#0949: Iron Man Now! & Indestructible Hulk

IRON MAN NOW! & INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK

MARVEL MINIMATES

IM&HulkNow1

Okay, today’s another Minimates review. It’s also another Marvel review, another Iron Man review, and another Hulk review. None of those are particularly rare things for this site, so I’ll admit that I’m running out of things to say about them. So, umm, here’s a review of some Iron Man and Hulk Minimates?

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were part of the 16th series of Toys R Us exclusive Marvel Minimates. The series was complementary to Series 51 of the main line, and both series were based on the “ Marvel Now!” relaunch from 2013.

IRON MAN NOW!

IM&HulkNow3Though he didn’t get his first ‘mate until Series 6, Iron Man’s become one of the most frequently produced characters in Marvel Minimates. Fortunately, Iron Man’s had lots of diverse looks over the years, which keeps his ‘mates from getting too redundant. This figure stands about 2 ½ inches tall and gas 12 points of articulation. He’s based on his Now! look, which was also the inspiration of the Iron Man in the Hulkbuster Series of Marvel Legends. While that figure used Greg Land’s (traced) interiors for its reference (allowing for the figure to be a simple repaint), this figure seems to draw a bit more from the initial (and far more interesting) design for the armor. Iron Man has six add-on pieces for his helmet, chest plate, gloves, and boots, as well as non-standard pieces for his upper arms. The boots are re-used from Series 45’s Mark VII Iron Man, but the rest of the pieces were new to this figure. He’s a little on the bulky side, but the figure does a pretty nice job of capturing the look from the initial design sheets. Also, the shoulders limit movement a bit, but at least they’re better than the Mark 42/43/45 shoulders. The paint on this Iron Man is pretty standard. He’s got the appropriate black and gold for this design, with a few spots of red thrown in. The red is a bit sloppy in some areas, but not terrible. Under the helmet, there’s a Tony Stark face, which for some reason has random patches of black on it. I think that’s a story specific thing, but I didn’t read Iron Man’s Now! series, so I honestly can’t say. The Tony face is consistent with the other modern Tony’s we’ve gotten, so that’s good. Marvel Now Iron Man includes both a normal display stand and a rocket blast stand.

INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK

IM&HulkNow2This isn’t the first time I’ve reviewed an Indestructible Hulk Minimate, however, this is chronologically the first of the two produced. This figure presents Hulk in his less armored up appearance, which isn’t quite as exciting a design, but I guess it’s a bit more conventional Hulk. The figure has add-ons for the hair, torso, upper arms, hands, pelvis, upper legs, and feet, and he also has an extra riser piece to make him a little taller. The torso, pelvis, and upper legs are new parts, designed to replicate Hulk’s armored shorts. They’re pretty nicely sculpted, which is good. The rest of the parts are reused, which is alright for the most part. The feet don’t have any toes, which is rather odd looking. Of course, the first 15 Hulks didn’t have toes either, but that was before the move to bulked up Hulks. Hulk’s paintwork is decently handled. The linework seems a little thicker than usual, but it doesn’t look bad. The face is a little odd looking; I’m not sure exactly what his expression is supposed to be. It’s not terrible, but it’s not the greatest. Hulk includes R.O.B. (the Recording Observation Bot), a flight stand (for R.O.B.), and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up this pair from TRU’s online store, along with two other sets from Series 16. It was kind of an impulse buy. I can’t say this is one of my favorite sets. Iron Man’s a decent enough variant, but the armor wasn’t super long-lived, and isn’t very memorable. Ultimately, he’s a solidly done figure of a rather drab design. Hulk’s okay, but he suffers from being the lesser of the two Indestructible Hulks, and that toe thing is just weird. Not a bad set, but nothing to write home about.

#0890: Captain America & Scarlet Witch

CAPTAIN AMERICA & SCARLET WITCH

MARVEL MINIMATES

Cap&ScarletWitch1

When Minimates first started out, getting just one Avenger was a pretty big deal.  It’s less of a big deal now, especially when it comes to heavy hitters like Captain America and Iron Man.  That said, it’s still kind of cool to get those slightly less well-known Avengers, like Scarlet Witch.  Although, it’s hard to imagine Scarlet Witch being quite as overlooked following her fantastic appearance in Age of Ultron and upcoming appearance in Captain America: Civil War.  Time will tell.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cap and Scarlet Witch were released as part of the 16th series of Toys R Us exclusive Marvel Minimates.  They were done to sort of tie-in with the release of the Marvel Now!-themed Series 51.

