Saturday, June 30, 2012

Marvel Legends Rachel Grey - Phoenix

Presenting Rachel Grey AKA Phoenix AKA Marvel Girl AKA Baby Phoenix from the Marvel Legends Toyline.

This is actually an old shoot, but this week's release of Wolverine and the X-Men # 12 focused more on the internal conflict of Rachel Grey rather than focusing on Kid-Gladiator as the cover suggested, so I thought I'd release it.

The current Avengers vs. X-Men crisis now has the Avengers on the run from the newly (mostly) reunited X-Men who are following the miraculous acts and leadership of the Phoenix Five (Apparently not a Basketball team and more of a trademark infringement case as Cyclops ripped off Nightwing's costume).

Rachel Grey who for years fought the shackles of being a hound, is now ironically being used by Cyclops to hunt down the Avengers and recover Hope, the Mutant Messiah who now doesn't want to have anything to do with the X-Men.

(Spoiler Alert) Rachel sends Captain America flying back with his own shield, dispatches the Black Widow and actually is able to knock-down Thor (Though to be fair, the Thunder-god has been fighting the Phoenix all the way from Kree space so he's nowhere near his best). Wolverine of course sends her flying out of a bar (It's his comic book afterall). She corners Hope and readies for a showdown but suddenly decides to stand down and let her go. She lies to Cyclops and says that she never encountered Hope but Cyclops does not believe her. What could have ended in a psionic interrogation is interrupted by the arrival of Gladiator and the Shi'Ar. Whether she felt kinship for the rightful vessel of the Phoenix, or lost a battle of conscience at being used as a hound is not really covered by the comic book.

I have to say that I'm not really happy with the way Marvel skewers it's history just to get a current story-line to work and Baby Phoenix is one of those glaring inconsistencies. First off, if the Phoenix is coming to Earth, then the actual expert is not Cyclops, Wolverine or the Beast who have only dealt with it as a victim (So to speak). The actual expert is a former vessel of the Phoenix - Rachel Grey. Yet till this issue, she's been more or less kept to the side-lines.

Rachel also goes out to say in X-Men Legacy that when she was the Phoenix, that she could control it and was not a threat and cannot understand why the Avengers have to control Hope. I can actually mention at least two instances in X-Men History in what is most likely MANY instances that Rachel Grey as the Phoenix tried to destroy the Universe or had to be stopped because she was out of control. Does Marvel think that we would not remember how dangerous and emotionally unstable Rachel Grey was as the Phoenix?

As I said, bad writing.

What's to like about the Marvel Legends Rachel Grey - Phoenix?

Well to begin with, she has a powered up variant. Sometime before leaving for outer-space to hunt down the crazy Summer's brother, Vulcan (Therefore her uncle in via another time-line), Rachel Grey was physically manifesting the Phoenix via a Shadow form and a Phoenix emblem over her left eye.

Of course all of this eventually disappeared when she lost the Phoenix and returned to Earth.

Now she no longer goes around showing her wonderful abs - which is a plus for this figure by the way. The sculpting of her abdominal section is not so... hard, but still soft and feminine. Unfortunately she no longer uses this uniform, preferring nowadays to wear a more authoritative leather spiked trench-coat  that flares up behind her like a Phoenix tail.

The "Skin" version of Rachel Summers nicely reflects the artwork of Chris Bachalo - Circa X-Men 466 - 471 - End of Greys (A storyline which would leave Rachel Grey branded with a traceable Phoenix mark on her back. Rachel Grey also comes with two "flaming" attachments for her hands and an X-Men pendant:

The only differences between the "skin" and shadow-form version is... well the color and the Phoenix flare on her left eye, and the back of the Shadow-form Rachel Grey's costume is torn revealing a) no bra, and; b) the Phoenix mark that was branded on her by the Shi'Ar empire who were determined to eradicate the Phoenix once and for all by killing her and any and all members of the Grey bloodline.

Over-all articulation for this figure is pretty decent and has Hasbro's first attempts at a hiding the knee joints - which unfortunately is not a substitute for the double joined knees in the more articulated Marvel Legends figures and prevents her from kneeling on one knee:

I see London, I see France, I see Rachel's....


What's NOT to like about the Marvel Legends Rachel Grey - Phoenix?

Not much. I have to say that I quite like this figure. There are only two short-comings that I can think of when it comes to the Marvel Legends Rachel Grey figure, the first is of course the knee articulation, but then as mentioned, Hasbro was looking at hiding the joint and I appreciate the effort and the new style.

The only other short-coming is that she kinda looks like a boy from behind. Chris Bachalo's design does not tend to over-exaggerate feminine features so from behind she can be mistaken for a thin, young boy in a mini-skirt and a halter-top I would also have loved to see this figure with more Phoenix effects or even a Phoenix flare like her mom, Jean Grey, has.

Both my Marvel Legends Rachel Grey - shadow-form and regular - forms were purchased years ago on retail. She's unfortunately NOT available on Amazon as of this writing. So if you have her, lucky you.

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