#2074: Hostile Takeover

PLAYBOY TONY STARK, RAZA, BATTLE-DAMAGED IRON MAN MARK III, & IRON MONGER

MARVEL MINIMATES

There was a bit of hoopla going down when it was announced that DST had not acquired the license for Spider-Man: Far From Home and Marvel Minimates would subsequently be skipping the film.  It caused some drama amongst the fanbase, largely because for the first time, after a whopping 22 films and 11 years, an MCU film would not be getting any Minimates.  That’s kind of a big deal, since Minimates got in on the ground floor, with by far the most expansive product offering for 2008’s Iron Man.  It played a definite part in getting them back out to a more mainstream audience, and even had a role in getting them back into Toys R Us.  There was a main assortment of four two-packs, plus a TRU-exclusive two-pack, and then finally a boxed set to fill in the only real remaining holes in the line-up.  I’m looking at the boxed set today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The “Hostile Takeover” set was officially the final item in DST’s coverage for Iron Man, available exclusively through Action Figure Xpress, DST’s go-to retailer for exclusives at the time.  The set featured a pair of slight redecos (Battle-Damaged Mark III and Iron Monger), plus one new look (playboy Tony), and one all-new character (Raza).

PLAYBOY TONY STARK

After the lead-in which established the cause of his abduction and injury, the movie flashed back, and reintroduced us to Tony Stark, who we meet in a Vegas casino, wearing the number we see here.  It’s a pretty distinctive look, so the main line’s decision to go with a more standard suit-ed look for civilian Tony was seen as a slight missed opportunity (but only slight).  Its presence here is probably one of the few civilian Tony looks that was actively campaigned for.  The figure is built on the usual body, so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Tony made use of re-used parts, with the hair from Admiral Kirk and the jacket/shirt from 1984 Biff Tannen.  The hair’s not quite a perfect match for Downey’s hair in the movie, but it gets the job done and is easily swapped out if you don’t like it quite so much.  The jacket piece, though, is a pretty brilliant re-use, and I imagine that this piece’s very existence probably paid a large role in getting this figure made.  The paintwork is more involved than you might think.  Rather than just being straight black, his pants are a dark brown, and even have some detailing on the bottoms, which is a cool touch.  He didn’t originally have the detail lines on his torso, though; I added those after the fact. He included no accessories, but I’m not sure what he would have been given.

RAZA

Raza was the set’s one unique character.  As the leader of the “Ten Rings,” there was a lot of speculation at the time of the that he was going to be the movie franchise’s Madarin.  Ah, simpler times.  Prior to this set’s release, he was the only notable character from the film who hadn’t been released, so there was a lot of excitement about him being included.  Raza got the only new parts in this set, with a brand-new jacket/skirt combo.  It’s kind of bulky, and a little restricting, but otherwise a solid recreation of his garb from the film.  His paintwork is actually rather involved.  The stubble on the face is very nicely rendered, as is the camo on his jacket.  That goes beyond the level of detail we tend to see.  Raza was packed with an assault rifle, which was actually unique to this set, which is a little bit surprising, but cool nonetheless.

BATTLE-DAMAGED IRON MAN MARK III

Tony’s main armor, the Mark III, takes quite a beating over the course of Iron Man, so it’s probably one of the most sensible battle-damaged variants ever.  It also gave DST another chance to re-use the new armor tooling, which I’m sure was their primary rationale.  The figure makes use of all re-used parts, as you might expect.  That includes the helmet, chest piece, gauntlets, and armored-up legs of the standard Mark III (and Mark II and Stealth Armor too).  They were an amazing addition to the line at the time, and they’ve actually held up alright.  They merged the armored suit with the ‘mate style better than later offerings would, at least from my view.  The removable faceplate is also still really cool.  The paint work for this figure took the standard Mark III paint and messed it up, adding cracks, scuffs, and even a few bullet holes.  It’s a very convincing assortment of damage, and actually stands out very well from the standard detailing.  Like all of the armored figures from this movie, this guy has a complete alternate look, allowing the armor to be stripped down.  There’s an extra set of legs and hands, as well as an alternate hair piece, which showcase a seriously pissed off Tony Stark.  This figure also adds in the repuslor gauntlets, break fins, and blast base from the Stealth Armor, this time done up in the standard Iron Man colors.

