#1503: WW2 Captain America & S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent

WW2 CAPTAIN AMERICA & S.H.I.E.L.D. AGENT

MARVEL MINIMATES

Despite the heavy Ultimate Universe bend of some of the early Marvel Minimates offerings, the slightly lowered profile of the Avengers characters meant they were largely pushed back until later assortments, by which point there was more of a move to classic stylings.  So, it would take quite a bit of time before we’d see any ‘mates based on the Ultimate-verse’s Avengers-equivalent, the Ultimates.  When we did get them, it was all at once, and in a themed Series no less.  Today, I’m looking at one of those sets, featuring Captain America and a SHIELD Agent!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

WW2 Captain America and the SHIELD Agent were released in Series 27 of Marvel Minimates, which was a whole Ultimates-themed set.  This was actually the variant set, swapping out the WW2-styled Cap for the normal Ultimate Cap.

WW2 CAPTAIN AMERICA

“The only known success in the government’s super-soldier program, Captain America and his sidekick Bucky fought against the Axis and Chitauri forces for years before Captain America sacrificed himself to save Washington DC from annihilation.”

Ultimate Cap is actually one of my biggest sticking points with the whole Ultimates vs Avengers thing.  I pretty actively despise the Ultimate Universe’s take on Steve Rogers, since it kind of takes away all the good things about the character, and effectively just turns him into US Agent.  If I want US Agent, I’ll read a story with US Agent.  Sorry, I’m getting distracted.  Anyway, I don’t hate the Ultimate Universe’s updated take on his WW2-era costume, which is what led to me picking this guy up.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He uses the standard ‘mate body, with add-ons for his helmet and jacket.  Both pieces were new to this figure.  The helmet’s seen some subsequent re-use, but the jacket was a one-off.  Both pieces do a nice job of translating Bryan Hitch’s design to the ‘mate form, and I quite like the sharp detailing on the mask and helmet.  His paintwork is pretty straightforward, mostly basic color work.  I do like the slightly lower-key colors on this one, and the detail work, especially on the face is pretty great.  The face is a little bit misaligned with the mask, but it’s minor, and you can get it seated a bit better with minor repositioning.  Cap’s packed with his original shield, which he can wear either on his wrist or on the back of his jacket, as well as a Thompson machine gun, and an extra hairpiece for an unmasked look.

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

“Run by General Ross and later General Nick Fury, S.H.I.E.L.D. is a clandestine military organization dedicated to creating or controlling the most powerful super-humans in the world, including the X-Men, Spider-Man and the Ultimates.”

Believe it or not, this was only the second ever army-builder in the Marvel Minimates line, and it was the only SHIELD Agent until Series 42 gave us a more classic design.  This one’s more a generic soldier type thing, as was the case in the Ultimate-verse. Like Cap, he’s built on the standard body, and he’s also got a helmet and a coat.  Both pieces are quite well sculpted, and I rather like the helmet.  His paintwork is a bit more involved than Cap’s, with the camo and the fully detailed buzzcut under the helmet.  It’s quite a nice attention to detail there.  He’s even got a cool SHIELD insignia on his shoulder, and detailing for the pockets on his pants.  I appreciate the level of work that went into this guy.  It makes what could be a boring ‘mate a good deal more interesting.  This figure’s packed with an assault rifle, which is a little large for his hands, but a cool piece nonetheless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up this set new from Cosmic Comix back when they were first released.  I remember pretty excited for the SHIELD Agent and the army builder concept in general.  Cap was sort of just along for the ride, but in the end, I was pretty happy to have gotten him.  This is definitely a case of ‘mates helping me to appreciate a property I wouldn’t have otherwise.  Not a bad set at all!

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#1395: Vulture & Spider-Man

VULTURE & SPIDER-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Adrian Toomes uses a specialized flying suit to soar through the skies as the Vulture – but when this winged menace threatens justice, it’s up to Spider-Man to swing in and stop him in his flight.”

Didn’t I *just* review a Vulture & Spider-Man two-pack?  It’s like Hasbro has a reason to be releasing multiple Spideys and Vultures all of the sudden.  I mean, I guess it could be the movie, but I’m not sure.  As has become the norm these days, Hasbro’s taking advantage of the hype from this new movie and using it to put out a few comics-based figures in addition to all the movie fare.  Today’s focus set is a pair of those figures.  Let’s check them out!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Vulture and Spider-Man are a Walmart-exclusive two-pack, as part of Hasbro’s 6-inch Marvel Legends.  They started hitting not too long before Homecoming’s release.

