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Magneto & Professor X

X-Men: Days of Future Past
by yo go re

These X-Men movie Marvel Legends aren't really based on any one specific film, and are more a "greatest hits" thing; but we're declaring this set to be based on Days of Future Past, because that's the only thing that makes sense.

One of the most powerful mutants on Earth, the "master of magnetism" was at odds with Professor X and the X-Men for decades. But with mutant annihilation on the horizon, old animosities may have to give way to new alliances.

Magneto didn't wear anything resembling a "costume" in the first trilogy - he had a helmet and a cape, yeah, but he just wore them over fairly normal clothes. He was more colorful in First Class (after dropping the team uniform), but this is definitively the DoFP 1973 costume, with its coppery-purple, armored appearance. And yes, also a cape and helmet. The pants are unremarkable, blending in with the tall black boots - you'd think a concentration camp survivor might want to avoid the connotations those would have, or at least be aware of what visual message he was sending by wearing them. The armor is basically just a plate worn on the front of his shirt, but it's still advanced for its era.

He tops all this off with the telepathy-proof helmet he stole from Mr. Sinister Sebastian Shaw. How do you build such a thing, anyway? That story's more intriguing than just having it show up. The Russians made it, suggesting they either had access to telepaths, or had telepaths as enemies [JFK, according to writer Simon Kinberg --ed.], but what metal has those properties? And how does it work if the wearer's face is still exposed? That would be like trying to stop radiation with a vest that covered your back but was open on your chest. Safety!

The face inside the helmet (supposedly Michael Fassbender's, but it definitely doesn't present as strong a likeness as David 8 did) has a grimace like he's straining to use his powers, like in First Class when he's moving the giant radio dish. If you want a bare head, we get that too, though again the likeness isn't as strong as you'd expect. That one's got a plain, calm look.

The draw of this set is variety. There may only be one Magneto body (and that explicitly from the '70s), but if you prefer your Eriks elderly, the set includes two Ian McKellan heads as well. Like the Young Magnetos, the Old Magnetos are available in both helmetless and helmetmore varieties. Also like the Young Magnetos, the likenesses are only so-so. I mean, we've all seen Gandalf, we know what McKellan is supposed to look like, and these don't. More like him than other toys, but not as much as they should. The face is too long - not square enough - and even younger than the badly de-aged Magneto in The Last Stand (gray hair aside). While Fassbender's helmet was the round version with the crest on the forehead, McKellan's is the sleeker, stylized one, just as it should be. All four heads look nice on the body, even the ones that never wore this suit, and you get your choice of fists or open hands for him. The chest is balljointed, and the textures molded in the suit are impressive.

As the most powerful telepath on Earth, Charles Xavier has watched the mutant race be slowly hunted down. But now the time has come to lead his X-Men in their greatest battle - both in the present and the past.

No surprise this figure is based on the suit body, which we're finally going to make a page for. He's got some clutching hands, some wide-splayed hands, and a right hand with the fingers curled to touch his temple. Mind powers! In reality, '73 Magneto is the only thing about this set that's emphatically Days of Future Past: yes, Old Magneto appeared, but he wore black leather, not purple metal. And Xavier in 1973 was wearing tan street clothes, not a blue suit - that didn't come until the end of the next movie, and even then he was in his future chair, no a normal wheelchair, like he was in DoFP. This is all very confusing!

We do get a chair though, an absolutely mundane version like we've never had before. Some assembly is required, because otherwise it would be too wide to fit into the packaging: the wheels and axle are separate, and you'll just need to slide them all together (the right side of the chair hinges away from the seat to make that easier). The seat, armrests, and handles are brown, while the frame is silver. The rear wheels are the only ones that roll, because getting the front ones to do so would be hard, but they remembered to mold the rails on the outside of the wheels that allow the user to move them. There are no pegs or anything to hold the figure in place, just gravity.

Like Magneto, Xavier gets young and old heads as well. The old head looks very much like Patrick Stewart, but the young head doesn't look like anyone at all. Again we need to question whether Fox's X-Men contracts included the actor likenesses. This sculpt doesn't resemble James McAvoy even remotely. Remember when we kept getting all those MCU Captains America with the "Not-Chris Evans" head? Even that head looked more like its intended actor than this one does. It's young and it's bald, so it looks like '70s/'80s Charles Xavier, but it certainly doesn't look like anyone else you'd know. An actor, for instance.

With a "Days of Future Past" Young Magneto, an "X-Men Apocalypse" Young Xavier, and a "nothing at all" Old Magneto and Xavier, this set is kind of all over the place. But getting all those versions in one shot is fun, even if their costumes don't quite look right. And also their heads. There's still room to do "Marvel Legacy" versions of Charles and Erik from the first three movies, but this is a nice (and expansive) starting point.

-- 12/16/20

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