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Wild Child

X-Men Legends
by yo go re

When the "Age of Apocalypse" story came out, most of the characters on the various alternate-reality teams got shuffled around from the titles they were normally in. So, like, you've got the book Factor X replacing the existing X-Factor [ooh, creative! --ed.], and Alex Summers remains a main character, but he's the only one: the rest of the cast is drawn from all over the place. Ditto X-Calibre (kept Excalibur's Nightcrawler, ditched everyone else), Gambit and the X-Ternals (only Sunspot and Rictor made the cut from X-Force), etc. Looking at the lineups, it really seems like only one or two existing characters were allowed to stay in place, which totally opened up the rosters for some weird inclusions.

Enhanced regeneration and superhuman senses make Wild Child an excellent tracker.

Wild Child? Fricking Wild Child? In the year of our larb 1995, nobody knew who Wild Child was. Putting him in Astonishing X-Men (functionally the "main" book of the crossover) was the superhero equivalent of picking a kicker in a fantasy football mock draft. Most of us didn't even recognize the name, let alone the "skinny Sabretooth" design! He was a character from Alpha Flight, but not even the Alpha Flight team - he'd been a third-stringer, then a villain, then did eventually make the main roster (while looking completely different from every time he'd ever appeared before), so putting him in the Age of Apocalypse was a weird deep cut. One that really worked.

Pre-AoA, Kyle Gibney was going by the name "Weapon Omega," and wearing a team uniform with a mask to conceal his identity. He was also a fairly beefy guy, which was a departure from the norm. From his earliest appearances, Wild Child had always been a super scrawny, wiry guy. Yes, he was muscular, but definitely very thin. This figure uses the Spider-body, which absolutely suits him. He also has the clawed hands and feet previously seen on Superior Venom and Lasher, which also harkens back to his classic design. He does have the Magneto-influenced studded collar, which is a new piece attached quite firmly to the chest and shoulders.

Apparently AoA Sabretooth took over responsibility for Wild Child's grooming, because this is the first time Kyle has ever sported sideburns like this. Like, actually the first time: he absolutely wasn't drawn with them in the original story. (Later artists added them, apparently confusing the two animal guys.) In the main continuity he had rather feline features, but this one gets a human nose and eyebrows. But man, try to think back to Hasbro's earliest ML and how dull they looked, then compare that to the amount of personality present in this sculpt. We've come such a long way!

He always did have long hair like this, but he also usually had a longer waist-length braid hanging out the middle of it. Some changes are for the better. The hair here is sculpted to stick out away from his shoulders, so you can tip his head way back - without any human kindness to help him retain his mind, AoA Kyle went full feral, so he tends to run around on all fours. Handily, this body isn't only slender, it's got lots of articulation so he doesn't have to stand around like a fully evolved human.

Wild Child's unitard is mustard colored, and leaves the hands and feet bare. The central trunk is just a shade darker than the arms and legs, and the skin should probably be a little paler, too. He comes with an accessory, but you'll have to decide whether it's for him or for someone else. Consider: when you buy your dog a leash, it's "theirs," but isn't it really yours? When the dog moves out and goes to college, you're going to keep it and use it for your next dog, right? Of course. So this figure may come with a long plastic chain that snaps onto a tab on the back of his collar, but is it his accessory, or is it Sabretooth's?

The figure also comes with a piece of this series' Build-A-Figure, Sugar Man. What piece? His big, hairy back. Enjoy that imagery!

Wild Child was introduced (in a tiny tiny panel) in Alpha Flight #1, in 1983, though he didn't get featured in a story until 10 months later. What's interesting about that is with his super-skinny physique, his weird physicality, and his odd face, you'd assume the character was a reference to Iggy Pop and his famous cover of Johnny O'Keefe's "Wild One" (Gonna break loose/ Gonna keep a-movin' wild/ Gonna keep a-swingin', baby/ I'm a real wild child). But that song didn't come out until 1986, making the parallels a total coincidence. Wild Child has had lots of different looks over the years, but there's none as iconic as his Age of Apocalypse design - so much so that it's recently been adopted for the 616 reality as well. Good call and good timing, Hasbro!

-- 05/25/20

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