#3256: Sakaar Loki & Heimdall

SAKAAR LOKI & HEIMDALL

MARVEL MINIMATES

“In Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok, Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok – the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization – at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger – the Incredible Hulk!”

For movies prior to Thor: Ragnarok, Diamond Select’s Minimates line-ups typically relied on a mix of a couple of different retailers carrying two-pack assortments, but beginning with Ragnarok, the specialty assortment was replaced by a boxed set, augmented by exclusive two-packs at both TRU and Walgreens.  For Ragnarok, Walgreens took two exclusive packs, while TRU took one, which is the one I’ll be looking at today.  Let’s have a look at Sakaar Loki and Heimdall!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Sakaar Loki and Heimdall are, as noted in the intro, the one proper TRU-exclusive set for the Marvel Minimates tie-ins for Ragnarok.  Interestingly enough, this was the second time the two characters had been packed together in the line, as they were also paired for the Dark World tie-in assortment as well.

SAKAAR LOKI

Surprisingly enough, Loki was actually the character with the most ‘mates for Ragnarok, edging out even his brother Thor, and netting one variant for each of the three release venues for the movie’s tie-ins.  This one is based on what he wears for the bulk of the movie, while running around on Sakaar.  It’s not quite as true to the character as his final battle attire, but it’s still pretty decent.  The figure is built on the standard post-C3 minimate body, so he stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Loki’s got three sculpted add-on pieces, for his hair, belt, and cape.  The belt and cape were shared with the boxed set Loki, while the hair was a new piece shared with the civilian Loki released on the Walgreens side of this assortment.  I find the hair to be a little bit bulky for Loki in Ragnarok, but it’s generally not bad, and the cape is still one of my favorites.  Loki’s paint work is a little cleaner than his boxed set equivalent, with no major issues with slop or bleed over.  He’s also a little more colorful, which is true to the Sakaar design.  I’m not as big on the facial expression for this one, which is rather bland, and feels like it has too many lines for Hiddleston.  Loki’s only accessory is a clear display stand, which is rather on the light side.

HEIMDALL

Heimdall’s only prior coverage in the line was his Dark World release, which actually wasn’t bad, and is also his fully armored attire, which was distinctly different from his on the run look from Ragnarok.  Heimdall gets two sculpted add-ons, for his hair and for his cloak/coat.  The hair is an alright piece, though it certainly feels rather too kempt for Heimdall’s look in Ragnarok.  Where Loki’s piece seemed too bulky and long, this one feels too tame and short.  The chest piece is also…it’s just not great.  Making the whole thing one piece means that the right arm is effectively trapped in place, and the legs and waist are also pretty restricted, and on top of that, the neck can’t really do much either, so he’s just generally not really posable.  And, to add insult to injury, the piece is just flat out not accurate to the character’s look, like at all.  It’s got him wearing some sort of heavy coat and multiple layers, when in the movie he’s got a sleeveless shirt and a simple pair of pants on under the cloak.  I’m not sure if this was based on early concept art or what, but it’s just not really right, and the figure would have really been better off if this piece had just been the cloak, rather than the whole thing.  The paint work doubles down on the inaccuracy of the sculpted pieces, resulting in a kind of dull look for the figure.  Heimdall is packed with his sword, as well as a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

There was a whole slew of 2017 releases for Minimates that I had to skip on when they dropped, and almost the entirety of the Ragnarok line-up was on that list, this set included.  This one was snagged from TRU during the beginnings of their clearing out of their products in 2018.  Loki’s okay, but not as definitive as the boxed set version.  Heimdall is rough, I’m not gonna lie.  He’s not accurate, and he’s not a particularly fun figure either.  This set’s generally kind of weak.

#3251: Gladiator Hulk & Valkyrie

GLADIATOR HULK & VALKYRIE

MARVEL MINIMATES

“In Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok, Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok – the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization – at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger – the Incredible Hulk!”

In order to really maximize the depth of characters covered, Thor: Ragnarok‘s Minimates line-up split itself amongst a number of venues.  There was a core boxed set at specialty, and then the rest went to TRU and Walgreens.  In order to properly spread the heavy hitters around, Valkyrie and Hulk, who were both absent from the main boxed set, found themselves distributed in two-pack form.  I’m taking a look at that particular two-pack today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Gladiator Hulk and Valkyrie were one of the two carry-over packs for the Thor: Ragnarok tie-in line up of Marvel Minimates.  While the other carry-over pack, Thor and Hela, was also available as part of the boxed set, Hulk and Valkyrie were available only in the store-exclusive line-ups.

