Giant Size X-Men Box Set

The Giant Size X-Men box set from Hasbro was one of the items I’d been waiting for this year. Being an 80’s baby, my X-Men aren’t Cyclops, Jean Grey, Angel, Iceman and Beast. Mine were the Claremont era X-Men, which really got their start with the special 1975 issue when the core team of Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Colossus came on board.

I started reading X-Men relatively late in Claremont's run, around the time of The Fall of the Mutants, and had to back read towards X-Men #94. I eventually got hold of a copy of the reprint of Giant Size X-Men and gratefully added that to my collection (no way I could afford the price for an original copy of the issue which runs for about $2,500.00 today). Some of the ideas in the book are campy as hell (a living island? Come on!) but the idea of an international team of mutants went so well with the spirit of X-Men that it became one of my favorite stories.

So despite various reports that the box set was an easy pass, I still got myself one when I could.

The box it comes in is much like the rest of the Marvel Universe boxes, with two opposite corners loped off. There's a nice big illustration that mirrors the one from the cover of the original issue on a cover flap of the packaging. Inside, there's a great big window that displays each of the 6 figures in the set well. Be sure to make the most of this window and check all of the figures for factory errors like switched limbs, or paint spills (both are common for the line).

The back of the box has some product photos of the X-Men members, a brief paragraph about the mission that brought these mutants together, and the "also available" strip of photos detailing what else the line has to offer.

Just for the sake of having some sense of organization here, I’ll take on the figures on clockwise from the top left, starting with Nightcrawler.

The new figure that comes with the box set isn’t new at all, being a straight up re-issued Nightcrawler from the Secret Wars 2-pack. I’ve never been a fan about this figure because it lacks the signature agility that the character is famous for. Kurt Wagner was a circus performer before he joined the team in Giant Size X-Men #1. That should mean any toy version of the character should be able to pull off some awesome posery.

This thing can’t.

Due to limitations in the ankle, thigh, and head joints, he can’t do much of anything really, at least beyond standing straight. His ankles won’t bend far enough to allow his feet to remain flat on the ground. A thigh swivel might have helped, but there’s only that crap T-bar groin joint that Hasbro uses on its G.I. Joes. His head joint is only a simple ball joint without much range, so he can’t look up, only swivel his head around.

To make matters worse, that neck joint is prone to breakage. My original 2-pack Nightcrawler lost half the ball of the ball joint. The mold of the torso is such that the little ball at the top of the neck is split in two, attached to the rest of the body by a thin sliver of plastic. Apparently, there wasn’t enough glue and the normal stress of play caused half of the ball to just break off and fall out of the head. It was black and tiny. I didn’t even notice it until his head fell off.

To make matters worse, he’s not even well sculpted. His face is kind of blah, with no expression. He doesn’t have Dave Cockrum’s original demonic look, nor Alan Davis’ roguish handsomeness. He kind of looks baby faced. The splotchy paint on the new figure doesn’t help either.

Plus they didn’t fix the issue with the red vest portion of his costume on his upper chest not reaching all the way down to the red of the lower torso. The rubber appliance that is glued to the top torso is too small and ends up cut too short on the bottom. You’d think that would have been an easy fix after a year. No such luck.

Storm is the next in line, and this figure was one of those that made me salivate when I first saw pics of the set online. Of course, it’s based on the costume she wore in the Claremont’s first few years and is characterized by the great big “wings” formed by the cloak that hangs behind her that attaches to bands at her wrist.

You see, Storm can’t actually fly. She can control the weather, including temperature, precipitation, pressure, etc. The “wings” act as sails that gather the winds she commands in order to propel her through the air. Without them, she’s far less effective in during a dog fight.

She also looks cool in the get up.

Unfortunately, Hasbro went and fucked it up. They molded the cape, again, out of thick plastic with no give and then attached it to her arms. The pose you see her in the box? That’s the pose you’ll be displaying her in for the time you have her. That’s it. You can barely move her arms and you can’t keep them in position if you do. It’s not even sculpted as if she were in flight. The cloak just hangs there, dead.

