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Marvel Universe Two-Packs:
Gambit vs Mr. Sinister Review

As I mentioned in my last Marvel Universe 2pk Review, the space characters and the 90s X-Men are my two weak spots when it comes to resisting Marvel Universe figures. That means, as sure I picked up Thanos & Adam Warlock, I just had to buy Gambit and Mr. Sinister too.

If you really pressed me as to why I want to build a 90s X-Men team, I don’t really have a good answer. I’ve never read any 90s X-Men comics… in fact, I’m not terribly versed on the X-Men outside of what I’ve seen in the films, cartoons, or on Wikipedia whenever I was curious. Actually, that probably explains it. Cartoons. I know that the opinions of the 90s X-Men cartoon will vary wildly based on one person to the next, but I would’ve been 11-12 when it first aired and I thoroughly enjoyed it at the time (as well as the Spider-Man cartoon that aired around the same time).

As I’ve gotten older and my awareness of the “Jim Lee” X-Men era has grown, that core group of animated X-Men has had their roster (Cyclops, Jean, Wolverine, Rogue, Storm, Beast, Gambit, Jubilee, & Professor X) filled out in my mind with Colossus, Iceman, Archangel, & Psylocke. It’s a team I’ve wanted to build since Marvel Legends started up nearly a decade ago. Marvel Legends got mighty close too, especially towards the end, but they missed a couple, my interest waned, and a lot of those figures didn’t survive the “great ML Purge”™ a few years ago.

Flash forward to Marvel Universe and my ongoing conflict with collecting the same figures in a new scale. I found myself wanting the same things in a smaller package and I started accumulating the Jim Lee X-Men… again.

I didn’t buy Gambit when he was original offered in the Wolverine: Origins line a few years back and I’d kinda been waiting on Hasbro to release a proper Gambit in the MU line, when they finally released one in this two-pack, that meant that Mr. Sinister was coming home with me too.

I have to admit, I wouldn’t normally buy a Mr. Sinister. I had him as a Marvel Legend because I wanted to build the Sentinel and I have him as a Marvel Universe figure for a very similar reason. That said, he’s a pretty fun figure if you can overlook one very important detail.

He’s almost entirely Colossus. Now Colossus is a great figure in his own right and that really helps here, but you have to be okay with Mr. Sinister being a big seven-and-a-half foot tall bruiser when playing with your X-Men. I’m not the world’s biggest Sinister fan, so it doesn’t bother me in the slightest, I can just enjoy the nicer aspects of this figure, but I would certainly understand if some Sinister fans view this figure with as much disdain as I have for… say, the Club Infinite Earth’s Rocket Red.

Sinister does differentiate from Colossus in a few ways. The upper thighs are new to reflect Sinister’s penchant for thigh-high boots, a soft plastic piece over the upper torso is also new for costume accuracy, a soft plastic belt buckle to hide his secret X-men affiliation, the classic Sinister cape, and the head sculpt is all-new as well. The new head looks a little more ‘bodybuilder’ than it should for Sinister, but it definitely fits the overall body (and kinda reminds me of Andreas Katsulas).

What really makes this figure pop for me, though, is the articulation. Sinister sports ball-joints at the head, shoulders, mid-torso, hips, and ankles; swivels at the biceps, wrists, and thighs, single-hinge elbows, and double-hinge knees. The articulation is great, particularly for this line, and that combined with the sculpt-accurate details borrowed from Colossus help make this figure look sharp even if he’s too big. The sweet metallic blue paint doesn’t hurt either! Continue to Page 2…

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31 comments to Marvel Universe Two-Packs:
Gambit vs Mr. Sinister Review

  • iLegends73

    gotta say that i passed up on this 2pk because of gambit. i would have left it MOC anyway cause i already have a XMO version, but if i didnt i probably still would have passed on it lol. sinister is gud but not solid enough a buy to hold this pack up alone. gambit is a must have for the jim lee xmen team, but hasbro could have really gave him the new body mold. great review as always by the way

  • I passed on this pack as well. When Sinister first showed up in the comics I kept waiting for a blood connection between him and Colossus kinda like Nightcrawler and Mystique’s on account of them looking so much alike. Sinister is basically a pasty-looking, shredded caped version of Colossus from a designer’s point of view. As for Gambit, I would have preferred a soft goods coat or something similar to the very first Gambit figure produced by Toy Biz back in the early 90’s.