GLADIATOR HULK

Ragnarok‘s role for Hulk partially adapts his “Planet Hulk” storyline from the comics, which includes his time as a gladiator on Sakaar, a rather distinctive look for the character.  That was, of course, the look that served as the basis for all the tie-in merch, which certainly made a lot of sense.  The figure is using the standard ‘mate body, so he’s technically starting out at 2 1/4 inches tall with 14 points of articulation.  That being said, the extra parts on this guy wind up removing the ankle movement, while also granting him an extra half inch of height.  Hulk has 11 sculpted add-on pieces, for his helmet, chest cap, upper arms, hands, thighs, feet, and torso extender.  The upper arms, thighs, and torso extender are all re-used from previous bulked up releases, while the rest of the parts are all-new to this particular figure.  The sculpting is generally pretty good, and certainly consistent with other bulked up figures.  He’s definitely falling more into that realm of a little bit over sculpted and busy for my personal taste on Minimates, but he’s not awful.  The paint work on the figure is about what you’d expect.  With as much sculpting as there is, most of the paint is base coverage, with limited detail line work.  What detail line work is there, however, is pretty sharp, and I especially like the white markings on the skin.  Gladiator Hulk is packed with an alternate hairpiece (a re-use of the Zombie Hulk piece), his hammer an axe from the arena fight, and a clear display stand.

VALKYRIE

Making her debut in the MCU side of the line, and getting her first Minimate since 2007’s Defenders boxed set, Valkyrie was certainly a welcome addition in this set.  She’s based on her early in the film look, which is consistent with the design choices for most of the others from the line, barring only the alternate Loki from the boxed set.  Valkyrie makes use of three add-on pieces for her hair, cape, and belt/skirt.  All three pieces were new for this release, and they do a respectable job of capturing the design of the character from the movie, and translating that into ‘mate form.  The paint work on the figure does most of the heavy lifting here.  There’s a fair bit of small detail work, especially on the costume’s darker sections, which get a lot of highlights detailing.  The face does seem a tad generic for Tessa Thompson, especially the expression, but it’s not terrible, I suppose.  Valkyrie is packed with her sword Dragonfang (a new sculpt for this release) as well as two knives, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I slept on a lot of the 2017 minimates, so I didn’t actually wind up getting this one until TRU started clearing stuff out in 2018.  I picked up a lot of Minimates that way.  I may have been part of the problem, I suppose.  Gladiator Hulk is a strong take on a unique design.  Even removed from the movie, he’s still got some validity to him.  Valkyrie is a character that’s far too scarce in Minimates, so it’s nice that the movie at least got her one more.  She’s a little more basic, but there’s nothing wrong with that.

#3246: Man-Thing & Spyder-Knight

MAN-THING & SPYDER-KNIGHT

MARVEL MINIMATES

As one of Disney’s main focuses when it first launched, Ultimate Spider-Man makes up a large part of the early Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Minimates assortments.  It’s not that hard to see why, since it gave them plenty of free reign to do all sorts of Spidey variants, especially with the show running its own take on “Spider-Verse” at the time, as well as still supporting a sizeable stable of other supporting players from around the Marvel Universe.  It certainly made for some interesting pairings.  One of those pairings was Man-Thing and Spyder-Knight, whom I’ll be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Man-Thing and Spyder-Knight were released in Series 2.5 of Walgreens’ Marvel Minimates run.  This marked the last half-series before that rather odd concept was abandoned for standard numbering schemes.  Both figures in this pack are based on their appearances on the Ultimate Spider-Man show.

MAN-THING

“Man-Thing is a member of SHIELD’s Howling Commandos. This ‘big guy,’ overwhelms the enemy with his plant-based powers.”

