#0366: Willow



In the early 2000s, the block figure was in a real upswing. Kubrick had been on the market for a while, and it seemed everyone wanted to get in on the action. Minimates just did okay with their original, larger scale figures, but found a real hit when they launched Marvel Minimates at a smaller size. Up and coming (and , sadly, now-defunct) toy company Palisades launched their own line of block figures, known as PALZ. They managed to get the block figure license for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and they used it to launch the new format. Amongst the earliest releases was Buffy’s best friend Willow Rosenberg, who I’ll be taking a look at today.


Willow was part of the first series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer PALZ. Each series of PALZ were based around a particular season of the show, and each figure was based on a specific episode of that season. Willow is based on her appearance in the episode “Nightmares,” a first season episode where the nightmares of all the students at Sunnydale High come to life. Willow is built on the female PALZ body, which means she stands about 3 inches tall and features 14 points of articulation. Since this is my first review of PALZ, I’ll review the PALZ body here. It’s not unlike the Minimate body, though it is taller than the basic one and the arms, hands, and feet are noticeably squared off compared to the smoother edges of a Minimate. PALZ are generally made of a more brittle plastic, as well, making them much more likely to break. Not a bad base body, but not without issue. Willow features additional pieces for her hair, skirt and jacket. Everything fits together quite nicely, though her jacket is difficult to get on and off without risk of breakage. The paint work on Willow is pretty good. In particular, I’m impressed by the fact that the polka-dot pattern of her dress goes all the way around. That’s some serious attention to detail! The laces on the shoes are also a nice touch, and the faces on both sides of the head bear a decent resemblance to Allyson Hannigan. What’s that? Why are there two faces? To allow you to give Willow her alternate look of course! Willow includes a spare torso, arms, skirt and hair piece to allow you to depict her in her kimono look from “Nightmares.” In addition, Willow includes a back pack, a computer monitor and keyboard, and a tombstone (just like the rest of Series One).


Willow was part of a large set of Buffy PALZ I got not too long after getting into the line. The story behind how I got them is rather neat. I’ve mentioned my membership at the Minimate Multiverse on this site before. Overall, that site is devoted to Minimates, but there is a decent discussion of other toylines, block figures in particular getting a lot of the focus. The other really cool thing that the Multiverse has is a pretty amazing trade forum. So, when I got into Buffy PALZ, I went there to see if I’d have any luck finding any. I came across a really great guy who goes by the handle Buttheadsmate, who had listed that he had duplicates af just about every PALZ ever made, so I got in touch with him to ask about possibly getting a few of the Buffy PALZ I was most interested in. He responded that he’d need a little time to have a look around to see what he could find, but that he’d get back to me. Not too long after that, he got back to me, offering me an almost complete set of Buffy PALZ for an incredibly good price. I was a poor high school student at the time, so I told him I’d need to double check on money. To that he responded that he knew I was good to repay him, and he really just wanted to send them to me. So, with nothing given on my part, he sent me a huge collection of PALZ, pretty much completing my collection in one fell swoop. All he asked in return was that I help in procuring the occasional TRU exclusive Minimate set, as he couldn’t get them in England. I was so very impressed by his generosity, and I went on to find out that I was far from the first member he had done such a thing for.

Guest Review #0013: Legion




Today’s review is written by Tim Marron.  Check out more from Tim over at Tim’s Blarg and Timsical Thoughts.  Take it away Tim!

If you recall I reviewed the DC Direct figure of Tali from the Mass Effect series some time ago. This time I’ll be taking a look at essentially her synthetic Geth counterpart, Legion, for he is many. It’s still just a single figure though, but whatever. Semantics.


