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!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
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.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
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.