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X-Men Legends
by yo go re

If you were to hypothetically get together a team made from all the cross-time counterparts of this character, what would you possibly name it?

Nate Grey travels between dimensions armed with astonishing psychic powers.

Wow, this is only the second X-Man figure ever - not even Minimates or Marvel Universe made one! The last was from ToyBiz in 1998, in a line called "Marvel's Most Wanted" (a title which clearly could not have been more wrong, considering no one's bothered making another version of him in 22 years). Nate is the end result of Mr. Sinister's perpetual obsession with the Summers genetic profile: before Weapon X rescued her from captivity, Sinister took the opportunity to collect Jean Grey's genetic material and mix it with Soctt Summers', then named the resulting baby after himself. Then the kid either escaped organically or was secretly let go by Sinister so he could conduct some real-world experiments.

The X-Man comic was the AoA replacement for Cable. Jeph Loeb stayed on as the writer, but was paired with new artist Steve Skroce. This toy's head sculpt definitely attempts to ape Skroce's artwork, but it makes Nate look older than he is - an adult, rather than a teen. Better than the photo on the back of the box, where the strong lighting makes him look like a grumpy 2000s Harrison Ford with "boy band" hair. A big flare of psionic energy streams out from Nate's left eye, just like in the comics. There was no way to make that removable and still have the figure look normal, so he's always going to be powered up.

Considering Nate's in-story age, Hasbro honestly could have used their teen boy body mold as the basis for this figure - as it is, only the feet, shins, and thighs are reused, with the rest being new molds. You'd think the upper arms, at least, would have come from an existing source, but no. (If they had used the smaller body, there were already some arms that would have fit it, too.)

Although it's hard to tell in the final product, Skroce based X-Man's original costume on the stillsuits from David Lynch's Dune, so there were 3D elements that wouldn't just work as paint. The kneepads are new, the forearms with their colored bars and cuffs are new, the chest with its thick collar is new, the bolero jacket is new, the belt is a separate piece so that's obviously new... even the yellow bars on his crotch are sculpted elements, so that has to be new, too. What future figure is going to reuse all these bits to help offset the cost of tooling?

The paint is a little messier on my figure than we usually get from Marvel Legends: the yellow lines on his left arm are a little thin, allowing the blue to show through, and there are a few stray spots of yellow near the elbow. The fact that this is what passes for a "paint error" these days though is pretty impressive. Remember the time when you had to compare a half dozen figures in the store before you felt okay buying one?

X-Man doesn't have any accessories, because he never used any. Other than big blasts of mental energy, what could they give him? All this toy comes with are two of Sugar Man's arms - we're not going to repeat the "Who's on first" routine we did with Sunfire's BAF arms, so suffice to say Nate has a left arm with the pointer finger sticking out, and a right arm with all the fingers splayed.

If you want to get super pedantic, X-Man "isn't" the alternate reality counterpart of Cable, because Cable's mom was Madelyne Pryor and X-Man's was Jean Grey. Yes, one is a clone of the other, but if a man had children with identical twin sisters, those kids wouldn't be the same person, would they? X-Man proved popular enough that his book didn't end when "Age of Apocalypse" did, just continuing uninterrupted into the 616 continuity and managing to run for years. We still think this figure would have worked better on the teen body than an adult body, especially since they were already throwing a bunch of money at new pieces. Because despite the part of his name that comes after the hyphen, X-Man is just a kid; he's classic Marvel, a kid who's basically orphaned and has to choose how to wield his great power.

-- 09/14/20

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