#2722: Thanos

THANOS

MARVEL MINIMATES

Back before he was a major movie star headlining two of the biggest movies of all time, Thanos was sort of an odd-ball who was rather hard to place when it came to toy lines.  Like, he was around, and some people knew him, but you had to sort of sneak him in there, lest someone notice his presence.  Such was the case with his original Minimate release, which was one of the early line’s sort of odd floater figures for a bit, much in a similar fashion to last week’s Dark Phoenix.  He finally made it out, of course, and there have been a bunch of subsequent releases at this point, but it did take a bit of doing.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thanos was released as a San Diego Comic Con-exclusive Marvel Minimates release in 2005, packed alongside yet another reissue of the original Silver Surfer (albeit this one with C3 feet, rather than the long ones).  He had been shown off a few times prior over the preceding years, and before 2099’s inclusion was cemented in Series 7 of the main line, it was assumed he’d be in that slot.  Then he…wasn’t, and everyone was confused for a bit, until this exclusive surfaced the following year.  Hey, at least he got released, I guess.  The figure is built on the C3 base body, and he stands 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Thanos has four add-on pieces for his helmet, chest cap, and gloves, all of them new to him.  These pieces are pretty nicely handled; they get the character’s usual design elements down, while also keeping him in line with this earlier line aesthetic.  They all sit pretty well, and he looks generally uncluttered.  I quite enjoy the simplicity of the Infinity Gauntlet here; later releases would go for the separate fingers, and it always wound up looking weird.  Thanos’ paint work falls into a similar boat as the Dark Phoenix and Cyclops; there’s a lot of detail and creative shading, but it doesn’t feel like it goes too overboard.  Thanos included no accessories of his own, unless you want to be rather demeaning to that Silver Surfer figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I still wasn’t really in on the exclusive game yet with this one, and I already had the standard Silver Surfer, who was my preferred figure out of this set, so I didn’t really try that hard to get this Thanos.  However, when the rather large Minimate collection came into All Time in 2019, and this guy was there, I opted to go for it, because, hey, why not.  I like the simplicity of this Thanos compared to others.  I think he’s one of those characters that they really got right the first time.

#2715: Cyclops & Dark Phoenix

CYCLOPS & DARK PHOENIX

MARVEL MINIMATES

The Giant-Size X-Men-themed boxed set which hit in Marvel Minimates’ second year was our first taste of that era of the team in Minimate form, and one we’d have to stick for a little bit.  We were notably two main members short of that team’s starting line-up, to say nothing of the various other players from that era.  Our first follow-up came not in the main line, but as one of 2005’s non-exclusive sets.  While it didn’t round out the team (it would be another 11 years before we’d get to that), it did give us a little treatment from the biggest X-Men story of that period, if not the biggest X-Men story in general, the “Dark Phoenix Saga.”  We got that story’s two major players, Jean Grey in her Dark Phoenix persona and Cyclops, both of whom I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Dark Phoenix and Cyclops were, as noted above, a con-exclusive Marvel Minimates two-pack, who officially dropped in March of 2005, and sort of toured the cons that year, rather than really being tied to one of them in particular, eventually even making their way to more regular release channels as well.  Both ‘mates here would remain exclusive to this particular pack, but this wasn’t the last time we got either of the characters.

DARK PHOENIX

Jean’s third Minimate finally put her in something with a little bit more staying power than the prior two, who were both outdated by the time they hit shelves.  And, depending how you classify things, this even kind of qualifies as a new character as well, so that’s doubly cool.  Jean was built on the C3 Minimate body, so she’s 2 1/4 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation.  She’s still without the peg hole in the head, which wasn’t a huge shock, since she’d been rattling around for a bit before getting an actual release slot.  She gets two add-on pieces, one for her hair, and the other for her sash.  Both were new to this figure, neither would remain unique.  They’re not bad pieces.  Not a ton of detailing or anything, but they certainly look the part.  I suppose the hair’s a bit too tame by later standards for the line and the character’s original design, but it looks okay.  Her paint work is actually pretty involved, seeing as they’ve put some definite effort into recreating some of the more dynamic lighting of the comics.  As such, the red sections of her costume all have black shadowing, her face is slightly darker in the center, and her yellow parts have lines suggesting reflectiveness.  Her face is also a far more intense expression than we tended to see at this point, especially for a female figure.  The lines on the yellow have a tendency to rub off a bit over time, but otherwise the paint’s really solid.  Dark Phoenix is packed with two flame effect pieces.  They’re nice in theory, but kind of clumsy in practice, since they require taking off the hands to put on and remove, and in their most natural configuration, they block the use of the elbow joints.  It’s weird, because they’re sculpted with one side sharply lower than the other, but it’s the wrong side, so it doesn’t end up helping.

