Ultimate Wolverine

Lestor Wong is a wild man this month, with another guest review!  Hey, he's even got another one already in my in box...he's cranking them out!  Tonight he covers the Diamond Select Ultimate Wolverine.  Take it away, Lestor!

There're some characters who always enjoy more exposure than others. In the world of Marvel Comics, Wolverine is one such character. The latest Marvel product featuring the feral mutant is the Ultimate version of the character, in their "collectors" line, the Marvel Select. Based on a scene in Ultimate X-Men #6, Wolverine is the 11th installment from Marvel Select. He's also the second Wolverine released under the line, which also featured an "Origin Wolverine" figure in early 2003. Ultimate Wolverine is sculpted by Sam Greenwell, and is only available through comics specialty stores.

Packaging - **1/2
For a line made for collectors, the packagings for Marvel Select figures are less than collectors-friendly. The packaging is designed to sit on your shelf like a book, but its overwhelming size does means that it takes up too much space. Still, there's no doubt that the packaging is very attractive, especially with the excellent work on the side graphic. But making these figures sealed on card does not seems to make sense. Collectors who remove the figure out of package cannot enjoy displaying it in-package again, without feeling the pain of a slit bubble. It's almost like they're forcing you to be a MOSC-er.

Sculpting - ***
The sculpt work on Marvel Select is getting on, and Ultimate Wolverine is really not bad at all. He's sculpted in a half-crouch pose, with bended knees and a body that is leaning forward. This is a typical Wolverine pose, since it portrays a rather tensed up impression, and we all know how intense Wolverine can be! The details on him are nicely rendered, with a lot of muscle details on his body. A little too much, I guess, but at least we don't see over-bulging muscles on his arms. His head sculpt is nicely sculpted with a snarling expression, which again, is typical Wolverine. I do hope that they'd vary the way his hair is done on future Wolverine projects though. Recent Wolverine figures all seemed to have unnecessarily emphasized brushed up hair, which I strongly believe was inspired by Hugh Jackman's portrayal of the character in the X-Men movie.

Paint - ***
I've no major issues with Ultimate Wolverine's paint applications. The colors on him are not only vibrant and attractive, they're also nicely done. On my piece, there's a slight bleeding of paint on his belt, and a more serious one of the back of his neck. However, considering that these inconsistencies are more on isolated areas, I tend to be more forgiving. Overall, the paint work on Wolverine is above average.

Articulation - ***
Marvel Select figures are not exactly known for their articulation. Still, Ultimate Wolverine has 16 points of articulation, which is credible. They're found on his neck, shoulders (ball-joint), cut upper arms, wrists, waist, hips, cut upper legs, calves and ankles. These allow a fair bit of movement, but he does suffer from a lack of elbows and knees movement. Considering he's sculpted with bended knees and elbows, Wolverine's pose is strictly limited despite his seemingly adequate amount of articulation.

And not forgetting Magneto, he actually has one point of articulation on his neck!

Accessories - **1/2
Wolverine comes with a base that features an injured Magneto. Magneto is nicely sculpted and reasonably painted. He's a great accompanying piece for Wolverine, and pays a nice tribute to a comic scene in the Ultimate X-Men #6. My only gripe is that, for a toy that costs slightly more on the high side, we're given only a Magneto base. For the same price point, a previous release like the Black Cat has a Spider-Man figure, a wall, a safe and some other minor accessories. From any angle, Wolverine's accessories do look a little lightweight.

Value - **
The suggested retail price for Marvel Select figures is US$18.99. I'd say even for a "collectors' figure", the price is not exactly friendly. Ultimate Wolverine may have a nice sculpt and a good paint work, but for that kind of money, I'm looking at more accessories and a much better way of presenting the figure, for example, in a box. 

Overall - ***
Apart from some slight disappointment with his articulation, Ultimate Wolverine is still an acceptable action figure. His sculpt is generally good, and it's nice to see a nicely painted action figure for once. The Magneto base is a bold, but nice inclusion, even though I'd expect more accessories at his price point. Recommended.

Where to Buy:
Ultimate Wolverine is available at most comics specialty stores.  I've also seen them at Media Play and Sam Goody stores.

Figures from the collection of Sean Teeter.

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