Marvel Select The Wolverine Review

Marvel Select
The Wolverine
6 Inch Scale
By Diamond Select Toys
$21.99

I did not have big expectations for this summer’s The Wolverine, but I was pleasantly surprised by the film. Marvel Comics and their movie adaptations are one of my many loves, but the first Wolverine spinoff was garbage. Along with Elektra and both of the Ghost Riders, it is one of the few Marvel features that I have not owned or really even seen all the way through. Without even the spark of so-bad-their-good enjoyability, they cannot hold my interest.However, Hugh Jackman owns the role of Wolverine, and even the lesser X-films have benefited from his performances. And in The Wolverine, I believe he gives his best performance as the character yet.

2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine had a decent 3 ¾” toyline, with movie and comic versions of important X-characters. This time around, Hasbro’s figure line consisted of five comic based figures with basic swivel articulation. Three of the figures were Wolverine variations. They have also shown off a 6” Wolverine Legends assortment of comic based figures, but it still is not available, and will be a Previews exclusive series. Marvel Select has released a Wolverine which seems to be the only true action figure based on the film.

Packaging:
Wolverine comes packaged in the same oversized square bubble as all Marvel Select figures. It needs to be large to accommodate the oversized figures and elaborate diorama pieces of the line, but for a figure of a normal humanoid with small accessories, it feels a bit empty.

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The deluxe packaging does make each Select figure feel like a bit of an event, and MOC collectors probably appreciate its ability to hang from a peg or stand up on a shelf. The side panels of Marvel Select packages always have character art, and in this case they went with the stylized Japanese ink poster used throughout the film’s marketing campaign. It is a classy design, and I am glad they used it again here.

Sculpt:
Wolverine is sculpted shirtless in olive-drab army pants and combat boots. It takes a long time to develop an action figure, so it not a coincidence that Diamond Select chose to base the figure on the look of Wolverine from the first promotional image that was released, showing him dressed like this at the bottom of a pit. It’s a good choice, because it captures two key scenes in the film, the prologue with Wolverine in a Japanese WWII prison pit using his bone claws, and a present day duel with Shingen Yashida that sees him similarly outfitted.

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Wolverine has no uniform or costume in the film, and there was a previous Select figure depicting him in a white wife-beater, so the two key outfits they had to choose from were this or his all black suit. The suit would have been a good choice as well, but the look they does well to depict him as “unleashed.” All three included sculpts are good and easily recognizable, but the most neutral one has the best Hugh Jackman likeness.

Paint:
The paint is relatively simple on this figure, as wolverine is a simple guy. There is no intricate costume or uniform to replicate, just an angry shirtless man. The facial details are The pants have nice wash, making them look a bit more worn and textured. The bare upper body also seems to have been given a slight wash, and it helps bring out the detail of the muscles and veins.

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Articulation:
Wolverine does not just look good, this guy can really movie. Balljoint head,torso, shoulders and wrists, with hinged elbows. Below the waist, we have balljoint hips, double knees, swivel boot tops and those combination balljoint/rocker ankles that have been adopted by a lot of toymaker lately.

Accessories:
The early hallmark of the Marvel Select line was the deluxe diorama piece display bases that were included with each figure. A throne, a section of wall, a pile of urban rubble. Some, such as Thanos, Black Cat, and Ultimate Venom, included unarticulated secondary figures to display with the main attraction. Then came the large size figures, Juggernaut, Thing, several Hulks, which were figures so massive that they did not include a base, if one would even fit in the package. More recently, a few figures have experimented with amping up the accessories with multiple heads and hands in lieu of the display bases. We saw this with the recent classic Venom figure, and now Wolverine.

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Logan here includes three heads and three sets of hands. The three facial expressions are a stoic grimace, a snarl, and full on enraged screaming. Then we have the plain gripping hands, a pair with adamantium claws extended, and finally, bone claws extended. The metal claws are attached to fists, while the bone claw hands are on one open hand and one closed hand, which is a nice bit of variety.

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The final accessory is a black and gold handled katana, a movie accurate sword which is bestowed upon Wolverine by his seemingly benign benefactor. He does not fight with it in the movie, but it is a welcome addition and fits well in his gripping hands. It is a nice assortment of accessories, but the value is more in line with a $15-$18 collector figure than a Marvel Select. A display base should really have been includes still, even if it was just a simple section of Japanese-style mat flooring from the Yashida compound. Or if they really wanted to go crazy with swappable parts, another head or arm with bloody battle damage. Wolverine’s healing factor is a key component of the character, especially in this movie, and it would be nice to be able to express it through the figure. A previous brown costume Wolverine figure came with a display of samurai armor, perhaps it could have been repainted in silver and included to represent the family armor in the movie.

Value:
Marvel Select figures debuted in 2002, the $20 price tag was hard to swallow. The collector focus and diorama bases made it a bit more digestible, and the rising cost of toys in the years since has normalized Marvel Select a bit. The price has creeped to $21.99 in the last couple of years, but I really wanted this figure. It will take a strong desire for the figure or character to justify the purchase of a figure like Wolverine, whereas some other Selects (like the Avengers Hulk) are bulky and deluxe enough to justify deluxe pricing.

Not that Wolverine is a slouch. Sure, the claws are stiff and feel a bit fragile, as though they might snap if you drop the figure. If they had been more pliable, they would likely have never been able to keep them straight. Other than that, this is a toy that feels solid in your hands, and could probably hold up to even a child’s sandbox play. The Toybiz X-men figures always struck me as a bit ugly ang gangly, so i am glad to have a nice movie Wolverine figure in my collection. Hopefully, Diamond and/or Hasbro will step up to the plate and provide some more great X-figues next year when Days of Future Past hits theaters.

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