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X3 Beast

Marvel Legends
by Monkey Boy

If you think about it, the movie X-Men 3: The Last Stand is a lot like Hasbro's foray into Marvel Legends. A trusted auteur (Bryan Singer, ToyBiz) is replaced by one that's flashier, more commercialized (Brett Ratner, Hasbro) and as usual, fanboys were up in arms. Never mind that, in both cases, no one else had really been given a crack at the franchise. Bryan Singer directed the first two X-Men films, and ToyBiz has made Marvel figures for, what, 15 years? While Singer's films were certainly decent (and that's kind of iffy on the first one), that didn't mean someone else couldn't handle the material just as good, or (gasp!) maybe even better. And the same could be said for ToyBiz. The fanboys were having none of it, and in both cases, many had made their decision to hate the product long before it hit theaters/shelves. And, in both cases, the end result isn't nearly as bad as everyone feared. In fact, the end result is actually - could it be?! - pretty good. So it's fitting that Hasbro's first series of Legends gives us a character from X3: The Beast, as portrayed in the film by Frasier star Kelsey Grammer.

One of Charles Xavier's earliest recruits to the team of mutant heroes known as the X-Men, Dr. Henry McCoy took the name of Beast after the nickname he'd gained during his college football years. Despite his surprising strength, agility and talent as a fighter, he far prefers his refined intellect to his brutish fists when attacking a problem. As a talented negotiator and diplomat, he is the first known mutant to hold a position inside the U.S. government, with the Department of Mutant Affairs. He is at once embarrassed by and defensive of his mutant nature, but he believes that humans and mutants are capable of living together in peace, and will fight to preserve that vision.

Though Hank McCoy appeared on a television screen in X2, it was really only a cameo appearance. For the blue-furred beastie in X3, an actor was needed who, as Will Ferrel impersonating Robert Goullet might say, has "got the chops". This is the third character performed by Grammer to be immortalized in an action figure (the others being Sideshow Bob and Stinky Pete) and I'm sure he's absolutely thrilled. Maybe even more thrilled than when he read the box office grosses for 15 Minutes.

You can really see Grammer's face in the sculpt, even though it's framed in thick sculpted hair. His body is covered in sculpted hair save for his pants, and a jacket covers much of his upper frame. As far as I can tell, it's non-removable, and though it's made of a pretty thick, sturdy plastic, it doesn't inhibit motion too much.

Beast feels small, which (even when you account for the figure's slight hunched stance) doesn't reflect Grammer's 6'1" frame. In a series with literal heavy hitters like Hercules and Planet Hulk Hulk, Beast is tied with the White Queen for the title of shortest figure. However, when compared to other ML figures, he's really not as small as he seems. He's about as tall as Black Panther and Bullseye, both of which are common sources of reused bodies in the ML line, and he's taller than most Wolverine figures. His head also seems a tad small for his body, but that's likely due to the inherent bulkiness of a jacket composed of a separate plastic piece.

The paint is good, but unspectacular. Dark blue body with a darker blue wash. Black pants and jacket. Splash of yellow on the jacket's shoulders and emblem. Bit of green and white for the eyes. Speaking of eyes, inspect them before you buy; there were a few cross-eyed Kelseys on the pegs. The exposed fur parts of the figure (head, chest, arms, feet) are a bit shinier than we're used to seeing on a Legends figure, especially when compared to the relative matte finish on the pants and jacket. It's really the one nit I have with this figure, and while it's not a figure-ruiner, it is noticeable.

The articulation is more than enough for an acrobat like Hank McCoy: balljoint in the neck, balljoints in the shoulders, peg biceps, double-hinged elbows, balljoints in the wrists, hinged torso, peg waist, balljoints in the hips, peg thighs, double-hinged knees, balljoints in the ankles, and a midfoot hinge. That list may seem to be lacking a few joints, like forearm and shin peg joints, but the balljoints in the ankles and wrists add the same range of motion with less interruption in the sculpt. The hands are sculpted open, and there are no finger joints, so your Beast won't be holding anything unless it's in a serving tray position. The jacket isn't too restrictive, but Beast won't be raising the roof anytime soon.

Accessories are light - by which I mean "non-existant" - unless you count the Annihilus Build-A-Figure piece. By which I mean, pieces. Beast gets the left arm and the left leg. They each feature double hinges at the elbow and knees, as well as hinges at the wrist and ankle. Each finger is also articulated, minus the thumb. The lack of shin and forearm pegs is felt here more than it is on the Beast figure due to the fact that the joints are hinges, not balls, and thus the legs and arms of Annihilus are a bit more restricted than Legends fans are used to. Bummer.

Though many were miffed about X3, it didn't stop them from being equally miffed that there was no accompanying movie toyline. And the fact that "Hasbro Legends" is featuring three characters from the film in its first two series hasn't eased Hasbro hatred very much. Nevertheless, Beast is a fine figure, probably my favorite in the series. The shiny paint makes the figure look a little more toy-like than I'm used to, but that's a minor complaint on what amounts to a very solid figure.

-- 01/25/07

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