#1886: Mr. Fantastic & Dr. Doom



The Marvel Minimates Best Of assortments frequently paired off classic Marvel characters and their greatest foes, but what happens when the foe is actually the foe to a whole team?  You compromise, I guess.  At least in the case of the Fantastic Four, Reed Richards does have the slightly more personal connection to long-time foe (and greatest villain of all time) Dr. Doom, so he was the one who got the slot.  Good for him!


Mr. Fantastic and Dr. Doom were part of the second Best of Marvel Minimates series, which hit stores in early 2013.


Second only to The Thing in terms of number of Minimates, this particular Mr. Fantastic was his sixth time in this particular style.  He’s sporting his classic black and blue gear, based on his look from earlier in his career. Curiously, there are, to date, no other members of the team with uniforms to match this one.  Not even the Ben from Series 1 of the Best Of line. This is something of an odd development.  In his most standard configuration, Reed is built on the basic Minimate body and uses just one add-on piece, for his hair.  It’s the Frank Wemple piece, which saw a lot of use right around this time.  It’s definitely well-chosen for Reed. Of course, since Reed’s powers make for a pretty versatile look, the figure has multiple other configurations.  DST experimented a bit with TRU Series 6’s Stretch-Attack Mr. Fantastic, which gave us a stretched out base piece to swap out for the lower legs.  This figure includes that extra, along with several new ones to match.  There’s an extended neck and stretched out arms, which can be mixed and matched into all sorts of different configurations.  Perhaps my favorite part is that the open hand on the right arm is perfectly sized to grip a standard Minimate torso.  Reed’s paintwork is fairly clean, and the color choices are bold.  He’s more colorful than his TRU Series 8 counterpart, but the blue isn’t quite as deep as the original Reed figure.  He’s somewhere between them.  I already chronicled the extra stretchy parts, but Reed also includes a standard display stand, if you want to be silly and not display him with that sweet stretched out base piece.


Victor Von Doom actually has his nemesis beaten in number of Minimates available, with eight releases under his belt.  This one was the seventh, and actually came out in rather close proximity to the Marvel vs. Capcom version, which it is quite similar to.  Most of the similarity between the two Dooms is in their sculpted parts.  Doom uses add-ons for his cloak, belt/skirt, gloves, and boots, as well as non-standard upper-arm pieces.  All of these were used on the prior figure.  They work decently, though the cloak runs into the same problem that prior Dooms have run into, with limitations being placed on his mobility.  It also makes him quite top heavy. And, in conjunction with all of the other sculpted parts, it generally creates a figure that’s not great for much other than standing.  The main change-up between the two Dooms is paint.  While the MvC release was in more game accurate colors and featured metallic armor, this one goes for a more print-styled flat color scheme.  It works well enough, and it’s definitely a more unique take on the character, compared to what we tend to see.  I think it helps the detailing on his faceplate stand out better, but leaves the arms and legs looking slightly bland.  Doom is packed with three accessories: a pistol, and alternate head with Doombot detailing, and a clear display stand.  I really like the Doombot head.  It’s a quite fun touch, and seems to especially work well without the cloak over top, thereby making the figure a good deal more playable.


I grabbed these two back when they were new, from my regular Minimate haunt, Cosmic Comix.  Reed is a solid figure, marred not by anything about this figure himself, but rather by the lack of any other members to match him.  Ben’s an easy enough fix if you just want to swap out the pelvis, and Johnny’s just really a head swap, but there’s no matching Sue, and that’s a little sad.  So soon after the MvC version, this Dr. Doom felt a little redundant, and ultimately inherits all of that figure’s flaws without any time to have fixed them.  That said, the Doombot head does quite a bit to salvage this guy.  Overall, he’s a decent offering.

#1811: 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.


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.


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.

#0386: Grey Hulk – Transforming & Iron Man – MK29 Armor



So, one of the cool things about the Best Of sub-line of Marvel Minimates is that it’s a great way for Diamond to fix some issues with previously released figures. Figures that were almost there, but just the slightest bit off. They also can offer some much needed updates to important looks of popular characters. Both of these can be seen in today’s set, Grey Hulk and the Mark 29 Iron Man.


Hulk and Iron Man were released as a two-pack in Series 3 of the Best Of Marvel Minimates line. Like yesterday’s set, both characters featured here have had a previous figure in the Best Of line.