CYCLOPS

Cyclops had already gotten the basics of this design covered in the GSXM set, but that particular release was lackluster to say the least, so a second go wasn’t the worst idea.  Structurally, this guy’s the same as the prior variant, apart from subbing in the C3 feet, of course.  He uses the cowl/visor piece from the last one, which was good the first time around, and was still good here.  The only issue I ran into was something limited to my copy of the figure, who wound up with two left arms, one of which doesn’t sit quite right on either shoulder, making it susceptible to falling off frequently.  Aside from that, he’s cool.  The big change-up to this guy is the paint work.  The basics remain the same, but he gains extra shading on the torso piece, simulating how he looked in the comics, and also gets a much more detailed face under the mask.  It’s a very definite improvement.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I snagged this set relatively shortly after its release.  It was probably a year or so after.  Cosmic Comix happened to get one in, and I was happy to pick it up.  This set did a lot to move Minimates forward in terms of how detailing was handled, with its actual attention to things like comics-inspired shading, and marks an interesting turn for the line.  It’s a good way of handling the extra detailing, really, and I think this was the real sweet spot for where the level of detail should have more or less stuck.

#2708: Emma Frost & New Cyclops

EMMA FROST & NEW CYCLOPS

MARVEL MINIMATES

Marvel Minimates‘ third year was headlined by the proper arrival of the Fantastic Four, but coupled with the assortment centered on them was a slightly more mixed bag assortment, combining the X-Men with some Marvel Knights branded characters.  The X-Men were of course no strangers to the line by this point, but they’re proper mainstream counterparts were just starting to dip their toes in the water, especially for the main two-packs.  Heading off the assortment were two X-Men mainstays, one new to the line, and one not, Emma Frost and Cyclops, who I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Emma Frost and New Cyclops were released in Series 9 of Marvel Minimates, which hit specialty stores the week after Series 8, in January of 2005.  This particular set was the variant, which featured Emma in her diamond form, as introduced in New X-Men.  Cyclops was shared between the two versions of the set, and would later be slightly tweaked for inclusion in the Darktide set in 2006.

EMMA FROST

Emma made her debut in the line with this release, but got two whole figures right off the bat, which I suppose is good for her.  There were both diamond form and regular form releases, denoted by the diamond form being called “Emma Frost”, and the regular being called “White Queen”…which is kinda backwards feeling, really, especially compared to how they handled the naming on the Sue Richards/Invisible Woman split.  Whatever, it’s just the name on the box, I suppose.  Emma is constructed from the new and improved C3 parts, with a peg hole on her head and everything.  She also gets new add-on pieces for her hair and cape, both of which were shared with her standard counterpart.  They’re basic, but get the job done.  Emma’s main thing is her paint work.  It’s nice from the technical side; the white sections are largely painted on, and look pretty crisp and clean.  Her face is also painted on, and is a respectable translation of smug classic Emma.  All of her exposed skin is clear plastic, showcasing her diamond form.  It looks pretty cool, but does lead to the somewhat lingering issue of this being Emma’s classic costume, which was before she had the diamond powers.  I get wanting to do her most distinctive look first (though it didn’t stop them from having weird starting looks for other characters), and also wanting a solid variant, but the two don’t quite reconcile here.  At least she looks pretty nice.

