#1729: Iron-Spider & Hulk

IRON-SPIDER & HULK

MARVEL MINIMATES

I’m just gonna keep on rolling with this Avengers: Infinity War thing that I got started yesterday, taking a look at another of Diamond Select’s Minimate offerings from the film.  This time around, we’re back to the two-packs, and we’re also looking at two of the film’s heaviest hitters, Spider-Man and the Hulk!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Iron-Spider and Hulk are–or were, I suppose is the better term– the shared two-pack between Walgreens and Toys R Us.  Of course, thanks to TRU’s untimely demise, they’re instead available everywhere, just like the Iron Man and Thanos pack.  As far as pairing goes, they’re not really the most natural choice, but at least Peter and Banner interact with each other at *some* point, even if it’s not in these particular forms.

IRON-SPIDER

Peter’s new suit for Infinity War was technically introduced in Homecoming, but doesn’t see any action until Peter winds up in space with Tony and Dr. Strange.  It’s name and Stark-designed nature tie it to the red and gold suit that Peter was wearing for “Civil War” in the comics, but its actual design seems to have more in common with Peter’s more recent Parker Industries-designed armor.  This was more than likely due to them not really wanting two red and gold armored guys flying across the screen doing battle with Thanos.  The figure uses the standard ‘mate body, so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He gets an additional harness piece, replicating his extra spider-limbs, which also grants him an extra four points of articulation, thanks to the balljoint at the base of each leg.  The piece is new to this figure (since they can’t re-use the comic ones; they only have three legs), and works decently enough.  Sure, it bulks up the neck and waist a bit, and a dedicated torso sculpt would have possibly looked a bit better, but then you’d lack the option of displaying him sans legs, which would be annoying.  Iron Spider’s paintwork is quite cleanly applied.  Not quite as shiny as I might have expected, but still decent looking.  The details are all crisp and well defined, and he replicates the film design rather nicely.  Iron Spider is packed with an extra unmasked head and hair for the Peter Parker look.  It’s sporting a pretty spot-on Tom Holland likeness.  More Spider-Men should include the unmasked head option.

HULK

Hulk plays a very, very minor role in Infinity War, being dispatched rather quickly in the film’s opening minutes, and then not really coming around.  So, the fact that he got such a prominent spot here is a little bit baffling, but the amount of Hulk merch out there for this movie suggests that licensees weren’t really told about his small part up front.  Hulk’s construction is pretty much the same construction as several prior Hulk’s.  The only notable change is that this one’s using the hair from Tomb Raider‘s Roth.  Not really sure why, can’t say it’s a favorite, and it ends up just looking kind of goofy, but I suppose worse things have happened.   Hulk’s paintwork is rather on the basic side; his skintone is entirely molded plastic, which is a change from the prior MCU Hulks.  Beyond that, there’s some paint for his pants, and touch of grey on the sides of his temples, because Hulk’s starting to get distinguished in his old age.  He’s also looking a lot more Ruffalo-like than prior Hulks.  Obviously, there’s a lot of Ruffalo in the CG model for Hulk, but this seems to veer far too close to the Bruce Banner side of things.  He doesn’t even look all that angry; he looks more like he’s trying to calculate how much to tip his waiter.  Hulk’s only extra is a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed these guys from Cosmic Comix when they got the TRU-reject assortment.  I mostly bought this set for Spider-Man, and for that, I’m pretty pleased.  He’s a solid addition to our MCU Spideys, and a solid figure all-around.  Hulk, on the other hand, is really just an odd offering.  Not only his he nonessential, he’s also one of the weakest versions of the Hulk that DST has put out.  I’m not sure what happened with this guy.

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#1728: Infinity War Boxed Set

THANOS, IRON MAN, BLACK WIDOW, & WINTER SOLDIER

MARVEL MINIMATES

“As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and us them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment – the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.”

Hey, did you guys know there was another Marvel movie released last weekend?  Well, let’s pretend there wasn’t, because I’m still making my way through the product from the one before that.  Avengers: Infinity War was a big movie, and by extension, it had a ton of merchandise.  As they have since the first Iron Man, Diamond Select Toys put out a few assortments of Minimates based on the film.  I’ll be looking at the main boxed set today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Thanos, Iron Man, Black Widow, and Winter Soldier make up the specialty-exclusive Infinity War boxed set.  This follows the trend that was set by Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther, where a movie gets a four-pack at comic book stores, and then two-packs at Walgreens and Toys R Us (Of course, it also ends the trend, what with TRU going under, but let’s not go there).  Thanos and Iron Man were also available in two-pack form through Walgreens and the would-have-been-Toys-R-Us-but-instead-became-another-specialty assortments.  This makes Black Widow and Winter Soldier the two specialty exclusives.  Admittedly, the packout here is a little strange.  Tony and Thanos make sense, but Widow and Bucky never interact with Tony at all, only really interact with Thanos via proxy, and don’t actually interact with *each other*.  What’s more, neither of them is particularly plot relevant.  Of course, we ended up with pretty much all of the major players anyway, so the packout isn’t so important, I guess.