The story of Hulk’s skin color is kind of an interesting one. See, he was originally supposed to be grey (and he is in his first appearance), but the printing standards of 1960s comics weren’t up to the task of consistently printing the color, resulting in Hulk coloring changing a few times in his initial appearance. So, they decided the color had to change, and they went with green, as it was the accidental coloring they liked the best. And so, green became the Hulk’s distinctive color. It’s worth noting that Hulk’s change in palate was never mentioned in the comic itself, but it also came coupled with a slight change in the beast’s personality, which was used by writer Peter David to bring back the original look as a separate personality. As such, Grey Hulk has claimed a place as one of the key looks for the character. The last real Grey Hulk Minimate was released back in Series 7 of the main line (and even then, it was just a rerelease of an exclusive released at the same time as Series 1-4), so he was definitely in need of an update. The figure is a little over 2 ½ inches tall and he sports 12 points of articulation. He makes use of the standard issue Minimate body, with an assortment of “bulk-up” pieces. All of these pieces have seen use on previous Hulks. The torso, upper arms, upper legs, upper legs, and feet are from the series 41 Mega Rage Hulk; the hair is from the TRU exclusive World War Hulk; the torso extender is from Series 27’s Ultimate Hulk; the hands are from Series 45’s Movie Hulk. The torso cover is also a re-use piece, which has seen use on countless figures over the years. This is the best assortment of Hulk pieces available, so DST definitely chose well. The paint on Hulk is pretty great, but perhaps not as exceptional as some of the others in this series. There is a tiny bit of bleed over on the ends of his pants, and the black detail lines seem just the slightest bit muted. Underneath of the torso and waist covers, there are fully detailed pieces, which, with the addition of a spare set of hands and feet, as well as a new head and hair (courtesy of Tomb Raider’s Roth), allow Grey Hulk to be displayed as Bruce Banner, mid-transformation. It doesn’t work quite as well as the previous Series’ fully civilian Bruce, but it still looks pretty cool, and the angry face is a wonderful addition to the range of Banner emotions. In addition to the transformation pieces, Grey Hulk also comes packed with a clear display stand.


Sometimes, Diamond, for all their efforts, doesn’t get a figure quite right on the first try. Such was the case with the original TRU release of this armor. The figure featured a unique set of upper legs, but the sockets for the hip joints were too shallow, giving the figure an odd look and making it virtually impossible to keep the legs on. Fortunately, Iron Man’s a popular enough character that a second release wasn’t unwarranted. This figure represents Iron Man’s Mark 29 armor, which is one of the iterations of his Extremis armor from the comics. Not one of my favorite looks, but he did sport this general style of armor for a while, and it’s not too far off from his movie look. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and he features 14 points of articulation. The figure makes use of the typical body, with character specific upper arms, as well as add-ons for his helmet, upper torso, belt, gloves and boots. The helmet, upper torso, belt, and boots are from the Iron Man in the 14th TRU exclusive series, and the upper arms and gloves from Series 45’s Iron Man Mark 7. These pieces all mesh very well together and present a nice amalgamation of the various Extremis designs. The only real issue is the feet, which are at just the slightest angle, making the figure fall backwards if he’s not posed correctly. The paint is another dividing factor from the previous release. Where the last one used metallic red and gold, this one goes for a more straight red and yellow. This is a bolder look, and it makes the figure pop a bit more. It also does a nicer job of showcasing the sculpted pieces. All of the paintwork is nice and clean, and the detail lines don’t suffer from the washed-out appearance of those on Hulk. Underneath of the helmet is a Tony Stark face. It’s clearly a modern Tony, and it has just the right amount of self-assuredness. Iron Man includes a spare hairpiece (first used on Series 27’s Ultimate Cap), a flight stand molded in clear orange, and a clear display stand.


Like the other three sets in this series, I picked up Hulk and Iron Man from my local comicbook store, Cosmic Comix. My primary reason for picking up the set was Hulk; for whatever reason, I never picked up the original Grey Hulk. This figure provides an exceptional update to that figure, and brings Grey Hulk up to the same quality as the Green Hulk offered in the previous series. While this Hulk’s Banner look doesn’t excite me the same way as the earlier version, it’s still a fun extra look, and it adds extra value to an already awesome figure. While I’m not the biggest fan of this particular look for Iron Man, this is still a solid figure, and he offers some much needed fixes to the previous version. The third series of Best Of Marvel Minimates is a solid addition to the Minimates line-up.

#0385: Spider-Man – Spider Sense & Captain America – Marvel Now



The point of the Best Of Marvel Minimates line is to keep basic versions of Marvel’s heavy hitters in circulation. However, Marvel’s characters, more so than DC’s, have a tendency to change up their designs, leaving a few different options as to what is their “basic” look. So, Diamond Select Toys has decided to take advantage of this to have a few more A-List figures in the line. Today’s set, Spider-Man and Captain America, are a prime example of this.


These two were released as a two-pack in the third series of the Best Of sub-set of Marvel Minimates. Both figures in this set are the second version of their respective characters in the Best Of line.


