#2186: Tron, Flynn, & Sark

TRON, FLYNN, & SARK

TRON (DST)

“When a brilliant video game maker named Flynn hacks the mainframe of his ex-employer, he is beamed inside an astonishing digital world and becomes part of the very game he is designing.  He must team up with the heroic Tron and evade the forces of the Master Control Program to find his way home and shut down the power-hungry MCP once and for all.”

Despite being at best a modest success when it hit theatres in 1982, Tron did get a little bit of toy coverage at the time of its release, courtesy of toy makers TOMY, who have us a handful of the film’s main characters.  Since then?  Well, neither the movie no its sequel, Tron: Legacy, has had a ton of luck with toys.  The original film’s titular character was fortunate enough to get a couple of figures earlier this year from DST as part of a tie-in with Kingdom Hearts, and to follow things up, they’re giving a Tron line proper a try.  Let’s have a look at those guys today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Tron, Flynn, and Sark make up the first series of Tron figures from DST.  The line-up seen here is specifically the Walgreens-exclusive, slightly paired down line-up; specialty stores will be getting the same Tron and Sark, as well as Flynn in a red color scheme (because why not, I guess), and all three will include parts to build a Recognizer.  The Walgreens set started hitting in early September, and the specialty line-up should be arriving in the coming weeks.

TRON

Both Tron and Sark were just released in DST’s Kingdom Hearts line.  I had initially thought that these figures would be slight retools of those releases, but that’s actually not the case.  Tron is seen here sporting an all-new, more movie inspired sculpt.  The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall (giving him a 1/2 inch on his predecessor) and he has 29 points of articulation.  Comparing the two Tron figures, leads to the question “does more articulation mean more posability?” and in the case of these two figures, it’s kind of a toss-up.  The double joints on the elbows and the swivels on the thighs certainly are an improvement, but the hips just seem different for the sake of being different, and the added mid-torso joint doesn’t change his range in the slightest, meaning he’s got a break in his sculpt there for no practical reason.  Perhaps most frustratingly, the neck, which had a decent range on the KH figure is now greatly reduced.  That’s disappointing.  The overall sculpt is a bit less stylized, obviously, since it’s based on the movie, and not a game, so Tron has a slightly more realistic set of proportions, as well as greater detailing on a few areas of the sculpt.  The boots in particular are quite impressively handled.  That said, the head is different from the previous figure, but I can’t really say it’s any more accurate or closer to Boxleitner in appearance.  In general, while the sculpt goes for a more realistic look, I found that the sculpt made more compromises for the articulation this time, and the end result is a figure that just never looks quite as natural standing on the shelf as the previous figure.  Tron’s paintwork marks another change from the KH figure, and honestly another area of different for the sake of difference.  Rather than the grey with blue of the prior figure, this one is predominantly a light blue, with grey for the “skin” and darker blue for his tron-lines.  I suppose an argument can be made for this being more accurate to the film, but the very dynamic nature of how the characters look on screen means that either appearance reads more or less as accurate.  Tron is packed with his disk (a notable improvement over the KH figure) and a display stand.  The disk is nice to have, though it’s worth noting that his hand posing isn’t totally ideal for holding it and it has a little trouble staying in place on his back.

FLYNN

The movie may be named after Tron, but Jeff Bridges’ Kevin Flynn is the more clear-cut protagonist (and his son is undoubtedly the protagonist of Legacy).  Despite all that, he’s far less common as a figure, and was left out of the Kingdom Hearts stuff.  Also, for whatever reason, DST decided to make the wider release version of him in red, rather than his blue that is his default look, making this figure the most desirable of the Walgreens trio by a country mile.  Yay? Flynn’s construction is very similar to Tron’s, and the two of them share the same right arm, lower torso, pelvis, hands, and lower legs.  The articulation is the same here as above, for better or for worse, but on the plus side, Flynn’s got his little toga thing from the movie, which hides the non-functioning torso joint for the most part.  Of course, then it ends up restricting his left shoulder.  You win some, you lose some.  The head, though not a spot-on likeness of Bridges, is at least distinctly a different person, so there’s that leg up on the TOMY figures.  Flynn’s paintwork very much follows the model of Tron’s, swapping out the character-specific details of course.  He’s still predominantly that light blue color.  The specialty release will, of course, swap this out to match Sark’s colors.  Flynn is packed with a disk and display stand.  They’re the same as Tron’s, but the tunic at least keeps the disk more in-place when on his back.