THANOS

After all this time, we finally get an MCU Thanos Minimate!  It sure took its time, didn’t it?  This figure uses the same casual look as the Marvel Legend, which is sensible, since it’s his main look.  It’s perhaps not as exciting as other designs, but that’s hardly on DST.  He’s built on the usual body, with add-ons for his chest, pelvis, upper arms, hands, thighs, and boots.  His torso, upper arms, right hand, and thighs are all re-used; standard “large character” pieces.  The left hand, pelvis, and boots are all new pieces, detailing Thanos-specific parts.  While the skirt clashes a little bit with the more standard upper body, the boots are quite sharply detailed and true to the film.  The left hand is perhaps the most important piece, since it’s the Infinity Gauntlet.  Like all of the more recent larger figure hands (and unlike the corresponding right hand), it’s ambidextrous, should you wish to place it on someone’s right hand.  It actually seems a little small when compared to his non-gloved hand.  Thanos must have really needed help getting that thing on there!  Fortunately, it’s not overly noticeable if you get the posing right.  Thanos’s paintwork is about what you’d expect at this point from a Minimate.  The colors are pretty good matches for the movie, and the linework is all nice and crisp.  He’s sporting an angrier expression than a lot of the IW product.  It’s different, though I kind of wish we could have gotten an extra head with a different expression.  Thanos is packed with a spare left hand without the gauntlet, as well as a clear display stand.

IRON MAN

Iron Man is no stranger to Minimates, of course, especially not his MCU incarnation.  This figure replicates his nano-tech based Mark 50 armor from the movie, which is one of his coolest armors yet.  The ‘mate uses the usual construction, with a unique set of upper arms, as well as add-ons for his helmet and shoulders.  The helmet is just a basic slipcover mask, rather than a new sculpt.  However, given the sleekness of the design in the movie, this is a reasonable choice, and I certainly prefer it to another re-use of the Mk 42 helmet.  The new upper arms are also a huge improvement on the heavily restricted 42 arms.  Overall, decent basic construction. The paint is also pretty great, being a very bright, striking metallic red and gold.  The biggest flaw of this figure is the accessory compliment.  He’s got a flight stand and a hair piece for an unmasked look.  The armor in the movie could shift into all sorts of additional tools and weaponry, so the fact that none of this is replicated here is quite disappointing.  Sadly, this isn’t the only Mark 50 figure to have this issue.

BLACK WIDOW

Despite not yet having her own movie, Black Widow has made out pretty well in terms of Minimates.  In fact, her MCU version has actually made out a lot better than her comics counterpart.  This one, of course, presents her rather altered look from the movie.  The figure uses the same standard body as usual, with an add-on piece for her hair.  It appears to be new piece, and recreates her look from the movie well enough, though it seems a little more simplified than other recent pieces.  She also has a pair of holsters (the same holsters used by all of the Widow figures since Avengers)…with nothing to really go in them.  I’ll get to that in a second.  Widow’s paintwork is overall pretty decent, with the exception of her face, which, for some reason, looks nothing like Scarlet Johannsen.  They’ve gotten it down before, but this looks nothing like her.  So, onto those holsters with nothing inside of them.  Widow includes her staff in its fully assembled form, as well as the split form, and a handgun.  There are two holsters, so obviously the gun doesn’t go there.  Then there’s the split version of the staff, but each half is as long as her leg, and she definitely stores them on her back in the movie.  In the film, she has some sort of tasers stored in the holsters, at least going by the Marvel Legend.  So she’s just got the holsters and they just sort of remain empty.  I think it might have made more sense to just leave them out completely.

WINTER SOLDIER

Winter Soldier/Bucky has been fortunate enough to get a ‘mate from every movie he’s been featured in, and Infinity War is no exception.  His role is rather minimal truth be told, so I guess the fact that he’s relegated just to this boxed set is pretty sensible.  Bucky’s design for this film is a nice merging of prior designs, keeping the basic design of his first Winter Soldier look, and the more classically inspired color scheme of his First Avenger look.  It’s my favorite of his designs so far to be sure.  He uses the usual body, with add-ons for his hair, wrist guard, the bottom of his jacket, and knife sheath.  All of the pieces are re-used, but they match well with his design from the movie, so it’s hard to complain.  The rest of the work is paint.  They’ve had some trouble with Stan’s likeness on past figures, but this one seems to get it a bit closer.  Still not perfect, but at least he doesn’t have the goofy eyes that all of the others ended up with.  His uniform’s detailing is pretty sharp, and looks really bold.  Winter Soldier is packed with a submachine gun and a knife, as well as a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I kind of dragged my feet on this set, truth be told.  I don’t quite know why, but I had trouble getting too excited for it.  I ended up grabbing it from Luke’s Toy Store while picking up a few other items.  I’m of mixed feeling about it.  Thanos is decently handled, but a little bland.  Iron Man’s another Iron Man, and lacks any of what really makes this armor all that unique.  Black Widow’s got her confusingly implemented accessories, but is alright apart from that.  Winter Soldier’s simultaneously the least essential and yet the best figure in the set.

