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Wolverine & Forge

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

Hasbro is a company that knows what collectors want. But that doesn't mean they'll make it easy for us to get it.

Embroiled in a war bigger than either of them could ever have imagined, Wolverine and Forge find themselves fighting alongside each other for the fate of an alien empire. Wolverine is deep within his element as he leaps into battle alongside the Starjammers, while Forge is nearly out of his depth. He is not used to being on the frontlines of a fight, preferring instead to offer support through his inventions. While Wolverine lays about him with his claws, shrugging off blasts from Shi'ar lasers, Forge must rely on his mutant technical abilities to modify local technology into a form that will keep him, and his allies, alive.

"Lays about him?" How uncommon a turn of phrase is that! Who the hell wrote this thing, Chris Claremont himself?

Wow, look, it's Wolverine. Yay. Haven't seen that before. But hey, at least this is a costume we've never had in the Marvel Legends style. This particular set is based on the X-Men: Crossroads story, which saw the X-Men fighting in Shi'ar space, and at the time, everybody was wearing the same uniform - even notoriously standoffish Wolverine.

It was one of the few times the X-Men actually bothered to dress like a team, rather than a bunch of individuals who all happen to ride the same jet. And we're not talking about the New X-Men style, where they wore something slightly similar, these were actual uniforms. It's an updated version of the original X-Men student uniform, a blue and yellow bodysuit with yellow boots and gloves. Of course, since this was the early '90s, there are inexplicable belts around his thighs, boots and glovetops. Oh well, could be worse - the story actually started in 1991, so it was a few years before Jim Lee started really going nuts with that.

As far as I can tell, Wolverine gets a new body. Since he's in a superhero suit, the only "details" are found on the gloves, boots and belt. New or old, the body is too tall: he's a hair over 6" tall, about an inch too much for a guy who's supposed to be 5'3". The body itself is also very skinny, and would have been better suited for, say, Gambit or someone. Oddly, there's a texture on his crotch piece, but nowhere else on the figure. How very odd. The yellow paint could really use some more coverage around the seams, as well.

Wolvie get two heads to choose from, in this set: one is fairly calm (yet still angry), while the other has his mouth open in a full-blown growl. Both heads are quite ugly, and don't really resemble Jim Lee's art at all. The face is narrow and the hair is wild and shaggy - it definitely looks like someone's artwork, but I can't quite place whose. Adam Kubert, maybe?

The figure's only accessories are the ones we've been asking for for years: removable hands! Yes, at long last someone's come through, delivering what should have been a no-brainer ages ago. His claws are mostly straight, but the inclusion of alternate hands (with the appropriate ports on the back of the gloves) is what's really exciting. Swapping them out is fairly easy, so on that note alone, this is a good Wolverine.

The figure has good articulation, but not perfect. The head is a true balljoint, with a hinge beneath it - the ball and socket connection makes changing the heads easier. Then we have the usual balljointed shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, balljointed wrists, hinged torso, swivel waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double knees and balljointed ankles. The torso joint on mine is rather loose, but it will still hold a pose. So basically, if not for the size and the weird heads, this would be a really great Wolverine toy.

Wolverine may not be a big seller on his own, but he's not on his own: he's sharing space in this two-pack with the X-Men's resident technomancer, Forge. I totally just made that word up. A Cheyenne, Forge was trained as a medicine man (of course), but his real talent lies with machines - he can build anything he sets his mind to, even if he doesn't know how it works. Sure, Tony Stark can build a suit of armor [in a cave! With a box of scraps! --ed.], but he has to actually work out how every little piece will function. Forge, on the other hand, can just sit down and get started, and he can crank one out without even thinking about it.

Forge is, again, wearing the team's blue and yellow uniform, though he's spiced his up a bit more than Logan has: for some reason, he gets to wear a fancy harness over his suit - I guess since it counts as more belts, it's okay. He shares his chest and arms with Bullseye (and dozens of other people), and his groin with whatever figure Hasbro has been using since the start, so the harness and belt are a separate piece. It would be nice if his boots were buckskins with fringe, like he usually wore in the comics - they're already new sculpts, so why hold back?

One other feature setting Forge apart from Wolverine is his exposed right leg. As a soldier in Vietnam (hey, I wonder if he ever met Storm Shadow and Snake-Eyes?), Forge lost his right hand and leg in a bombing, and has replaced them with mechanical prothetics of his own design. To best show that off, his uniforms have a habit of leaving the right thigh exposed, but it does raise questions about how the blue material of the uniform then manages to cover him from the knee down. What's it attached to? I guess those belts serve a purpose, after all!

Forge has two heads, but the difference between them isn't as great as it is on Wolverine: yes, one has his mouth open sligtly to show off his teeth, but the other's pretty frowny, as well. No, the major difference is that the "closed mouth" head has the benefit of an added red headband and technological headset that runs around the base of his skull - something seen fairly often in the comics. Both heads have a long black ponytail and a sculpted mustache.

The figure has replacement hands - one set posed with the trigger fingers extended, the other with a fist and an open hand. The open hand is technological, just like his leg, but then why doesn't one of the "trigger" hands match it? Logically, Forge also comes with a few of the guns he's cobbled together; he probably built them from nothing more than the twist-ties holding the figures in the package. The guns range from small pistol to huge double-handed rifle, with one step in between. The largest gun has a (small) removable ammo belt, and is taken directly from the cover of Uncanny X-Men #275 - just like the yellow right hand and the gritted teeth.

This set is one of the slower-selling Hasbro Legends two-packs, only beating out the pairing of a re-used Mr. Fantastic and the dwarfish Thing. But honestly this is a good set. Yeah, Wolverine is homely as a mule and way too tall, but he's still entirely new and has an action feature fans have been requesting forever. Forge has only ever had one action figure before, and that was 17 years ago - this is a much-needed update. Don't pass this set up just because it's not as flashy as some of the others.

-- 03/30/09

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