ULTIMATE CYCLOPS & ULTIMATE WOLVERINE
Minimates sure have come a long way. There was a time when we all thought the line might just get those first three series and nothing else. As such, many of the characters and designs represented in those early series were influenced by what was timely. For instance, the earliest X-Men Minimates weren’t really based on any of the classic iterations of the team, but rather the just recently launched Ultimate X-Men, who also had the added benefit of having a slightly closer resemblance to the X-Men of the movies. The characters released were also much more top tier, including today’s focus figures, Cyclops and Wolverine!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Cyclops and Wolverine, like several of the other earliest ‘mates, were available in a few different ways. The first way was as part of Series 3 of the main Marvel Minimates line, where Cyclops was paired with Jean Grey and Wolverine was paired with Storm. They were also part of the TRU-exclusive five-pack with Storm, Logan, and Sabertooth. The pair I’m looking at today are part of the first group of Target-exclusive ‘mates, which is the only time these two were packed together.
Poor Cyclops gets no respect, but the Ultimate universe certainly tried to give him his due. On the plus side of things, he had one of the less sucky redesigns of the Ultimate ‘verse, since it pretty much stuck to his usual costume roots. The figure stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and has 14 inches tall. He’s built on the pre-C3 base ‘mate body, so he’s got those weird long feet. He’s got add-ons for his hair/visor and his belt. Both pieces are certainly good for the time. Not quite as detailed as later ‘mates would be, but also not as simplistic. This is definitely one of the figures where elegant simplicity comes into play. I like how they’ve summed up all the basic elements of Cyclops with as few details as possible. The paintwork on Cyclops is decent enough. What’s there is mostly pretty sharp, though there are a handful of misplaced lines, especially on the boots. Obviously, he lacks the musculature and finer detailing that we’ve come to expect on more recent stuff, which look a little off. Of course, thanks to the darker colorscheme, it’s a lot less of an issue here than it is on other ‘mates from the same time period.
Wolverine is no stranger to Minimates, but this was one of the first two he ever got. It’s kind of strange to think that neither of his first two ‘mates featured his signature mask. It’s worth noting that this figure is sporting Ultimate Wolverine’s second costume design. It was a sensible choice, since it not only incorporates more of his classic costume’s design elements, but also fits better with the rest of the team. Like Cyclops, he’s built on the pre-C3 body. He has add-ons for his hair and belt, as well as clawed hands. The hair isn’t the classic Wolverine style hair, but that’s actually accurate to the comic. It’s a decent enough sculpt, and it would later see re-use on the first version of Quicksilver. The claws are an older version of the hands, and are a little more rudimentary than those of the most recent Wolverines. They’re not awful, but the improved versions were definitely warranted. The paint work on Wolverine is decent overall, but not without issue. Most noticeably, there’s just a splotch of fellow on his right hand and wrist, which just looks rather odd. Still, the overall appearance is decent enough.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Cyclops was actually one of my earliest Minimates (as part of the first three two-packs I picked up), but that was the specialty release with Jean. Over the years, I lost a number of pieces to both of them, so they’ve been incomplete for a while now. I ended up finding this set at Player’s Choice, a gaming and collectibles store in the local mall, a few weekends ago. Since I was looking to replace Cyclops and I never actually owned this Wolverine, I figured it was worth it to pick them up. They’re not a bad set. Sure, there have been lost of subsequent releases of both characters, but for Cyclops especially, it’s truly hard to top that first release in terms of memorability.