The world’s first mutant and possibly the most evil, even Apocalypse is astounded by the power of company-mandated crossover events. Awoken by his eternal servant Ozymandias, a tidy stone man in a jaunty hat, Apocalypse is alerted to the powerful energies that Onslaught (and the Biggest Summer Comics Event Of All Time!) is wielding,
Apocalypse rises from his chambers and makes his intentions known. After he does his pees and poos, of course.
Proposing an alliance with his greatest foes, the X-Men Missile Flyers (sold separately), Apocalypse seeks to destroy the power that is Onslaught (sold separately), while secretly planning to steal it for himself. Shoplifting is bad. Our Quality PRoducts are worth Full Retail Price.
Weakening Onslaught enough for Professor X to be released from the drunk tank and put on bond, the villain Apocalypse departs the IHOP parking lot and readies himself for a time that he would call the world his own. And he’ll prove it’s flat, once and for all!
Quick Memories of 1996 X-Men Onslaught Apocalypse Rising
This is shorter than my normal reviews, but I still want to share my experience with this toy and what it means to me.
It’s often said that the old Toy Biz Marvel figures were a hot commodity at the time, but now they don’t hold a candle to Marvel Legends, Japanese Imports, and Paper Dolls of Chris Pratt and Chadwick Boseman. I would like those paper dolls, for the record.
But, when I was growing up, Toy Biz was your only real option for Marvel Comics based toys. And, luckily, they mostly did a pretty good job of it– and released a huge variety of characters!
I grew up on Marvel Comics, thanks to my Grandfather. He would rent me VHS tapes of the 60s Spider-Man, Captain America, and Fantastic Four cartoons. He’d find me Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends tapes, and wrap my birthday presents in Fantastic Four wrapping paper.
But, I didn’t know about the X-Men until 1992 or so. I randomly spent my pocket money on the 1991 Cyclops action figure (the one in the X-Factor uniform with the light up eyes. I still love that toy!) at the grocery store on a shopping trip with my Mom. For whatever reason, she was none too pleased.
But that Cyclops fit perfectly with my Marvel Heroes, Batman movie, and Toy Biz DC figures.
Soon thereafter, I was borrowing my friends’ X-Men comics and obsessing over their trading cards.
Then, came the X-Men animated series. You know the one I’m talking about. Since then, I’ve been hooked on the X-Men.
Flash forward to 7th grade, I found myself at our local comics shop, looking to spend some birthday money. I picked up some X-Men and Captain America comics, but I also found an Arctic Mission Cable, and the subject of this review– 1996 X-Men Onslaught Apocalypse Rising.
Apocalypse had long been one of my favorite comic book villains. To this day, the cartoon version’s sinister baritone echoes in my mind whenever I think of the character. And, on that day, I found the biggest, baddest Apocalypse toy I’d ever seen. He put all the rest to shame.
He quickly became the favorite villain figure for my Marvel Heroes to fight. In those days of collapsing Sentinels with spring-loaded feet, Blackbird jets that only seated one figure, and Wolverine’s combat caves, this Apocalypse figure still stood out.
But does he hold up today?
1996 X-Men Onslaught Apocalypse Rising Review
I’ve long since lost my childhood copy of this figure. I bought this Apocalypse from Big Bad Toy Store, of all places, when I was on an old Marvel Toy Biz kick about 9-10 years ago. He’s been in storage for a long time, and he’s even suffered a bit of water damage. But, I’ve been in an X-Men mood, so I thought I’d break him out and review him.
This is, after all, a 90s toy blog– not just a GI Joe blog. I know that means many of you won’t be interested. But there’s very little Internet Content on these old Marvel figures, so I think he deserves a chance.
Apocalypse Rising, from the Onslaught series, came out at a time when Toy Biz were trying to appeal more to collectors.
You’ll first notice that he’s big, well-detailed, and sculpted in a dynamic pose. He’s still articulated, but he’s more similar to the McFarlane Toys of the day than he is toy Toy Biz’s earlier offerings.
There’s a dark paint wash applied to the entire figure and, I can safely say, this was the first toy I ever owned with such a paint wash.