CAPTAIN AMERICA

Cap&ScarletWitch2This figure is Cap’s 29th foray into the world of Minimates (although it’s only the 27th for Steve Rogers as Cap) and it showcases Cap’s redesign following the Marvel Now! relaunch.  The design still shares most of the pivotal details of Cap’s traditional costume, while also working in a few more movie-esque parts.  Cap makes use of add-on pieces for his helmet, gloves, and belt.  Each of these is a brand-new sculpt, and they are all quite well handled.  The helmet is a very adept recreation of the comics design, and it features etched in lines for the ‘A’ and the head wings.  The gloves are bulky, but not overly, and they offer a more intricate, stylized take on the character’s traditional flared gloves.  The left glove has a peg allowing it to be used with the shield, and it can be swapped out with a non-pegged hand for display sans-shield.  Lastly, the belt is a fairly straight forward piece, which does its job without being obtrusive.  Isn’t that what belts are for?  The painted detailing on Cap is really quite good.  Some of the white areas on the helmet miss their mark just a slight bit, but the detail work, specifically on the figure’s torso which features an intricate hexagonal design, is very sharp and brings a lot of dimension to the figure.  Also, even after all this time, I still marvel (heh) when Diamond gets the eye placement perfect on a figure.  The eyes here line up exactly with the painted face, and it just looks really cool.  For accessories, Cap includes the standard clear base, as well as his mighty shield, and a hairpiece that allows him to be displayed unmasked.

SCARLET WITCH

Cap&ScarletWitch3Wanda Maximoff, aka the Scarlet Witch, hasn’t received anywhere near as many Minimates as the good Captain.  However, this was her third Minimate and it was even released in fairly close proximity to the second.  That’s not bad for a character most people hadn’t heard of before Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Like Cap, Wanda is presented here in her first Marvel Now! costume.  Unlike Cap, it moves a bit further away from the “classic” design.  YMMV on how well that works out, but there were far worse redesigns during Now!  Wanda has additional sculpted pieces for her hair/headpiece and the bottom of her jacket.  These are new to the figure.  The headpiece is similar to the two prior Wandas, but it sits a little lower, and the hair is a little fuller.  It makes for a good rendering of John Cassidy’s illustrations of the character in Uncanny Avengers, which I feel certain is what they were going for.  The bottom/skirt of her jacket is similar to Cap’s belt; it’s not the most thrilling piece ever, but it does what it’s supposed to.  It’s nice that it has a more organic shape and flow to it than a lot of skirt pieces, so there’s that going for it.  Wanda’s paint is mostly a mix of reds, befitting a character named the Scarlet Witch.  The metallic red of the head piece certainly pops, although there’s a fair bit of bleed over from her hair, made more noticeable by the aforementioned popping of the metallic red.  Aside from that, the paintwork is relatively clean.  The detailing on the torso block is fairly sharp and does a fairly nice job of giving her a more feminine figure.  Wanda is accessorized with a clear display stand and a pair of spell-casting hands, which were first introduced on the AvX Scarlet Witch.  They were cool there and they’re cool here.  They’re a great representation of her powers as they are usually depicted in the comics, and they make the figure stand out a bit more on the shelf.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got these two from TRU’s online store.  Things actually went pretty smoothly that time.  Generally, I overlook variants of A-listers, and I wasn’t super thrilled then Cap’s Now! redesign was unveiled, but I find myself very impressed with the quality of this figure.  He reminds quite a lot of the original Wave 5 Cap, and that’s a very good thing.  Wanda is one of my favorite Avengers, so I’m always happy to see her turn up in the various Marvel toylines.  The Now! look isn’t my favorite, but it’s unique and it is certainly a valid choice for a figure.  Being released in close proximity to a more classically inspired Wanda, this one comes across as a little less exciting.  Still, it’s a solid Minimate and a decent version of the character.

#0733: Iron Man – Marvel Now!

IRON MAN – MARVEL NOW!

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

IMNow1

Well, after looking at a totally new to toys, out of left field character with yesterday’s Thundra review, we jump right on over to a guy who’s had sooooooooooooooo many figures. Yep, it’s another Iron Man. Hey, somebody had to sell this series to retailers, right? Let’s look at the increasingly inaccurately named “Marvel Now! Iron Man.”

