When I heard rumors about Grant Morrison’s plans for the X-Men way back in 2000, I thought he was crazy. Emma Frost was going to transform into a diamond and Beast was going to look like the Beast from “Beauty and the Beast”?! Surely this man was going to be the downfall of the X-Men franchise. Of course, that didn’t happen–Morrison turned in one of the most legendary runs in X-Men history, including such memorable events as a still-intact death of Jean Grey and the massacre of the entire nation of Genosha’s populace. Morrison also created quite a few characters that have proven to have staying-power in the X-Men mythos, and one such character is the subject of today’s review: Fantomex. An international thief and man of mystery, Fantomex’s Marvel Legends figure is every bit as intriguing as the character himself…
This Marvel Legends Series 2 action figure is actually the second figure of Fantomex released, as there was a Toys R Us exclusive Minimates figure of Fantomex paired with Mr. Negative in late 2011. I previously reviewed Future Foundation Spider-Man, Drax the Destroyer, Piledriver, Thunderball, Bucky Captain America, and all of the Series 1 Marvel Legends, and you can find all those reviews in the Toy Reviews Index.
Despite his current popularity, Fantomex is still a relatively new and non-mainstream character, so here’s a quick rundown on him: Jean-Phillipe is a product of the Weapon XIII Program, and was designed and bred to be used in a future war between humans and mutantkind. Fantomex fled the program and took up a fake persona as a French thief, and after many encounters with the X-Men over the years, finally became a mainstay of the current X-Force squad. And oh yeah, his nervous system is a UFO named E.V.A. Did you get all that?
I don’t know what the official way you’re supposed to pronounce “Fantomex” is, but someone on my favorite toys message board at Raving Toy Mania said it’s “Fan-Toe-Mex, but pronounced in a musical way, like if you had a French accent”. I thought that was pretty clever, so I’m going with it.
As convoluted and wacky as his backstory is, Fantomex has one of the slickest visual appearances I’ve seen on a comic character in years. He’s like a trenchcoat-wearing Storm Shadow (no, not like in the G.I. Joe movie). Fantomex’s white-and-black color-scheme isn’t something that you would ordinarily see in the Marvel Universe (outside of the Future Foundation), and as such he really stands out amongst his fellow X-Men.
As I mentioned in my Future Foundation Spider-Man review, whenever you have a nearly-monochrome figure, paintwork quality is going to be absolutely crucial. With Future Foundation Spider-Man Hasbro pulled off something miraculous by having no paint flaws whatsoever–and somehow they’ve done it again with Fantomex. Despite black being the secondary color on this figure over white, all of the lines are straight and evenly-painted, and there’s no missed spots or bleeding at all.
One of the coolest elements of Fantomex’s costume is his flowing trenchcoat. There are plenty of wrinkles and creases in the trenchcoat that add detail, and the black paint deco has been loving applied and is perfect. The trenchcoat splits halfway down , creating some extra opportunities for posing it naturally.
The revived Marvel Legends line has been a total victory as far as articulation is concerned, and Fantomex is another fine example of this. Fantomex has 28 points of articulation, including a hinge neck, ball-jointed head, ball-jointed shoulders, swivel biceps, double-jointed elbows, double-jointed wrists, upper torso ab crunch, swivel waist, ball-jointed hips, swivel thighs, double-jointed knees, and double-jointed ankles. He doesn’t have ankle rockers, but Fantomex has virtually every other point that you would want from him. And unlike many action figures on the market, having a long plastic trenchcoat doesn’t mess up the articulation on Fantomex at all–it’s all very usable and totally unrestricted.
Fantomex comes with two weapons: a pair of dual pistols. (Fantomex Fact: Fantomex had a limited arsenal of sentient bullets that could never miss their target that he used in critical situations over the years. Seriously.) He has a belt that, unlike Steve Rogers’, can actually hold both of the pistols. Fantomex has two grasping hands so he can dual-wield his pistols and tangle even-up with the DC Universe Classics Deadshot figure.
