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Marvel Universe
by yo go re

What's this? Another toy that shows 6" figures aren't making 4" figures suffer? Oh my stars and garters!

Beast is more than big, blue, strong and furry. He is supremely smart. His expertise in mutant and human biology is unparalleled. When he's not in the lab or the library, he is out in the field with his fellow X-Men ridding the world of its evils. Such a keen mind and physical prowess make Beast a formidable force on the academic lecture circuit or in battle.

He's not just an X-Man, you know: in fact, while he may not be headlining his own book(s), Beast is on just as many teams as Wolverine is! Don't believe us? Wolverine has the X-Men, the Avengers, and X-Force; Beast has the X-Men (a different team), the Avengers (another different team) and SWORD, the Sentient World Observation and Response Department (like SHIELD, but for aliens instead of spies). The guy really gets around!

This figure is (mostly) based on Simone Bianchi's version of Beast, which debuted in Astonishing X-Men #25. It's better than John Cassaday's design, but that's not really saying much. It does bring up one of our old questions: why do artists insist on trying to cover Beast up? This costume runs from his neck to his knees, which is way, way more than a guy who's covered in thick fur needs to wear. The only "bare" parts of his body are the head, arms and shins/feet. And even the arms aren't fully bare, since he has large golden bracers covering his forearms! Grumble grumble. His lower legs are ridiculously shaggy, while there's comparatively little fur on his arms. There's a raised line of piping that runs all the way from Beast's back to his front, then around to his back again. Other than that and the "hems" at the lower legs, shoulders and neck, all the costume details are painted on. Although, the sculpted collar is painted blue, instead of the gold it should be, and they forgot to sculpt the piping on his lower back, so it's just painted as well.

One piece of this toy that is definitely not from Simone Bianchi's design? The head. Bianchi apparently never got the memo about Beast's secondary mutation, because he still drew Hank "Blueverine" style, not as a cat. This one's definitely got the Garfield face, though. His fur is paler than you'd expect - Williamsburg blue. While the cover of AXM #26 does depict his head that way, that was an artistic halftone in the background of the image, not a color guide.

My Beast was assembled with two right biceps, but thanks to their furry sculpt, it's not immediately apparent. More noticeable than Cable's hip, but less noticeable than Nite Owl's front-butt. And the good news is, it doesn't impede the articulation at all!

Beast moves at the head, neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, torso, hips, thighs, knees, ankles, feet, and toes. He's not the most articulated Marvel Universe figure ever, but that definitely puts him up there with his Marvel Legends brothers (and in at least one case, makes him better). The neck hinge is stiff, but even if it won't move for you, the head balljoint gives Hank decent motion by itself. His thick leg fur hangs down low enough to cover his ankles, so you may not realize they turn side-to-side (in addition to the rocker-style swivels that allow his feet to tilt). The important thing is he can still get into all those crazy, inhumanly dynamic poses Beast favors so much.

Beast has no accessories, not even a display stand to go with the holes in the bottoms of his feet. The package does say "Includes Collectible Comic Shot," but it might as well say "includes plastic tray" or "includes UPC code," because the "comic shot" is just another piece of packaging to be thrown away.

This is a decent figure, even if I only got him because I was excited to finally see a new Marvel Universe figure on the shelves (anything that wasn't Gladiator, Nighthawk or a re-released Spider-Man would have that effect). This is the only time this particular costume has been made into a toy, and the articulation is pretty good as well. But the head isn't quite the right style, and the choice of colors is just weird. Plus, it doesn't help that shortly after this figure was released, Beast mutated again and no longer looks at all like a cat. That's just unfortunate timing!

-- 09/09/13

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