#1680: Luke Cage & Iron Fist

MARVEL NOW! LUKE CAGE & MARVEL NOW! IRON FIST

MARVEL MINIMATES

There’s not really a better cut and dry pairing of heroes (at least on the Marvel side; back off Caped Crusaders!) than Luke Cage and Iron Fist.  Amusingly, they’re only paired off because both of their comics were on the verge of cancellation.  It ended up being pretty perfect, though, and the pair’s lasted a good long while.  They’ve been paired off two times prior for Minimates, and this time marks the third.*

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Luke & Danny are the second set in the milestone 75th Series of Marvel Minimates.  Unlike yesterday’s set, they’re both centrally placed in the recent street-hero incarnation of the Defenders, so they really fit the theme.

Like yesterday’s set, this one also includes a piece of the Build-A-Figure Quake, specifically the torso, pelvis, and harness.  It appears to match the Series 51 Maria Hill, which is good for consistency’s sake.

LUKE CAGE

Luke Cage seems to be kind of cursed to the most dated costumes ever.  While I’m partial to his classic poofy-sleeved, tiara-sporting look, it’s fair to say it’s not easily taken seriously in this day and age.  He went through more of a thuggish look a few years back, but now he’s moved up to a more polished vested look.  Less super-hero-y than his original, but a sharp look nonetheless.  The figure stands 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Luke is built on the standard ‘mate body, and has add-ons for his vest and rolled-up sleeves.  The sleeves are re-used from the Spirit set, and the vest is a new piece.  It’s a little bit bulky, and perhaps a little blocky, but it’s overall a decent piece.  It helps keep Luke from being too shrimpy, like most of his prior figures have been.  The rest of the work has been done via paint.  The application is pretty clean, though it would appear that the white application on my figure’s face has been slightly offset.  It’s not enough to be overly noticeable, but it’s a minor annoyance.  Beyond that, it’s pretty solid.  Luke’s expression is intense, though less so than the Best Of release, so it’s a little more versatile.  Luke’s light on the accessories, with only a clear display stand.  I’m not really sure what else he could be given, though.

IRON FIST

Like his partner, Danny Rand’s had his fair share of dated costume designs.  This one actually seems to play that up a bit, giving him a track-suited design, inspired by Bruce Lee’s yellow and black get-up from Ascension.  I think his David Aja design’s still his best, but this one’s certainly got character, and it’s his most recent look.  Iron Fist has add-ons for his mask and his collar.  Though they both have definite similarities to prior pieces, both are all-new to this figure.  They’re alright, I suppose.  I’ve never been much of a fan of how the collar pieces hide the neck.  The mask looks okay, but doesn’t have any of the shaping that some of the others had.  Iron Fist’s paint work is a little cleaner than Luke’s.  My only minor complaint would be that the eyes on the mask seem a little too high-set, but they don’t look terrible.  The gold detailing works surprisingly well, and I appreciate that the track-lines go all the way up his sides.    Iron Fist makes up for Luke’s lack of extras, with a spare hairpiece, a pair of nunchucks, and “Iron Fist” effect piece, and a clear display stand.  Not a bad little assortment of extras.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set was acquired at the same time as yesterday’s, courtesy of a joint partnership between Cosmic Comix and Tim.  Luke Cage has had some troubles with getting a decent Minimate.  This one is perhaps not as exciting as others, but it’s still probably his best.  Iron Fist’s design isn’t quite as versatile as older versions, but this figure still translates it pretty well to ‘mate form.

*It’s worth noting that they’ve both actually had four comics-based ‘mates.  Each of them got one release without the other.  The less said about those particular releases, the better.

#0383: Luke Cage – Power Man & Iron Fist – Dragon Attack

LUKE CAGE – POWER MAN & IRON FIST – DRAGON ATTACK

MARVEL MINIMATES

So, I do really try to space out the Minimates reviews a little bit more. Really, I do. However, between my already enormous collection of them filtering into the backlog reviews and Diamond’s steady stream of new releases, they tend to be a rather frequent sub-set of reviews. Today, I’ll once again be dipping into the expansive Marvel Minimates line, with the ,most recent versions of Luke Cage and Iron Fist, Heroes for Hire. Both characters are slated to be getting their own mini-series through the Marvel/Netflix deal, and it’s been a little while since either one has seen a release, so this is a good idea for a set.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were released as a two pack in the third series of the Best Of off-shoot of the main Marvel Minimates line.

