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Banshee

Marvel Legends
by Monkey Boy

Despite the fact that Banshee was kind of a major player in the X-Men books when I was into comics, I never really felt attached to the Irish mutant. A former member of Interpol turned reluctant super-villain turned X-Man, Banshee has had a rough life. His voice (the key to his mutant power) has been damaged several times, including having his throat cut by Mystique. He lost his wife, Maeve, in an IRA bombing, and then lost his next love, Moira MacTaggart, also at the hands of Mystique. Then, while trying to save a planeload of civilians, he not only failed, but died as well. Bummer, right? But he is an X-Man after all, so who can really say for sure?

Unlike most members of the X-Men, Sean Cassidy had a lifetime of experience behind him when he joined the group. Banshee Raised on his family estate in Ireland alongside his cousin "Black Tom" Cassidy, Sean grew up with a strict sense of right and wrong, and a hardheaded sense of practicality. This upbringing led him to a career in law enforcement, and eventually to the ranks of Charles Xavier's group of heroes. His history with the X-Men has been rocky - a tale of equal parts triumph and tragedy. Though he became close friends with Xavier, and nominal second in command of the team, repeated injuries led him away from the super hero lifestyle. Fate, however, had other plans. Banshee gave his life using the last bit of his power in an attempt to save a doomed flight full of innocent civilians.

I think I never really cared about Banshee because he's such a blatant stereotype. He's an Irishman named Sean Cassiday, his mutant name comes from a popular Irish myth, he owned a castle, he had red hair, he talked with a brogue, he was a devout Catholic. They may as well have dressed him in green...oh wait, they did. Well, at least he wasn't eating potatoes and Lucky Charms all the time. No matter how much writers tried to develop his character, I could never get past the cultural archetype that was Banshee.

Maybe that's why I'm not too enthused about the figure. He's been on a few lists of fans' most-wanted Marvel Legends figures, plug and he finally found a home in Hasbro's first series. He body seems similar to the Bullseye figure from ML9, and while that's clearly his base, there's also a lot of retooling present here. For one thing, the lateral pectoral hinges are gone. The lower arms and legs are new, but very simply done, and they feature holes for the striped cloth that stretches between his arms and legs like some kind of human sugar glider.

His new and extremely Irish head is a bit of a downer, and it doesn't help that it sits atop a giraffe neck. boy, he sure is Irish! The hair is a huge pompadour reminiscent of Conan O'Brien, only bigger (apparently that is possible). His face is contorted in a yell, as if emitting a sonic scream. I guess it was perhaps a move to make such a banal sculpt more interesting, but it makes it impossible for him to effect a leisurely pose. Interchangeable heads would have been nice, but I know that's just wishful thinking these days. Banshee is also missing his trademark collar, and that certainly aids in making his neck look too long - if it was designed with a collar in mind, the proportions would be off.

The paint work is decently applied but lacks in planning. There appears to be no wash in this figure at all, except perhaps on the hair. This makes his costume (particular the gloves and boots) look extremely toyish. His skin is sickly pale [he's Irish, dammit! --ed.] and really isn't different enough than the yellow of the costume or the orange-yellow of the hair, both of which are adjacent to the flesh. stay away from me booze, ye wee bastards! The underpants are green, which is accurate, but they've been shown as yellow at times in the comics, and that would have at least added some variety to the dull paint job.

The articulation is good stuff, but it lacks a lot of joints usually present in Bullseye-based figures, like the aforementioned pec hinges, finger hinges and midfoot hinges. However, he's still got the moves, with a balljoint in the neck, balljoints in the shoulders, peg biceps, double-hinged elbows, pegs at the glove tops, hinged wrists, hinged chest, peg waist, balljoints in the hips, peg thighs, double-hinged knees, pegs at the boot tops, and hinged and pivoting ankles. Your standard ML fare with no surprises.

For accessories, Banshee gets two pieces of black and yellow striped cloth that plug into holes in his forearm, wing it armpit and lower leg. They're a nice approximation of that aspect of Banshee's costume, and it's nice that they're removable. He also gets the right wing of this series' Build-A-Figure, Annihilus. The right wing is, not surprisingly, a lot like the left wing (this ain't politics). It's wicked, dark green and bat-like, and it has a ball that will eventually plug into a socket in Annihilus's torso to create a point of articulation. Yay!

Banshee is a ho-hum figure that would be entirely ordinary if not for a few annoying aspects that make him a few shades less than mediocre. His unspectacular paint scheme, long neck and lack of a collar put some nails in his coffin, and to a lesser extent so does the forced expression. The fact that I'm not partial to Banshee as a character doesn't necessarily mean I'll automatically dislike his figure (look at Hercules), but in this case, that's unfortunately the way it is. Even with his blandness, I'm sure he'll fly (ha!) off the shelves, because what's Annihilus without a right wing? A filthy, effete Liberal, that's what.


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