BATTLE-DAMAGED IRON MONGER

Last up is the figure that’s possibly the least essential in this set.  While Obidiah Stane’s Iron Monger suit takes a little bit of damage over the course of the film’s final battle, it’s nowhere near the level of what happens to the Mark III, nor is it particularly notable when compared to the standard figure.  He’s using all the same parts as that release, which certainly plays to his favor, since the original Iron Monger was the star of the original Iron Man line-up.  It’s a good sculpt, and a wonderful miniaturization of the film design.  The thing is, this is the second time we got it, so it did feel a bit redundant, especially so close to the original release.  Pretty much, they added some slightly darker patches, and that was it. Under the armor, things are slightly different.  There’s still a fully detailed Obidiah Stane, but this one’s a little angrier, and has a few rips on his jumpsuit.  But, the most important addition?  The standard flesh-toned hands, which were missing from the original release.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Iron Man Minimates were some of my favorites, so I was determined to put together a full set.  This one ended up being a Christmas present from my parents.  I can’t say I had much investment in this set beyond just getting everyone.  Raza was unique, and the Tony was certainly an improvement over the first one, but for me the real star was actually the Battle-Damaged Mark III, who does a very good job of justifying his own existence.

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#2053: J Jonah Jameson, Aunt May, & S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent

J JONAH JAMESON, AUNT MAY & S.H.I.E.L.D. AGENT

MARVEL MINIMATES

Civilians and Army Builders!  What a combo!  Though absolutely pivotal to the Spider-Man mythos, J Jonah Jameson and May Parker are not the most toyetic characters.  But, as usual, Minimates prove to have an easier time at making such characters into figures, as evidenced by today’s focus, where the two are each paired off with one of the most requested Marvel army builders, the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These guys were released in the “Death of Jean DeWolff”-centered Series 43 of Marvel Minimates.  Jameson was the regular release, with Aunt May as his one-per-case variant, and the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent filling in as the second release in both sets.

J. JONAH JAMESON

Perhaps Spider-Man’s most persistent antagonist, J. Jonah Jameson’s actually not part of the “Death of Jean DeWolff.”  In fact, his absence from New York at the time is a fairly prominent plot point.  But, I guess that sort of makes him important to the story in his own way.  JJ has actually been a Minimate before…kind of.  A Jameson mask was included with the variant version of Chameleon way back when, but this figure rightfully gives Jameson his own due.  Jameson makes use of five add-on pieces, for his hair, vest, tie, and sleeves.  The hair is a new piece, depicting Jameson’s distinctive flat top.  It’s a nice piece, and a noted improvement over the much less detailed offerings of the past.  The rest of his parts are re-used, with his vest coming from the Ghostbusters Mayor, and the sleeves and tie coming from The Spirit.  It’s a nice combo of pieces, and it gives him a very unique, character specific feel, all without actually needing many new pieces.  JJ’s paintwork is fairly standard stuff.  The blue certainly looks nice, and the detail work on his face in particular is really sharp, and really expressive.  In general, the faces in this assortment were really strong, and JJ is a great example.  One rather minor touch I quite like as well is the two-toned nature of his vest, which is blue at the front and black at the back, showing that the two sections are actually made of two different fabrics.  JJ includes a nice selection of extras.  He has a second set of arms, in blue to match the legs, as well as a corresponding suit jacket/tie/vest piece, allowing for a slightly more formal appearance for the character.  He also has two copies of the Daily Bugle; one rolled up and one folded flat.  The flat one gives us a couple of news stories, including a shot of Spider-Man and of Tony Stark (who is inexplicably the RDJ version).  This offers a ton of variety for the figure, and makes him quite versatile.

AUNT MAY

Peter Parker’s elderly aunt is even less toyetic than Jameson, and it shows in the difference of figure representation.  This was May’s introduction into the Minimates form (though her second figure would be only three series later), and only her second action figure ever.  The important thing is that our Minimate Spider-Men will no longer have to go without their wheatcakes!  Aunt May uses two sculpted add-on pieces; one for her hair, and the other for her skirt.  The hair was a new piece for this figure. It’s a nice offering, and matches up pretty decently with the sorts of hair styles we tend to see May sporting.  It’s also generic enough for some pretty swell re-use, which we’ve already seen at least once.  The skirt piece is Gwen Stacy’s, just like the Jean DeWolff figure also in this series.  It’s serviceable for the job it’s got to do.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?  Aunt May’s paintwork is decent enough.  Not incredibly eye-catching, and in fact she seems maybe a touch washed out, but maybe that’s sort of the point, with her spending most of her time in the comics as glorified scenery.  The detail work is pretty solid stuff, and the face is, once again, pretty solid looking.  The very slight smile works quite well for the character.  May is packed with no accessories.  Scratch what I said about the Spider-Men getting their wheatcakes.  Looks like they’re going to have to wait a little longer on those.

