#2409: Masked Spider-Man & Gwen Stacy

MASKED SPIDER-MAN & GWEN STACY

MARVEL MINIMATES

In its second year, Marvel Minimates worked to fill in some of the gaps left by its first year, but also looked to find its footing and how to successfully carry on a brand when you’ve already put out a lot of the heavy hitters.  For their first series in the second year, they had a theme of “retread and new” to their pairings.  This was already visible with the Doc Ock and Unmasked Spidey set from last week, and it becomes even more obvious with today’s set, Masked Spider-Man and Gwen Stacy.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Masked Spidey and Gwen were released in Series 4 of the Marvel Minimates specialty line-up.  Gwen would remain exclusive to this particular assortment, but this version of Spidey wound up paired off with Series 5’s Wolverine variant for the Walmart/Target assortment.  Oh good, he was more places.

MASKED SPIDER-MAN

So, yeah, I’m wondering the same thing you’re wondering: isn’t “Masked Spider-Man” just a regular Spider-Man?  I mean, that would be my guess, but this figure seems to think otherwise.  I believe the figure was originally solicited as “Half-Masked Spider-Man”, and perhaps they realized this was too many words to fit on the packaging.  They were still committed to giving each figure a unique name, though, so “Masked Spider-Man” he became.  From the neck down, he’s the same as the other two non-battle damaged Spider-Men, which I guess is good for consistency.  It means that the majority of this guy is the same as a really good ‘mate.  But now he’s got his masked pulled up to reveal his mouth.  It’s not an uncommon look for the character, and was of course prominently featured in the first Spider-Man movie, so I guess it makes sense?  It would make more sense packed with an MJ, but I digress.  To further mix things up, this guy’s also got a new web-line piece.  Its attached to a hand, and the end of it is shaped to a Minimate torso, allowing him to grab them.  It’s probably the best thing about this figure.

GWEN STACY

After butchering poor MJ’s debut ‘mate, I guess DST felt the need to prove that not every woman in Peter’s life was a horrible monster mash.  So, we got a Gwen Stacy.  How about that.  Gwen didn’t have a costume, but DST opted to put her in the outfit that most people remember: the one she died in.  It’s got a distinctive flair to it, to be sure, and it’s certainly iconic.  Gwen is constructed from the usual base body, with add-ons for her hair, jacket, and skirt.  All of the add-ons were new for this release, and they look decent.  The jacket does really bulk her up, though, especially when compared to other supposedly larger characters, who were still just on the basic body.  Hey, that’s the difficulty of using the same base for everyone, I suppose.  Gwen’s paintwork is cleanly done, and pretty basic, but that’s honestly a good thing, because it’s really that too many details approach that messed up poor MJ.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have this set when it was new, but my brother did.  I myself was never majorly impressed by either figure included.  However, I found them from Luke’s Toy Store for really cheap, and I’ve been slowly filling out my early Minimates collection, so now I have them.  I still don’t find it to be a terribly exciting set.  Gwen’s okay, and honestly better than I expected, but Spidey’s just kind of pointless, even moreso than the unmasked figure from the same set.  Fortunately, they would learn how to make better Spidey variants as the line progressed.

#2407: Spider-Man – Spider-Sense

SPIDER-MAN — SPIDER-SENSE

SPIDER-MAN (TOY BIZ)

“Perched on a ledge high above the city, Spider-Man’s ‘6th sense’ begins to tingle – providing a split second warning that imminent danger looms behind him. Back-flipping with a speed and precision well beyond an Olympic athlete, Spider-Man turns to see the ledge blasted into airborne shrapnel thanks to the Scorpion’s thrashing tail! For on the day Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider, his life was changed forever. And although he gained super-human strength, amazing agility, and enhanced reflexes – it’s his uncanny spider-sense which alerts Spider-Man to the dangers of his adversaries – and benefits him the most!”

