#2462: Civilian Logan & Juggernaut

CIVILIAN LOGAN & JUGGERNAUT

MARVEL MINIMATES

The first year of Marvel Minimates had assortments that were all themed, but when they entered their second year, most of the assortments got a little more mixed.  For Series 5, we really saw that kick in, with each two-pack representing a different facet of the Marvel Universe.  We got our first taste of the Avengers with the previously reviewed Captain America & Absorbing Man, as well as a return to the X-Men with today’s focus, Civilian Logan and Juggernaut.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Logan and Juggernaut were released in Series 5 of Marvel Minimates.  Both would also be included in a TRU 4-pack, alongside Battle-Damaged Daredevil and Masked Spider-Man, and Logan also hit Walmarts and Targets in a two-pack with Masked Spider-Man again.  A slightly tweaked version of Juggernaut was also included in the very easily found Darktide boxed set, meaning these two are definitely numerous.

CIVILIAN LOGAN

We got a civilian version of Wolverine in Series 3, but I guess we needed one more, because, you know, Wolverine.  This time, he doesn’t have the jacket, though, so I guess there’s that.  The figure uses the older basic body (with the long feet), so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He gets a new hair piece, which is a little wilder than the previous ones (it would be re-used a few times), and also re-uses the clawed hands from the prior three Wolverines.  It’s a fairly basic set-up, but it works well enough.  I myself am not the biggest fan of the larger Wolverine hair, however there’s certainly precedent.  The paint work is pretty strong on this guy.  He gets a far more detailed facial expression, which is really angry, and the torso block gets quite a bit of detailing, making it stand out a fair bit from these earlier ‘mates it was released alongside.  It’s a little weird that his feet are the same grey as the rest of the leg, but it doesn’t look terrible or anything.

JUGGERNAUT

Nothing stops the Juggernaut…is a surprising phrase to attach to this particular iteration of the character, because, quite frankly, he looks like he could be stopped by a stiff breeze.  The larger characters were still a ways away from getting any bulked up parts, so Juggernaut just gets his helmet and bracers.  It’s definitely a different look, and makes him look a lot punier than he should.  At least he has the slightly larger hands to give him something more.  That’s better than either Hulk or Venom got.  Juggernaut’s paint work isn’t quite as impressive as Logan’s, but there’s still quite a bit of detailing going on, especially on that face.  Speaking of his face, since Cain’s visage is pretty much entirely covered by his helmet, Juggernaut was the very first ‘mate to get an alternate hair piece to allow for a sans helmet display.  It’s not really the best piece ever, but it’s certainly better than nothing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had this set when it was new, but I can’t say it was ever really a favorite of mine or anything.  I mean, it was serviceable, but it was the first of the kind of unnecessary Wolverine variants that would come to plague the line, and Juggernaut feels somewhat underwhelming.  I ended up losing most of the parts to my originals, and got a replacement pair when All Time got their big Minimates collection in last year.  I still don’t really have much connection to them, but I can admit that they were both better than I recalled.

#2454: Captain America & Peggy Carter

CAPTAIN AMERICA & PEGGY CARTER

MARVEL MINIMATES

Even in these times of uncertainty for the line, Marvel Minimates has a fairly steady stream of new product always coming from at least one retailer…provided you can actually find any of that new product.  Walgreens has been great for getting lots of new ‘mates on the books, but in 2018, they started kind of having a bit of a back-up in their distribution process, and two years later we’re still kind of feeling it.  Officially hitting at the end of last year, Series 11 has a decent mix of things going for it, including today’s set, Captain America and Peggy Carter!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were part of the 11 Walgreens-exclusive set of Marvel Minimates, and are animation-based, specifically hailing from the Avengers Assemble show, though in the case of both ‘mates featured here, the movie-inspiration is also pretty strong.

1940s CAPTAIN AMERICA

“Given enhanced strength, speed and durability in a top-secret experiment, Steve Rogers became a symbol of hope for Americans in World War II.”

We’ve had a couple of these MCU-esque ’40s Caps in the line, and this one’s just another.  This marks the first time he’s been animated, though!  Structurally, Cap’s just got the one add-on piece for his helmet.  It’s a re-use from the ’40s Cap in the Series 55 assortment, which is fair enough.  That piece has always looked a bit better than the one we got from TFA‘s line, and its slightly streamlined appearance works a bit better with the more vanilla nature of this figure.  Everything else here is paint.  This is the animated recreation of the film design, so it dispenses with a number of the details for something a bit cleaner.  I rather like it, honestly.  There’s a definite simplicity to it, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad in the slightest.  Cap is packed with his shield, a spare hand with a connection for it, an alternate hair piece for an unmasked look, and a clear display stand.

