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Professor X

Marvel Universe
by yo go re

It seems like we've been waiting forever for a "Hoverchair" Prof. X: there was the Minimate version, and although there were plans for a Marvel Legends version, but that never materialized. Marvel Universe to the rescue!

With a genius intellect and the ability not only to read minds but to control them, Professor Charles Xavier could bend almost anyone to his own accord. Using his powers for good, he tirelessly defends mutants and humans from those who seek to destroy them. The Professor's School for Gifted Youngsters serves as a beacon to mutants around the world, as well as a combat base for the X-Men, the heroic team Xavier leads with his immense telepathic powers and unbreakable force of will.

Charles Xavier may not be as flashy as the rest of the X-Men, but he's every bit as indespensible. Without him, there would be no X-Men (as various What If--? issues have proved over the years). But since he's just a guy in a suit, he tends to get overlooked when it comes to merchandise - at least until the line has been running for a while.

Xavier's head is new, and it looks pretty cool. The proportions are exaggerated so that the giant, hooked eyebrows don't look as wildly out of place. His right brow is cocked higher than his left, which we choose to interpret as evidence of him using his power. Either that or he's pissed at one of his students - maybe Iceman was playing pranks again.

We specify that the head is new because the body is not. Granted, it looks new, since there are no other Marvel Universe figures that use it, but when you take him out of the package you'll notice a few oddities. Oddities like the fact that there are visible screws on the insides of the legs to hold the thighs together, rather than just being sonically welded like most MU figures. And then there's a hole in the center of his back. Those aren't features usually found on Marvel figures - in fact, they're more like what you'd expect from a GI Joe. And sure enough, that's what they are!

Below the neck, this figure is a reused GI Joe body; but if nothing else, at least it's one you're really unlikely to own already. Who used to wear this suit? The SDCC-exclusive version of James McCullen XXIV, from Rise of Cobra. Remember, the one in the big book? Yeah, that one. In three years they never found an excuse to re-release that mold, but now here it is in the Marvel line.

Professor X is wearing a suit, just as in the comics. Sure he'd sometimes wear a jumpsuit to go on adventures, but a nice suit the standard. He'd wear different colors, of course, but this one is blue. Blue jacket, blue vest, blue pants, blue shirt... way to diversify your wardrobe choices, Charles. His collar and cuffs are white and his tie is red, so at least there's a little contrast here. The jacket and vest are a single, separate piece, so together they make the figure look somewhat bulky, but it sure beats having his chest joint run right through the suit. You can remove the coat, if you just want to have him in his blue shirt.

When ToyBiz released a Professor X figure in their first X-Men movie line, they made the leg joints loose so he couldn't stand. This one does not follow suit. He has all the same joints that Destro had, and they all work just as well here as they did three years ago. Not that he needs all of it.

Chuck comes with one accessory: his chair. His inexplicable hoverchair. It first appeared in X-Men #1 (the Jim Lee one), and was eventually revealed to be a gift from the Shi'ar aliens. It's done in two pieces (to fit into the blister packaging), and pushes together easily. By itself, it measures just a skosh under 3½" tall. There are no moving parts, but then, what parts would move anyway? Well, maybe the armrests could open (again), but that's not necessary.

The front and back of the chair are both relatively smooth, while the sides have blocky details that serve no clear purpose other than providing a little bit of visual interest - by which we mean, they don't look like controls or important structural elements, they look like some Shi'ar in the design department said "this is boring, let's put some slats on there."

One thing we have to mention is the height. In the comics, this chair has always been the same general height as a real wheelchair - which is to say, chair height. Xavier was shorter than everyone else because he was sitting down and they were standing. This chair is so tall that he's basically looking everyone else in the eye. Now, there's no reason a pretend hoverchair can't make the guy riding it as tall as a normal person, but it's still weird. We expect him to be "seated" height, not "standing" height, and anything else will take a little time to get used to. Plus, it's not like it was necessary to make it this size, because there's a bunch of extra legroom in there.

The copyright date engraved on Professor's X chair is 2011 - so why is this figure only coming out now, scant weeks shy of 2013? Were there some stairs between him and the store shelves? Whatever the reason for the delay, the figure's very cool, and makes my custom look like the amateur crap it is. When he finally shows up in stores, get him.

-- 12/24/12


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