Friday, September 15, 2023

Action Figure Review: Banshee, Gambit, and Psylocke from Marvel Legends Series: X-Men by Hasbro


   I haven't reviewed too many Marvel Legends Series figures this year thus far, have I? I have picked up a couple here and there but this year I decided to mainly focus my Marvel Legends collecting on the X-Men. That's my favorite area of Marvel Comics and I have a lot of fond nostalgia for the vintage Toy Biz line, the various early 1990s trading cards, and the animated series. I've also read the X-Men related titles far more consistently than any other Marvel Universe stuff (at least the pre-2000 books), so deeper cut characters and such are exciting to me. Last month I was visiting Needless Toys & Collectibles and found quite a few of Hasbro's newer X-Men releases. I'd been waiting to see them in person and decided to jump on this set when I found it. I've really, really been wanting a Banshee figure and I love the look of the team in matching uniforms from the cover of X-Men #275. To get all of the team in these outfits Hasbro has released two 3-packs (this one and one with Storm, Forge, and Jubilee) and a retro carded Wolverine. I've since snagged all of them, so expect reviews of these and plenty more X-Men Marvel Legends in the days ahead. Despite the popularity of Gambit and Psylocke, Banshee is the big draw here since the last time he had a figure in the first series of Hasbro Marvel Legends back in 2007 (the Annihilus series). Let's take a look at these three X-Men after the break...

The Facts: Banshee

Height: 6 1/2 inches

Articulation: Swivel/hinge ankles, calves swivels, double hinged knees, swivel thighs, ball-jointed hips, waist swivel, mid-torso hinge, swivel/hinge shoulders w/ lateral "butterfly" pecs, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, hinged neck, and a ball jointed head.

Accessories: 4 swappable hands and 2 portraits.

The Facts: Gambit

Height: 6 1/2 inches

Articulation: Swivel/hinge ankles, calves swivels, double hinged knees, swivel thighs, ball-jointed hips, waist swivel, mid-torso hinge, swivel/hinge shoulders w/ lateral "butterfly" pecs, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, hinged neck, and a ball jointed head.

Accessories: 4 swappable hands, staff, satchel, and playing card.

The Facts: Psylocke

Height: 6 1/8ths inches

Articulation: Swivel/hinge ankles, double hinged knees, swivel thighs, ball-jointed hips, balljointed mid-torso, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, hinged neck, hinged neck, and a ball jointed head.

Accessories: 4 swappable hands, psychic knife, katana, and energy effect. 

Non-Scalper Price: $78 dollars

The Positives:

* Since this set depicts the X-Men in their matching blue and gold uniforms, there's a lot of sharing and reuse going on here. That being said, the figures really do match the figures from their cover appearance on Uncanny X-Men #275 nicely. Banshee's colors are bright and bold and he's sporting a unique raised collar and a cool red and black belt with an "X" logo. It's not removable but it is a separate piece. You'll also notice that, unlike the vintage Toy Biz Banshee, this one doesn't have a whistle built into it. You gotta admire some of Toy Biz's action features which were often both inspired and crazy!

* Sean Cassidy is a bit older and more mature than most of the X-Men with sideburns that even outdo Wolverine's. Hasbro nailed his likeness here. This is a fantastic portrait of Banshee with a great likeness to his comic depictions and some real character in his face. Those green eyes and cocked eyebrow just scream Banshee to me. His hair is also just incredible with a fine bit of highlighting to bring out the detail. 

* Here's a few from the side so we can all just bask in the greatness of Banshee's muttonchops. Those are incredible!

* Banshee comes with an alternate portrait with a screaming face and his hair blown back. It's good. Really good, in fact. His sideburns are shorter hear, and he looks a bit younger, but it's still a great Banshee portrait. This one seems more relevant to the Jim Lee era while the previously one is more of a late 1970s/ 1980s Banshee. The scream is excellent, too. It's very dynamic but not over the top or silly looking like some screaming heads can appear. 

* Banshee's costume has permanently affixed wings, or ribbons, as they're sometimes called. They're attached at the wrists and shins to collars on his gloves and boots as well as being pegged in to the sides of his torso. The yellow and black material looks pretty neat and it folds up and spreads out nicely. It doesn't feel as durable or high quality as I'd like, though, but it looks good from the front.

* Banshee uses a newer body with pinless arms and legs, so the articulation is excellent. Everything feels smooth and all of the joints work fine with a great range of motion, especially on the shoulders as they have "butterfly" pecs. Throw on that screaming head and starting posing his cape and Banshee can look very dynamic on your shelf.