AGENT PEGGY CARTER

“Peggy Carter, a British agent who knew Captain America during World War II, was briefly brought from 1949 to the present day by Kang the Conqueror.”

Since Minimates had claim to the only Peggy Carter action figure on the market for a good eight years,  I guess it’s only fitting that when Legends got in on the game, they would double their efforts…literally.  This is our second Peggy ‘mate, and our third Peggy figure, ever, so that’s all pretty cool.  What’s more, it takes my complaints about wanting the Hydra base-storming gear from the end of TFA into account!  More looks for Peggy!  Yay! Peggy is a pretty basic ‘mate in terms of construction.  She’s got the hair piece, and that’s really it.  It’s a new piece, and definitely goes with that animated style, but it certainly fits the character.  In fact, I like this piece a bit more than the one used on the movie Peggy.  It just really feels like it gets the character down.  Again, the heavy emphasis here is on the paint.  As with Cap, she’s definitely got a very simplified look about her, but that said, the face still looks remarkably close to Haley Atwell in terms of likeness.  It also seems a little less void of expression than the last ‘mate.  The detailing on the jacket is all pretty sharp looking as well, and this has got to be one of the few times that the somewhat washed out nature of the animated ‘mates didn’t feel totally out of place. What really makes Peggy shine are her accessories.  She gets a hat-wearing hairpiece, a spare torso and arms, and a skirt piece, which effectively allow you to build a second figure, of Peggy in her trench-coated appearance.  It’s another quite distinctive look, and another really strong design for the character.  It also really adds some serious value to a figure that was already really cool, and distracts from the always present issue of the Walgreens sets not getting guns by giving Peggy a much preferred replacement.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve kind of been falling out of Minimates (which is only fair, since so has DST, if I’m honest), but Max has been keeping me at least a little bit invested, and he was nice enough to hook me up with this set earlier in the year.  Cap is kind of a nifty figure, presenting something of a what-if scenario where the line hadn’t evolved so much by the time the MCU films rolled around.  He’s kind of a movie Cap via Minimates Year One, and I think that really works for him.  I’m getting real Series 5 Cap vibes off of this guy.  The prior Peggy was good for the time, and had the novelty of being the only one for a while, but this Peggy is pretty much the ultimate version of the character, with two really great looks and a pretty spot-on likeness.  This set is pretty much all win.

#2420: Daredevil & Bullseye

BATTLE DAMAGED DAREDEVIL, BULLSEYE, & UNMASKED DAREDEVIL

MARVEL MINIMATES

Though Daredevil and his supporting cast of players were removed and set out on their own for the purposes of Marvel Minimates very first assortment, when it came time to launch into their second year, old horn-head found himself once again grouped with the Spider-Man cast, accenting two straight Spidey-themed sets.  This time, he paired off with pretty much his last major foe not to be covered in the first series, Bullseye, and got two additional variants of himself, all of which I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Battle Damaged Daredevil and Bullseye were the final standard set in the specialty line-up for Series 4 of Marvel Minimates, with the variant DD swapping out for the standard in the one-per-case variant set.  As is the case with most of these earlier ‘mates, Battle Damaged DD and Bullseye were also available through the Target/Walmart packs, and were each available (albeit separately from each other) through Toys R Us’ larger boxed sets as well.  Unmasked Daredevil was only available in the Series 4 line-up, which is just really the best for everybody, I think.

BATTLE DAMAGED DD

Well, Spidey got in on this whole “Battle Damage” trend, so I guess DD wanted to be a part of it.  Given how much of beating Matt’s prone to taking on his usual exploits, it’s honestly not the worst choice for him.  The approach to creating this figure is much the same as the Spidey, starting with the standard version of the character and dropping some additional damaged details on top of it.  In that regard, this guy uses the same construction as the Series 1 release, with add-ons for his mask and belt.  As with that release, I feel these pieces still hold up, and they were definitely great at the time.  The paint’s where the changes occur.  Under it all, the very basic core details from the Red DD are all still there, but now there’s been a lot of scuffs and scratches added throughout, and a couple of exposed bits of skin are showing through.  Under his mask, we get a similar face to the other two DDs, but his expression has now changed, into something a bit more severe.  It’s a nice little change-up from the norm.  He may be a little battered, but Matt’s still rocking his two billy clubs, once again in all-red.