#1727: Cosmic Silver Surfer & Swordsman

COSMIC SILVER SURFER & SWORDSMAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

Marvel Minimates is home to some off the wall choices in terms of characters, and especially pairings. The early Toys R Us-exclusive series were home to some of the most truly strange character pairings for the exclusive two-packs.  Most of them tried to keep at least some sort of common thread between the characters included, but today’s set, Silver Surfer and Swordsman is perhaps one of the weirdest.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were released in the fifth series of TRU-exclusive Marvel Minimates.  They were both designed to fit with, at the time, current boxed sets, those sets being Infinity Gauntlet and Thunderbolts, respectively.

COSMIC SILVER SURFER

Despite his status as a fairly major player on the cosmic side of Marvel, this is the second of only three Silver Surfer Minimates.  His low number of releases is undoubtedly due to his largely unchanged look over the years.  Sure, he’s had some minor stylistic tweaks, but only so much of that can be conveyed through a 2-inch block figure form.  As such, Surfer’s debut ‘mate went unchallenged for a good five years (and, depending on who you talk to, he’s still the best version of the character).  In 2009, however, there were a lot of new fans coming into Minimates, so it seemed about the right time for a new version, so we got this guy.  Silver Surfer is, and always shall be, a vanilla ‘mate.  There’s really no other way to properly do this guy.  It’s worth noting, however, that the Minimate body has had some subtle changes over the years.  In 2009, the necks got kind of short for a while, which throws off the design more than you might think.  It makes Surfer look a little more powerhouse-y than usual. The paint is, of course, the key element here.  The original Surfer ‘mate was more on the simplistic side of things, as was the style of the line at time.  By the time this guy was released, Minimates were far more detailed.  This guy gets a much more intensive paint job, which looks to be heavily influenced by Jim Starlin’s take on the character from Infinity Gauntlet.  Given the release of a whole Infinity Gauntlet boxed set the month prior to this figure hitting TRU, it was a solid stylistic choice for DST.  With that said, I can’t help but feel the figure ends up looking rather busy with all those lines and everything going on.  The head and limbs aren’t so bad (in fact, I think the face on this Surfer is my favorite of the three), but the torso is just too much.  He looks like he has a second face down there. Since he had no actual add-ons, Silver Surfer instead gets a bunch of accessories.  Obviously, he gets his board, which had been tweaked from the original release to add a peg for him to be attached, as well as a peg hole on the opposite side, thus allowing for the attachment of the included flight stand.  He also included a pair of hand blast effects and electricity effects, both molded in a very pleasing translucent purple.

SWORDSMAN

Marvel has had five different characters who bore the name “Swordsman” (and that’s not getting into alternate universes).  The one depicted here is Andreas von Strucker, originally one half of the Fenris Twins, Baron Von Strucker’s two children.  Following the death of his sister Andrea, he took up the Swordsman title.  He was never a particularly noteworthy character, but had the good fortune of being part of Norman Osborn’s Thunderbolts team, which got a full line-up of Minimates.  He was just along for the ride, I suppose.  It probably helps that he has a pretty solid design. Swordsman featured sculpted add-ons for his helmet, gloves, and belt.  The gloves are re-used from Captain America, but the helmet and belt were new pieces.  Everything was well sculpted and sits well on the ‘mate body.  I quite like the helmet in particular; they’ve done a very good job of translating it to the Minimate form.  The belt is more basic fare, but is notable in it’s inclusion of a spot to keep his sword stashed.  As with Silver Surfer, his head sits a little low on the neck, but this is less noticeable with the addition of the helmet. Swordsman’s paintwork is pretty solid stuff overall.  The shade of purple they’ve chosen actually looks quite nice, and even photographs well (a rarity when it comes to purples), and the detailing on the chain mail is quite impressive.  Under the mask, we get Andreas von Strucker’s ugly mug, and I do mean ugly.  Though he’s got a peg hole in his head, there are painted on ears, meaning this is supposed to be Andreas after he shaved his head, though if you want to throw in your own hairpiece, the option’s there. For accessories, all Swordsman gets is a single sword, borrowed from the Defenders set’s Valkyrie.  It’s a decent enough, but I do feel the extra hairpiece would have been a nice extra bit of value.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set’s announcement frustrated me a bit.  I was excited by both figures included, but up to that point, none of the TRU-exclusives had been particularly easy to get a hold of.  Fortunately, I didn’t have much trouble with these two.Though not perfect, this Silver Surfer was much appreciated at the time of his release.  If I’m honest, I don’t truly believe any of the three Surfers is better than the others; they all present a slightly different take on the character.  If a more modern Surfer is what you’re looking for, then this one’s the one you’re after.  Despite this not being a version of Swordsman I have any particular attachment to, I really like this ‘mate.  He’s quite well put together, and it’s a design that just works well in this style.  Now, one of these days I’d really like a proper Jacques Duquesne Swordsman, but that’s a whole other thing.

