#3301: Insulated Spider-Man & Electro



In 2009, we were between cinematic versions of Spider-Man, so all of his toy tie-ins were sticking closely to the comics for their inspiration.  This was especially true of Marvel Minimates, who had three dedicated assortments just for comic Spidey, as well as working him into some of the mixed assortments.  Wedged in the middle of the themed set-ups was today’s set, a variant of Spider-Man and one of his classic foes, Electro!


Insulated Spider-Man and Electro were initially released in the fourth TRU-exclusive assortment of Marvel Minimates, before getting a follow-up release in Series 30 of the main line.  The set from this review was the specialty release, but the two sets were effectively identical apart from packaging.


“This alternate costume was created by Spider-Man to counter the devastating electricity powers of the super-villain Electro. By utilizing non-conductive materials and building on his original ‘rubber air mattress’ design, he defeated Electro with ease.”

Introduced in 1997’s Amazing Spider-Man #425, Spider-Man’s Electro Proof Insulated Suit was crafted to battle Electro’s increased powers of the ’90s.  It had graced toy form before during Toy Biz’s run with the license, but with this it had a Minimate.  Different!  The figure was based on the standard post-C3 ‘mate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  His only add-on is a full face-mask piece.  They were standard for Spidey for a brief span of time, but this assortment actually dropped that; the only reason this particular figure got the piece was for the extra padded design.  Everything else is handled with paint.  There’s quite a lot going on, but it does a great job of capturing the design of the costume as seen in the comics.  Under the bulked up mask is a standard Spidey mask.  It’s unfortunately saddled with the peg hole in the head, but otherwise it was really great, and the red was designed to be an exact match for the standard Spidey from Series 24 of the main line, allowing a replacement of his bulked up mask piece from the original release.  Spider-Man was without any extras for this release.


“Given super-human powers by a freak electrical accident, Max Dillon was transformed from an average electric company lineman into the super-villain known as Electro! Able to absorb and manipulate near-limitless amounts of electricity, Electro can only be defeated by shorting out or overloading his powers.”

This marked Electro’s introduction to this line.  While there were another four variants of the character to follow, but this is to date the only one based upon his classic design.  He got three add-on pieces for this release, for his mask and his two glove cuffs.  All three were all-new pieces.  The mask was a little bit deep at the front, but was otherwise a good piece.  The cuffs take what would become the standard approach for the flared gloves, and add the electric effects to the ends.  His paint work is respectable enough; the colors are nice and bold, and the line work is quite detailed.  There’s a ton of work on the face, which would perhaps be overboard on another character, but actually kind of works for Max.  Electro was packed with two electricity effects pieces, shared with Series 29’s Storm.


I bought this set new from my go-to place for Minimates at the time, Cosmic Comix.  I remember being pretty happy about getting an Electro, and the Insulated Spider-Man was certainly a cool design.  The figures both suffer from a little bit of production issues cropping up, but they’re both pretty good overall, and neither found themself with any real replacement.

#3296: WWII Wolverine & Hydra Agent



In 2009, we weren’t yet into the actual MCU proper, so we had to make due with our only Marvel movie of the year being X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  Dark times, I know.  There was, of course, a proper tie-in assortment of Marvel Minimates for the movie, but the line also had a fair number of Wolverine-themed comics-based ‘mates.  There was a largely Wolverine-themed assortment in its entirety, but then they also worked him into the mixed assortments as well.  For Series 29, there were two sets, focussing on old and new.  Today, I’m looking at the old.


WWII Wolverine and the Hydra Agent were the variant set for Series 29 of Marvel Minimates.  The Hydra Agent was the shared army builder between the two sets, with WWII Wolverine swapping in for the X-Force Wolverine from the standard set.


“Before he joined the X-Men as Wolverine, Canadian soldier James Howlett served alongside Captain America, Bucky and others during World War II – something Wolverine himself only discovered after the memories of his past were restored.”

