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Jubilee, Forge, and Storm

X-Men 60th Anniversary
by yo go re

Intrigue in the Shi'ar Empire has drawn X-Men Storm, Jubilee, and Forge into outer space and conflict with former friends and allies the Starjammers and Imperial Guard.

Tucked, as it is, right in between two major X-book crossovers (the X-Tinction Agenda and the Muir Island Saga), "the X-Men go back to space" is an easy story to overlook. Heck, it doesn't even get a specific name as an arc. But it will always be memorable thanks to that cover!

Jubilee pops gum and tries to keep her cool after she's whisked to the far reaches of outer space. Her mutant fireworks help bring light to a mystery surrounding Professor X.

A Jubilee without her coat? Is that allowed? It has to feel rather exposed for a teenage girl to go from wearing loose T-shirt and baggy shorts under a big raincoat to wearing skin-tight spandex (or whatever imaginary material X-Men uniforms are made of). Like, she'd have to have all the confidence in the world for that not to make her feel self-conscious or awkward. So if she acts like more of a brat than usual during this story arc, I think we can all cut her a little slack.

Jubes uses the same two heads as before, including the removable pink glasses. The bubble of gum on her alternate head still feels flimsy, sadly. Her earrings are yellow, rather than gold, this time, but at least she still has them: believe it or not, they're a plot point in the story. This figure also shows that the "wide eye" thing on a lot of the figures from that era was more about paint than sculpt, because this one looks fine. In that she looks forward, not off to two sides at once.

The figure uses the teen body, logically, but the arms and legs are new molds: the joints are pinless, and the straps around her wrists, thighs, and shins are all sculpted elements, not separate. She gets both fists and gesturing hands, with the hinge in the latter left hand going sideways for more dramatic poses. The swivels in the shoulders are both very stiff, like they're sticking every time you start moving them. Ditto the balljoint for the head, which means the "bubblegum" head doesn't want to turn smoothly. In addition to the hands, head, and pair of glasses, she gets energy swirls in pink and purple. It would have been neat if one had been that color, and the other yellow and orange or something, to really show off the variety of colors her little fireworks can be.

Forge's mutant ability of invention is put to the test during his first foray into space, where the "Maker" makes a skysled, cloak-fields, blasters, and then commandeers the Starjammer spaceship.

This is definitely the worst figure in the entire "275" set - not becauise it's bad on its own, but because it's not substantially different from the Series 5 Forge. Yes, that was four years ago, but still: Blue and yellow suit? One mechanical leg? Headband? We already got that figure, and it came with a BAF piece. There are other things Hasbro could have included. But that's just me speaking as someone who doesn't want to spend any money: if I were worried about being as accurate to the comic as possible, I'd be overjoyed that this one has yellow boots instead of brown, and gloves with straps around the wrists instead of flares.

But really, that excuse doesn't hold up. If what's important is being true to the comic cover, why doesn't he have a yellow strap right above his right knee, explaining how that little section of pantleg could possibly stay up? Why does he have a red headband? Why, when even the first Forge Hasbro made came with a gun specifically based on this cover, does this Forge not get the same? Really, this just feels like an excuse to use that new oversized body, just because they can. We'd also like it if his leg looked more like a machine and less like a biological leg that got turned into circuits.

Forge may not come with the gun based on the comic cover, but he does still have a weapon. What is it? The AIM Soldier rifle, which is definitely high-tech enough to look like it would be either something Forge built or something the Shi'ar had lying around, but that doesn't change the fact that its inclusion, like the rest of this figure, displays a level of half-assed disinterest on Hasbro's part that puts Forge way, way at the bottom of the list.

X-Men leader Storm rains down lighting with her weather-controlling powers to sort out who will take charge of the vast Shi'ar Empire.

Storm didn't actually wear the X-Uniform in the issue, just on the cover - but who's going to pass on this look in favor of either her torn-up black costume (recalling, of course, that this is what disguised her transition from the black one to the white one) or a fancy green party dress? Most of the body is reused though the forearms and shins have been redone to include the costume's boots and gloves. The bands around the knees and neck are separate, as is the giant belt. Like most of the characters involved in this story, this was Storm's first time wearing a team uniform; that had fallen out of fashion at the Xavier School way before she was even recruited.

Like we said, this story took place right after the X-Tinction Agenda, where a then-teenaged Storm was turned into a Genoshan mutate. Since Genosha's slaves all have shaved heads, her hair was just starting to grow out by this point, giving us a look for Ororo no Marvel Legend has done before. And thanks to the magic of balljointed heads, you could potentially swap this to different bodies if you like.

When Hasbro did a First Appearance Storm, they gave her hands with lightning shooting out of the fingers, so no big surprise those get reused here. The zaps are a very pale translucent blue, so they contrast against her costume well. The figure's other alternate hands are fists or splayed.

The idea to make all the X-Men in their "Strike Force" costumes was a cool one, and they do make for a nice set when they're all together, but Hasbro is charging $78 for each three-pack, which is basically theft. It's more than three solo figures with BAF pieces cost now, and that's already more than the toys are worth. These are reused molds with minimal new parts, so this really should have been a $60 set. This one, in particular, with its deeply disappointing Forge, feels ike a rip-off. Thank goodness for Hasbro Pulse sales!

-- 07/16/23

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