This figure is based on Legion’s debut appearance in Mass Effect 2. The sculpt is all new, and given the slightly more intricate design of the character, it’s pretty well done. Sadly, as with Tali, the rest is a bit of a downhill trend. Legion has 14 points of articulation but they all feel like they were added after the fact as opposed to cleverly incorporated into the figure’s construction. The range of motion in each of the joints is not terrific either so its practically impossible to get him (it?) into anything resembling a natural pose. At a glance, the paint looks fine, but when you get down into the details the problems get a little difficult to ignore. There are a few spots of bleed over as well as some areas that just look poorly handled, namely, the detailing inside the hole in Legion’s chest which is covered in blue polka-dots. Sure, it’s meant to look like all the little lights of his internal mechanisms, but they don’t conform to any sculptural pattern, they’re just a regular evenly spaced dot pattern laid over a very irregular surface. Legion comes with a sniper rifle and a stand. Sharp eyed readers may notice that my figure has a different rifle than what comes in the box. This is because for whatever reason, DC Direct decided to swap Legion’s and Garrus’ rifles so that Garrus came with a gun that, in game, was exclusively used by Legion. Luckily a friend of mine saw the same issue with her Garrus figure and we agreed to trade rifles for the greater good. Legion has his share of problems. He is a decent depiction of the character if you’re willing to overlook a couple of things, but sadly thats all there is really. There’s not a whole lot of action to go with the figure.


I got Legion from my local ToysRUs kind of on an impulse. I already had the Tali figure from the same line so I expected it to have its share of problems. Nevertheless, given how Legion and Tali have a fairly important backstory in the game, I felt compelled to get him. Maybe it was how cool he was in the game, or maybe it’s the fact that, to my knowledge, no one else makes a figure of him. I guess he isn’t really all that many.

#0365: Havok



So, it’s been a whole year of reviews. I already did the big discussion of that earlier, but I wanted to touch on it here. For my very first review on this site, I took a look at Night Hunter Batman, my very first action figure. For the big one year review, I needed to come up with something special, so I’ve chosen to go with Havok from Toybiz’s X-Men line in the 90s. I’ll get into why I chose this figure shortly.


Havok was released in the “Invasion Series” of Toybiz’s X-Men line. The series hit not long after the third season of X-Men: The Animated Series, which featured Havok’s sole appearance on that show, so he makes sense here. The figure is a little over 5 inches tall and features 8 points of articulation. He’s based on Havok’s 90s appearance, which he sported in the 90s X-Factor and the aforementioned cartoon. It’s a bit of a departure from Havok’s traditional look, but it was what he looked like at the time, and it definitely fits in with the rest of the 90s X-Men line. Havok comes from the line when it was at its bulkiest, so to speak. The figures were originally much thinner, but eventually they bulked up as the line continued. Eventually, they reached sort of a breaking point, which was right around this series. As such, Havok’s sculpt is a little on the hefty side, but it’s not far outside of what he looked like in the comics at the time. The sculpt was all new to this figure, and as far as I know, it wasn’t used for any future figures. It’s certainly a well detailed sculpt. The coat has lots of really great folds and details, and the face is just perfect for Havok. Admittedly, the figure does have some odd proportions. The waist is really thin, the thighs are pretty big, and the arms stick out pretty far. That being said, he’s based on a 90s design, and odd proportions tend to go hand-in-hand with that time period. Can’t fault them for being accurate. The sculpt is topped off with a pretty decent paint job. It’s not super detailed, but its clean and well applied, so that’s good. Havok includes an action feature: when his upper torso is twisted right, his right arm goes up, and when the torso is released, it springs back. The figure also included a small energy blast piece that can be placed in his right hand to work with the action feature.


Havok is an important figure to me because he was my one of my two first X-Men figures (the other was the previously reviewed Eric the Red.) The “Invasion Series” was released just as I was getting into super heroes and action figures. For Christmas that year, my Dad got me these two figures, which in turn brought me into the world of X-Men. Thanks to this being my first official X-Man, Havok has to this day remained my very favorite member of the team (I own all but one of his action figures). While this figure has, perhaps, not aged as well as some of the other figures in this line, I still love this figure. It’s also one of the few figures I have more than one of, as I picked up a spare over the summer from Yesterday’s Fun (The spare is seen in the picture with Wilson 4). Man, this is a cool figure!

One year later…


Well look at that, it’s been a year.  Okay, if I’m honest, it’s been slightly over a year.  Today marks review number 365, but thanks to a few fill-ins from my buddy Tim, it’s actually taken me 369 days to get here.  Sorry about that.  Still, I made it through a whole freaking year of this!