S.H.I.E.L.D. AGENT

The S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent is the army builder that fans have been wanting since before army builders were really even a thing for Minimates.  Back when the first Nick Fury hit, there were a lot of people stocking up on his pack purely to build up a whole flank of these guys.  We got a slight tease at them with the Ultimates-based S.H.I.E.L.D. Soldier, but that wasn’t quite the same.  It’s the blue spandex-clad guys that we were all clamoring for!  The S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent uses six add-on pieces, for the hair, shoulder holster, gloves, belt, and ankle sheath.  It’s a mix of old and new.  The hair is re-used from the Shocker, and is a nice, generic buzz cut.  The belt, like Sin-Eater’s, is borrowed from Batman, because who doesn’t like a good utility belt?  The gloves are from the Cap TTA boxed set, and while S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents aren’t always seen with flared gloves, I myself quite like them, and certainly won’t shoot down extra parts.  The holster and sheath are both new pieces.  It’s the holster that’s really the star here, as it gives the Agents their distinctive look, and it’s a huge improvement over the slightly disappointing painted version from Fury.  The sheath is a little bulky for my taste, but it’s also the easiest piece to remove and leave off if you don’t like it.  The Agent’s paintwork is definitely solid work.  The darker blue provides a nice contrast to the white, and there’s some fantastic detail work.  The face is suitably generic, if you’re looking to army build, the logo on the shoulder is sharp and crisp, and the inclusion of the white piping on the seam down the middle of the chest, even under the harness where it will mostly be obscured, is a fantastic touch.  The S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent is armed with a pistol and a knife.  Both were new, and designed to fit in the corresponding holsters on the figure.  For the sake of easier army building, the Agent also includes a second hair piece, borrowed from Ultimate Iron Man.  It frames the face differently, thereby creating a credibly different looking “character.”  And, since the piece is blond, in a pinch it works pretty well for my personal favorite agent, Clay Quartermain!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

J. Jonah James is a pivotal character for Spidey, and this figure goes above and beyond to make him not just a good on the character, but a great take on the character.  Like Jonah, May is an important character, but unfortunately, this figure just doesn’t have quite the same hook as that one.  She’s not particularly exciting on the basis of design, and without any fun accessories to sweeten the pot, she ends up falling a little flat.  Still not bad, but not very standout either.  Undoubtedly, the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent is the shining star of this already very strong series, and perhaps DST’s best army builder.  With a few spare heads from other figures, it’s very easy to get carried away with these little guys.

#2026: Captain America & Dum Dum Dugan

GOLDEN AGE CAPTAIN AMERICA & DUM DUM DUGAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

Even the Cap gets by with a little help from his friends… though he does occasionally have to borrow those friends from some outside sources.  Such was the case with the Howling Commandos, Nick Fury’s WW2-era unit from the comics, who found themselves merged with Captain America’s WW2-era super team The Invaders for the purposes of The First Avenger, and in turn, found themselves treated to some action figures in the process.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Golden Age Captain America and Dum Dum were one of the two TRU-exclusive sets for the Captain America: The First Avenger assortment of Marvel Minimates.

GOLDEN AGE CAPTAIN AMERICA

On the path to getting his proper Captain America uniform, Cap goes through a few trial stages.  The first of these is Cap’s USO show costume, which is the spitting image of Cap’s classic costume from the comics.  Golden Age Cap is made up of six add-on pieces, all of them re-used.  The gloves and boots are the standard Cap pieces, and the belt was taken from the DC Minimates Series 4 Golden Age Flash (fitting, I suppose).  The mask comes from the First Appearance X-Men set, and while it’s not a terrible piece, it’s not strictly speaking accurate to the source material, where he actually had 3D head wings.  Of course, there was no ready-made piece that would quite match, and it would have certainly been a one-off, so the slight deviation is excusable.  Cap’s paint matches the somewhat sephia-toned coloring of the other Caps in this assortment.  It’s pretty cleanly applied overall, and I like the goony facial expression under the mask.  It’s a different look for Cap, and it helps him stand out a bit more from the other variants.  The blue’s perhaps a touch too light (as it stands, it matches with his standard costume, when it really should be a bit deeper), but that’s a minor change, and he’s at least consistent with the Frontline Captain America in that regard.  Golden Age Cap is packed with his shield (the same one included with Frontline Cap), and a spare hairpiece for a proper unmasked look.  A pointing hand might have been cool, or even some of his accessories from his movie serials he was filming, but he makes out alright.