SARK

The legendary David Warner actually does triple-duty in the original Tron, with turns as corrupt exec Edward Dillanger, Big Brother stand-in Master Control, and dictator-esque program Sark.  Of the three, I guess Sark’s kind of the most toyetic, isn’t he?  Sark was offered in the Kingdom Hearts line, but like Tron, this figure is an all-new offering.  He shares no parts with the other two figures, and that’s probably for the best.  By and large, Sark’s articulation actually works a fair bit better than the other two.  The range on the shoulders was definitely better, and the mid torso joint is not only functional, it’s also pretty much hidden.  In general, the articulation and the sculpt mostly stay out of each other’s way on this guy.  Getting him into a basic standing pose is a lot easier here.  By far my favorite part of the sculpt is the head.  While the other two likenesses are so-so at best, Sark is pretty unmistakably Warner, even if he’s hiding behind all that goofy headgear.  Sark’s paintwork goes back to that KH styling, with the majority of things being grey, with the red highlights thrown in.  This confirms for me that I really just prefer the grey with accent color look, as it just works a lot better.  I don’t know why they opted to do it the other way for Tron and Flynn.  Sark is again packed with his disk and a display stand.  The disk is still tricky to hold, but is at least much more secure when plugged into his back.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When these figures were shown, I had no idea if I’d be picking them up, because they honestly didn’t look all that different from the Kingdom Hearts releases, and I don’t believe Flynn was part of the initial line-up.  I happened across Tron and Sark while checking some Walgreenses in an out of my area location.  I almost just picked up Sark, but decided to grab the pair, and at the time had no clue about the Flynn figure.  Once discovering Flynn’s existence, I was able to get hold of him as well with an assist from Max.  I want to like these figures more than I do.  Tron is really hurt by following the KH figure.  While this one tries some new things, ultimately, the more standard faire of the previous figure is just more enjoyable to me.  Flynn is more unique, but still suffers from a lot of the same issues.  Sark is by far the best of the trio, and is the only one that really seems to succeed in what they’re trying to do with this line.  Ultimately, I’m not sure what DST’s aim was with these figures, but they’re something of a mixed bag, and a little hard to recommend.  They’re not terrible, and at least the Walgreens releases are pretty cheap, but I can’t see the specialty versions being worth $30 a piece.

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#2064: Infamous Iron Man

INFAMOUS IRON MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Once one of the world’s most evil villains, Infamous Iron Man Victor Von Doom has a change of allegience and assumes a new identity as the tech-powered hero, Iron Man.”

Victor Von Doom (not to be confused with Victor *con* Doom, which is Victor with Doom, and is what my computer wanted to put there), better known as Doctor Doom, is perhaps the Marvel Universe’s greatest villain.  And, of course, being the top villain means also getting a story evry so often where you stop being a villain and try to be a hero.  Doctor Doom’s actually been there a couple of times, but was there most recently after the fallout of 2015’s Secret Wars, which eventually led to him taking over the role of Iron Man for a bit.  That’s the source of Doom’s latest figure, dubbed the “Infamous Iron Man.”