Wolverine’s past, specifically his service during the second World War, has been a subject that’s been rattling around the Marvel universe since early in his comics career.  With Origins‘ renewal of interest in the era, this made for a sensible choice of design for this assortment in 2009.  The figure is based on the standard post-C3 ‘mate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He makes use of four add-on pieces, for his helmet, jacket, and sleeve cuffs.  He also gets a set of tweaked hands featuring his pre-Adamantium bone claws.  The helmet came from the DC Minimates Sgt Rock, the jacket from Platoon‘s Sgt Barnes, the sleeves from BttF‘s Marty McFly, and the hands from the “Wolverine Through the Ages” Weapon X.  Aside from the helmet not having any trace of Logan’s hair, making him look kind of bald with it removed, the parts do their job pretty well, so that’s actually pretty cool.  The paint work on this guy is pretty drab, but that’s expected.  It’s not a bad look at all, and there’s actually some really nice detail work going into some of it.  The head was consistent with the other comics Logan ‘mates at the time, and he’s even got a fully detailed shirt on the torso block under the jacket.  I also really dig the “X” on the helmet; it’s a fun touch.  Wolverine was packed with an alternate hairpiece (one of the Origins tie-in ones), a spare set of standard hands, and a Thompson machine gun (also re-used from Sgt Rock).


“The loyal minions of super-villains such as the Red Skull and Baron von Strucker, HYDRA Agents are bent on world domination through terrorist attacks and dangerous experimental technologies.”

The Hydra Agent marked the line’s fourth go at the army builder concept for the re-pack figure.  He’s a pretty classic one, and one that was at the top of everyone’s lists when the concept was first discussed.  It was kind of a big deal, really.  How’d it go?  Umm…about that… So, right out of the box, he’s got six add-on pieces.  All of them are re-use, with the standard full-face mask piece, the DC-style flared gloves, Emil Blonski‘s torso cap, the skirt from BSG’s Laura Roslin, and Assault Punisher’s holster.  They were clearly trying to get the most out of re-used parts here, and it largely works.  The real issue’s with the torso piece, which just doesn’t quite feel like it fits the usual style of Hydra Agents.  The paint is where the mixed bag really comes into play here.  Series 29 and 30 mark DST really trying to go more in-depth on the line-work for Minimates, so there was a lot more smaller detailing and creative shading, and things just generally looking more scratchy and sketchy.  The face on the full face mask for this figure is kind of a victim of that; there’s just really way too much detailing going on, and it gets kind of distracting.  There was a push on these figures to add alternate looks, and that certainly helped this one a little bit; removing the mask, gloves, and torso cap reveals a slightly more classic Hydra Agent, which is generally an improvement.  Unfortunately, due to a mix-up at the factory, this guy wound up getting a head with a peg-hole at the top, which can become just a touch distracting.  Also, I’ve never been much of a fan of the figure’s coloring.  They went for two shades of green, rather than the usual yellow and green, and the two shades are much closer than I’d like.  Throw in that both shades are rather on the dull side, and the whole thing becomes rather muddy looking.  In addition to all the removable add-on pieces, the Hydra Agent also got a pistol, an assault rifle, and Blonski’s night vision goggles, but in a matching green.


I was actually pretty excited about this set when it was announced.  Sgt Rock was one of those unexpected favorites of mine from the DC line, and I liked being able to expand his set-up just a bit with this version of Wolverine.  I’d also really been wanting Hydra Agents for a while.  When I finally got the set, I was admittedly underwhelmed.  Wolverine’s certainly not a bad variant, but he’s also not really meant to be the selling point.  The Hydra Agent showed a lot of promise, but ultimately has a lot of little issues that add-up to him not being so great.  Thankfully, there was a later variant that improved on him, but until then, this was all we had.

#3291: Tactical Wolverine & Marvel Now Magneto



For the last few years of Fox’s hold on the X-Men film rights, Disney actively discouraged licensees from doing any direct tie-ins with Fox’s movie releases.  So, while we got tie-in assortments for both X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Wolverine from Minimates, the last of the solo Wolverine films, Logan, went without.  To tie-in with the general themes, however, there was still a comics-based Wolverine assortment in the main line, as well as a corresponding TRU-exclusive.  Today, I’m looking at the TRU-exclusive.


Tactical Wolverine and Marvel Now Magneto were released in the 23rd TRU-exclusive assortment of Marvel Minimates, alongside two shared sets from Series 72 of the main specialty line.