Early in its run, Toy Biz’s 5-inch Spider-Man line actually tried to have some valid variants of its main character.  They weren’t always perfect, and sometimes there were some definite reaches to justify a whole new figure, but they gave it their best shot.  In Spider-Man: The Animated Series, there was this animation gimmick they had every time his spider-sense went off, where he’d get this drastically different, rave-esque color scheme for a few moments.  It was different enough in Toy Biz’s eyes to milk a few figures out of it, the first of which is today’s offering.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Sense Spider-Man was released in Series 5 of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man line, which hit shelves very late in 1995.  He was one of three Spidey variants in the line-up, with the other two being battle-ravaged and six-armed.  The figure stands just under 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  His articulation scheme is kind of wonky, in that it doesn’t really match with any other figure Toy Biz produced, in this line or any other.  The arms move only at the shoulders, but the legs get all sorts of range at the hips and knees.  He seems to be built with a wall-crawling pose in mind, which makes sense with his built-in action feature, which sort of mimics this with his arms…or at least it did when mine still worked.  It was pretty easily worn out.  It’s a little odd that they didn’t put in a little motion on his neck, since its inability to move the head upwards kinda wrecks the credibility of most crawling poses, but there it is.  The sculpt follows the model of the earlier Spideys from this line, being quite sparse on the sculpted details, opting instead to paint most of them on.  In that respect, the paint’s pretty good.  It’s taken a bit of a beating on my figure, but it’s held up alright, and the color work matches the scheme seen on the cartoon pretty well.  It’s a somewhat unique look, and I can certainly get behind it.  This guy was packed with a web-line, web hook, and a collector’s pin, though none of them really did much for the figure.  But hey, extras are extras, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

For Easter when my cousin Rusty and I were four, our grand parents bought both of us one figure from this series.  If you’re thinking this is the one I got, you’re wrong.  My cousin got this guy, and I got Six-Armed Spidey.  I wasn’t happy with that decision as I recall (which seems a but silly to me now, because Six Arm is clearly the better option.  Silly child Ethan), and my parents ended up working out some sort of deal (I’m sure related to cleaning my room or something) in order to take me to the mall and get me this guy for myself.  He’s not bad, but I don’t know how exciting he is, honestly.  I really wanted him, though.

#2402: Unmasked Spider-Man & Dr. Octopus

UNMASKED SPIDER-MAN & DR. OCTOPUS

MARVEL MINIMATES

Marvel Minimates hit shelves again their second year in early March, kicking off their sophomore efforts with a return to the world of everyone’s favorite wall-crawler.  The second series of the line had given us Spidey and three of his best known foes, but there was definitely a major one missing, and that was Dr. Octopus (who was, probably not coincidentally, the main foe in Spider-Man 2, which hit theaters two months after this assortment was released), who made his Minimate debut here, alongside unmasked Spider-Man, the sort of Spider-Man variant that wouldn’t really be a proper variant in this day and age.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Unmasked Spider-Man and Dr. Octopus were first released in Series 4 of the specialty line of Marvel Minimates, but the set was one of the ones that was carried over unchanged into the Walmart/Target assortments of the time, as well as both figures being released in one of TRU’s 4-packs, alongside Captain America and Absorbing Man.  I actually already reviewed the Spidey on his own a while back, and that review is here.  I don’t talk about packaging much on this site, but it’s notable that these guys were to first to be in the much smaller, windowless box packaging, which would be the line’s main jam for two years or so.  I myself am quite nostalgic for this particular style of packaging, although it did limit the ability to include extra parts with the figures.  Still, it was quite a good look for the line.

Doc Ock was a slight departure for the line, with one of the most extensive add-ons at the time.  Though characters like Hulk and Venom would go without any bulk-up, Ock got his requisite fat piece, which was rolled into his tentacle arms as well.  The arms are rather on the small side, but they did have articulation at each connection, making Ock the most articulated Minimate at the time and for a fair bit.  His hair piece is very similar to Bruce Banner and Peter Parker’s, with the glasses being permanently attached.  At least it makes more sense for Ock’s eyes to not be seen beneath the glasses.  In terms of paint, Ock’s pretty darn basic.  There’s the detailing for the gloves, boots, and belt, which was rather inconsistent in coverage.  I do quite like the face beneath the glasses, though.  Something about those eyebrows is giving me serious Alfred Molina vibes.  Ock didn’t include any accessories, but with the extra arms, that’s not really a big issue.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got an Ock with my original Unmasked Spider-Man, but I was never as impressed with him, and ended up losing most of his parts over the years.  I ended up replacing him outright a couple of years ago when I found the set for a really low price on Luke’s Toy Store.  Rather amusingly, I only opened them up when it came time to write this review, and I found out they’d been slid into their box upside down, all this time.  Ock’s still not amazingly impressive, but I must admit I have more of an appreciation for him now than I did as a kid.

