I’ve managed to largely avoid buying figures from the Marvel Universe line the last few years because of shoddy quality control and limited interest in the characters that Hasbro has released, but Hasbro finally managed to pierce my heart with Cupid’s Arrow with the Rocket Raccoon figure they just released. So while I was purchasing my Guardians of the Galaxy set last week, I figured I might as well pick up some company for them and bought the complete Wave 16 set (Iceman, Astonishing Wolverine, Absorbing Man, Ultimate Magneto, and Tony Stark Iron Man). Tonight I’ll be reviewing one of my favorite X-Men–now getting his third figure in the Marvel Universe line–Iceman.
It’s hard to believe, but this is actually the third 4″ Iceman action figure released by Hasbro since they started this scale! The first was a poorly-articulated, stylized clear blue Iceman in the Wolverine and the X-Men Animated line, and the second was the solid-white Iceman in the Toys R Us “Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends” 3-pack. Even so, Hasbro chose to go with a totally different era uniform for this Iceman, and the result is an Iceman costume we’ve never seen before as an action figure. (Yes, I know there was a Minimate–that doesn’t count.)
I’m actually grinning quite a bit about having an Iceman in this costume, as it’s the one he wore during the original “X-Factor” series in the 1980’s, right when I started reading comics. The silver paint chosen for the big “X” on Iceman’s chest and his gloves and boots looks great, and is an excellent color complement to the clear blue the figure is cast in. So a big thumbs-up to Hasbro for the nostalgia and for doing something different with this Iceman figure.
The other thing I really like about this figure is the goofy, smiling expression on Iceman’s face. I think this same head may have been used on the “Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends” Iceman, but that was a hard-to-find exclusive, so it’s new to the main line. This is the first figure in the main Marvel Universe line that I can think of without an angry or serious expression, and I think the happy grin fits well with Bobby Drake’s personality and adds some much-needed variety to a line-up of Marvel Universe figures.
Upon taking Iceman out of the package, I had an immediate sense of deja vu when I picked up his “ice blast” clip-on accessory. I knew immediately what the accessory was, as it came packed in with the first Marvel Universe figure I ever bought the day the line was released–Iron Man. I’ve seen the “energy blast” accessory reused over and over while looking at the line on the pegs the last two years, but it was disheartening to see that it’s still being released. 15 waves and two and a half years later, Hasbro is still reusing the same awkward clip-on accessory. Really, Hasbro? Really? The energy effect was cool on Iron Man, but that figure was heavier and more sturdy and still couldn’t stand upright well with the accessory clipped-on. Having the “ice blast” clipped onto Iceman’s wrist looks goofy, and trying to make Iceman stand up with the accessory clipped on is a total joke, unfortunately. Given the sky-high pricepoint on these figures, which are usually repaints with few or no new parts, it’s disappointing that Hasbro can’t find it within themselves to make a couple of new energy accessories.
Additionally, one of the main reasons I didn’t become obsessed with Marvel Universe figures after they released is that they felt cheap to me. Many times they had gorgeous sculpts that were marred by poor paint, and additionally they felt lighter and less substantial in my hand than a Star Wars action figure or a GI Joe. I hadn’t bought a Marvel Universe figure in the last year-plus and I heard quality had improved, but this Iceman feels as delicate and airy to me as the original figures did at the start of the line. In fact, I suspect his body may still just be a repaint of one of those early figures. Given that these figures average $8-$10 in stores, I’d hoped they’d have advanced to feel a bit more durable by now.
“Where Can I Buy It?!”
These are starting to hit comic book and specialty shops right now, but if you want Iceman without the hunt, there are a couple options online.
Iceman can be a pain to find in stores, but he’s readily available for just about retail price on ebay. You can check out the current listings for Marvel Universe Iceman on ebay directly by clicking here.
Amazon has the whole wave available with free shipping, including a bunch of hard-to-find figures like Astonishing Wolverine, Absorbing Man, Ultimate Magneto, X-23, Darkhawk, and more.
BigBadToyStore has the best price on the Set of 5 for Wave 16 for just $49.99 (including Iceman, Ultimate Magneto, Absorbing Man, Astonishing Wolverine, and Tony Stark Iron Man) . That’s essentially the retail price, and I doubt any online stores will beat it. They also have Iceman available individually right now for $11.99.
Overall: There are things that I really like about this figure, and there are things about it that really annoy me. I love that Hasbro picked an obscure version of Iceman for this figure, as well as the great colors and paint chosen and the silly facial expression. However, I hate that he still feels insubstantial and reuses an accessory that’s been used way too many times since the line started. I recommend and don’t regret buying him as I love this version of Iceman, but I think Hasbro could and should be doing better things with these figures for the price that they cost.