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by yo go re

The past three years, we've reviewed a New Mutants figure for Old Toys Month. It would have felt weird if we didn't keep the trend alive this year.

The younger sister of Colossus, Illyana came to live with her brother after being kidnapped by Arcade. Soon after, the sorcerer Belasco captured her and held her in the pocket dimension Limbo. Belasco turned a portion of her soul demonic in nature. Belasco's spell gave Illyana considerable magical power, and she nearly killed him, but rather than give in to her demonic side she drove him from Limbo, becoming its new leader. She later joined the New Mutants as Magik.

What that bio fails to tell you is that Illyana first appeared in comics as a toddler, but was actually held hostage for years, so although she aged to near-adulthood between panels, it's not like it was a magical process or anything: for her, all that time really did pass.

This two-pack is designed to complement the New Mutants box set, so Magik is wearing the black and yellow school uniform. Her mystical armor is covering one arm and one leg, and she gets a new shoulder pad, as well. Her hair is new, with the laser-straight bangs that somehow became shorthand for "Russian woman's haircut" in the '80s. Really, where did that come from?

Magik has two accessories: her Soulsword and a teleportation effect. The sword is a new piece cast in clear plastic. The blade looks like flames, while the hilt has been painted silver. The stepping disc is, like Rustin said, super-cool: it's got an energy flare around the edge, and the entire thing is set at a 45° angle. If you pull off the figure's feet, you can plug her legs into the base, so it looks like she's really stepping through it. Damn clever!

Warlock is an alien being from a world where the sentient life forms are a "techno-organic" life that resembles circuitry and machinery. The son of the planet's ruler and most powerful being, Warlock was fearful of being slain during a traditional rite of passage where the son combats the father. He instead fled to Earth, finding himself drawn to the Shi'ar technology at Professor Charles Xavier's mansion. Warlock's personality resembled that of a young child but he still proved to be a valuable member of the New Mutants and a worthy ally of the X-Men.

The ability to feel fear was Warlock's mutation: he was part of an alien race called the Technarchy, all of whom felt only murderous rage. Being afraid made him different, which is why he was allowed to hang out at Xavier's school, rather than being shipped off to Avengers Mansion or Four Freedoms Plaza or something.

Art Asylum has done a great job of duplicating Warlock's inhumanoid appearance, while still utilizing the standard Minimate body. He gets a new head, obviously, to create his technafro, but that's just the start. He has a new chest cap, covered in circuit-style details, and uses the Cylons' waist extender. There's a new boot and a new claw to make him asymmetrical, and the entire right forearm is a new piece designed to look like a gun.

Just like the previous Warlock action figure, this one hides a secret inside: remove his head, and sure enough, there's Doug Ramsey's face underneath! His transmode-virus infected face. The set even includes a new blonde hairpiece - it looks like it should be reused from one of the Captains America, but it's not. Anyway, that means there have been two figures of Cypher, the dullest mutant ever, but not even one of his teammate Magma, the living lava girl! Think "Human Torch with boobs." How fair is that?

The Minimate goes one step further than the 6" figure, allowing you to (mostly) de-armor Cypher. If you take off the chest cap and the waist-thing, there's a New Mutants uniform beneath. It's been given technical details so it blends in with the arms and legs, but it still lets him look like his teammates - mostly.

The cannon arm doesn't come off, so he'll always have that. Instead of yellow boots, he's got black feet. Instead of big yellow gloves, he gets a normal black hand. Weirdly, the set includes two normal hands and two normal feet - he only needs one of each. Why did AA pay to manufacture twice as many as they had to? Douglock already has a lot of new molds, so why double up where it wasn't needed? Boots and a glove would have been better.

The Magik and Warlock set is a good addition to last year's Minimate box set, but it's also a good pair in its own right. Warlock works exactly the way you'd hope he would, and Magik has two killer accessories. The surprise inclusion of Cypher is just a fun bonus, even if he's not perfect - the more the merrier!

-- 02/28/11

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