#2398: Eel

EEL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Powered by strong electrical currents, Eel uses bursts of electricity to shock his enemies into defeat.”

Oh man, I’m writing another Serpent Society review.  How the heck do I right a good intro to a Serpent Society review?  Let’s check my last one…I went with a B-52s parody.  Great.  Yeah, that’ll go over real well here.  With Eel.  What am I gonna do?  “Eel if you want to, Eel around the world?”  It just doesn’t have the same flair, the same charm.  At this point, I’m really just stalling.  Onto the freaking figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Eel was part of the Abomination Series of Marvel Legends, which was the third assortment meant to tie-in with Civil War.  Of course, Eel himself wasn’t one of the direct tie-ins.  In fact, he’s got probably the loosest tie of them all, since his only real tie is that he was part of the Serpent Society, which Cap fought from time to time.  Eel himself wasn’t originally a Cap villain, though, and in fact started off fighting Daredevil.  No matter who he’s fighting, he’s not exactly a huge threat.  Also?  Not a serpent, but I guess the society’s numbers were low.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Eel is one of those characters who earned his spot in Legends through sheer cost-out purposes, because there’s literally not a single new piece on him.  He’s the Bucky Cap body, with Blizzard’s head, and the electricity effect hands from Electro.  Honestly, all of those parts are pretty good, and they’re also pretty accurate, so it’s hard to complain about Hasbro going for the re-use here.  If it works, go for it.  That gives the paint the job of the heavy lifting.  It does fine.  Nothing amazing or super exciting, but he’s accurate to the source material, and he looks suitably distinct from the other figures that use these parts.  Eel’s accessories are a little on the lighter side, but he’s not totally without.  He gets a spare set of normal hands (which, for the record, Electro did not, so he’s a step up there), and the torso of the Abomination Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted in my review of the Cap from this set, I was in between jobs when this series hit, and I didn’t really have the funds to throw at the whole set.  Eel being as minor a character as he was, and with me not having picked up Cottonmouth, the other Serpent Society figure released that year, I ended up passing, and I can’t say I really regretted it.  But, when Rock Python was released, I realized I had two of the four Serpent Society figures available, and the other two had just been traded into All Time loose, so it felt like the right time to pick them up, lest they suddenly jump in price while I wasn’t looking.  Eel doesn’t offer much new or different, but he’s still a solid figure, and I’d probably rank him as my second favorite of the Society members we’ve gotten so far.

I purchased Eel from my sponsors over at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for other Legends or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2395: Giant-Size X-Men

CYCLOPS, WOLVERINE, COLOSSUS, STORM, NIGHTCRAWLER, & THUNDERBIRD

MARVEL MINIMATES

The first year of Marvel Minimates was all kind of consolidated around the summer of 2003, so it was a little while before we well and truly got a follow-up, but they kickstarted their second year off with a bang.  After focussing purely on the Ultimate incarnation of the X-Men, for their first two entries in year two, DST decided to circle back around and give us classic X-Men in spades.  When it comes to classic X-Men, it’s hard to get more classic than the cover of Giant-Size X-Men #1, which is what the line’s first dedicated boxed set was based around.  So, without further ado, let’s jump right in!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Giant-Size X-Men boxed set hit in January of 2004, and was the first boxed set to be available through specialty shops.  It (and the AFX-exclusive Professor X and Magneto) introduced the totally windowless packaging that would become the norm for the line for the next four years.  In the case of this particular set, it was probably the nicest box the line produced, replicating the cover to the original issue quite nicely.  I’ve included a shot of it here, courtesy of minimatedatabase.com.  Of the six figures contained in this set, five would eventually be made available as part of a set of Target exclusive two-packs (Thunderbird wound up as the odd man out), with the major difference between the two releases being C3-style feet on the later figures.