It’s Ted!  He’s suddenly all relevant and stuff!  Awesome!  When the Walgreens-exclusive sets first launched, DST ran a fan-poll, designed to utilize the more obscure guest characters from the animated shows in order to grant unmade characters their first chance at ‘mate-dom.  The winners of said poll were Man-Thing and the previously-reviewed Squirrel Girl, who were both split up and thrown in with a respective Spidey variant for their troubles.  Hey, at least they got made.  This guy was built with the standard ‘mate body at his core, so he’s about 2 1/2 inches tall (thanks to the various add-ons) and he’s technically still got the 14 points of articulation, though he can’t actually make use of most of the joints because of his construction.  He makes use of 10 add-on pieces, with a unique head/torso cover, as well as the bulked-up parts for his shoulders, hands, thighs, and feet, and a torso extender piece.  This allows the figure to maintain Man-Thing’s larger stature.  It also means disposing of the standard head entirely, so there’s that.  The new torso and head does a solid job of recreating Man-Thing’s comics look, especially with the face and the texturing of the shoulders.  The rest of the parts don’t have any sculpted elements, but it ultimately works out alright.  The paint work on the figure is largely just the same drab green, with a little bit of accenting and just a little but of line work on the limbs.  It’s not a lot, but it’s enough to get his design down well.  Man-Thing is packed with a clear display stand.

SPYDER-KNIGHT

“A Spider-Man from medieval universe, this vigilante protects the town of York. He wears a suit of armor with retractable wrist blades.”

Spyder-Knight was a new creation for Ultimate Spider-Man, though he made use of a concept that had been floating around prior to the cartoon’s use of it.  He’s got non-standard upper arms and a new set of gauntlets.  With the add-ons only on the arms, he does wind up a little bit simian in his appearance.  I don’t think it’s quite what they were going for.  My figure has both of his gauntlets fused to the arms, so they can’t be posed or removed, which is kind of a bummer.  The paint work also seems surprisingly drab in its color scheme, but I guess after looking at screen caps, that’s just how he’s supposed to look.  The line work is at least pretty sharp, so there’s that.  Spyder-Knight is packed with an alternate gauntlet with a wrist blade, which my figure can’t actually use due to the previously mentioned issue with the gauntlets not being removable, as well as a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The distribution on the exclusives was kind of a mess early on for these, so despite this pack being released in 2016, I didn’t actually find one of these in-store until early 2018, when things really started getting out there.  Man-Thing’s one time as a Minimate turned out pretty well.  The animated stylings mean that he doesn’t have as in-depth a sculpt, but I actually prefer him that way.  Spyder-Knight wasn’t the reason I was buying the set, and he’s not particularly that good either.  He’s kind of just a space filler.

#3241: Thor & Nighthawk

THOR & NIGHTHAWK

MARVEL MINIMATES

Early in the run of Walgreens taking their own exclusive sets of Minimates, everything was completely animation based, drawing from Ultimate Spider-ManAvengers Assemble, and Guardians of the Galaxy.  While this meant there was a lot of re-hashing of the heavy hitters in their animated designs, it also allowed DST to sneak in a few lower tier characters with animated appearances who had not yet shown up in the main line.  Avengers Assemble‘s inclusion of the Squadron Supreme in particular was taken advantage of, giving us a whole line-up of those wacky not-the-Justice-League guys.  Today, I’m looking at one of those Squadron-inspired sets.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Thor and Nighthawk were released in Series 2.5 of Walgreens’ exclusive Marvel Minimates.  Yes, there’s a .5 in there.  For some reason, the first four assortments at Walgreens used the half-series numbering.  They abandoned it after this one, presumably because it was just kind of confusing.

THOR

“The Prince of Asgard, where magic and science are the same, Thor uses his hammer, Mjolnir, to protect Earth as an Avenger.”

Slowly bust surely, DST pieced out the animated versions of the core Avengers, intermixed with their alternate universe “Dark Avengers” counterparts.  Thor’s Dark version came first in Series 2, and the standard followed shortly after.  The figure is based on the standard post-c3 base body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Thor gets three add-on pieces, for his helmet/hair, cape, and belt.  The cape is re-used from the DCD Superman, while the helmet and belt were first used for the Dark Thor in the prior assortment.  It’s a clean set of pieces that match up well with the character’s animated appearance, and sit well on the base body.  The paint work on this figure is pretty solid.  It’s clean and simple, and it works well for the aesthetic they were aiming to capture.  He looks like the animation models, but also still fits in alright with the pre-established line.  Thor was packed with Mjolnir, a flight stand, and a display stand.

NIGHTHAWK

“Disguised as SHIELD Agent Kyle Richmond, Nighthawk secretly paved the way for the arrival of the corrupt Squadron Supreme.”