#1716: Captain America & Red Skull

CAPTAIN AMERICA & RED SKULL

MARVEL MINIMATES

By 2011, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was in the full swing of things.  Over in the Minimates corner, DST had pretty much gotten things down to the exact science that they’d use for the better part of a decade.  For Captain America: The First Avenger, we got a great set of ‘mates covering most of the film’s cast. Today, I look at the central most set, pairing our main hero Cap up against his main foe, the Red Skull!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cap and Skull were the flagship pack in Series 40 of Marvel Minimates, as well as one of the two shared packs present in the TRU accompanying assortment.  Both are presented in their main looks from The First Avenger, which seems rather sensible.

CAPTAIN AMERICA

After haphazardly throwing together his rescue mission outfit to lead the Hydra-held POWs back to base, Steve Rogers turns to Howard Stark to help him design something more official.  Cap’s main look has shifted quite a bit since the first film, but this design is certainly one that has influenced (most) of the others.  It’s also a fairly reasonable real-word equivalent of his Golden Age costume, albeit with some adjustments for practicality.  The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  To achieve his rather bulked-up appearance, Cap makes use of uniquely sculpted upper-arms and gloves, as well as add-ons for his helmet, belt/suspenders, and his holster.  Everything was new to this figure, and has thus-far remained unique.  It’s a pretty good combo of pieces, all sharply defined, and pretty close to the film’s design.  If I have one complaint, it’s that his lack of sculpted boots to match ends up making his legs look kind of scrawny and under-scaled.  Some bulked up boots would have definitely helped.  The paint on Cap is pretty top notch stuff for the most part.  The palette captures the film’s sephia-toned aesthetic pretty nicely, and the details on the stitching and such of the costume is really great looking.  The base paint application could stand to be a little cleaner, and there were some real troubles with finding a helmet with a properly centered A on the forehead, but those issues are more on the minor side.  The face under the helmet is clearly the same guy from the Frontline figure, just with a calmer expression.  There’s definitely some shades of an Evans likeness there, though I think later Caps would get that down a bit better.  Cap is packed with his mighty shield, an extra hairpiece for an unmasked look, and a handgun.   A little less than Frontline Cap got, but this guy did get more unique sculpted pieces, so it evens out.

RED SKULL

Spoilers: Red Skull is in this review!  And other things as well, but I won’t touch on that here.  For Cap’s first outing, the movies went with the obvious choice of villain, the Red Skull.  Perhaps Cap’s most memorable foe, in part thanks to that frightening visage, and in part due to him being the perfect antithesis of everything Cap stands for.  The Skull had a few looks in the movie, but this figure went for his leather long coat, which is perhaps his coolest of the bunch. The figure has one add-on piece, used for his long coat.  It’s a little bulky, and essentially renders his legs motionless. That said, it’s pretty well sculpted, with sharp details that capture the jacket’s design from the movie very well. The paintwork on the Skull is pretty solid.  His face captures the movie’s take on his distinctive look, going for an appropriately angry expression.  The arms and hands also get an easy to miss bit of red detailing on both shoulders and his gloves, which are certainly a nice touch. Red Skull includes two accessories.  The first is a rather simple German pistol, and the second is the face of Johan Schmidtt, which is a slip cover mask that pulls down over the mask.  While it would probably look better just as a separate head, there’s something way more fun about being able to dramatically remove it just like in the movie.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed this set from Cosmic Comix, back when it was new.  They hit before the movie, so I didn’t know for sure what I was getting into, but with Cap and Red Skull, it’s pretty straightforward.  I remember being quite impressed with them at the time, especially in light of the lower quality of the Thor offerings.  The standard TFA Cap was a fun offering for the time, but perhaps one that’s been slightly outpaced by more recent offerings.   There was something of a learning curve on this guy.  Red Skull isn’t a real stand out or anything, but this one has the benefit of being one of only two ‘mates of the MCU incarnation available, and the Schmidtt face is actually pretty darn cool.  Overall, still a fun set, but you might be better off with newer versions of the characters.