NEW CYCLOPS

Ah, yes, New Cyclops.  So much better than Old Cyclops.  This one’s New, you see.  Yes, this Cyclops is based on his leather uniformed design from New X-Men, joining the two other NXM figures, Jean and Logan, from the prior year.  And also joining no others, because they literally only did three members of this incarnation of the team.  As I mentioned in the Jean/Logan review, it was somewhat bad timing, since the looks had been abandoned in early 2004, with the launch of Astonishing X-Men, which put Scott back in a classic-inspired costume.  But, I guess it would have been weird to leave him out?  Scott notably gets the C3 feet, but *not* the head with the peg-hole.  Correspondingly, his new hairpiece/visor combo was also missing a peg, making it seem like this guy may have been designed at the same time as the other two, and just held back a bit.  He also gets a new jacket piece, as well as the belt piece from the other two.  It’s not a bad look overall, and the pieces hit that nice middle-ground of detail vs simplicity.  The paint work also treads this middle-ground, though perhaps not quite as well.  The face on this guy is really, really detailed.  Too detailed, if I’m honest; Scott ends up looking like he’s 80.  On the costume, rather than match Cyclops to the other two’s dark grey attire, Scott’s got black.  Not sure why they changed, and it means he doesn’t match anyone else.  I generally like this look a little more personally, but I’d probably still prefer consistency over anything else.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Back when these were new, I picked up the standard release of this set, mostly due to just wanting the Cyclops, because I like Cyclops.  I know, you’re all really shocked by this development.  I managed to hang onto all of his parts over the years, but lost most of the standard White Queen pieces, so I snagged the variant version when All Time got that big collection in 2019.  They’re not bad, but do sort of feel like an odd middle ground for the line.

#2701: Silver Centurion

SILVER CENTURION

MARVEL MINIMATES

Con exclusives and Minimates have been pretty heavily linked since the line’s inception.  In the first year of Marvel Minimates, Diamond used these exclusives to fill out the line-up of characters a touch further, and this would continue into the line’s second year.  Though absent from the line entirely in its first year, Iron Man was the recipient not only of a main line release, and a variant, but also his own exclusive two-pack, which I’m taking a look at half of today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Silver Centurion (as he’s dubbed on the box; he’s not actually named Iron Man there) was part of the Marvel Minimates exclusive pack from Wizard World Chicago in 2004.  That meant that he hit roughly a month after the first Iron Man arrived in Series 6 of the line.  The figure was built on the standard C3 mate body, pre-peg hole on the head, so he stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He has add-on pieces for his helmet, shoulder armor, belt, and gloves.  All of these parts would remain unique to this particular figure, which was actually pretty rare for these earlier figures.  They’re not a bad assortment of pieces, although the helmet was plagued by an issue of being slightly too short for the head.  Interestingly, the updated Silver Centurion from Series 36 had a similar issue, despite the two parts being different tooling.  Ultimately, it’s not the worst thing in the world, and in most poses, the shortness isn’t too noticeable.  The paint work on this guy is pretty involved; it follows the trend they’d started with the standard Iron Man, who likewise was a step-up from other ‘mates at the time.  It kind of informed how they’d go about a lot of ‘mates in the coming years, with a lot more individual details.  The only part that could stand to be changed is the mouth, which doesn’t get the black detailing like the eyes, which makes it look slightly off.  Still, it looks pretty solid.  Under his helmet, there’s a fully detailed Tony Stark head.  It’s screaming, which is a different sort of expression, but not a bad change up given that it was our fourth Stark head that year.  Silver Centurion was without any accessories.  Flight stands weren’t a thing yet, but the lack of an alternate hair piece for display without the helmet’s a bit of a bummer.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t really on the up-and-up with convention exclusives at this point in the line, so I didn’t get either Silver Centurion or his pack-mate Classic Iron Man when they were new.  I always wanted them, but just never got around to getting them.  Classic got redecoed into gold for the Avengers boxed set, and there was the updated Silver Centurion, so I felt less of need to get them after that.  However, when that big Minimates collection came through All Time in 2019, this guy was in there, so I went ahead and grabbed him.  He’s not a bad little figure all things considered.

#2666: Martian Manhunter

MARTIAN MANHUNTER

DC C3 CONSTRUCTION (PLAY ALONG)

