CARNAGE, DOCTOR OCTOPUS, LIZARD & SANDMAN
One of the greatest rogues galleries in comics is the Spider-Man rogues gallery. When you take into account that his main competition for that spot is Batman, a character that has been around for an extra 20 years, it’s a pretty impressive feat. With Minimates, getting Spider-Man’s rogues proved a bit tricky. Thanks to the multi-pack format, each spider-villain was bound to be packed with yet another variant of Spidey. However, Diamond has been getting more inventive with their sets, and just recently, they finally offered a set of Spider-Man villains with no Spider-Man included. Okay, it’s all figures with previous figures, but it’s the gesture that matters!
THE FIGURES TEMSELVES
This set was released in the title “Deadliest Foes of Spider-Man.” It was originally meant to be one of two exclusive sets carried by Action Figure Xpress, but they had to back out, leaving the sets in limbo. Minimate retailer Luke’s Toy Store stepped up and picked up this set as an exclusive to their store.
TENDRIL ATTACK CARNAGE
Carnage is the most recent character in this set, though he’s still over 20 years old, so I guess he’s still a “classic.” Generally, he’s not as well-known as Venom, the other Symbiote villain, but Venom has gotten his fair share of Minimates recently. The original Carnage Minimate from way back in Series 2 is generally considered to be one of the best of the early Minimates, so he’s definitely a tough act to follow. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and he features 14 points of articulation. Carnage has only ever had one basic look, so the figure unsurprisingly makes use of that look. He makes use of the basic Minimate body, with non-standard upper arms, a tendril add-on piece for the neck, a tendril hand, and an axe hand. The upper arms and neck piece were both previously seen on the “Venom: Through the Ages” Ann Weying. Since that figure was released, there’s been a campaign for those pieces to be used for Carnage, so it’s good to see that finally pan out. The hands are both brand-new, and they work pretty great for the character. I do kinda wish the tendril wasn’t quite as straight, but that’s a minor complaint. The big focus for Carnage is his paint. This was the strongest area of the very first Carnage, and I’m happy to say this one has surpassed him. The paint work on this figure is truly outstanding. Virtually every surface of the figure is covered in detail, which is not something you usually see on Minimates. Carnage includes an alternate Cletus Cassiday head (which re-uses the hair from Ghostbusters’ Janoz), an additional tendril hand, two claw hands, and a clear display stand.
ARM ATTACK DOCTOR OCTOPUS
Otto Octavius, aka Doctor Octopus, is probably the best known of the villains in this set. He’s also kinda dead right now, but his stint as the Superior Spider-Man just ended, so he’s still on everyone’s mind. The last proper Doc Ock Minimate was in the “Friends and Foes of Spider-Man” set from a few years ago. However, that set was riddled with horrible quality control, so Ock was in dire need of an update. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and features 18 points of articulation, courtesy of the extra arms. The figure is based on Ock’s classic green and yellow spandex look he sported throughout the 70s and 80s, which is the same look seen on both of his previous Minimates. The figure is built on the standard Minimate body, with additional pieces for his hair, torso, and his mechanical arms. These are all new pieces, and they are all really great for the character. The paint on Doc Ock is pretty good, though it could be a little better. The actual detail work is really great. Ock’s face is spot on for the character, and all the colors and such look just right. Unfortunately, the application of the yellow paint is rather sloppy, which is fairly distracting. It’s not enough to ruin the figure, but it is a little annoying. Doc Ock includes a spare set of lower arms which allow him to stand on them, and two display stands to facilitate this.
Curt Connors, aka The Lizard, is probably one of Spider-Man’s more tragic foes. He only becomes The Lizard due to his desire to grow back his missing right arm, and The Lizard is a personality entirely separate from his own. Curt Connors was a minor character in two of the Sam Rami Spider-Man movies, and The Lizard served as the primary antagonist in the first Amazing Spider-Man, so the character is certainly well enough known. He’s had one comic Minimate before, back in Series 37. That one was based on his design from his earlier appearances, whereas this one is meant to be based on his appearances in the 80s and 90s. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall, and in his default set up, he has 12 points of articulation. The Lizard is built on the same Minimate base as the other two, but he features a different set of lower legs, as well as clawed hands, a lab coat, and a slip-over lizard head. The lower legs originally saw release on the Movie Lizard in Series 46, and the coat was originally used on the Series 37 Lizard. Near as I can tell, the head and hands are new. The reused pieces are sensible, though I’m not 100% sold on the lower legs. They seem a little off. The head is better than I thought it would be. Prototype pictures made it look far too large, but in person it looks about right. The paint work on the Lizard is pretty good overall. He doesn’t have any real issues with slop, but it would be nice if there was a little bit more detail on the head, especially on the teeth. The Lizard has the best accessories assortment in the set; he includes a hair piece (re-used from the “Captain America: Through the Ages” Armored Cap), a lab coat and an alternate half arm (both from the Amazing Spider-Man Doctor Connors), an extra hand, and spare legs, allowing him to be converted into a comic-styled Curt Connors. The parts are excellently chosen, and fully assembled he’s a spot-on Connors figure!
Sandman is an early Spider-Man villain, but he’s had a more varied history than most. After fighting Spider-Man a few times, he joined up with the Fantastic Four villains The Frightful Four for a little while and then he even joined the Avengers, before once again returning to Spider-Man’s rogues gallery. Most notably, he was one of the villains in Spider-Man 3, which contributes a lot to his notoriety amongst the more casual fans. Sandman is no stranger to Minimates; he’s had two previous comic-styled Minimates and two Minimates based on his film appearance. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and features either 14 or 4 points of articulation, depending on how you set him up. He’s overall based on the character’s classic design, though I’m not 100% sure when he had the short sleeves. Right out of the box, the figure only makes use of the standard Minimate head and torso, with non-standard arms, and a sand base in place of his legs, as well as a sculpted hairpiece. The arms and sand base both were previously seen on the Series 18 Sandman, and the hair was first used on the Thunderbolts set’s Norman Osborn. The sand pieces work great, but I’m not sold on the hair. I didn’t particularly care for it on Norman, and I think it’s even less fitting on Sandman. It’s just too bulky to look right, especially in the back. The paint on Sandman is really great. All the base work is nice and clean, and the details are all really sharp. The face has just the right look for Sandman, which is great. Sandman includes spare arms and a regular lower half, allowing for him to be displayed as Flint Marko, as well as a clear display stand.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Like yesterday’s “Days of Future Past” set, I picked this set up from Luke’s Toy Store. Not that it should be a shock, what with it being a LTS exclusive and all. I’ve been pretty excited for this set pretty much since day one. It’s a really great set, and it fulfills several needed figures. Lizard is definitely my favorite, with Carnage not far behind. Were the QC on Ock a little better, I’d probably like him more, but as is, he’s a good update to an essential character. Sandman is the weakest in the set, mostly due to him being the only one with no new pieces and his look being a little off. Still, he’s not a bad figure, so I can’t complain. All in all, this is one of the best sets of Minimates put out this year, and that’s really saying something. So, if you’re a Spider-Man fan or a Minimate fan, or just a fan of good toys, head on over to Luke’s Toy Store and pick this set up. It’s worth it!
(Holy crap, that was a long review. I guess I had a lot to say…)