CYCLOPS

Already two ‘mates in by this point, this set finally gave us Cyclops with his classic cowled appearance.  It wouldn’t be the last time we’d see it, even just for a short while, but it sure was important at the time.  He’s built on the standard old-style body, so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and he’s got 14 points of articulation.  He’s got one add-on piece for his mask/visor, which is a pretty nicely sculpted piece.  I always appreciated how the visor on it was so instantly unique from the one on the Series 3 Cyclops.  It was also a nice enough piece that it lasted through to 2010 before being retired.  The rest of things are handled through paint, and admittedly not a lot of it.  Of the six figures included here, Scott was by far the least detailed, with not even chest detailing to make him stand out.  Given how he was always so creatively shaded in the comics, it’s a shame they didn’t go for that here.  They’d end up fixing that on later figures.

WOLVERINE

Already two ‘mates in by this point, this set finally gave us Wolverine with his classic…cowled appearance…wait, I just did this.  Sorry!  I mean, yeah, it’s the same deal as Cyclops, though.  Woverine’s two prior releases lacked his distinctive mask, so this was our first shot at it.  He got a new add-on piece for it, as well as new boots, and the same clawed hands from the two Series 3 releases.  It’s not a bad selection of parts, but it definitely didn’t hold up as well as the Cyclops mask did.  These parts would see only one more use before being retired.  Everything else is paint, and that includes the shoulder pads, which was an…interesting choice.  Clearly, they’re a three dimensional item, but they were just painted on here.  The separate pieces that came later were a better fit.  The rest of the paintwork is pretty decent.  Like Scott, he doesn’t have any sort of musculature on his chest, but he does at least get his tiger stripes, so it’s not a total blank void.

COLOSSUS

Notably missing from the Series 3 X-Men line-up (despite Ultimate Colossus being a prominent member at the time), Colossus made his debut here.  He was one of the most involved ‘mates in the set in terms of parts count, with add-ons for his hair, tunic/belt, and boots.  All of the parts were new at the time, and they’re honestly the best of the parts introduced here.  They just do a really great job of replicating the feel of the character, and I always liked how they bulked him up a bit when compared to the others in the set.  In addition to having the most extra parts, Colossus also had by far the most involved paint work of the whole set, and honestly of most of the line at this point.  The banding on his metal skin wraps all the way around on his arms and legs, and he’s got a fully detailed front and back to the torso block under his tunic.  His face also is just so full of character.  It’s honestly a little shocking that this guy and Cyclops are from the same set.

STORM

Storm had gotten one ‘mate prior to this, but that was a modern design, so the classic was kind of needed, I guess.  Her original costume is pretty darn distinctive, and I think more properly captured that regal side of the character.  She had add-ons for her hair and cape.  The hair is huge, to comical standards, honestly, and makes her quite tricky to keep standing.  The cape, on the other hand, is small and very understated, and rather easily missed, I feel.  That was kind of the nature of the capes, at this point, though, so I can’t really say it was out of the ordinary or weird.  The paint is alright on her, but not the same level as Colossus.  She has the basics, and she does at least get torso detailing of some sort, so she’s a bit ahead of Cyclops and Wolverine.  That said, it’s also a lot messier in application than the others in this set.

NIGHTCRAWLER

Nightcrawler has been pretty sparse when it comes to Minimates.  This was his first, and remained his only until 2011.  So, this guy had to keep us content for 7 whole years.  Certainly, he must have been really good, right?  …Ehhh.  He did get a lot of new parts, with add-ons for the hair, chest cap, and tail, as well as unique hands and feet.  The hair seems a little too demonic, if I’m honest, but the hands, feet, and tail all are pretty dope.  The biggest problem I’ve got with this guy is that chest cap, which bulks him way up, despite the fact that Nightcrawler should actually be the smallest of the six figures included here. Why would they do this?  And then not fix it for soooooo long?  The paint was okay on this guy, at least.  The face again leans more into the demonic thing, but at least that fits okay with the GSXM-stylings.