#1699: Howard Stark, Peggy Carter, & Hydra Agent

HOWARD STARK, PEGGY CARTER, & HYDRA AGENTS

MARVEL MINIMATES

The civilians in superhero stories are very important to the mythos, but sadly, as rather average looking people, they don’t exactly lend themselves to lots of toys, no matter their prominence in the stories they hail from.  Fortunately, there are lines like Minimates, which are able to take advantage of their slightly different distribution methods to get us characters we might not otherwise see.  Take, for instance, today’s focuses, Howard Stark and Peggy Carter!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Howard, Peggy, and the Hydra Agent made up the specialty-exclusive component of the First Avenger-themed ‘mates, released in Series 40 of the main Marvel Minimates line.  Howard was the heavier packed of the two, with Peggy being his one-per-case “variant.”  In light of the movie and Peggy’s later importance moving forward, this was, and still is, an odd sort of case pack-out, but I guess they really wanted to make sure everyone had a chance at a young Howard.

HOWARD STARK

The young Howard Stark presented in The First Avenger is clearly influenced by another famous Howard, aeronautics pioneer Howard Hughes.  Director Joe Johnson had experience with Hughes, having used him in the film adaptation of The Rocketeer, so I guess he was just going with what he was comfortable with.  The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Howard has two add-on pieces, for his hair and his suit jacket.  Both are re-used, from the Universal Monsters line, in fact.  The hair is from Creature From the Black Lagoon’s Dr. Reed, and the jacket is from The Wolfman’s Laurence Talbot.  Given the similar time-period of all of the films in question, the re-use is pretty sensible.  Additionally, it’s nice to see the pieces made from slightly higher grade plastic, as it allows the details to show through a lot better.  His paintwork is somewhat on the drab side, being mostly greasy and the like.  The face has a reasonable likeness of Dominic Cooper, though he’s more of a generic Howard sort of look.  I might have liked a more expressive face, but this works well enough.  Howard is packed with a hat (re-used from The Spirit line), which can be swapped out for the hair.

PEGGY CARTER

It seems crazy to me that this is the only Peggy Carter action figure out there.  It’s also true of Howard, of course, but he’s more of a supporting player.  You’d expect Peggy to get a little more respect, wouldn’t you?  Though, I suppose it’s fitting that a character like Peggy wouldn’t be getting the respect she deserved.  At least she got this.  She’s got two add-on pieces, one for her hair, and one for her skirt.  Both are re-used, though the hair was originally meant for Peggy, but ended up going on the First Class Emma Frost first.  It works well enough for the look they’re going for.  The skirt piece is the same one used on Gwen Stacy, and it’s a standard piece that is still in use now.  It all replicates her uniformed look from the movie nicely (though, if we’re being picky, I personally would have preferred her Hydra base-storming gear from the end of the movie; oh well).  Her paintwork is a little more detailed than Howard’s, since she’s not relying on sculpting for the torso detailing.  The detail work is nice and sharp, and her face even has a decent likeness of Haley Atwell, though it’s once again a little void of expression.  Peggy is packed with a Thompson machine gun, first seen with another WW2 hero, Sgt Rock.  It’s a little tricky to hold, but it’s a nice piece.

HYDRA AGENT

Also offered in the army builder singles case, the basic Hydra Agent was easily one of the most sensible MCU army builders to grace the ‘mate line.  There’s a whole ton of these guys running around getting plowed through by Cap and the Howling Commandos, so getting a minimum of two to start with here was great.  The figures are add-on heavy, with pieces for their masks, straps/skirts, and glove cuffs.  Apart from the glove cuffs (which are, appropriately, re-used from Captain America), the other pieces were new to these guys.  Or, at least, they were new to this general assortment, since the parts are shared with the other variations of Hydra agent.  The pieces match up well with the film design, and the detail work is pretty clean.  The paintwork is pretty decent, and features more detailing than you might notice at first glance.  Perhaps the coolest part is what’s under the mask piece; since there were a few different Hydra masks seen in the movie, this one has the bulked up look, as well as a more streamlined design beneath it.  It adds an extra element of customization to them, which makes the army building all the more fun.  The Hydra Agents were both packed with a rifle, which has remained exclusive to the First Avengers offerings.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked both of these sets up new from Cosmic Comix.  These were actually the sets I was most excited for at the time, and while they are perhaps not the most thrilling designs, I still really like them all.  The execution is definitely there.  And where else are you going to get Howard Stark and Peggy Carter action figures?  No where!