Spider-Man is arguably Marvel’s best known hero, so it’s not surprising to see him pop up again. One of the things about Spider-Man is that, while he’s pretty much had the same costume for most of his career, there’s been a fair number of minor tweaks and stylistic choices by different artists. The Spider-Man released in Best Of Series 1 was based on Spider-Man’s “classic” look, in the vein of artists such as John Buscema and John Romita Sr. This figure is decidedly more modern, taking its influence from Todd McFarlane’s version of the character. The figure is roughly 2 ½ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation. The figure uses the basic Minimate body, with one addition: his spider sense piece. The piece was previously seen on the Spider-Sense Spider-Man in the 13th TRU exclusive series. It’s a decent approximation of the effect used in the comic (though my girlfriend says it makes it look like his head’s on fire), and it’s fairly well sculpted. Unfortunately, once it’s removed, Spidey is left with a hole in the top of his head. Not too much of an issue for long term collectors with dozens of Spider-Man heads to choose from, but certainly an issue for someone who gets this as their first Spidey. Like so many Spider-Man Minimates, this figure is basically a “vanilla ‘mate,” so paint is key. Spidey’s paint is okay, but not quite as good as the rest of the series. The red is a little uneven in places, and the web patterns are out of place and bunched up in a few areas. Also, the web pattern abruptly stops on the sides and backs of the wrists, legs and belt, which, while obviously intentional, is a shame. Spider-Man includes an extra head and hair (first used on Series 51’s Nova), a webline, a jumping stand, and a clear display stand.


Captain America’s pretty consistently had the same look over the years, but in light of the success of the movies, he’s gotten a little bit of a redesign to bring him a bit more in line with that look. The result is the Marvel Now look, which has gotten a few toys recently. This is the second time this look has been seen in Minimate form, with the first being in the 16th TRU exclusive series. The figure is about 2 ½ inches in height and features 14 points of articulation. Cap uses the standard body, with additional pieces for his helmet, gloves, and belt. All of these pieces are re-used from the first Marvel Now Cap. They were pretty great pieces there, and they’re pretty great pieces here. If there’s one thing to be said about the new costume, it’s that it translates really well to the Minimate style. The figure’s paint is fantastic. Everything is clean and evenly applied. They’ve used a lighter blue than what was used on the TRU 16 figure, and it really helps the figure pop. The detail lines are all really nicely handled, and the design has been translated expertly. The face is interesting; I like it, and I think it’s a great Cap face, but the expression seems like something that would be at home on a more classic version of the character. Still, it’s nice to get a happy expression from time to time. Cap includes his mighty shield (From the Series 40 Cap), an extra non-shield holding hand, a spare hair piece (shared by TRU 16’s Cap and Hulk), and a clear display stand.


Spidey and Cap were picked up from Cosmic Comix, my local comicbook store. I hadn’t really planned on getting this set initially. I have plenty of Spider-Men, and I was perfectly content with the TRU 16 version of this Cap costume. However, seeing them in person, they called to me. A more modern Spider-Man’s not a bad thing to have, and the brighter palate on Cap further improves a figure I was already a pretty big fan of. Sure, these aren’t going to be for everyone, and I hope that the Best Of line doesn’t skew to modern, but this is a fun set.

#0383: Luke Cage – Power Man & Iron Fist – Dragon Attack



So, I do really try to space out the Minimates reviews a little bit more. Really, I do. However, between my already enormous collection of them filtering into the backlog reviews and Diamond’s steady stream of new releases, they tend to be a rather frequent sub-set of reviews. Today, I’ll once again be dipping into the expansive Marvel Minimates line, with the ,most recent versions of Luke Cage and Iron Fist, Heroes for Hire. Both characters are slated to be getting their own mini-series through the Marvel/Netflix deal, and it’s been a little while since either one has seen a release, so this is a good idea for a set.


These two were released as a two pack in the third series of the Best Of off-shoot of the main Marvel Minimates line.


Luke is the character in the set that’s most clearly in need of an update. Luke’s previously had two figures of very differing looks. They’re both from way back in the line, so they’re pretty dated (and one of them wasn’t particularly good even when he was released). Luke also marks a bit of a change for the Best Of series; he depicts the character in a look previously not seen in Minimates. Luke’s look is the one he sported while leading the Thunderbolts a few years ago. It’s probably my favorite of his recent looks, so no complaints there. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and he features 14 points of articulation. He’s built on the standard Minimate body, with additional pieces for the hands/gauntlets, the belt, and the tops of the boots. All of these pieces are re-use; the hands are from Series 47’s Colossus, the belt is from the X-Factor boxed set Iceman, and the boot pieces were first used on the two Iron Men is Series 25. The gauntlets sit a little too low on the arms, but other than that, these pieces off a pretty spot on take on this version of Luke. The paintwork on this figure is pretty topnotch. Everything is clean and even, the colors are nice and bold, and the detail work is nice and sharp. Under the sculpted belt, there’s a painted one, with a “CAGE” buckle, which looks really great. It’s little details like this that ca make or break a figure. Luke includes a spare set of arms and hands, an extra sunglass-wearing head, a knit cap (from the TRU exclusive Vigilante Spider-Man), a jacket (from Knight Rider’s Michael Knight), and a clear display stand. The extra pieces allow you to switch Cage into his early 2000s look. This is nice, because it was his main look for several years, and the previous ’mate was pretty bad.