* Banshee has two sets of swappable hands that swap out just fine. There's a pair of open, gesturing hands and a pair of simple fists. 

* Like Banshee, Gambit is wearing the same simple blue and gold outfit. I don't believe this look for Gambit has ever been released in Marvel Legends before and while it's not as cool as his classic trench coat wearing look, I still like the team dynamic of the line. His collar is different from Banshee's but from there down, other than the sports where Banshee has his cape attached, Gambit is the same figure. I think it's the base body used first for Vulcan last year.

* Gambit also gets a new headsculpt and it's quite good. The previous Hasbro releases of Remy LeBeau were good, but this one is even better. The face printing is excellent and Gambit's red eyes look perfect. And that hair! Who doesn't want hair like that? It's awesome!

* Since Gambit uses the Vulcan body, like Banshee, there's not a whole lot more that needs to be said. He's got the pinless arms and legs and smooth articulation, so posing him is excellent. He has a few nice accessories to interact with as well, so using them in combination with his excellent articulation, especially those "butterfly" joints, makes him lots of fun to fiddle around with. 

* Gambit doesn't come with any extra right hands but he does have three extra left hands. The fits two are designed for holding up a single playing card or for a standard grip of his staff.

* The third hand is the card throwing hand that two of the previous Gambit figures have come with.  Three suits are represented (Spades, Clubs, and Diamonds), though the backs of the cards aren't painted like the Retro Collection Gambit's accessory. Transparent pink plastic is once again used to show off Remy's kinetic energy powers and it looks great.

* Gambit also comes with the single card accessory with energy crackling from it (this time it's a Heart, completing the set). This is another piece we've seen before, but it works so why change things up? This piece fits really well in the posed left hand with two fingers up. 

* Gambit's staff is a reused accessory, too but a necessary one.  It's a simple staff with some rings sculpted on and it completes the figure nicely. Nothing really new, but fun to pose him with. 

* Since he's not sporting a trench coat, Gambit is carrying a satchel for storing his playing cards and other goods.  I last saw this with the retro collection Longshot, but this one has some silver paint applications on the buckles and is a darker brown. 

* The third figure in this set is Psylocke, and she also uses the same body as Banshee and Gambit. OK, just kidding. She obviously uses a different body. It was just shortly before the comic cover and storyline this set is based on that Psylocke/ Betsy Braddock would show up in a new body, that of the assassin Kwannon (though that wasn't revealed until later. I actually just read that story in the Epic Collection X-Men: Legacies, and it's pretty wild! Anyways, like the rest of the X-Men in this set, Psylocke is decked out in a matching blue and gold outfit with the red and black "X" logo belt. It look great with bright, bold colors.

* The portrait is also new. At first I thought these sets mostly had reused headsculpts with new faceprints but, nope, this set has four all new portraits in it. Psylocke's looks good but, let's be honest, does Psylocke never not look good? I remember being so aggravated as a kid that Psylocke wasn't available in the Toy Biz line. Yeah, they eventually released her, but it was in 1996, so I was more interested in Star Wars, Independence Day, Mission: Impossible, Micro Machines, and Galoob's Jonny Quest lines, though I definitely remember getting a few X-Men figures on clearance during that time.

* The articulation is solid and smooth. We've surely seen this body before, but the limbs are the new pinless construction, so that's a plus. Everything moves just fine, which is important for a fighter of Psylocke's skill.

* Psylocke comes with four swappable hands: Two standard gripping hands, a right handed flat hand, and a left handed fist. They swap in and out easily, so hooray for that!

* Psylocke comes with three other accessories, all of which we've seen before with the previous Psylocke figures. The first is her psychic knife, an energy effect piece that attaches over her left fist. 
* The second is a katana made from the same psychic energy as her psychic knife. It's just a regular katana accessory molded in translucent plastic (like an accessory from the G.I. Joe Shadow Ninjas subteam). I don't think Psylocke was using this accessory during this time (the Epic Collection covering this storyline isn't out yet, so I'm not too familiar with it) but I remember it being a bigger deal when she started generating the katana and stuff and I think it was when the Kwannon connection was revealed after she showed up at the mansion.

* There's also an energy effect. It's not real psychic energy (you'll have to add your own) but it looks cool on display and won't make you forget your name and piss your pants every time someone turns the microwave on.