BULLSEYE

Bullseye was shown off a few times along the year one ‘mates, but didn’t quite make the cut, so we knew he was coming in some fashion.  This guy was also definitely a little swept up in the whole 2003 movie craze, but it’s not like Bullseye’s a really oddball character or anything like that.  His construction is pretty similar to his opponent, with add-ons for his mask and belt.  Both of these were new to Bullseye, and both would remain unique to him.  The mask was the first time we got visible eyes beneath a separate mask piece, and it handles them quite well.  The belt’s a pretty solid and pretty standard piece, so I’m a little surprised it wasn’t re-used, and honestly I might be wrong on that.  The paint on this guy is again pretty basic, but shows some of their trend towards higher levels of detailing.  When first shown, Bullseye was in a color scheme much closer to his modern comics appearance, but by time of release, the bulk of him is a much friendlier blue.  Not sure why the change, but it matches his classic appearances, so I guess that’s fine.  Bullseye is the master of turning anything into a weapon, so there are a lot of accessory options there, but this guy just goes for a single small knife.  Honestly, it’s not the end of the world, considering that the Legend didn’t even get that much.

UNMASKED DD

Man, did you think that Unmasked Spider-Man was a lazy excuse for a whole figure?  Well, feast your eyes on Unmasked Daredevil.  Literally, he’s the Series 1 Daredevil with Peter Parker’s hair/glasses.  You had to buy a second Bullseye in order to get a thing you stood a good chance of just doing on your own with parts you already had on hand.  What’s more, it’s not even all that great an unmasked figure, because, with the glasses and all, about the same amount of the face is visible.  Boy was this a weak, weak variant.  In a world where people pointed to the sanctity of preserving the rarity of the variants, I point to this guy and say “how do you preserve that?”, considering that an unmasked option literally became a standard for DDs after this.  I’m not a fan of this guy.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had Damaged DD and Bullseye when they were new, but over the years lost most of their pieces.  I recall liking them well enough at the time, and I can confirm I still think they’re pretty worthwhile.  Damaged DD in particular is a unique offering and does actually try to do something new and interesting.  Unmasked DD I didn’t have when he was new, in part because I wasn’t getting the variants, but also because even when they were still new, I felt he was a waste of space.  And now I have one and I still kinda feel like he’s a waste of space.  But I own him, so I guess he won in the end, now didn’t he?

All three of these specific ‘mates are new to me, and were purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  They’ve still got a lot of that Minimate collection, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2409: Masked Spider-Man & Gwen Stacy

MASKED SPIDER-MAN & GWEN STACY

MARVEL MINIMATES

In its second year, Marvel Minimates worked to fill in some of the gaps left by its first year, but also looked to find its footing and how to successfully carry on a brand when you’ve already put out a lot of the heavy hitters.  For their first series in the second year, they had a theme of “retread and new” to their pairings.  This was already visible with the Doc Ock and Unmasked Spidey set from last week, and it becomes even more obvious with today’s set, Masked Spider-Man and Gwen Stacy.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Masked Spidey and Gwen were released in Series 4 of the Marvel Minimates specialty line-up.  Gwen would remain exclusive to this particular assortment, but this version of Spidey wound up paired off with Series 5’s Wolverine variant for the Walmart/Target assortment.  Oh good, he was more places.

MASKED SPIDER-MAN

So, yeah, I’m wondering the same thing you’re wondering: isn’t “Masked Spider-Man” just a regular Spider-Man?  I mean, that would be my guess, but this figure seems to think otherwise.  I believe the figure was originally solicited as “Half-Masked Spider-Man”, and perhaps they realized this was too many words to fit on the packaging.  They were still committed to giving each figure a unique name, though, so “Masked Spider-Man” he became.  From the neck down, he’s the same as the other two non-battle damaged Spider-Men, which I guess is good for consistency.  It means that the majority of this guy is the same as a really good ‘mate.  But now he’s got his masked pulled up to reveal his mouth.  It’s not an uncommon look for the character, and was of course prominently featured in the first Spider-Man movie, so I guess it makes sense?  It would make more sense packed with an MJ, but I digress.  To further mix things up, this guy’s also got a new web-line piece.  Its attached to a hand, and the end of it is shaped to a Minimate torso, allowing him to grab them.  It’s probably the best thing about this figure.

