BLACK WIDOW & JAMES RHODES IN MARK II ARMOR
In light of Black Widow finally getting her long overdue solo film over this weekend, it’s always kind of interesting to look back at her beginnings, at least in terms of the MCU.In addition to introducing Widow, Iron Man 2 helped to set the stage for the larger MCU as a whole. As such it was a film rather jam-packed with characters, each with a number of distinct looks. The corresponding Minimates were quite all-encompassing, with the specialty and TRU assortments each pulling their weight to get as many of the primary players out there as possible. It was through this venture that Widow got her first MCU-based ‘mate, alongside a variant of Rhodey.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Black Widow and James Rhodes in Mark II Armor were part of the first TRU assortment of IM2 tie-ins for Marvel Minimates, which hit just before the film’s release in the spring of 2010.Both figures included here were totally exclusive to this pack-out, and would remain that way going forward.
Though her role in the finished product ended up a little smaller than some were anticipating, Widow is still one of the most important things to come out of Iron Man 2. She had a pair of movie-based Minimates to come out of it. This one is the first, and the one based on her actual, proper “Black Widow” design. The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, so she’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation, Widow is markedly less sculpted than her pack-mate, but she still makes use of a handful of sculpted add-ons for her hair, widow’s stingers, and belt/holster. The hair piece was shared with the other Widow variant, and is a very well-detailed, exceptionally crafted recreation of Widow’s longer locks from the film. The widow’s stingers are the same ones used on the Champions boxed set Widow. They were good there and they’re just as good here. The combined belt/holster piece is the only truly unique piece on this figure. It accurately recreates what she was wearing in the film, but its design means it restricts the hip movement on the left leg, which is a little annoying. That said, it’s far less obtrusive than earlier holster designs, which is a plus. The paintwork on Widow is pretty decent stuff. The face has a passable likeness of Scarlet Johansson. Not the best DST’s done on the MCU Widow’s but certainly a good start. The expression’s a little bland, though it’s hardly the end of the world. The detailing on her uniform is pretty solid stuff, with linework for all the piping. She’s even got the SHIELD insignias on her shoulders; the proper classic ones from IM2, as opposed to the more Ultimate inspired one from later films. Widow’s only accessory is a small handgun, which was in common usage around that time. It’s a fine piece, but she does feel a little light.
JAMES RHODES IN MARK II ARMOR
There were no shortage of Rhodey figures in the IM2 assortments. He got quite a bit of focus in the movie, and his three main looks were each represented. His time in the unmodified Mark II armor is short-lived, but it is during one of the film’s best sequences, so its place in this assortment is certainly earned. The IM2 armored figures represent DST’s learning curve with sculpting on ‘mates. These guys lost a lot of the connection to the base body, which makes them feel sort of alien amongst the other ‘mates. Structurally, this figure is identical to Series 35’s Iron Man Mark IV. Same helmet, torso, upper arms, gloves, and legs. In turn, this means he shares his gloves and legs with the Marks II and III from Series 21. This figure was *supposed* to also share his torso piece with those two, but due to a mix-up he ended up with the Mark IV piece, which is inaccurate to the film. It’s not a huge difference, but it’s enough to be frustrating. Paint on the Mark II is all rather basic. He’s mostly just a straight silver, with detailing on the eyes and arc reactor, as well as a fully detailed James Rhodes face under the helmet (the same one on both the standard War Machine and the Uniformed Rhodes) and a look into the inner workings of the suit on the underlying torso block. It’s pretty decent work overall, but it’s unfortunate that he doesn’t have the same rivets detailing that was present on the first Mark II Minimate. The Mark II is packed with a spare helmet with the face-plate flipped up. It’s the same piece used for the other armors in this same assortment, and it’s a really cool idea.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I snagged this set from TRU when it first hit. I was quite determined to get it, because I really wanted this Black Widow. Fortunately, it didn’t prove to hard for me to get, so that was nice. Widow was undoubtedly the star attraction of this particular set. While she’s been outpaced by more recent variants, there’s still a lot to like about this figure. Rhodey in the Mark II armor is a variant that would have been pretty cool if the execution had been there. Unfortunately, it really wasn’t, and as such, the figure ends up rather underwhelming. Fortunately, he’s got his pack-mate to carry him.