits him. His only costume element is a white belt with a black X logo in the center; this was his look from Uncanny X-Men #39 (when Jean designed it for him) until the X-Men started wearing movie-inspired costumes in Uncanny X-Men #395 - which is to say, he may have changed the actual costume he wore time and again (Champions, Defenders, X-Factor, X-Men again) but when he flamed iced on, he always looked like this.

The figure is molded from a pearly plastic, more gray than white (and definitely not blue), but it looks wonderfully like ice, just as it should. There is a problem, however: for some reason, likely related to the molding process, almost every sample of this figure has ended up with a big visible "crack" down the center of his face - it's not a physical flaw in the mold, just a dark line in the plastic that seems to unwaveringly appear right between his eyes. It's taken me months of looking at Icemen in the stores to find one where the error was minimally visible.

It seems the reason Hasbro keeps choosing Spidey bodies for Iceman is their extra pectoral hinges allow you to push both his arms all the way forward, the way he looks when he's projecting ice in front of him. But then by that logic, shouldn't every Havok get the same? A few of the figure's joints were minorly stuck when I opened him: not stuck fast or anything, but just stiff enough that they made a small sound when I first moved them - like cracking ice! It's immersive fun!

Iceman comes with an accessory, though it's not a very good one. The 1992 figure came with a tray you could stand him in, fill with water, and freeze, allowing you to simulate one of his ice-slides; updating that would have taken up way too much space in the package, so instead he gets a little spray of ice to put beneath his feet, referencing the old slide in the most distant way possible. Like Rustin said, the piece is too small to actually add any real value to the release. Alternate hands with new "ice" effects would have worked better.

The previous Iceman was good, sure, but this one is the real deal, the one that looks the way you think of the character looking. We'd tell you to get him without hesitation, if not for that endemic flaw that plagues the face.

-- 12/02/19

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