Despite his mainstream counterpart bouncing around amongst a number of teams and not being *absurdly* obscure, Nighthawk was not able to get any ‘mate coverage until he showed up in animation.  I suppose it’s not the worst thing.  On the plus side, his animated counterpart kept the character’s classic costume design, so he can at least pull double duty very easily.  Nighthawk’s got two add-ons, one for his mask, and the other for his cape.  The headpiece is just the standard full-face mask, while the cape is an all-new one.  While I would have liked to see a proper sculpted piece on the mask, it’s a simple enough that the full-face set-up doesn’t look too terrible, and if it was either the mask or the cape, they definitely made the right choice.  The cape is really nicely handled, and sits quite well on the figure’s shoulders.  Nighthawk’s paint work is clean, colorful, and a good half step between the animation and the comics, which I certainly appreciate.  There’s a full face under the mask, and he’s also got an extra hair piece (borrowed from BttF‘s Doc Brown) to show it off.  He also includes a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m gonna be honest, I don’t actually recall exactly how I got this set.  It was probably at a Walgreens, but it’s also entirely possible I got it second hand because I just really wanted the Nighthawk figure, and there was enough weirdness with the early Walgreens exclusives that I don’t remember exactly how these particular chips fell.  I do recall being excited about Nighthawk, but also kind of meh on another Thor.  Ultimately, Thor’s not terrible, and I don’t hate having him, but he’s certainly not the draw.  Nighthawk has to make due with the re-used head piece, but he’s otherwise really great, and I’m glad they were able to work him into the line one way or another.

#3211: Iron Man Mark 47 & Happy Hogan

IRON MAN MARK 47 & HAPPY HOGAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

Tying the movie more closely into the universe that spawned it, Spider-Man: Homecoming leans a fair bit on Iron Man and one notable member of his supporting cast.  Not only does Peter work directly with Tony Stark on a number of occasions, but long-term Iron Man supporting cast member Harold “Happy” Hogan also gets his largest roles in the MCU as part of its Spider-Man trilogy.  As a Happy Hogan fan since way back when nobody knew who Happy Hogan was, I’m all about that.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Iron Man Mark 47 and Happy Hogan were the TRU-exclusive set for the Spider-Man: Homecoming tie-in assortment of Marvel Minimates.  Due to weird licensing, the Spidey and non-Spidey characters supposedly couldn’t actually cross over in the tie-ins, so these two are isolated off on their own.  It’s not the worst thing, though, since, you know, the two of them do kind of tie together…even if Happy and Tony don’t actually interact while Tony’s in Iron Man mode.  Still, it’s really not that weird.  I’m making it weird.  I’ll stop.

IRON MAN MARK 47

Iron Man’s no stranger to Minimates, especially not when it comes to the MCU.  This was his 72nd Minimate overall and his 31st MCU-based released.  This one’s based on his briefly used suit from Homecoming, which was itself inspired, at least in terms of coloring, by the Ultimate version of the character from the comics.  The figure is based on the standard post-c3 base body, and as such is about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He features an add-on for his chest plate, as well as unique pieces for his upper arms and hands.  All of the non-standard pieces were new to this figure, which is mostly surprising because this armor was really just a quick recolor of the Mark 46 in the movie, and the Mark 46 minimates all just used the Mark 42 tooling again.  These parts are a lot less clunky, though, and generally follow the sleeker design of the armor, so I generally appreciate them.  Additionally, this figure has the interesting change of not getting a helmet piece, and instead just using the standard head.  I’m not entirely sure why that was the way they went, but it’s not a terrible look.  The paint work on this guy is pretty decent.  The metallic red is super slick, and all of the line-work is nice and sharp.  The figure is packed with a flight stand and a clear display stand.

HAPPY HOGAN

Believe it or not, this isn’t the first Happy Hogan Minimate.  Heck, it’s not even the first one I’ve reviewed on the site.  In fact, with this release, I’ll have a review of every Happy Hogan figure there is.  That’s commitment.  Or crazy.  Or there’s only three of them, and it’s ultimately nothing.  Happy has add-on pieces for his hair, jacket, and tie.  The hair piece is re-used I’m pretty sure, but it’s a solid match for Favreau’s hair style in the movie.  The jacket and tie are the World of the Psychic Venkman jacket and Spirit tie combo that they rocked for a while there, which is a pretty good set-up.  The paint work includes an improved likeness from the IM2 release, as well as actual detailing for the belt, which is pretty nifty.  Happy is packed with a clear display stand, which isn’t a lot, but it’s something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had to get kind of picky with what I was buying when these were first released, so I had to skip them, on the basis that I didn’t really need another Iron Man variant, and I already had one Happy Hogan.  But, then TRU was going under, and things were marked down, and I didn’t have this specific Happy Hogan, so, you know, I went for it.  Mark 47 is an improvement on the over designed nature of MCU Iron Men at the time, and I do really like that.  Happy is an improvement on the prior version, and I can definitely dig it.