In one year, I’ve managed to write 197,432 words about 527 unique action figures (and I’ll be bringing that up to 528 figures and 198,005 words later today).  If I were to publish the contents of my reviews in book format, I believe you could officially classify it as a “door-stopper.”

In one year, I’ve managed to get 13,683 total views from 75 countries all over the world.  I’ve gotten 56 followers, and I’ve had 73 comments in all (Not counting those made by yours truly).

The most prevalent line of toys to be reviewed was, unsurprisingly, Minimates, which made up 82 of my 365 reviews.  It’s worth noting, that of the 528 figures reviewed, they represented a total of 190 of those figures.  Going by current numbers, I have reviewed 19.5% of my action figure collection.  It’s important to note that my collection hasn’t stopped growing.  When I started the site, I had just clocked in at 2400 figures.  In the last year, that number’s gone up by almost 300.

While not every review has been a gem to right (or to read, I’m sure), I powered through them, and I think the overall product has been pretty good.  One year in, I’m just starting!

So, thanks to all of you who have stuck around through this first year, thanks to those who joined us part of the way through, and welcome to those who are just joining us.

So that’s pretty much it…

#0364: Charles Xavier & Bone Claws Wolverine



That’s right, I’m squeezing in one more Minimates review before the big One Year stuff tomorrow. Have to boost those Minimate numbers! Once again we dive into the world of Marvel’s Merry Mutants with another set based on this year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, a film that really brought the X-Men back to where they should be, in my opinion. Today, it’s another set of characters from the film’s 70s timeline: Charles Xavier & Wolverine!


Charlse Xavier and Bone Claws Wolverine are a two-pack from the 58th series of Marvel Minimates. The series is based on the film version of Days of Future Past, so these two hail from the movie.


In Days of Future Past’s 1970s timeline, Charles Xavier has yet to become the man we all know as Professor X. He was on his way at the end of First Class, but it seems he got lost along the way. Charles’s return to his cause is a key part of the movie, and Charles essentially serves as the movies main protagonist, so his inclusion here is essential. This figure is based on the young Charles, who is probably the more important of the two, story-wise. Charles is about 2 ½ inches tall (standing) and he features 14 points of articulation. The figure is based on Charles’s look from around the mid-point of the film, right as he starts to return to being the man we’re all used to seeing. What’s key is that it’s a look he has both while walking around and in the chair, which makes the figure a bit more versatile. The figure was built on the standard Minimate body, with add-ons for his hair and jacket. The hair is re-used from the Thor movie Civilian Thor, but the jacket appears to be a new piece. Both pieces look good. The hair isn’t spot-on for Xavier in the movie, but it’s not far off. The paint on Xavier is pretty good overall. Some of the colors seem a bit off, most notably the hair, which seems too red, and the coat which just seems too light. The likeness on the face also seems to be a bit off, which is a shame, because the First Class Xavier nailed it. On the plus side, everything is clean, and the details on the funky 70s shirt are really awesome. Xavier includes his wheelchair and a clear display stand. The wheelchair is the key accessory; it most clearly shows Xavier’s return to his proper path when he goes back to the chair. So, it’s pretty important to get it right. It’s an all new sculpt and it’s a spectacular recreation of the chair from the movie, so kudos to DST.


In the film version of Days of Future Past, Wolverine takes Kitty Pryde’s place as the X-Man sent back in time to prevent the bad future. This places him in the lead role for the first half an hour or so of the film, but once Wolverine tracks down Xavier, he takes a back seat to the rest of the cast, and he’s even mostly absent from the climactic battle. Still, he’s an important character, and he’s freaking Wolverine, so it’s no surprise to see him here. Wolverine is about 2 ½ inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation. He’s based on Wolverine’s look from the 70s timeline. As the figure’s title denotes, one of the changes with past Wolverine is the presence of his “bone claws.” Wolverine makes use of the basic Minimate body, with sculpted parts for his hair, jacket and hands. The hair and hands are re-use from the Series 52 Wolverine, which is sensible, seeing as that was the last movie Wolverine. The jacket is new to this figure, and it looks like a pretty great match to his jacket from the movie. The paint work on Wolverine is great apart from one small issue. He had a bit of stuck paint on his left knee joint, which ended up leaving a patch of unpainted plastic on the knee. It’s only noticeable if you have the knee in deeper poses, so it isn’t too bad. Apart from that, the Jackman likeness is the best one we’ve seen so far, and the work on the shirt and belt is incredible. Wolverine includes a spare torso, arms, and hands, as well as a clear display stand. The spare pieces depict Wolverine shirtless (because why not) and they feature some great detail work, right down to the bullet wounds Logan receives right after arriving in the 70s.


