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Wolverine on the Run

Superhero Squad
by yo go re

As of this writing, the second trailer for X-Men Origins: Wolverine has just been released in front of Watchmen, giving us all a few more brief glimpses of what goodness we'll be experiencing this summer. Of course, if you want a long, lingering look, the toys have been out for a few weeks.

The bio text on the back of the package contains a spoiler for the movie:

With the ultimate mutant, Deadpool, on the loose, Logan and Victor Creed are forced to team up - or be destroyed.

Okay, that's not the most original plot device ever, but come on, wouldn't you have rather not known it was going to happen until you saw it? Nothing like having spoilers right on the package. To be fair, though, I'm not sure that's an accurate recap of what's going on with this set. Known as "Battle at Three Mile Island" in the catalog (but "Wolverine on the Run" on the actual packaging), this set includes Logan, Victor Creed, Deadpool and Motorcycle.

The backdrop of the set really seems to poke holes in the "Three Mile Island" theory - it shows the lab where Wolverine gets vac-metallized in the film. The layout is generally equivalent to what we saw in X2: a watery tank, a raised catwalk, x-ray images of a skeleton (presumably Logan's), all that. You remember it. You also remember that the facility was under Alkali Lake, in British Columbia. Three Mile Island, meanwhile, is the nuclear plant in eastern Pennsylvania that famously had a meltdown in 1979. Other side of the continent, about 3,000 miles apart. The movie's set in the past - do you think they're going to suggest that the "meltdown" was actually mutant-related?

One factor working against the idea that this scene will actually take place in the movie? The Wolverine included in the set (or "theme pack," as Hasbro calls it). Rather than showing us Logan in his striped jacket, this version is wearing brown pants and a tan shirt. No, he's not working for UPS, this is a dusty, sepia-toned, old timey Logan. Heck, he's even got his bone claws, a first for the "Heroes-scale" toys! Do you really think Logan's still got his natural claws by the time of the film's climactic showdown? Of course not! That would be silly.

The set also includes a motorcycle, which is actually the only repack in this set. It was originally available (painted with tiger stripes) in Series 5, but it's looking much better here in simple black and silver. The red and yellow X logo on the engine is a bit anachronistic, but the piece is still cool. It's 3¾" long, and the wheels can roll. There's no kickstand or other support, but the wheels are chunky enough that you can get Motorcycle to stand up reliably. Logan fits on fairly well, and has one hand molded to hold the handlebars. You could probably use the bike with any Heroes-scale figure that has the appropriate squat.

The Victor Creed we'll see in Wolverine isn't the same as the Sabretooth we saw in X-Men, so I guess he sticks with the Weapon X program and has some more genetic modifications after this movie. Right now he's just a guy in a trenchcoat with some killer sideburns, which I suppose is how they sell the idea that he and Logan are brothers. He's being played in the movie by Liev Schreiber, who would have been my first choice to play Two-Face, but that's neither here nor there. Vic has a grin on his face, and he's brandishing his claws. The eyes are painted crooked, but you can only tell when viewing him head-on: from even a slight angle, they look fine. He's the least articulated figurine in this set, with only a waist joint.

Finally, we come to Deadpool, a character who's raised quite the bitch-storm on the internet in the past few weeks. Ever since the toys came out, people have been pissing and moaning about his look. How the movie has "ruined" him, or talking about "the Deadpool 'problem'." We'd give you a link, but it's not worth dignifying with the attention. Apparently people have forgotten that this the movie world, not the comics, and so things get changed. Deadpool keeps his red and black color scheme, but not in costume form: he's got black boots, deep red pants, and that's it. His skin, pale and plasticy (which isn't an error, because it looks like that in the trailers, as well), is covered with red... scars? Tattoos? Paint? Something. Some sort of thin red lines snaking across his torso. He also seems to have blades popping out of his arms, like Mortal Kombat's Baraka, and his forearms are bandaged.

The character design is what the fanboys are crying about, but honestly, it makes sense. Deadpool's origin in the comics is that he's the result of Weapon X trying to duplicate the AWOL Wolverine's healing factor. If the movie goes the same route - artificially giving Wade other mutants' powers - that could explain the swords in his arms and the eye-beams seen in the latest trailer. He certainly doesn't look like Ryan Reynolds any more, but a fight on a nuclear reactor is a good way to 1) get your ass burned to a crisp, and 2) develop cancer. Deadpool hasn't been "ruined," he's just different. Just like all the other SHS figures, Deadpool's smiling, but you'd almost expect him to have his jaw open more: he's a big chatterbox, after all. Like they say: if not for that mouth, he'd be the perfect soldier.

Right now, this set is the only way to get Superhero Squad versions of the Wolverine movie characters. You could pick up the real 3¾" figures, but these are just so adorable! No, they're not very poseable, but they have something more important: fun! These are toys that any age can play with and not worry about breaking them, and that's always a plus.

The packaging has one more secret to reveal. That bio at the top of the review? It's actually printed on a sticker that's been applied to the back of the box. (Incidentally, so's the "Wolverine on the Run" name, so we probably shouldn't have mentioned "Battle at Three Mile Island," but at least that's plain from the trailer.) The text beneath the big sticker is slightly different:

The Weapon 11 program has created the ultimate mutant - Deadpool! As the mutant menace rampages across Three Mile Island, Logan and Victor Creed are forced to team up - or be destroyed.

Ugh, really? There's a Weapon 11? That was one of the stupider things Grant Morrison introduced in his New X-Men run - that the X in "Weapon X" was a Roman numeral - but it seems that the movie is picking it up and running with it. Meh. Oh well, it still doesn't mean anything is "ruined," and it doesn't keep these toys from being neat.

-- 03/12/09

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