THUNDERBIRD

The one truly exclusive figure in the set, this Thunderbird wouldn’t see a re-issue at all, and the character wouldn’t appear again until 2016, when we got another GSXM-set.  He’s the one that seems to diverge the most from the comics appearance, falling back more into a general ‘mate aesthetic.  He had a new hair piece and shoulder pads, both of which would remain unique.  They’re…well, they’re there.  Neither’s all that impressive, but I guess they aren’t bad either. The bit of his forehead that’s visible on the hairpiece looks really odd, and he’s missing the feathers from the back of his headband.  The paintwork brings in a few more inaccuracies.  He’s got visible pupils, which he shouldn’t, and his feet are the wrong color (they should be red).  Also, his face just doesn’t feel at all like Thunderbird.  I could see it passing for Warpath, but definitely not Thunderbird.  At least he got torso detailing?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like a fool, an absolute fool, I passed on this set when it came out.  I saw it at Cosmic Comix, I had the money to spend, and I dropped on the DC Direct import of the Batman Kubricks instead.  Why?  WHY!?!  I was young and stupid, that’s why.  This set’s never been super plentiful, and was going for a bit on the aftermarket for a while, so I just never got one.  I finally ended up getting the Series 68 set, and figured that was good enough, but I still had this little nagging need for this set too.  Fortunately, it came into All Time as part of a big Minimates collection they bought last fall, so, hey, I finally got it.  Honestly, this set hasn’t aged so well, but it’s really worth the price of admission just for that Colossus.  That’s still the best version of him the line produced!

As I mentioned above,  I got this set from my friends at All Time Toys.  They’ve still got a lot of that Minimate collection, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2390: Ultron

ULTRON

MARVEL UNIVERSE (HASBRO)

“Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the greatest crossover event of all time. As Galactus assembles the vast machine that will eventually consume Battleworld and all that exist on its surface, Mr. Fantastic and the other heroes lay their plans. The leader of the Fantastic Four knows more about Galactus than any man alive, and his advice on the coming battle is priceless. Back in Doombase, Ultron stands guard over his master’s interests while the other villains go about their assigned tasks.”

2009 was the 25th Anniversary of Marvel’s Secret Wars crossover.  Given that the whole purpose of that god-forsaken thing was to move some toys, I guess it was only appropriate that its anniversary would also be used to move some toys.  Hasbro got in on the action with a whole sub-set of two-packs from their then running Marvel Universe line, and really took advantage of the event to bulk up the classic characters roster for the line.  The villains in particular made out quite well, since a good number of the packs paired the off one on one with the heroes.  It also managed to get us our first ever proper classic Ultron figure, after Toy Biz batted around it so many times.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultron was released in the third series of Secret Wars two-packs for the Marvel Universe line, in a pack that also included Mr. Fantastic and a reprint of Secret Wars #6.  Ultron’s role in the mini-series is pretty darn laughable, but I’ll take any excuse to get a good Ultron figure.  The figure stands 4 inches tall and has 23 points of articulation.  I actually looked at this sculpt in its entirety already, when I looked at the later single-carded Ultron.  It’s a really good sculpt, and a pretty fantastic recreation of the classic Ultron design.  There are a few quirks to it, but that doesn’t stop me from loving it (my figure here is actually missing the shoulder pads he’s supposed to have; both versions of the mold included them, but this guy came to me without one of them, and I wanted him to be symmetrical).  The big change-up is the paintwork.  The single release had a slightly out of character color scheme, making him more of a gunmetal grey and bright green combo.  It was interesting, but not quite a “classic” Ultron.  This figure stuck with the classics, with a brighter shade of silver, and the proper red for the eyes and mouth.  Unlike the later figure, the energy also doesn’t bleed out over the rest of the figure; the red stays confined to the head.  The spots that were green on the body on the other figure are instead a dark blue here, which quite well replicates the comics design, accents the sculpt quite well.  I also really dig the crackling energy effect they’ve done in his mouth, which again is straight comics in nature.  Ultron included no accessories, unless you want to count the dead weight that was the Mr. Fantastic figure that made up the other-half of this two-pack.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I discussed in my review of the single release, I missed out on this guy when he was new, largely because I just didn’t want that Mr. Fantastic.  I made due with the later figure, but I definitely still wanted this one, since he’s the true classic look and all.  Fortunately, one got traded into All Time right before everything shut down, and I was able to grab him.  Sure, he’s missing the shoulderpads, but that’s a small thing.  I still like the green one for his uniqueness, but this guy’s the real deal.  He can be the Ultron-11 to that guy’s Ultron-12.

