Let's look on the positive side: if you think it's bad having to buy a five-pack to get three figures, just remember that you could be buying a five-pack to only get two figures.
Normally we tend to review these sets either in the order the figures are packaged in the tray, or the order they're listed on the box. For this review, we're going to go from biggest waste of space to least.
Omega Red already had a figure, back in Deadpool Legends Series 2 (the Sauron one), and this figure is fundamentally identical. Same body, same accessories... there is almost no point to this release. The colors are a bit more "comicbooky," with a lighter, flatter red and a darker silver on the shoulder pads. It's not an exact copy of the existing figure, because the boots and suspenders are white now, and so are his tentacles. Oh, and the Ω symbol on his headband gets painted silver this time, instead of being left red. That's a change for the better.
There is one major difference between this release and the last one,
and that's the face. This Omega Red includes a new alternate head the old one didn't, so now you can either have him gritting his teeth, like before, or have him with his mouth open in a yell. The rest of the mold is the same, thanks to digital sculpting, but this does look pretty nice. His eyes are red with dark grey circles around them, and while the tech on his cheeksis painted, it's almost the same shade as the rest of his skin. No question Omega Red is the absolute clunker of this set.
Speaking of things we don't need, here's Wolverine! This is a Wolverine-themed set, so, y'know, that's kind of a given, but no one is buying this because Wolverine is in it. No one looked at this listing on Amazon and said "oh wow, at last, a single Wolverine I want more than the other four figures in the box! I'm going to pay $120 for that!" That said, this is different from the many ML Wolverines we've been getting recently, even if it does use the same molds as most of them. Befitting a set with one Wolvie and four deadly enemies, this one has been on the losing end of some fights. He's wearing the trunks from his brown costume, but has lost his shirt somewhere along the line and has a little cuts painted on amidst all his body hair. And nipples! This shirtless man has nipples! No backtracking now, Hasbro: if you skip a guy's nipples again, we're calling you on it!
In addition to the extra hands, which serve no purpose since the claws can be removed from the normal hands if you want,
this figure has two new heads. Both unmasked, one sees him yelling in anger and the other is calmer, with scrapes and bruises painted on. It's like he's been brawling with Popeye. Those are both pretty cool, and definitely add some value to this half-naked Logan, which is why he gets the #4 spot in the countdown.
And with that, we move into the desirable 60% of the set. First up is the sensational character find of 1991, Cyber! You can tell he was created just before Image Comics changed the industry, because while
his name is a normal, forgettable word that doesn't tell you anything about him (he has the ability to mentally track anyone by sensing the patterns of their brain waves), his costume is simple to the point of being forgettable instead of wildly overdesigned: he wears a dark blue bodysuit that covers him from scalp to soles, but is sleeveless so we can see his big robot arms.
Cyber was introduced in Marvel Comics Presents, rather than one of the real books, which may be why he's such a minor-league villain. He originally had the manadatory Wolverine-adjacent mysterious past, though Logan already knew him the first time we saw them interact - knew him and was legitimately afraid of him. Turns out Silas Burr had been a violent Pinkerton Agent in the early 20th century, and his unhinged cruelty had earned him the job training certain military recruits for the Canadian government, preparing them to be unrepentant killers. That's where he first met and began tormenting Logan.
Cyber was a big guy, so he uses a big body - not the big body, but the one we last saw on AoA Sabretooth. Which there are now four uses of, so I guess we should start a page for it, soon? We'll call it the "colossal" body, since it was used for Colossus. His arms come from the 80th Anniversary Colossus, but the hands are new: in the comics,
he had "claws" that were pretty much like short needles or picks sticking out of the tips of his fingers, but here they're sculpted like sharp fingernails. Eh, close enough. Despite what we said above, these aren't really "robot" arms: Cyber was one of the first attempts at bonding adamantium to a living subject, but since he didn't have a healing factor, they couldn't do his bones, only his skin. Although the metal on his arms was originally drawn much more intricately (the character was designed by Sam Kieth), the style got simplified to something more like this after he died and used his mutant power to inject himself into a new body, and thus needed to have the bonding process re-done.
