Hasbro's first year since they took over the license for Marvel action figures was met with mixed views from fans. Changes in the
sculpting, painting and accessories have not all be well received. But one area where many did look forward to change was the
practice of including variant figures. Searching in vane for variants while Toy Biz controlled the license. This was particularly
annoying with the later waves when the variant figures represented unique characters that were not likely to receive action figure
treatment again any time soon. It looked as though that was going to change when their first series of figures did not have any
variants. But the variants returned with the second series as did the distribution problems associated with them. The variants which
included alternate paint applications for Yellowjacket, Quicksilver and Jean Grey were extremely difficult to find. But to their credit,
Hasbro did listen to fans and offered up cases of the variant figures as well as the short packed Thor of the same series to retailers.
No many took them up on the offer, but there were quite a few comic shops that ordered them through Diamond Distribution including my own.
There are three variants for the series: Quicksilver in his classic green costume, Yellowjacket painted in a more golden color than the regular figure and Jean Grey in her altered state from the end of the X3 movie. Since all three are identical to the regular versions with the exception of their color/paint applications, I won't bother to rehash my comments about the sculpting, articulation etc... But you can read my complete review here: series 2 review.
Of the three figures, Quicksilver was probably the most anticipated of the three by fans. While the only difference between the regular and variant versions of Quicksilver is a color swap of the blue in his outfit for a more classic green. I still wouldn't consider it to be truely on model to Quicksilver's classic look as the green color is a bit darker than most of the images I've seen. And it has a slight pearlescent finish to it which doesn't seem appropriate. If you're a pureist, you may still end up repainting the figure.
Yellowjacket is another simple color swap. But the change on this figure is less pronounced than it is on Quicksilver. Unlike the matte yellow finish of the regular figure, the yellow areas on the variant figure are slightly darker and have a pearlescent finish. They also changed the colors for the eyes and antenna on his head. The eyes are a darker shade of yellow while the antennea are bronze. The variant's color scheme is an improvement over the regular figure thanks to the added depth of the colors. And while I think this is how the figure should have looked to begin with, I can't really say that the difference would justify purchasing the figure again.
The final variant is Jean Grey based on her appearance from the end of the third X-men movie. It is a natural choice for a variant. But the simple repaint which Hasbro produced doesn't represent her appearance in those scenes well. In place of the intricate web of cracking skin that appeared on the character's face in her final scenes, they applied a light gray wash around the eyes and painted the hands white. The result of this half hearted attempt is a figure that more closely resembles a zombie than Jean Grey's Dark Phoenix look.
Value - Quicksilver 4/10, others 3/10If you were fotunate enough to find these figures in the usual toy retailers such as Wal-mart, Target, or Toys R Us you would pay $10 each for them. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem as though any of those retailers ordered the variant cases. Since you are probably going to be looking at buying them from either an online shop or comic book store, you can expect to pay closer to $16 apiece or more. At that price, it is hard to say that these minor color changes are worth the price.
Happy Hunting:If you have a local comic book shop that stocks figures, that would be a good place to start looking. But there are some online options as well such as Big Bad Toy Store.