Iron Fist isn’t quite as desperately in need of an update, but both of his prior ‘mates were just a slight bit off. Iron Fist is presented here in the look he sported when his comic was relaunched a few years ago. He’s had this look on and off for a little while, and it’s a nice update on his original costume. The figure is about 2 ½ inches in height and he sports 14 points of articulation. He’s built on the usual body, with add-ons for his mask and sash. The mask is from the Series 38 Iron fist and the sash is from the very first Toyfare exclusive Iron Fist. Both pieces are well done, and reusing them for this particular version is a smart move. Just like with Luke, Iron Fist’s paint is really superb. One of my issues with the previous Iron Fist was how washed out the colors were, and that’s certainly not an issue here. The colors are all very bold, and all of the detail work is nice and sharp. Iron Fist definitely one-ups Luke in the accessory department, and since Luke wasn’t lacking, that’s a pretty great! He includes a spare torso and arms to allow for a bare-chested look, bandaged wrapped hands (hailing from the Tomb Raider line), a pair of wrapped wrist pieces (which were previously seen on Street Fighter VS Tekken’s Heihachi), an extra hair piece (originally used on Terminator 2’s Kyle Reese), a pair of “iron fists” so to speak (first seen with Series 48’s Human Torch), a flame base (also from Human Torch), a jumping base, and a clear display stand. That’s quite a lot of extra pieces, and they allow for a huge selection of different looks. In particular, I’m happy to see the new bandaged hands included, as they are a big improvement over the pieces used on the last Iron Fist.


I got these two courtesy of my local comicbook store Cosmic Comix. The original Power Man and Iron Fist set was long one of my grails, after missing out on its initial release. I actually just acquired that set last year. While it certainly still has some sentimental value, it was definitely a set that showed its age. This set, while it doesn’t offer direct updates to those two, offers a very nice set of replacements. The sheer volume of extra pieces included with both figures is truly amazing, and I really hope this is a trend that Diamond continues. This is a really great set, and I’m very happy to have it.

#0047: Iron Man & The Thing Minimates



Look!  It’s more Minimates!  Yes, I’ll be looking at even more Minimates, once again from the Marvel line.  This time I’ll be looking at a set from the “Best Of” sub series.  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.  I’ll be taking a look at Iron Man and the Thing from that line.


These guys were released as part of the first “Best Of” series of Marvel Minimates.


First up is Iron Man.  He’s depicted in his classic red and yellow armor he wore for most of the 60s and 70s.  Unlike previous minimates of this particular look, the yellow is actually yellow on this one, instead of Gold.  Iron Man is built on the basic minimate body, so he’s about 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He features a sculpted helmet and belt, as well as sculpted boot and glove cuffs.  Paint-wise, the details are all well done, though some of the red paint is a little thin in places, and seems a bit fuzzy on the edges of the boots and gloves.  But since those are meant to be covered by the cuff pieces, it’s not really an issue.  Iron Man also features an extra left hand in a repulsor pose, a flying stand, and a hairpiece to display him sans helmet.  These are all reused pieces, but they work well here.


Next is Benjamin J Grimm, The Ever-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Thing.  Ben’s look is a bit more difficult to nail down than IM’s.  I think it’s meant to be Ben in his look from the mid 2000s, after he switched back to shorts from pants, but I can’t be certain.  The “4” on the belt buckle is throwing me off.   Anyway, he’s built on the basic minimate body, but with sculpted hands and feet instead of the regular ones.  As such, he stands a bit taller than IM and has 12 points of articulation.  In addition to the sculpted hands and feet, Ben’s other sculpted pieces are: Headpiece, upper arms, torso, waist and upper legs.  These are all slip over pieces, and have been used on previous Thing figures.  With that many sculpted pieces, the paint work on Ben is minimal.  He’s got detailing on his face, and on his belt and that’s about it.  They’re both clean and well done.  Ben also includes a clear display stand.


I didn’t buy this set when it was initially released, as I already had a few classic Iron Men, and my default version of the Thing is the look John Byrne gave him in the 80s.  However, my comic book store was having a sale on minimates, and had these guys for about 40% off, so I decided to pick them up.  While the Thing is still not my go to, I think the Iron Man may very well become my new default Iron Man.