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New Mutants
by yo go re

Say you're writing a story, and to give one of the characters some extra baggage, you introduce a young child, possibly even a baby. It gives the character something to worry about, something to protect, but it's not a character in its own right. However, maybe eventually you'll want to bring the kid to life, to give yourself more material for new stories. But kids are boring: if you want to get the little runt up to a useable age (without losing the original character they were tied to), you have two main choices: either SORAS - Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome - or the Plot Relevant Age Up.

The younger sister of X-Man Colossus, Illyana Rasputin was abducted at an early age by the sorcerer Belasco and spent seven years in his extra-dimensional realm of Limbo! There she honed both her magical and mutant abilities to become the demon sorceress Magik! Armed with her Soulsword and allied with the New Mutants, Magik's evil side forever threatens to transform her into Darkchilde! She is often accompanied by Lockheed, a mischievous alien dragon from the Shi'Ar galaxy!

Yes, her inner demon is actually called "Darkchilde" (though it's more often spelt "Darkchylde"). And yes, that predates the other Darkchylde by at least a decade, so good ripping off, Randy! And just for the record, that thing about her being accompanied by Lockheed? That's just plain not right. Lockheed hangs out with Kitty Pryde, and Kitty used to be best friends with Illyana, but there's no transference: the dragon is still Shadowcat's, not Magik's.

Magik comes to us from ToyBiz's 1999 New Mutants line, same as the technorganic Warlock. This was one of the first "oversized" lines ToyBiz did before going whole-hog with Marvel Legends, and as such, Magik is big enough to fit with your ML toys - yes, she's only 5¼" tall in her slightly heeled boots, but remember, she's supposed to be a teenager, here. It works. And though the sculpted detail is nowhere to be found decidely sparse and simple by modern standards, it's not an ugly figure - at least, not in any unintentional ways.

One of the things current collectors will find oddest about Magik is how incredibly simple and featureless her hair is. We used to talk about the way NECA's figures looked like they were wearing wigs, but this is a step even beyond that. She looks like she's wearing a giant yellow helmet made of plastic, and that it's just sitting on top of her head. Of course, part of that is because the toy is wearing a giant yellow helmet made of plastic (so to speak) - the entirety of the hair is a separate piece glued onto her noggin. It's sweeping to her left and sculpted in big, chunky blocks, and she has ridiculously flat bangs. In most cases, all this would be faults with the toy, but in Illyana's case, it directly mirrors the way she was often drawn. The poor girl never really had a good hairstyle, and this toy respects that.

Magik is wearing the classic blue and yellow Xavier school uniform, which was worn by all the New Mutants, and before them by the original X-Men. Her left arm, breast and ribs are vac-metallized, and have ridges suggesting armor much like her brother's. Hers isn't a part of her mutation, though: she's an interdimensional teleporter. The armor is actually a result of the years she spent in Limbo; the more she uses the magic she learned there, the more the armor comes to cover her, so what began as a small band near her elbow soon evolved into a full-fledged mystical silver suit. Yes, it would have been better if they'd just painted her armor silver instead of chroming it, but that may have been asking too much.

On my figure, the blue parts of Magik's costume are an absolute mess. The costume is meant to be dark blue, but there are lighter streaks all over, which could be brush strokes, but look more like someone attacked the figure with sandpaper. The figure looked like that when I took her out of the package, so it had to be something that happened at the factory - I've seen other samples, and it's a not uncommon problem.

The figure includes Magik's Soulsword, the mystical weapon which is, indeed, formed from a bit of her own soul. It, like her armor, is vac-metallized, and it's just as disappointing on the accessory as it is on the figure. She hold the sword well, and it has a surprisingly intricate sculpt, but as always happens, the metal is wearing off. The figure also includes some removable armor, to make her look even more magical (or Magikal): a spiked bracelet for her right arm, fur trim for her boots, a horned headdress, a breastplate, and a spiked belt with a trailing loincloth. The pieces are all nice, and fit the figure well, giving her a unique look.

There are two versions of Magik available: the one in this review, with the silver breastplate and yellow loincloth, and a variant with both of those painted red, instead. Or, well, not painted - molded from red. There's a difference. Usually when fans talk about "repaints" we actually mean "remolds," because very very few toys are actually repaints. Anyway, the red variant looks a bit strange, so I recommend the yellow/silver one. Both share the same joints: swivel neck and hips, balljointed shoulders, hinged elbows, knees and ankles.

The reason the on-package bio mentions Lockheed is because this figure is paired with him. This Lockheed is much bigger than the version included with the exclusive Shadowcat, and more anthropomorphic, too. This is closer to how he appeared in Excalibur than in Uncanny or Astonishing X-Men. Lockheed can stand on his own, about 2¾" tall, and has articulation in the shoulders, wings, tail, jaw and hips (slightly - they're mostly blocked).

The set includes a purple missile - the tip is sculpted to suggest flame, and it can fire from Lockheed's mouth. Other than being about twice the size he should be (Lockheed is described as being a big as a cat), the figure is nice. He was actually available twice in 1999: once with this figure, and again with a direct-market Captain Britain in December. Same Lockheed both times, but this was the only version sold at mass retail.

Although Illyana died from the Legacy Virus (X-Men's handy 1990s AIDS-analogy), she was alive and well in the House of M reality - which opened the door for Magik's recent return in the normal universe. Still, she's pretty low on the "likely to be made into a Marvel Legend" scale, so if you're interested in Colossus' younger sister and Shadowcat's best friend, this is a good bet.

-- 02/09/09

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