  • da man

    That looks like a pretty nice 2 pack. My issue is the scale of these toys seems to be a little wonky. Based on the last pic, should Cyke really be that tall? And they really need to re-do that Jean Gray? If they could be more consistent as far as sculpt and scale, I would be able to get into this line a lot easier.

    • They really need to do something about Jean. She’s just a bad figure.

      Cyclops is pretty good on height, the problem with that picture is that all the other guys are from W:O and are all shorter. I should look into replacing them with some MU proper versions.

      • JamesLynch

        Cyclops is the tallest X-Man. I think his official height is something like 6′ 3,” whereas Wolverine is 5′ 2.” Iceman’s 5′ 8,” so he might be a little undersized.

    • MegaGearMax

      Wolverine SHOULD be short. The XMO Wolverine figures were all very tiny. It’s a shame because I like the Colossus, Iceman and Gambit from that line. Iceman might be able to pass, since he’s 5’8′. But Gambit is 6’2″. MU 90’s Jean Grey has a terrible head sculpt.

      The biggest crime is Magneto from the Secret Wars packs. He’s Wolverine tiny.

  • Sandman

    I would likely have enjoyed Mister Siníster more as a villain if Marvel had allowed Chris Claremont to use his original backstory/character concept for him (the “Evil Billy Batson” idea).

    And yeah, Sinister is 6’5″, he should be about a head shorter.

    • Brainlock

      you got me curious now. what was this “original backstory” you speak of?

      • Aye, that woulda made him interesting. As it is, I get lost with his Apocalypse/Summers backstory…

      • JamesLynch

        I don’t recall all the details, but I think it had something to do with Sinister being one of the kids that was in the orphanage with Cyclops as a child, and that sinister was basically a little kid in an incredibly powerful adult body who’d become obsessed with Cyclops and the Summers family. The Summers obsession stuck, the rest got tossed out.

        I just wish that Claremont’s original plan for Nightcrawler’s parentage had been followed.

      • Sandman

        JamesLynch is right. Claremont’s plan was that Sinister was a boy who tormented Cyclops at the orphanage, but whose own mutant power prevented him from growing up. He did gain the power to form seemingly adult bodies for himself (like the Fawcett Captain Marvel), but was doomed to always remain an immature little brat. Which would have been the reason he was murderously obsessed with Cyclops and why his appearance and name looked like something a little kid would design when they wanted to be “badass”.

        Claremont was off the X-titles before any of that could be implemented, though, and Marvel went a completely different direction.

        I can kind of understand that 80’s Marvel were reluctant to let Claremont do the Mystique story, though.

        • Brainlock

          ok, I vaguely remember a story (Classic X-Men back-up?) where they showed Scott at the orphanage and a kid named “Nathan” seemed to be interested in him, with it strongly suggested it was Sinister in disguise. I wasn’t aware that they wanted to go that direction with him at one point.

          What was Kurt’s alternate origin? I know most disregard that whole “Azazel” arc, even if it was touched upon in the X-Men:First Class movie. I do know they wanted Rogue to be the daughter of Mystique and Destiny, so she and Kurt would have been half-siblings. For Kurt, I’m sticking with the classic son of Baron Wagner version.

          • Sandman

            You already mentioned it there. Kurt was going to be the son of Mystique and Destiny, but Marvel was really not ready to reveal that Mystique would be a sex-changer who “swung both ways”, so to speak. Claremont would later revisit his idea that Mystique was originally a man who could shapeshift into either sex during his brief run on New Exiles, where he introduced an alternate-earth Mystique who maintained his original male form and was a debonair victorian adventurer.

            I am all in favor of ignoring the Azazel story as well though, mostly because of the added idea that Azazel is an ACTUAL demon, not just a mutant who looks demonic. That Kurt would be half-demon/half-mutant was a lot to swallow, even for me.

            • Brainlock

              so was it ever confirmed that Rogue was their daughter? I seemed to have missed where they started calling her Anna after the movie.

              Azazel – plus that whole subplot with Iceman. o.0….

              • JamesLynch

                Rogue was their adopted daughter.

                And I’ve never heard Claremont say that Mystique was originally a man, just that Destiny and Mystique were a couple, and that Mystique’s shapeshifting ability allowed her to, at will, possess the necessary biology to “father” a child. The fact that Mystique and Destiny were a couple is pretty evident in the books, but you have to figure that if Mystique was originally a man who presented himself to Destiny as a man, it would be odd for her to then switch to living as a woman with Destiny.