GWEN STACY

After butchering poor MJ’s debut ‘mate, I guess DST felt the need to prove that not every woman in Peter’s life was a horrible monster mash.  So, we got a Gwen Stacy.  How about that.  Gwen didn’t have a costume, but DST opted to put her in the outfit that most people remember: the one she died in.  It’s got a distinctive flair to it, to be sure, and it’s certainly iconic.  Gwen is constructed from the usual base body, with add-ons for her hair, jacket, and skirt.  All of the add-ons were new for this release, and they look decent.  The jacket does really bulk her up, though, especially when compared to other supposedly larger characters, who were still just on the basic body.  Hey, that’s the difficulty of using the same base for everyone, I suppose.  Gwen’s paintwork is cleanly done, and pretty basic, but that’s honestly a good thing, because it’s really that too many details approach that messed up poor MJ.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have this set when it was new, but my brother did.  I myself was never majorly impressed by either figure included.  However, I found them from Luke’s Toy Store for really cheap, and I’ve been slowly filling out my early Minimates collection, so now I have them.  I still don’t find it to be a terribly exciting set.  Gwen’s okay, and honestly better than I expected, but Spidey’s just kind of pointless, even moreso than the unmasked figure from the same set.  Fortunately, they would learn how to make better Spidey variants as the line progressed.

#2402: Unmasked Spider-Man & Dr. Octopus

UNMASKED SPIDER-MAN & DR. OCTOPUS

MARVEL MINIMATES

Marvel Minimates hit shelves again their second year in early March, kicking off their sophomore efforts with a return to the world of everyone’s favorite wall-crawler.  The second series of the line had given us Spidey and three of his best known foes, but there was definitely a major one missing, and that was Dr. Octopus (who was, probably not coincidentally, the main foe in Spider-Man 2, which hit theaters two months after this assortment was released), who made his Minimate debut here, alongside unmasked Spider-Man, the sort of Spider-Man variant that wouldn’t really be a proper variant in this day and age.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Unmasked Spider-Man and Dr. Octopus were first released in Series 4 of the specialty line of Marvel Minimates, but the set was one of the ones that was carried over unchanged into the Walmart/Target assortments of the time, as well as both figures being released in one of TRU’s 4-packs, alongside Captain America and Absorbing Man.  I actually already reviewed the Spidey on his own a while back, and that review is here.  I don’t talk about packaging much on this site, but it’s notable that these guys were to first to be in the much smaller, windowless box packaging, which would be the line’s main jam for two years or so.  I myself am quite nostalgic for this particular style of packaging, although it did limit the ability to include extra parts with the figures.  Still, it was quite a good look for the line.

Doc Ock was a slight departure for the line, with one of the most extensive add-ons at the time.  Though characters like Hulk and Venom would go without any bulk-up, Ock got his requisite fat piece, which was rolled into his tentacle arms as well.  The arms are rather on the small side, but they did have articulation at each connection, making Ock the most articulated Minimate at the time and for a fair bit.  His hair piece is very similar to Bruce Banner and Peter Parker’s, with the glasses being permanently attached.  At least it makes more sense for Ock’s eyes to not be seen beneath the glasses.  In terms of paint, Ock’s pretty darn basic.  There’s the detailing for the gloves, boots, and belt, which was rather inconsistent in coverage.  I do quite like the face beneath the glasses, though.  Something about those eyebrows is giving me serious Alfred Molina vibes.  Ock didn’t include any accessories, but with the extra arms, that’s not really a big issue.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got an Ock with my original Unmasked Spider-Man, but I was never as impressed with him, and ended up losing most of his parts over the years.  I ended up replacing him outright a couple of years ago when I found the set for a really low price on Luke’s Toy Store.  Rather amusingly, I only opened them up when it came time to write this review, and I found out they’d been slid into their box upside down, all this time.  Ock’s still not amazingly impressive, but I must admit I have more of an appreciation for him now than I did as a kid.

#2395: Giant-Size X-Men

CYCLOPS, WOLVERINE, COLOSSUS, STORM, NIGHTCRAWLER, & THUNDERBIRD

MARVEL MINIMATES

The first year of Marvel Minimates was all kind of consolidated around the summer of 2003, so it was a little while before we well and truly got a follow-up, but they kickstarted their second year off with a bang.  After focussing purely on the Ultimate incarnation of the X-Men, for their first two entries in year two, DST decided to circle back around and give us classic X-Men in spades.  When it comes to classic X-Men, it’s hard to get more classic than the cover of Giant-Size X-Men #1, which is what the line’s first dedicated boxed set was based around.  So, without further ado, let’s jump right in!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Giant-Size X-Men boxed set hit in January of 2004, and was the first boxed set to be available through specialty shops.  It (and the AFX-exclusive Professor X and Magneto) introduced the totally windowless packaging that would become the norm for the line for the next four years.  In the case of this particular set, it was probably the nicest box the line produced, replicating the cover to the original issue quite nicely.  I’ve included a shot of it here, courtesy of minimatedatabase.com.  Of the six figures contained in this set, five would eventually be made available as part of a set of Target exclusive two-packs (Thunderbird wound up as the odd man out), with the major difference between the two releases being C3-style feet on the later figures.

