URBAN YUKIO, VIPER, & BLACK CLAN NINJAS
It seems hard to believe that the second Wolverine film came out three years ago. Wedged in between Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, and as the last X-Men film before Days of Future Past overwrote the original timeline, it kind of got lost. It’s a shame; it’s not a perfect film, but it was a fair bit of fun, and fixed a lot of issues presented by X-Men 3 and Wolverine: Origins. The movie got a handful of Minimates, and today I’ll be looking at the specialty assortment’s Viper & Black Clan Ninja pack, as well as the variant Urban Yukio & Black Clan Ninja Pack.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
These two sets were released in Series 52 of Marvel Minimates, which was based on The Wolverine.
Yukio is a relatively minor X-Men character, but she plays an important role in the Wolverine mini-series that the movie based its plot on, so she found herself with a decently sized role. In the comics, she was just a normal human with ninja training, but the film made her a mutant with the ability to foresee death. She had two rather distinct looks in the movie (neither of which really resembled her comics appearance). This figure represents the less formal look that Yukio sports towards the end of the movie. She stands about 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. Yukio has add-on pieces for her hair, skirt, and the tops of her boots. All of these are re-used, with the hair coming from the TRU Series 9 Magik, the boots coming from Series 34’s 90s Rogue, and the skirt coming from BSG’s President Roslin. The parts are all fairly decent matches for her look from the film, so the re-use is reasonable here, though the boots have the unintended side effect of making her taller than everyone else in the series. The paintwork on Yukio is decent. She’s got a lot of color, and she’s pretty bold looking, which is nice. The detailing on the torso is nice and sharp. The face doesn’t really look like Rila Fukushima; for some reason, they’ve given her a slight smile, which doesn’t seem right for the character. That said, the face is nice and sharp, and looks suitably unique. Yukio includes a clear display stand and…nothing else. Not even a sword. That’s quite a letdown, especially since Yukio is pretty much never seen without her sword in the film.
Viper was an interesting inclusion in The Wolverine, given that her most prominent role is being highly placed in Hydra, an organization that Fox isn’t allowed to use. Fox seemed to skirt the issue by only referring to her only as Viper (not her alias Madame Hydra) and by making her a mutant, with no known ties to Hydra. For this figure, DST based Viper on her look during Yashida’s funeral, which is a rather short-lived look when all is said and done, but we got several others in their funeral attire. Viper has two add-on pieces, one for her hair and one for her skirt. The skirt is a re-use of the Gwen Stacy skirt from the SM3 series, which is still fairly modern looking. The hair is a new piece, based on her hair from the scene in the film. It’s a pretty great sculpt, with a lot of detail, and it captures her look very nicely. Viper’s paint is overall is nicely handled, at least from a purely technical standpoint. Everything’s pretty clean, and the line work is all pretty sharp. The likeness is pretty good; certainly closer than Yukio. The sunglasses stand out, as the details make them look convincingly shiny. You can actually make out the reflection of some of the reflections from the funeral’s setting. All that said, the design is rather drab and not terribly exciting. For accessories, Viper includes a clear display stand, and an extra head, without the sunglasses.
BLACK CLAN NINJAS
The Black Clan Ninjas took the role occupied by the Hand in the original story. They were initially supposed to be the Hand, but Fox lost the rights to Daredevil and all associated characters in the middle of production on The Wolverine, necessitating a quick name change. It’s not like it really matters, though; they’re fairly basic ninjas either way. The Ninjas use add-on pieces for their jackets and the edges of their gloves. The jacket is a new piece. It has a scabbard attached to the back, so that they can stow their swords. The jacket’s a little on the bulky side, but looks alright overall, and captures the basic look from the film pretty well. The paintwork on the Ninja is fairly basic. It’s mostly just black, though there’s a bit of variation to the finish, which is nice. The eyes feature an impressive level of detail, and add a nice bit of character, without removing the ability of the figure to be an army builder. The Ninjas each include a basic sword, which can be stowed in the sheath on their back, as well as the usual clear display stand.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
The Yukio set was one of the ones I wanted from Series 52, but she ended up being a bit difficult to get, so I had to order a full series set from Luke’s Toy Store. This is probably Yukio’s most prominent look from the movie, and it has the advantage of being bright and colorful in a series of mostly drab figures. However, the lack of accessories knocks her down a peg, and the likeness really isn’t there. Viper is certainly a well put together ‘mate, but the decision to go with her less exciting funeral look over her more comics accurate final battle look hurts the figure. As it stands, she’s better than you’d expect, but still a bit lackluster. The Ninjas are really the stars of these sets. They’re fairly simple, but in just the right way, and they benefit from the fact that you don’t even need to be a fan of The Wolverine to like them.