Earning my first bit of allowance money during X-Men’s early 1990s hype was a scary combination. Nearly every week, my $5 paycheck would go toward a new action figure. ToyBiz was cranking out X-Men figures like cotton candy and it was my sworn mission to collect every single one.
Just to set up how these things were marketed, here’s a commercial:
Perhaps, now you understand why children felt compelled to buy these things.
Despite the obsession, there were a few figures I regretted purchasing or knew better to avoid. Here are 8 pathetic X-Men toy villains.
8 – Sentinel
The Sentinel was one of two toys I ever returned to the store (the other one being Krang’s body from TMNT).
Sentinels proved themselves deadly in the first episode of the TV series and remained a consistent threat to the X team. Despite being a common plot device, the Sentinel toys were a little late to the game. By the time the Sentinels came out, several series of other troublemakers had been released and their prominence in the show had dwindled. Of course, I bought one, anyway. It was terrible. The face was so goofy that the other X-Men toys couldn’t take it seriously. Spacesuit Wolverine insisted I return the Sentinel to the store and exchange it for yet another Cable figure.
You don’t argue with Spacesuit Wolverine.
7 – Trevor Fitzroy
At least it came with a trading card…
Maybe it was just me, but the “Futuristic Crystal Battle Armor” this figure claimed to feature didn’t exactly invoke excitement. Fitzroy was only in one (two-part) episode of the cartoon, making him a non-essential character. Honestly, a bigger selling point to me would have been his cool name.
6 – Ahab
Before the K·B Toys outlet store closed a few years ago, I’m pretty sure I saw a stockpile of the Ahab toy. I took pride in knowing I still wasn’t going to buy one over a decade later. Apparently, Ahab was a villain in the Sega game out at the time. I probably would’ve known this if the game was fun enough to actually make it to that level. Lesson learned, ToyBiz: don’t try to cash in on a character found in a late stage of an impossibly difficult game.
5 – Robot Wolverine (aka Albert)
If you owned X-Men figures in the 1990s, you owned a billion Wolverine variants… except, perhaps, this one. Marketed as “Robot Wolverine” this was really just the robot counterpart Albert. They went a little overboard in trying to make him look different from every other Wolverine toy. Personally, I was never much in to the Albert storyline after seeing this creepy trading card:
4 – Bonebreaker
C-c-c-c-c-catch the wave. Don’t say the “P” word!
In the comics, Bonebreaker is actually a pretty tough cyborg. According to the toy manufacturer, he was half a Max Headroom on a conveyor belt that looked like it was leftover from a Burger King toy. I was spared from spending money on this guy, after seeing him in action at a neighbor’s house. A total disappointment.
3 – Projector Magneto
Is it cheating to hire Nickelodeon’s announcer to sell toys?
Along the way, there were figures that were blatant cash-ins. In this case, the commercials marketed built-in projectors as a feature fans had been craving for years. In reality, no one in the history of ever who played with X-Men toys wanted a projector in Magneto’s chest. Somehow, I ended up with one of these. They were built to a significantly larger scale than every other X-Men figure, so they couldn’t be used with the other toys and accessories without inventing some weird Alice in Wonderland storylines. Luck would have it that I ended up with Magneto from this series. I ripped off his cape and pretended he was a Sentinel. Spacesuit Wolverine never even knew the difference.
2 – Sabretooth I
Not realizing just how popular X-Men was about to get, ToyBiz tried to get as many recognizable villains on shelves as quickly as possible. Regrettably, they should have put forth a little more effort when making the villains, you know… intimidating. Sabretooth I looked less like an arch-nemesis and more like he needed the X-Men’s help to find the nearest walk-in clinic… or Whitesnake concert.
Why is this figure known as Sabretooth I? Because down the road, ToyBiz occasionally revisited some of their earlier mistakes with much better versions of the figures. Now, Sabretooth II looked like one scary dude:
“All right, Whitesnake reunion tour!”
1 – Apocalypse I
“I will crush you… or at least kind of intimidate you. Oh, who am I kidding?”
Ouch… talk about the worst X-Men villain figure ever. Granted, Apocalypse I was released in the first line of X-Men figures. Still, this was a toy we had to endure as youngsters until they later replaced him with a new version modeled after his appearance on the show. So, what did Apocalypse I do? His waist and ankles extended slightly. Seriously. This did not intimidate any of the other figures, with the possible exception of the wimpy Sabretooth I. You also couldn’t fully rotate his arms because of the water hoses coming off his waist. The hoses on my figure broke off in an intense battle.
There. That’s better.
Honorable Mention – Sugar Man
Did we miss some of your favorite pathetic X-Men toy villains? Tell us about it in the comments below!