#3201: Homemade Suit Spider-Man & Vulture

HOMEMADE SUIT SPIDER-MAN & VULTURE

MARVEL MINIMATES

Through all of the iterations of cinematic Spider-Man, we’ve gotten a respectable coverage of his rogue’s gallery.  To the credit of, pretty much all of them, really, they do a good job of avoiding doubling down on anyone of them too much.  For the MCU’s first outing with the character, they chose to highlight one of the character’s oldest foes, and in fact his oldest foe to be adapted into live action, the Vulture.  I’m taking a look at the Vulture, as well as a variant of Spidey from the movie today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Homemade Suit Spider-Man and Vulture were one of the shared sets between specialty Series 73 and the TRU-exclusive Homecoming tie-in series of Marvel Minimates.

HOMEMADE SUIT SPIDER-MAN

Despite not being all snazzy, and not being the main focus of all of the marketing, Peter Parker’s homemade Spidey suit (seen very briefly in Civil War before getting its full focus in Homecoming) becomes his primary suit during the film’s final act, making it the natural pairing to go with the film’s main villain.  The figure is based on the standard post-C3 base body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He makes use of three add-on pieces, for the hood and the two gloves. The hood is re-used from TRU Series 21’s Spider-Gwen, and is a decent enough match for what he’s got in the movie.  It’s also easily removed if you don’t want the hood pulled up look.  The gloves appear to have been new pieces.  They’re pretty cool looking fingerless gloves.  It’s hard to go wrong with fingerless gloves.  The pant work on this Spidey is pretty decent.  The base work is nice and clean, and the line work hits all of the important notes. The figure is packed with a webline and a clear display stand.  Same as it ever was.

VULTURE

Michael Keaton’s Vulture is the best part of Homecoming, which is an awesome thing to say, considering that it’s generally just a really solid movie.  But Keaton really stands out.  His figure makes use of 7 add-on pieces, for his helmet, jacket, wings, gauntlets, and leg gear.  All of the add-ons were all-new to this release.  They’re generally pretty decent.  Perhaps a little bit on the rudimentary side in terms of detailing, and the wings might be more fun if they were separately articulated.  But, the look is definitely covered, and he at least looks unique.  His paint work is reasonable enough.  Like the sculpt, he’s a little soft in terms of the detailing, but the face under the helmet’s at least got a pretty solid likeness of Keaton.  In order to facilitate seeing the face, he’s got an alternate hair piece, as well as both a flight stand and a standard display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was in a trickier financial spot in 2017, so I didn’t get much in the way of new stuff, especially in terms of Minimates.  So, instead of buying these new, I wound up getting them a year later, during TRU’s going out of business clear out.  Homemade Spidey is a respectable variant, and he’s decently rendered for the style.  Vulture’s not the line at its greatest, and perhaps suffers a bit from over sculpting, but he’s also not bad.  Just sort of average.

#3196: Spider-Man & Shocker

SPIDER-MAN & SHOCKER

MARVEL MINIMATES

After making his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man was granted a solo-outing in short fashion with 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming.  As a Spider-Man movie, it was, predictably, pretty well covered on the merchandising front.  That included an assortment of Marvel Minimates which had, up to that point, not missed an MCU showing (they lost that run when Far From Home was the first MCU film they skipped two years later).  Today, I’m looking at one of those sets in the form of Spider-Man and Shocker!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Spider-Man and Shocker were one of the two shared sets between specialty Series 73 and the TRU-exclusive Homecoming tie-in series of Marvel Minimates.  Seeing as it was the set that included the standard version of Spidey, it made a lot of sense for it to be a heavier packed one, so that tracked.