DUM DUM DUGAN

Dum Dum is possibly the most distinctive of the Howling Commandos, in both the movie and the comics.  His presence here was definitely a sensible one, allowing collectors not only one of Cap’s supporting players, but also a very memorable agent of SHIELD who has had far too few action figures over the years.  Dum Dum is built using two unique add-on pieces; one for his hat/hair, and one for his vest.  The hat is a very distinctive and very important piece for Dugan, and this piece is mostly pretty good, but there’s one slightly annoying flaw to it: it’s lopsided!  It should be symmetrical, but it’s very clearly leaning to the right.  The other details are well-rendered and match the movie, but it’s hard to miss that one issue.  The vest is a decent piece in its own right.  I like that it bulks him up a bit, and the options for storing his shotgun and sidearm are much appreciated.  The paintwork on Dum Dum is respectable.  He’s got a lot of brown going on, but that’s accurate to the movie, so no complaints there.  The face doesn’t have much of a Neal McDonoug likeness, but it’s a pitch-perfect Dugan, so it works well enough for me, especially since it can double as the comics version of the character.  Dum Dum is packed with his shotgun and revolver.  Basic pieces we’ve seen many times before, but still solid pieces nonetheless, and perfect choices for the character.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the previously reviewed Gabe Jones and Hydra Flame Trooper, I grabbed these two from a TRU on a road trip with my my family back in 2011.  Golden Age Cap is perhaps the least essential of the three versions of Cap we got for the movie, but he’s a decent enough variant, and certainly more entertaining than all the variants of Wolverine we’ve gotten from his movies.  Dum Dum is a minor but still very important character, who was definitely in need of a figure.  This one, despite one notable flaw, definitely does the character justice, and helps to fill out the SHIELD ranks.

#2008: Carrion & Scarlet Spider

CARRION & SCARLET SPIDER

MARVEL MINIMATES

Something new and something old.  Not an uncommon theme when it comes to Minimates, especially Marvel, where there’s a definite need to refresh some looks every so often, so as to both make them available for a newer audience and update some things to fit in a little better with more recent releases.  And hey, if a new character comes along for the ride, that’s not so bad either, is it?  So, with that in mind, let’s look at Carrion (the new) and Scarlet Spider (the old).

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Carrion and Scarlet Spider were part of the second to last TRU assortment of Marvel Minimates, Series 24.  The assortment was a sort of a mixed bag, with each set being a somewhat contained theme.

CARRION

He’s not the most well-known of Spider-Man’s foes, but Malcolm McBride, the second incarnation of Carrion, is a sensible choice for a Minimate, especially given his pack-mate.  The original Carrion (who had more or less the same appearance as this figure) was a defective clone of Miles Warren, better known as the Jackal, the mastermind behind the infamous “Clone Saga.”  Malcolm was also a prominent player in “Maximum Carnage,” meaning this figure fits right in with the Maximum Carnage-themed Series 76, so he’s just all around a pretty sensible choice.  Carrion is built using seven sculpted add-on pieces for his hood, pouch, loincloth, and two pieces each for the wraps on his arms.  The upper and lower arm wraps are re-used from Heihachi and and Jack Skellington, respectively, and the pouch is Kim Bauer’s purse from 24, because Carrion is super down for taking fashion advice from the similarly accessorized Green Goblin.  The hood and loincloth both appear to be new pieces, and they work well enough, though the hood is a little restricting to the head movement.  Carrion’s paintwork is clean and sharp, though perhaps not the most eye-catching look.  Pale yellow and purple isn’t a particularly appealing palette, but it’s accurate to the character’s comic appearance, so one can hardly fault DST for that.  The linework is actually quite nice on this figure, and does a solid job of capturing that early ’90s style of illustration.  For accessories, Carrion is somewhat on the light side, with only a flight stand and a basic display stand.

SCARLET SPIDER

Carrion’s great and all, but the main reason for most people to buy this set is Ben Reilly, aka the Scarlet Spider.  He wasn’t a stranger to Minimates, with his Spider-Man costume cropping up first back in Series 10.  A proper Scarlet Spider followed in 2007, as an FYE exclusive of all things.  A decade later, he finally got an update.  Despite his predecessor making use of no add-ons, this Ben Reilly has six of them, for his hood, belt, webshooters, and ankle pouches.  All of the pieces are re-used from elsewhere, and they for the most part do their job pretty much perfectly.  The only slightly off parts are the ankle pouches, which are actually knife sheaths with nothing in them.  There exist non-sheath ankle straps, so why these parts were used is anyone’s guess.  Ultimately, though, they sell the look well enough, so I can’t complain too much about their use.  Scarlet Spider’s paintwork is actually quite impressive.  In the comics, he was frequently shaded in a very dynamic fashion, and that’s the look this particular figure tries to capture, at least on the figure’s mask.  It’s a cool looking effect, and the sort of thing that really only works on a Minimate.  Scarlet Spider is packed with an alternate head and hair for an unmasked Ben Reilly (the first proper Ben Reilly head we’ve ever gotten), a webline, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After a bit of a hiatus from Minimates, I picked this set up last year, at the very beginning of Toys R Us’s shut-down process.  It was actually a set I was looking for, which I was only able to find once TRU started pushing things out from their warehouses.  Carrion wasn’t really going to be at the top of anyone’s list, but it’s always nice to get a new character, and DST did a respectable job of translating him to ‘mate form.  Scarlet Spider was in desperate need of an update, and this figure really delivered well on that.  He takes every aspect of the old figure and makes it better, and results in a generally far more enjoyable figure.