What a gyp.

Wolverine is Wolverine. This is what? The 35th figure or so of the character in this scale?

  1. Superhero Showdown Starter Wave 1 Hulk vs. Wolverine
  2. Superhero Showdown Booster Wave 1 Berserker Wolverine (chase)
  3. Superhero Showdown Rider Wave 1 Wolverine on Chopper
  4. X-Men Origins: Wolverine Wave 1 Logan
  5. X-Men Origins: Wolverine Wave 1 Strike Mission Wolverine
  6. X-Men Origins: Wolverine Wave 1 Weapon X
  7. X-Men Origins: Wolverine Wave 1 Brown Costume Wolverine
  8. X-Men Origins: Wolverine Wave 1 Yellow Costume Wolverine
  9. X-Men Origins: Wolverine Wave 2 Wolverine
  10. X-Men Origins: Wolverine Wave 3 Yellow Costume Wolverine
  11. X-Men Origins: Wolverine Wave 4 Logan
  12. X-Men Origins: Wolverine Deluxe Figures Logan with Motorcycle
  13. X-Men Origins: Wolverine Deluxe Figures Weapon X with Stasis Chamber
  14. X-Men Origins: Wolverine Deluxe Figures Wolverine & Colossus
  15. X-Men Origins: Wolverine Wave 1 Vehicles X Chariot
  16. X-Men Origins: Wolverine TRU Wolverine Vs. Sabretooth (Back Road Brawl)
  17. X-Men Origins: Wolverine Walmart Logan
  18. Wolverine and the X-Men Wave 1 Logan
  19. Wolverine and the X-Men Wave 1 Wolverine
  20. Wolverine and the X-Men Wave 2 Wolverine
  21. Wolverine and the X-Men Wave 4 Logan
  22. Marvel Universe Comic Packs Wave 1 Wolverine & Human Torch
  23. Marvel Universe Comic Packs Wave 6 Captain America & Wolverine
  24. Marvel Universe Comic Packs Wave 7 Wolverine & Silver Samurai
  25. Marvel Universe Comic Packs Wave 9 First Class Wolverine & Sabertooth
  26. Marvel Universe Multi Packs Wave 1 Uncanny X-Force
  27. Marvel Masterworks Wave 2 Sentinel & Wolverine
  28. Marvel Universe Battle Packs Wolverine & Hand Ninja
  29. Marvel Universe Wave 1 X-Force Costume Wolverine
  30. Marvel Universe Wave 6 Xavier School Costume Wolverine
  31. Marvel Universe Wave 6 Xavier School Costume Wolverine (variant)
  32. Marvel Universe Wave 10 Team X Wolverine
  33. Marvel Universe Wave 13 First Appearance Wolverine
  34. Marvel Universe Wave 16 Astonishing Wolverine
  35. Marvel Universe 35th Anniversary Giant Size X-men Box set
Stop it, Hasbro. Stop it, na!

This figure barely warrants discussion. If you have seen any number of the yellow and blue Wolverine figures in and around the 3.75” measure, this one doesn’t reinvent the mold. It’s a mediocre figure with a new head that doesn’t really have anything to offer. But then again, it’s not like you can trade it in for anything. It is after all, a box set.

Thunderbird was one of the big draws of this set, seeing as he hasn’t yet been done up in plastic. John Proudstar was in the books a total of three issues, including Giant Size X-Men. He died on the new X-Men’s second mission. He’s mostly been used as a lever in stories to bring up feelings of regret in his team members (as in when they’re thinking of all the X-Men who died for the cause) or as impetus for his brother, James Proudstar, who later joined the X-Men as Warpath.

