By Hervé St-Louis
August 1, 2006 - 07:24
Wonder Man, born Simon Williams, was once Tony Stark’s business competitor who turned to embezzlement to triumph over his opponent. Avenger Villains, Baron Zemo and the Enchantress gave him powers to defeat the Avengers. Turning his back on them and aiding the heroes, he went into a long deathlike state and returned later. An actor in Hollywood, Wonder Man has long served the Avengers, including their West Coast branch, where he started a budding relationship with longtime member, the Scarlet Witch. Wonder Man first appeared in Avengers #9 in 1964.
Initially, Wonder Man’s costume was green with a large W on his chest. When he returned, in the 1970s, he sported a red jacket and sunglasses to hid his red glowing eyes. Later, he dropped the coat and stayed in a black version of his original green costume. Although in recent years, he has shown an ionised state when using his powers, at rest, he has no energy blowing out of him. Given the hair parted on the back, seen on the figure, his looks are closer to his appearance in the Avengers stories published around 1999 and 2000.
The purple Wonder Man variant is rarer and based on the ionic look he has in recent Avengers’ comics.
Unfortunately, the sculpt doesn’t capture the imposing built of Wonder Man. He seems like a small guy, although he is buffed up. His shoulders’ articulations make it difficult for him to put his arms vertically unless pushed to the back. It makes him look like he’s aggressive and about to fight. There’s a fabric like texture on the black parts of his costume. The sculpt of Wonder Man is not symmetrical at places like the shoulders, He seems to have one lower than the other.
The paint job would be good if they had succeeded in painting the logo on his chest properly. Because of the texture, the paint looks like it spills and the amount of applied on the surface is insufficient to cover the black plastic base underneath. Still, Wonder Man has a nice tan on his face and arms and a metallic sheen on his wrist bands, belt and hip jet packs. His boots have a leather-like feel. Toybiz should have painted the inside articulations of the Wonder Man’s knuckles with the same tan paint. It makes him look like he didn’t tan properly in all of his articulations.
Wonder Man is in scale with more recent Marvel Legends action figures such as Ultimate Captain America. Of course he fits well with all other Marvel Legends action figures as Toybiz controls that aspect of their figures thoroughly. The small Yellow Jacket snap on figure is too big compared to most depiction in the comics.
It’s difficult to make Wonder Man stand on his own. His shape is off balance with unbalanced left and right sides and high heel boots that are too slippery to stay put on shiny surfaces like wood or glass. He’ll be better balanced with a cloth fabric under him, although his top heavy back doesn’t allow him to stay put for long. It is best to put him on an action figure stand. The toes’ articulations are too loose to offset the balance of the figure.
Wonder Man has 35 articulations at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, palms, abdominal, waist, hips, thighs, knees, calves, ankles and toes. There are two articulations at the ankles. Some bend the feet while the others allow them to rotate sideways. There are double articulations at the elbows and the knees. The shoulder articulations use a double ball system. The first ball is the armpit articulation while the second ones, more traditional ball joint shoulders. They allow Wonder Man to fake a punch.
Wonder Man’s material is soft PVC plastic that’s suitable for kids to play with. The torso is in a hollow material. The plastic is tight which doesn’t allow much mobility. Sometimes, it feels like the figure will break when trying to move one of its parts.
Wonder Man comes with a small Yellow Jacket figure glued on a transparent swoosh that connects into Wonder Man’s back. The Yellow Jacket figure comes in the way of Wonder Man’s shoulder articulation and cannot be rotated in a different angle.
Wonder Man also comes with a red cycle. He fits difficulty there and cannot sit at ease. The cycle is like a clam shell allowing one to adjust the figure sitting on it. I would have favoured a regular action figures stand instead of this. This is the type of plastic prop that’s easily stored away as it’s useless with the figure.
Wonder Man comes in a bubble plastic package with a cardboard card inside with pictures of the figures and other one released by Toy Biz. Of course, he comes with a copy of Avengers Vol 3 #51. Parents should open this package as it requires scissors to open
Wonder Man’s price differs according to where one purchases him. Comic book stores sell this figure for often double the price of large surface stores. One can pay up to $20 there instead of the $8 of large stores.
Wonder Man sold quickly when he was released as it was the first figure in this scale release by Toybiz. If you cannot locate the figure in a large surface store, auction sites and collectors’ exchange forums, like the Comic Book Bin’s classifieds are the place to go and find him. The purple Wonder Man variant is rarer.
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