If you showed a random individual this blog and asked them what my favorite cartoon was as a kid I’m guessing they would go with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And they wouldn’t be wrong as that was my favorite for a time, but come 1992 I was starting to drift away from that show. Batman: The Animated Series hit the airwaves and with it came a renewed interest in the caped crusader which really was coasting off of the recent success of Batman Returns. I don’t think I would have ever named that show my favorite though, but in looking back on it I can say it probably was the best cartoon series of the 90s. My favorite would soon follow in the form of X-Men, the unlikely hit for the Fox Kids Network that debuted on television sets on Halloween 1992. Because the show ran into some production snags, the show wouldn’t really get off and running until 1993, but before 1992 was over we would be introduced to the signature villain of the series: Magneto.
Magneto debuted on November 27th in the appropriately titled episode “Enter Magneto.” In it, we would be introduced to one of the most nuanced villains in superhero comics. Magneto, a victim of humanity’s most extreme form of cruelty as a Holocaust survivor, wants to exert dominance over all of humanity in the name of mutant supremacy. As his rival, Charles Xavier, described it, Magneto feels a war is brewing between humans and mutants and he intends to be ready. Xavier, for his part, believes there is a path to peace that doesn’t involve violence, but that’s partly because he didn’t have his sense of optimism crushed by the Nazis. When presented in that lens, Magneto may not seem right, but he’s definitely understandable and if he wasn’t opposite our beloved heroes then maybe we could even see ourselves rooting for him. The show was almost too good at making Magneto likable as he really wasn’t much of a villain following the next episode, “Deadly Reunions.” He wouldn’t show up again until the Season One finale where he teamed-up with the X-Men to take down the Sentinels. Season Two would see he and Xavier stranded in the Savage Land for the entirety of the season’s run essentially extending the team-up for another 13 episodes. Following that, he would mostly serve as an unlikely ally of sorts. The two-parter “Sanctuary” saw him try to separate himself and his followers from humanity, only to be undermined by one of his followers. He joined the ranks of the villains for the intended big finale “Beyond Good and Evil” which felt a bit forced. He’d also come back around to the side of the X-Men before the story’s conclusion and it looks like he’s going to be a member of the team when the show returns this fall in the form of X-Men ’97.
Maybe Magneto didn’t turn out to be the biggest villain of the show, but he was still quite memorable and damn likeable. It’s for that reason that I am left to assume that Magneto was given the honor of being the second release in Mondo’s line of X-Men action figures. It was in 2021 that Mondo revealed it had acquired the license for X-Men and did so by showing off Wolverine in its line of sixth scale action figures. I got my mitts on that figure in early 2022 and it was one of my favorite releases of the year. Mondo solicited Magneto in the fall and he has finally arrived. As the second figure in the line, Magneto does feel like a bold choice. Gambit, Cyclops, and other members of the team might have been safer, but this is a line that’s not after massive sales or casual fans. It’s a scale not a lot of folks collect and at a price point that’s certainly prohibitive (around $220). Still, if you want a representation of a character from the show then it’s hard to do better than Mondo. The only comparable is the mini busts released by Diamond which certainly look terrific, but aren’t action figures. Hasbro did its own line of figures last year, but they’re not even comparable given the difference in price, scale, and overall quality and dedication to the source material. And while I am not a sixth scale collector by nature, what Mondo is doing with this property is basically exactly what I want to see from a company tackling X-Men so I had to grab the Master of Magnetism.
Magneto comes in an impressive box. Perhaps not as flashy as Wolverine’s comic con exclusive packaging, but it is comparable to the non-exclusive version of Wolverine that followed. It’s a mostly white box adorned with production artwork from the show. There’s also a new image of Magneto by storyboard artist Dan Veesenmeyer, the same artist who handled Hasbro’s VHS packaging which is a nice bit of both synergy and authenticity. The art is great, though I do feel inclined to point out that it depicts Magneto from later in the series so the costume doesn’t match the figure in the box. There’s a nice write-up on Magneto inside the flap by showrunner Eric Lewald and contributing writer Julia Lewald. It is a window box and when pulled away you get a nice look at the figure in the plastic tray inside. It’s flashy, but I’m an opener so I felt no guilt when I cut into this to pull Magneto out.
Once removed, Magneto stands at approximately 12″ making him scale to about six feet. This has been a source of criticism for the line in the early going as Wolverine was around 10.75″. In looking at the model sheets for the show, Magneto was intended to be 6.5′ tall so the figure is a little small. Wolverine was a mere 5.3′ so his figure is too tall if we’re talking true sixth scale, but only by a quarter of an inch. Like a lot of action figure lines, my assumption is the scale isn’t true to life and Mondo is trying to bring the short characters up a little while bringing the tall ones down a little in the interest of keeping costs down. True sixth scale would have put Magneto at 13″ while Wolverine would be 10.5″. Does that matter? It’s one of those things that’s going to vary from person to person. I think a little more separation would have been nice, but I don’t care that much and I wouldn’t be surprised if Magneto was drawn closer to 6′ anyway in the show as Cyclops is intended to be right around that mark, but I swear he and Magneto stood around eye-to-eye.
