TACTICAL KILLMONGER & CASINO T’CHALLA
Movie merchandise is always a tricky thing, especially with “top secret” movies like the Marvel Studios stuff. It can often prove difficult to determine which characters, and more specifically, which designs for those characters, are going to end up with the most prominence in the final product. For Black Panther, while it was a pretty safe bet which look would be T’Challa’s main costume, his primary antagonist Killmonger proved a different story all together. His rogue Black Panther look ended up on all of the merch, and while that was prominent, it was actually his more unique tactical gear that most people were drawn to. Unfortunately, if you want a properly articulated version of this design, Minimates are your only way to go.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Tactical Killmonger and Casino T’Challa are the second Walgreens-exclusive Black Panther two-pack. Though they don’t quite interact with these particular looks, Killmonger’s rescue of Klaue happens just after the Casino sequence, so they fit together reasonably well in the timeline of the film.
Obviously, this figure is the draw of this set. Erik’s tactical design doesn’t really have direct comics counterpart (though it does share a few elements with some of his looks over the years), but it offers him a more unique design than the basic Panther-riff. The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, so he stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation. Killmonger has a single add-on piece, but it’s a good one. It’s the tribal mask he steals during his museum heist with Klaue, which he then uses to obscure his face later on. It’s only worn in one scene in the film, but it certainly has a lasting impact. For this figure, it’s an all-new piece, which does a pretty respectable job of recreating the mask and simplifying it enough to look proper on the ‘mate. The rest of Killmonger’s design is handled via paintwork. The armor plating on the torso is definitely impressive, as is the camo and all of the stitched elements on his pants. The likeness under the mask is also quite good; it depicts a slightly calmer Killmonger than is seen on the first ‘mate, which makes for nice variety. There are a few spots of white on his face, but otherwise all of the paint is quite clean, and the colors are nice and vibrant. Killmonger is packed with the same hairpiece as the last figure, allowing for the much needed unmasked look, as well as a pair of blades (the same stylings as were included in with the Legends figure), and a clear display stand.
Not quite a “civilian” take on the character, but very close, Casino T’Challa depicts T’Challa as he is seen when he goes undercover in South Korea while on the hunt for Klaue. I would guess this look was chosen over T’Challa’s other “civilian” look in the film because this one could be made with all pre-existing parts. And made with pre-existing parts he is! The hair is the same piece used for the unmasked look on both of the prior Black Panthers from this line, and the jacket is re-used from all the way back on the very first George McFly Minimate. That one’s gotten some milage. The paint does the hard work here, selling this guy as “all-new.” The likeness on the face gives us yet another T’Challa expression. This one’s somewhere between the other two in terms of intensity, but certainly still looks like the same guy. The jacket and arms get extra detailing, depicting the texturing of his jacket from the film, and preventing this figure from being dressed in just flat black. Casino T’Challa’s only accessory is a clear display stand. A little light, but I think Killmonger makes up for it.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
This was the set I went to Walgreens to get, the others were all just along for the ride. Of the two Killmonger designs, this one was definitely my preferred, and this being only way to really get it right now, makes this guy top priority. Fortunately, he’s one of the best ‘mates from the whole assortment. Casino T’Challa’s not anything to write home about, being essentially just a guy in casual clothes, but he’s still a solid figure overall, and I certainly don’t mind that we got him.