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X-Men Legends
by yo go re

This Bart Simpson figure is weird.

The son of Charles Xavier, Legion gets his incredible mind from his legendary father but must balance unimaginable mutant powers with his mental illness.

David Haller may be responsible for the Age of Apocalypse, but it's still a surprise that he'd make it into the toyline, since he never existed there. Wanting to make his father proud, David decided the best way to make Xavier's dream come true was to travel back in time 20 years and kill Magneto. When he attempted to do just that, Charles jumped in front of the psychic blast and was killed before becoming a father. So now Magneto was the only one left to shepherd his old friend's dream, but the unleashing of such powerful mutant powers drew the attention of Apocalypse earlier than in the "real" timeline, meaning there was no one ready to to oppose him when he emerged, and that's how he pretty much managed to conquer the world.

Since most of his life was spent in a catatonic state in a mental hospital, Legion's most common "costume" is actually just a pair of scubs. The lower body comes from last year's comicbook Shang-Chi, which is a clever choice. The torso is all-new, done in that style where the neck is a separate piece from the chest (glued in place securely) to sell the idea that it's a real shirt over a real body. The sleeves are torn off to reveal surprisingly muscular arms for someone who's spent the majority of their life unconscious in a bed. Guess having the power of molecular manipulation is better than a lifetime of bicep curls.

Legion was introduced to the comics when Bill Sienkiewicz was the regular artist on New Mutants and was experimenting with a wilder "Ralph Steadman" sort of art style, so right from the start Legion looked really weird. It's one of those designs, like George Perez's Ares, that only ever look good when they're handled by their original creators. Foot-tall black hair sticking straight up off the head can work when Sienkiewicz draws it, but it turns dumb when you get a more grounded style. So here's this figure, with a perfectly standard body and a perfectly average face... and then that hair. It doesn't look great.

They did try, at least, to set the body out from the mass of every other Marvel Legend. The sculpt needed to be in line, so the new parts can blend with the reused ones and potentially be reused themselves some day, but the paint is free to push things. They've painted big, blocky areas of the figure a darker blue, creating stronger shadows than the sculpt could manage on its own. It also does not look great. You can understand what they were trying, but it just makes the figure feel messy. That Cyclops and Dark Phoenix set from a few years back did the same thing better.

Legion's only accessories are alternate fists, because including enough energy effects to portray all his various powers would have been cost-prohibitive. And then we wouldn't have gotten the left leg of the Colossus Build-A-Figure.

It's a damn shame we never got a figure of David Haller from the FX Legion TV series; sure, he didn't look anything like the comic version, but the show was tons better than anyone would have expected, stylish and weird and not worried about pushing against the boundaries of Fox's X-Men universe. This toy, meanwhile, is an interesting release because it's a major character who's never warranted a figure before (and definitely has connections to the "Age of Apocalypse" story), but the execution is too muddled to be great.

-- 12/05/21

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