CYCLOPS

Already two ‘mates in by this point, this set finally gave us Cyclops with his classic cowled appearance.  It wouldn’t be the last time we’d see it, even just for a short while, but it sure was important at the time.  He’s built on the standard old-style body, so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and he’s got 14 points of articulation.  He’s got one add-on piece for his mask/visor, which is a pretty nicely sculpted piece.  I always appreciated how the visor on it was so instantly unique from the one on the Series 3 Cyclops.  It was also a nice enough piece that it lasted through to 2010 before being retired.  The rest of things are handled through paint, and admittedly not a lot of it.  Of the six figures included here, Scott was by far the least detailed, with not even chest detailing to make him stand out.  Given how he was always so creatively shaded in the comics, it’s a shame they didn’t go for that here.  They’d end up fixing that on later figures.

WOLVERINE

Already two ‘mates in by this point, this set finally gave us Wolverine with his classic…cowled appearance…wait, I just did this.  Sorry!  I mean, yeah, it’s the same deal as Cyclops, though.  Woverine’s two prior releases lacked his distinctive mask, so this was our first shot at it.  He got a new add-on piece for it, as well as new boots, and the same clawed hands from the two Series 3 releases.  It’s not a bad selection of parts, but it definitely didn’t hold up as well as the Cyclops mask did.  These parts would see only one more use before being retired.  Everything else is paint, and that includes the shoulder pads, which was an…interesting choice.  Clearly, they’re a three dimensional item, but they were just painted on here.  The separate pieces that came later were a better fit.  The rest of the paintwork is pretty decent.  Like Scott, he doesn’t have any sort of musculature on his chest, but he does at least get his tiger stripes, so it’s not a total blank void.

COLOSSUS

Notably missing from the Series 3 X-Men line-up (despite Ultimate Colossus being a prominent member at the time), Colossus made his debut here.  He was one of the most involved ‘mates in the set in terms of parts count, with add-ons for his hair, tunic/belt, and boots.  All of the parts were new at the time, and they’re honestly the best of the parts introduced here.  They just do a really great job of replicating the feel of the character, and I always liked how they bulked him up a bit when compared to the others in the set.  In addition to having the most extra parts, Colossus also had by far the most involved paint work of the whole set, and honestly of most of the line at this point.  The banding on his metal skin wraps all the way around on his arms and legs, and he’s got a fully detailed front and back to the torso block under his tunic.  His face also is just so full of character.  It’s honestly a little shocking that this guy and Cyclops are from the same set.

STORM

Storm had gotten one ‘mate prior to this, but that was a modern design, so the classic was kind of needed, I guess.  Her original costume is pretty darn distinctive, and I think more properly captured that regal side of the character.  She had add-ons for her hair and cape.  The hair is huge, to comical standards, honestly, and makes her quite tricky to keep standing.  The cape, on the other hand, is small and very understated, and rather easily missed, I feel.  That was kind of the nature of the capes, at this point, though, so I can’t really say it was out of the ordinary or weird.  The paint is alright on her, but not the same level as Colossus.  She has the basics, and she does at least get torso detailing of some sort, so she’s a bit ahead of Cyclops and Wolverine.  That said, it’s also a lot messier in application than the others in this set.

NIGHTCRAWLER

Nightcrawler has been pretty sparse when it comes to Minimates.  This was his first, and remained his only until 2011.  So, this guy had to keep us content for 7 whole years.  Certainly, he must have been really good, right?  …Ehhh.  He did get a lot of new parts, with add-ons for the hair, chest cap, and tail, as well as unique hands and feet.  The hair seems a little too demonic, if I’m honest, but the hands, feet, and tail all are pretty dope.  The biggest problem I’ve got with this guy is that chest cap, which bulks him way up, despite the fact that Nightcrawler should actually be the smallest of the six figures included here. Why would they do this?  And then not fix it for soooooo long?  The paint was okay on this guy, at least.  The face again leans more into the demonic thing, but at least that fits okay with the GSXM-stylings.

