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Jace Beleren

Magic the Gathering
by yo go re

"I'm afraid I just blue myself."

Jace Beleren is a Planeswalker who wields blue magic. His specialty is mental magic: spells of mind-reading, illusion, knowledge, and deception.

Curiosity has always gotten the better of Jace Beleren. As a magical prodigy, he delved into lessons of sorcery deeper than the other students in mage academies, and succeeded to the point that even his instructors were suspicious of him. As a specialist in mind magic, he uses his abilities to gaze into the minds of others, discovering even closely guarded secrets. This practice has led him into danger more than once. In fact, his mind magic has helped him discover the existence of planeswalkers and of worlds beyond his own, opening his eyes to an even greater scope of secrets.

Now that Jace's own Planeswalker spark has ignited, his curiosity has begun to take him deep into the Blind Eternities, the chaotic void that holds all the planes of the Multiverse. Jace has finally found a milieu vast enough to satisfy his thirst for knowledge.

Jace now faces the same problem of every exceptional being: the temptations of power. His skills in illusion, mind-reading, and even memory modification have flourished during his travels, and they've helped him gain ever broader access to the secrets he craves.

Jace's travels have taken him back to Ravnica, where he once honed his abilities as a mind mage while working for an interplanar organization called the Infinite Consortium. Now that Jace has returned, the ten guilds have returned to prominence, and guild intrigue has reached new heights. Jace suspects a deep conspiracy involving the dragon Niv-Mizzet, a plot that leads to secrets so dangerous that Jace's mind magic might get him into more trouble than it's worth.

Jace Beleren is basically the audience surrogate for the Magic story: he's a white male, 18-to-30-years old, slightly shy but clever and creative, and I've been at enough Wizards of the Coast-sanctioned events to know that describes the majority of players pretty well.

What doesn't describe them, though? [Meticulous hygiene? --ed.] Stop that. "Anime hair and crazy-person eyes." Jace has the eyes of a psychopath, wide and bulging and pointed at the ground. It's a little bit scary, honestly. The hair that makes him look like a cross between Street Fighter's Remy and My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way does appear on a couple cards, but that doesn't keep it from looking ridiculous - and this is in a line with a girl whose head is on fire!

Unlike Ajani Goldmane, Jace's cloak is removable - it just lifts right off his shoulders. The outfit he has below it is just as crazy as his hair, though. Seriously, he looks like an unlockable costume in a Final Fantasy game. He's wearing baggy chaps over black, banded pants. A loincloth hangs from the wide grey belt, which itself has a large, ornate clasp on the right hip. He has one glove, and what appear to be free-floating cloth sleeves over each forearm - they're asymmetrical, though. Then there are normal sleeves above that, but lest you think he's becoming too conventional, his left arm has a metal disc on a strap around his bicep, while his right arm has a giant pad on the shoulder. Instead of a shirt, he appears to be covering his torso with a series of belts stacked one above the other, and he tops all that off with a coat that only covers one side of his chest, but also has a superfluous flap of material over his ribs. What the hell, Jace?

One benefit of his zany clothes? All his joints pretty much have their full range of motion (Nissa, Liliana, pay attention). He has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a balljointed torso, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, and ankles that duplicate the range of rocker joints. Nice stuff! Yes, you have to take his cape off to fully enjoy it, but that's a thing you can do.

If you don't count the cape, Jace doesn't have any accessories - but since his abilities are all about illusions, mental tricks and countering other people's spells, there isn't really anything they could have given him. Some kind of energy blast or floating runes? Too much trouble. They did sculpt his hand in a "casting" pose (or else the fingers just got really warped while he was in the tray). The blue of his robes is a bit more green than you might expect, but all those white tampos are applied cleanly; just watch out for his mad eyes and the outlines on his... coat... thing.

We've made it through six of these Planeswalkers reviews without actually explaining what a Planeswalker is. Basically, they're powerful wizards who can call on a vast assortment of spells, creatures and artifacts to fight one another for supremacy; if that sounds like a description of someone playing Magic, well, you're exactly right - from a meta-textual standpoint, every player is a Planeswalker. It's just that some Planeswalkers are also in the story. This first series of MtG Legacy Collection figures has really been a mixed bag, but Jace is one of the better ones.

-- 11/29/14

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