#2388: Peter Parker & Mary Jane

PETER PARKER & MARY JANE

MARVEL MINIMATES

During the first year of Marvel Minimates, DST put together a few exclusives to bulk up the line a little further than just the core three series.  In the nature of repurposing all over the place in those early days, one of those exclusives, Grey Hulk and Ultimate Spider-Man, was a pairing of figures that would be literally everywhere by the end of the line.  The other notable exclusive is today’s pack, Peter Parker and Mary Jane, a pair of figures that were never directly re-released in any fashion.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Peter and Mary Jane were available at San Diego Comic-Con in 2003, alongside the previously mentioned Hulk and Spider-Man.  More than the other set, they feel like a direct continuation of Series 2’s Spider-Man theme, and pretty much slot right in with that set.

PETER PARKER

We got a half-Spidey/half-Peter ‘mate in the main line, so this figure creates the counter part to the full Spidey, giving us a full Peter.  Yay, I guess.  He’s built on the standard old-style ‘mate body, so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He got a new hair piece and book bag.  Both would see re-use later, but they were new here.  Like Bruce Banner, the glasses are opaque, something I don’t like as much here as I did on Banner.  Beyond that, he’s just paint, which pretty much just replicates the Peter half of the Series 2 figure directly.  It’s definitely a ’60s Peter, that much is certain.  It fits in alright with the style of the early ‘mates, so I can’t really knock it.  Peter was packed with a book accessory, to go with that book bag, I guess.

MARY JANE

Peter’s main love interest and a long time fixture of the comics, Mary Jane didn’t really get her proper due as a Minimate until 15 years into the run.  She did get this…thing, however.  Mary Jane was the standard ‘mate body, but with a new hair piece.  A hair piece that was clearly aiming for some kind of recreation of John Romita’s look for MJ, but…well, it missed the mark a bit, and ends up looking more like a crappy mullet.  With the one piece of new sculpting dressed down, let’s talk about the paint.  Oh, it’s not good.  There’s way too many lines on that face.  That would be too many lines for a modern-style ‘mate.  For a year one release?  She looks like she’s a million.  The eyes are okay; it’s really he lower half of the face that ruins it.  Moving past the face we can stop and ask “what is she supposed to be wearng?”  MJ was pretty well defined as always having pretty flattering wardrobe, but this ain’t that.  She’s got a sleeveless shirt that may as well be a pillow case, plus capris, and…dress shoes?  I don’t know.  I don’t think this replicates a specific look.  Wouldn’t it have made sense to, I don’t know, go for that distinctive design that she has on that distinctive panel that everybody remembers that introduced her?  No, that would be too on the nose.  Let’s go with this ugly thing.  Making things uglier, the plastics on the various parts of her pants don’t match at all in coloring, which looks awful.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this set from All Time when they got that large collection of ‘mates back last fall.  At this point, I was really just working on filling in my “year one” set, which these guys are a part of, and that’s about the only reason I bought them.  Peter is kind of meh, and not exactly enough to sell the set on his own.  MJ, on the other hand, is quite possibly the worst Minimate in existence, and is certainly the worst the first year had to offer.  Clearly, the reason neither of these two saw re-release is because they just really didn’t warrant it.

