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Mystique

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

Well, Captain Marvel Week was a lot of fun, but surely there's no way we can stretch it out to 10 days, right?

Surprise!

An expert of duplication - and duplicity - Mystique uses powers of shape-shifting to assume others' identities and complete covert missions.

This may seem like a cheat, since this figure (the newest Walgreens exclusive) is clearly an X-Men character in X-Men packaging, but as we've mentioned before, that's not where the character started out. In truth, Mystique was introduced as a foe for Ms. Marvel. Chris Claremont was writing the book at the time, and when he saw a character Dave Cockrum had designed, he gave her a name and set her out as an arch-enemy for Carol Danvers. After Ms. Marvel was cancelled (less than a year later), Claremont ended up moving Mystique over to the X-books, where she's been featured ever since. She's now so entwined with the various X-Characters that there's no going back. How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm, etc.?

As a shapeshifter, Mystique can look like whatever she wants - Venus fly trap, filing cabinet, anything. For this toy, she's decided to look like a skinny lady with toned abs. She's wearing her classic costume, the white dress with boots and gloves. The skirt portion is a separate piece around the waist, but it makes the same kind of mistake the Marvel Universe figure did: it treats the tight part and the loose, flappy part as two different garments, like she's wearing a swimsuit and a towel around her waist. They could have easily avoided this by simply leaving her hips white instead of painting them blue.

The face is great, though. The last time Hasbro made a Mystique, it used a repainted head that worked okay for her, but still left lots of room for improvement. Being new, this one actually gets the tiny skull on her forehead sculpted as part of her hair. The expression on her face is terrific, something that's halfway between a sneer and a snarl that suits her perfectly.

Mystique does not repeat the mistakes of the old ToyBiz Marvel Legend when it comes to paint - in other words, her white costume is pure white, not covered with "shadows" that make it look baby blue. The edges where the outfit meets the skin can get a little blurry, but we'll take that over non-white whites any day. Her skull-belt is a bright gold, and her hair gets darker the farther away from her scalp it goes. Nifty! They kept things simple where they should have been simple, and made things complex where they should have been complex.

Despite being a store exclusive, Mystique isn't shorted on the accessories. To begin with, she comes with the same hand-me-down pistol as the last version, plus a big sci-fi rifle with a removable ammo drum. Mystique loves guns, so these both make sense for her. They're molded in a duller gold than her skulls.

To show off Mystique's powers, she also comes with Rogue's head, painted to look like it's mid-transformation: the eyes are golden yellow, the face is half blue, and the hair on that side is red rather than Rogue's brown. It's a cool piece, both from a design standpoint and because of the relationship the two women share. Who else would Mystique hide as other than her (adopted) daughter?

The final accessory is much odder. It's another alternate head, but it's... Lilandra? Professor X's Shi'ar girlfriend? That makes no sense. We've never had a Lilandra of any stripe. There was a prototype made for that ToyFare fan poll a decade ago, but this is a new sculpt. Short of just having Mystique cosplay Xavier's intergalactic booty call from the neck up, what are we meant to do with this? There's no suitable body to put it on (the way the upcoming Shadow King head is meant for the Kingpin BAF, or how Onslaught worked), and no indication that one is coming. Is Walgreens starting their own Build-A-Figure? Is Hasbro going to be doing something to use this head on? Right now, no one knows.

Mystique is another example of Walgreens doing more with their exclusives than anyone would expect them to. A cool figure, with a new costume element, a new head, a collection of cool accessories and a mystery pack-in? We probably would have been happy with a figure and a pistol, but this is way, way better.

-- 03/10/19


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