The vast majority of the DC C3 Construction line was Batman-related.  It’s not a shock, since Batman’s always been DC’s main squeeze, and they tend to go heavy on him in any untried territory.  However, they did also include a few not-Batman characters, all courtesy of tying in with Justice League, which had just wrapped up its two season run a year prior, and was moving onto Justice League Unlimited.  This, of course, still got us one more Batman, but at least it also gave us Superman, Flash, and today’s focus, the J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Martian Manhunter was released as part of the “Mini Javelin” set, which was part of the second series of DC C3 Construction, which hit in early 2005.  Like the Mini Batmobile, this set was meant to be a smaller version of a more properly scaled Javelin, which was set to include GL, Hawkgirl, and Wonder Woman, but was ultimately scrapped.  So, instead, we got this set, which included this guy here and one of two different versions of Flash.  I’m just looking at Manhunter today.  He’s built on the basic C3 body, but still has one of the heads without peg-hole.  He gets a healthy helping of new parts, with add-ons for his head-piece, cape/torso, and the tops of his boots.  Ultimately, it’s a strange bit of give and take on the new parts.  It’s cool that he got so many, but ultimately I don’t know how well they handle the character.  The head piece seems a touch extraneous, especially given that there’s full detailing beneath it, allowing him to be displayed without.  Manhunter tends to have a somewhat pronounced brow, but this takes it a bit to the extreme.  The cape piece is nice, but is permanently attached to a bulked up torso piece.  Manhunter was depicted as larger than the rest of the team on the show, but this takes it a bit past that and makes it look more like J’onn has been enjoying too many Oreos.  The boots are nice in theory, but ultimately feel like they sit a bit short on the figure’s legs.  So, you know, it’s all kind of got issues.  Ultimately, the fully assembled product doesn’t look quite so bad, I suppose.  In terms of paint, J’onn sticks to the show’s color palette.  As much as I like how that looks on the show, it does wind up being a little on the drab side on this figure.  It’s not awful, I suppose, and the actual detail lines work quite well to define the character.  The face in particular seems quite right for J’onn.  Though these figures were little more than accessories themselves, J’onn actually got one for himself.  It was an alternate head piece, designed to look like his more natural Martian form.  Not a bad piece, though somewhat non-essential, so the fact that mine’s missing it isn’t the end of the world.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set was definitely the most in-demand of the second assortment (the fact that the other two sets were quite extraneous bat-variants aided in that), and I never actually saw it at retail.  It only became harder to find once DCD did their own official DC Minimates and neglected to update J’onn, making this figure the only version of the character.  I wanted one for a while, but he was just always outside of my price range.  Back in 2019, when All Time got in a big Minimate collection, this was the one item I requested from the start, and I actually wound up getting him in exchange for staying late one night to help get all of the ‘mates processed for sale.  Given his rarity and price, getting him was a touch anti-climactic, I suppose, since he’s not a terribly impressive ‘mate in his own right.  That being said, as with a lot of the older ‘mates, I do enjoy the old charm of this one, and I’m glad I finally got one.

#2659: Nightwing

NIGHTWING

DC C3 CONSTRUCTION (PLAY ALONG)

The DC C3 Construction line was divided into two segments: cartoon-based and comic-based.  In both cases, the products were mostly based on current iterations of the characters.  In the case of the comics stuff, they were largely focused on what was going on at that moment in the Batman side of the DCU, which meant a bat-family that was made up of Tim Drake as Robin, Cassandra Kaine as Batgirl, and Dick Grayson as Nightwing.  It’s that last one that’s going to be my focus today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Like last week’s Batman, Nightwing was released in April of 2005, as part of the “Mini Flyers” assortment of DC C3 Construction, which would prove to be the line’s final assortment.  He was part of the very cleverly named “Nightwing Mini Flyer” set.  Man, how did they come up with those craaaaaazy names?  Nightwing was patterned on his late ’90s/early ’00s costume, which is ultimately his most memorable and lasting design.  The figure is built on the fully upgraded C3-style Minimate body with the shorter style feet *and* the peghole on the head, to allow for better hold on the hair piece.  He makes use of add-ons for his hair, wrist cuffs, and boot pieces.  The wrist cuffs were previously used on Power Man, and would go on to be used on so many other figures, but the hair and boots were new to this guy, and would remain unique to this release.  Like Robin, his hair piece is made of a much softer plastic than usual.  That said, with the peg on the piece, it has a lot less trouble staying in place.  In terms of paint work, Nightwing’s generally pretty decent, but is not without a few missteps.  Notably, on this particular copy, the face is printed a little bit high on the head, which makes him look like he’s got a big chin going on.  The actual face looks pretty good though, as is the detailing on the torso.  The only thing I’d really like to see changed would be how dark the blue is, since it’s easy to miss it on the black plastic.  Of note, that was one thing that the DCD release ended up changing.  Nightwing was packed with his pair of Eskrima sticks, which were their own new mold, albeit one that was very similar to the mold used for the Daredevil billy club pieces.  They were kinda small, but it was nice to get something for him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the Mini Flyers originally hit, Nightwing was the one I was most interested in, due to that whole “being a big Nightwing fan” thing that I’ve got going on.  I wound up getting him at the time, but wound up losing most of his parts over the years.  Thankfully, when the other C3 figures came into All Time, so did he.  He’s pretty decent overall.  There are some issues that the DCD release would fix, but there are also some parts that this guy did a little better, so it winds up as something of a toss-up between the two.

