Despite having a few much-anticipated figures (and three times as many variants as any previous series), ToyBiz's X-Men Classics Series 3 proved remarkably hard to find - not simply due to the usual scalper shenannigans, but because almost no stores carried the darn things. See, XMC3 was one of the very last things ToyBiz released before the switch to Hasbro, and stores didn't want to invest in a line they'd just have to pull off the shelves and liquidate in a few months. Shame, too, because the series was pretty much all killer, no filler.
A member of the Brotherhood of Mutants, Avalanche was recruited by Mystique for his ability to generate powerful waves of vibrations from his hands with devastating effect. Turning his mutant powers against buildings or upon the earth itself, Avalanche can create earthquakes and massive tidal waves causing massive destruction to any who would stand in his way!
Getting a figure of Avalanche was a big surprise. The guy isn't exactly the most high-profile character, and hasn't had a figure since the old X-Men Animated line. When he was unveiled at Toy Fair, most folks didn't even know who he was. Of course, that may have had more to do with the fact that they'd completely redesigned his costume, but still.
Avalanche's classic look was a big bubble hemlet and bulky silver armor over a light blue suit. Really, it's nothing to write home about, but no one ever cared enough about him to bother with a redesign. So why did ToyBiz redo him for the toyline? Maybe they thought the old look was just too boring for a modern figure. X-Men Classics was the line where they were free to play around, for better or for worse. So, what's Avalanche's costume like on the toy? It's a bubble helmet and bulky armor over a blue suit. Innovative!
Okay, it's actually more different than it sounds. The original costume was very plain, while this one is very complex.
The armor is in layers, with the thickest parts looking almost like cracked concrete. There are some parts that are obviously metal, like his biceps and knee pads, and his boots and gloves have a ribbed pattern. The pads on his gloves are a bit odd, but maybe they help him direct his powers. He has a high metal collar that curves up toward his bullet-shaped helmet. In true goofy comicbook style, his belt buckle is a big A - which made a lot of fans think this was supposed to be Apocalypse. Taken objectively, the design is pretty good, even if it doesn't scream "Avalanche" right away.
The paint is applied well, and that's all well and good, but it's the color design that really stands out. Yes, his tiny, individual teeth are all painted crisply, and there's no spillage worth mentioning anywhere, but there's more than that. They chose a nice mix of colors to decorate the figure. The dark blue suit blends perfectly with his grey armor, while the bronze sections really pop out and provide some separation. None of the colors overwhelms the others; the balance and proportion is good.
Same can be said for the figure itself. He has as much articulation as your typical Marvel Legend, plus individual fingers. The shoulders of his costume are even hinged, so they don't get in the way of the arms. The plastic used in the elbows and knees is a little soft, but not so much that the figure can't stand or is likely to break. We're not talking Deathlok or Longshot levels of flacidity, here.
Rather than put an action feature in the figure (like, say, the Shocker), ToyBiz gave him an accessory. It's a 4" diameter rockslide base, with two humongous footpegs and a wind-up vibrating action. The detailing on the rocks is superb, both in sculpt and paint. Instead of wheels or anything mundane like that, the bottom of the base rest upon a field of bristles, like a brush. They keep the base floating above the ground, so they're strong, but they're also soft so the rumbling action doesn't damange whatever surface you put the base on. It's an unexpected move, but innovative.
Not counting variants, this Cretan mutant (that's Cretan as in "he's from Crete," not cretin as in "he's an idiot") was the hardest to find in XMC3. It's a darn shame, too - this is a really well-designed figure, and it's a character who hasn't really had an action figure since the mid-90s. And no, it isn't his iconic costume, but is that really any great loss?
Did you know that Avalanche, Dominic Petros, loves to garden in his spare time? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.