THE FIGURE ITSELF

IMNow2Iron Man is actually figure 1 in the latest set of Avengers Marvel Legends Infinite Series figures. He’s also one of the three figures in said series to actually get his own name on the box, but that’s not a huge shock. Hasbro was definitely not going to miss out on the chance to get Iron Man’s name on the box. The figure stands 6 ¼ inches tall and has 31 points of articulation, counting the shoulderpad movement. The hips are a little archaic in motion, and the neck is really loose, but the rest of the movement works very smoothly. Iron Man is seen here in the armor he was wearing at the beginning of the Marvel Now! relaunch from a few years ago. Structurally, this guy is 100% the same sculpt as the Iron Man 2 Mark IV figure. Since the Iron Man book’s primary artist Greg Land lifted his interpretation of the armor pretty much wholesale from the movie design (other artists actually stuck to more visually interesting look of the design sheet, but that’s another thing all together), this seems like a pretty reasonable bit of re-use on Hasbro’s part. The sculpt is certainly well-done, so that’s good. One thing I would note is that the shoulder pads have a tendency to pop off from time to time, so definitely be mindful of that. The paint work on this figure is kind of important, it being a repaint and all. Fortunately, the figure actually delivers quite nicely on that front. The gold parts are all nice and clean, and the changes are very sharp, especially for Hasbro. The various red dots don’t line up with the sculpt (except, obviously, the big central one) but they’re accurate to the design. The arc reactor even has a nice gradient bit going on, which is marred only by the small dash of missing paint at the center. Iron Man gets no accessories for him directly, but he does include the leg of the Hulkbuster, which distracts nicely from the lack of anything else. Seriously, it weighs twice as much as him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After finding four of the seven figures necessary to complete the Hulkbuster at Walgreens, I ended up splitting a full set of the series (courtesy of Big Bad Toy Store) with my dad. I wouldn’t have ever bought this figure if not for the Hulkbuster piece, but he’s actually not that bad. At the very least, the black/gold combo is sufficiently different from all the other Iron Men Hasbro’s given us, so he sticks out a little on the shelf.

IMNow3

#0143: Spider-Man & Nova

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN & ALL-NEW NOVA

MARVEL MINIMATES

Nova&Spider-Man

Today’s gonna be another Minimates review, guys.  There’s actually quite a few more coming up.  I swear this isn’t on purpose; the random list I generated is just giving them all to me in a bundle.  Sure, I could mix up the list, but if I’m honest, Minimates reviews are much more formulaic, and are therefore a little quicker to write.  So, there!

I’m going back to the flagship line, Marvel Minimates, for today’s review of Superior Spider-Man and Nova!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were released as part of the 51st wave of Marvel Minimates, which was a wave centered around the launch of Marvel Now!  If you don’t know what “Marvel Now!” is, it’s a movement by marvel to keep their books “fresh” by changing up a few creative teams and resetting a whole bunch of books back to issue 1.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN

I’ve discussed the “Superior” incarnation of Spider-Man previously, when I reviewed the character’s second look.  The basic gist is that Peter Parker’s mind was replaced with Doctor Octopus’s, resulting in a very different Spider-Man.  In a shocking move predicted by no one (read: sarcasm), Marvel just announced that come April, Peter will be back in control and Spider-Man will once again be Amazing.  Anyway, this figure is based on the initial design of Superior Spider-Man, which was a bit more of a minor change than the one that followed.  The figure is built on the standard Minimate body, so he’s got 14 points of articulation and stands about 2 ½ inches tall.  Spidey is a “vanilla mate”, meaning he’s got no sculpted add-ons, just paint on the basic body.  The paintwork is actually really nice.  All of the detail lines are nice and clean, and the web pattern even continues all the way around the wrists, which is a detail that’s been missing from a fair share of Spider-Men.  Spider-Man includes a webline, a clear display stand, and a jump stand that allows you to display him mid-swing.  The stand is a cool idea, and I hope to see it more often.

