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X-Men Legends
by yo go re

What, again?

Scorching ionized plasma allows Sunfire to fly, protect himself, and blast his enemies.

"Age of Apocalypse" Sunfire is a strange choice for this series, because they've already made one. Right after Hasbro got the Marvel license, they ran a poll in ToyFare to let fans choose what figure they'd make. Sunfire won the poll, and was produced in 2007. Yes, that's a long time ago, and the figure hasn't aged spectacularly, but it also ended up being sold for $5 at discount retailers like TJ Maxx or Big Lots, so it shouldn't be hard to get today. Meanwhile, there's no shortage of AoA characters who could have taken this slot instead: Magneto, Rogue, Mr. Sinister, Cyclops, Sabretooth, Gambit, Shadowcat... we could go on, but you get the idea.

Without question, this Sunfire is better than the older one. The translucent yellow is a warmer shade, the black "armor" segments better match Joe Madureira's designs, and the flames are sculpted better. The body is better, because it's been 13 years - instead of the old Bullseye body, this is the same one most recently seen on the Human Torch, but with the fiery forearms. Rather than just reusing an existing piece for the fire on the shoulders, that's a new bit, dine to include the trademark "Magneto collar" all the AoA X-Men wore. The fiery legs would have been welcome here, though.

Sunfire is a prime example of the way things changed in the Age of Apocalypse: in the original timeline, Professor X was there to nurture mutants, to teach them and help them master their powers; with him dead and the burden of leadership falling on Magneto's shoulders, he didn't know how to be patient and gentle, so his instruction style was more of an all-out, push-yourself-to-the-limit training, which is why Shiro looks the way he does: he pushed his powers so hard that he burnt his flesh away, and all that's left is fire in a containment suit. It makes for a great visual, so good that it was even adopted for the 616 version for a time. In Joe Mad's original design, Sunfire's white mask was basically smooth and featureless, with only the eye slits and the red circle on the forehead, but this toy is sculpted with ridges for the eyebrows, nose, and even the upper lip.

On the last AoA Sunfire Marvel Legend, the body may have been molded from clear yellow plastic, but the flames were painted orange. These days we still get orange flames, but they're just as translucent as the rest, either due to better paint techniques or the ability to mold two different colors at once. The mask is a very glossy white, and the blacks are all solid enough to not let the underlying color show through. Good stuff!

You already know a modern body will mean better articulation. In fact, we can just point you at the 616 Sunfire review, because this is the same body that toy used. How appropriate! It moves at the balljointed head, hinged neck, hinged pecs, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, hinged torso, swivel waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double knees, swivel shins, and swivel/hinge ankles. There's a hole in the center of his back if you happen to have a display stand that would allow him to fly.

The figure doesn't include any accessories, but he does get two pieces of the Sugar Man Build-A-Figure: the lower arms. Note that that's "the lower arms," not "the forearms": Sugar Man has four arms, so splitting them up doesn't require separate forearms; you don't have to split the lower arm from the upper arm, just the lower arms from the upper arms. This would have been a lot less confusing to talk about if they'd just given him both rights or lefts. In any case, this set includes one fist, and one to hold his hammer.

We already named enough "Age of Apocalypse" characters to fill an entire second series of figures (with a Colossus Build-A-Figure) and there are so many more out there you could maybe even do a third (Storm, Havok, Nightcrawler, Angel, Jubilee, Bishop, Forge, BAF Holocaust), so as much of an improvement as this Sunfire is over the last one, he still feels undeserved.

-- 06/08/20

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