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New Mutants
by yo go re

When it comes to Marvel comics, mutants are a lazy writer's crutch. No, really - when Stan Lee created the X-Men, it wasn't foresight about the ability to tell tales of the unappreciated outsider that inspired him to make them genetic freaks: he'd simply run out of new ideas for giving his characters powers, and having them born that way was an easy out. But some mutants required a bit more thought, like the New Mutants' Warlock.

Warlock was a techno-organic alien with the ability to change shape. Doug Ramsey was a teenage mutant with the power to decipher any known language. Both died while serving in the New Mutants. Now years later, a mysterious entity has appeared with the combined appearances and skills of both Doug Ramsey and Warlock! Calling himself "Douglock", this Excalibur team member is searching for clues to his past. Is he Ramsey and Warlock come back to life? Or something entirely different...

First of all, three quick points: 1) the figure is called "Warlock" on the package, not "Douglock"; 2) he's part of the New Mutants line of figures, not Excalibur; and 3) Douglock never looked like this. So basically, that bio up there was chosen because it was timely, not because it actually had very much to do with what you'd find on the front of the card. With that out of the way, on with the review!

Warlock is a weird-looking figure, but then, Warlock was a weird-looking character, as well. His body, such as it was, was just a mass of shifting, maleable technology, and the figure does its best to duplicate that. No, he doesn't chage shape, but his proportions are all over the place. One arm is wildly distended, while the other is a gun. He even seems to have stolen Spawn's One Giant Boot™! On his back, you'll see a thin yellow spine and two blocks that look like shoulder blades. The overall look is more cartoony than realistic, but that suits the character. He does have a lot of raised wiring and other technological details, but it's fairly spaced out and kind of soft - thus the cartoony look.

Warlock's face really captures the classic look. He's got big googly eyes, and a strangely angled mouth. Part of Warlock's "look" was his giant electirc afro - instead of hair, he had huge bundles of wires sticking striaght up out of his scalp. That's not exactly an easy thing to sculpt, but this ToyBiz figure manages. And that by itself would be cool enough, but remember all that talk about Douglock, before? Turns out this Warlock head is just a mask. Pop it off, and you'll see what is presumably the face of Doug Ramsey. So why do we say that this isn't Douglock? Because Douglock is more than just Doug's head on Warlock's body.

See, Warlock was a member of the Technarchy, an alien race that feeds by infecting a living being with the Transmode virus, turning it into another techno-organic being, then draining its energy (or "lifeglow"). Because Doug Ramsey's mutant power - the ability to instantly understand any form of communication - was entirely passive and served no purpose in a fight, Warlock would often merge with Doug to protect him in battle. But the risk of infection was always there, and after both Cypher and Warlock had been killed, a character appeared who looked like an amalgam of the two friends: Doug's completely humanoid form, but made of Warlock's technology. What Douglock didn't look like, however, was a human head on a weird robot body, which is why we can say that this figure represents Warlock acting as Doug's suit of armor.

At 8" tall (6¾" without the hair), Warlock towered over the 5" Marvel toys of the time, but really fits in nicely with the Marvel Legends of today. He has hinged knees, balljoints for the hips and left shoulder, a hinged left elbow, swivel wrist, and swivel neck. His right arm isn't really an arm - it's more of a gun - but it still has a swivel and a hinge near the shoulder. The gun fires three small discs, which store inside the arm. A long yellow tube runs from the underside of the gun to 'lock's upper chest.

The figure is molded entirely from clear plastic, though it doesn't show any evidence of being weak or brittle, even nine years later. In the comics, Warlock was mostly black, with thin yellow wires for detail - interestingly enough, the exact opposite of X-Villains the Phalanx, who shared the Technarchy's techno-organic construction, but were yellow with black wires. Anyway, large portions of the figure are painted black, and the yellow outlines are fairly crisp.

Warlock isn't a character you're likely to see in Marvel Legends - and Cypher really isn't. So getting them both in one figure, even one that's nearly a decade old, is a good buy. He's large enough to fit in with your Marvel Legends, and has better poseability than Toad. Plus, Douglock is supposed to show up again in the comics in the near future, so his star may just be on the rise.

-- 02/04/08

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