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Cannonball

X-Men Legends
by yo go re

Wow, this is the worst.

Samuel Guthrie creates a powerful force field to fly at superhuman speeds as a leader of the New Mutants known as Cannonball.

Sam's spent a lot of his life being mentored by villains. He was initially found by Donald Pierce; then, when Professor Xavier left Earth to hang out with his bird-girlfriend, the New Mutants were left in the care of Magneto; after a severe trauma, the team needed counseling that Magneto felt he couldn't provide, so Sam and the others were transferred to Emma Frost's Massaachusetts Academy, where they became members of her school team, the Hellions. Even if you don't consider Cable "bad," he definitely took Cannonball in darker directions. And even after he "graduated" to the X-Men team, he ended up undercover in the employ of mutant-hating bigot Graydon Creed and nearly got into a relationship with Marrow. And yet despite all that, he remains am upbeat, cheerful hero!

Cannonball was one of the first Marvel Legends Hasbro made, a really clever repaint with a new head. This one also gets a new head, so we may as well talk about it now. It's the same basic look - an unstrapped aviator's cap with goggles he never seems to wear and the top left open so his hair can poke out. The weird grimace on his face looks very Liefeldian, so there's that.

Sam is wearing his original X-Force costume, which was a slight tweak on the one he was wearing at the end of New Mutants. It's purple, with a high-collared jacket over a uniform that has a white stripe down the center (or, in this case, a full white shirt). The flared gloves look like they could have been reused from any number of Captains America, but nope, they're new. So's his chest, which has a unique collar on the shirt and sculpted wrinkles over the abs. Boy, with all these new molds, you'd think they would have to really skimp somewhere else, wouldn't you?

This figure has no goddamn legs. In order to portray Cannonball's powers (he's nigh-invulnerable when he's blastin'), the lower half of his body is missing, replaced with a coulmun of... energy? It's not like he produces literal smoke and fire as exhaust fumes, so presumably this is meant to represent the bio-kinetic field he generates. There are a couple problems with that: one, it's nowhere near large enough that his physical legs could be inside it; and two, it's translucent, so we can see for sure there's nothing in there. He doesn't actually turn into energy, guys, he gets surrounded by it. Is Hasbro's Marvel design team being run by 3-month-olds? Do they lack object permanence? Do they think when someone is under a blanket, their lower body has just turned to cloth?

The real kicker is how easily the upper body pulls off the blast effect, almost like it was designed to work that way. You get the feeling Sam was intended to come with both legs and the flight stand, and you'd be able to switch between them; but then when one of them had to be cut for budget reasons, the legs were the first to go. That's great, but it leaves us with a figure that is forever stuck on a pedestal - a pedestal, it must be said, that is entirely unposeable (meaning he'll always be shooting straight up) and not even that tall (meaning the "flying guy" will be about the same height as every other character).

Oh wait, a correction: when we said this figure had no legs, that was wrong. He has one. It's the right leg of Wendigo, this series' BAF.

Cannonball having a permanent blast effect is like Hydro-Man with no arms, but worse: at least Hydro-Man had the excuse that without his water, he'd just be a guy in boring street clothes; without his rocket exhaust, Cannonball would still be wearing a purple and white costume. Given the amount that must have been spent on new toolings for the torso, however, you really get the feeling that we're going to be seeing another release of this character at some point, meaning we'll all probably have to buy a two-pack in order to get him some fricking legs.

-- 09/21/19


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