J JONAH JAMESON, AUNT MAY & S.H.I.E.L.D. AGENT
Civilians and Army Builders! What a combo! Though absolutely pivotal to the Spider-Man mythos, J Jonah Jameson and May Parker are not the most toyetic characters. But, as usual, Minimates prove to have an easier time at making such characters into figures, as evidenced by today’s focus, where the two are each paired off with one of the most requested Marvel army builders, the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
These guys were released in the “Death of Jean DeWolff”-centered Series 43 of Marvel Minimates. Jameson was the regular release, with Aunt May as his one-per-case variant, and the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent filling in as the second release in both sets.
J. JONAH JAMESON
Perhaps Spider-Man’s most persistent antagonist, J. Jonah Jameson’s actually not part of the “Death of Jean DeWolff.” In fact, his absence from New York at the time is a fairly prominent plot point. But, I guess that sort of makes him important to the story in his own way. JJ has actually been a Minimate before…kind of. A Jameson mask was included with the variant version of Chameleon way back when, but this figure rightfully gives Jameson his own due. Jameson makes use of five add-on pieces, for his hair, vest, tie, and sleeves. The hair is a new piece, depicting Jameson’s distinctive flat top. It’s a nice piece, and a noted improvement over the much less detailed offerings of the past. The rest of his parts are re-used, with his vest coming from the Ghostbusters Mayor, and the sleeves and tie coming from The Spirit. It’s a nice combo of pieces, and it gives him a very unique, character specific feel, all without actually needing many new pieces. JJ’s paintwork is fairly standard stuff. The blue certainly looks nice, and the detail work on his face in particular is really sharp, and really expressive. In general, the faces in this assortment were really strong, and JJ is a great example. One rather minor touch I quite like as well is the two-toned nature of his vest, which is blue at the front and black at the back, showing that the two sections are actually made of two different fabrics. JJ includes a nice selection of extras. He has a second set of arms, in blue to match the legs, as well as a corresponding suit jacket/tie/vest piece, allowing for a slightly more formal appearance for the character. He also has two copies of the Daily Bugle; one rolled up and one folded flat. The flat one gives us a couple of news stories, including a shot of Spider-Man and of Tony Stark (who is inexplicably the RDJ version). This offers a ton of variety for the figure, and makes him quite versatile.
Peter Parker’s elderly aunt is even less toyetic than Jameson, and it shows in the difference of figure representation. This was May’s introduction into the Minimates form (though her second figure would be only three series later), and only her second action figure ever. The important thing is that our Minimate Spider-Men will no longer have to go without their wheatcakes! Aunt May uses two sculpted add-on pieces; one for her hair, and the other for her skirt. The hair was a new piece for this figure. It’s a nice offering, and matches up pretty decently with the sorts of hair styles we tend to see May sporting. It’s also generic enough for some pretty swell re-use, which we’ve already seen at least once. The skirt piece is Gwen Stacy’s, just like the Jean DeWolff figure also in this series. It’s serviceable for the job it’s got to do. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Aunt May’s paintwork is decent enough. Not incredibly eye-catching, and in fact she seems maybe a touch washed out, but maybe that’s sort of the point, with her spending most of her time in the comics as glorified scenery. The detail work is pretty solid stuff, and the face is, once again, pretty solid looking. The very slight smile works quite well for the character. May is packed with no accessories. Scratch what I said about the Spider-Men getting their wheatcakes. Looks like they’re going to have to wait a little longer on those.
The S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent is the army builder that fans have been wanting since before army builders were really even a thing for Minimates. Back when the first Nick Fury hit, there were a lot of people stocking up on his pack purely to build up a whole flank of these guys. We got a slight tease at them with the Ultimates-based S.H.I.E.L.D. Soldier, but that wasn’t quite the same. It’s the blue spandex-clad guys that we were all clamoring for! The S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent uses six add-on pieces, for the hair, shoulder holster, gloves, belt, and ankle sheath. It’s a mix of old and new. The hair is re-used from the Shocker, and is a nice, generic buzz cut. The belt, like Sin-Eater’s, is borrowed from Batman, because who doesn’t like a good utility belt? The gloves are from the Cap TTA boxed set, and while S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents aren’t always seen with flared gloves, I myself quite like them, and certainly won’t shoot down extra parts. The holster and sheath are both new pieces. It’s the holster that’s really the star here, as it gives the Agents their distinctive look, and it’s a huge improvement over the slightly disappointing painted version from Fury. The sheath is a little bulky for my taste, but it’s also the easiest piece to remove and leave off if you don’t like it. The Agent’s paintwork is definitely solid work. The darker blue provides a nice contrast to the white, and there’s some fantastic detail work. The face is suitably generic, if you’re looking to army build, the logo on the shoulder is sharp and crisp, and the inclusion of the white piping on the seam down the middle of the chest, even under the harness where it will mostly be obscured, is a fantastic touch. The S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent is armed with a pistol and a knife. Both were new, and designed to fit in the corresponding holsters on the figure. For the sake of easier army building, the Agent also includes a second hair piece, borrowed from Ultimate Iron Man. It frames the face differently, thereby creating a credibly different looking “character.” And, since the piece is blond, in a pinch it works pretty well for my personal favorite agent, Clay Quartermain!
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
J. Jonah James is a pivotal character for Spidey, and this figure goes above and beyond to make him not just a good on the character, but a great take on the character. Like Jonah, May is an important character, but unfortunately, this figure just doesn’t have quite the same hook as that one. She’s not particularly exciting on the basis of design, and without any fun accessories to sweeten the pot, she ends up falling a little flat. Still not bad, but not very standout either. Undoubtedly, the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent is the shining star of this already very strong series, and perhaps DST’s best army builder. With a few spare heads from other figures, it’s very easy to get carried away with these little guys.