LUKE CAGE – POWER MAN

Luke is the character in the set that’s most clearly in need of an update. Luke’s previously had two figures of very differing looks. They’re both from way back in the line, so they’re pretty dated (and one of them wasn’t particularly good even when he was released). Luke also marks a bit of a change for the Best Of series; he depicts the character in a look previously not seen in Minimates. Luke’s look is the one he sported while leading the Thunderbolts a few years ago. It’s probably my favorite of his recent looks, so no complaints there. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and he features 14 points of articulation. He’s built on the standard Minimate body, with additional pieces for the hands/gauntlets, the belt, and the tops of the boots. All of these pieces are re-use; the hands are from Series 47’s Colossus, the belt is from the X-Factor boxed set Iceman, and the boot pieces were first used on the two Iron Men is Series 25. The gauntlets sit a little too low on the arms, but other than that, these pieces off a pretty spot on take on this version of Luke. The paintwork on this figure is pretty topnotch. Everything is clean and even, the colors are nice and bold, and the detail work is nice and sharp. Under the sculpted belt, there’s a painted one, with a “CAGE” buckle, which looks really great. It’s little details like this that ca make or break a figure. Luke includes a spare set of arms and hands, an extra sunglass-wearing head, a knit cap (from the TRU exclusive Vigilante Spider-Man), a jacket (from Knight Rider’s Michael Knight), and a clear display stand. The extra pieces allow you to switch Cage into his early 2000s look. This is nice, because it was his main look for several years, and the previous ’mate was pretty bad.

IRON FIST – DRAGON ATTACK

Iron Fist isn’t quite as desperately in need of an update, but both of his prior ‘mates were just a slight bit off. Iron Fist is presented here in the look he sported when his comic was relaunched a few years ago. He’s had this look on and off for a little while, and it’s a nice update on his original costume. The figure is about 2 ½ inches in height and he sports 14 points of articulation. He’s built on the usual body, with add-ons for his mask and sash. The mask is from the Series 38 Iron fist and the sash is from the very first Toyfare exclusive Iron Fist. Both pieces are well done, and reusing them for this particular version is a smart move. Just like with Luke, Iron Fist’s paint is really superb. One of my issues with the previous Iron Fist was how washed out the colors were, and that’s certainly not an issue here. The colors are all very bold, and all of the detail work is nice and sharp. Iron Fist definitely one-ups Luke in the accessory department, and since Luke wasn’t lacking, that’s a pretty great! He includes a spare torso and arms to allow for a bare-chested look, bandaged wrapped hands (hailing from the Tomb Raider line), a pair of wrapped wrist pieces (which were previously seen on Street Fighter VS Tekken’s Heihachi), an extra hair piece (originally used on Terminator 2’s Kyle Reese), a pair of “iron fists” so to speak (first seen with Series 48’s Human Torch), a flame base (also from Human Torch), a jumping base, and a clear display stand. That’s quite a lot of extra pieces, and they allow for a huge selection of different looks. In particular, I’m happy to see the new bandaged hands included, as they are a big improvement over the pieces used on the last Iron Fist.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got these two courtesy of my local comicbook store Cosmic Comix. The original Power Man and Iron Fist set was long one of my grails, after missing out on its initial release. I actually just acquired that set last year. While it certainly still has some sentimental value, it was definitely a set that showed its age. This set, while it doesn’t offer direct updates to those two, offers a very nice set of replacements. The sheer volume of extra pieces included with both figures is truly amazing, and I really hope this is a trend that Diamond continues. This is a really great set, and I’m very happy to have it.

#0082: Power Man & Iron Fist

POWER MAN & IRON FIST

MARVEL MINIMATES

Day 4 of my post-Christmas Review is now here, and shocking absolutely everyone, it’s more Minimates!  This time around, it’s another set of Marvel Minimates, though it’s actually one of the older ones that I missed on its initial release.  It’s everyone’s favorite Heroes for Hire:  Power Man and Iron Fist!