The Negatives:

* Last year when I reviewed Siryn, I complained about her cape a bit. I have the same complaint with Banshee's cape. First, it's not printed on the back which feel very cheap. Second, the material is a bit weak. Third, those clips are huge. Could Hasbro really not engineer them to be a bit smaller?

   I'm very conflicted on this one...

    I do like these figures. Yeah, Banshee was my top want, but I really wanted the matching Wolverine, too, and then I just decided I would want the entire set. I like the uniform look and you're getting three great X-Men characters with killer articulation and some excellent portraits. Now, on the other hand, there's a lot of reuse here, especially when you also factor in the Forge, Jubilee, and Storm set. A lot of reuse and not too many extras to make things more interesting. And the price for this boxed set? Hasbro is asking $78 for the set, which means that if you by this at the retail price you're paying an extra dollar per figure. Why's that? It's a weird habit Hasbro has gotten into. Multipacks used to net you a bit of a discount as you were buying more product, so you usually got more for less. Now you're paying more to get the figures bundled together? I honestly have shopped around for most of my Marvel Legends this year (and scaled back my purchase to mostly just X-Men) due to the bizarre pricing. Ultimately, I'm giving this set a Good, which is an average rating. I like the figures. The colors, the new portraits, it's all really good. But the reuse, lack of imagination in the accessories department, and bizarre pricepoint does steal some of the luster from the set. This set has already spiked in price a bit on the aftermarket, so I'm glad I jumped on it, but it's a weaker set than it should have been. 

Looking for more of Gambit? I've also reviewed the Marvel Legends Retro Collection Gambit.

These are the first figures of Banshee and Psylocke I've reviewed on the site. For more Marvel Legends Series reviews check out the following:
Marvel Legends Series by Hasbro (2016)

Marvel Legends Series: Avengers by Hasbro
Yelena Belova

Marvel Legends Series: Black Panther by Hasbro (2017)
Black Panther 

Marvel Legends Series: Black Widow by Hasbro (2020)
Black Widow: Deadly Origin
Marvel Legends Series: Captain America by Hasbro (2016)
Black Panther
Demolition Man (Mercenaries of Mayhem)
Nick Fury 

Marvel Legends Series: Captain Marvel by Hasbro (2019)
Captain Marvel

Marvel Legends Series: Deadpool by Hasbro (2018)
Deadpool (Boxers)
Deadpool (X-Force)
Lady Deadpool 
X-23 (X-Force)
Marvel Legends Series: Doctor Strange

Marvel Legends Series: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) 
Marvel Legends Series: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021)
Baron Zemo

Marvel Legends Series: Fantastic Four (2017)
Mr. Fantastic
Marvel Legends Series: Gamerverse
Civil Warrior

Marvel Legends Series: Guardians of the Galaxy by Hasbro (2017)
Groot Evolution

Marvel Legends Series: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 by Hasbro (2017)
Gamora (Daughters of Thanos)
Nebula (Daughters of Thanos)
Rocket Raccoon & Groot

Marvel Legends Series: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 by Hasbro (2023)
Marvel Legends Series: The Infinity Gauntlet by Hasbro (2021)
Marvel Legends Series: The Infninity Saga by Hasbro
Captain Marvel & Rescue Armor

Marvel Legends Series: Inhumans by Hasbro (2017)
Marvel Legends Series: Ironheart by Hasbro (2021)
Marvel Legends Series: Iron Man by Hasbro  
Vault Guardsman

Marvel Legends Series: The Punisher by Hasbro (2019)
The Punisher (Walgreens Exclusive)
Marvel Legends Series: She-Hulk by Hasbro

Marvel Legends Series: Silk by Hasbro
Silk and Doc Ock

Marvel Legends Series: Silver Surfer by Hasbro (2018)
Silver Surfer

Marvel Legends Series: Spider-Man by Hasbro
King in Black: Knull and Venom

Marvel Legends Series: Super Villains by Hasbro (2021)

Marvel Legends Series: The Unbelievable Gwenpool by Hasbro (2018)

Marvel Legends Series: Thor by Hasbro

Marvel Legends Series: Thor: Love and Thunder by Hasbro (2022)
Mighty Thor

Marvel Legends Series: Typhoid Mary by Hasbro (2018)
Typhoid Mary

Marvel Legends Series: Venom by Hasbro (2018)
Marvel Legends Series: WandaVision by Hasbro (2021)
Marvel Legends Series: What If? by Hasbro (2021)

No comments:

Post a Comment

What'chu talkin' 'bout?