#1997: Xavier & Shaw

XAVIER & SHAW

MARVEL MINIMATES

After the critical failures of X-Men 3 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the X-Men franchise was looking for a fresh start.  They found it in X-Men: First Class, which returned the X-Men to their original decade of the ’60s.  It was something of an unexpected hit, truth be told, so it’s merchandising was almost non-existent.  Fortunately, Minimates were there to save the day, with an assortment of TRU-exclusive two-packs.  Today, I’ll be looking at one of the film’s two leading men, Charles Xavier, alongside the film’s main antagonist, Sebastian Shaw.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Xavier and Shaw were part of the TRU-exclusive X-Men: First Class assortment of Marvel Minimates, released to coincide with the movie’s release in 2011.

XAVIER

James McAvoy had some serious shoes to fill when he took over the part of Xavier from Patrick Stewart, but he did it quite masterfully, creating a different, but still very much the same person, take on the character.  This figure opts for his flightsuit look, which is a solid choice since it a) is by far his most exciting look from the movie, and b) matches the rest of the team released in this assortment.  Xavier uses the basic body, with add-ons for his hair and his belt.  The hair is borrowed from DC Series 7’s Nightwing.  It’s not quite an exact match for the look Xavier’s sporting in the movie, but it’s close enough, and it’s a good enough piece that I’m really not going to complain about seeing it re-used.  The belt’s just a basic piece, with no detailing, used dozens of other times.  Nothing to write home about, but it gets the job down.  Xavier’s paintwork is definitely top-notch.  The likeness on the face is a very good match for McAvoy, and the detailing on the jumpsuit is just tremendous.  All of the small details and stitching are included, just s they should be.  The back of the figure is slightly less detailed than the rest, but he’s at least not totally void of detail like some less fortunate ‘mates have been.  They’ve even painted his neck yellow, differentiating his uniform from Magneto’s, just as it was in the movie.  Xavier included no accessories. A Cerebro helmet would have been nice, but this assortment’s completely re-used nature ruled that out.

SHAW

Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw was a slightly different take on the character, combining elements of Shaw’s comics counterpart with later X-foe Mr. Sinister.  The end result is a more calculating, far less hand-to-hand combat sort of a character, who was quite entertaining to watch.  Shaw uses add-ons for his hair and jacket/shirt piece.  The hair is re-used from Back to the Future Part II‘s Biff Tannen.  It’s not a perfect match for Shaw, and definitely not as close as the piece chosen for Xavier.  That said, it’s the best piece they had on hand at the time, and it’s serviceable.  The jacket is from 24‘s Tony Almeida, and is a well sculpted piece that fits the style Shaw was sporting throughout the movie.  Shaw’s paint work is not quite as complex as Xavier’s.  For the most part, it’s just the face that matters, and I gotta say, this guy doesn’t look all that much like Kevin Bacon.  I think he’s one of those people whose likeness is very dependent on his nose.  Without it, he’s very hard to convey.  Shaw also includes no accessories.  The helmet’s about the only thing I could think of to give him, and that got (rather sensibly) packed in with Magneto.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though lacking in accessories, Xavier is an otherwise very fun figure, and once again goes to show just how far you can get without needing any new parts.  Shaw’s an important part of the movie.  That said, he’s never quite as “battle-ready” as some of the others, which translates to another “guy in a suit” Minimate, and not a particularly notable one at that.

#1988: Yon-Rogg & Phil Coulson

YON-ROGG & PHIL COULSON

MARVEL MINIMATES

Hey, do you guys remember yesterday’s whacky pairing of two guys from Captain Marvel that never meet?  Well then you’ll love today’s pairing of two other guys from Captain Marvel that also never meet.  Though, I guess in a slight uptick of connectivity, at least these two do occupy the same planet at the same time, which is more than yesterday’s pair.  Maybe they formed a budding relationship off-screen!  Well, let’s look at best buds Yon-Rogg and Phil Coulson.  Nope, that feels wrong.  I don’t think these guys are friends.  Let’s look at mortal enemies Yon-Rogg and Phil Coulson.  There, that feels better.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Yon-Rogg and Coulson are the last of the Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Minimates for the Captain Marvel assortment.  There’s also going to be a specialty-exclusive boxed set, but these are it for now.