NOVA

Nova

If you’re a faithful reader of the site, this figure probably looks familiar to you.  That’s because I’ve pretty much already reviewed it.  For the most part, this figure is the same as TRU wave 17’s version of Nova.  The biggest change is that this figure sports a unique set of shoulder pads.  They look fine, but they’re really loose, and you can even see one of them has slipped out of place in the photo in this review.  For this reason, I prefer the piece used on the wave 17 version a bit more.  Paint wise, Nova is identical to the other version, fuzzy lines and all.  Nova’s accessories are another marked difference between releases.  This version doesn’t have the large complement the other featured, instead only getting the spare Sam hair, a basic flight stand, and a display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I actually bought an entire case of wave 51 in order to get more of the SHIELD Agent army builder, so I have three of this set.  So, if anyone reads this review and really wants a set, I have two spares for sale.  Anyway, I like this set, but with the release of superior (heh) versions of both characters in TRU wave 17, I can’t help but feel this set is a bit redundant.  They’re quality minimates to be sure, and the Spider-Men are different enough I suppose, but poor Nova really gets the short end of the stick.

#0139: Thor & Absorbing Man

THOR – MARVEL NOW & ABSORBING MAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

Okay, this should be the last of my “new Minimates” reviews for a little while.  I’m certain some of the older stuff will pop up on the random list of figures, but that’s different.  Anyway, it’s the other half of my review of the latest Toys R Us exclusive Marvel Minimates wave, this time featuring Thor and one of his old foes, the Absorbing Man.  For those of you who don’t know who that is: He’s a man who absorbs things.  There, you’re up to speed.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were released as part of the 18th Toys R Us exclusive wave of the Marvel Minimates line.

THOR

First up, it’s Thor, the God of Thunder!  Thor is depicted here in his “Marvel Now!” look from the more recent selection of Marvel comics.  It’s not a big deviation from his usual looks, but it’s different enough to warrant a release.  Thor is built on the basic Minimate body, so he stands about 2 ½ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation.  Thor features 7 sculpted add-ons: helmet/hair, spiky bracelets, cape, belt/skirt, and boots.  The boots and cape are reused from the Marvel Vs Capcom 3 version of Thor and the bracelets come from that line’s version of Chun Li.  The helmet and belt/skirt are new to this figure and they appear to be accurate to Thor’s most recent design.  The belt has some really great texturing, and the helmet has some very cool etched lines.  The paint on Thor is pretty good.  There’s a little bit of slop here and there, particularly on his helmet, but all of the detail lines are nice and clean.  One area that does really bug me is the spikes on the bracelets.  The sliver is just haphazardly applied, and it makes him look rather sloppy.  Thor includes a spare set of arms detailed with chainmail sleves that match his legs, his trust hammer Mjolnir, and a clear display stand.

ABSORBING MAN

Absorbing Man is next up.  Absorbing man is often grouped as a Hulk villain, but he began his life as a Thor villain, so he makes sense here.  Curiously, his last Minimate was packed with Captain America, so I guess the Avengers just pass him around.  Absorbing Man’s been released in the Marvel Minimates line once before, but that was way back in wave 5 of the main line (Which just hit 54!), so the update is much appreciated.  The figure is built on the typical Minimate body, so he has the usual stats, though the sculpted add-ons can potentially bring his height up and his articulation down.  In the bulked up form (which I’m going with as default, since that’s how he’s packaged), he features 11 sculpted add-ons:  torso cover, two different sculpted hands, two different sculpted upper arm covers, a pelvis cover, a torso extender, thigh covers, and bulked up feet.  Let’s start with the reuse: the torso, pelvis, and upper leg covers are generic bulked-up pieces that have been used numerous times before; the feet originally appeared on Wave 44’s Smart Hulk; the right hand and upper arm came from the most recently released version of the Thing.  The left upper-arm is an all new piece, and isn’t a slip over, and the hand has been sculpted to match.  I think the idea is for them to look like tree bark, but I’m not 100% sure.  The paint is overall well applied, though the prison stripes can be a bit fuzzy in a few places, and there is the issue of the right arm still obviously being of a rocky texture even though it’s painted flesh tone.  I feel that a special mention needs to go to the head which really just looks like ol’ Crusher Creel to me.  Absorbing Man includes a spare set of arms, hands and feet to transform him back to normal, plus his old ball and chain, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These two came from the same TRU trip as the last set, which means that I also scored them for $3.98.  Even at full price, I feel this set is a worthy purchase.  It’s not my favorite Thor, but it does round out the main Avengers in their Marvel Now! looks, and Absorbing Man is an amazing update on the previous figure.  At full price, I would have been content; at $4, these were a steal!