VULTURE

It’s been twelve years since we got a comics Vulture.  Seems like a reasonable waiting period to me.  Where the last one was a classic Vulture, this one’s actually based on his Ultimate counterpart (who, if you want to get technical, isn’t Adrian Toomes like the bio says; he’s actually Blackie Drago.  Of course, the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon uses this basic design for Toomes as the Vulture, so I guess it’s not totally inaccurate.  Also, few enough people know Vulture at all, we probably shouldn’t be throwing a whole second, more obscure character at them.  This is a really long parenthetical).  The Ultimate costume isn’t that far removed from the classic design, just a bit more armored and sleek, and the wings are different.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s built on the Pizza Spidey body, with a new head, torso, pelvis, and forearms.   The new pieces mesh pretty well with the old, and he replicates Mark Bagely’s artwork for the character very well.  The head in particular really gets that Bagley style down.  I really enjoy the crazy grin he’s got going on.  Sure, he’s a little young for my preferred Vulture, but that’s accurate to the source material, so I’m not going to complain.  One thing I will complain about ever so slightly is the wings.  Moving past the fact that I’m not super into the Ultimate Vulture styled wings (they just look too much like Archangel’s wings), I’m annoyed that they aren’t at all articulated.  They plug into place, and due to the way they attach, they don’t have any sort of movement.  It’s kind of boring.  I mean, they still look cool, but I just wanted a little more out of them.  Vulture’s paint work is pretty solid.  It’s very green, but it’s a few shades of nice, metallic green.  Everything is nice and sharply applied, and the colors all accent each other well.  In addition to the removable wings, this guy also includes an extra, helmeted head, which is based on his appearance from the cartoon.  It’s a fun extra, and makes for a cool alternate look.

SPIDER-MAN

Can’t have a Spider-Man multi-pack without another Spider-Man, I suppose.  This one’s a slight re-deco of the Ultimate Spider-Man from the Space Venom series.  I didn’t get that figure, but I did get Miles, who uses the same sculpt.  Miles was a very good figure, and by extension, this guy’s quite good too.  He has essentially the same paint work as the Space Venom figure, but with two minor changes.  First, the blue has been changed to a bolder, less teal shade.  Second, he lacks the stripes of red running down his arms.  Why make these changes? Because now, instead of being an Ultimate comics version of Peter, he’s Peter from the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon.  Which means this is actually another Spider-Verse figure.  I can get behind that.  The figure lacks the unmasked head, right fist, and left thwip hand of his single-release counterpart, which is a bit of a letdown, but he does at least get both open gesture hands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I saw this set a few times and passed on it.  Vulture’s never been super high on my list, and the Ultimate design even less so.  Plus, I hardly needed another essentially standard Spider-Man.  I ended up grabbing this set because while I was out looking for the Homecoming series, I came across this pair on clearance for a 50% mark-down, at which point I was essentially just paying for the Vulture figure.  For that price, it seemed more worth it to me.  Vulture’s a decent enough figure overall.  I have some minor issues, but he’ll do.  Spider-Man’s decent in his own right, but is definitely a “more of the same” sort of deal.  I feel like it would have been nice to get a more unique variant, but at least this one gets us another Spider-Verse entry.

#1157: Cyclops & Wolverine

ULTIMATE CYCLOPS & ULTIMATE WOLVERINE

MARVEL MINIMATES

ultcyclopswolv1

Minimates sure have come a long way.  There was a time when we all thought the line might just get those first three series and nothing else.  As such, many of the characters and designs represented in those early series were influenced by what was timely.  For instance, the earliest X-Men Minimates weren’t really based on any of the classic iterations of the team, but rather the just recently launched Ultimate X-Men, who also had the added benefit of having a slightly closer resemblance to the X-Men of the movies.  The characters released were also much more top tier, including today’s focus figures, Cyclops and Wolverine!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cyclops and Wolverine, like several of the other earliest ‘mates, were available in a few different ways.  The first way was as part of Series 3 of the main Marvel Minimates line, where Cyclops was paired with Jean Grey and Wolverine was paired with Storm.  They were also part of the TRU-exclusive five-pack with Storm, Logan, and Sabertooth.  The pair I’m looking at today are part of the first group of Target-exclusive ‘mates, which is the only time these two were packed together.