“A verteran of many wars, the slow-aging Logan has acquired a great many human combat skills to complement his natural animal instincts.”

As the 65th version of Wolverine to grace the line, Tactical Wolverine definitely comes from a place of “what more can we do to make different versions of this one guy?”  The answer, as it turns out, is add a headband and a vest.  Very exciting stuff, really.  The figure is based on the standard post-c3 ‘mate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He’s got add-ons for his hair and vest, plus the adjusted hands and feet with the claws and signature boots.  The hair is the same piece unmasked hair piece that had been in use for a few years at this point, and the hands and feet were the same set-up.  The vest appears to be a unique part.  It’s alright.  Kinda soft on the details, but not the worst.  The paint work on this guy gives him his brown costume, and it’s actually pretty crisp and clean.  I definitely dig the extra stubble on his face; it looks really cool.  For accessories, he’s packed with a mask piece, so that you can convert him to a proper Brown Costume Wolverine, as well as a clear display stand.


“Max Eisenhardt has been both friend and foe to the X-Men over the years. His magnetic powers make him one of the most powerful mutants on Earth.”

Ah, yes, Marvel Now.  Or, I guess Marvel Then at this point, since none of it stuck.  Well, except for Magneto going monochromatic, I guess.  Yay.  Glad that stuck.  Big fan of that.  There were a few different versions of his costume in play.  This one’s sleeveless and black.  He’s got add-ons for his helmet, cape, belt and wrist cuffs.  The belt and cuffs appear to be new, while the cape is a re-use from the Avengers Vs X-Men Scarlet Witch and the helmet is from the Series 50 Onslaught.  The parts are all pretty respectable matches for the source material, so that’s cool.  His paint, monochromatic though it may be, is pretty crisp and clean, and just quite nice looking.  His head gets full face detailing, as well as ears, since Magneto was bald at the time he had this look.  He’s still got the hole in his head, of course, but, you know, there it is.  Magneto’s packed with both a flight stand and a clear display stand.  The flight stand is a bit too small, so his foot doesn’t actually securely stay put, which makes balancing him a real…well, balancing act, I suppose.


None of these sets really appealed to me at the time of their release, largely due to me not having a whole lot of money to throw at Minimates.  I got these for the same reason I got most of the Minimates of the same era: TRU was going out of business and they were cheap.  Both figures are pretty nice, all things considered, but they’re also both non-essential looks, which makes this set as a whole kind of extraneous.  Still, they’re not bad.

#3286: Nebula & Drax



“Set to the all-new sonic backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos! The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand.”

On December 20 of 2017, I noted in the intro to my Minimates Taserface and Mantis review that I hadn’t picked up the Toys R Us-exclusive Nebula and Drax two-pack. Well, the times they are a-changin…in the spring of 2018…when I actually bought this set.  And…then I took quite a few years to actually review it.  And I’m probably making it worse by drawing attention to it here.  But, you know what, I’m just going for it.


Nebula and Drax were the TRU-exclusive pack in the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 tie-in assortment of Marvel Minimates, hitting about two months before the film’s release in 2017.  This pair rounded out the titular team from the film.


For the first movie, Nebula was exclusive to the specialty assortment, while this time around flipped the script and moved her over to TRU.  Still exclusive, but differently so, I suppose.  This release places her in her updated outfit she gets from the Ravagers mid-way through the film.  It’s not crazy different, but it’s got sleeves, and it’s a little redder.  The figure is based on the standard post-C3 Minimate body, so she’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation.  Like her first release, Nebula is a vanilla ‘mate with no add-ons.  It makes sense, since she’s pretty svelte, and has no notable things that would require anything extra on the standard body.  Nebula’s paint is where the main work is going on.  The detail work is pretty solid; she gets things toned down a bit compared to the previous version, but it’s still impressive, as is the base color work.  Nebula is packed with a blaster pistol and a clear display stand.


Drax’s look is the least changed of the main characters in the second Guardians, which makes this release seem pretty unneeded at first glance.  However, this one was largely used to correct an issue with the last release, which bulked him up with a bulky chest piece, generally seen as not the greatest choice for the character.  This one’s only sculpted add-on is a generic pelvis cap piece, which gives him a little more bulk without going too overboard.  Beyond the change of sculpt there are also some changes in terms of paint.  The upper half of the figure is fairly similar to the first movie version, but just a touch crisper on the details.  He also gets the blue Nova uniform pants, rather than the all-black ones, which feature a fair bit more detailing than the all-black ones from the first film.  Drax is packed with his two knives and a clear display stand.