THE FIGURE ITESELF

Infamous Iron Man is the latest Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Legends release, and he started hitting stores in early May.  As a Doctor Doom-variant, he’s well at home with the Fantastic Four-theme that’s persisted through the last few years of Walgreens exclusives.  Like his team of nemeses, Victor’s been away from Legends for a little while, with this being his first figure in seven years.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  In the comics, Victor’s Infamous Iron Man suit was a re-working of Tony’s most recent ANAD armor, and the figure follows true to that, re-using the molds of the Okoye Series Iron Man.  It’s honestly my favorite Iron Man sculpt in recent years, so I don’t mind seeing it crop up again, especially since it’s accurate to the source material.  The base figure is mostly identical between the two of them, with only the head getting a slight tweak to the back to allow for the hood to be attached.  Speaking of the hood, both it and the cape are new parts.  The appearance is nice, and I certainly dig the sculpted texture, but I don’t know how crazy I am about the implementation.  The hood is permanently affixed to the head, but the cape isn’t actually attached in any way; it just rests there.  And while the hood can hold it in place in most poses, it still slides off more often than I’d like.  The paint on Victor is the main change-up, since it transitions him into his more classic “Doom” colors, being predominately grey and silver.  The application’s mostly pretty good, but there’s something about the outlining on the face plate that looks a little goofy to me.  Doom is packed with two repulsor blast hands, and matching repulsor blasts, as well as the lightning effects in a matching purple, and an unmasked Victor Von Doom head.  The unmasked head is definitely my favorite piece, and I only wish it was easier to use it in conjunction with the cape.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This one is technically Max’s fault, but he gets a bit of a pass, since it’s mostly circumstantial.  I fully intended to buy this figure on my own, but he happened to find one before me, and was nice enough to pick it up for me.  There are a few notable issues with this figure, however they mostly get a pass from this guy being undeniably a placeholder for the inevitable classic Doom figure down the road.  As it stands, he’s more fun than frustration, which I can get behind.

#2006: Bizarro

BIZARRO

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

You know, it would be really clever to write this whole review in Bizarro speak, wouldn’t it?  Well, clever as it may be, that seems like way more energy than I have to put into a Monday review.  I know, making things easy for myself seems to run counter to my whole brand, but consider this: I did the backwards speak gimmick for my first Bizarro review, meaning that doing it again would be a retread, so, in a way, this is the less traversed and therefore more difficult path.  Yeah, that’s what I’m going with…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bizarro is a Walgreens-exclusive release for the DC Comics Multiverse line.  He started cropping up in the last couple of months, though he was originally shown alongside the figures that made up the “Lex Luthor Series.”  The majority of those figures are modeled on the characters’ “Rebirth” appearances, but Bizarro here is actually a much more classically inspired figure, which was a kind of nice change.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Bizarro, understandably, re-uses the body introduced with the Rebirth Superman figure from the Clayface Series.  It shares a more common ancestry with the old DCUC body than the body used for Ray, meaning it’s just not quite as refined.  It’s still a definite improvement on the old body, though it feels a little more piecemeal and uneven.  I think the pelvis and hips are the part that really throw the whole thing off.  Bizarro gets a new head sculpt, which is a pretty respectable piece.  It’s appropriately squared off and blocky, and the detailing on the hair in particular is quite nice.  Bizarro trades out Superman’s sculpted cape for a cloth piece that connects around the neck.  On a standard figure, it would be a little goofy, but for Bizarro it actually works to the design’s favor.  His paintwork is overall pretty clean.  The colors are nice and bright, and his skin has a nice textured look about it which works really well.  Bizarro is pretty decently accessorized.  He’s got two sets of hands, in fists and flat flying poses, as well as his signature “Bizarro No. 1” placard.  And, if you want an alternate look, well hey, he has one of those too!  You can give him his Kent Clark guise from the comics by adding a pair of glasses, a tie, and a rather raddy-looking jacket.  As a bonus to this look, the use of a cloth cape means that it can fit under the jacket and stick out like it does in the comics.  It’s a fun extra look and adds a real unique touch to this release.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was moderately interested in this figure when he was shown off, but wasn’t 100% sold on it.  After picking up and being quite impressed by Ray, I found this guy while out on a day trip with my parents and my brother, and was actually pretty happy to do so.  While he’s not quite as strong as Ray, he’s still a lot better than Mattel’s output has been for a good long while.  I am again frustrated that they managed to improve things just before losing the license.  But hey, at least I got this cool Bizarro figure.

