Having completed my series of reviews on Marvel Universe Wave 16 (Ultimate Magneto, Absorbing Man, Iceman, Astonishing Wolverine, and Tony Stark Iron Man), I’m moving back in time to cover some of the more significant figures from Wave 15. X-23 is not a character I’ve ever had any love for, as I considered her just another Wolverine clone. Her inclusion in the now-defunct “New X-Men” series left me cold, but she started to grow on me in “X-Force”. The first time I ever really liked her was when I held her packaged Marvel Universe figure in my hand, which looked like one of the best and coolest female figures I’d seen in years. Then I opened her, and my opinion of her ended up dropping significantly…
While Toybiz released two color variants of X-23 in the olden-days of Marvel Legends, this is both the first Hasbro X-23 and the first 4″ X-23. The paint scheme chosen is black and silver, as per her signature X-Force appearance, which has also never been released in figure form before. The colors chosen are striking, making X-23 look elegant yet lethal. I was actually surprised at how expertly the paint was applied on her face, which looks exquisite.
I don’t think the body mold itself for X-23 is new, but Hasbro has at least added a bunch of new parts and add-ons to make this figure unique. Like most Marvel Universe figures, X-23 has a unique head sculpt. This is actually one of the nicest female heads in the entire line, as her hair looks perfect and her face looks smooth and young, but also dangerous at the same time. X-23’s hands are an all-new mold, as they need to be, since she’s the only character in the Marvel Universe with two claws popping out of the backs of her hands. She has strapped forearm bracers that are separate pieces put over the mold that look great, as do her multi-strapped boots and “X” belt. This is unmistakably X-23 and certainly one of the best females in the whole Marvel Universe line from a visual perspective.
There’s one especially glaring flaw to this X-23 action figure, and it is lamentably an unforgivable one: X-23 has no side-to-side leg movement. I’m not saying that it’s limited–I’m saying that it’s zero. You can move her legs forward and backward as if she’s walking, but she absolutely cannot hold any kind of pose where she’s leaning or crouching to attack or anything of the sort because her leg joints simply were not engineered that way. X-23 has cut-joints at her calves and her thighs, but without the side-to-side leg joints those points of articulation are essentially useless. It is incomprehensible to me what Hasbro was thinking when they approved this mold, because it simply is not practical for superheroines.
Less damning are the deficiencies in X-23’s paintjob. The colors chosen for the paint are dead-on accurate, but the actual application on the figure (besides her face) leaves something to be desired. I had my pick of both X-23’s from the case, but both has black paint slopped on the flesh of her arms and silver paint bleeding onto the black parts of her costume (and vice versa). Since the flaws are black on silver, they’re quite noticeable and distracting–I wish more care had been taken with her costume since there’s such a contrast in colors. Also, I’ve heard that the paint chosen for this X-23 figure doesn’t match that of the X-Force team 3-pack released pretty much concurrently with her, and that just boggles my mind.
Cue my spiel about value: Accessory-wise, you get a stand with X-23’s name on it. Given the petite nature of this figure and the relatively small amount of plastic used, and considering the high cost ($8-$10 retail), this is just not a good value. I liked 4″ action figures a lot more back in the day when they were $5-$6 each. And strangely enough, the 4″ GI Joes Hasbro put out 30 years ago also had superior articulation to that of this X-23. Go figure.
“Where Can I Buy It?!”
BigBadToyStore has the best price on the Set of 5 for Wave 15 for just $49.99 (including X-23, Darkhawk, Ultron, Namor, and Steve Rogers Super-Soldier) . That’s essentially the retail price, and I doubt any online stores will beat it. They also have X-23 available individually for $11.99 in-stock right now.
The absolute cheapest I’ve seen X-23 for online is $9.95 on Amazon, although , she keeps going in and out of stock frequently.
Overall: If you’re a packaged collector, X-23 is a hit, especially if you can snag one with a superb paintjob. The package art looks terrific, her colors are dark yet striking, and she has one of the better female faces I’ve seen on a 4″ figure in a long time. Regrettably, she’s not nearly as good out of the package. There’s some uneven paintwork that’s very obvious due to the black and silver paint, and the leg articulation on this figure is abysmal and truly prevents any dynamic poses for X-23. She’s basically restricted to walking at her enemies or just standing there. That kind of articulation might be tolerable for other characters, but it doesn’t work for X-23 and really does ruin an otherwise great figure. Recommendation time: For those people building X-Force on their shelf, X-23 is an absolute necessity and it’s doubtful we’ll see her redone, so you might as well get this one. But for those picking-and-choosing their Marvel Universe figures who are hoping to create any great scenes or battles, you may want to look for a different action figure.