While I got the whole Specialty assortment for this movie within a few months after their release, I held off on this one, for a few reasons.  Firstly, I hadn’t gone out and actually tried to find them, and moreover, I was content with the prior versions.  But, with TRU going out of business in 2018, I had another chance at them, for a much better deal.  Nebula I can take or leave; the first one is still a favorite of mine, so this one’s just different to be different.  Drax is actually an improvement, and I quite like the changes they’ve made here.

#3256: Sakaar Loki & Heimdall



“In Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok, Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok – the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization – at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger – the Incredible Hulk!”

For movies prior to Thor: Ragnarok, Diamond Select’s Minimates line-ups typically relied on a mix of a couple of different retailers carrying two-pack assortments, but beginning with Ragnarok, the specialty assortment was replaced by a boxed set, augmented by exclusive two-packs at both TRU and Walgreens.  For Ragnarok, Walgreens took two exclusive packs, while TRU took one, which is the one I’ll be looking at today.  Let’s have a look at Sakaar Loki and Heimdall!


Sakaar Loki and Heimdall are, as noted in the intro, the one proper TRU-exclusive set for the Marvel Minimates tie-ins for Ragnarok.  Interestingly enough, this was the second time the two characters had been packed together in the line, as they were also paired for the Dark World tie-in assortment as well.


Surprisingly enough, Loki was actually the character with the most ‘mates for Ragnarok, edging out even his brother Thor, and netting one variant for each of the three release venues for the movie’s tie-ins.  This one is based on what he wears for the bulk of the movie, while running around on Sakaar.  It’s not quite as true to the character as his final battle attire, but it’s still pretty decent.  The figure is built on the standard post-C3 minimate body, so he stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Loki’s got three sculpted add-on pieces, for his hair, belt, and cape.  The belt and cape were shared with the boxed set Loki, while the hair was a new piece shared with the civilian Loki released on the Walgreens side of this assortment.  I find the hair to be a little bit bulky for Loki in Ragnarok, but it’s generally not bad, and the cape is still one of my favorites.  Loki’s paint work is a little cleaner than his boxed set equivalent, with no major issues with slop or bleed over.  He’s also a little more colorful, which is true to the Sakaar design.  I’m not as big on the facial expression for this one, which is rather bland, and feels like it has too many lines for Hiddleston.  Loki’s only accessory is a clear display stand, which is rather on the light side.


Heimdall’s only prior coverage in the line was his Dark World release, which actually wasn’t bad, and is also his fully armored attire, which was distinctly different from his on the run look from Ragnarok.  Heimdall gets two sculpted add-ons, for his hair and for his cloak/coat.  The hair is an alright piece, though it certainly feels rather too kempt for Heimdall’s look in Ragnarok.  Where Loki’s piece seemed too bulky and long, this one feels too tame and short.  The chest piece is also…it’s just not great.  Making the whole thing one piece means that the right arm is effectively trapped in place, and the legs and waist are also pretty restricted, and on top of that, the neck can’t really do much either, so he’s just generally not really posable.  And, to add insult to injury, the piece is just flat out not accurate to the character’s look, like at all.  It’s got him wearing some sort of heavy coat and multiple layers, when in the movie he’s got a sleeveless shirt and a simple pair of pants on under the cloak.  I’m not sure if this was based on early concept art or what, but it’s just not really right, and the figure would have really been better off if this piece had just been the cloak, rather than the whole thing.  The paint work doubles down on the inaccuracy of the sculpted pieces, resulting in a kind of dull look for the figure.  Heimdall is packed with his sword, as well as a clear display stand.


There was a whole slew of 2017 releases for Minimates that I had to skip on when they dropped, and almost the entirety of the Ragnarok line-up was on that list, this set included.  This one was snagged from TRU during the beginnings of their clearing out of their products in 2018.  Loki’s okay, but not as definitive as the boxed set version.  Heimdall is rough, I’m not gonna lie.  He’s not accurate, and he’s not a particularly fun figure either.  This set’s generally kind of weak.

