?If you were a comic fan and a toy fan in the ’90s, there was pretty much only one company to turn to: Toy Biz. The company not only made the first Batman movie figures, but they’ll always be bets remembered for having the Marvel license during the years of the mega-popular Spider-Man and X-Men cartoons (as well as the many Marvel cartoons that weren’t that popular).
In the years and years that they had the Marvel toy license, Toy Biz made a significant portion of the Marvel universe — but they kept coming back to popular characters like Wolverine, since they actually made money (shockingly, the Sugar Man figure was not a hit). Since Wolverine was the hottest character for most of that period of time, Wolverine figures account for probably 20 percent of the toys the Biz made, which means he, had both good figures made of him… and bad figures. Putting aside the slightly goofy-looking ones, and the ones that represent legitimate(-ly bad) comic book appearances, these are the 10 that made us scratch our heads the most.
10) Future Wolverine, X-Men Missile Flyers
?Apparently, in the future, Wolverine will dress like a giant, muscular bat, put on a scary mask and fly through the night on green, feathery wings to terrify evil-doers. So… Future Wolverine is Batman? Wasn’t this an Amalgam comic?
9) Battle Armor Wolverine, X-Men Mutant Armor Series
?Anti-Magnetism Armor actually seems like something Wolverine could use, since his metal bones constantly make him an easy target for Magneto. Why he also needs a giant grabby claw, I have no idea. Apparently his heavy armor also prevents him from reaching things on high shelves?
8) “Disco” Logan, X-Men: The Movie
?The line of action figures Toy Biz did for the first X-Men movie was hotly anticipated… and only slightly disappointing. All of the characters were represented, poseability was okay and the likenesses were pretty good, but in their drive to include a variety of Wolverine figures, they had to include pretty much all of his costume changes from the film. I still don’t remember exactly when in the movie Wolverine wore this tight-fitting gold paisley shirt, but since he comes with a stabbable figure of Rogue
Kitty Pryde, maybe it’s supposed to be when he stabs her in the middle of the night? I’m pretty sure they were in his bedroom, and not at Studio 54, but the toy’s wide-legged dancing pose says otherwise.
7) Werewolf Wolverine, X-Men Mutant Monsters
?Man, I don’t remember the storyline where Wolverine turned into a werewolf, but if it was anything like Captain America’s “Capwolf” Saga, then it must have been a humdinger. I’ve also heard good things about the Werewolf by Night storyline where he gets bitten by a mystical wolverine, turning him into the ferocious Wolverine Werewolf.
6) Wolverine Patch, X-Men Battle Brigade
?You have to give the Biz credit for trying to get out comic-accurate variations on Wolverine, even if they had to dress them up as hideous, kid-friendly monstrosities. This figure is actually a pretty decent version of Patch, Wolvie’s alter ego while in Madripoor, but he’s weighed down by a massive pair of shoulder pads, with robotic knives for machine-powered stabbing. Do not f@*& with Wolverine Patch.
5) Mystique with Wolverine Disguise, X-Men: The Movie
?Brilliant in concept, awful in execution, this Mystique figure came with a rubber Wolverine disguise with which to fool the X-Men, as she did in the movie’s final scene. It might have actually worked if the Mystique figure, like the other X-ladies in the line, hadn’t been sculpted in such a slinky, off-balance pose. Standing on the balls of her feet, she was barely able to stay upright on her own, let alone with clunky rubber boots on. Plus, it was nigh-impossible to get the ill-fitting Wolverine suit over her raised shoulder, non-articulated arms and legs and outstretched fingers, and once you did, it looked like a Muppet performing a Michael Jackson dance routine. Luckily for the Biz, the suit accessory was depicted on the toy’s packaging by a regular Wolverine action figure.
4) Wolverine with Snap-on Fangor Armor, X-Men Monster Armor
?I’m not sure exactly what function this “armor” serves. Do the big, hairy boots protect against the cold? Does the fright mask scare off Morlocks? Do the giant grey fingers protect Woverine’s claws against tarnishing? Whatever the reason, the fully “armored” Wolverine looks more like a member of Gwar then any toy I’ve ever seen — which must have something to do with the fact that the head sculpt underneath looks a lot like Glenn Danzig.
3) Wolverine with Light-Up Weapon, X-Men Classics
Painting Wolverine purple, draping him with bandoliers and giving him a huge energy cannon seems like something a knock-off toy company in Mexico would do, but no, this Wolverine figure — from the “Classics” line, no less — was made by the Biz. He was the odd man out in a line that featured fairly accurate versions of Nightcrawler, Gambit and Psylocke, each with their own light-up weapon — hell, if it’d just been a Cable figure, he would have been perfect. Unfortunately, the internal mandate to shoehorn a Wolverine into every wave of toys gave us Wolverine as designed by Rob Liefeld. They later re-issued him in his yellow-and-blue outfit, but the damage was done.
2) Wolverine, X-Men Shape Shifters
?Compared to this toy, Werewolf Wolverine is a masterpiece of logic. Not only does this Wolverine transform into a wolf (not a wolverine, mind you), he turns into a wolf with a blue head (?) and a body that looks like someone chopped up his body and glued it back together in the shape of a wolf. After this eyesore, a robot Wolverine who turns into a pickup truck — which we actually got in the Crossovers line — seems like a well-thought-out addition to the X-Men mythos. Or at least fan fiction.
1) Savage Wolverine and Crawler-Rex, X-Men: Savage Land
?No nose. Bone claws. Bad haircut. Droopy sideburns. Tattered costume. Skull shoulderpads. Massive shoulders. Tiny waist. Ugly dinosaur accessory. How in the hell does a toy this horrible get made?