#2652: Batman

BATMAN

DC C3 CONSTRUCTION (PLAY ALONG)

The initial assortment of DC C3 Construction hit in the summer of 2004, and they were really focused on actually selling it as a line of construction sets that also included some Minimates.  In their second year in 2005, they tried that again, albeit with a smaller assortment this time.  Following that assortment, they kind of gave up even trying to pretend about what they were doing, and transitioned the line to a much more compact, lower price point selection of “Mini Flyers”, small vehicles that were a very thin excuse to put out the Minimates effectively on their own, only, you know, not.  Even through this end, they stuck to their heavy focus on Batman characters, including variants of the main man himself.  I’m looking at one of those variants today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman was released in April 2005 in the very originally named “Batman Mini Flyer” set, one of the six Mini Flyer sets that made up the final assortment of the DC C3 Construction line.  By this point, they were only packing a single Minimate with each set, so as to keep the price down, so Batman was all by his lonesome.  He was a comic-based figure, specifically drawn from his ’70s era appearances, as denoted by his predominately blue color scheme.  He’s built on the standard ‘mate body with C3 feet.  Still no standard peg holes for the heads, so he’s got a solid noggin piece.  He’s got add-ons for his mask, cape, belt, and gloves.  The mask, cape, and belt are the same ones used on the Dark Knight Batman included with the larger Batmobile set, but the gloves are new pieces for…reasons?  There were four standard Batmen in the C3 line, and every one of them used a different set of glove pieces, and I couldn’t for the life of me begin to tell you why.  These ones do at least put the arm spikes on the back of the gloves, where they’re supposed to be but tend not to be.  So, that makes them cool, I guess.  Also, these parts are not rubbery like last week’s Robin, so that’s another marked improvement.  Batman’s paint was generally pretty basic, and definitely not as involved as Robin.  Given the classic inspiration, that’s somewhat sensible, but not doing the shading on the front of the mask does feel like a missed opportunity.  I do like the slightly different expression on the face under the mask, though; it’s a nice change-up from the usual neutral expressions.  This Batman didn’t get any accessories, but there was the Mini Flyer, I guess.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Mini Flyer’s are really where this line lost me, so I missed out on picking all of them but one when they were at retail.  Batman wasn’t that one, but he was a figure I was always interested to have.  Thankfully for me, he came in with the larger Minimate collection that showed up at All Time last year, and here we are.  Ultimately, I think DCD’s later classic Batman was slightly better, but this one’s still got his own charm to him.

#2645: Robin

ROBIN

DC C3 CONSTRUCTION (PLAY ALONG)

In 2004, Marvel Minimates entered their second year, making them by far the most successful Minimates offering up to that point.  Not that it took much, of course.  That same year, the brand attempted to expand…in a fashion, anyway.  Since Marvel’s cavalcade of super heroes proved successful, there was an attempt to get DC in the game as well.  Due to how the DC license was split up at the time, there was no space for a straight forward DC Minimates release at quite that time, but through a bit of loophole abuse, Art Asylum was able to partner with Play Along, who held the license for DC-based construction sets.  Dubbed “C3” (for “Create, Construct, Customize”), the sets each included at least one Minimate as a pack-in figure.  The first round was Batman-heavy, and included multiple versions of the Caped Crusader, as well as his trusty sidekick, Robin, who I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Robin was included in the “Mini Batmobile” set, one of the first 7 sets released in the DC C3 Construction line in the summer of 2004.  There was also a Batman included in the set, but I’m just focusing on Robin this time.  Robin was one of the comic-based figures, and was specifically based on the Tim Drake incarnation of the character.  This was noteworthy for being the only Minimate version of Tim ever to be produced.  The figure was based on the standard ‘mate body, with the new C3 feet, of course, so he stands 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  While he’s got the C3 feet, he’s still without a hair piece with a peg, showcasing the slow evolution of the line.  He gets a new hair piece, cape, belt, and gloves.  They were pretty decent pieces overall, but for whatever reason, the add-ons for this guy are really rubbery.  This is the biggest issue when it comes to the hair, which has a lot of trouble staying properly in place, as it’s not rigid enough to actually clip on.  It still looks okay, but it’s not ideal for play.  The gloves are definitely the nicest pieces, though, and have some pretty sharp detail work.  The paint work is pretty solid.  It showcased a bit more detailing than earlier Marvel efforts, with the mask and boots in particular having quite a bit of creative lighting to them.  The face and musculature remain fairly basic at this point, but it allowed him to remain at least somewhat consistent with the animation-based figures from the same set.  Though Robin was effectively an accessory himself, he nevertheless did get an extra of his own, namely Tim’s signature bo staff.  It’s another soft plastic piece, but it still looks pretty cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When these guys were shown off, the Mini Batmobile was the one I most wanted, and was subsequently the first one I got.  As with many of my early ‘mates, I lost most of the parts to both the Batmobile itself and the two figures it included.  Batmen are a dime a dozen, but this was the only modern era Robin, so I’d been looking for a replacement for a little while.  Thankfully, when All Time got in that large collection of Minimates last year, I was able to snag a replacement Robin.  He’s definitely one of the coolest C3 offerings, and honestly holds up pretty well, even after all this time.