#3251: Gladiator Hulk & Valkyrie



“In Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok, Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok – the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization – at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger – the Incredible Hulk!”

In order to really maximize the depth of characters covered, Thor: Ragnarok‘s Minimates line-up split itself amongst a number of venues.  There was a core boxed set at specialty, and then the rest went to TRU and Walgreens.  In order to properly spread the heavy hitters around, Valkyrie and Hulk, who were both absent from the main boxed set, found themselves distributed in two-pack form.  I’m taking a look at that particular two-pack today!


Gladiator Hulk and Valkyrie were one of the two carry-over packs for the Thor: Ragnarok tie-in line up of Marvel Minimates.  While the other carry-over pack, Thor and Hela, was also available as part of the boxed set, Hulk and Valkyrie were available only in the store-exclusive line-ups.


Ragnarok‘s role for Hulk partially adapts his “Planet Hulk” storyline from the comics, which includes his time as a gladiator on Sakaar, a rather distinctive look for the character.  That was, of course, the look that served as the basis for all the tie-in merch, which certainly made a lot of sense.  The figure is using the standard ‘mate body, so he’s technically starting out at 2 1/4 inches tall with 14 points of articulation.  That being said, the extra parts on this guy wind up removing the ankle movement, while also granting him an extra half inch of height.  Hulk has 11 sculpted add-on pieces, for his helmet, chest cap, upper arms, hands, thighs, feet, and torso extender.  The upper arms, thighs, and torso extender are all re-used from previous bulked up releases, while the rest of the parts are all-new to this particular figure.  The sculpting is generally pretty good, and certainly consistent with other bulked up figures.  He’s definitely falling more into that realm of a little bit over sculpted and busy for my personal taste on Minimates, but he’s not awful.  The paint work on the figure is about what you’d expect.  With as much sculpting as there is, most of the paint is base coverage, with limited detail line work.  What detail line work is there, however, is pretty sharp, and I especially like the white markings on the skin.  Gladiator Hulk is packed with an alternate hairpiece (a re-use of the Zombie Hulk piece), his hammer an axe from the arena fight, and a clear display stand.


Making her debut in the MCU side of the line, and getting her first Minimate since 2007’s Defenders boxed set, Valkyrie was certainly a welcome addition in this set.  She’s based on her early in the film look, which is consistent with the design choices for most of the others from the line, barring only the alternate Loki from the boxed set.  Valkyrie makes use of three add-on pieces for her hair, cape, and belt/skirt.  All three pieces were new for this release, and they do a respectable job of capturing the design of the character from the movie, and translating that into ‘mate form.  The paint work on the figure does most of the heavy lifting here.  There’s a fair bit of small detail work, especially on the costume’s darker sections, which get a lot of highlights detailing.  The face does seem a tad generic for Tessa Thompson, especially the expression, but it’s not terrible, I suppose.  Valkyrie is packed with her sword Dragonfang (a new sculpt for this release) as well as two knives, and a clear display stand.


I slept on a lot of the 2017 minimates, so I didn’t actually wind up getting this one until TRU started clearing stuff out in 2018.  I picked up a lot of Minimates that way.  I may have been part of the problem, I suppose.  Gladiator Hulk is a strong take on a unique design.  Even removed from the movie, he’s still got some validity to him.  Valkyrie is a character that’s far too scarce in Minimates, so it’s nice that the movie at least got her one more.  She’s a little more basic, but there’s nothing wrong with that.

#3246: Man-Thing & Spyder-Knight



As one of Disney’s main focuses when it first launched, Ultimate Spider-Man makes up a large part of the early Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Minimates assortments.  It’s not that hard to see why, since it gave them plenty of free reign to do all sorts of Spidey variants, especially with the show running its own take on “Spider-Verse” at the time, as well as still supporting a sizeable stable of other supporting players from around the Marvel Universe.  It certainly made for some interesting pairings.  One of those pairings was Man-Thing and Spyder-Knight, whom I’ll be taking a look at today!


