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Marvel Legends
by yo go re

Today I shall endeavor to elucidate just what factors make this plasticine idol a worthy use of your emolument.

Hank McCoy not only possesses superhuman agility, strength, speed, endurance and dexterity - he's also a world-renowned biochemist. As an X-Man, the blue-furred Beast has dedicated the totality of his physical gifts and scientific genius to the creation of a better world for man and mutant! Beast also boasts the acrobatic prowess of an accomplished circus aerialist and acrobat.

Since series 3 of the wonderful Marvel Legends series has pretty much wrapped up the original Avengers roster, ToyBiz is free to move on to the X-Men. Really, you can't blame them for wanting to wait: the mutants made up the major bulk of ToyBiz's product throughout the '90s, so it was about time someone else got a chance to shine.

Beast has had his fair share of figures over the years, but I remember how cool the first one seemed. I'd made a custom Beast (by painting a Wolverine blue, naturally), but finally ToyBiz was releasing an official version. It was nice, but they blew it out of the water with their next offering. They've now raised the bar once again, with this Marvel Legends version.

Beast is 6⅞" tall when standing erect, but he really looks most natural in a slight crouch. Eclipsing even his ML brothers, Beast has 39 points of articulation: toes, ankles, shins, knees, thighs, new-style hips, waist, wrists, forearms, elbows, biceps, shoulders, neck and even his jaw. In addition to that, he even has four indiviual joints on each hand: one for the thumb, one for the index finger and one for the remaining three, as well as a second wrist joint that extends into the palm. Excellent! His ankles are quite stiff, probably to help him maintain his pose.

Beast, sculpted by Dave Cortez, is covered in his trademark blue fur. He looks slightly ruffled, as if he's just been in a battle or run through a training exercise. His torso is mainly hairless, with just tufts on his chest and spine. He's portrayed in his simplest costume, a pair of navy blue trunks and a yellow belt. Much better than the full-body monstrosity he wore recently in the comics. His mouth looks a bit weird at first, but it grows on you.

The wild fur helps most of those joints look a bit more natural, even in extreme poses. The hips still look off, however - I guess these "post-balljoint" hips ToyBiz has come up with look better with clothes than they do with fur.

The question of the Marvel Universe's feelings toward mutants has always seemed dumb. Hated and feared by a world they've sworn to protect, mutants are the allegorical stand-ins for any repressed minority. However, it's just mutants - there are hundreds of other superpowered heroes, but people only hate mutants. Radioactive spider bite? Fine. Magic? Fine. Natural ability? EVIL! That didn't stop Beast from joining the Avengers, though; while he was in their ranks, he was accepted, becoming a sort of ambassador for mutantkind. Soon as he left, though? Pariah. Stupid!

Like all the Marvel Legends figures, Beast comes with a detailed base. Sort of a jungle gym mounted on a section of padded wall, we can assume this is part of the Danger Room. The base has several footpegs, and Beast looks good hanging from either his hands or feet. It's not nearly as ornate or large as some of the other Marvel Legends bases, and is really a bit of a disappointment. But considering how large Beast is and how many joints he has, they surely had to make up the budget somewhere.

Beast comes with a reprint of X-Men #3, penciled by Jim Lee. This issue continues the story started with Magneto, though it's been given the cover from an entirely different issue. I guess they wanted something featuring the big bouncing ball of blue fur, but it's still odd.

-- 07/02/03

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