While I was able to get Magneto and Mystique from my local comicbook store, they had sold out of this set. Fortunately, I was able to get a set from the always awesome Luke’s Toy Store. Admittedly, this is a set I wasn’t really thrilled by at first. Charles seemed kind of boring, and I didn’t feel I needed yet another Wolverine. After seeing the movie, my opinion changed, and seeing packaged shots of the set completely pushed me over the edge. While it’s not as good a set as Magneto and Mystique, it’s still a pretty solid set of Minimates. Xavier’s worth it for the chair alone, and Wolverine is the best movie version of the character yet!

#0363: ATAX



Since Kenner’s Aliens line was originally based on the cancelled Operation: Aliens cartoon, the line did some experimenting with the property. One of the most famous things was adding more diversity to the designs of the Xenomorphs, but one of the other areas that showed some changes was the characters who made up the group of Colonial Marines that faced off against the aliens. While mainstays like Ripley, Hicks, and Bishop remained, a couple of the marines were replaced by characters such as ATAX (which stood for “Alien Tactical Advantage Explorer”), the figure I’ll be looking at today.


ATAX was part of the second assortment of Aliens figures. The figure is 5 inches tall and features 5 points of articulation. ATAX is one of the marines without a movie counterpart, so presumably his design is based on something from the cartoon. ATAX’s sculpt was unique to him. It’s a pretty solid sculpt, though he does seem a little large-headed. The details in the sculpt are all very well handled, which is really great. ATAX has a more Xeno-inspired look, which certainly makes him stand out amongst the Marines. The paintwork on ATAX is pretty great. It’s better than what we saw on Apone, and this figure has less of a reliance on the decals and such. ATAX’s figure is largely dependent on his accessories, which sadly my figure is lacking. His deal is that he’s supposed to be some sort of an infiltration specialist, so he included several clip on armor pieces to allow him to disguise himself as a Xeno. It’s certainly a unique idea, but seeing as there is never any evidence in the movies that the Xenos recognize each other by sight, I have to wonder just how successful ATAX will be in his infiltration. Maybe that’s why we didn’t see him in the movie…


When I first got into the Aliens line (which was somewhere around the early 2000s, roughly 10 years after it ended), I was mostly focused on just getting characters from the movie. So, ATAX was kind of below my radar. However, when I came across a few Aliens figures while browsing Yesterday’s Fun, ATAX was amongst them and I just couldn’t say no. He’s a goofy figure to be sure, but he’s actually quite well done. I imagine he’d be even better if he had all his pieces…

#0362: Sgt Apone



In the 80s and 90s, it wasn’t uncommon for toy companies to get the rights to movies that were a bit outside of the target audience for… toys. Things like Rambo, Robocop, and Terminator 2, all very definitely aimed at adults, were treated to their very own lines of action figures very clearly aimed at kids. Kenner’s Aliens looks like this at first glance, but in actuality they were meant to tie in with Operation: Aliens, a proposed Saturday-morning cartoon based on the 1986 film. When plans for the cartoon were scrapped, Kenner was left with lots of already produced merchandise, leading to them rebranding the line as just Aliens. The Marines offered in the line were based on those that would have been the characters in the cartoon, which means some of them weren’t from the movie. However, a fair number of movie characters made it through, including Sgt. Apone, who I’ll be looking at today.


