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Wolfwire & Monxo

Transformers Titans Return
by yo go re

Wish this guy had been out in October - I can always use more werewolves to review for Horror Month!

A cruel and vicious Decepticon Wolfwire is. Talk in backward sentences he does. His Titan Master partner has a similar knack for reversals. The Titan Master Monxo gives Wolfwire the power to rewind time in short bursts, but it drains his energy to dangerously low levels.

A lot of times when Transformers get new names, it's due to trademark reasons - you know, Hasbro lets the rights slip, another company comes along and wants to use the (now-available) name, Hasbro has to change theirs. It's how Shockwave became Shockblast, and Bombshell became Hardshell. But in this case, you kind of feel like they changed it just because the old name was bad. A trademark search reveals no one's tried to get the name "Weirdwolf" since Marvel let theirs lapse in 1994, and the name only works in the first place if you pronounce werewolf "weer-wolf" instead of "wear-wolf," and what kind of weirdo does that?

His name may have changed, but Wolfwire's design is classic. He may not be the giant cube he was in 1987, but he's still yellow and blue with a big white panel on his chest. The designers made him sleeker and more angular, but kept many of the old design elements, such as the weaponized pylons on the shoulders, the vents above his knees, and even the cylinders on the outsides of the arms.

The amount of detailing on this figure is drastically higher than it was three decades ago, however. We already touched on the slimmer shapes, but the sculpt on those shapes is entirely different now. Things that used to be perfectly smooth panels now have layers and panels and angles of all sorts, making it look more like a small version of a giant robot than a simple toy.

His articulation is nice. Unlike his buddy Skullsmasher, all his joints work. He moves at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, waist, hips, thighs, knees and ankles. The shoulders are true balljoints, not just a combo of swivels and hinges, which is rare for this line. His entire chest hinges down as well, which is meant to help with converting him to his altmode, but coincidentally serves as a nod to the original toy, on which the white panel could be opened to reveal mini Tech Specs imbued by his Headmaster partner. He's armed with a large blaster and a thick, curving sword.

Wolfwire's head is white, and his face is solid red. The design aesthetics of the body continue above the neck: what was, in the '80s, a very straight and flat design is now more rounded. He still has two points on his forehead, but now they sweep back instead of standing straight up. There are a series of horizontal lines on his brow, but this time they're raised instead of sunken. His visor has two points on the sides that are influenced by unpainted molding on the original.

Back in the day, Weirdwolf's Headmaster partner was Monzo, a professional wrestler and club owner. This is still supposed to be him, but he's had his name changed to Monxo (the whole thing about the heads giving the 'bots different powers is a new thing, though rewinding time would explain Wolfwire's weird speech patterns). His body and head are white, while his limbs are the same dark teal his partner gets. Again, much of the sculpt is taken from the original, like the square on his chest, the diagonal line on his belt, or even the crest on his tiny forehead. The only thing missing is a red paint app for the face!

If you turn Wolfwire's gun over, Monxo (or any other Titan Master figure) can sit inside, using it as a gun emplacement. There's no way to combine it with the sword, but that's no great loss. You can also attach it to any Leader Class figure's base mode, serving as a manned turret.

The first three Decepticon Headmasters all turned into animals: Skullcruncher turned into an alligator, Mindwipe changed into a bat, and Weirdwolf was some kind of coelacanth or something. Okay, no, he was a wolf, but like his robot mode, his altmode was very cubular.

This new version is thinner and sleeker, but still looks powerful. Like most animal-mode Transformers, the arms become the front limbs and the legs become the legs, but it's more involved than it sounds. The back legs unfold a bit, to look more animalistic, and his torso does the same: open up the hatch and the entire thing can double in length, making him look more bestial.

His jaw opens, so he can bite his foes. The neck is a balljoint, allowing him to look all around, and the majority of the joints in his limbs carry over, as well - he loses the thigh swivels and the waist, but gains balljoints in the front paws and hinges in the rear legs. This is a surprisingly dynamic wolfbot! You can have lots of fun posing him pouncing or running around.

Since you have to remove the head to convert Wolfwire, Monxo gets a little compartment where he can ride. The wolf's back hinged open, and there's a translucent red canopy so the driver can see out. The sword plugs into the hole in the wolf's rump, becoming a tail, and the gun fits on top - no worry about losing accessories when he's in this mode!

The original Weirdwolf isn't a great toy, because it came out in 1987 and that was the best anyone could manage back then. His update, Wolfwire, fixes a lot of the old problems and brings a lot of new things to the table. I'm not personally crazy about the colorscheme, but the toy itself is pretty fun!

-- 01/03/17

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