                • Sandman

                  @Brainlock: Yeah, I think they went with “Anna Marie” as her real name after the movies came out. Shame as well, I liked Rogue as a flying “brick” type character with a special weapon (her power absorption), but they went with the more subdued movie-styled Rogue for a long time. Damn that media tie-in factor!

                  @JamesLynch: I do believe Claremont changed his mind on this matter, but in recent years he’s claimed that his original plan for Mystique was to have “Eric Raven” to be “her” original form. But yeah, in the old interviews it just sounds like he wanted Mystique to be able to “work” both ways…

                  Funnily enough, Destiny meeting and getting to know Mystique while the latter was living as a guy IS canon in the Marvel Universe. It was even referenced recently. Irene Adler basically met Mystique (under her then-alias of Eric) in the Victorian era and they had some adventures together which led to them falling in love and “Eric” revealing his true nature.

                  Yeah. Comics are weird, weird things.

  • dayraven

    thanks to you and that last photo, i now have the voice of gambit being supplied by swamp people’s troy landry… thank you for ruining gambit for me.

  • Great Review! I like this Gambit but the coat flare is annoying!

  • Beedo Sookcool

    I remember watching the 1990s X-Men cartoon and thinking Mr. Sinister seemes pretty dang cool. Is it just me, or does this figure look like Rondo Hatton has joined KISS?

    • I could see a young Rondo in there a little bit (it’s the nose I think), but I’m sticking with him looking like the One-Armed Man!

      • Beedo Sookcool

        Yes! Definitely getting an Andreas Katsulas vibe, now that you mention it! Good ol’ Andreas.

        And yet . . . now I can’t stop thinking “Evil Liberace.”

  • Brainlock

    11 or 12 when X:TAS was on? [feels old…er]

    “I would certainly understand if some Sinister fans few this figure with as much disdain as I have for… say, the Club Infinite Earth’s Rocket Red.”

    or they could VIEW this character. 😉 (I’m letting other typos slide, but his is the wrong word!)
    but YES, many have long viewed Sinister as “evil Colossus” when comparing their designs, esp after it was revealed that was basically his flesh, not armor. Altho, I don’t think he does much body morphing like Mr. Fantastic, the past decade or so? I do agree that the Colossus body is too bulky for Sinister, tho. I do see a slight resemblance to Andreas, who I did get to meet once, by chance, for a B5 exhibition at one of the malls in StL. (then the pics didn’t turn out! $^@^!@!!! camera!!)
    RIP Andreas.

    Gambit – I’m…not caring for this sculpt at all.
    He looks a bit more like the Exiles’ version than the 616, or somewhere between the two? He may look like this is recent X-books, I haven’t read them since first year of Legacy, and I don’t think he was wearing his “classic” look then?

    I guess it doesn’t matter, really, as the local stores carrying MU 2pks are overstocked with previous waves, so I won’t see these anytime soon. :/

    • I’ve often thought about adding a “3am” tag so that folks know when to expect typos. 🙂

      The WMs got these in even if they had a chunk of backstock, so it might be worth making the rounds for ’em.

  • Joe

    I may pick up this pack just to hang on my wall, because I did get the Gambit from W:O. I’m a HUGE Gambit fan, and the backstory between him and Sinister is enough for me to want the two. I’m disappointed in the articulation here and even more disappointed that it has leaked into the new Avengers Movie figures in MU scale. the sculpt looks great to me, it may not be precisely Jim Lee Gambit, but it is unmistakably Gambit.

    • Silvery

      Well, I’m a huge Gambit fan, too, and that’s why I won’t buy him. I’m still waiting for a figure of his (and Deadpool) which I could call “decent enough”.
      But then, I’m pampered by Japanese action toys, so, well, the only Marvel – the only Western, even – action figure I’ve got so far is Danger. Not because it’s that awesome (actually, it’s waiting to be customized, especially that godawful face). Because I highly doubt they will make another one, and I like the character a lot.
      Here’s to hoping that one day Western action figures will be more pretty and with better articulation…

  • I’ve seen this pack alot and passed every time. Sinister needed a new body (I could be wrong but I think that is the “classic” colossus upper thighs from the giant sized x-men pack, thus makeing him almost a full repaint of Colossus).

    Gambit is tolerable but could be better, wrists at least man.

    To me, Claremount was X-men until he left. When he came back I think he pissed off lots of people because he didn’t toss away all the crap that had been done to them like everyone did to his work previously.