Man-Thing and Spyder-Knight were released in Series 2.5 of Walgreens’ Marvel Minimates run.  This marked the last half-series before that rather odd concept was abandoned for standard numbering schemes.  Both figures in this pack are based on their appearances on the Ultimate Spider-Man show.


“Man-Thing is a member of SHIELD’s Howling Commandos. This ‘big guy,’ overwhelms the enemy with his plant-based powers.”

It’s Ted!  He’s suddenly all relevant and stuff!  Awesome!  When the Walgreens-exclusive sets first launched, DST ran a fan-poll, designed to utilize the more obscure guest characters from the animated shows in order to grant unmade characters their first chance at ‘mate-dom.  The winners of said poll were Man-Thing and the previously-reviewed Squirrel Girl, who were both split up and thrown in with a respective Spidey variant for their troubles.  Hey, at least they got made.  This guy was built with the standard ‘mate body at his core, so he’s about 2 1/2 inches tall (thanks to the various add-ons) and he’s technically still got the 14 points of articulation, though he can’t actually make use of most of the joints because of his construction.  He makes use of 10 add-on pieces, with a unique head/torso cover, as well as the bulked-up parts for his shoulders, hands, thighs, and feet, and a torso extender piece.  This allows the figure to maintain Man-Thing’s larger stature.  It also means disposing of the standard head entirely, so there’s that.  The new torso and head does a solid job of recreating Man-Thing’s comics look, especially with the face and the texturing of the shoulders.  The rest of the parts don’t have any sculpted elements, but it ultimately works out alright.  The paint work on the figure is largely just the same drab green, with a little bit of accenting and just a little but of line work on the limbs.  It’s not a lot, but it’s enough to get his design down well.  Man-Thing is packed with a clear display stand.


“A Spider-Man from medieval universe, this vigilante protects the town of York. He wears a suit of armor with retractable wrist blades.”

Spyder-Knight was a new creation for Ultimate Spider-Man, though he made use of a concept that had been floating around prior to the cartoon’s use of it.  He’s got non-standard upper arms and a new set of gauntlets.  With the add-ons only on the arms, he does wind up a little bit simian in his appearance.  I don’t think it’s quite what they were going for.  My figure has both of his gauntlets fused to the arms, so they can’t be posed or removed, which is kind of a bummer.  The paint work also seems surprisingly drab in its color scheme, but I guess after looking at screen caps, that’s just how he’s supposed to look.  The line work is at least pretty sharp, so there’s that.  Spyder-Knight is packed with an alternate gauntlet with a wrist blade, which my figure can’t actually use due to the previously mentioned issue with the gauntlets not being removable, as well as a clear display stand.


The distribution on the exclusives was kind of a mess early on for these, so despite this pack being released in 2016, I didn’t actually find one of these in-store until early 2018, when things really started getting out there.  Man-Thing’s one time as a Minimate turned out pretty well.  The animated stylings mean that he doesn’t have as in-depth a sculpt, but I actually prefer him that way.  Spyder-Knight wasn’t the reason I was buying the set, and he’s not particularly that good either.  He’s kind of just a space filler.

#3241: Thor & Nighthawk



Early in the run of Walgreens taking their own exclusive sets of Minimates, everything was completely animation based, drawing from Ultimate Spider-ManAvengers Assemble, and Guardians of the Galaxy.  While this meant there was a lot of re-hashing of the heavy hitters in their animated designs, it also allowed DST to sneak in a few lower tier characters with animated appearances who had not yet shown up in the main line.  Avengers Assemble‘s inclusion of the Squadron Supreme in particular was taken advantage of, giving us a whole line-up of those wacky not-the-Justice-League guys.  Today, I’m looking at one of those Squadron-inspired sets.


Thor and Nighthawk were released in Series 2.5 of Walgreens’ exclusive Marvel Minimates.  Yes, there’s a .5 in there.  For some reason, the first four assortments at Walgreens used the half-series numbering.  They abandoned it after this one, presumably because it was just kind of confusing.


“The Prince of Asgard, where magic and science are the same, Thor uses his hammer, Mjolnir, to protect Earth as an Avenger.”