Apone was released in the first series of Aliens figures. The figure is 5 inches tall and features 6 points of articulation. Unlike the previously reviewed Ripley, Apone’s design doesn’t have much in common with his movie counterpart. Admittedly, the face does look a bit like Al Matthews, which is nice to see. The rest of the figure is very clearly meant to be based on the Apone design from the failed cartoon. At the very least, it’s an interesting design. The sculpt manages to make it look pretty good. There’s a lot of detail work, especially in the armored pieces on his arm and shoulders, but then there are large areas on his lower half with virtually no detail at all. It’s a mixed look. The paint on Apone is decent, if a bit basic. There are a few fuzzy lines, but nothing too bad. With the exception of the “No Bugs” written on his t-shirt, the rest of the little touches are actually decals, not paint. Apone included some sort of rocket launcher accessory, but I bought mine loose, so he never had whatever it was.


The Aliens figures were released in 1992.  That’s actually within my lifetime, but just barely. Needless to say, I wasn’t buying action figures at less than one, so I didn’t start getting the Aliens figures until much later. Apone is one of the last additions to that set; I didn’t get him until just this summer. I picked Apone up from Yesterday’s Fun, while on vacation with my family. Apone is one of the characters who changed the much for this line, but he’s not a bad figure.

#0361: Green Alien



In the collecting world, and in any promising business for that matter, there are always bound to be imitators. A common form is a straight rip off, something like the bootleg LEGOs I looked at a few months ago. However, the imitator isn’t always that blatant. Sometimes, they’ll just make a product that, while easily confused with the real thing, is a completely different item from a legal standpoint. No molds are stolen, no copyrights infringed. Such is the case with Stellar Force, a toyline from the early 90s, made by Chap Mei. The line had a few different components, but one of them was a bunch of monsters that could easily be mistaken for one of the Xenomorphs from Kenner’s popular Aliens line.


I don’t know much about this figure, other than the fact that it was part of the Stellar Force line by Chap Mei. The only name I’ve been able to find for it is “Green Alien,” but that’s probably more of a descriptive term than an official figure name. The figure is about 4 ½ inches tall and it’s only articulation is a ball jointed neck. From what I’ve been able to find, the figure was part of a selection of similar aliens, all using the same sculpt. The sculpt is actually not bad. It seems to ape the Kenner aesthetic from the 90s, and it does it pretty well. It’s not anything revolutionary, but for a figure that was most likely a dollar store figure, it’s quite good. It doesn’t have the softer features usually seen with such figures, so that’s pretty good. The figure’s paintwork continues the theme of being better than expected. It’s actually pretty clean, and there are even some areas of dry brushing to accent the sculpt. The figure also has a vac metalized spine and ribs, which are actually pretty cool. As far as I know, this figure didn’t include any accessories.


So, you know how these figures were designed to confuse people into buying them instead of something else? Yeah, that’s what happened to me with this figure. While I was on vacation this summer, I visited Yesterday’s Fun, a really cool used toy store in Delaware. They had a selection of Kenner Aliens figures for low prices, so I pretty much just grabbed the lot, assuming this figure was one of the authentic Aliens. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized what he actually was. Seems Chap Mei fooled me! Honestly, it’s actually a pretty good substitute for the real deal, so I’m not disappointed.

#0360: Iceman, Bobby Drake, & Sentinel(s)



Of all the original X-Men, Bobby Drake, aka Iceman, is probably the most straight forward. It’s all there in the name. He’s a guy who does stuff with ice. That’s pretty simple. Interestingly enough, he was also one of the first X-Men to make it big, thanks to his role as one of the titular friends in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. He’s often looked at as rather goofy, but he’s actually got one of the more impressive power sets on the team. Anyway, Bobby has distinctive looks for his powered up and powered down forms, and it’s rare to see the powered down form in the toy world. Diamond is using their recent All-New X-Men themed wave to break convention and give us both versions of him, as well as one of those wacky, purple, mutant-hunting robots, the Sentinels.


These figures were released in Series 59 of Marvel Minimates. Each of the Icemen was packed with a Sentinel, with the iced-up version being the more plentiful version and Bobby Drake being the one-per-case variant for this series.


