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X-Men Retro Collection
by yo go re

Uzumaki barrage!

Spiral, Mojo's deadly enforcer, possesses additional cybernetic limbs, powerful mystic abilities, and a deep enmity for her former flame, Longshot.

Oh, that's a good question I don't know the answer to: does Spiral remember that she used to be human stuntwoman Ricochet Rita? Has she always remembered? When Mojo sent her to grab Rita and start experimenting on her, did she know she was simply completing the time loop, or had all that been locked away? Things can all get very confusing when when you're dealing with characters who are both 1) time travelers and 2) tend to do lots of mind-wiping.

Hasbro made a Marvel Legends Spiral once already, but that was soon after they got the Marvel license, so it was merely okay. Add to that 15 years of general advancement, and that's a recipe for definite improvement. For one thing, this time they didn't waste time making her helmet removable, so it doesn't need to be oversized, and her head doesn't end up looking small inside it. Even if this weren't a superior sculpt, it would look better just for that.

And yes, this sculpt is better, all the way down. Her torso is slight, allowing the bulk of all her extra arms to make it look proportional with the rest of the body, and she's got thighs that could crack a coconut. The pockets of her jumpsuit are molded on the outside of her legs, and the long, flowing fur on her boots is a separate mold slipped onto the figure during assembly. Every bit of her is new, and it all looks great.

Drawing a woman with six arms is much easier than sculpting one; you just pose the character however you need to to disguise the way they emerge from her body. One thing that has been consistent is that all the extra arms come out of her shoulders, rather than from the ribcage like Spider-Man. Like the previous figure, this one has one pair of arms where they'd normally be, one pair immediately below that, and the third pair between them and to the back. This time they've given her the proper number of fingers (like Longshot, she has one fewer finger per hand than average), and the decorations she wears on the arms aren't symmetrical - like, there will be an arm on both sides that has a short bracelet and bands around the bicep, but it's not the same arm on the left and the right, y'dig? Only one of her arms is fully armored: the rear arm on the left side.

Four extra arms mean four extra arms' worth of articulation. All six wrists have the joint aligned so Spiral can point her hands, but we get two alternate hands designed for flapping. And, coincidentally, not for holding anything: there's a pink hand with the fingers relaxed, and a metal hand curled into a fist. Why only two? And why both on the left side? We don't necessarily need a full set of holding, a full set of fists, and a full set of crazy magical gestures, but this seems incomplete.

Anyway, she's got all the normal joints (ankles, knees, thighs, hips, torso, wristses, elbowses, bicepses, shoulderses, neck), plus swivels for the armor plating above her arms, so it will turn out of the way when it needs to. I didn't know about those when I opened the toy, so I thought the pad that was hanging halfway across her chest was assembled incorrectly. I was wrong! Having long hair does keep the head from moving very much, it must be said, but the rest is good. The pegs extending from the shoulder down into the biceps feel a little soft, so sometimes it's hard to get those to turn the shoulder the way you want instead of just bending.

Spiral comes with six weapons, though none of them are new. She's got four katanas - two long ones, two very long ones - and then a broadsword and an axe-thing in gold. At first, I thought those were from the previous ML Spiral, because I recognized them as being reused, and that one had the Tom Raney variant with golden weapons. Again, I was wrong: those two pieces are instead reused from Angela, of all people. I want to say that Spiral usually uses straight swords, not katanas, but there aren't as many ML molds of that type that wouldn't be conspicuously reused from a specific character. I mean, she can't carry the Black Blade, she can't carry Dragonfang, she can't carry Excalibur, she can't carry Zemo's sword... but a random Hand/Deadpool/Psylocke sword? Sure.

But again, just like more hands would have been good, some energy effects would, too. Magic is her primary thing, the swords are secondary.

When Art Adams designed Spiral, she was just another one of the weird bounty hunters chasing Longshot, no more special or differentiated than Quark, the goat-guy. It was Ann Nocienti who liked the design and gave her a bit of a promotion; and then it was Chris Claremont who really expanded her role and backstory in the X-Books. (Remember, at first the general thought was that Mojo was going to become a Doctor Strange foe, not X-Men.) And while it seems like Retro Collection Spiral was released to go along with last year's Mojoworld four-pack, remember also that when Mystique's version of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants started working for the US government as Freedom Force, Spiral was on that team, right alongside Avalanche and Blob, two other characters who are getting new figures. There's plenty for this toy to do! Still, it would have been nice if they'd upped the price by five bucks or so, thrown in a bunch of new hands and existing energy effects, plus that Dr. Strange portal like we dreamed about. Spiral's very, very good, but she could have been a ToY contender.

-- 02/27/23

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