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Jean Grey

X-Men: the Movie
by Shocka

This red-hot redhead gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "mind over matter."

Jean Grey has the mutant power of telekinesis - the ability to move objects with her mind. She also has limited telepathic powers that enable her to hear the thoughts of others in close proximity. As a member of the X-Men, Jean uses both her extraordinary mental gifts and scientific genius to try to create a better world for both man and mutant. She is the object of affection for both Cyclops and Logan, which often causes tension within the outlaw band of mutants.

It's no longer blondes who have more fun: viewed as firey and independent, red hair is suddenly "in." Heck, even red dye outsells blonde and brunette combined. Less than 2% of the human race is naturally amber, which is less common than being left-handed or gay. But for all the press red is getting now, it's been that way for years in the realm of comicbooks. From Mary Jane (love interest of Spider-Man) to Poison Ivy (Batman's foe), comicbook redheads are stunning, sexy women.

But Jean Grey is the queen of them all - back in the day, young Marvel Girl had four different superheroes fighting over her attentions. She's known how to work it for 40 years; the rest of the world is just beginning to catch up.

When Jean and her fellow X-Men made the jump from printed page to the silver screen, merchandise was sure to follow - after all, it was the first big cinematic hit of the summer season, and the best superhero movie to come along in quite a while. Everyone could enjoy the film, without being too familiar with the world of the comics, so marketing was a natural.

The X-Men figures come in distinct packaging, which won the 2000 Toy of the Year Award. Someone's industrial design professor is going to be happy they were paying attention in class, becasuse this complicated origami cardboard shape cannot have been easy to come up with. The card is printed with metallic blue blocks (or perhaps panels), which suits the aesthetic of the film. A photo of the actor is printed on the angled section at the top, and the toy rests in a tray in front of the doors to Cerebro. On the upper left-hand corner is a removable three-dimensional plastic X-logo that doubles as a stand for the figure. It's quite stylish and really stands out on the shelf.

The likenesses on this line of toys all very good, but Famke Janssen's Jean Grey has to be one of the best. Jean stands just over 5" tall in her high heels, and has 10 ten points of articulation. She comes with a Mutated Senator Kelly accessory, which pretty much amounts to be a plastic sack with plastic beads inside - he feels disturbingly squishy when you hold him. Personally, I find that's it's fun to run him over with Wolverine's motorcycle, and watch his flimsy mutated limbs quiver.

Unfortunately, while Jean stands up to play, Kelly is made from soft rubber which has a tendency to dry out and crack. Therefore, in a few months, he's falling apart; now, if you've seen the film, that might seem weirdly appropriate, but you're still left with a disintegrating accessory.

There are three versions of this figure, each released in its turn. The first edition (seen above) had Jean's hair down and her jumpsuit unzipped; très slutty.

The second release features her hair in a ponytail, and the addition of a little black paint across the chest to make up for the low zipper. Dubbed the "bustier" version for the painted-on garment, I kept reading it as "more busty" rather than "an article of clothing." It's boostie-ay, not bust-ee-er. Eep.

However, the rarest of all the variants, the "Clean Jean" version, features the ponytail as well as a resculpted torso which has her jumpsuit zipped all the way up. Muuuuuuuch better! That's how she appeared in the film, so there's no reason to "sex up" the toy.

This is a very fun figure, with a dead-on likeness to her movie counterpart. A fine addition to an X-Fan's collection, this tiny plastic Jean truly captures the spirit of her real-life version. Plus, she's the original "mane" attraction.

-- 08/02/02

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