Fantomex also has a couple of bonus items that come with him related to Series 2′s Build-A-Figure, Arnim Zola. Fantomex comes with the right arm of Arnim Zola. I’ll talk about all of build-a-figure pieces of Arnim Zola in-depth when I review Arnim Zola.
In addition, Fantomex comes with a unique fold-out piece of paper with a “Tale of Arnim Zola” featuring Beast on one side (instructing collectors on what comic they can read to continue the story), and a checklist/diagram for how to build Arnim Zola on the reverse side. I like that they paired the X-Men related character in this wave with the insert for Beast, as it’s most likely that X-Men fans will be buying Fantomex and will be interested in the story described on the insert. It’s no replacement for the full comic books that Hasbro Marvel Legends included, but it adds an air of important to the BAF and it’s still worlds better than the awful “collectible comic shots” Marvel Universe figures are including in 2012.
Finally, the generic packaging blurb. I’ll be brief: I love the 2012 Marvel Legends packaging. It’s bright, vibrant, and character-specific. The huge artwork on the front and back of the card depicting the character you’re buying is engaging and a real treat to look at, and it’s a shame you have to utterly destroy the packaging to get at the figure inside. The only thing I’d like to see improved is slightly more text about the characters on the cardbacks, as Fantomex is still a fairly new character. But in general, this is some of the prettiest packaging on the market today, and it absolutely blows the Marvel Universe 4″ line’s packaging away.
First of all and most annoyingly, it’s disconcertingly difficult to get Fantomex to aim his guns in sync properly. No matter how much I fight or fiddle with the guns, he just doesn’t seem to be able to get a perfect dual-wielding pose in the way that the Steve Rogers figure in Series 1 did. The way Fantomex’s fingers are positioned makes it a struggle to get the guns in the proper position. In addition, Fantomex’s trenchcoat sways inward and pushes his left holster out when the gun is in the holster. The result is the figure looking asymmetrical and awkward when both guns are holstered.
Also, I’m not enamored with the eyes on this figure. Fantomex is a character who always looks confident, charming, or mysterious to me in the comics, but the way the eyes are painted he looks more wide-eyed and terrified than anything else. The way the eyes are done just aren’t appropriate to the character, in my opinion.
“Where Can I Buy It!?”
Fantomex is part of Hasbro’s 2012 Marvel Legends Series 2. He’s packed at one-per-case, and may or may not be tough to find as he’s a popular but relatively new character. As of writing, I’ve only seen this series of figures at Toys R Us, where they retail for $17.99, although I have heard that others spotted them at Target as well.
Ebay is always a great option for looking for deals on new-release action figures, as ebay tends to have listings for figures literally the day they turn up in any store. Click here to check out the current ebay listings for Marvel Legends Fantomex!
Amazon currently has Marvel Legends Fantomex in-stock from a variety of sellers with free shipping, although prices and availability on Amazon change rapidly.
BigBadToyStore stocks virtually every Marvel product Hasbro releases each year, and have the set of 7 containing all of Marvel Legends Series 2 for $119.99 as well as Fantomex available for $19.99 individually.
Overall: Fantomex is a very interesting figure that does a lot of things right and only has a few nagging details that hold him back. The visual appeal of the character design is undeniable, and Hasbro did a great job of incorporating the Marvel Legends standard of articulation into the figure without conflicting with the figure’s trenchcoat. The paint deco on the figure has been applied expertly, and I appreciate the holsters for the twin pistols that have been included. There are some minor improvements that could have been made to this figure (better eyes, designing the left holster to not interfere with the trenchcoat, better molded hands for dual-wielding), but overall Fantomex is another very solid entry into the newly-resurrected Marvel Legends line by Hasbro. Unless you really have no knowledge or connection to Fantomex, he’s a great figure and receives a strong recommendation.