YON-ROGG

Man, we were really itching to find out what Yon-Rogg’s big secret was before the movie came out.  Turns out the big secret was that there was really no big secret, aside perhaps from this version of Yon-Rogg somehow ending up as less villainous than his comics counterpart.  Honestly, though, it feels like they came up with the role for Law without knowing exactly which Kree officer he’d be playing, and eventually decided to tag him with Yon-Rogg’s name (the fact that said name is only spoken once in the film, said in a scene where his character isn’t even present kind of lends credence to this).  Whatever the case, he’s a pretty prominent character, and obviously he was going to show up somewhere in this line.  He makes use of add-on pieces for his hair, backpack, gloves, belt, and holster.  The hair is reused from Venkman, but otherwise these pieces are new.  At first glance, the holster looks the same as Korath’s, but it’s actually its mirror piece, correctly representing their placement in the film.  Like Carol, Yon-Rogg also includes an alternate helmet piece, should you want him fully armed up.  But, given how briefly he wears it in the movie, I don’t see it getting much use from me.  Yon-Rogg’s paint is pretty involved, and matches up with Carol and Bron-Charr (but not with Korath and Ronan). The face has a pretty solid likeness of Jude Law, which is certainly refreshing after the Legends figure.  Yon-Rogg is packed with a pistol, an effect piece for his weird gauntlet thing, and a clear display stand.

PHIL COULSON

Though relatively minor in the film, Coulson’s return to the MCU proper was still a delightful one, and Clark Gregg was clearly having a blast playing the rookie field agent version of the character.  His presence in this assortment is no doubt due to the large fanbase for the character.  He’s not new to Minimates, with an MCU release back in Series 39 for the first Thor film (reviewed here), plus animated and comics versions of the character.  That said, it’s nice to get another go at him, if for nothing else than to pair off with Fury.  Coulson is pretty much the same as Fury in terms of construction, just swapping out the hairpiece for a new one, representing Coulson’s ’90s hair.  Of course, it’s nondescript enough to work for a modern Coulson as well, if that’s what you’re looking for.  Coulson’s paintwork is respectable.  I think the facial likeness is better than prior attempts, and I especially like the different pattern on the tie.  Like Fury, Coulson is packed with a spare set of white arms, a handgun, a shoulder holster, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though they don’t offer much new after looking at all of the other figures in this line-up, I do find myself quite liking this pair.  It’s nice to get a Yon-Rogg figure that isn’t horribly disappointing, and I’ve been hoping for a Coulson update since The Avengers came out.  All in all, a nice pair to round out a pretty fun little assortment.  I look forward to the boxed set.

#1987: Nick Fury & Ronan

NICK FURY & RONAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

When it comes to Minimates, specifically the two-pack driven lines, there are bound to be some slightly oddball pairings.  The prior two sets for Captain Marvel made a lot of sense.  Today’s set?  Well, the two characters contained within it not only never meet, there never even on the same planet at the same time.  And yet, here we are.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Nick Fury and Ronan are the third set in the Walgreens-exclusive assortment of Captain Marvel-themed Marvel Minimates.  It’s worth noting that both characters in this set have had MCU-based ‘mates before, for what it’s worth.

NICK FURY

Though his name may not be in the title, Nick Fury is still an undisputed star in Captain Marvel, with his largest MCU role to date.  We get to see quite a different side of the character, and start to see where the Fury we met back in Iron Man came from.  Like the Legends release, this figure goes for his men-in-black style suit, which, while not his main look for the movie, is a fairly distinctive one.  The figure makes use of three add-on pieces for the hair, jacket, and tie.  All three are re-used from many prior figures.  They’re pretty basic, but then, so was his look.  The rest of the work is handled via paint.  My figure has one major flaw; a splotch of missing paint on his cheek.  Apart from that, I guess things are pretty decent.  The face doesn’t have much of a likeness of SLJ, but it doesn’t look unlike him.  I do particularly like the pattern on the tie.  That’s a fun touch.  Fury is packed with a handgun, a spare set of white arms, a shoulder holster, and a clear display stand.

RONAN

Unlike Fury, the movie doesn’t really give us any more backstory on Ronan prior to our introduction to him Guardians.  Pretty much, Ronan’s still just kind of Ronan, for better or for worse.  On the plus side, the film uses Ronan’s affiliation with the Kree Empire to give him his more traditional color scheme from the comics.  The figure uses two add-on pieces: one for his head piece, and one for his skirt.  They’re the same pieces used for the prior MCU Ronan figure, which is sensible enough, since, design wise, they’re pretty much the same.  The new paint job is a lot greener, as expected of this variation of the design.  Like yesterday’s Korath figure, Ronan’s green isn’t metallic like the first two Kree uniforms were.  Of course, since Ronan’s from a different group, I guess it’s not quite as odd for him.  Beyond that, there’s a lot of nice detailing going on.  Ronan is packed with his signature hammer (with it’s head on the proper way this time) and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this pair at the same time as the rest of the assortment.  Nick’s an important player, and the two distinct looks help him.  Ronan may be a much more minor character in the film, but he’s a nice, distinctive design, with a lot more pop than his prior Guardians release.

