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X-Men Legends
by yo go re

Today, we meet Explodey Smurf.

With sticky hands, a sharp tail, and piercing yellow eyes, the trouble-making mutant Nightcrawler scales walls and teleports from place to place.

Nightcrawler is one of the most popular "B-team" X-Men - which is to say, not one of the ones who show up in every single game, movie, and cartoon adaptation. He may have cameos, but he's rarely a main castmember (though there are exceptions, of course). Basically, in a franchise that's often dour and depressing, Nightcrawler is upbeat and happy-go-lucky, bringing some light to the dark stories. His whole deal is that he knows he looks incredibly scary to the average person on the street, so he tries to overcompensate by being incredibly warm and personable to everyone he meets. Like how no woman in the world would willingly sleep with human goblin Kid Rock, so he became a successful musician in order to meet groupies. Is that the same thing? Eh, kind of. Except people discover they actually like Nightcrawler after they meet him.

Since he's an acrobat by training, Nightcrawler gets a small, lithe body with lots of articulation: balljointed head, hinged neck, lateral pecs, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, hinged chest, swivel waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel/hinge ankles, and a swivel tail. The ToyBiz one had hinged fingers and a bunch of joints in the feet (including each of his toes), but the fact that we got as much as we did here is very nice. The tail doesn't look terrific, since it's too long to hang straight down, and not flexible enough to be pointed backwards. But worry not, you can find something (several somethings) to do with it.

Kurt is wearing the costume Dave Cockrum designed for him, easily the best look he's ever had - 45 years, and no one's been able to improve the design. Not many characters can claim that! The reds don't match above and below the chest joint - the top is molded in color, and covers the whole chest so we don't have to see any seams; but the rest of it is painted over the black body, which makes it darker. The white is nice and bright, at least; no issues there.

Nightcrawler comes with your choice of three heads: the plain one he's wearing in the package, one that's flashing his panty-melting smile, and one that's angry. The angry head has the mouth open wide enough to show off his fangs, and is also painted with darker blue on the forehead. That's the way he used to be drawn, with inky shadows clinging to him at all times - it was an artistic affectation that was dropped after Cockrum left the book. All three heads are fairly handsome, putting one in the win column for Hasbro over ToyBiz.

Another plus is that Hasbro has seen fit to give Nightcrawler an accessory. No, it's not a bamf cloud or even a Bamf sprite (one of those you can buy Tamashii effects to fix, the other... you can't) - in keeping with his swashbuckling personality, he comes with a sword. It's a pretty nice one, with a silver blade and a golden handle, and fits in his alternate right hand tightly (the normal right hand is more relaxed). This piece also doubles as a retro reference to the original early-90s ToyBiz Nightcrawler, which came with the same sort of accessory.

ToyBiz's ML Nightcrawler was one of the first figures to ever come with a BAF part. Hasbro couldn't really homage that, because torsos are generally released in one piece rather than as a separate abdomen and thorax, so instead he gets Wendigo's left arm.

Hasbro didn't cheap out on Nightcrawler at all, making this one great Marvel Legend, even if you already have the older one.

-- 09/25/19

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