THUNDERBIRD

The one truly exclusive figure in the set, this Thunderbird wouldn’t see a re-issue at all, and the character wouldn’t appear again until 2016, when we got another GSXM-set.  He’s the one that seems to diverge the most from the comics appearance, falling back more into a general ‘mate aesthetic.  He had a new hair piece and shoulder pads, both of which would remain unique.  They’re…well, they’re there.  Neither’s all that impressive, but I guess they aren’t bad either. The bit of his forehead that’s visible on the hairpiece looks really odd, and he’s missing the feathers from the back of his headband.  The paintwork brings in a few more inaccuracies.  He’s got visible pupils, which he shouldn’t, and his feet are the wrong color (they should be red).  Also, his face just doesn’t feel at all like Thunderbird.  I could see it passing for Warpath, but definitely not Thunderbird.  At least he got torso detailing?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like a fool, an absolute fool, I passed on this set when it came out.  I saw it at Cosmic Comix, I had the money to spend, and I dropped on the DC Direct import of the Batman Kubricks instead.  Why?  WHY!?!  I was young and stupid, that’s why.  This set’s never been super plentiful, and was going for a bit on the aftermarket for a while, so I just never got one.  I finally ended up getting the Series 68 set, and figured that was good enough, but I still had this little nagging need for this set too.  Fortunately, it came into All Time as part of a big Minimates collection they bought last fall, so, hey, I finally got it.  Honestly, this set hasn’t aged so well, but it’s really worth the price of admission just for that Colossus.  That’s still the best version of him the line produced!

As I mentioned above,  I got this set from my friends at All Time Toys.  They’ve still got a lot of that Minimate collection, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2388: Peter Parker & Mary Jane

PETER PARKER & MARY JANE

MARVEL MINIMATES

During the first year of Marvel Minimates, DST put together a few exclusives to bulk up the line a little further than just the core three series.  In the nature of repurposing all over the place in those early days, one of those exclusives, Grey Hulk and Ultimate Spider-Man, was a pairing of figures that would be literally everywhere by the end of the line.  The other notable exclusive is today’s pack, Peter Parker and Mary Jane, a pair of figures that were never directly re-released in any fashion.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Peter and Mary Jane were available at San Diego Comic-Con in 2003, alongside the previously mentioned Hulk and Spider-Man.  More than the other set, they feel like a direct continuation of Series 2’s Spider-Man theme, and pretty much slot right in with that set.

PETER PARKER

We got a half-Spidey/half-Peter ‘mate in the main line, so this figure creates the counter part to the full Spidey, giving us a full Peter.  Yay, I guess.  He’s built on the standard old-style ‘mate body, so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He got a new hair piece and book bag.  Both would see re-use later, but they were new here.  Like Bruce Banner, the glasses are opaque, something I don’t like as much here as I did on Banner.  Beyond that, he’s just paint, which pretty much just replicates the Peter half of the Series 2 figure directly.  It’s definitely a ’60s Peter, that much is certain.  It fits in alright with the style of the early ‘mates, so I can’t really knock it.  Peter was packed with a book accessory, to go with that book bag, I guess.

MARY JANE

Peter’s main love interest and a long time fixture of the comics, Mary Jane didn’t really get her proper due as a Minimate until 15 years into the run.  She did get this…thing, however.  Mary Jane was the standard ‘mate body, but with a new hair piece.  A hair piece that was clearly aiming for some kind of recreation of John Romita’s look for MJ, but…well, it missed the mark a bit, and ends up looking more like a crappy mullet.  With the one piece of new sculpting dressed down, let’s talk about the paint.  Oh, it’s not good.  There’s way too many lines on that face.  That would be too many lines for a modern-style ‘mate.  For a year one release?  She looks like she’s a million.  The eyes are okay; it’s really he lower half of the face that ruins it.  Moving past the face we can stop and ask “what is she supposed to be wearng?”  MJ was pretty well defined as always having pretty flattering wardrobe, but this ain’t that.  She’s got a sleeveless shirt that may as well be a pillow case, plus capris, and…dress shoes?  I don’t know.  I don’t think this replicates a specific look.  Wouldn’t it have made sense to, I don’t know, go for that distinctive design that she has on that distinctive panel that everybody remembers that introduced her?  No, that would be too on the nose.  Let’s go with this ugly thing.  Making things uglier, the plastics on the various parts of her pants don’t match at all in coloring, which looks awful.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this set from All Time when they got that large collection of ‘mates back last fall.  At this point, I was really just working on filling in my “year one” set, which these guys are a part of, and that’s about the only reason I bought them.  Peter is kind of meh, and not exactly enough to sell the set on his own.  MJ, on the other hand, is quite possibly the worst Minimate in existence, and is certainly the worst the first year had to offer.  Clearly, the reason neither of these two saw re-release is because they just really didn’t warrant it.