Collectors can fuss over the scale all they want, but what I think few would debate is that this figure is gorgeous. Magneto looks like he’s been ripped right from the show. The shade of red for this costume is perfect, the colors used to apply the cel-shading look correct, and the paint job is immaculate. His default head is a stoic one and I love the black shading just above the eyebrows and in between the eyes and brow. The cape is all plastic which is the right move if you want the figure to look like the source material as a soft goods one just won’t match what was painted on the cel. The inside of the cape is a dark purple while the outside is the softer lavender we’re accustomed to seeing. It sits high on the figure, which is also screen accurate for those early appearances as Magneto was often floating rather than standing. Magneto has his red gloves, which was how he was depicted in his first appearance, and the collar area is also filled-in with lavender. His later appearances would have red and sometimes he had purple gloves. The proportioning looks really nice and I like the true-to-the-source-material musculature on his chest and abdomen. About the only thing I’d consider even close to an eyesore on the figure is Mondo’s double-jointed knees. There is a noticeable gap between the end of the thigh and the joining knee piece. It doesn’t bother me, as this is an action figure and action figures have joints, but I’ve seen some express displeasure in how that turned out. I’ll get into it more when we get to articulation.
Magneto looks tremendous out of the box, but Mondo also included a bunch of stuff to really add some excitement to your display. Magneto comes with fist hands in the box, but he also has a set of wide open hands and a set of slightly clenched hands. The clenched hands evoke images of X-Men #1 in my mind, the Jim Lee one, and the image of Magneto on the cover with his hand out in front of him. The splayed hands are more in-line with how he demonstrated his powers in the show, and to do that Mondo also included some effect parts. We get two, conical, translucent pieces with yellow rings painted on them. To best show them off, we get another set of splayed hands with magnets at the center. The effect parts attach to those magnets effortlessly and look fantastic. There’s also a second, right, fist with a magnet on the back of it which seems like a direct call-out to Magneto’s pose during the opening credits of the show when the camera zooms in on his face before the good guys and bad guys clash. It’s a terrific idea and given that Wolverine has his sparking effect from the opening credits I wonder if recreating such scenes will be a priority going forward for Mondo?
Magneto has even more stuff to help show off. He also comes with a tangled mess of shrapnel that also features a magnet in it. It’s sculpted really well and painted even better and it also features a little shout-out to the show by containing Xavier’s watch. There’s also a long, bendable, metal pipe, or cable, that I assume is intended to wrap around a foe. The bendable component isn’t quite good enough to pull that off without some finagling. It looks nice though, but isn’t as functional as it could be. We also have a stand and it’s the same stand included with all Mondo figures. For Wolverine, it wasn’t necessary and with Magneto it’s basically useless as it doesn’t fit between his body and cape. You could probably make it fit, but that’s more likely to scratch the paint on the inside of the cape than it is to provide actual stability. It’s also all black and not the least bit flashy so it’s an easy accessory to leave in the box.
Magneto doesn’t just have powers and extra hands to add some shelf presence, but extra heads as well. The stoic head is the one that comes on the figure, but he also has an angry, teeth-gritting, expression that is just fantastic. I love this head as Mondo painted black all around his eyes which is how the character is often drawn. I don’t ever want to see a helmeted Magneto figure not feature some black shading around the eyes and this head is proof of how awesome that can look. If you prefer your Magneto sans helmet, he has an unmasked head as well. It features his long, flowing, locks and the look is much better than the unmasked Wolverine head that came with that figure. The only thing I’m not crazy about is that Mondo used a lot of blue when shading the hair and I think they overdid it. It also would have been nice to get an empty helmet for him to hold when sporting this look, but if you position one of the helmeted heads just right, you can fake it. This first edition of Magneto also comes with two bonus heads that won’t be on the standard retail version currently up for preorder. First up, we have Magneto as The Leader from the episode “One Man’s Worth.” It’s basically Magneto with a beard and even longer hair, though he also looks a bit worse for ware. It’s pretty cool, though The Leader had a different costume so the look isn’t that convincing. Magneto did have a beard at times in the show so I suppose it works just as well for that. Like the unmasked head, there’s a bit too much blue for my liking in the beard and hair, but otherwise it’s pretty cool. Magneto also comes with the Evil Morph head. Wolverine had good guy Morph, and Magneto gets the evil version. It makes some sense since it was Morph who tricked Xavier into going to the Savage Land by impersonating Magneto, though he morphed his entire body to resemble Magneto and at no point was he presented as Magneto, but with his own head. It’s more of a gag inclusion, I suppose. The likeness on the Morph head looks awesome though and I do hope we get a full figure some day. Perhaps it will come with a different, evil, expression so as not to make this accessory redundant. The heads are all easy to swap, but you do have to be careful with the un-helmeted head and The Leader due to its long hair. There’s a tendency to want to pull the head back, but that will cause the hair to scrape against the neck and it will lead to paint rub. It will likely be hidden when another head is put on, but it’s something to be mindful of.
