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Xorn

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

The problem with creating for a collaborative medium, like comics, is that no matter how good your ideas are, at the end of the day they're not really your own. They belong to the company, and anyone who comes along after you can change them to suit their own needs. Sometimes that's good, like everyone forever ignoring John Byrne's Spider-Man: Year One. Sometimes, however, some really cool stuff gets plowed under in the rush to do something new; really cool stuff like Xorn.

A being of unimaginable power, Xorn Kuan-Yin Xorn spent his childhood locked away in a Chinese prison, hidden from the people who feared his power. His mind was a miniature sun, its dense core encased within a metal mask designed to contain its furious energies. When the evil twin of Professor Xavier, Cassandra Nova, threatened the universe, Kuan Yin was a key element in helping the X-Men defeat her. He was then recruited to a teaching position at the Xavier Institute and came to instruct the Special Class. At some point Kuan Yin was coerced by some unknown party into believing he was the X-Menís most vigilant enemy Magneto, and he then launched a devastating attack on New York City which was countered by the X-Men. Xorn killed Jean Grey and was then slain by Wolverine.

Okay, got all that? Now forget it. Actually, you can keep everything up until the point where it says he was coerced into believing that he was Magneto, because that's the revisionist retcon Marvel pulled after Morrison left the book. But we'll get to that in just a minute.

bolt head Xorn was one the new characters introduced in Grant Morrison's run on New X-Men, and he really played to artist Frank Quitely's strengths as an artist: namely, he wore a full mask. Quitely is a great layout artist, and his bodies are passable, but the man can't draw a human face to save his life. Xorn's odd skeletal helmet didn't have to conform to any kind of basic anatomy rules, because it wasn't anatomical. Thus, no matter how badly he was drawn, he still looked good.

The figure stands 6¼" tall, which is a good height for the character. He has a balljointed head, balljointed shoulders, biceps swivels, double elbows, plain peg wrists (that's an unexpected throwback), a torso hinge, swivel waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double knees, abs of steel. really. peg joints in the mid-shin, and hinge/rocker ankles. The wrists just turning side to side is a real oddity, the sort of thing you rarely see these days, but it's still better than no wrists at all, right? The joints are all tight, but move easily, making for a sturdy figure.

The sculpt is very good. A leathery texture covers his entire costume, and there are larger folds in all the appropriate places. The tiny screws and whatnot on his helmet are detailed well, and he's got sculpted chains wrapped around his chest. Some fanboys are complaining that Hasbro Legends aren't sculpted as well as ToyBiz's stuff? That's a lie. This is a great figure. His hands are a bit wrinkly, kind of like an old man's, but there's a reason for that: he is an old man.

See, it turns out there is no Xorn. Never was. The entire thing was a scheme perpetrated by Magneto. He knew the X-Men wouldn't be able to resist "rescuing" the poor, imprisoned Chinese mutant as soon as they learned of his existence, and from there it was a small matter to infiltrate the team and wait for his time to strike. It was only after Morrison's finale that other writers started the clumsy, ill-advised and poorly executed retcons to claim that this was ever anyone but Magneto. Truth is, he was Magneto all along.

In keeping with the comics, Xorn's helmet is removable, to reveal the face of Magneto beneath. get off my lawn, you damn kids! The head is small - smaller than his hands, even, but they're too big. It's barely noticeable if you leave him helmetless for a little while. Though bordering on the miniscule, the sculpt is good. Quitely is anything but a fast artist, so New X-Men is as famous for its fill-in art as anything else. Thankfully, Quitely wasn't the one drawing the book when it came time for the unmasking, so Magneto doesn't look like a horrible mess. He's an elderly man (a Holocaust survivor), and he looks it. There are deep wrinkles on his face, and his cheeks are sunken. His white hair is combed back harshly. This does a good job of capturing Phil Jimenez's artwork.

The New X-Men costumes, like much else in the book, were designed to copy the success of the X-Men movies. They're black leather, but with the addition of bright yellow panels. The idea, really, was to "brand" the X-Men much like Nike has "branded" the swoosh. It's a nice look, and works well for the figure. The blacks are solid, and the yellow remains vibrant. Xorn's silver chest and head provide a nice bit of contrast, as well.

oh, that's disgusting! Since HL2 is a Build-A-Figure series, all the figures come with a piece of the big guy. This time the BAF is Blob, and Xorn comes with the left leg. Surprisingly, the leg doesn't have a knee joint - there's a two-piece balljoint at the hip and a true balljoint at the ankle, plus a hinge for the toes, but that's it. Blob's legs are just too fat to move, it seems. Time to lay off the Snackycakes.

As soon as Morrison was gone, Chris Claremont brought Magneto back, despite the character having been decapitated just a few months before. And thus began a parade of idiotic contortions trying to "explain" things. Xorn was real, but posing as Magneto. Scarlet Witch turned Xorn into Magneto subconsciously. Or maybe she resurrected Magneto on Genosha. Or maybe Xorn had never had a body at all, and just existed as sentient energy. Regardless of what idiocy has been perpetrated on the character since his "demise," Xorneto was a good creation. The clues were there the entire time, but were really only obvious in retrospect. Was it Magneto in hiding, or a new mutant acting like an old foe? With this figure, you can decide for yourself.


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