SPIDER-MAN

The first of the four Spidey variants for the movie tie-ins was the standard Stark-tech Spidey suit.  It’s a solid updating of the classic Spidey costume, with just a little bit of MCU-flair, and I’ve always found it to be a strong design.  The figure is built on the standard post-C3 Minimates body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he’s got 14 points of articulation.  While most standard Spider-Men are just vanilla ‘mates, this one gets two add-ons for each of his wrist-mounted web shooters.  They were new pieces, which are fairly nicely handled.  The paint work is where this figure really shines….well mostly.  The entire figure is painted, which gives him a nice consistent finish.  The line work is nice and sharp, and captures all of the important details of the costume, adapting them quite nicely into ‘mate form.  The one notable downside on the paint is the upper arms, which get all of the proper line-work, but don’t have any blue detailing on the inner side of the arm.  It just abruptly changes color at the elbow, which looks super weird.  Kind of glaring, given the quality of the rest of the detailing.  Spider-Man is packed with a webline and a clear display stand, which is pretty standard fare for a Minimate Spider-Man.

SHOCKER

Though not the primary antagonist of the film, Herman Schultz’s Shocker makes his live-action debut as one of the Vulture’s crew in Homecoming.  He also got his second, and more than likely final given the shape of things at the moment, Minimate out of it, after a 9 year gap between releases.  Shocker gets three add-on pieces on the main base body.  He’s got a jacket piece with a sculpted hoodie hood beneath it, re-used from the Big Bang Theory Leonard, as well as a gauntlet piece, re-used from Crossbones.  Given that the gauntlet used by Herman in the movie is actually re-purposed tech, presumably from the same source as Crossbones, it’s a sensible choice of re-use.  Finishing up on the sculpted add-ons, he also gets the basic torso cap piece to extend the hoodie a bit.  The paint work on Shocker is generally pretty solid.  The likeness on the face is an okay match for Bokeem Woodbine, but perhaps not as strong as others from the same time period.  I do really like the quilting pattern on the arms, though; it’s very Shocker-y.  Shocker is packed with a clear display stand.  Not thrilling, but it’s at least something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

2017 was not a year for me to be buying excessively, so I wound up passing on all of the Homecoming ‘mates at the time of their release.  Instead, I wound up getting this particular set during TRU’s shut down, when they were clearing everything out.  I was pretty glad to get the second chance on them.  Spidey’s largely pretty good, apart from the weirdness with the arms.  Shocker’s a little blander than Spidey, but he’s better than average.

#3171: Savage Wolverine & Reaper

SAVAGE WOLVERINE & SAVAGE LAND REAPER

MARVEL MINIMATES

In 2013, Marvel decided to a soft re-branding of their comics, under the banner “Marvel Now!” which would do new and and innovative things with the line.  Like giving Wolverine another book!  Nobody had done that before!  Okay, so Savage Wolverine may not have been the most unique thing, but it did get some decent buzz, thanks to Frank Cho’s name being attached to it. When DST put together some complimentary assortments of Minimates, Savage Wolverine got not one, but two packs dedicated to it.  I looked at the first, which featured Shanna the She-Devil (Wolverine’s co-star in the book) and a Savage Land Reaper, back in January of 2018.  Today, I’m looking at Wolverine proper…and the Reaper again…

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Savage Wolverine and the Savage Land Reaper were released in the 16th TRU-exclusive series of Marvel Minimates, which was TRU’s equivalent to the 51st specialty assortment.  The Reaper was the only cross-over between the two assortments, and is the same figure between both of its pack-outs.

SAVAGE WOLVERINE

Wolverine has had a lot of Minimates.  This particular one was his 48th.  It’s a derivation of the John Cassady Astonishing X-Men design, which had gotten a number of tweaks from several artists at this point.  This one marked his most current at the time, and it remained his most current until his padded number from the “Payback” story.  The figure is based on the standard ‘mate body, so he’s 2 1/2 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation .  Wolverine uses add-ons for his mask and belt, as well as “unique” pieces for the clawed hands.  The mask was the first actual, proper update to the mask we’d gotten since the Series 26 version, and I quite like it.  It’s got a unique shaping to it, and I dig the sculpted seams running along the head.  The belt, which I believe was new to this figure, but it can be hard to tell, is another nice piece, full of lots of fun details.  The hands are the same hands used initially on the Series 47 Wolverine, and they’re my favorite of the clawed hands we’ve gotten.  The paint is my favorite aspect of this figure, because at the surface, it’s just a basic Wolverine paint job, but there’s so much else going on.  The yellow with black in place of blue makes for a figure that’s quite striking, and while there are still some spots of slop on some of the edges, the small detail work is crisp, and very plentiful.  The face gives us a great, intense, Wolverine-style snarl, the hair on the arms is sharp and well defined, the muscles are subtly handled in a fashion that mimics Cho’s artwork pretty well, and they’ve even included all of the laces on his boots.  There’s a ton of attention to detail, and a lot of details that could have easily been overlooked.  Logan is packed with an extra hair piece and a clear display stand.  It’s a shame they stopped giving Wolverines extra, non-clawed hands, but at least in this one’s case, it won’t be hard to find a pair that matches.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t really intending to get this figure when he was shown off, since who really needs the 48th version of Wolverine?  Well, me, apparently.  Once packaged shots surfaced, I found myself really liking the look, and at the time, it was easiest to just order a whole assortment from TRU.com, to make sure you didn’t randomly get the wrong pack in place of what you actually wanted.  Wolverine pairs off well with this same assortment’s version of Captain America.  He’s a variant of an A-lister that no one was necessarily asking for, but DST put in some of their best work here, and the end result is a figure that really rocks.

