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X-Force Warpath/Professor X

by yo go re

Remember the days when some Minimates were sold in single-packs? Any chance we can ever go back to that?

James' older brother John was a member of the X-Men but died on one of their earlier missions. Though he originally blamed Xavier for his brother's death he ultimately realized they were not responsible and accepted Cable's offer to join X-Force. After the events of M-Day, James relocated to the "198" mutant encampment on the grounds of the Xavier mansion, and has since reconnected with Professor Xavier. Along with four other X-Men, Proudstar, once again using the Warpath alias, joined him on his quest to stop Vulcan from destroying the Shi'ar.

These Minimate bios are starting to get really wordy, aren't they? Remember when they first started and were just a line or two? Now we're getting an entire bio in tiny, tiny text.

Poor Jimmy just can't catch a break, can he? There was a Warpath figure before, a TRU-exclusive afterthought paired with an Angel intended to complete the X-Factor box set; now there's an Uncanny X-Force set, but Warpath again gets relegated to a random two-pack. The last figure was wearing red and blue, while this one is in X-Force's silver and black stealth uniform. There are extra bits on his wrists and ankles to create his gloves and boots, and his belt is a new piece that holds two knives in easy reach.

Though the paint masks on this Warpath are similar to the previous one's, they're not the same. There are small differences on his chest, and the face has been completely redone - his mask comes down lower on his nose, and his mouth is open to show his teeth. His hair is longer, too: X-Men Warpath had fairly short hair, while X-Force Warpath has grown it out nearly to his shoulders.

Charles Xavier started with a dream, to locate young mutants and enroll them in a school using his ancestral mansion home as a base to train them to use their powers for humanity's benefit. Prior to his forming the X-Men, Charles encountered the alien scout Lucifer in the Himalayas. To prevent interference in his race's planned invasion of Earth, Lucifer dropped a massive stone block on Charles, crippling his legs leaving him confined to a wheelchair.

Now, no offense to Warpath, but Xavier is the star of this set. There's already been one Professor X Minimate, but that was in his old-fashioned wheelchair, and this one's in his nifty Jim Lee hoverchair. The gold chair is 1⅞" tall, so it's just a bit shorter than a standard Minimate. It's very detailed, from the vents on the back to the headlights (?) on the front. The blue seat is padded for comfort, and a large black ball supports the chair. It can also plug onto the included black disc stand (same that came with Stilt-Man), but it certainly doesn't need to. The front opens, so you can get the figure inside, and panels on the arm rests open as well - a reference to the old ToyBiz version.

Xavier himself is more detailed than the previous release, as you'd expect. Rather than simply having his suit painted on, it's a fancy chest cap, molded with the coat open to show the vest and the shirt beneath. Lapels, coat, vest, tie, shirt - that's five levels of sculpted layers! The color is sort of a cross between khaki and pea green, which sounds fairly hideous but works okay in practice. If you slip the chest cap off, you'll find Xavier's wearing his adventuring clothes, as he often did in the Jim Lee era. Added value!

It's interesting to compare this Xavier's head to the last one's, as a benchmark of how much the Minimate design aesthetic has changed in seven years. It's just a bald guy with wild eyebrows, right? Well, yes, but the features are more proportional now, and there are extra details on the brow, chin and cheeks. Given the choice, this style is better.

Professor X has two accessories: the Cerebro helmet, and a red blanket to lay across his lap. The helmet is a new, updated piece, similarly advanced over the previous one. There's a peg to hold it on Chuck's head, which seems superfluous: they could have left it smooth, and then his head wouldn't have a big obvious hole in it. On he other hand, the blanket doesn't really fit in place very well. It either keeps the "leg hatch" from closing when he has his jacket on, or flops around loosely when he has it off.

Minimates Series 37 doesn't really have any "theme" to it - the two-packs have an internal logic, but don't relate to one another. Both these figures seem to be intended to finish off existing collections: Warpath for X-Force, obviously, and Prof. X for Series 34's Jim Lee X-Men. They're both fine figures, though, and show improvements over their previous incarnations.

-- 03/28/11

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