#1986: Starforce Captain Marvel & Korath

STARFORCE CAPTAIN MARVEL & KORATH

MARVEL MINIMATES

Despite its ’90s setting, Captain Marvel had quite a good number of returning (or, from a certain perspective, debuting) characters, who were a sizable part of not only the marketing, but also the merchandising.  It also followed the MCU trend of multiple distinct looks for its main character.  Both of those two things will be touched on in today’s review.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Starforce Captain Marvel and Korath are the second set of Walgreens-exclusive Captain Marvel Marvel Minimates.  All of the sets in this line-up feature at least one Starforce uniform, but this one goes nuts and gives us two.  I know.  Crazy.

STARFORCE CAPTAIN MARVEL

In a nice little throwback to Mar-Vell’s original colors, Carol begins the movie in green.  She also bears a slight resemblance to another comics company’s former test-pilot turned super-powered space cop, but I’m sure that’s just a total coincidence, right?  Would you believe this is the first time we’ve gotten any version of Captain Marvel in green?  That seems a little bit wacky to me.  Construction-wise, this figure is exactly the same as yesterday’s standard colored Captain Marvel.  She’s got the same basic hair, and swaps out for the same helmet piece as before.  The main difference is the paint, which is swapped for green and black and gives her a different facial expression.  I’m not crazy about the facial expression’s look when unmasked, but it ends up working out a lot better when the helmet is in place, so I find it to be a worthy trade-off.  Starforce Carol again mimics the standard figure for its accessories, meaning she includes a flight stand and a standard clear display stand.

KORATH

“WHOOOO!?!” …You see, it’s funny, because it’s Korath…the guy…the guy who say’s “WHOOOO!?” to Star-Lord at the beginning of the first Guardians….and now I’m applying it to him?  Get it?  I assure you, it’s very funny.  I’ve got this certificate that says so.  Where was I?  Australia!  No!  Korath!  That’s the one.  Though the Guardians ‘mates went pretty deep with their coverage, Korath was perhaps the one notable character to be left out.  Fortunately he got a second chance!  The figure’s almost a vanilla ‘mate; his only add-on is his holster for his sidearm.  Beyond that, he’s carried out via paint, which is decent enough.  The likeness is pretty spot-on, which is really the most important part, since I suspect a number of collectors will be sticking it on another body for a Guardians Korath.  The body’s okay, but not great.  The details just don’t seem to be quite as sharp on Korath as they are on the other two Starforce members, and the green appears to be a slightly different shade for some reason.  Korath is packed with a pistol and a pair of swords, as well as a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like yesterday’s pair, I grabbed these two a little while before the movie’s release, but didn’t actually open them until the night I saw it in the theatre.  I wasn’t sure what to think of another Marvel, but I really dig the Starforce colors for her.  Korath’s not perfect, but it’s at the very least nice to finally have him, even if it is a slightly different version of him.

#1985: Captain Marvel & Bron-Char

CAPTAIN MARVEL & BRON-CHAR

MARVEL MINIMATES

“Ace Air Force pilot Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.  Set in the 1990s, Marvel’s Captain Marvel is an all-new adventure from a previously unseen period of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”

“Marvel’s Captain Marvel” does seem a touch redundant, don’t you think?  I mean, for the general public, at least.  I suppose there was a time there was some genuine confusion, but DC’s pretty firmly on that “Shazam” train.  So, while we’re on the topic of “Marvel’s Captain Marvel,” the movie sure is doing well at the box office, topping even DC’s own female-led Wonder Woman.  That’s pretty cool.  I’ve looked at most of the Legends from the movie, but this week I’ll be looking at the other major offerings, courtesy of DST’s Minimates brand.  I’ll be starting things off with the good Captain herself, as well as fellow Starforce member Bron-Char.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Captain Marvel and Bron-Char are the first of four Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Minimates released to tie-in with the film.  Unlike prior films, there are no shared figures between these sets and the specialty boxed set, so these two are totally unique.

CAPTAIN MARVEL

Seen here in her main colors from the end of the film, this is the definitive Captain Marvel release for the set.  Amazingly, this is only Carol’s third Minimate, and her second under the title of Captain Marvel.  The figure’s built on the standard body, so she’s 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  She’s got an add-on for her hair, which appears to be a new piece.  It’s a respectable match for her hairstyle from the movie.  It’s a little restricting on the articulation side, but it’s hardly the worst.  She’s also got an alternate helmeted piece, which is another new part.  It’s accurate to the film, and cleanly sculpted, but it doesn’t quite line-up so well with the face on this one.  The paint on this figure’s not bad.  I definitely dig the metallics, though some of the basic applications are a little sloppy around the edges.  The helmet probably gets the worst overall work; in addition to not really lining up with the face, it’s also got a really wonky misprint on the eyes, so make sure to keep an eye on that.  In addition to the helmet, Carol is also packed with a flight stand and a clear display stand.

