SPIDER-MAN & GREEN GOBLIN
Any long running line encounters the risk of making latecomers feel like they have an interminable game of catch-up to play to grab classic versions of major characters. Sure, someone collecting from day 1 might have all the classic Iron Men they’ll ever need, but little Johnny who just got in at Wave 75 isn’t so lucky. Fortunately, DST had a great way of handling this: Best Of Marvel Minimates. The idea behind this sub set was keeping the definitive versions of the main Marvel Heroes and villains on the market, while trying to produce the best possible Minimates of those looks. And, really, can you possibly get more “Best Of” than definitive takes on Marvel’s best known hero and is greatest foe? I would say you can’t, sir.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Spider-Man and Green Goblin were released in the first series of Best of Marvel Minimates.
Whooo boy have there been a lot of Spider-Man Minimates. This one here was the 44th of them. He’s a return to the classic red and blue, as you’d expect from something intended as the definitive take on Spidey. If you want to get really technical, he’s a late ’60s/early ’70s Spidey, as denoted by the shape of his eyes and the presence of web wings under his arms. When it comes to construction, Spider-Man has classically been a vanilla ‘mate, but that’s not the case with this guy. He has a unique set of upper arms, which incorporate the previously mentioned web wings. These were a recurring feature of his costume for quite some time before quietly disappearing, but for the most part they’ve been absent from toy versions of the webhead. The reason is fairly simple: they’re hard to translate. That’s as true here as it is on any web-winged Spidey. They’re decently sculpted, and look fine from a basic standing pose, but you try to pose the arms, and they’re going to start looking a little goofy. They’re a nice idea, and they aren’t awful to look at, but perhaps they would have worked better as a set of spare arms? Spider-Man’s paintwork is, as always, doing the heavy lifting. The detailing on the mask and the torso in particular is very strong, and his color scheme is bright and quite striking. Sadly, he’s a little marred by some missing weblines on his gloves and the sides and backs of other sections of his costume, which is a little bit of a let-down. This was a trend that had been going on for a little while at the time of this figure’s release, though, so it’s not as if he was the first example; just an unfortunate victim of changing styles and budgets, I suppose. Spider-Man was quite well accessorized, including a the usual webline accessory, as well as an extra head and hair piece for an unmasked Peter Parker, and a clear display stand. The head and hair are the best extra of the bunch, as it finally signified a move away from trying to use removable masks to give us the Peter Parker look.
Compared to his wall-crawling foe, Green Goblin is a far lest frequent inclusion in the Minimates line. This marked only his fifth time as a Minimate, and six years later, it’s the last standard Goblin we’ve gotten. Goblin represents his classic look, but is a more amalgamated, less era-specific look than Spidey (we had just a few months prior gotten a pretty fantastic Silver Age Goblin, so it was an acceptable choice). The figure uses mostly the same selection of parts as his Series 41 counterpart, who in turn was using a lot of re-used parts from other figures. The hat/ears is the same piece that’s been used since the old Series 2 version; it’s the epitome of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” It works. He gets the improved flared gloves introduced in the Cap Through the Ages set, as well as the cuffed boots from the Invaders set. The really notable change for this figure is the satchel. After using the same Series 2 piece for a decade, they finally upgraded Goblin’s bag this time around, and gave him Kim Bauer’s purse, which actually works quite well. Goblin’s paintwork is pretty standard stuff. The colors are definitely the best palette of any of the Goblins we’ve gotten, and his detail line work is solid. The mad grinning face looks suitably intimidating and is reliably different from his previous ‘mates, allowing for some variety. Like Peter, Goblin is pretty well accessorized. He too gets an extra head and hair for an unmasked look, as well as a spare hand with an attached pumpkin bomb, a goblin glider, and a flying stand for it to plug into.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Though I wasn’t initially planning to get in on this line, having followed Marvel Minimates since its very beginning. But, upon seeing this pair in person at Cosmic Comix back when they were new, they just really spoke to me. Best Of Spider-Man is a solid ‘mate. A really, really good stab at a major character, and undoubtedly one of the best takes on the character housed within this line. He is, however, held back slightly by one or two iffy design and cost choices, that perhaps keep him from being the best that he can. Coming so close to the Series 41 version, there was a good chance for this release of Green Goblin to be redundant, but he takes what was improved on that figure and adds even more to it, and truly creates the best Green Goblin to date.