#3166: Cowboy Tony Stark & Aldrich Killian

COWBOY TONY STARK & ALDRICH KILLIAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

Now listen up, here’s the story, about a little guy who started both of his Iron Man 3-themed Minimates reviews the same way, and all day and all night, everything he sees is reviews, inside and outside.  Okay, I think the Eiffel 65 thing as far as it can possibly go.  Look, you get the gist, right?  Minimates?  Iron Man 3?  Great.  Here’s Cowboy Disguise Tony Stark and Aldrich Killian!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cowboy Disguise Tony Stark and Aldrich Killian were released as part of Series 49 of Marvel Minimates, the specialty component of the Iron Man 3-tie-in ‘mates.  It’s one of the two sets contained there in which was completely exclusive, the other being the previously reviewed War Machine and Maya.

COWBOY DISGUISE TONY STARK

Over the course of his three films (and Age of Ultron), we’ve gotten all manner of Tony Starks, but I think Cowboy Tony may very well be the most out-there variant. Well, at least he seems that way on the surface.  In practice, he’s actually just a fairly standard Tony, who also includes a cowboy hat.  The figure is built on the standard post-C3 body, so he’s about 2 1/2 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He uses two add-on pieces, one for his hat, and one for his sweater.  Both parts are re-used; the hat is from Mad Dog Tannen and the sweater comes from Agent Zero.  The sweater is fine, but the hat ends up being rather off the mark for the one he was wearing in the movie.  Obviously, DST wanted Tony to be a re-use figure, and I guess this hat was just the closest thing they had on hand? I don’t know, but it makes him look more like a mountie than a cowboy.  The paint work on Tony is the strongest aspect of the figure, to be sure.  His likeness to RDJ is a decent one, and the replication of Tony’s injuries from the move on his face make for a more distinctive look for the character.  The detailing on his vest and what we can see of his plaid shirt is also pretty impressive.  Tony is packed with an extra hair piece, for those of you that want the non-cowboy/mountie look for him, as well as a set of extra arms for a look sans-sweater, and a now standard clear display stand.

ALDRICH KILLIAN

Man, Killian really through marketers for a loop, didn’t he?  His role was super down-played going into the film, with all the focus going to Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin, but toy companies were still informed he’d be important, but in a sort of a vague way.  The character in the comics is very, very minor, but then, boom, there he was, main villain of the piece, unquestionably.  Well, at least the Minimates included him, right?  Killian uses three add-on pieces for his hair, jacket, and tie.  All three are re-used; the hair’s from Larry Talbot, the jacket from World of the Psychic Peter Venkman, and the tie from The Spirit.  It’s a reasonable enough collection of parts, though I personally find the hair to be a touch to close cropped for Killian.  We’ve seen worse, though.  Killian’s paint is pretty straight-forward color work.  He’s not terribly thrilling or anything, but he’s accurate to his (present day) introductory scene in the film, and the face has a decent Guy Pierce likeness.  Aldrich’s only accessory is a clear display stand, which is rather light.  Some extra Extremis-powered parts would have been cool, though it’s possible they weren’t a viable option, due to spoilers.  He still feels like he should have *something* else, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked these up, alongside the rest of the assortment, the day they were released from my local comic book store, Cosmic Comix, on a special trip to the store in the middle of my day of college classes, meaning I got to carry them around in my bag.  You know, like I was in elementary school.  No, I mean, like an adult.  Yeah, an adult.  Sure.  Tony is a figure I had little interest in when he was initially shown off, but the ability to remove that hat actually opens the figure up quite a bit, and makes him a fairly intriguing variant of the character.  Overall, Killian is a passable figure of the character, but there’s not a whole lot that really sells him.

