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Evolution of X
by yo go re

Normally, I open my review with whatever character-specific info I get from the back of the packaging. In this case, however, I'll spare you; the back of this box has enough text to make Tolstoy jealous.

Marvel fans have long been waiting for a decent representation of America's favorite mutant. There have been many attempts (some better than others) but still they waited.

Finally, there was hope. A series intended to coincide with the movie and dubbed Evolution of X would pair each character from the film with a new sculpt of their comic counterpart. The first figure shown was Wolverine, and he looked great! We waited and waited, with no sign of the sets. Eventually it was said that only the Wolverine set would be released - and then, only in Canada. Curse you, Toys Я Us!

Well, the set must have sold as poorly as ToyBiz projected it would, since those previous Canadian TRU exclusives are now showing up at KB stores stateside. The X-shaped box features a large window for viewing the figures, and retails now for $5.99. The movie Wolvie is the same sculpt as all the previous ones, with blue and yellow highlights added, so we'll be focusing on the comic Logan.

Visually, this figure is outstanding - it indeed is the best sculpt of this character yet, stealing the crown from the previous "Water Wars" champion. His costume is properly textured - the black stripes are raised and have stitches holding them to the rest of the costume, and the wrinkles are all expertly placed. The paint job is terrific, giving us shadows and highlights to accentuate the sculptor's work.

The figure was sculpted by Phil Ramirez, one of the best guys in the industry today. Wolverine's posture conveys his heavy weight (metal bones ain't light!), and his face has a terrific sneering scowl - the right side of his mouth is fully closed, while the left is open enough that we can just see his teeth. You can almost hear him calling someone "Bub."

This Wolverine has gone through the wringer, it seems. He's been brawling with Sabretooth for a few rounds, and he's beckoning his foe back for more. The battle damage that has been sculpted onto this figure is a personal favorite. You can see where Creed has slashed, clutched, and even taken a bite out of our hero! Some of the wounds are already scarred over, while others still bleed freely. My only lament is that we'll likely never see the Sabretooth that would have been in the other corner of this fight.

Wolverine has popped the claws on only one hand and is beckoning with the other. The claws are not at all sharp, making them safe for kids. This may have been taken a step too far, however, as the claws are incredibly soft, and bend very easily. I found instructions recently for how to customize real metal claws, so my Wolvie isn't likely to be kid-safe for much longer.

It's just been announced that this same Wolverine will be released as part of Marvel Legends Series 3, along with Thor, Ghost Rider, and Magneto. The figure will come with a comicbook (and no movie version) and will cost a few dollars more than this set. However, it will have a lot of added articulation and no battle damage (plus an unmasked variant), so you'll be getting a different figure if you buy both.

The tip of Wolverine's mask almost clears the 6" mark, meaning that the figure's a bit too tall to fit in with previous X-Men offerings. However, I think he'll look quite nice fighting the Marvel Legends Hulk (he looks great on Hulk's base, too, as you can see). Wolverine features the Big Five (plus waist) in articulation, and will be a great addition to any toy fan's collection.

-- 08/01/02

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