Iceman pretty much breaks even on the whole “All-New” thing. Bobby really hasn’t had much happen to him since the early days of the X-Men, so his character has remained relatively the same. Still, you can’t bring all but one of the original X-Men forward in time; they’re kind of a package deal. Iceman is about 2 ½ inches tall and he’s got 14 points of articulation. He’s in his iced-up form, but you can make out most of his Immomen-designed costume. Iceman is a “vanilla ‘mate,” which means he’s built out of the standard Minimate body with no other add-ons. It’s not really a surprise, since that’s in line with the design. This means the figure is entirely reliant on the paint. The good thing here is that Iceman easily has the cleanest paintwork in the series. He’s molded in solid white plastic, which is a departure from the usual semi-transparent plastic we’ve seen on previous figures. I think I like it better because the detail lines stand out much better. The detail work is really great, with all the proper line work for his uniform, as well as some additional texturing to really sell the ice look. Iceman includes an ice blast, an ice sled, and a clear display stand. Both of the ice structures are new to this figure, and they look really great, sculpt wise. The ice sled is a piece I’ve been waiting to see for quite some time now.  However, the pieces are a little bit yellowed, which doesn’t seem right.


Ah, yes, the illusive Bobby Drake. So, this is what Iceman looks like powered down. How about that? Like his icy incarnation, Bobby is about 2 ½ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation. He’s completely powered down, allowing you to see his All-New X-Men uniform in full detail. Bobby makes use of the standard Minimate body with one sculpted addition: his hair. Now, here’s where things get interesting. Bobby’s hair is a re-use of the T2 Kyle Reese’s hair, but that’s not what’s in the pictures. Somehow, my Bobby ended up with a different piece. This one is from T2’s young John Connor. I’m not sure how it happened, but there it is. Both pieces are respectable hair pieces, though neither one is a direct match for Bobby’s hair in the comics. If I’m honest, I probably prefer the hair I got, so I don’t mind the mix-up. Bobby’s paint is pretty well done. It’s not as clean as Iceman’s, but it’s a bit more complex, so there’s that. The initial prototype for this figure was missing the black details on the shoulders, due to Bobby’s comic design being changed before print, but DST managed to get it fixed before the figures saw release. The coolest thing about Bobby is that the detail’s line up perfectly between him and Iceman, very nicely conveying that they are one and the same. Bobby includes an ice blast, a chunk of ice that a figure can be placed in, and a clear display stand. The ice blast is shared with the main Iceman, and the chunk of ice was originally seen with the Frozen Captain America from the CA: TTA set.  They too seem a bit yellowed, which is a shame.


The final figures in the set are the Sentinels. This marks the fourth version of the Sentinel in the line (not counting Nimrod, since he’s kind of a different thing). The Sentinel is a little over 2 ½ inches tall and sports 12 points of articulation. As is a common issue with the Sentinels in this line, he’s woefully out of scale, but that’s just a thing everyone has to live with. The Sentinel is a hybrid of multiple designs, with a leaning towards classic. The figure makes use of the basic Minimate body with sculpted add-ons for the helmet, upper torso, waist, gloves, and boots. The parts on this figure are 100% re-use. The helmet is from the Marvel vs Capcom 3 Sentinel, the hands are from the TRU exclusive Omega Red, the torso cover is from the TRU exclusive Extremis Iron Man, and the waist and boots are from the TRU Exclusive Box. These pieces are pretty well chosen, though the upper torso is just a bit too distinctive to Iron Man. The changed colors mean this isn’t too noticeable, but it’s there. The paint on the Sentinel is pretty good overall. The base colors are a bit more drab than what we saw on the DoFP Sentinel, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s a bit of slop on one of my Sentinels’ torso pieces, but nothing too distracting. The torso and waist feature full detailing, allowing you to remove the covers and display the Sentinel in a classic set-up if you so choose. The Sentinel includes two tendrils (courtesy of Omega Red), a blast off base (previously used on the Marvel vs Capcom 3 MODOK), and a clear display stand.