CYCLOPS

ultcyclopswolv3Poor Cyclops gets no respect, but the Ultimate universe certainly tried to give him his due.  On the plus side of things, he had one of the less sucky redesigns of the Ultimate ‘verse, since it pretty much stuck to his usual costume roots.  The figure stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and has 14 inches tall.  He’s built on the pre-C3 base ‘mate body, so he’s got those weird long feet.  He’s got add-ons for his hair/visor and his belt.  Both pieces are certainly good for the time.  Not quite as detailed as later ‘mates would be, but also not as simplistic.  This is definitely one of the figures where elegant simplicity comes into play.  I like how they’ve summed up all the basic elements of Cyclops with as few details as possible.  The paintwork on Cyclops is decent enough.  What’s there is mostly pretty sharp, though there are a handful of misplaced lines, especially on the boots.  Obviously, he lacks the musculature and finer detailing that we’ve come to expect on more recent stuff, which look a little off.  Of course, thanks to the darker colorscheme, it’s a lot less of an issue here than it is on other ‘mates from the same time period.

WOLVERINE

ultcyclopswolv2Wolverine is no stranger to Minimates, but this was one of the first two he ever got.  It’s kind of strange to think that neither of his first two ‘mates featured his signature mask.  It’s worth noting that this figure is sporting Ultimate Wolverine’s second costume design.  It was a sensible choice, since it not only incorporates more of his classic costume’s design elements, but also fits better with the rest of the team.   Like Cyclops, he’s built on the pre-C3 body.  He has add-ons for his hair and belt, as well as clawed hands.  The hair isn’t the classic Wolverine style hair, but that’s actually accurate to the comic.  It’s a decent enough sculpt, and it would later see re-use on the first version of Quicksilver.  The claws are an older version of the hands, and are a little more rudimentary than those of the most recent Wolverines.  They’re not awful, but the improved versions were definitely warranted. The paint work on Wolverine is decent overall, but not without issue.  Most noticeably, there’s just a splotch of fellow on his right hand and wrist, which just looks rather odd.  Still, the overall appearance is decent enough.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Cyclops was actually one of my earliest Minimates (as part of the first three two-packs I picked up), but that was the specialty release with Jean.  Over the years, I lost a number of pieces to both of them, so they’ve been incomplete for a while now.  I ended up finding this set at Player’s Choice, a gaming and collectibles store in the local mall, a few weekends ago.  Since I was looking to replace Cyclops and I never actually owned this Wolverine, I figured it was worth it to pick them up.  They’re not a bad set.  Sure, there have been lost of subsequent releases of both characters, but for Cyclops especially, it’s truly hard to top that first release in terms of memorability.

