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Psylocke, Nimrod, and Fantomex

X-Men Legends
by yo go re

Usually we review these multi-packs from left to right, because being creative is hard. But this time, how about we go from the biggest waste of space to the smallest?

Fantomex is a synthesis of man and machine, created and artificially evolved by the Weapon Plus program. Bred as a mutant killer, he is an expert combatant with a detachable, independently sentient central nervous system capable of releaing him from the inconvenience of pain.

Fantomex. "Awesome." "Wow." It's been eight years since Hasbro released a Fantomex Marvel Legend, so that's not the problem; the problem is, this one looks exactly like that one. Sure it uses a more modern body, but it still has the same black-and-white paint. They could have taken this opportunity to release a Fantomex in all-white, like he normally wears. Or even replace the black with gray, so we'd finally have one that fits in with the X-Force figures. You know, either of the two looks they should have done in the first place. But instead, no, the same thing as before. "Yay."

The one redeeming quality (other than "availability" and "a newer sculpt") is the improvement modern accessories have seen. Charlie Cluster-7 only gets his two guns, but in the year of our wasted potential 2020, those guns can themselves be accessorized with either muzzle flares or wisps of smoke when they're not hanging in his holsters. Neat stuff! Moving up a rank:

What happens when evil ninjas capture a telepathic British lady, tamper with her mind, train her as a deadly fighter, and mystically alter her race to make her Asian? You end up with one tough customer! Psylocke eventually free herself from her captors and rejoined the X-Men; now her formidable mutant powers - fromreading minds and projecting mental illusions to scrambling brains with her "psychic knife" - are cutting a swath through the ranks of even the toughest villains.

Just a side note, here: the character art of Psylocke on the side and back of the box is the first time I can remember anyone other than Jim Lee really making Psylocke look like an Asian woman, rather than just drawing whatever plain face they always draw and counting on the colorist to get the idea across. That has nothing to do with the toy, it's just you can at last understand why anybody who knew Betsy Braddock as a white girl would have trouble accepting the new her when it happened.

It's a bit wild to think that this is the third Hasbro Psylocke, following her first X-Force costume and her classic '90s look. This is a later X-Force costume, which trades the blue swimsuit (which had to be an influence on Mortal Kombat's Kitana, right?) for one that's more like actual clothes. The sleeveless suit is black, and covers her from throat to feet, with a white sash around the waist and square cutouts on the thighs. She still wears long opera gloves, with matching cutouts on the upper arms. When she first wore this costume, it was dark blue, but she soon changed it to black to match the rest of X-Force. And on this figure, her hair is purple, not black! A very dark purple, but purple nonetheless. A step in the right direction!

This Psylocke is the same mold as the last one (though both hands are open this time, instead of having one closed fist), and so she has the same psychic energy accessories: a sword, a mask, and the focused totality of her psychic powers. The pink they're molded from isn't as warm a shade as before, and they each get some purple paint apps to make them look fancier.

Psylocke rates higher than Fantomex, because this is a costume no one's ever made before, and the paint on her hair and head is better (handy that you'll be able to swap this head onto the old body, isn't it?). If they'd really wanted to give us something special, they could have retooled the Lady Deadpool head and used the Nextwave coat and made Psylocke from that period of time where she was dressing like a femme Fantomex. But now, on to only thing that's selling this set.

A pure Nano-Sentinel construct. Anti-mutant. Adaptive. Self-aware. Self-replicating. Virtually indestructible.

Nimrod! The "Days of Future Past" model of super-Sentinel that traveled back in time to capture Rachel Summers. He's also proof that Chris Claremont sometimes didn't think his names through very well: clearly he was referencing the Biblical Nimrod, a great-grandson of Noah and "a mighty hunter" (according to Genesis 10:9) - a name that makes sense for something designed to track down mutants. But by 1985, that meaning no longer existed. In the old Looney Tunes shorts, Bugs Bunny would sarcastically refer to Elmer Fudd as "Nimrod," making fun of his lack of prowess; but, lacking the background behind the name, kids just assumed it was a general insult, and so today "nimrod" just means someone who is dimwitted or foolish. It'd be like if, 40 years from now, "galaxy brain" was being used to refer to stupid ideas not ironically, but straight. Anyway, Chris Claremont basically named his unstoppable murder-bot "Dumbass" because he didn't know any better.

Nimrod is about 8" tall, so Build-A-Figure-sized. His body is smooth and rounded, rather like a sleeker version of a SHIELD Mandroid. In fact, after arriving in the present, Nimrod's programming led to him becoming something of a vigilante antihero, protecting the humans of New York from various crimes, and most who encountered him just thought he was wearing a suit of powered armor like Iron Man. He's more than 5" across the shoulders, and the head barely rises above the torso. The body is pure white, with no shadows or anything, just a few magenta lines to break up the shapes. They missed a paint app on his lower back, but it's hardly noticeable. The pink triangle on his chest is translucent plastic, with a few technological details visible within.

The toy's design isn't really accurate to either the original "Earth-811" Nimrod from the '80s comics or the newer House of X/Powers of X Nimrod, instead splitting the difference between the two, and allowing us to choose which one we want him to be through the use of accessories. Want a vintage Nimrod? Give him the head with the red face. Want a modern one? The head with the silver face, and the pink backpack wings. No, it's not a perfect representation of either of them, which might upset some fans, but they're both close enough to the intended look(s) that the "cheats" work.

Remember how Marvel's Brood predated James Cameron's Aliens by a few years, and seemed to have an influence on the changes he brought to the xenomprphs? That might have just been a coincidence, taken by itself. But what powers does Nimrod have? In addition to being a time-traveling robot killer from the future, he can shapeshift to disguise himself as human and his body repairs itself - now who does that sound like? The toy sticks to the basic stuff, like big energy blasts that can plug into his palms. The figure includes your choice of open hands or fists, but swapping those is a lot easier than the heads.

This is not a three-pack. This is Nimrod, sold with some very expensive (and mostly unnecessary) pack-ins. He could have been sold by himself; he should have been sold by himself. The Psylocke is fine, but unexciting, and the Fantomex is something we didn't need at all. Luckily for me, Amazon had one in a badly damged box, so the markdown was enough to make the purchase worth it. If you're at all interested in his two little friends, this set may be better for you. But even then, Nimrod the future Sentinel is the main draw. Not even ToyBiz made an accurate toy of him, so this is a long time coming.

-- 12/02/20

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