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Marvel Universe
by yo go re

Remember when there was that black Wolverine in the Target-exclusive Marvel Legends series, and all the fanboys called it "X-Force Wolverine?" Well, it wasn't. Like the man said, "I've read X-Force Wolverine, I know X-Force Wolverine, and thar, sir, is no X-Force Wolverine." Of course it isn't - this is X-Force Wolverine!

Claws are only part of what make Wolverine so dangerous. He has already lived three lifetimes, kept young and healthy by the healing factor that prevents him from being killed or badly injured. During that time, he has fought in a dozen wars, and learned more ways to fight than any person before him. Trained for decades and honed to perfection in the fire of countless battles, he is the ultimate soldier; the ideal warrior.

Interesting choice on Hasbro's part. They actually have three lines of 3¾" Marvel toys on the shelves right now: the animated-style Wolverine & The X-Men, the movie-based Origins and the comicbooky Marvel Universe. Since there are already yellow and brown versions of Logan being shuffled into the movie line, the inaugural MU Wolverine (the #006 figure overall) ended up sporting his newest costume.

The figure stands 4⅛" tall, which is way too big for a Wolverine, if we're talking about a true 3¾" scale - hell, it's too big for a 4" scale. Logan is supposed to be 5'3", so you'd have to get nearly into 5" scale figures before 4⅛" was the right size for him. But come on, does anybody really care that much about scale? Yeah he's tall, but in an action scene, will anyone notice? And honestly, would you really want to pay full price for a figure that stood only 3¼" tall? Yeah, Hasbro does that for their Leias, but with Logan, it'd never fly.

The articulation is very good for the size. The neck and hips are true ball and socket joints, the shoulders, chest and ankles are regular swivel/hinge balljoints, the elbows and knees are hinged (the knees get double) and the wrists are swivels. Really, the only thing he can't do is put his arms straight down at his sides. Pleasantly, his claws are all perfectly straight and spaced, which is something you could never say about the big versions.

Wolverine's X-Force costume may be graphically interesting, but it's murder on the paint apps. You've got areas of solid black next to areas of solid silver, so any slop or spill is going to stand out a mile. I passed on a ton of Wolvies before finding one that was good enough, and even it still has some problems - they're just small enough to ignore. Really watch out for the face, though: the thin stripe of silver on his nose can get messed up very easily, and the red of his eyes needs to be large enough to stand out from the black.

The figure's accessories include a modified M16A1 with an M203 grenade launcher underneath, and a red sword. The gun is a strange choice since, you know, Logan isn't really the "firearms" type, but give it to the Punisher or a GI Joe. The sword is the Muramasa blade forged specifically for Wolverine, capable of inflicting wounds not even a healing factor can cope with. The Marvel Universe figures also come with a a secret SHIELD file in a manilla envelope: this one is a memo to Tony Stark about the best way to capture and detain "W" if it should become necessary. The memo is attributed to Forest Lee, a real-life Hasbro copywriter - maybe his Earth-616 counterpart works for SHIELD? There's also a code you can enter on Hasbro's website for another little story.

Surprisingly, this Wolverine doesn't share his mold with his more familiar yellow and brown brothers. It's unique, and that shows how much attention Hasbro is paying to this toyline. They could have easily re-used one of the existing bodies - since this is just new colors on an old costume, it would have been fine. But instead, a new mold, and a toy that's very good.

-- 06/15/09

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