The X-Men were everywhere in the early ’90s. Marvel shook up the comics core by revamping their popular mutant team in the books (partially by tapping the talent of virtuoso upstart Jim Lee), which spurred Fox’s ubiquitous cartoon adaptation and a merchandising barrage that included, naturally, toys.
The figures did a decent job of expressing the characters they were based on. But, dig deeply enough and you may notice a strange pattern radiating from within their packaging that goes beyond the mold: even though the mutants possess powers so otherworldly that they’re tough for norms to fathom, when it came time to add in something extra, the toy makers kept things oddly pedestrian, or in some cases, just odd. Yeah, getting a mini X-friend or foe without anything else is bland, but placing accessories that are wholly illogical into their tiny hands (or snapping weird stuff on their limbs) can be even less rewarding. From the totally unnecessary to the completely out of place, here are 10 figures which, for one reason or another, came with some pretty strange stuff. Enjoy?
10) Mr. Sinister with Snap-On Cyber Tech Armor
Dracula doppelganger Mr. Sinister looks a bit redundant in the “Monster Armor” line; the infamous geneticist’s appearance is already perfectly ghoulish without additional costuming. It’s because of this, we guess, that the figure steers clear of the monster makeup in favor of a giant claw appendage. We suppose he could use it for awkwardly monitoring experiments and taking tissue samples while away from his lab, but this seems like it could just as easily be designed to watch crimson-colored soap operas while clutching the world’s biggest bag of potato chips. Unfortunate owner, the choice is yours!
9) Apocalypse with Sliding Staff
Apocalypse is, well, pretty scary. When he’s not serving as his own PR machine by reminding everyone of his invincibility (and their forthcoming demise), he’s taking part in mutant experimentation, or, uh, genocide. He can also turn into a giant without notice, and has made a habit of coming back from the dead. Thus, it only makes sense that he should carry around a staff to hit stuff with. Seriously–when would he use this? He’s way better off just stepping on his unworthy adversaries, or transforming one of his arms into a formidable weapon. At the end of the day, a tiny can of cola would be equally helpful, and more refreshing! Although, admittedly, probably less logical. But still, delicious!
8) Storm with Spinning Cloud Platform
Mohawk Storm probably doesn’t need superpowers because of her awesome cranial d?cor. Even so, we’re not sure that this spinning cloud platform — which looks kinda like something you’d hang in the shower — holds up its end of the bargain. Yeah, it generally got the plastic-cloud-that-spins part right, but it seems a touch out of place in a line with “Battle Blasters” for a title, especially if the idea’s that Storm’s supposed to use it to battle or blast something. Again, though, we can’t discount the toy completely. After all, the figure’s pretty cool, and the accessory may well prove a boon for the toiletries section of your grocery receipt.
7) X-Men Missile Flyers Future Wolverine with Foldout Wings
Granted, this whole thing is pretty weird (TR‘s reviewed it before, right here) but the accessories deserve special mention. Even if you manage to get past Wolverine rocking the look of some long-lost link in Pikachu’s evolutionary chain, the green, winged missile-shooter accessory will almost certainly give you pause. Also, Man-Bat called, he wants his head back. The good news? Judging by his expression, Wolverine likes his duds about as much as we do.
6) Juggernaut with Battering Ram
Juggernaut probably needs this, right? Ramming stuff: one thing he just cannot get the hang of. Oh, wait–forgot. That’s pretty much the one thing he does. All the time. Maybe this accessory doubles as a robotic Manssiere of doom, or a futuristic beer-vending device to make some extra cash with on the side. It’s always good to look for hidden value in things, especially awkward things of dubious design that serve no purpose.
5) Heavy Metal Beast with Anti-Mutagenic Armor
What can be said about Heavy Metal Beast that his nipple caps don’t say already? Without them, his armor, while still questionable, would at least have him looking like a respectable M. Bison wannabe; instead, these pectoral disks leave the furry, blue doctor with little occupational recourse but to warm up crowds in all-male, cyber mutant revues across the land. Sadly, Heavy Metal Beast comes with a missile launcher, but no guitar. A missed opportunity indeed.
4) Cyclops with Pistol
Cyclops is the arguable king of projectiles in X-Land, thanks in no small way to the fact that he shoots stuff right out of his head. But, what kind of accessory could complement his ability to blast a virtually unlimited amount of optic beams at unruly villains? A removable visor or jacket? A pair of his I’m-out-with-Jean-on-a-date sunglasses? Nah. Throw a gun in there. Happy shootin’.
3) Magneto with Harpoons
The Master of Magnetism can bend metal at will. Thanks to the accessories included with this release, he can also lance a tasty tuna fish for dinner. Why he’d feel the need to carry weaponry with such an aquatic slant (or, at all) isn’t clear to us, unless whaling is secretly a popular pastime in the mutant community. The figure also comes with a sword throw-in, the same one that was packaged with Gladiator from the Phoenix Saga line. Hey, really, it could be a lot worse: variations of this figure were packed with a gun, just in case you wanted to pretend-shoot other action figures with the guy who can jettison tanks through the air whenever he feels like it.
2) Wolverine with Disk Firing Platform
“With every great hero comes the potential to market something that shoots disks at stuff” is a timeless adage (which we just made up) that holds as true today as it did in the ’90s. We’re not saying Wolverine couldn’t hypothetically stand on a metal platform and shoot frisbees at baddies during his many adventures. No, just that it’s more likely that he’d take a different path — one more likely to involve victory, and less likely to involve absolute defeat and embarrassment. Just sayin’.
1) Cyclops with Snap-On Cyclaw Armor
While the “Monster Armor” set was purely candid in its intentions to dress up X-dudes and ladies in scary disguises, none were more overtly ironic than the line’s Cyclops entry. Sans armor, the toy was arguably one of the X-squad leader’s more interesting encapsulations at the time, sporting the look of a man ready to blast Sinister’s intestinal track a new exit point. That all changed, of course, when the gear got clipped on. Instead of classic Scott Summers in full-on berserker rage mode, fans could display a Cyclops figure that looked like it had half of a ghastly, dream-eating Earthworm Jim melted onto it. Ah, the perfect addition to any X-Men collection.