The articulation for Wolverine was what I would term basic, and with Magneto it’s more of the same, but less functional. The head is on a double ball peg so you can rotate it and have Magneto look down and he can look up slightly. With the no-helmet look, his ability to look up is further restricted by his hair. The shoulders are just ball hinges and he can raise his arms out to the side and rotate as far as the cape will let him. There’s no biceps swivel as instead there’s a swivel at the elbow which works fine. The single hinge grants just shy of 90 degrees of bend while the wrists swivel and hinge. The hands sit pretty deep on the bracers of his forearms though which restrict the ability to swivel. You will want to pull them out slightly to create more range before working at it (more on that to come). None of the hands seem to want to swivel on the ball hinge in the hands like I think they’re supposed to which would allow you to line the hinge up in whatever direction you want. Maybe I’m wrong though. There’s a ball joint in the diaphragm, but the cape isn’t going to let it do much. It basically just tilts to the side and bobbles forward a bit. It honestly could have been omitted entirely. There’s a waist twist below that which works fine and the hips are on some big old ball pegs. The diaper piece will restrict some motion, but he can kick pretty far, especially if you let the legs go out to the side a bit as they’ll want to do. He can almost do a split and there’s some thigh swivel at that point too. The double-jointed knees will let Magneto bend past 90 degrees and there’s basically a boot swivel at the base of the joint. It’s a bit awkward looking, but functional. Since the cape makes the ability to bend past 90 moot one could argue that Mondo could have simplified the joint and come away with something that looked better. As I said before, I don’t hate the look of the joint, but there’s some merit to that argument. Lastly, we have ankle hinges and rockers which work well. All of the joints are pretty smooth except for the diaphragm which is a bit loose. He holds his pose, but it could be tighter. More importantly, the lower half is plenty tight which creates a strong base which is important for a figure as back-heavy as this one. I haven’t had any shelf dives yet, but I’m definitely placing him near or against the wall on my shelf for peace of mind.
Now for the part of the review that’s not as rosy, but does have a happy ending. I ran into some QC issues with my Magneto. The first was that I was missing a hand. My figure came with duplicate, splayed, right, hands and I was missing the one with the magnet in it. That was a bummer since I’d have much preferred to be missing the non-magnet hand, but at least I had the right fist with the magnet still so my figure could utilize multiple effect parts. The other issue was with the left fist right out of the box. When I want to rotate it the fist just came right off shearing at the post. The ease with which it happened tells me it was likely damaged before it ever got to me as the posts on all of the hands are cast in a very stiff plastic. I was able to drill the post out of the figure so I could still make use of the other left hands in the box, but I no longer had a left fist. If we were talking about a 20 dollar figure here I might have just let it go, but since this guy is rather pricey I figured I should reach out to Mondo to see if they had any spare parts. If they had suggested an exchange I might have taken that too, though I was so happy with the paint job on my figure it would have been tough. Instead, Mondo just apologized and told me a brand, new, figure was being shipped to me. I didn’t even have to return the other one. While it sucks to run into problems with any item purchased, with customer service like that it’s really of no concern since that’s about as good as it gets when it comes to taking care of the customer. And now my best friend gets a free Magneto that’s just missing a left fist and right, magnet, hand. Or at least, he would, if not for my experiencing the same issues with the second figure. I was able to remove the left fist from it no problem, but the right sheared off at the peg once again and I had to go into that one with a drill. I think part of the issue is that the hands should rotate on the peg inserted into them on the ball joint, with the peg in the forearm just providing stability. I tried heating all of the spare hands and I got some to actually move on the ball joint pretty well, but one of the clenchy hands actually snapped off of the peg in the ball so there’s another hand down. Both pegs, the one in the hand and the one in the forearm, are hexagonal and not smooth and round so they’re just not great at spinning. I’m guess Mondo does it this way to prevent looseness, but the fail right in my experience is too high with this setup. Again, if you buy from Mondo getting a replacement should be no problem so I don’t think it’s enough to scare away potential buyers, but definitely go easy and treat the hands delicately. And maybe be wary about buying this figure from other locations, especially eBay or other reseller places.
Mondo’s second entry in this line is a pretty damn fine one. Magneto looks incredible, and while the articulation isn’t likely to impress many, the number of heads and effect parts included make finding a dynamic pose rather effortless. The only downside is he’s so big and heavy that finding a proper flight stand poses a significant challenge. I’d love to find a way to display him levitating, but the included stand is rather useless when it comes to that task and finding another has yet to yield results. The combination of the large figure and the rigid cape poses quite the challenge there. Thankfully, the figure looks so damn good that it doesn’t take much for it to impress. The sculpt and paint alone mean this guy can’t possibly look boring even when placed in the most vanilla of poses. I think I even prefer him to last year’s Wolverine, which was my personal figure of the year, because Mondo just absolutely nailed the look of Magneto from the show. A special shout out to sculptor Alex Brewer for that and Mark Bristow for the paint. They really did an unbelievable job and I can’t wait to see what’s next for this line.
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