My first real love of the X-Men is due to my early obsession with Jean Grey in her green Phoenix costume. In the late 1980s I was really into G.I.Joe comics (and was starting to dabble in Batman) when my brother came home from his friend's house with a stack of X-Men Classic issues. I was aware of the X-Men from their appearances on Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends as well as the Pryde of the X-Men cartoon I owned on VHS. I liked them, but still preferred my G.I.Joe. That was until I saw Phoenix on one of those covers and was instantly smitten. I thought she was the coolest thing I had ever seen (A feeling that wouldn't be surpassed until I discovered Polaris.. I have a very obvious and lifelong obsession with all things green). I was probably the only little kid annoyed by the Dark Phoenix Saga because the color of her costume changed. As much as I loved this version of the character, I've found it really hard to find a good plastic representation of this look. And I'm still not 100% pleased - rant below...
While this figure is easily the best green Phoenix figure out there, I'm a little bummed that we didn't get a fresh head sculpt. There have been such subtle but important improvements in the Marvel Legends face sculpts in recent years that I feel this three year old head looks dull in comparison.
In 2013 there was a Jim Lee-era Jean Grey figure in the Rocket Raccoon wave. This figure was very decent for the time (although I felt the need to customize because her eyes were so creepy). There were two planned variants for Jean: An Age of Apocalypse version and a White Phoenix version. Neither were ever released. The White Phoenix featured a new headsculpt, but reused 90's Jean's hairpiece. One of the key accessories of the 90's Jean Grey is her weird blue headgear. Because of this headgear, her hairpiece did not cover a typical hairline. This was fine for the regular 90's figure, but on the White Phoenix they had to accommodate for that by sculpting some slicked-back hair on the side of her head where the headgear originally was. I always thought this looked really bad - like she was wearing an ill-fitting wig. So three years later when we got an awesome Green Phoenix on an updated Medusa buck, I was disappointed to see that same old head reused. I'm fine with reused parts, but in my mind this is a re-use of a half-assed cancelled figure. In the past few years Marvel Legends has really stepped up their game. Almost every figure is stunningly gorgeous. A new head would have been amazing on this figure, and it's disappointing that we got an older-style blank stare with a cobbled-together hairpiece for one of the most iconic X-Men out there.
This is not a bad figure by any means, but with a new head I think she could have been perfect.
Time for some Group and Comparison Pics!
Here she is with the (slightly customized) 2013 Jim Lee Jean Grey. Note the same hair piece.
And with the Original X-Men Jean.