GREEN GOBLIN, MAGNETO, DR. DOOM, & RED SKULL
After Iron Man hit in 2008, everything Marvel got a bit of a rebirth as Marvel prepared for what would become the MCU. This included a lot of their licensed products. Over in the Minimates corner, it was exactly the bump they needed, and in many ways the line effectively started anew, with a focus on circling back around to some of the heaviest hitters, as they aimed to sell to a new audience. In 2009, to aid with this, they produced a pair of boxed sets, one heroes, and one villains, which served to update the big guns, all in a nice, concise package. I’m taking a look at the villains today!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
The Marvel Villains Box Set, subtitled “Bring on the Bad Guys”, was a specialty release boxed set for Marvel Minimates, hitting in the spring of 2009. It overlapped with the second TRU-exclusive assortment; three of the villains included here were re-packed with a hero from the other pack. Green Goblin was packed with Spider-Man, Magneto with Wolverine, and Hulk with Dr. Doom (hey, they had to pair them off with *someone*). Red Skull was exclusive to the release, as was his opposite number Captain America from the heroes pack.
“The Green Goblin is perhaps Spider-Man’s most deadly, dangerous and unpredictable foe. Deemed rehabilitated after time in a mental institution, Norman Osborn pretended to leave his life of crime behind him and became head of the Thunderbolts with an army of super-powered villains under his control.”
Absent from the line since its second series, the classic Green Goblin returned with this set. It marked his third overall ‘mate, but only his second classic one, since the middle one was the Ultimate version. This figure’s bio is a rather time-specific one, referencing his place with the Thunderbolts, something closely linked to Civil War and Dark Reign, and not really all that important to him being Green Goblin. Yeah, it was an odd time. The figure uses the standard Minimate base, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation. Green Goblin makes use of four add-on pieces for his hat/ears, satchel, and gloves. The hat and satchel were re-used from his original Series 2 figure, while the flared gloves came from the Series 5 Captain America. The set-up is a little more on the basic side, but it works. They never really did top the hat, and while the satchel’s a little blocky, it’s certainly not bad. The gloves were a nice bit of flair, but the one downside was that they meant he didn’t get a pumpkin bomb, which was a shame. The paint work on this release was far more detailed than the original, with a more intense expression, a more subdued palette, and a downright insane level of detailing on the scales. They would rein things back in just a little bit for later releases; this one definitely felt just a little bit overdetailed.
“One of the most powerful mutants to ever live, Magneto’s powers first manifested in the weeks leading up to World War II and allowed him to survive the events that followed. Able to manipulate electromagnetic fields, he vowed to prevent mutantkind from sharing his family’s fate.”
At this point, Magneto was technically getting his third Minimate, but seeing as the Dark Tide release was just a change to the face of the original exclusive one, this Magneto was effectively only the second outing for the character, which does seem a little surprising all things considered. Structurally, he was the same as the first version. Not a bad call, really, since his helmet and cape add-ons were rather nice pieces, and not really out of date at this point. There’s a very definite vibe of not fixing what isn’t broken there. The new paint was again a lot more detailed. In Magneto’s case, it doesn’t go quite as overboard, which works more in his favor. Apart from his stubble being perhaps a little heavy handed, he works pretty well. Magneto was packed with an alternate hair piece and an energy effect to go on his hand.
“Victor Von Doom rules the nation of Latveria with an iron-clad fist as he pursues his goals of ruling the world and finally exacting revenge from the Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards. Created using both his scientific and mystical talents, Dr. Doom’s arsenal contains some of the most destructive weapons ever invented.”
Doom was also on his third ‘mate, by virtue of the original release having gotten a variant. Like Magneto, it feels like that doesn’t really count, though. This marked the first true update, however, and that’s what’s most important, I feel. This figure uses the same cloak and skirt pieces as the first release, but adds a pair of gloved hands (which are the FF gloves, amusingly enough) and affixes a holster to his skirt. Both of the re-used Doom pieces were nice enough on the original, but by the time of this one felt a little bit out of place and stiff. The gloves at least bulked up the arms a bit, but he’s generally the figure in this set that feels the most outmoded in the sculpting department. His paint work was alright; admittedly, the paint on the original wasn’t bad, especially when it came to the armored parts. This one does a bit better on the tunic, so there’s that. I’m not a huge fan of the face on this one, especially given how oddly slanted the eye holes on the mask wound up being. Doom was packed with a gun (re-used from the BSG line) and a chalice (borrowed from Loki).
“Born in the fires of Nazi Germany, Johann Schmidt was personally trained by Hitler and served as the evil tyrant’s right-hand man – instilling fear and hatred as the Red Skull! Kept in suspended animation for decades, a re-awakened Red Skull now fights against Captain America for control of the world’s destiny.”
The real selling point of the set was this guy, since he was not only an exclusive, but also the first version of Red Skull. Another Skull, this time more modern, followed in the main line later that same year, but this one was definitely first. He depicts Skull in his classic green jumpsuit, which is my favorite look for the character. It’s one that’s not really in need of any extra parts, so this guy’s all vanilla. The paint work carries him well, though. The face is an absolutely perfect rendition of the Skull, crazed look in his eye and a mad cackle clearly being let out. It remains to this day my favorite face for a ‘mate version of Red Skull. The jumpsuit is more basic, but that’s expected. The important details are there, and it looks decent overall. Red Skull was packed with a small pistol. Sadly, the budget for a Cosmic Cube just wouldn’t be there for a few more years.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I got this pack brand-new, day of release, from Cosmic Comix back in the day. I recall being pretty excited for this set at the time of its release. I didn’t have the original Magneto or Doom, so I was excited by the updates, and Green Goblin seemed pretty cool too. It was really Red Skull that most excited me, since he was all-new. It’s a set that is very dialed into its specific era of the line, but it’s also still a pretty fun set all these years later.