SPIDER-MAN & CARNAGE
The early assortments of Marvel Minimates were home to some quite distinctive ‘mates. While they are by and large a simpler selection and design, that can’t be said for every release. In fact, the two ‘mates I’m looking at today remained some of the line’s most detailed for a long period of time, to the point where replacing them with updates seemed quite a daunting task for quite a while. Without further ado, let’s have a look at Spider-Man and Carnage.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Spider-Man and Carnage are the final pairing from Series 2 of the main Marvel Minimates line, hitting alongside Series 1 and 3 in the summer of 2003. Both would see re-release in a TRU 4-pack the following year, and Spider-Man would also be released in a TRU 5-pack and as a single in ’03, as well as packed with Green Goblin at Walmart and Target in ’04, and with Gajin Wolverine at Target in ’06. He got around is what I’m getting at.
Perhaps the definitive classic ‘mate was this Spider-Man. He was easily the poster child of the line’s launch, and remained front and center until the arrival of a new “standard” classic Spidey in Series 24. It’s not a huge shock, I suppose, given that he’s Marvel’s most recognizable hero and his design allows for the showcasing of a “pure” Minimate body. He stands 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation, and is constructed on the old long-footed body. As with any standard Spidey, he’s great for taking a step back and appreciating the basic body at its best. The heavy lifting, of course, is done with paint, and this Spidey had some of the very best. All of his weblines are properly defined, something that would disappear as the line moved on. Additionally, the face of his mask is really a perfect boiling down of Spidey’s classic mask. No ‘mate that followed ever quite got that same feel. It’s not 100% perfect; the blue is probably a touch dark, and compared to later releases, the lack of any musculature can be a little glaring. On his own, though, he’s very strong. Like the other Spider-Men in this inaugural assortment, he was packed with a webline piece.
Having just escaped the ’90s, we were all still very invested in Carnage at this point, making him a solid choice for the final villain in this initial line-up. It would be his only Minimate for a resounding 11 years, in no small part due to how well this one was implemented. He’s fairly similar to Venom in his constuction, being a base body with a new set of hands, but it’s important to note that the hands on this one aren’t the same as on Venom, which was honestly a little bit surprising, but not unappreciated. The real star of the show is again the paint. Carnage’s distinctive black and red swirls are present on every visible surface, no small feat given how often details on the sides and backs of limbs got cut as the line progressed, or even compared to how sparse the rest of the early ‘mates were. Heck, he gets full detailing on his hands and feet, the one place even Spidey’s weblines don’t go. That’s impressive, and is part of why it took them 11 years to top this one, with a ‘mate that was rolling in the sculpted add-ons. This one did it without those. Carnage was packed with an extra hand, shaped like an axe, to demonstrate his shape-shifting abilities.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I didn’t actually get this set new. My brother had one, but I ended up getting just the Spidey from elsewhere, and never felt compelled to track down Carnage until he was far too expensive on the aftermarket. Then I got the 2014 release, and just didn’t feel the need to go back. When All Time got in a large ‘mate collection back a few months ago, I managed to add every figure from the first year of the line to my collection, minus one: Carnage. There was but one Carnage in the lot, and that went to Max, who’s definitely the store’s resident symbiote fanatic, so I wouldn’t dream of fighting him on it. However, I did send him a photo of my shelf containing all but that one missing ‘mate, and he decided to go and be one of them pesky nice and generous people and give me his Carnage so that I could complete the set-up. Can you believe the nerve of this guy?