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Mojoworld 4-Pack

X-Men Legends
by yo go re

A couple more figures ticked off the "ToyBiz updates" list.

Mojoworld is a pocket dimension ruled by the tyrannical TV impresario Mojo, who's set his sights on the X-Men as his next big stars! With Longshot and the mutant hero Dazzler now in his clutches, the television tyrant scuttles one step closer to his ultimate goal: total ratings domination!

Creator Ann Nocienti was studying for a master's degree at Columbia when she was introduced to the works of authors like Marshall McLuhan, Noam Chomsky, Edward S. Herman, and Walter Lippman, who were writing about media and its effect on the world. That, plus the drive to consolodate media ownership in the US at the time, led her to extrapolate the absurdist end result: an incompetent dictator who uses their control of media as a way to control the world.

Which is to say, the fat, miscolored loser who treats the world like a reality tv show isn't a parody of Fuckhorn Muchango, he predicted him.

The interdimensional television impresario Mojo as his sights set on the X-Men as his next stars, and he won't take no for an answer!

ToyBiz made Mojo as a Build-A-Figure, right near the end of their Marvel license. It had a great sculpt (because Phil Ramirez), but was slightly undersized (because plastic costs), so Hasbro definitely has room to improve. It's taken 15 years, but they've done it! Hasbro's Mojo is definitely bigger: he still rides seated in a mechanical chair, so it's hard to discuss height, but the top of his head is more than 6⅝" away from the ground. What's that mean? It means the old Mojo's head comes up about as high as new Mojo's armpit. It means he can look other figures directly in the eye when he's talking to them. Perfect!

This Mojo is more vertical than before. He still sticks way out to the front, but his belly isn't flat enough for a character to stand on anymore. His gut hangs out over the edges of his wagon, and is puckered slightly where tiny little spikes stick up to help hold him in. To hold the character in. The toy doesn't need them. In fact, they're soft plastic, so you kind of have to flex them out of the way to get the figure assembled. (Like MODOK, he's shipped in several pieces that will need to be plugged together once you open the packaging.) Going beyond what was necessary, both the back of the figure and the interior of the chair are given detailed sculpts, despite the fact that, as a being with no internal spine, he'd be physically incapable of lifting himself away from the chair for you to see that.

The figure includes two heads. The first is just a massive grin displaying his uneven teeth, while the second his his mouth open to allow his giant, pointed tongue to stick out between them. The transition between head and body is concealed by a large roll of neckfat, and the faces share the same details: wires pulling back the corners of the mouth and eyes, and the middle of the eyelids. You know, like Clockwork Orange eye-clamps. More thin wires drip down his forehead, and there's a big bundle of the things that serve as "hair" on the top of his head.

If you look at the figure from the side, you'll see how the "hair" wires are intended to be the same ones that can be seen spilling out the back of the chair, one unbroken set of technology that a physical toy like this can't actually duplicate. Similar wires disappear into the skin of his back, also visible viewed from the side. The chair has six articulated legs (proximal, medial, distal swivel/hinges in each), a pair little graspy claws on similarly jointed arms (plus swivels that allow the claws to turn), a large mechanical scorpion tail that swivels where it meets the backrest and features a balljointed bundle of blades and blasters at the tip. Taking a cue from ToyBiz, Hasbro has included three clear plastic bulbs under the chair to help hold it up off the ground without needing to rely on the strength of the spider legs.

If you don't want to buy Mojo in this set, he's also being sold as an animated-style release by himself. That one has paler yellow skin and stylized shadows, but lacks the dark spots speckling this one's skin. There's shading under his chin(s), chest, and stomach, and his fingernails are dark. The toy has four hands, none with matching poses: the right hands are either relaxed or pointing, and the left hands are either clutching or splayed. In addition to all the joints in the chair, Mojo moves at the wrists, elbows, biceps, shoulders, chest, and neck.

The alien performer and hero Longshot uses his probability-manipulating powers to turn any odds in his favor.

Series 14, the Marvel Legends set that included the Mojo Build-A-Figure, also included his #1 nemesis, Longshot. Although he also showed up in a Marvel Universe box set, that was the 4" scale, so Longshot is a character who desperately needed an update. ToyBiz's Longshot had some very notorious problems: his joints were comically soft and rubbery, his accessories were permenently molded into his hand, and (no offense to Phil Ramierz' sculpt) his face was nowhere near as attractive as it should be. That's part of his mutant power: being drop-dead gorgeous. Or maybe not "mutant," since he was at least partially engineered, but still: he's pretty, the toy wasn't.

This one is definitely better. I admit I was long one of those "I can't tell when another guy is good-looking" guys, until someone gave a useful bit of advice: don't judge them by whether you personally find them attractive, judge them by whether you think you'd have an easier time if you looked like them. If the answer is yes, you find them handsome. And let me tell you, I'd way prefer to look like this Longshot than the 2006 one. He's still got the same Kajagoogoo mullet, but this time he doesn't have a sour frown on his lips. Sadly, he does not get the bright sparkle in his left eye that signifies when he's using his good luck powers. If Cable could get something like that, so could Longshot. He needs an alternate head!

Longshot hasn't worn very many different costumes, and this is definitely the one he's donned most often: a black leather jumpsuit with a tall collar and a star on the right breast. Designer Art Adams always felt it was weird when heroes would pull weapons out of nowhere, so he gave Longshot a belt with small pouches on it, a feature that would soon become almost standard for superhero costumes - even Batman's fabled utility belt would remain capsule-style until the year after Longshot debuted. There's a sheath strapped to his right leg, and a brown bandolier of silver throwing knives around his chest. In a nice detail, three of the 40 slots on the band are empty, because he's ready to throw them.