#3156: Street Fight Wolverine & Shingen

STREET FIGHT WOLVERINE & SHINGEN YASHIDA

MARVEL MINIMATES

In a line-up that was actually pretty focused and on-point, there was one pack from the tie-in assortment for 2013’s The Wolverine that just seemed…non-essential?  Redundant?  I don’t know exactly.  Though a far cry from the over saturation of the Wolverine: Origins days, today’s pairing of Street Fight Wolverine and Shingen Yashida is a reminder that not every set needs the title character and not every character in the film was strong enough to warrant their own ‘mate.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were part of Marvel Minimates Series 52’s The Wolverine tie-in, as well as being the carried over set in the TRU assortment…for…reasons?  I don’t know why this set was carried over, but, well, I think I might be getting ahead of myself.

STREET FIGHT WOLVERINE

Here’s a design that is a definite “points for effort” on the part of the costume designers.  In the original miniseries on which The Wolverine was based, Logan spent most of his time in his then-current brown costume.  The film’s never put Wolverine in anything remotely close to any of his proper costumes, preferring to more often stick him in his civilian gear.  For the climactic battle of The Wolverine, they actually tried to put him into something that recalled his distinctive brown costume, without actually being a “costume.”  So, we get a jacket that kind of mimics the patterns of his uniform.  Not a terrible choice, though perhaps a little too subtle if you ask me.  Wolverine uses add-ons for his hair and jacket, as well as having a set of clawed hands.  The hair and hands are shared with his fellow Wolverines from the movie, but the jacket was actually an all-new piece to this particular figure.  In an assortment with a lot of re-used parts, this one being new was a little bit surprising.  Regardless, it’s a pretty nice piece, and its understandably seen some subsequent re-use since its introduction here.  Wolverine’s paintwork is okay, but not super eye-catching, since it’s just a lot of brown.  We get a more intense facial expression here, which is actually pretty nice, albeit more limited in application than the suited version.  There’s a lot of nice detail work under the jacket, which is always good to see.  He’s also got some detailing on the knees, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what it’s meant to be.  Wolverine is packed with a set of normal hands, alternate bare arms for a look sans-jacket, and a clear display stand.

SHINGEN YASHIDA

Ah, yes, Shingen Yashida.  Who could forget Shingen Yashida?  Me.  I could.  Because I totally had to look this guy up to figure out which guy he was.  For clarification, Shingen is Mariko’s father, played by veteran actor Hiroyuki Sanada in perhaps one of the least forgiving roles in the movie.  The most distinctive thing the character does is suit up in Samurai armor and try to kill Logan.  So, naturally, DST decided to release him in a business suit.  Yeah… Anyway, Shingen has three add-on pieces for his hair, jacket, and tie.  All three pieces are re-used.  The hair is from Civilian Thor, the jacket from “World of the Psychic” Peter Venkman, and the tie from The Spirit.  The suit and tie are perfectly fine generic pieces, but the hair is just flat out wrong for Shingen, whose hair is nowhere near this length or style in the movie.  I understand the need to re-use parts, but certainly there was a more accurate piece available.  The paint on Shingen is alright, but far from thrilling, since he’s mostly shades of grey.  The face has an okay likeness of Hiroyuki Sanada, but not so much of Sanada *as* Shingen, since he’s got facial hair, which Shingen very definitely doesn’t have in the movie.  This only further adds to the confusion of who the heck this guy is supposed to be.  Shingen is packed with a katana and a clear display stand.  The sword, it should be noted, is only used by Shingen during his battle with Wolverine, when he’s wearing the armor, and therefore makes little sense with this version of the character.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Wolverine’s an okay figure, but there’s not much that sets him apart from the plethora of other Wolverine variants we’ve gotten.  Shingen is at best a minor character in The Wolverine, and is really only notable because of the scene where he armors up.  This figure’s choice not to use that design robs him of pretty much all play value and recognizability, and makes the figure a real wasted slot in this assortment.  And, to add insult to injury, he was the only non-Wolverine character to be shared between specialty and TRU, so he was freaking everywhere, just rubbing in how pointless he really was.  I do not like this figure.