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Scarlet Witch

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

Whenever a new set of Marvel Legends photos are revealed, the whining fanboys come out to share their nitpicky complaints. It seems, sometimes, that people aren't happy until they find some flaw, real or imaginary, to point out and decry as the signal that the line is dying and that ToyBiz is the one killing it. With ML11, the figure that got the most attention in this regard was Scarlet Witch.

Just as she mastered her unpredictable abilities by studying the mystical arts, so too did the hex-casting heroine known as the Scarlet Witch reshape her very destiny through sheer force of will. Once manipulated by her father - Magneto, mutant Master of Magnetism - into serving the cause of genetic terrorism, Wanda Maximoff now fights for the greater good of all mankind. And as a member of the mighty Avengers, the odds are stacked in her favor!

In September, four months before the figures reached shelves, Jesse Falcon made the brief announcement that Scarlet Witch had been pulled from ML11, "due to the fact that we were not happy with the finished product." He stressed that ToyBiz was committed to making sure that the figures look their best, and that they would remake Wanda some time in the future.

It's that vague line about looking their best that opened the floodgates, since Jesse didn't specify what about the final product wasn't up to snuff. Fans were left to speculate, with most placing the blame on the figure's face, which they said was mannish. A myth built up, based on bad photos and word of mouth. But despite her cancelation, the Scarlet Witch made it into a few early cases, and reached a few lucky shelves. And hey, what do ya know? When people saw her in person, suddenly she didn't look so bad.

To allay all fears, no, Wanda doesn't look like a man. She's got a distinctly Eastern European look, with an angular jawline and high cheeks. She's got a truly massive head of curly brown hair, which is sculpted quite well, and two little bangs poke out the front of her red headdress. The hair is actually a separate piece from the head, and molded from a soft rubber.

Scarlet Witch shares her basic body with Mystique, which is a bit disappointing. The back of the ML11 packaging shows her with a similar, but decidedly new, body style. Wanda's never been the thinnest lady, and the figure as seen on the back of the inserts matches that; she's not fat, but she's got her curves. This body, however, is quite thin, which makes the figure look like Scarlet Witch as a teenager, not Scarlet Witch now. Maybe that's what Jesse was referring to - we don't know.

In any case, the re-used body does have its good points. It's articulated well, with movement at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, gloves, wrists, fingers, chest, torso, waist, hips, knees, boots and ankles, and it's great that she doesn't have the ridiculous extra bicep joint that the early Marvel Legend women did. The best ML female body is still the one seen with the Invisible Woman and Black Widow, and it would be good if ToyBiz would rework that one rather than these new, scrawny versions.

The torso joint seems pretty well stuck, and since many of the few Witches that have reached stores are reportedly brittle, I'm not about to force it. The Scarlet Witch can still manage a nice variety of "hex-casting" poses, so the articulation is good enough for what you'll need.

The paint apps are good. Wanda's in her classic "bathing suit on a leotard" costume (rather than her later "gypsy callgirl" get-up), which is just red and pink, but there's a nice wash on her as well: red on the pink tights, a darker shade on the red swimsuit. The red of her headdress is a total mess, and it and the brown of her hair spill onto one another too easily. In the first few prototype pictures, the blush wash applied to her face - combined with the shadows cast by her diamond-shaped jaw - made it look like she had stubble, a five o'clock shadow. The wash is too heavy on some figures, but it never looks like a beard; on this one, at least, it's a bit off-center, but dusted on lightly. There is an inexplicable speckling of brown over her entire face, however - were they trying to give her freckles?

Scarlet Witch has no accessories, but, being a part of the "Legendary Riders" series, she does have a little vehicle thing. Hers is some kind of hover scooter designed to look like her crazy hat. It's red, silver and black, and has a surprisingly detailed control panel hidden between the handlebars. There are two footpegs to hold Wanda in place, and the whole thing is sculpted well; it just has a goofy design. It's just under 4" tall, so it comes up to her waist.

The figure includes a reprint of Earth's Mightiest Heroes #8, the final issue in a limited series that retells the Avengers' early years. It's a good choice, showing how Wanda made the switch from villain to hero. In fact, the whole series is great, and there's a tpb version available, if you like what you see here.

It's a shame that Scarlet Witch got canceled, but overall, this is an unremarkable figure - you're better off waiting to see if ToyBiz's next attempt is better. If you luck out and find one on the shelves, she's worth it, but don't even consider paying scalper prices for her.

-- 01/01/06

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