#2381: Silver Surfer

SILVER SURFER

MARVEL MINIMATES

The initial Marvel Minimates stuff was all really compartmentalized.  Two of the three assortments were tight-nit themes, and the other assortment stuck to at least themes within each pairing.  There was, however, one figure shown off with initial product who didn’t have a natural pairing or theme: Norin Radd, the Silver Surfer.  See, his lack of connection to anyone else was supposed to cement him as the key exclusive piece in the planned single-packed assortments.  The plan was he’d be packed in a case of singles, with the rest being made up of repacked figures from the two packs, in sort of a flip of the TRU five packs.  The singles did show up eventually, but only as an exclusive to a Canadian chain, and they didn’t include poor Surfer.  Fortunately, as with most of the early ‘mates, there ended up being several ways to get him.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Silver Surfer was initially released in the Marvel Minimates line on his own as a Tower Records-exclusive, then surfaced in one of the TRU four-packs, then the TRU ten-pack, then in series 7 of the main line alongside Spider-Man 2099, and then finally in an Action Figure Xpress-exclusive two-pack with Thanos.  Apart from the AFX version getting C3-style feet, the figures were all the same, making him a relatively easy to acquire ‘mate, at least for a good while.  Surfer was, and continues to be with more recent offerings, a vanilla ‘mate, relying only on the basic ‘mate body to make him work.  As such he stands 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  The heavy lifting here was done via the paint, and while you could go *really* basic on a character like this, DST actually put some care into his detailing, attempting to capture the comics’ style of making him look extra shiny.  There’s more of a minimalist bend to this one, going more for a “suggest but don’t explicitly outline” approach to most of his features.  Contrasted against the far more line-work heavy designs of the later Surfers, I can’t help but just really dig this one for the simplicity of it all, even if the paint on mine has taken quite a beating over the years.  Surfer’s one accessory is his board, which for this version is just a board, with no pegs or anything on it.  It’s a little limiting in regards to what you can do with it, but it also means it’s not marred by the connection points that were all over the later versions.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wanted Surfer as soon as I could get one, but being much younger and not having the action figure-acquiring means I have now, I ended up having to wait until his proper main line release in Series 7.  Over the years, I lost most of my Spider-Man 2099, but I’ve still got Surfer.  He’s still pretty dope.

#2364: Jean Grey & Cyclops

JEAN GREY & CYCLOPS

MARVEL MINIMATES

I’ve been slowly making my way through the earliest assortments of the Marvel Minimates line.  The X-Men-themed third assortment’s been on the docket for a good long while in particular, since I officially started reviewing it back in December of 2016, with Cyclops and Wolverine.  Today, I’m finally gonna finish it, taking a look at the other Cyclops, as well as the one unreviewed team member, Jean Grey!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This set rounds out Series 3 of the specialty assortments of Marvel Minimates, and like the other sets in the line-up, it’s themed around Ultimate X-Men.  The two figures included here are notable for being the only ones to remain wholly exclusive to the specialty line-up, since Jean was paired up with either of the two Cyclopses and the Cyclops seen here is the one-per-case variant.

JEAN GREY

I’ve only briefly touched on my opinions of the Ultimate designs, especially as they pertain to this set of ‘mates.  Jean got saddled with one of the absolute worst redesigns of the bunch.  For a character whose personality didn’t really change too much from her mainstream counterpart, they managed to stick her with a costume that was divergent in just about every way and held onto pretty much nothing that was signature of the character.  Without a name attached to it, there’s any number of female X-Men that I would guess for this design before arriving on Jean.  But I digress…what of the figure?  Well, she’s on the old style body, with add-ons for the hair and necklace.  The hair is an okay recreation of the style she had in the early Ultimate X-Men issues, and the necklace is the same kinda bulky piece used on Storm.  It gets the job done on recreating the look she’s got in the comics, so I guess that’s good.  The paintwork follows suit, and she gets all of the important details, while going a bit more lax on the smaller details than later entries would.  She’s got the wrapped arms like Storm, which is still a pretty cool detail.

