X-Men’s Anniversary & Action Figure Ethics

This blog was originally going to contain more criticism against mutantkind’s current status quo, especially X-Men #7. Then I felt obligated to say something about the X-Men movie’s twentieth anniversary. Since I already had an action figure photo ready to go, I decided the toy talk could stay for context. The comics talk got cut in preparation for me eventually running out of fresh topics, otherwise it’d be twice as long. I also excised my tardy entry into the cake meme because it was for another fandom. So that’s why it’s even later that the preemptive Batwoman season two rant. On with the blog!

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Here’s the obligatory X-Men zoom reunion for the twentieth anniversary of the first movie. (Republican senators didn’t realize Senator Kelly was supposed to be villainous?) I felt it took too long after the cartoon aired to get the movie out, but it wasn’t that unreasonable given how long it takes projects to happen. Of course if you compare the wait to the decades the comic was running before I got into it, the delay was excruciating. Although I was delighted that an X-Men movie finally existed, it wasn’t an X-Men movie I was satisfied with. I especially hated everyone’s generic black costumes, mostly flat characterization, & the treatment of Rogue. It made me realize that maybe it was Chris McQuarrie that made The Usual Suspects great rather than alleged pederast Bryan Singer. Sadly most of the sequels, aside from Deadpool, kept repeating the same aspects I disliked instead of evolving beyond them. Hopefully the MCU will do better by them, although it’s going to be awkward retconning in mutants.

I used to have an irrational fear of dying before I could see the Mysterio movie. Now I have a rational fear of dying before The New Mutants is released. Regardless of the quality of the surrounding film, Magik has already stolen the show. I dreamt I finally saw it in a supermarket backroom & it was largely incomprehensible. I miss being able to see movies in cinemas with my friends & then fill out diner placemats with my grievances.

What this “Gambit: Play For Keeps” fanfilm lacks in Channing Tatum it makes up for in Eric Roberts! (They couldn’t afford his fee to not appear. This also befell Chris Nolan when he blew too much of The Dark Knight’s budget on destroying chairs.) Rogue is more proactive in this than in four films! It gets Magik’s abs right too! The rest is a mixed bag.

The Old Guard is slightly better than Logan, though Highlander is better than both. “We can’t let them militarize the powers we’re already militarizing!” Why does Andy wear asymmetrical gloves?

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In this year of pandemic, employee furloughs, & worthy social causes, action figures are low on the public’s list of priorities. (The new ones I’ve gotten this year were either ordered before the epidemic was taken seriously here or are my emotional support plastic for this terrible time. I specifically don’t have a Patreon so you can donate to the people & causes more in need.) Surprisingly new assortments of Marvel Legends & Star Wars Black have been repeatedly selling out the day they’re listed on Hasbro Pulse. This was a rarity last year. I guess more collectors are stuck at home & eager for new product than before? I shudder to think of how fast SDCC exclusives will sell through this year, although maybe companies will have double the digital allotments since there won’t be a physical convention.

Hasbro is threatening even more to come. I know these have to be in production months in advance & they don’t want warehouses backlogged with product that’s not moving, but maybe they could ease off on flooding the market with releases so regularly during this catastrophic year? I’m surprised the coronavirus hasn’t substantially delayed toy production.

Which brings us to the matter of toy buying ethics. The production of action figures from “fossil” fuels by underpaid foreign laborers is known to be unethical already, so we can move on to the next facet. If a manufacturer has a store that sells directly to the consumer, is it best to order from them? All the profit goes back to the manufacturer & they get more direct information about what products are in demand. Or is is better to go with a big box retailer since their buyers support manufacturers more than lone collectors do? If these retailers reduce orders it’d have a substantial impact on manufacturer’s output. Maybe it’s better to support smaller businesses who specialize in niche products & stave off monopolies even if their prices may be higher? Is buying from amateurs in third party marketplaces actually beneficial to the overall toy ecosystem despite its tendency to encourage scalpers? Why can’t consumerism be as mindless as all the non-materialists insist?

I was quite disappointed when all the Marvel Monday foreshadowing of a Hellfire Club or at least Sebastian Shaw actually led up to a giant crowd-funded Sentinel. Even at a whopping $350, this enormous robot was fully funded in a day. That’s like the cost of three Marvel Legends series (eighteen normal-sized figures)! Then they breezed through the three stretch goal tiers within a week! Is there a millionaire out there army building these? For that price it should include two tentacles & a human head for Bastion.  Although having their joints & inner construction exposed makes for a more interesting sculpt than the classic streamlined look, it’s an obvious design flaw that makes it easier for their targets to wreck them. Meanwhile I’m proud of myself for having the gumption to expressly not purchase it. (2020 made humblebrags worse.) I’d much rather blow the last of my grocery money on a Hellfire Club set, though hopefully it’ll be more affordable.

Likewise they got me excited for X-movie toys yet didn’t solicit the Deadpool figures. The Professor X & Magneto set is oddly mismatched. It includes Patrick Stewart & Ian McKellen heads despite them not wearing these prequel costumes. Xavier’s wheelchair inexplicably lacks its iconic X-wheels. Michael Fassbender being from Days of Future Past, yet there’s no James McAvoy with hair option. Magneto doesn’t even include a First Class helmet, so what good is it? Ordinarily I like as many accessories as possible, but separate original & prequel sets might’ve been better.

Now that Hasbro is allowed to make live action mutant toys again, it’d be keen to get a Marvel Legends of Polaris from The Gifted. There’s a custom bootleg of her available. It is more (or less) affordable on eBay if you look around. I wouldn’t say no to Lady Deathstrike, Deadpool 2’s Juggernaut (I doubt they’ll have interest in topping the Vinnie Jones version I already have), & the Silver Adamantium Samurai from The Wolverine either. That’s about where my interest peters out. Now it’s kind of a relief that these movies weren’t as toyetic as they could’ve been.

The box art for Hasbro’s Age of Apocalypse series shows Apocalypse looming with two triangles on his head like 616 instead of the single AOA triangle. Boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder! Dark Beast sells out fast because Millennials love Kelsey Grammer in metal trousers. If the AoA Hank McCoy is Dark Beast, does that mean the 616 Hank McCoy is Light Beast?

DarkBeast

I’ve grown to loathe Jubilee’s bubblegum head. The bubble snapped off as soon as I swapped it on. Every time it tips over during the heat of Action Figure Melt Season, it breaks again. Gluing it is such a pain since it’s so tiny.

Nightcrawler in a Knightcrawler

Hasbro Pulse NEEDS to rerelease Multiple Man as an army builder like the AIM & HYDRA trooper. (I know they will as soon as I get one off eBay at a ridiculous price.) I never found one, & he’s a priority for completing my government X-Factor team (along with a proper Wolfsbane). Afterwards they can do original & X-Factor Investigations costumes.

If Erik the Red needs to come with alternate Cyclops & Magneto heads to be produced, then so be it.

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SDCC is going to be virtual this year, so let’s see if I have anything unique or noteworthy to write about that.

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