The red wrappings that cover the toy are the other detail that stands out. As a kid, I just thought they made him look more regal. And, let’s be real, the added color certainly makes for a more attractive design.
I read somewhere that these wrappings are supposed to be bloody bandages, since this represents Apocalypse when he’s emerging from recovery mode. Now, it’s been a long time since I’ve read most of Onslaught (and I’m okay with that), but that seems a bit much for a child’s toy. Whatever the case is, the red wrappings help him stand out among his Toy Biz peers.
He has sort of a “TMNT pose” going on with his legs, with one flat foot and the other flexing at the toes. His legs are short and stubby, and his arms are huge. A Hulk toy from around the same time was retooled into or from 1996 X-Men Onslaught Apocalypse Rising, though don’t ask me which came first because I don’t give a hoot.
One hand is posed in a grasping or “why god why” gesture, and the other is clenched into a fist as big at 15 Butterball turkeys in a hard candy shell.
For articulation, he has:
- Swivel neck, mostly useless
- Swivel/hinge shoulders
- Swivel wrists
- Swivel hips
It’s not much, but it’s more than some Marvel toys of the time had. He can’t achieve many poses, and the wires attached to his arms and back don’t help all that much.
Still, he’s a big beefy block of a toy. If you threw this thing at a cop car, you’d definitely break the windshield and end up in jail.
As such, it makes a great Big Boss Villain for your older Toy Biz X-Men. I also broke out some Marvel Universe toys to compare to it and, although it isn’t as well articulated as they are, it makes a pretty threatening Apocalypse for smaller toys, as well.
He’s not going to work very well with your Marvel Legends, though. Sorry.
Apocalypse comes with one accessory, his little eternal servant statue man Ozymandias. Ozzy is also well sculpted, features a nice paint wash, and is planted on a three-wheeled base so you can make him race your Hot Wheels. He will lose, but he’ll do it with style and grace.
So, basically, what you see is what you get. This is a nice looking toy, and it will fit in well with any display of older Marvel X-Men figures. It’s probably the best toy from the Onslaught series, but I’m not sure that’s saying much.
He’s neat, but he’s basic.
Verdict: This is probably the best Apocalypse figure Toy Biz did back in the pre-Legends days. He works well with those older X-Men toys, and will look nice if you decide to display him that way. He also looks pretty good with Marvel Universe toys. He won’t play well with Marvel Legends, however. He’d be a reasonably good toy for kids, but chipping paint will be a concern. And, also, don’t let your kids throw this Apocalypse at their siblings or your pets. You will have hospital bills.
If you’re into the old Toy Biz stuff, this Apocalypse figure comes as Recommended. If you want an Apocalypse for your collection of 4” Marvel toys, he’s just Mildly Recommended, as there’s already a pretty good Apocalypse toy in the Marvel Universe line. As a pure action figure, by today’s standards, I’d have to say I’m Neutral about him.
But, I love the old Toy Biz stuff, so I still like this figure. Just not as much as I did when I was a kid.
Other Thoughts on 1996 X-Men Onslaught Apocalypse Rising
I had a great time busting out my Marvel Universe X-Men and old Toy Biz guys for these photos.
It’s tough to get too many exciting shots when the subject of your review is basically a statue, but I still had a good time.
These old Toy Biz X-Men figures are still fun and charming. They were a big part of my childhood, and I still find them quite endearing. Plus, you can generally make them punch and kick each other without twenty joints moving the wrong way or something breaking. That’s always a plus.
Who was the Big Bad Boss Villain of your childhood collection? Let me know in the comments!
8 thoughts on “1996 X-Men Onslaught Apocalypse Rising – Dragon Fortress Reviews”
’m not sure I had any single “Big Bad” in my collection, except maybe Storm Shadow, but he was always too subversive to be a huge threat, and Boba Fett, who to me was always kinda doing his own thing. To be honest, I never really played with any Bad Guyz ™ as a kid, for whatever reason. Fear? Maybe.