#2381: Silver Surfer

SILVER SURFER

MARVEL MINIMATES

The initial Marvel Minimates stuff was all really compartmentalized.  Two of the three assortments were tight-nit themes, and the other assortment stuck to at least themes within each pairing.  There was, however, one figure shown off with initial product who didn’t have a natural pairing or theme: Norin Radd, the Silver Surfer.  See, his lack of connection to anyone else was supposed to cement him as the key exclusive piece in the planned single-packed assortments.  The plan was he’d be packed in a case of singles, with the rest being made up of repacked figures from the two packs, in sort of a flip of the TRU five packs.  The singles did show up eventually, but only as an exclusive to a Canadian chain, and they didn’t include poor Surfer.  Fortunately, as with most of the early ‘mates, there ended up being several ways to get him.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Silver Surfer was initially released in the Marvel Minimates line on his own as a Tower Records-exclusive, then surfaced in one of the TRU four-packs, then the TRU ten-pack, then in series 7 of the main line alongside Spider-Man 2099, and then finally in an Action Figure Xpress-exclusive two-pack with Thanos.  Apart from the AFX version getting C3-style feet, the figures were all the same, making him a relatively easy to acquire ‘mate, at least for a good while.  Surfer was, and continues to be with more recent offerings, a vanilla ‘mate, relying only on the basic ‘mate body to make him work.  As such he stands 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  The heavy lifting here was done via the paint, and while you could go *really* basic on a character like this, DST actually put some care into his detailing, attempting to capture the comics’ style of making him look extra shiny.  There’s more of a minimalist bend to this one, going more for a “suggest but don’t explicitly outline” approach to most of his features.  Contrasted against the far more line-work heavy designs of the later Surfers, I can’t help but just really dig this one for the simplicity of it all, even if the paint on mine has taken quite a beating over the years.  Surfer’s one accessory is his board, which for this version is just a board, with no pegs or anything on it.  It’s a little limiting in regards to what you can do with it, but it also means it’s not marred by the connection points that were all over the later versions.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wanted Surfer as soon as I could get one, but being much younger and not having the action figure-acquiring means I have now, I ended up having to wait until his proper main line release in Series 7.  Over the years, I lost most of my Spider-Man 2099, but I’ve still got Surfer.  He’s still pretty dope.

#2374: Daredevil

DAREDEVIL

AVENGERS INFINITE (HASBRO)

“With an armored suit and steel billy clubs, Daredevil vanishes into the night to defend the city!”

Though he’s more or less stuck with the same look since switching to the all-red number early in the ’60s, Daredevil has still managed to pick up a few different designs over the years.  In the ’90s, when everything was getting more “x-treme”, Daredevil combated the X-treme-ness with an extra armored design, dubbed Armored Daredevil, for originality’s sake.  Despite being around in the ’90s, at peak “we’re making toys of these” time, Armored DD is a slightly rarer entry in the toy world.  Toy Biz did one quick and dirty repaint version, and there’s been a Minimate, and there’s also today’s figure, courtesy of Hasbro.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Daredevil was released in 2015 as part of the line that initially started as the Avengers Infinite line, but after losing the Avengers focus had transitioned to just Marvel Infinite.  It was, for all intents and purposes, just a continuation of the Marvel Universe line, since it was the same scale and general style.  The figure stands 4 1/4 inches tall and he has 19 points of articulation.  By this point, the line was pretty quickly cutting down on the articulation on the figures in order to keep the cost of figures down, so DD is definitely more on the restricted side of things.  This has its pluses and minuses, as it makes him a slightly sturdier figure than a lot of the MU-style figures were, but it also means there’s just not a lot of posing to be done with him.  The lack of any sort of mid torso joint is definitely the biggest limitation, but as a whole, he’s just kinda stiff.  The figure did at least have a good number of new parts.  Only the torso is a standard piece, with all of the others being new parts, which do a really nice job of capturing the armored plates of the comics design.  In this costume, Matt had ditched the holster on his leg for his clubs, and instead kept one mounted on each forearm.  This figure permanently attaches one to his left arm, just to demonstrate the concept, I guess.  It’s odd that the one with the club attached is also the same arm with a closed fist, since you would assume that he would grab each club with the opposite hand, but maybe he likes passing them between hands?  DD’s paintwork is pretty cleanly handled for the most part.  Nothing amazing, but the color work matches the comics, and it’s fairly cleanly applied.  DD was originally packed with a loose club to match the one on his arm.  Mine doesn’t have that, but he does have a billy club piece that’s not actually his, because I didn’t realize that until after taking the main photo.  Silly me.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was sort of interested in this figure when he was first shown off, because I have something of a soft spot for this design, but by the time he actually hit, I just never brought myself around to picking him up.  Like the Colossus figure I reviewed two weeks ago, he’s part of a collection that Cosmic Comix bought, which allowed me to get him for fairly cheap.  He’s a cool figure, and I’m glad I finally picked him up, but I can’t say I regret not buying him at full retail.  He’s just okay.

