The first time I saw the lineup for the second wave of new Marvel Legends I thought I would be buying exactly one figure. Fantomex was it.
That was before I knew Arnim Zola was the build-a-figure.
I can’t remember what the first comic was that I saw Fantomex in – I think maybe New X-Men – but I immediately recognized him as a tribute to (rip-off of?) Diabolik. I know Diabolik from the 1968 Mario Bava movie, Danger: Diabolik; but the character originated in Italian comic books and was even predated by a Mexican character named Fantômas (yes, Mike Patton named his band after that one).
To make a long story as brief as possible, Diabolik is sort of like if you mashed up James Bond, Batman, and Robin Hood; but took away most of the morals any of those guys might have. That’s not a one-hundred percent accurate description, but I’m trying to keep things brief since this intro is about Fantomex and not Diabolik.
Fantomex is a master thief who uses high tech gadgets. He also has a mutant power of misdirection (though it goes far beyond that) and an external nervous system that is a sentient ship called E.V.A. (named after Diabolik’s assistant). Fantomex’s real name is Charlie-Cluster 7, but he goes by the name Jean-Phillipe (after the actor that played Diabolik – John Phillip Law). And like all of the coolest mutants, Jean Phillipe was experimented on by the Weapon Plus program. There’s a whole lot more to him, but I’m not trying to turn this into a Wikipedia entry.
I liked Fantomex from the start solely based on his appearance and influences, but being a creation of Grant Morrison’s he naturally got fleshed out a whole lot more over the course of New X-Men. He’s a complex character and for many years was one of the few enigmatic characters among Marvel’s Merry Mutants. Fantomex continued the legacy of other mysterious mutants like Wolverine and Gambit. Now he appears in my personal favorite comic book Uncanny X-Force every month and has gotten less mysterious but perhaps more complex.
First Glance: Beautiful. I can’t believe I’ve finally got this figure that was first shown something like three years ago.
Sculpt: From the neck down Fantomex is basically the same X-Men suit as Wolverine and Forge from the 2-pack a few years ago. That may not be totally accurate, but it’s fine. It’s a good body and a fairly generic “combat suit”. The colors are what really matter.
The head sculpt is good, as it should be. When you’re dealing with a guy in a balaclava you had better get it right and work some character in there at the same time. He has the determined eyes of his comic book appearance and the seams and shape are very cool.
Fantomex has ball joints at the neck, shoulders, hips, wrists, and ankles. There are swivels at the biceps, waist, and thighs. He has an abdominal joint and his elbows and knees are double-jointed.
The joints all look good. This buck has pretty much surpassed any knobby joint issues that Toy Biz or early Hasbro figures had. The functionality is solid and the figure’s coat interferes with poses less than you might think. I mean, it definitely does, but you can still get some pretty cool action poses.
As far as the sculpted accessories, the coat itself looks pretty good. This is the same piece used on the Nick Fury figures and it works perfectly well here. Unlike some other toy lines, there is no unintended detectable seam on the coat and it looks like one solid piece. The collar is nicely detailed and the sleeve holes are snug enough that it doesn’t look crappy. However, as much as I am usually opposed to soft goods, I would have very much preferred a soft goods coat like the old Marvel Legends Gambit figure. That trenchcoat is still one of my favorite soft goods pieces ever.
Fantomex’s belt looks outstanding, as it should being the only new piece aside from his head. The buckle is nice and big, the pouches are just the right size, and the holsters hang well and are functional. Also, this belt is attached to the figure so it doesn’t move out of place and look stupid like some others from this line.
Design: At some point I would like to see an all-white variation, but that’s neither here nor there. This is Fantomex as he appears in the pages of Uncanny X-Force and that’s fine with me.
He’s pretty much all white. What’s impressive is that the white is not only clean, but matches everywhere. Whether it’s paint or different types of plastic, all the whites are amazingly close in shade.
The flesh tone on his exposed face looks good and clean and stays within the confines of his face-hole.
The blacks are all tight and clean. The markings on his coat and uniform are clean and balanced. The only thing I might have done differently would have been to make the boots and gloves a bit glossier. But that’s just nitpicky.
Accessories: Fantomex comes with two pistols, Arnim Zola’s right arm, and part of the six page Arnim Zola narrative that runs throughout this series.
The pistols are a cool, dull grey color. The sculpt on them is awesome and they are loaded with detail, but a little more paint might have been nice. They fit in the figure’s hands and holsters perfectly.
Packaging: A clear plastic blister taped to a cardback. Fantomex’s artwork is probably the worst of the second series.
Overall: I like owning Fantomex a lot, and this is a perfectly good Fantomex. But in an ideal world he would have gotten his own new sculpt with a soft goods coat. Hasbro figured out a good way to get us this character, but it is not a perfect version.
4 out of 5
You should be able to find Fantomex in your local Target or Walmart. I wouldn’t recommend Toys R Us as they have decided to start charging scalper prices for their Marvel Legends. I am going to do my best to not buy from them anymore. You might want to grab this guy if you find him, though. He seems to be one of the better-selling figures of the two waves.
Now we really need the rest of the Uncanny X-Force team. I don’t know if Hasbro has the rights to or ownership of or would even use the old Toy Biz molds, but all it would take is repaints of their Psylocke (who I think is the same as the Hasbro female buck, right?) and brown suit Wolverine. They already have an excellent Deadpool ready for a black and grey paint job. We would need new figures of Archangel and Deathlok, though. The Toy Biz version of Deathlok could be a lot better and their Archangel was just garbage. Man, I’d love to have Archangel as Apocalypse’s heir.