I just recently reviewed another figure of Power Man, so I won’t go into great detail there, but this time he comes with his trusty partner Iron Fist, who’s a guy with an…iron fist.  Okay, not literally, but he’s got a complicated origin I don’t feel like getting into here.  He’s a guy who’s really good at martial arts.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were released as a ToyFare exclusive 2-pack, released around the 7th series of the Marvel Minimates line.  For those of you paying attention, the last set I reviewed here was a Toys R Us exclusive set released to coincide with the 51st wave of the line, so these guys are from quite a ways back.

POWER MAN

First up, it’s the original Hero for Hire, Luke Cage, aka Power Man.  Power Man is depicted here in his original costume from his series in the 70s.  He’s built on the usual Minimate body, so he has the standard 14 points of articulation and stands about 2 ½ inches tall.  He has four sculpted pieces:  his hair, belt, and bracelets.  These pieces were all new to the figure, but have been used a few times since, particularly the bracelets, which have seen rather frequent reuse.  These pieces are all well sculpted, but are very definitely a product of the much more simplistic look of Minimates at the time.  The paint is alright, but definitely not up to par with the current offerings.  The detail lines are sparse and fairly heavy, and there’s a sizeable amount of slop around the boots.  Power Man includes no accessories.

IRON FIST

Next, it’s the master of Kung-Fu, Iron Fist.  Iron Fist is also depicted in his original costume from the 70s.  Like Power Man, he’s on the usual body, so he’s got the typical stuff there.  Iron Fist features three sculpted pieces: mask, torso cover, and sash.  These were all new to the figure at the time, but the mask and sash have both seen reuses within the line.  These pieces are all pretty well done, though the torso cover is a bit on the bulky side for Iron Fist, who shouldn’t be that big of a guy.  The paint on Iron fist is a bit better than that of Power Man, though he still has some pretty noticeable slop on his shoes.  One cool detail is the ability of the torso to be reversed, so Iron Fist can be displayed with or without his dragon tattoo.  Iron Fist is accessorized with a little translucent piece that slips over his hand and simulates his chi being transferred through his “iron fist.”   It’s a well done piece that would later see monumental reuse.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These guys were yet another Christmas gift from my uber-supportive parents.  I had wanted this set for a good long while after missing out on ordering it from ToyFare, so I was very happy to unwrap it on Christmas morning.  It’s certainly not on the same level as some of the more recent releases in the line, but it definitely reminded me of cool the line still was, even at this point.  It’s so cool to see how far the line has come.

#0075: Luke Cage

LUKE CAGE

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

Today, it’s my second look at the early 2000s juggernaut, Marvel Legends.  I’ve mentioned in the past my issues with this line’s tendency to draw out the worst in the collector market, but the figure’s themselves weren’t always bad.  I’ll be looking at one of the figure’s from towards the end of Toy Biz’s run with the line: Luke Cage, sometimes known as Power Man.  Sweet Christmas!

Luke Cage was a character created in the 70s to somewhat tie-in to the trend of “blaxplotation” movies.  Marvel wanted to try and appeal to that market, so they created Luke Cage, Hero for Hire.  He starred in his own series for a while, that was very 70s.  When his own series started to suffer, he was rolled in with fellow 70s character Iron Fist.  It was here that the two characters found their audience, and it’s how they’re often remembered.  When the 70s passed, Cage fell into obscurity, but he came into a bit of a revival in the last few years, and is set to appear in his own Netflix-original miniseries in 2015.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Cage was released as part of the 14th Series of ToyBiz’s Marvel Legends line.  He’s a little bit over 6 inches tall, and he has 35 points of articulation.  The figure depicts Luke in his original yellow and black look.  It’s incredibly dated, but given that the character seems to just where normal clothes these days, this is the most interesting look the character’s had.  Luke’s sculpt isn’t too bad.  The body sculpt is one of the better ones that the line had to offer.  It doesn’t have some of the stranger proportions that plagued the line, although his super articulation does make some parts of the sculpt look a little…off.  The head looks fine, if a bit on the angry side.  Most of the figure is molded in the proper color, but there’s some nice accent work done to bring out the sculpt’s details.  Cage included a piece of Series 14’s Build-A-Figure Mojo, and a copy of his first appearance.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In my last review of a Marvel Legends figure, I lamented how difficult it was to get a hold of the figures.  Well, but the last two series or so of the line, this was less the case, so I had no real issues getting Luke here.