Thursday, March 21, 2013

REVIEW: Marvel Universe's Professor X

Produced by Hasbro | Released March 2013
Professor X
It's been a while since the last release of Marvel Universe figures hit retail but it seems the wait is over - doubly, indeed, as Hasbro has dropped not one but two new waves of figures, featuring an assortment of refresh/repeat figures and some newcomers, including the subject of today's Review, the X-Men's mentor, Professor X.
Sculpt & Design
Professor X is based upon the previously-released SDCC-exclusive James McCullen figure - a character better known as Destro from GI Joe. It's interesting to see Hasbro using this model but it makes sense. After all, there aren't any suited characters in the Marvel Universe roster (yet!) so it's a sensible move on Hasbro's part. I certainly hope they consider using this buck again for some other characters, as it's certainly a highly-detailed, cool bit of design.
The three-piece suit is a neat-looking bit of sculpt work, featuring both a button-down waistcoat and open jacket (both of which are formed from the same ''vest'' that fist over the figure). Like all such ''jacketed'' characters, the coat tails/body of the jacket is a separate piece and, as a result, there's a visible division between the body beneath and this piece, meaning in some lights/poses it can look like he's wearing a longer-length, sleeveless gilet. Still though, it's a really cool-looking piece that really gives Professor X an interesting look.
The head sculpt is particularly good. There's no mistaking that this is Professor X, with his intense expression and - coolest of all - arched eyebrows being particularly neat. I also like the pose of his left hand, which is ideal for doing hand-to-temple ''concentrating my powers'' poses. It's odd then to see that his right hand is a little malformed. It's not particularly well-defined, with a little bit of a ''blobby'' look to it and from many angles it appears his thumb is missing!

It's ironic that Professor X - a character who is rarely seen moving without the aid of his wheelchair - actually has some of the best articulation in the Marvel Universe line to date.
I've always been a fan of the GI Joe set-up - especially when it comes to the hip articulation - and have in the past mentioned how I wish Hasbro would adopt this system for their Marvel characters. Now they have - at least for one figure - and the results are superb. Here's hoping Hasbro considers tooling some new figures using this same arrangement, as it's nice to have a Marvel Universe figure I can pose in the poses I want and it's cool that non-GI Joe collectors get a chance to experience this rig.

Professor X's paint app is, again, very good. Whether it's simply because he's a man in a suit - something we've all seen in real life - or whether it's through great design but either way, the paintwork is a real treat, giving the already cool sculpt a great, lifelike look.
My figure's paint is also very cleanly applied, which is always a plus, although both versions of Professor X I saw sported equally strong applications - a rarity when it comes to Marvel Universe figures!

Extras & Accessories
As you've probably noticed, Professor X sports a rather nifty - and large - accessory in the form of his wheelchair/hover chair.
Comprising two halves (that must be joined together using a male/female connector system) the chair is a fantastic-looking accessory. Not only is the sculpt accurate to the high-tech Shi-ar device used by Professor X in the 90s but it also manages to go beyond the expected with the addition of some great touches like the folds in the chair back (which, sadly, you can't see when the Professor is seated in it) and the vent work and paneling along the sides. 

If I had one criticism it's that the paintwork is a little odd. My guess is the pink-ish/rose wash is to help make the gold plastic appear to glisten or be metallic and from some angles it's pretty effective. But not from others. Just be sure to pose your Professor Xavier accordingly.

Final Thoughts
Much as I love Hasbro's Marvel Universe line it is occasionally guilty of issuing the same bucks with new paint apps and a new head-sculpt - a money-saving measure I think is often responsible first and foremost for the choice of characters released. So it comes as a surprise to see Hasbro releasing not only a new buck (at least, new to the Marvel Universe line) but also one with an accessory as large as the Professor's chair.

From the great sculpt - especially the head - to the sturdy articulation, neat paintwork and - coolest of all - the chair, this is a figure that screams quality. If you're a fan of the X-Men - or indeed the Marvel Universe in general - then you'll be pleased to see not only Professor X finally joining the ranks of the line but also doing so in such style.

A great example of Hasbro getting it right. 

Final Score: A-

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