Now, I LOVED the X-Men, too! That show came at just the right time, when I still had a team of bros that were all in love with the comics at the same time. I had my share of Toybiz, but it was as a collector, not a player – I was finishing HS, and I hadn’t gone back to opening yet, preferring instead to purchase toys like they were investments, which helped me justify my purchases to the parts of me that were growing pubic hair and were only concerned with girls, while mildly appeasing the parts of me that yearned for the innocence of my 80’s youth, when all the girls in my life were named Leia. (Or Mom.)
So, old Pork Lips had his place in my heart, but never as a toy. (Still have that X-Factor first appearance somewhere…)
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Storm Shadow was a good guy when I was a kid, and the Ninja Force version was my childhood Tommy– so he was never a villain for me. These days I think I like him more as a Cobra agent, though. I definitely used Boba Fett as a wild card, too.
Thanks for sharing your experience! I always love hearing about how other people collected and/or enjoyed the toy lines I love. Especially toys like the Marvel Toy Biz figures, which were huge at the time, but you don’t hear much about now. Did you ever open those figures? Or sell them? What became of them??
I also love the Fall of the Mutants story line, but I just have the hardcover. The distinction between 80s X-Factor, the X-Men, and 90s X-Factor always confused me as a kid. Especially because the toy packaging mentioned all of it like it was happening at the same time! Wikipedia would have been great back then.
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I traded all of my Toy-biz packaged figures for pennies on the dollar fairly recently, for a GI Joe Rolling Thunder complete. Which is amazing. And too big. Much too big. But I was pleased at the time. That was a weird day.
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I think you made a good choice. The Rolling Thunder is a magnificent beast. I’d love to get one someday. It’s a great centerpiece for any collection!
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Big bads…I dunno. Not sure there was just one. I had a fondness for Hordak. I’m older than you. Funny Hordak was similar to Apocalypse…at the least cartoon Hordak, changing his arms into weapons.
My favorite 90’s Apocalypse was the second one they made, when the sculpting was improving but the toys were still mostly kid aimed. Had removable arms and the hoses could be unplugged (Which I much prefer). Oddly, I’m not a fan of the character per se. His personality seemed like “wants to rule everything”…no other hobbies or anything. I liked his look, including the big A on him, why would some ancient egyptian mutant have the letter A on his outfit? I recall even getting the 10 inch or whatever scale it was version, which made sense because can’t he change size? I’m not sure I ever opened the big one, though. 90’s were a blur of acquiring more junk than I appreciated (or appreciated on the aftermarket, for that matter).
Some years back I bought the first 4” scale Apocalypse Hasbro made and was so disappointed with him I promptly sold him on ebay. Something about restricted movement or something.
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I hadn’t thought about Hordak’s similarities to Apocalypse before, but you’re right! I really love Hordak. He’s probably my favorite MOTU character, and I especially like how he was portrayed in the 200X series. The MOTU cartoon was still shown when I was growing up, but the New Adventures toys were the only ones I ever had until MOTUC.
I really like that Apocalypse version 2, as well. I also appreciated that you could just take the dang hoses off, as the hoses on EVERY OTHER version of Apocalypse get in the way. That arm-changing Apocalypse was one of my favorites until this guy replaced him. The first version has its charms, too, and I also like the AoA one they did. I strangely never had any of the 10″ Toy Biz figures, but Apocalypse would have been one of the best ones for a 5″ collector to get.
And yeah, the Marvel Universe Apocalypse isn’t too much more poseable than the one in this review, despite having way more articulation. I do like him because he looks nice, though. I’m hoping that new Marvel Legends Apocalypse will be a keeper.
Thanks for commenting and stopping by!
Cool looking figure! His pose reminds me of the 1997 Toy Biz Smart Hulk. I didn’t have just one Big Bad but my scariest villains were probably Battle Corps Cobra Commander, Battle Blade Skeletor, and Generation 2 Megatron.
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I think he at least shares some tooling with that Hulk, as the poses, sizes, and proportions are an exact match. And thank you! I couldn’t be bothered to look up which Hulk it was when I was writing this review!
Those are all great choices! Battle Blade Skeletor is remarkably cool. All of the NA Skeletors are, in my opinion.
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