#2369: Secret War Captain America

SECRET WAR CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Recruited by Nick Fury for an undercover mission, Captain America serves SHIELD in the pursuit of justice.”

Comics like to re-use names.  Take, for instance, this figure, and the story he’s sourced from.  Is “Secret War Captain America” from Secret Wars, Marvel’s cross-company event designed to help sell action figures?  Or perhaps Secret Wars II, its sequel?  Or how about Secret Wars, the 2015 cross-company event designed to help sell that comics were still a relevant thing and these crossovers were still totally worth doing and you should really buy them all?  It’s a resounding “no” to all three.  No, he’s from Secret War, a Brian Michael Bendis-written event from 2003, which, despite its name, is completely and totally unrelated to the three other events I listed.  Oh, Bendis.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Secret War Captain America was part of the Abomination Series of Marvel Legends, which was the last of the three Cap-themed Civil War tie-in assortments released in 2016.  Hasbro was eager to get as much mileage as possible out of the new Cap pieces they’d tooled up for the Reaper body, and also needed a third Cap variant, so this guy got the nod, being based on Gabriele Dell’Otto’s stealth uniform Cap from the previously mentioned event series.  Cap’s costume from this series is apparently a favorite for toy companies, since its had both a Legends and a Minimates release, while none of the other heroes costumes have graced toy form.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  As I noted above, this guy was built on the Reaper body, specifically the one with all the Cap-specific parts that was first used for the Cap-Wolf figure.  That means he’s got the flared boots and gloves.  He also re-uses the head from the RoML Ultimate Captain America, since it lacks the 3D head wings of Cap-Wolf’s standard head.  Also, doesn’t have that same horrible, hideous face, so that’s a plus.  He does get one new piece, an add-on for his belt, which appears to be fairly accurate to the source material.  Of all the things to spring for new tooling on, this one seems a little odd, but to be fair, it’s really the only new piece he needed.  The main changes are made via the paint, which really gets the stealthier colors of the design down. He’s still got the trappings of your standard Captain America color scheme, but toned way down to allow for something slightly stealthier…even if it’s not like he’s really actually hiding who he is.  Whatever the case, it looks cool.  Cap is packed with the same shield as all of the post-Reaper Caps, and also includes the throwing effect for the shield, which I reviewed with the 80th Cap, but was debuted with this particular figure.  As I noted in that review, it’s a fun extra piece, and definitely added some pop to what could have been a drab release.  Cap was also packed with the right arm of the Abomination Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

At the time that this assortment hit in 2016, I was kinda between jobs, so I didn’t really have the funds to go all-in on it (nor did the line-up or the Build-A-Figure really inspire me to do so), meaning I only picked up the figures I really, really wanted.  Cap didn’t quite make it on that list, and I just never saw him in person again by the time I had the money to spend on him.  Fortunately, All Time managed to get a few of them in as part of a trade, and so I was able to grab one for my Cap collection.  He’s not a standard version of the character, but the stealth look is a cool one, and he was certainly an improvement on the Cap Wolf figure.

Cap was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys. If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.