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Marvel Legends
by yo go re

He's the best there is at what he does.

Little is known of his past, save that it was fraught with pain and loss. Long ago, he trained as a samurai in Japan; later, he became Weapon X, an operative for the Canadian government. Today, Logan is an X-Man - using his animal-keen senses, healing factor and razor-sharp claws to help protect a world that fears and hate mutants! Wolverine is blessed with animal-keen senses that enable him to track people and objects with an impressive degree of success. In addition, his accelerated healing factor allows him to survive wounds that would prove fatal to most humans and mutants.

Wolverine has been quite the popular little bugger over his many years of comicbook life. Originally a one-time for for the Hulk to fight, this forgotten little fireplug was picked up by the all-new, all-different X-Men for their international team. Well, just as in football, being drafted from the Canadian Leagues can be a great thing, as Logan's popularity took off. A recent series titled Origin took a look at his early days, he's got his own monthly comic, and he's a major player in both the movie and cartoon.

This Marvel Legends offering is by no means the first time Wolvie's had an action figure. In fact, he's been in almost every wave, series or line ToyBiz has done, coming in right behind Spider-Man for the "most variations on a theme" award. He was in the ancient Secret Wars line (with clip-on claws), he was in the very first assortment of X-Men figures in 1990 and he's been all over since. Though the figures have ranged from the very good ("Water Wars") to the very, very bad ("Robot Fighters"), the best sculpt easily belonged to the figure in the Evolution of X two-pack.

As I said in that review, the only thing keeping the EoX Wolverine from fitting in with Marvel Legends was his lack of articulation. When ToyBiz announced that Wolverine would be in ML Series 3, it figured that they'd do what they did for Series 1's Toad: rescue the EoX molds and slap him in one of those terrible clamshells. ToyBiz, surprising everyone, went one better; they reused Phil Ramirez's basic design, but added enough articulation to put him on par with the rest of the Legends.

While the Evolution Wolverine moved at the Big Five, this new fig is articulated at the top and bottom of the neck, the shoulders, biceps, elbows, forearms, wrists, fingers, waist, hips, thighs, knees, shins, ankles and toes. While he looks great hunched over, he'll be just under 6¼" tall if you stand him straight up. About an inch too tall for a character who's meant to be 5'3".

The sculpt is just as good as the previous figure, putting to rest any naysayers' claims that articulation ruins sculpt. The black stripes on his costume are raised and detailed, looking like leather panels sewn to the yellow suit beneath. The battle damage that the original had is gone (well, most of it - whoever retouched the sculpt apparently didn't realize that the indentations on the left side of his chest were claw marks), meaning that this figure is from just before or well after his battle with Sabretooth. He's even got hair painted on the back of his arms!

The claws on both hands are popped, ready to do some damage. Unfortunately, for safety's sake, the claws are made of incredibly soft plastic. They have a tendency to get bent out of shape in the package, so choose carefully before you head off to the checkout line. Incidentally, the figure seen in the pictures with this review has been customized; I was so disappointed in the plastic claws that I replaced them with real metal ones.

There have been plenty of X-Men figures over the years, but this Wolverine figure puts them all to shame. Now I just hope that in honor of this summer's X-Men 2, we get more updated mutants; we've gone far too long without a good Jean Grey.

Like the rest of the Marvel Legends, Wolverine comes with a detailed base. His is a stack of boxes and crates toppled over on a few Hellfire Club guards. It's generally the same shape as Hulk's shattered wall, which I gave to my Evolution of X Wolverine anyway. Shibby! It's got two wall-mounting brackets, and seems like it might actually be sturdy enough to support the figure.

Wolvie comes with a reproduction of Uncanny X-Men #133, part of the legendary "Dark Phoenix Saga," which focuses on Wolverine fighting his way up through the Hellfire Club to rescue his friends. While this isn't the best Wolverine story ever, it is a good introduction to the character and is directly referenced by the base.

The Evolution of X set was cheaper than this Wolverine, though it didn't include a comic, base, or nearly as much articulation. He did have nice battle damage, but only one handful of claws. If you already have the EoX Wolvie, you should still consider buying the Marvel Legends version - you'll be getting a different figure, plus a few extras, and there's even an unmasked variant out there. Just watch the claws.

-- 01/05/03

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