#2603: Battle Damaged Thing & Gajin Wolverine II

BATTLE-SCARRED THING & GAJIN WOLVERINE II

MARVEL MINIMATES

The trouble with a four member team, at least when it came to Minimates and their early three two-pack per assortment structure, is that you end up with extra slots.  In the case of the Fantastic Four, there have been a number of different approaches to filling those extra slots.  In the case of their first entry into the line, the approach was hard-lining the heavy hitter mash-ups.  More Thing!  More Wolverine!  Yes!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Battle-Scarred Thing and Gajin Wolverine II are the last set from the Fantastic Four-themed eighth series of Marvel Minimates.  Battle-Scarred Thing remained exclusive to this assortment (for his own good, really), while Wolverine was re-packed with a standard Spider-Man for Target.

THING

Battle-Scarred Thing is actually interesting, in that he’s Minimates’ first real stab at a figure based on a specific comics appearance.  He was patterned on the Thing’s torn up appearance following a run-in with Wolverine in Fantastic Four #374, which I guess is meant to really give Wolverine an excuse to be in this set.  It doesn’t really work out quite so well.  This was the fourth version of Thing we’d gotten, and he follows the “Clobberin’ Time” model of putting Ben in one of his actual uniforms.  He’s built on the standard C3 body, so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s the same as the more basic Thing from this assortment, with the same head piece, chest block, and bulked up hands.  The powerhouse piece is still fine, but I really don’t like that head piece.  Fortunately, this would mark its last use.  The paint work changes things up here, obviously to give Ben his costume change.  I do find it interesting how he has a standard looking musculature on the uniform, despite the standard one from this set not getting any musculature at all.  Also, thanks to this costume being a post-Byrne one, it’s got white boots, so it doesn’t really match the rest of the team from this same assortment.  And that’s not even getting started on the blue sections being actually blue, rather than the black they should properly be.  Thing’s face gets adjusted detailing to include the scarring he got from Wolverine.  It doesn’t help the already less than stellar Thing head from the regular version in this set.  What does help that face, however, is the full helmet that this guy includes as an accessory, replicating the one he wore in the comics after getting injured.  It’s actually a pretty cool piece, and it’s nice that they gave him an accessory, and even a unique one at that.

WOLVERINE

This Wolverine’s official name is “Gajin Wolverine II”, which is quite the monicker.  “What happened to Gajin Wolverine I?” you might ask?  He was a summer con exclusive in 2004, and he’s honestly only very minorly different from this guy.  “Why Gajin?” you may follow up?  I guess it’s in reference to his first solo series, where he was in Japan, and referred to as “Gajin” fairly regularly.  It’s a very specific reference for something that would far more simply be summed up with the name “Brown Costume Wolverine”, but here we are.  Also, it’s worth noting that, while the Thing in this set is very specifically patterned on an issue where he has a run-in with Wolverine, in said issue, Wolverine was sporting his tiger stripe costume, not the brown one presented here.  Oh well.  Structurally, this guy’s *mostly* the same as the GSXM Wolvie.  The only change up is that instead of having the long feet under his boot pieces, he’s got the C3 feet, which means there’s a gap between the two of them at the front.  He doesn’t have the peg hole in his head, because they weren’t quite standard yet, and the older mask piece meant it wasn’t required.   The paint work on this guy’s overall not bad.  There’s one small gaffe with the secondary color on his mask being brown instead of orange, but beyond that the colors work well, and the detailing on both the face and the torso is pretty much straight out of Miller’s illustrations from the miniseries.  He was certainly one of the most detailed ‘mates at the time, and rather starkly contrasts with his assortment mates.  Wolverine had no accessories, as neither extra hands nor hair pieces had become standard quite yet.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This whole series got passed on by me, but even before that, this one wasn’t really high on my radar.  The appeal of such an extraneous re-pops of heavy hitters was kind of low for me.  When I finally got around to picking up this series from All Time last year, I still hesitated on these two, but they were there, and I figured “why not?”  Wolverine’s actually pretty solid, even by later standards.  The Thing, on the other hand, was iffy when he was new, and has not been helped by time.

