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Stepford Cuckoos

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

And you thought it was hard talking to a normal girl with her friends around!

Psychically linked mutants, the Cuckoo sisters are powerful clones of the telepath Emma Frost.

That they are! While Emma was in am early-90s coma, her eggs were harvested and over a thousadnd identical embryos were created, with the plan that they would form a super-powerful hive mind and be active as "Weapon XIV." (Yes, this was all during Grant Morrison's New X-Men run.) Five of them were sent to infiltrate Xavier's school as students. Morrison began revealing their individual names - Sophie, Phoebe, Celeste, and Esme - but left the book before naming the last one; Chuck Austen missed the joke of their names spelling out "SPICE" (in reference to the Spice Girls), and so called the fifth one "Mindee." Smooth, Chuck. Matt Fraction later had to retcon that Mindee was her middle name, and Irma was her first. Anyway, Sophie died heroically and Esme died villainously, so now they're just the PIC girls. Or maybe the ICP girls?

The Stepford Cuckoos were introduced as school children, so they mainly still dress like school children. Usually "a school uniform" for the X-Men means matching blue and yellow costumes, but in this case it's an actual school uniform: white shirt, a tie, a mini-skirt, white socks, and black shoes. This particular take on the outfit includes a black blazer. Even starting with the teen body, this one required a lot of new tooling.

Since they started out as clones, the sisters all looked identical. They had distinct personalities, but that will only get you so far - seeing them from a distance, they were all just little teenage Emma Frosts (if you're wondering why Emma herself didn't notice this, part of their infiltration plan involved projecting a low-level psyic deflection that made everyone accept them more easily; it's easy enough to handwave that the same effect made Emma not think about their appearance too much). After losing two of their number, the surviving Cuckoos began to differentiate themselves, mainly by changing their hairstyles. So following the lead of Dani Moonstar, this set includes three heads.

Irma was the first to break ranks, cutting her hair short and dying it black (much to the chagrin of Celeste). Phoebe was next, going red - something that especially had to piss off her sister, since Celeste resented Jean Grey. Celeste is the only one who's still her natural blonde. All three heads share the same sculpt, as they should, with their unique hair glued in place. Although Celeste and Phoebe both wear the same "long hair and pigtails" style (despite the packaging art showing Phoebe with her hair fully down, no tails at all), they've still got different sculpts, not just the same one twice.

The set also includes an alternate pair of fists, a copy of the Cerebro helmet (which really only fits on Irma's head, not the other two, and even that not very well), and a pair of clear energy swirls to go around her forearms. I'm not really sure what those are supposed to represent - presumably her psychic powers, but since when are mental abilities depicted anything like this? It's weird.

Despite all the new molds, the figure has the usual articulation for a Marvel Legend of her size: swivel/hinge ankles, swivel shins, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, swivel/hinge wrists, elbows, and shoulders, a balljointed chest, hinged neck, and balljointed head. My figure was partially mis-assembled, with two right shins instead of one right and one left. It's a minor problem, thankfully, and only noticable if you look closely.

The Stepford Cuckoos (named after The Stepford Wives and The Midwich Cuckoos) are the latest Walgreens exclusive, which means they'll start appearing in stores sometime around August of 2023. Seriously, the last one of these I saw in any appreciable numbers was Magik, two years ago. Good thing Walgreens has started taking preorders on their website; shame more stores don't. Or don't do it right. The problem here is the same as the New Mutants: fans are going to want multiples to "complete" their collection, making a hard-to-find figure even harder. Especially if they want to go old-school and have five blondes.

-- 07/06/20


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