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X-Men Legends
by yo go re

Welcome to the mid-90s X-books, where everything's made up and the codenames don't matter.

At the Massachusetts Academy and as a member of Generation X, Chamber learns to manage his biokinetic flame which covers his chest and face.

It doesn't really "cover" his chest and face so much as it "is" his chest and face - when his power manifested, it exploded that entire section of his body, so now he's just got flames there. Which, frankly, is the most interesting thing about him. He's a mopey British goth whose family are directly descended from Apocalypse, and yet he's never been in a memorable story or done anything memorable himself. His career highlight was being not killed by Omega Red. Do you know how many characters have been not killed by Omega Red? All of them! His status is probably a side effect of his power: he's such a wild visual, authors don't bother actually doing anything with him, just using him to fill out pages as a recognizable cipher. Does he at least make a good toy?

I'm pretty sure I had the old ToyBiz figure of Chamber. Part of the Generation X line (fittingly), it was released in 1995 and featured a large, clear, ABS plastic shell of flame for the chest, then a little tab/string on the back you could pull to make internal sparks. It was neat, but action features on superhero toys are currently déclassé, so none of that this time. His flames are still translucent, though less so since we don't actually need to see anything inside them - it's just the best way of doing fire right now.

Rather than being part of the body, Jono's energy is part of the head; it's the equivalent of giving a figure a gigantic beard or something. The fires are molded in translucent orange, then the visible remnants of his face and hair are painted on. The effect works quite well, especially with a bit of yellow on the front of the flames to give them more volume.

The ToyBiz figure was wearing the team uniform, but paired it with a black leather jacket - no, not because this was the '90s, because that was just what he always wore. Rather than take the time creating a Generation X uniform for Chamber, Hasbro has taken advantage of the fact that he generally just wore his civilian clothes, and built this one on the original suit body. While we expected his jacket to be new, we weren't expecting the same to be true of his torso: since his energy just spills out of his chest, he didn't wear normal shirts, opting instead to just sort of wrap himself up in strips or ribbons or whatever. No one else wears anything similar, so this needed to be an original sculpt.

The suit body has been the "feet point the wrong direction" champ eight years running, so Jono's feet point the wrong direction. Since the pants are black, it's easy to ignore the sculpt not lining up if you turn the legs so they go the way a human's would. The weight of the molded flame messes with his center of balance, so the toy is perpetually falling over. Will it be forward or backward? No one can say! Watch him knock things over at random!

You can swap the figure's open hands for fists, but we should have gotten a second head for him: like, yes, his powers generally cover his entire upper torso (they're not real flames, any more than Psylocke's eye thing is a real butterfly; they are instead the representation of his "psionic biokinesis," aka "make stuff blow up real good"), but it's not like they're on all the time. He can power down a bit, and when he does, he hides his lack-of-a-face behind scarves or whatever. Since his shirt is sculpted all the way up to his throat, they could have done a "wrapped" face and given this toy some options.

Chamber gets the left arm of Ch'od, this series' Build-A-Figure.

Chamber is a character hampered by his own coolness. He's got an explosion for a heart, so even when some writers have tried to give him a personality, nobody has cared enough to pay attention to it. Frankly, given how his powers work and what a sad boi he is, we're surprised no one has ever tried to make him another missing Summers brother. The new parts of this figure are done very nicely, but we're missing a piece we should have gotten.

-- 07/06/23

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