Friday, April 15, 2011

Retro Toy Week: X-Men vs. Street Fighter Cyclops...really?

The confusion is not what figure this is: it's definitely Cyclops from Toy Biz's X-Men vs. Street Fighter figures (and there were several in that series, but for the love of god don't pay that price for them...) but the question is, why do I have one? Long-time readers here know, I'm not a fan of Cyclops. While I know Mark Waid considers him "Mr. X-Man," it used to be he was the most straight-laced, serious, and dull member of the team. I think he's actually become more of a tool than that in recent years. So, I didn't buy that set for him... And I didn't buy it for M. Bison, either; although I suspect I still have that figure somewhere. I used to play a bit of some version of Street Fighter 2 Hyper Super Ultra Mega OK, but my combo skills are at best, mediocre. So, why did I buy this set? Well, if you looked at the packaged picture...Cyclops had a jacket... And I shrunk the pictures, so click to enlarge! ...which I promptly stole for a Nightcrawler figure! Why should Cyclops be the only one to get a leather jacket? Ah, the 90's. In case you missed it (in which case, don't ask me to buy beer for you...) in those gritty, teeth-gritted times, leather jackets were especially in vogue for team characters. In particular at Marvel, the Avengers and the X-Men had multiple characters rockin' team-specific jackets over perfectly good (or passable) super-hero uniforms. Which I don't have a problem with, if it was cold outside. (And it works for some characters more than others: Cyclops wearing one? Fine. Captain America? Urrrr...I'd prefer not. Thor? Hell, no. I know I still have a Black Widow figure from about this same time, with an Avengers leather jacket, and it's not bad.) This is 1997's Water Wars Nightcrawler, based on his costume change in Excalibur #98. Written by Warren Ellis, art by Carlos Pacheco, although I couldn't be sure Pacheco did the redesign. (Probably.) To gush for a moment: I loved Ellis's run on that book, especially this storyline where against the London branch of the Hellfire Club and British shadowy government agency Black Air, Excalibur steps their game up. Those issues have been recently reprinted, in Excalibur Visionaries volume three, and they're great. The two years of the book after Ellis left, are excrement. Just gets worse and worse, as everything every previous writer did with the characters is rolled back so Kitty, Kurt, and Colossus can be sent back to the X-Men. (Where all three have since spent time dead. Yay!) And the figure, while dated now, was pretty good for it's time. Ball-jointed shoulders, hip and knee joints, cut wrists and ankles and neck. (His tail has a swivel, but isn't bendy.) Kurt came with his tabard and scabbard, a sword, and a giant crossbow-squirt gun thing. (Hence the "Water Wars" name of the series, yes?) It's a big silly gun that'll go in your box with other oddball accessories, but it does squirt quite alright. Toy Biz made so. Very. Many. X-Men characters in the 90's, and before everything was a bit more unified under the Marvel Legends banner, it was a bit of a crapshoot if you were putting together an X-team of any sort. Some would be in one style, with some articulation; and others would be bigger or smaller or not as sculpted or over-sculpted and posed. So, with or without an added jacket, still love this figure. Hate Cyclops.


Dale Bagwell said...

I skipped the X-Men/Street Fighter figures, but did pick up Soccer-player Kurt. At least that's how I think of him. He was alright for times as you mentioned. But man did his new look suck donkey balls!
I don't about you, but I also picked up the water-squirting Sentinel they put out in the series. I wish I'd hung on to him, as he still looks cool to me.

As for the leather jacket thing, I wish I had one myself. And hey, it was the 90's man; anybody who was anybody had one. I guess they did that to make the Marvel characters appear more hip and modern for the time. I agree it actually achieved the opposite effect, but then this was back when they thought X-Man in his Duran Duran-inspired look was cool too. By the way Wizard said that, and they were right.

googum said...

Oooh...X-Man just missed the cut for this, too. (I kinda liked the first year or so of X-Man.) Never did get that Sentinel, and I think you're right, he still would look cool.

I had a vague notion of trying to knock out another post, but got stuck at work; so that's it for Retro Toy Week. I was going to cover the old Toy Biz Avengers Thor, too...