BLACK PANTHER & M’BAKU
Black Panther was not at all hurting for merchandise, which is certainly a good thing, since it was a pretty darn awesome movie. And I like having action figures from awesome movies, so that all works out pretty well for me. Minimates are usually the best way to get the largest cross-section of characters from any given property, and that’s definitely the case here. So, without further ado, I present the first in a week of Black Panther Minimates reviews, starting off with Black Panther and M’Baku!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
This pair is one of the shared sets for this whole assortment. They’re available in two-pack form from both Toys R Us and Walgreens, and also in the specialty-exclusive four-pack. For the sake of posterity, this particular set came from Walgreens.
T’Challa’s actually not as frequent a Minimate as you might think, though this movie has certainly changed that. This particular version marks his fourth time in the format, and, unsurprisingly, it’s based on his updated suit from Black Panther. The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation. For his non-basic parts, he’s got an add-on for his mask, as well as Cheetah’s clawed hands. The claws are definitely a welcome addition, as their absence from the Series 66 version was really my only major complaint. The paint on Panther is pretty solid work. Detail lines do a nice job of capturing all of the intricate details of the costume from the movie. I like the use of the dark blue for the base body so that the details stand out. Under the mask, there’s a new Chadwick Boseman likeness, and it’s a marked improvement from the Civil War version. The expression is fairly neutral, but avoids being too bland. Panther is packed with an extra hair piece to display his unmasked look, as well as the standard clear display stand.
M’Baku was perhaps my favorite character in the film, thanks in no small part to Winston Duke injecting a lot of life into what could have been a rather two-dimensional character. His absence from most of the figure lines is understandable (I mean, he’s only got, what, 15 minutes of screen time?), but still somewhat disappointing. The Minimate is currently the only figure version available, and he’s based on his garb from the film’s climax, which is a sensible choice (though a challenge two-pack of him and T’Challa might be a fun exclusive). He’s got add-on pieces for his hair, torso armor, and skirt piece. All three of these are new to this figure, and they’re decent enough. The armor’s a little bit on the restrictive side, but not a bad piece overall. M’Baku’s paintwork is solid, if maybe not super exciting. Nevertheless, the likeness on the face is definitely a good match, and the more intricate work on the wrist bracers and the shins is really awesome. M’Baku is packed with his staff and the usual display stand.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I’ve been debating whether or not to pick up this pair. Obviously, I wanted both of them (M’Baku in particular), but I was initially going to holdout for the four-pack, but then Walgreens was running a buy-one-get-one-50%-off sale, and I’d otherwise have ended up with an odd number of sets. Both figures here are pretty solid additions to the line. And, hey, where else are you going to find an M’Baku figure?