BRON-CHAR

A slightly more minor character in the film, Bron-Char’s the Starforce’s resident bruiser.  He’s actually a decent choice to partner off with the main colors Captain Marvel, since they do have a notable fight scene in the film.  He’s a bigger guy, so he makes use of add-ons for his torso, belt, and gauntlets.  The torso and belt are standard parts; the torso isn’t one of my favorites, and doesn’t really work so well without any add-ons are the arms and legs.  The gauntlets are new, and nice enough pieces.  There’s no hair piece, which I kind of think might have been a mistake.  At the very least, one of the sculpted beard pieces would have added something to him.  The paintwork is pretty respectable.  There’s a lot of detailing and it’s all pretty sharp.  Bron-Char’s only accessory is a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found this whole assortment of ‘mates at Walgreens a couple of weeks before the movie’s release.  I ended up letting them sit until the day I went to see the movie, so I was able to come home that night from the movie and open them up, which was pretty fun.  Basic Carol is a good basic Carol.  Fairly straightforward, but good nonetheless.  Bron-Char’s cool to see crop up, since it’s not like we’re really going to see him anywhere else.

#1977: Rogue & Colossus

ROGUE & COLOSSUS

MARVEL MINIMATES

The X-Men are a team with distinctive eras.  The late ’80s, just preceding the Jim Lee-designed re-launch of the ’90s, was known as the Outback-era, when the team find themselves in the Australian Outback.  It was during this era that Rogue really came into her own on the team, and Colossus found himself a more prominent figure than before.  How fitting that the pair would make their way into Marvel Minimates‘ Outback-inspired Series 47.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pairing was part of the aforementioned Series 47 of Marvel Minimates, which arrived at retail in late October of 2012.

ROGUE

“Unable to touch others, Anna Marie saw her mutant ability to absorb memories, powers and life energy as a curse. But after fighting the X-Men as part of the evil Brotherhood, she later sought them out to ask for help and eventually joined the team.”

Rogue has been a prominent member of the team since Marvel Minimates‘ launch, so she had found her way into the line-up four times before this figure’s release.  This one stands out as distinctly different than the others, calling back to before yellow became a prominent color in her palette.  The figure makes use of one add-on piece for her hair, which was new to this figure.  It’s a nice piece, definitely capturing her ’80s ‘do well.  The squared-off nature of the style actually lends itself quite naturally to the blocky stylings of the Minimate base body.  Beyond that, she’s just a basic ‘mate body, which suits the design.  The figure’s paintwork is clean, and eye-catching.  The metallic green pairs well with the black, and the detail line-work is all sharp and captures her look from the comics well.  Rogue is packed with a flight stand, simulating the powers she got after accidentally drained Ms. Marvel.  We’re still one assortment out from the display stands becoming a standard inclusion.

COLOSSUS

“Piotr Rasputin’s ability to turn his body into organic steel makes him super-strong, nearly indestructible, and able to throw objects a great distance at great speed. When the object is his teammate Wolverine, this maneuver is known as a “fastball special.””

This release marked Colossus’s fourth time as a Minimate, though his first in 33 series, making his re-release quite warranted.  This figure also pulls double-duty, filling a Colossus-shaped hole in both the Outback line-up of this wave, and the Jim Lee looks of Series 34.  He comes packaged in his Lee-designed look, which is really just a minor rework of his original design. Colossus uses add-ons for his hair, torso cap, torso extender, hands, and boots.  All of these were new to this particular figure, and for the most part, they’re pretty decent offerings.  The new hair isn’t that far removed from the prior piece, but is sharper in its detailing and shaping.  The new gauntlets and boots match up well with the design, and fit nicely to the body.  The only slightly troublesome piece is the torso.  In an effort to bulk him up, they’ve made it a whole cap, rather than just focussing on his tunic like prior figures.  The end result makes him look a little bit pudgy, though it’s far from terrible. Colossus’s paint is solid work.  It’s bright and eye-catching, and the detail lines, especially for his metal skin, looks really sharp.  There’s some slop on his torso piece, but otherwise its pretty cleanly done. To facilitate the double-duty being pulled by this figure, he includes a plethora of swap-out add-ons, including a new torso cap, gauntlets, boot cuffs, and standard hands and feet.  It all swaps out to create Colossus’s less covering ’80s look.  He also includes two extra right hands, designed to allow either version of Colossus to perform his signature “Fastball Special” with this wave’s Wolverine, as well as a clear display stand to help keep the two balanced.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was pretty excited for this whole line-up at the time of its release, though this particular set was a little lower on the totem pole than its compatriots.  This Rogue is somewhat removed from the version that most people would consider definitive, but the figure is still a well-put-together ‘mate.  Colossus’s main look may be slightly flawed, but the ability to get a second look out of the figure makes him a strong, and necessary figure.