#1683: Quake

QUAKE

MARVEL MINIMATES

Well, this is quite the occasion, isn’t it?  Today, I’m wrapping up my latest round of Marvel Minimates reviews by taking a look at the very first Minimates Build-A-Figure.  Build-A-Figures aren’t a new concept, of course, but Minimates, a brand defined by their mix-and-match capabilities of the line, are just getting in on the bandwagon.  It’s about time.  So, let’s have a look at Daisy Johnson, aka Quake!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Quake is the Build-A-Figure for Series 75 of Marvel Minimates.  The assortment is themed around the Defenders, a theme that Quake doesn’t quite fit.  That being said, as a star of Agents of SHIElLD, she fits the loose television-based theme of the assortment, as well as going along with the included Robbie Reyes figure.  She’s built on the standard ‘mate body, so she stands 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  She’s got four add-on pieces, for her hair, her harness, and her gauntlets.  All of them are re-used, with the hair coming from Oswald Cobblepot, the harness coming from Maria Hill, and the gauntlets come from Tekken‘s King.  It’s an eclectic selection of pieces to say the least.  It makes for a pretty good representation of her comics design, though I’m not super crazy about the hair.  Quake’s paint work is pretty solid; the detailing is all pretty sharp, and I like that the palette matches with the SHIELD Agents from Series 43 and 51, so that’s good for inter-mingling.  Quake includes no accessories of her own, but since she’s just an accessory herself, that’s fairly reasonable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

You’ve read the other four reviews, right?  Good, then you know where this figure came from.  Clever you.  I wasn’t really buying this assortment to assemble her or anything, but Quake was a nice little bonus for getting the whole set.  I like this concept a lot, and I’m interested to see what DST is able to do with it going forward.

#1682: Daredevil & Ghost Rider

MARVEL NOW! DAREDEVIL & ROBBIE REYES GHOST RIDER

MARVEL MINIMATES

And we’re back with the odd-ball pairings.  I started the week out with the somewhat strange Punisher/Moon Knight combo, and now I’m wrapping it up with another somewhat odd pairing: Daredevil and Ghost Rider.  It’s not actually completely unprecedented in this line.  There was a Target-exclusive pack that included both of them back in the day (though that was a Johnny Blaze figure).  Here they are again.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Daredevil and Ghost Rider were part of Series 75 of Marvel Minimates.  Though Ghost Rider’s tie to the theme is somewhat dubious, Daredevil is part of the newest version of the Defenders, as well as being the central piece of the Netflix shows.

This set also includes the last piece of the Build-A-Figure Quake, her head.  I’ll be reviewing the whole of her tomorrow!

DAREDEVIL

Daredevil’s spot in this Anniversary-themed assortment is actually quite sensible, as Daredevil was included in two of Series 1’s three sets.  This marks his 14th time as a Minimate.  This one’s a slight departure from some of the others, being based on his current design, a mostly black number that is clearly inspired by his Season 1 garb from his show.  It’s actually a pretty sharp look, though I’m of course still partial to the classic red.  The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, so he stands 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He has add-ons for his mask, wrist wraps, and holsters.  The mask and holsters come from the Series 43 version of DD (though that release only had a single holster, not two), and make sense, since the design elements have remained consistent.  The arm wraps are from Street Fighter VS Tekken’s Heihachi (also re-used on the Best Of Iron Fist), and are pretty basic pieces, which certainly work for his comics look.  The paint on DD is quite good.  The color scheme is bold, and the line work is super crisp.  The grey high lights are a very effective way of creating dimension on the torso, legs, and mask, and make the suit look quite dynamic.  The face under the mask is great for action set-ups, with his teeth gritted and his brow furrowed.  The way they’ve done his pupils is unique from other characters, and helps sell that he’s blind.  DD includes a pair of billy clubs (just two, though, leaving one slot in each holster empty), an extra hair piece (re-used from Terminator 2’s young John Connor), and a clear display stand.

GHOST RIDER

Though Ghost Rider’s no stranger to Minimates, this one is actually a debut, since it’s the latest Rider, Robbie Reyes.  Robbie’s been getting the push from Marvel for a little while, and his appearances on Agents of SHIELD mean he fits in decently enough with the assortment’s TV-inspired theme.  The figure gets one add-on piece, which is his flaming, skull-inspired helmet.  It’s a new piece, and it does a respectable job of replicating the design of the helmet from the comics.  The rest of the detailing is done via paint.  Like Daredevil, there’s a nice contrast to this figure’s look.  The black and white looks really sharp, and I like the visual similarities to Johnny Blaze’s original design.  Under the mask is a fully detailed Robbie Reyes face, which seems to be in keeping with his comics likeness.  Robbie is packed with a pair of chains (because he just has to one-up Johnny, apparently), an extra hair piece, and a clear display stand.  He is, of course, missing his ride, but since Robbie drives a car instead of a bike, its absence feels more excusable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the three preceding sets, this pair came from Cosmic Comix.  A new Daredevil wasn’t a necessity, but this one is definitely a fun figure, and there’s a lot of really sharp work going into him.  Robbie isn’t Johnny, so for me he’s not *the* Ghost Rider, but he’s got a cool look, he’s gotten exposure recently, and it’s nice to get a new character.  His ‘mate isn’t the star of this series, but he’s still a solid offering.