Like we said, ToyBiz's Longshot had this throwing knives molded as part of his hand. (It still beat the 1993 version, which had a spring-loaded throwing action and therefore carried a knife that was almost as large as his arm.) Hasbro also molded them to the hand, but with two differences: first, they're smaller and tucked between his fingers, which is a cooler look; and second, he has alternate hands, so you're not stuck with that all the time. Being an alien creation, Longshot only has four fingers instead of five, so you'll always be able to recognize which hands are his. The left hand can either clutch the throwing knives or be splayed wide, while the right hand can either be a closed fist or can hold the included buck knife.

As with Mojo, Longshot is also going to be getting a solo release - his will be a Retro Collection figure, on one of those giant cards. That means the only figure in this set you can't get anywhere else is the mutant songstress, Dazzler.

Longshot was originally an inter-dimensional character, which is why the guest stars in his initial limited series included Spider-Man, She-Hulk, and Dr. Strange: notably, no X-Men or even X-adjacent characters. He didn't meet the mutants until Mojo sent him to them as a Trojan horse. And as is so often the way, they adopted the stray, which is how he was a member of the team when Alison Blaire finally decided that being on her own as a public mutant was too dangerous, and gave up her recording career to move into the X-Mansion. She and Rogue both vied for his attention (we told you he gorgeous), but he was too naive to understand what was going on.

Dazzler already had a Retro Collection figure, but that was in (a close approximation of) her '90s costume, while this is (supposed to be) the one she wore right after the disco suit. Technically the star should be over her heart, not in the center of her chest, but that's the only thing that's not quite right. The stars are yellow this time, instead of the gold the last toy had, and the stripe around her left shin is broader. Although the figure uses the same torso as before, she's got better-looking legs. You get your choice of fists or gesturing hands, and we'll once again say she should have had a "finger guns" hand to really aim her lasers. This could have been their third use, now.

Rather than the short hair Retro '90s Dazzler sported, this one gets her big '80s perm. The facial sculpt appears to be the same, even if the mold isn't: digital sculpting makes things like that possible. You can just open up your Dazzler file, delete the hair, and start anew. She's still wearing a red headband that somehow manages to do under her hair, but improved painting means no more wide-eye! Nice!

Dazzler still gets her usual sparkly energy flare effects, though they're back to being multi-color this time, like the original version of the character. These appear to be hand-painted, though: '90s Dazzler had solid pink ones, '70s Dazzler had ones that blend smoothly from yellow to pink to teal, but although '80s Dazzler gets that same trio of colors, hers limit them to specific areas. Like, the large main circle is yellow, a few of the other rings are pink, and one of the rings and a bubble are blue. I can't imagine them being able to mold it this precisely, so presumably this is someone's work.

When Mojo first hucked Longshot at the X-Men, they all got covered in a mysterious goo. Everyone who was exposed to the goo de-aged into a child, because if there's a kink, Chris Claremont will find a way to put it in the world's #1 selling comicbook. Anyway, Mojo's plan was to take the resultant "X-Babies" and raise them in his service, creating a team of ratings-boosting superstars. The scheme may have failed, but Mojo would repeatedly make his own copies over and over again. So it's only natural this set includes one of them!

Well, sort of: the X-Babies have always looked like normal human children, not superdeformed cartoons; this is clearly more of a "Skottie Young variant cover" Wolverine than it is an actual X-Baby, but hey, that's the same thing ToyBiz planned, mistake or not. Wolvie is a mostly static piece (only joint is a big balljoint for the head), with a hunched pose that requires him to be attached to a black disk stand to remain upright. He's a good inclusion, but... this a $132 set. Plus shipping. It's got two standard figures and one BAF-sized figure. So figure $50 for Mojo, $40 for Longshot and Dazzler together... that leaves 40 bucks unaccounted for. Yes, Dazzler is the only pre-existing sculpt in the bunch, but Longshot and Mojo are immediately being double-dipped, so neither of them is an excuse to overcharge. Either this set should have been dropped to $100, or we should have gotten an entire X-Baby team. The packaging's nice, but it's not $30 nice.

Because Mojo is television-obsessed, this set is sold in a box that looks like an old TV set, with dials and wood panelling and everything. The image on the screen shows our two heroes running away from Mojo. I don't know who drew it, but they apparently also missed the "Longshot is not supposed to be butt-ass ugly" memo, because sweet Christ, is that awful! It's like a cross between Greg Land and Giuseppe Camuncoli with a splash of Jorge Molina, and it is. Not. Good. Whoever art directed this box needs to send it back for revisions. The theme is carried over inside, with Dazzler in a box that looks like an old remote, and Longshot in one that looks like a stack of TV Guides. That's right, kids, if you wanted to know what was going to be on TV back in the day, you had to subscribe to a magazine that came in the mail once a week. Wild! Of course, like we said, this excess cardboard does not help the set justify its cost.

Apparently some fans got the idea that this set would be the only way to get Longshot, and so were mad when the Retro Collection figure was announced. And sure, if you were only buying it for Longshot, that would make sense, but there was no one willing to drop $131.99 just for Longshot. Nobody's that stupid. You buy this because you want Longshot, because you want the superior Mojo, and because you want an improved Dazzler. And all three of those deliver. But even with the inclusion of Wolvie, the price is not worth what you get.

-- 01/30/23

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