CYCLOPS

I’ve already reviewed the standard Cyclops, so why not take a look at his slightly different variant.  The variants in the early days of the line were a mixed bag.  While the Symbiote Spidey was honestly too big a design for the one-per-case thing, and Elektra was a whole lot of “meh”, the variant No Visor Cyclops falls into a subset of variants that actually wouldn’t even count as separate figures as the line progressed.  Seriously, the thing that distinguished him from the standard release was merely the fact that he wasn’t wearing his visor; nowadays it’s standard for a Cyclops to just include an extra hair piece.  You were originally meant to pay the price of a two-pack for one single extra part.  It’s a fairly nice extra part, I guess; it’s the same basic hair piece as the regular, but with no visor and actual proper ears.  I also dig that they gave him a slightly different expression, and also added the facial hair that he grew later on in the books, but it’s hard to say there’s all that much exciting about this guy.  He’s an accessory, not a complete figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Cyclops and Jean were my second set of Marvel Minimates…just not this actual set.  I got the standard set with the regular Cyclops and Jean.  While I held onto most of the regular Cyclops, I lost most of Jean’s parts over the years.  When All Time got their big collection of Minimates in last year, I took advantage of it to fill in the gaps of my early ‘mates, and picked up a replacement Jean, and finally got that variant Cyclops I’d never had.  Reviewing these two without the standard Cyclops, I’ve kinda realized he was the real lynchpin of the set.  Jean’s got the worst of the team designs, and the variant Cyclops honestly feels a little bit pointless.  All that said, I’m happy to have at least finished out the assortment, even if I’ve realized that the best one of them is the one I’ve had for 17 years.

#2350: Storm & Logan

STORM & LOGAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

Back in January, I delved into the time capsule of the earliest assortments of Marvel Minimates, and their choice to use the Ultimate universe’s versions of Marvel’s merry mutants over their mainstream counterparts.  Some of the characters weren’t too heavily changed, while some of them were.  Today’s set pairs both sides of that coin, with Storm (a character whose backstory and characterization were both fairly divergent from 616) and Wolverine (a character so unchanged from his mainstream counterpart that no one really noticed that the one included in this particular set *isn’t* actually the Ultimate incarnation).

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were paired up for the specialty Series 3 assortment of Marvel Minimates, and they would both also be included in the TRU 5-pack and 4-pack that corresponded to the assortment.  They were split up and matched with their opposite numbers in the Wolverine/Sabretooth set for the Canadian release, and then Logan found his way into one more stray two-pack for Walmart and Target.

STORM

Storm’s Ultimate incarnation may have been different in terms of character, but in terms of design, she really wasn’t that far removed.  I could see regular Storm wearing this at some point in the ’90s.  The figure is built on the pre-c3 ‘mate body, with long feet and all.  She had four add-on pieces for her hair, necklace, and boots.  The necklace is shared with her assortment-mate Jean Grey, and the hairpiece was re-used twice more (for Emma Frost and She-Hulk).  The boots remained unique to this release, though, and use the older style slipping over the standard feet style of design.  Like the others in these early assortments, the general style on these parts is rather basic, though she’s certainly one of the most built-up ‘mates of the earliest releases.  It’s a little odd for Storm to be one of the largest characters, but that’s really just how the trappings of the early line work out.  Storm’s paintwork is actually pretty good for the early figures.  It’s still more on the basic line, but there’s a fair bit going on, with the coolest bit by far being the wraps on her arms.  That said, she does miss out on actually getting the sculpted earrings painted; at least they got her ears, though.

LOGAN

The standard Ultimate version of Wolverine was packed with Sabretooth (and Cyclops), but you can’t have just one lone Wolverine, can you?  Of course not.  As I touched on in the intro, he’s actually the one figure in this assortment who wasn’t from the Ultimate universe, instead being just a regular civilian version of the original Logan, as denoted by the hair’s distinctive shaping and his lack of goatee.  He too uses the standard old body, but with a set of the old-style claw hands as well as an add-on for the hair.  This is probably my favorite Wolverine hair piece the line produced, which makes it rather a shame that this was the only time it was used (though it was shown on prototype shots for the DOFP Wolverine, before being replaced with the New X-Men Wolverine piece). The rest of the figure is handled via paint, and it ends up working out alright.  The face is a rather unique expression for Logan, but one that works in the context of the earlier ‘mates, and the detailing on the jacket is actually pretty impressive.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I mentioned in my Wolverine and Sabretooth review, the only Series 3 set I picked up when these were new was Cyclops and Jean.  I got this one along with a handful of other older sets from Luke’s Toy Store back during one of their sales.  I’ve always wanted this pair, so I was glad to finally get them.  Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from them, but they’re both pretty solid ‘mates, even by more modern standards.