#0642: Beetle -Deadliest Foes

BEETLE – DEADLIEST FOES

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

Beetle1

There are very few lines of which I would consider myself a “completist.” Off the top of my head, I believe the only two I’ve really stuck with are NECA’s Aliens and SMC’s Weaponeers of Monkaa. There was a time, back during ToyBiz’s run on Marvel Legends that I gave owning every figure in the line some thought, but I ultimately decided against it, due mostly to the unevenness of figure quality. When Hasbro took over, I backed down even more, and almost quit the line entirely. When they re-launched under the Infinite Series handle, I went back to cherry-picking, but the quality of the figures has been rapidly increasing, leading to me getting figures I normally wouldn’t. Take, for instance, Beetle, the subject of today’s review. Now, I generally like Beetle as a character, so it’s odd for me to say that he wasn’t a figure I’d normally buy. I’ll get to the why of that in a bit.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Beetle2Beetle was part of the first series of Amazing Spider-Man 2 Marvel Legends Infinite Series. Officially, he’s not actually called Beetle, he’s called Deadliest Foes, a name he shares with Boomerang, who was his swap figure in this line. While they are swap figures, they don’t actually share anything but the Build-A-Figure piece. Beetle is roughly 6 ½ inches tall and has 30 points of articulation. Beetle’s had a few looks over the years, of varying styles. This figure is based on his Ultimate universe design, which is my least favorite of all the Beetle designs. It’s the one used in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon show, so I guess it makes a little sense, but it definitely turned me off the figure. Beetle features a sculpt that is unique to him (though a fair bit of it will be re-used for a comic-style Ultron later this year). It’s a well detailed sculpt, and it does a nice job of replicating Mark Bagley’s design of the character from the comic. While there are lots of details and bits, the sculpt still maintains certain sleekness, which is definitely cool. The wings and backpack are a separate piece, which clips into place and stays there nicely. The paintwork on the figure is okay, but, for me, it’s flawed from the start. See, the Ultimate Beetle is silver and red, in contrast to the green and purple scheme of EVERY OTHER BEETLE DESIGN EVER. So, yeah, I don’t really care for the color scheme. Aside from that, the paint is decent enough. There’s a bit of slop here and there, but it’s generally pretty clean. Beetle’s only accessory is the leg to the series Build-A-Figure Ultimate Green Goblin. So, now I’ve got two of those. Cool?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Beetle was yet another contribution to my collection courtesy of my Super Awesome Girlfriend. Apparently, she was walking through Walgreens and saw this guy and thought I’d like him. Amazingly enough, I hadn’t actually broken down and gotten him yet! While I’m not the biggest fan of the design he’s based on, the figure is actually a lot of fun. I’m really glad I got him!

Beetle3

#0056: Superior Spider-Man & Ultimate Electro

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN & ULTIMATE ELECTRO

MARVEL MINIMATES

Spider-Man&Electro

Hey look!  More Minimates!  Yes, it’s Ethan’s favorite line to review, up for review once again.  Unsurprisingly these are from the Marvel Minimates line.  I just recently acquired the latest Toys R Us exclusive wave from the ever stubborn Toys R Us website, so I’ll be taking a look at them over the next few days.  First up, it’s the flagship set of the wave:  Spider-Man and Electro.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were released as part of the 17th Toys R Us exclusive wave of Marvel Minimates.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN

First up, it’s the man himself:  Spider-Man.  Okay, actually that’s a lie, and I’ll get into that in a second.  Spider-Man is built on the typical Minimate body, so he stands about 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  So, why isn’t he the man himself?  Because this figure is based on his most recent look from the current Superior Spider-Man series, where Peter Parker’s mind has been over-written by longtime foe Doctor Octopus.  So, that happened.  Anyway, good or bad, it’s made for some interesting designs, so here we are.  This look in particular is SpOck’s second look, which is somewhat based on Alex Ross’s proposed design for Sam Rami’s first Spider-Man movie.  SpOck’s look is completely conveyed via paint.  All the paint work is pretty good, although some of the red areas are a bit thin, but nothing too bad.  There have been reports of the eyes being misaligned with the web pattern of the mask, but mine doesn’t seem to have that problem.  SpOck also includes an extra unmasked head, a strand of web, and a clear display stand.  The unmasked head conveys the smugness of the new “Peter Parker” well.

ULTIMATE ELECTRO

Second, it’s one of Spidey’s foes, Electro.  Like SpOck, Electro is built on the usual body, so he’s got 14 points of articulation and stands about 2 ½ inches tall.  Electro is based on his look from the Ultimate line of comics*.  Like Spider-Man, he’s just the basic minimate body with no additional sculpted details.  He’s got a few details, and a really great evil grin, all on a really neat clear blue body.  I love me some clear plastic.  Electro is packed with two clip on electricity parts for his arms, a power base, 2 electricity “whips”, and a clear display stand.  Everything but the “whips” is reuse, but it all works well for the character, so no complaints here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, like most of the Toys R Us exclusive Minimates, I got these from the TRU website.  Fortunately everything went smoothly this time, so yay!  As far as the set itself, it’s a really cool set of Minimates, but not of looks that are my favorites.  But well-made toys are always really cool.

*The Ultimate universe was Marvel’s attempt in the early 2000s to create a more realistic, and easily accessible line of comics to lure in new readers.  It was a success for a few years, but has recently gotten incredibly bogged down in continuity and has more recently become Marvel’s place to do more “daring” things that they don’t want to do in their regular universe.