Monday, October 10, 2011

REVIEW: Marvel Universe's X-23

Produced by Hasbro | Released October 2011

X-23, the young clone of WOLVERINE, is one girl you don't want to mess with. Created as a living weapon by the mysterious Facility, she has bee rescued and adopted by the mutant protectors of Utopia. Despite her dark past, she has found a place with the X-MEN and X-FORCE, serving as a powerful soldier in the defense of the mutant species.

Packaging Shots

I have to admit, I'm not a fan of Simone Bianchi's work on these latest card backs. Whilst his rendering technique is nice, his facial detail work is too abstract. And I'm still not sure what's going on with X-23's hair...

This weekend I was lucky enough to find an entire case of Wave 15/Series 3 Wave 4 figures at my local Target. I passed on Ultron (I'll be Reviewing the Secret Wars version soon) but snagged the other four figures from this Wave, including the subject of today's Review, X-23. So how does X-23 - the first female figure to use the new articulation set-up - fare? Read on and find out...

The core sculpt is fairly well-detailed. As is often the case with Marvel Universe spandex-clad characters, her look is more ''iconic'' than ''intricate'' but it's a pretty good rendition of the comicbook character's look and it's not without its high points. There's some cool detail on her goth boots and strappy gloves, plus there's a nice separate belt piece that features the X-Force/X-Men X-in-a-circle logo, which is nicely done.

What I'm not so keen on is the figure's proportions. She seems to be very bottom-heavy, with what I'd say are to-scale legs yet a tiny upper-body and - worst of all - remarkably skinny arms. I know comicbook characters aren't drawn to the same proportions as ''normal'' people and most artists take liberties to create a more dynamic/athletic look but it really looks odd when you see this figure's dimensions. 

On the plus-side, the head sculpt is very good, with the hair being especially well-detailed. It's often difficult to sculpt women without them looking like small-faced men and the X-23 sculpt does a good job of avoiding this issue. Indeed, she has more than a passing resemblance to somebody I know, which is quite creepy!

X-23's articulation is very difficult to really make a call on. You see, X-23 uses Hasbro's new articulation set-up and it doesn't work in the way you'd expect it to. That doesn't mean it's wrong, it's just... different.

The first change comes with the hip joints, which use a new set-up. When combined with the new cut-thigh joint they should - in principle - allow for a wider range of motion. However, if you attempt to pose her by simply moving the leg at the hip joint, you'll find it springs back to the ''neutral'' position. To pose her legs you have to actually rotate the hip joint in conjunction with the thigh cut. It's really weird and works pretty well - once you get used to it - but there doesn't seem to be a great deal of choice between legs together and planted-foot poses. And of course, it breaks the leg-stripe paintwork the moment you do it.

It's very odd.

What's most welcome - and works exactly as it should - is the new ankle articulation. The foot is connected to the lower-leg by a ball-joint that allows for forward/backward motion and side-to-side tilt. Add to this a cut-calf joint and you'll see that there's a lot of good to be had with this new set-up (even if the hips are weird.)

X-23's paintwork is solid but not spectacular. It's nicely applied and a good representation of the character's X-Force uniform but this is the second figure I selected from the shelves, as the first one I picked-up had a terrible paint app. Luckily I had the luxury of cherry-picking the case but you may not be so fortunate, so inspect your figure well before purchasing.

X-23 comes with her own stand.

Final Thoughts
Perhaps it's simply the novelty value of the new articulation set-up or the introduction of the latest female buck but for all her faults, X-23 is actually a pretty good figure. Granted, the new articulation set-up takes a lot of getting used to and her proportions seem odd, but having played with the figure and posed her - despite the difficulties involved in that - I'm actually pretty impressed and once you become accustomed to the new set-up, it's actually fairly good. From what I can see of the other figures in this Wave, at least two of them use a similar set-up so it'll be interesting to see how they fare at Review.

At the end of the day, X-23 isn't going to win any converts to the Marvel Universe line: she's too obscure a character, her proportions look odd and the articulation set-up is unlike anything I've seen on a figure of this scale. Yet for all these issues, she's a surprisingly good figure and certainly one of the better female characters in the line.

A definite step in the right direction, for all her slightly weird quirks.

Production QualityB+
Final ScoreB+

Image Gallery


  1. I just got this wave also. Even though her legs are strangely long, I still like the look of her, and the extra articulation is only a good thing.

  2. I found it a tough Review to score. There's some stuff that's just wrong but also she's a lot of good stuff going on.

  3. She is bad a#$!I seriously have some catching up to do with Marvel because this is my first time ever seeing or hearing about X-23.Great figure!

  4. I just wish her proportions were a little better. She looks kind of weird. If it wasn't for that (and the oddness of the joints) she'd be an A-rated figure.

  5. I didn't notice the legs. guess I'll just have to assume she was designed by J. Scott "Legs up to her neck" Campbell.

  6. Yeah, if you put her beside, say, a GI Joe female figure you'll see she's very oddly proportioned. Which I suppose is intended to represent the comicbook dynamism of the design. But it still looks weird.

  7. She seems "Odd" for some reason but perhaps this is just me.

  8. No you're right, Jboy - she is oddly proportioned. Her legs are just slightly too long and overly large when compared to her upper body. I think it's supposed to be a stylised, dynamic look and while that may work on the page, it doesn't work as a toy...

  9. Ok then it wasn't me then lol.

  10. Nope - she's kinda weird. Cool but weird.


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