#2596: Susan Richards, Invisible Woman, & Powerhouse Thing

SUSAN RICHARDS, INVISIBLE WOMAN & POWERHOUSE THING

MARVEL MINIMATES

You can’t just do *half* of the Fantastic Four…well, I mean, if you’re Toy Biz, I guess you can.  In fact, you can do it way more times than you ever fairly should be able to.  Just constantly stringing people along forever…Sorry, I was having flashbacks.  Look, we’re not talking about Toy Biz here, we’re talking about Diamond Select.  And they would never leave us high and dry like that, with an incomplete team, just two members shy of completion…apart from that one time that they did exactly that with their Aliens line…look, this isn’t about Aliens, it’s about the Fantastic Four, and finishing up that line-up, which we’re totally doing right here, right now, with no further distractions!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Susan Richards and Powerhouse Thing were released in Series 8 of the main Marvel Minimates line, and then again at Target in 2005 and 2006.  Standard Sue was the heavy packed version, with a full Invisible Woman swapping in for her in the variant set.

SUSAN RICHARDS/INVISIBLE WOMAN

Sue made her Minimates debut in style.  While her brother Johnny was stuck being flamed on all the time, she gets to be regular most of the time.  Lucky her.  Like her assortment-mates, Sue is built on the standard C3-style ‘mate body, peg hole on the head and all, so she’s 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  She uses the same glove pieces as Reed, as well as a new hair piece, clearly based on a ’60s Sue ‘do.  It’s a rather basic piece, but it gets the job done, and thanks to the peg it stays in place better than Reed’s.  I’m still iffy on the bulked up glove pieces, and exactly what their purpose is, but I’ll try to move on.  In terms of paint, the standard version fairs a bit better than Reed, thanks to having consistent coloring for the all of the costume details, as well as getting some actual torso detailing.  The variant is molded in all clear plastic, keeping the detail lines, and going for a slightly translucent blue for the black sections of the costume.  It’s a cool look, and you can easily mix and match the two for a powering up effect.  Both versions are packed with a shield piece, similar to Captain America’s.  And, thanks to those bulked up gloves, the shield has to sit over her elbow joint, which is a bit annoying.

THING

Thing gets his third go at a Minimate here, thanks to being the only team member available for a while, and yet still kind of needing to be included in the assortment proper.  So, here he is.  2005 marked a notable change-up for the line’s construction, adding in a few more bulked up parts for slightly larger characters, hence the “powerhouse” title for this version of Thing.  He uses the same bulked up hands as before, as well as making the first use of the original powerhouse chest piece, and an all-new head piece.  The powerhouse piece is pretty basic, and not nearly as involved as later bulk up parts.  This kind of helps to keep him more on the basic side, in keeping with the rest of the assortment.  The only part I don’t really care for his the head piece.  It’s really just different from the prior piece for the sake of being different, and that’s not really a good reason to change it.  It’s just not as good as the older piece, and even DST knew it, since this piece didn’t get used beyond this series.  In terms of paint, he’s not terribly far removed from the Series 5 version.  He’s got the proper team shorts this time, which is good, but I don’t like the the new face. It just doesn’t match that classic Thing feel.  Fortunately, the oranges match, so a re-work is possible.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted in the last set of these I looked at, despite being very excited for this set of ‘mates, I didn’t buy them new, and I didn’t really jump too quickly into tracking them down after the fact either.  I blame the Thing; he’s just so ugly.  I snagged these guys at the same time as Reed and Johnny, just to round out the team.  They’re not bad, but they’re definitely dated, and kind of from a weird middle spot for the line.