The word "cyber" (which, had the character been introduced just a few years later, would have given him an entirely different connotation)
ultimately comes from the Greek kybernetikos, itself a superlative occupational form of kybernan, "to steer" - in fact, while the term "cybernetics" as a study of communications and direction was coined in 1948 by mathematician Norbert Wiener, it was based on the 1830s French cybernétique, "the act of governing a body." An appropriate, if unintentional, choice for someone who was Logan's drill instructor! The only part of his skin that wasn't cyberized was on his head, leaving a bright patch of pink to stand out against the blue and silver body. There are some highlights painted on, and the blue has a sheen to it, but it's still a dark figure overall.
Cyber is a good offering in this set, in that he's a longstanding Wolverine foe who's never had a toy before, but he's still a fairly dull design and a fairly forgotten character, which is why he barely makes it into the top half of this set. The two real stars, meanwhile, are vying back and forth for the #1 spot so strongly that either one of them could claim it. But we'll next take a look at Callisto.
First appearing in Uncanny X-Men #169 as the leader of the Morlocks, Callisto's mutant power is enhanced senses: her sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell are all higher than an average human's. She lived a fairly happy childhood until her powers manifested, and she was attacked and disfigured for being a mutant. She fled to the sewers of New York, where a community of likewise-shunned mutants were gathering, forming their own underground society. Deciding she deserved a "prince" to help her rule, she selected Angel, whom she considered the most beautiful man in the world.
Since she was created in the early '80s,
Callisto demonstrated her disdain for society by dressing like a '70s punk (comic fashion always lags about a decade behind the real world): leather pants, fingerless gloves, a ripped tank top and a tattered vest, plus a studded chocker and bands around her arms. Since Callisto's outfit is so similar to what Storm wore in her "punk" phase, this figure uses that toy's molds. Her hands are clenched in fists, but she does have alternates capable of holding her included weapons: a switchblade and a butterfly knife. Shame they didn't do swappable arms to give us her "tentacles" phase.
The reason we opted to give this figure the #2 spot instead of #1
is the head. A big chunk of Callisto's anger at the world is that she used to be beautiful, but now isn't. This one (by one of Hasbro's regular sculptors - you can recognize the same style that gave us Moonstone, Elektra, and many others) seems to be based on the work of Jim Cheung or Stefano Caselli, or some other artist who draws her as an attractive woman with a slight, fashionable scar and an eyepatch. That's right, we're knocking some points off because the sculpt is too good.
And so, by the process of elimination, we reach the best figure in this set, Mastermind. He's not specifically a Wolverine enemy,
but then, neither is Callisto. One of the original members of Magneto's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (and therefore one of the first mutants Marvel created), Jason Wyngarde has the ability to cast powerful illusions that are capable of fooling even the sharpest of senses - he somehow uses a person's own power to help convince them his illusions are real, so the stronger someone is, the more strongly they'll believe him. That's handy.
Fittingly, Mastermind uses the same Regency-era costume Sebastian Shaw and Donald Pierce wore in the Hellfire Club box set - not quite the three-pack we suggested in that review Hasbro could make, but close! His suit is all black, with a deep red vest and shirt beneath. His stockings and jabot are white, making for a very nice contrast against all the dark colors. He doesn't have any accessories to use, because he's not really one to use any: he typically carried a gun with him for self-protection, but that's not very exciting.
He does include two heads, though, as a way of showcasing his powers: a naturally unappealing man, Jason uses his abilities to make himself seem handsome. And who among us could say we wouldn't do the same, given the ability? I'm tired of being ugly! His natural face is long and gaunt, with
a John Waters mustache, dark circles under his eyes, and flat, greasy, black hair; his false appearance includes full, lush brown hair and friendly mutton chops, inspired by actor Peter Wyngarde's role as novelist-turned-sleuth Jason King (as detailed in the Hellfire Club review). Both those looks are iconic for the character, so including both heads puts him right at the top of this set!
This five-pack has more good than bad, but it also has way more filler than you'd want in today's market. I got it when there was a "damaged box" price break, so keep an eye out for sales and wait until it drops to a cost you're comfortable with.