#1681: Jessica Jones & Purple Man

JESSICA JONES & PURPLE MAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

“Retcons.  I hate these guys.”

-Me, 2018

You know what I don’t like?  Retcons.  I know.  What a shock.  You couldn’t have seen that coming.  Half of today’s review subject is a retcon.  You see, when Brian Michael Bendis wanted to write a series about Jessica Drew, aka Spider-Woman, he wasn’t allowed to use her, so he created his own, somewhat similar character, and then forcibly shoved her into the history of the Avengers.  Ta-da!  It’s Jessica Jones!  Yay?  Yeah, not a huge fan.  But, I am a fan of Minimates, and I don’t hate the other half of this set, Purple Man.  So, let’s see how this goes.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Jessica Jones and Purple Man were released in Series 75 of Marvel Minimates.  Like yesterday’s set, they continue the modern-day Defenders theme, but also work as more of a self-contained pairing.

This set also includes another pair of pieces to the Build-A-Figure Quake ‘mate, specifically her arms and gauntlets.

JESSICA JONES

Oh boy, here she is.  Jessica Jones.  Woooo.  So, this is Jessica’s second time as a Minimate, following her Netflix-based ‘mate from her show.  This one is comic-based, but admittedly, it doesn’t make for an incredibly different look overall, but she’s slightly different aesthetically, of course.  The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, so she stands 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  She’s got one add-on piece for her hair.  It’s re-used from Big Bang Theory’s Penny, and it’s actually a really nice piece, as far as detailing and shaping goes.  It’s also a pretty decent match for her usual comics hair.  No jacket piece used for this ‘mate, but I actually think it works a bit better, especially since it would have meant not being able to use the hair piece.  The paintwork on Jessica is pretty decent.  Application is clean, and the lifework is nice and sharp.  The expression on the face could maybe do with a bit more character, but it’s not terrible as it is.  The color scheme is rather dull, but that’s true to the character.  She includes a camera (re-used from the SM3 Peter Parker), a coffee mug with the Avengers logo, a smart phone, and a clear display stand.

PURPLE MAN

Though he’s linked to Jessica Jones now, Purple Man started off as a Daredevil villain.  Interestingly, my first introduction to him was in an episode of X-Men: The Animated Series.  What a weird world we live in, right?  Purple Man started his career wearing a spandex getup, but pretty quickly moved onto wearing suits and the like, in variations of purple.  It’s that later look that this figure goes with, which is a sensible choice.  The figure uses three add-on pieces to complete the look.  He’s got a hair piece (re-used from Thor: Ragnarok’s Grandmaster), jacket (re-used from the “World of the Psychic” Peter Venkman), and a collar piece (re-used from Admiral Kirk).  All re-used, but all very well chosen.  They make for a sharp looking combo.  The rest of the work is paint, and it’s actually quite impressive.  The variations of purple are easily distinguished from each other, and they compliment each other quite nicely.  The facial detailing is particularly nice, and captures Jebadiah’s creepy smirk pretty darn well.  Just makes you feel like you need a shower.  Purple Man’s only extra is a clear display stand, but I can’t really think of what else you’d give him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set came from the same purchase as the last two.  Jessica’s maybe not my favorite character, but DST definitely put the effort in on this Minimate.  Even divorced from the character, it’s actually a pretty solid ‘mate, and one of the better civilians done in this style.  Purple Man’s the star of the set for me.  He’s a fairly basic design, but the execution’s really top-notch.  Details like the collar, which could have easily been overlooked, weren’t, and so he really benefits from that.

#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.

#1679: Moon Knight & Punisher

MOON KNIGHT & PUNISHER

MARVEL MINIMATES

2018 marks the fifteenth year of Marvel Minimates, if you can believe it, and DST’s celebrating that with Series 75 (which, of course, all long-term fans know, is actually only the 74th Series in actual count, thanks to Series 15, the only series of Marvel Minimates ever to be outright cancelled).  75 is Marvel Knights/Defenders themed, offering up some of Marvel’s lower level characters.  Today, I’m looking at the one set in the series not to actually feature any of the current Defenders members (but don’t hold that against them), Moon Knight & Punisher!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

As noted above, Moon Knight and Punisher are part of Series 75 of Marvel Minimates, which takes loose inspiration from the Netflix slate of Marvel shows.  Moon Knight’s kind of out of the odd man out in this respect, but maybe he’ll show up in the next slate of them?  Please?