The figure is a re-tooling of the same buck we saw in the Wrecking Crew, Doc Samson, etc. It’s the go to Marvel Universe body for any big, bruiser type dude. It’s not one of my favorites. The biggest problem it has is the hands. The original had one open hand, one fist. The open hand was useless; it was sculpted in a wide, open pose, fingers slightly flexed inward. It’s ok in theory, but the execution left the figure with a soft-looking, doughy mess. The fist has the same puffy, ill defined look to it. Plus it’s pulled inward at the wrist, towards the inside of the forearm, instead of locked straight as it would be if the character was punching someone.

The Thunderbird figure copies the re-tool specific to the Warpath toy with the fringed boots, fringed sleeves, and two open palms. The second open hand, a mirror image of the first, was added to Warpath so he could hold his knives. Thunderbird has no knives, which makes the open hands completely useless.

Plus we still have that problem with the lack of a swivel joints at the thighs. I hate that.

However, I do like the look of his face. It’s nicely done, and has a hint of the proud arrogance Proudstar was known for during his short career. There’s also some nice white paint applications to the feathers on his headband, which looks great to me. He’s not the best figure in the set, but the head won me over.

The fifth figure in the box is Cyclops in his classic uniform, plain blue and yellow tights with the pirate boots. It’s actually one that we already got in the Cyclops & Hulk Comic Pack a while back. The same Cyclops was re-colored (with odd geometric highlights and shadows) for the Cyclops & Dark Phoenix Comic Pack. It's been used again for the exclusive First Class Comic Pack that just came out.

Not entirely sure why Hasbro loves this figure so much. I passed on it the first time around (bought the Hulk figure loose from a Cyclops collector - thanks, man!) because I already had the Astonishing Cyclops and his arms felt too short when he's standing with his hands to his sides. The perspective gets better when he's posed, so it's not much to worry about, though.

His articulation is the same as the older Marvel Universe figures, with no thigh swivels (grrr). It's decent, but I do wish he could reach the button on his visor with his fingers. They're sculpted as if he's about to press the side of his visor, but there's no way to get their tips near his temples.

Still, it's the second best figure in the set.

The gem in the set is Colossus.

He's almost the same as the Hammer Files Colossus except for the rubber parts pasted to his chest (they're pointier at the shoulder), the kneepads, and his color. The paint scheme matches the cover art of Giant Size X-men (even if the sculpt doesn't exactly) with a much lighter shine to his skin and brighter shade of red for his costume.

I don't mind that they re-used the Hammer Files Colossus. If they want to use it again to give us any of the following, that would be great:

Joe Madureira's design, circa Uncanny X-Men #325
Carlos Pecheco's design (circa Uncanny X-Men #390)
Marc Silvestri's design for the X-Men's time in the Outback (circa Uncanny X-Men #240)
Circa Uncanny X-Men #197
Circa Uncanny X-Men #189
Ultimate X-Men costume
Adi Granov's take on the costume (New Mutants #12)
Simon Bianchi's concept designs for Astonishing X-Men
Of course, since the big guy is less popular than his fellow X-Man, Wolverine, it's unlikely we'll ever see any of these. We got a partial Bianchi Colossus in the X-Men Origins: Wolverine line, but even that was pretty crappy, lacking articulation, despite a great sculpt. The one that comes with the Giant Size box set however is damn near perfect.

Sadly, I can't honestly recommend this set.

I'm glad to say that despite Toys 'R' Us Philippine's penchant for overpricing their exclusives, this wasn't one of those that got the huge markups. It retails for Php 3,000.00 (about $65 US) here which means it's on par with the regular single card figures (retail for those is Php 500.00 each). However, with 2 straight up re-colored figures (Nightcrawler, Cyclops), 3 with minimal re-tooling (Colossus' new costume, and Thunderbird's and Wolverine's new heads), and only 1 new figure (though Storm is still based on the standard Marvel Universe female body), it's still hard to say that the money is worth it.

If you're a huge X-Men fan like I am, Hasbro's blatant cashing in may not bother you as much as some, but for the casual collector, the Giant Size X-Men box set is an easy pass. Save your money for the next wave of regular Marvel Universe figures.

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