Slowly bust surely, DST pieced out the animated versions of the core Avengers, intermixed with their alternate universe “Dark Avengers” counterparts.  Thor’s Dark version came first in Series 2, and the standard followed shortly after.  The figure is based on the standard post-c3 base body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Thor gets three add-on pieces, for his helmet/hair, cape, and belt.  The cape is re-used from the DCD Superman, while the helmet and belt were first used for the Dark Thor in the prior assortment.  It’s a clean set of pieces that match up well with the character’s animated appearance, and sit well on the base body.  The paint work on this figure is pretty solid.  It’s clean and simple, and it works well for the aesthetic they were aiming to capture.  He looks like the animation models, but also still fits in alright with the pre-established line.  Thor was packed with Mjolnir, a flight stand, and a display stand.


“Disguised as SHIELD Agent Kyle Richmond, Nighthawk secretly paved the way for the arrival of the corrupt Squadron Supreme.”

Despite his mainstream counterpart bouncing around amongst a number of teams and not being *absurdly* obscure, Nighthawk was not able to get any ‘mate coverage until he showed up in animation.  I suppose it’s not the worst thing.  On the plus side, his animated counterpart kept the character’s classic costume design, so he can at least pull double duty very easily.  Nighthawk’s got two add-ons, one for his mask, and the other for his cape.  The headpiece is just the standard full-face mask, while the cape is an all-new one.  While I would have liked to see a proper sculpted piece on the mask, it’s a simple enough that the full-face set-up doesn’t look too terrible, and if it was either the mask or the cape, they definitely made the right choice.  The cape is really nicely handled, and sits quite well on the figure’s shoulders.  Nighthawk’s paint work is clean, colorful, and a good half step between the animation and the comics, which I certainly appreciate.  There’s a full face under the mask, and he’s also got an extra hair piece (borrowed from BttF‘s Doc Brown) to show it off.  He also includes a clear display stand.


I’m gonna be honest, I don’t actually recall exactly how I got this set.  It was probably at a Walgreens, but it’s also entirely possible I got it second hand because I just really wanted the Nighthawk figure, and there was enough weirdness with the early Walgreens exclusives that I don’t remember exactly how these particular chips fell.  I do recall being excited about Nighthawk, but also kind of meh on another Thor.  Ultimately, Thor’s not terrible, and I don’t hate having him, but he’s certainly not the draw.  Nighthawk has to make due with the re-used head piece, but he’s otherwise really great, and I’m glad they were able to work him into the line one way or another.

#3211: Iron Man Mark 47 & Happy Hogan



Tying the movie more closely into the universe that spawned it, Spider-Man: Homecoming leans a fair bit on Iron Man and one notable member of his supporting cast.  Not only does Peter work directly with Tony Stark on a number of occasions, but long-term Iron Man supporting cast member Harold “Happy” Hogan also gets his largest roles in the MCU as part of its Spider-Man trilogy.  As a Happy Hogan fan since way back when nobody knew who Happy Hogan was, I’m all about that.


Iron Man Mark 47 and Happy Hogan were the TRU-exclusive set for the Spider-Man: Homecoming tie-in assortment of Marvel Minimates.  Due to weird licensing, the Spidey and non-Spidey characters supposedly couldn’t actually cross over in the tie-ins, so these two are isolated off on their own.  It’s not the worst thing, though, since, you know, the two of them do kind of tie together…even if Happy and Tony don’t actually interact while Tony’s in Iron Man mode.  Still, it’s really not that weird.  I’m making it weird.  I’ll stop.


Iron Man’s no stranger to Minimates, especially not when it comes to the MCU.  This was his 72nd Minimate overall and his 31st MCU-based released.  This one’s based on his briefly used suit from Homecoming, which was itself inspired, at least in terms of coloring, by the Ultimate version of the character from the comics.  The figure is based on the standard post-c3 base body, and as such is about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He features an add-on for his chest plate, as well as unique pieces for his upper arms and hands.  All of the non-standard pieces were new to this figure, which is mostly surprising because this armor was really just a quick recolor of the Mark 46 in the movie, and the Mark 46 minimates all just used the Mark 42 tooling again.  These parts are a lot less clunky, though, and generally follow the sleeker design of the armor, so I generally appreciate them.  Additionally, this figure has the interesting change of not getting a helmet piece, and instead just using the standard head.  I’m not entirely sure why that was the way they went, but it’s not a terrible look.  The paint work on this guy is pretty decent.  The metallic red is super slick, and all of the line-work is nice and sharp.  The figure is packed with a flight stand and a clear display stand.