Iceman and his corresponding Sentinel were purchased from my local comicbook store, Cosmic Comix, just like the other two sets. However, my store had already sold Bobby, so I had to order him through the always reliable Luke’s Toy Store. Iceman is the real star here, but Bobby and the Sentinel are still respectable ‘mates in their own right. Bobby is just slightly off from the source material (which is true even with the right hairpiece), and the Sentinel’s only real fault is that I don’t personally like it as much as the recent DOFP Sentinel. Still, this is a good set of figures, and the series as a whole is really a lot of fun.

#0359: Angel & Beast



It there’s one thing the X-Men are good at, it’s costume changes. As a team, they have to have the highest turnover rate in uniforms of any team in comics. Another thing that X-Men are big on is alternate versions of established team members running around. Combine those two, and you have a dynamite pitch for selling lots of toys of the same characters. This seems to be the case with the line-up of All-New X-Men, which has brought early versions of the original X-Men to the present, and given them a new set of threads along the way. Yesterday, I looked at Cyclops and Marvel Girl; today, I’ll be looking at Angel and Beast, both in their “pre-blue” forms.


Angel and Beast are a two-pack from Series 59 of Marvel Minimates, which is based on the designs of the team as seen in recent issues of All-New X-Men.


Angel is a character that has kind of broken even on the whole “previous version” thing. The old Angel has certainly gone through his fair share of stuff, but his thing is mostly ping-ponging between being classic Angel and Archangel. I guess it’s not terrible to have a pre-ping-ponging version running around. The figure is about 2 ½ inches in height and he features 16 points of articulation, thanks to the wings. He’s based on All-New Angel’s second costume, which is a variant of the base costume everyone else got. His is accented with red, which serves as a nice callback to his Champions and X-Factor costumes. The figure features the basic Minimate body, with add-ons for his wings and hair. The wings are the same three-part piece we’ve seen on previous versions of Angel, and the hair was first used on Lost in Space’s Doctor Smith. The hair offers a nice “rich-boy” look, and the wings are a very definite case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Angel’s paint is generally a lot cleaner than what we saw in the Cyclops/Marvel Girl set. There are still a few sloppy areas with the base paint, but overall everything is pretty clean. I think the face looks perhaps a little too old for a younger Angel, but that’s really a personal thing. Angel includes a flight stand and a clear display stand.


Beast seems like the one time-shifted X-Man who might work pretty well in conjunction with his modern day counterpart, but not as a replacement. They haven’t really screwed Beast up too bad, and most people like the few changes they’ve made to the character. Still, this reset version does serve as a pretty good counter point. Beast is a little over 2 ½ inches tall and features 12 points of articulation. Like the others in this series, Beast is in his second, Immomen-designed costume. Honestly, Beast’s is probably my least favorite of the five. The brown accents seem odd, almost like he got them because all the other colors were taken by the rest of the team. The brown/yellow, coupled with the goggles, kind of makes him look more like X-Men foe Mimic than Beast. Beast is built from the basic Minimate body, with add-ons to bulk up his torso, waist, shoulders, hands, thighs, and feet, as well as a goggle/hair combo. The hair and goggles piece is new, and it looks pretty spot in to what’s seen in the comic. The bulk up pieces have been seen on the Avengers movie Hulk (hands and feet), GotG’s Drax (torso), and countless other figures (everything else). I’m not sure I’m a fan of Beast being this bulky, but that’s gonna vary from person to person. Overall, Beast’s paintwork is pretty good. Mostly, the lines are clean. However, there is a random bit of brown paint on his goggles that very definitely shouldn’t be there. Beast includes a spare head/hair (with hair from Universal Monsters’ Henry Frankenstein) and a clear display stand. The extra head features a pair of glasses and a more reserved facial expression for Hank.


Like Cyclops and Marvel Girl, Angel and Beast were picked up from my local comic book store Cosmic Comix. I hadn’t initially intended to get these two, but I wanted Cyclops and I liked the Icemen, so I figured I might as well complete the team. I still think this is the weakest set in the series, but they aren’t bad. Perhaps if Beast had costume detailing under the bulked up pieces, I’d enjoy him more, but I can’t fault Diamond for going that route. All in all, this set is good, but not great.