Also included in this set are two pieces of the very first Minimate Build-A-Figure, Quake!  In this set, we get both the legs.  They’re just standard legs, done up in colors to match the SHIELD agents from Series 43 and 51.

MARVEL NOW MOON KNIGHT

This is only Moon Knight’s sophomore figure in the Minimates line.  His last was all the way back in Series 29, 46 series and 9 years ago.  I think that’s a decent enough wait time for a re-do, don’t you?  This one’s not actually a straight re-do; it’s based on his armored look from Warren Ellis’s re-boot of the character.  It wasn’t his main look during Ellis’s run, but it was picked up by others, and has shown up in a few games and one of the cartoons.  I think it’s a solid re-imagining of his usual look.  Of course, as luck would have it, he went back to his all-white look a few months before this guy hit shelves.  Oh, darn, I guess we’ll just need another Moon Knight.  The figure stands 2 1/2 inches tall and has the usual 14 points of articulation.  Moon Knight’s sculpted elements are limited to his signature cloak.  Like his last Minimate, the hood and cape are two separate pieces, in order to help maximize posability.  These have been the source of some contention in the fanbase, with lots of debating over which cloak is the superior one.  While the old one always looked nice, it was never much for posing, and made keeping him standing nearly impossible.  This new one dials things back a bit, and gives us a more simplified design.  It’s still not perfect.  The hood in particular bugs me; something about its shape is slightly off.  Still, it’s an improvement in terms of playabilty, which makes for a better figure. Moon Knight’s paintwork is nice and bold.  It’s coming at the character from an entirely different angle than the last ‘mate, being very sleek and clean.  There’s a little bit of bleed over on some of the black-to-white changes, but for the most part, he looks pretty sharp.  In particular, the wider eyes seen on this version’s mask feel more in tune with the character than the tiny squinting eyes from the last one, and I also really like the grey highlights, which keep the black sections from getting too monotonous. Included with Moon Knight are his staff and a clear display stand.  The staff is re-used from the animated Proxima Midnight, but it a decent match for the staff Moon Knight is usually seen carrying about.

FRONTAL ASSAULT PUNISHER

I’m not sure of how comfortable I am with the “Frontal Assault” descriptor.  Wouldn’t such a name would be more appropriate for one of the trench-coated variants?  To DST’s credit, there are only so many buzzwords you can throw in front of the name “Punisher.”  Just plain “assault” was already taken and yet another character with the “Marvel Now” moniker might tear open a rift in the space time continuum.  But, I digress. Frank Castle is no stranger to Minimates, this being his eighth entry in the line.  This one’s his first comics-based ‘mate since 2013 (barring the 2016 re-release of the Best Of ‘mate), and it’s based on his pre-Secret Wars look from around 2014 or so.  It’s a nice sort of tactical look for the character, and also offers something in keeping with how the character looks in the Netflix shows. Punisher has add-on pieces for his hair and tactical vest.  I believe both of these are new to this particular figure.  The vest definitely is, but the hair is throwing me.  Regardless, both pieces are incredibly well-sculpted, and very nicely suited to the character.  The vest in particular just really encapsulates how I feel the Punisher should look. Punisher’s paint work is really a collection of pleasant surprises.  Let’s start from the weakest point and move upwards: his vest and sleeves show a little bit of slop.  Nothing too terrible, but notable given the quality of the rest of the paint.  The face is pretty classic Frank Castle, all grizzled and angry.  The application’s quite clean, and I like that they’ve even given him his stubble (not that stubble’s exactly a new thing on Minimates).  Under the vest, there’s a skull-emblazened t-shirt, which is a very nice touch.  He’s also got some incredible small detail work on his arms and legs, with the legs in particular standing out with all the stitching and line work associated with the tactical pants.  Really great attention to detail there. Punisher includes an HK94A3 Rifle (first included with the T2 SWAT officer), as well as a skull-faced mask piece (based on a mask he was frequently seen wearing during the 2014 run), and a clear display stand.  I’d have liked to get some additional guns.  Just the rifle seems a little light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this set from my LCS, Cosmic Comix (okay, technically I got it from Tim, who bought it from CCX; he was paying me back for grabbing him an Obsidian Fury).  Moon Knight’s been due another Minimate for a while now.  This one takes a decidedly different approach to the character than the last one, so a direct comparison is a bit difficult, but this offering walks the line of look vs playability better than the last one.  I’m hopeful an all-white variant might show up in the near future.  In the mean time, this one’s a solid addition.  In a set where the clear selling point was Moon Knight, Punisher serves as sort of a sleeper figure.  As only a moderate fan of the character, I wasn’t anticipating much from him, but he’s a high quality, truly exceptional ‘mate.