Believe it or not, this isn’t the first Happy Hogan Minimate.  Heck, it’s not even the first one I’ve reviewed on the site.  In fact, with this release, I’ll have a review of every Happy Hogan figure there is.  That’s commitment.  Or crazy.  Or there’s only three of them, and it’s ultimately nothing.  Happy has add-on pieces for his hair, jacket, and tie.  The hair piece is re-used I’m pretty sure, but it’s a solid match for Favreau’s hair style in the movie.  The jacket and tie are the World of the Psychic Venkman jacket and Spirit tie combo that they rocked for a while there, which is a pretty good set-up.  The paint work includes an improved likeness from the IM2 release, as well as actual detailing for the belt, which is pretty nifty.  Happy is packed with a clear display stand, which isn’t a lot, but it’s something.


I had to get kind of picky with what I was buying when these were first released, so I had to skip them, on the basis that I didn’t really need another Iron Man variant, and I already had one Happy Hogan.  But, then TRU was going under, and things were marked down, and I didn’t have this specific Happy Hogan, so, you know, I went for it.  Mark 47 is an improvement on the over designed nature of MCU Iron Men at the time, and I do really like that.  Happy is an improvement on the prior version, and I can definitely dig it.

#3201: Homemade Suit Spider-Man & Vulture



Through all of the iterations of cinematic Spider-Man, we’ve gotten a respectable coverage of his rogue’s gallery.  To the credit of, pretty much all of them, really, they do a good job of avoiding doubling down on anyone of them too much.  For the MCU’s first outing with the character, they chose to highlight one of the character’s oldest foes, and in fact his oldest foe to be adapted into live action, the Vulture.  I’m taking a look at the Vulture, as well as a variant of Spidey from the movie today!


Homemade Suit Spider-Man and Vulture were one of the shared sets between specialty Series 73 and the TRU-exclusive Homecoming tie-in series of Marvel Minimates.


Despite not being all snazzy, and not being the main focus of all of the marketing, Peter Parker’s homemade Spidey suit (seen very briefly in Civil War before getting its full focus in Homecoming) becomes his primary suit during the film’s final act, making it the natural pairing to go with the film’s main villain.  The figure is based on the standard post-C3 base body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He makes use of three add-on pieces, for the hood and the two gloves. The hood is re-used from TRU Series 21’s Spider-Gwen, and is a decent enough match for what he’s got in the movie.  It’s also easily removed if you don’t want the hood pulled up look.  The gloves appear to have been new pieces.  They’re pretty cool looking fingerless gloves.  It’s hard to go wrong with fingerless gloves.  The pant work on this Spidey is pretty decent.  The base work is nice and clean, and the line work hits all of the important notes. The figure is packed with a webline and a clear display stand.  Same as it ever was.


Michael Keaton’s Vulture is the best part of Homecoming, which is an awesome thing to say, considering that it’s generally just a really solid movie.  But Keaton really stands out.  His figure makes use of 7 add-on pieces, for his helmet, jacket, wings, gauntlets, and leg gear.  All of the add-ons were all-new to this release.  They’re generally pretty decent.  Perhaps a little bit on the rudimentary side in terms of detailing, and the wings might be more fun if they were separately articulated.  But, the look is definitely covered, and he at least looks unique.  His paint work is reasonable enough.  Like the sculpt, he’s a little soft in terms of the detailing, but the face under the helmet’s at least got a pretty solid likeness of Keaton.  In order to facilitate seeing the face, he’s got an alternate hair piece, as well as both a flight stand and a standard display stand.


I was in a trickier financial spot in 2017, so I didn’t get much in the way of new stuff, especially in terms of Minimates.  So, instead of buying these new, I wound up getting them a year later, during TRU’s going out of business clear out.  Homemade Spidey is a respectable variant, and he’s decently rendered for the style.  Vulture’s not the line at its greatest, and perhaps suffers a bit from over sculpting, but he’s also not bad.  Just sort of average.