#1988: Yon-Rogg & Phil Coulson

YON-ROGG & PHIL COULSON

MARVEL MINIMATES

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

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

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

YON-ROGG

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

PHIL COULSON

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#1987: Nick Fury & Ronan

NICK FURY & RONAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

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

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

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

NICK FURY

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

RONAN

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#1986: Starforce Captain Marvel & Korath

STARFORCE CAPTAIN MARVEL & KORATH

MARVEL MINIMATES

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

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

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

STARFORCE CAPTAIN MARVEL

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

KORATH

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#1985: Captain Marvel & Bron-Char

CAPTAIN MARVEL & BRON-CHAR

MARVEL MINIMATES

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

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

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

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

CAPTAIN MARVEL

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

BRON-CHAR

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#1979: Mystique

MYSTIQUE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

An expert of duplication – and duplicity – Mystique uses powers of shape-shifting to assume others’ identities and complete covert missions.”

Though considered an X-Men character by pretty much every metric, Mystique’s first appearance came in the pages of Ms. Marvel (which was, at the time, being helmed by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum, the then-current writer and just-departed artist of X-Men).  She wouldn’t run into the X-Men until 1981’s “Days of Future Past” story, which had her forming  a new iteration of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.  Since then, she’s been pretty well interweaved with the team and all their exploits, and has become one of the franchise’s most bankable characters.  Despite all of this, she’s actually not the most prevalent character when it comes to toys.  She’s got a few, but not as many as you might expect.  I’ll be looking at the latest of those today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mystique is the second offering in the latest Walgreens-exclusive theme of Marvel Legends, which appears to be all about the ladies of X-Men, since she follows Magik and precedes Emma Frost.  She’s the third Legends release of Mystique, following Hasbro’s first go back in 2012.  Of course, that was a modern take on the character.  Our last classic Mystique was back during the Toy Biz days, a whopping 14 years ago.  And that figure wasn’t even good *for the time*, to say nothing of how it looks now.  To say an update was needed is something of an understatement.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  She’s built on the Phoenix body, which is a decent enough choice for Mystique.  Certainly better than either of the last two figures.  Mystique gets a new head sculpt, as well as an add-on piece for her skirt.  Both of these pieces are nicely rendered, with the head in particular being a really solid piece of character work.  The paintwork on Mystique is pretty standard fare at this point, but that certainly isn’t a bad thing.  It’s cleanly applied, nice and bold, and eye-catching.  The standard straight white works better than the attempts at shading we’ve gotten over the years.  There’s also some quite nicely handled and very subtle accent work on her hair, which I can definitely appreciate.  Mystique is packed with two styles of gun: a handgun and the futuristic tommy gun from Chameleon.  Both are molded in gold plastic and fit nicely in her hands.  She is also packed with two extra heads.  The first is a re-use of Rogue‘s, but painted up to be in mid transformation.  It works well on this figure to show off her shapeshifting, or, if you have the Rogue figure already, it also makes for a nifty reveal figure.  The second head is a toy debut for a major X-Men player.  Yes, it’s leader of the Shi’ar Empire, and the once-love-interest of Charles Xavier, Lilandra.  Kind of an interesting choice for a Mystique figure, but it sure does look nice on the recent Silver Sable body.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I actually had that truly terrible Toy Biz Mystique back in the day…for about 30 seconds, before she promptly sprung apart at the mid-section in an irreparable fashion.  So, no Mystique for my collection.  This one was a very welcome addition, and she’s a very nice figure, and I’m also really digging the extra Lilandra head, because how cool is it to finally have a Lilandra?

#1938: War Machine & Cull Obsidian

WAR MACHINE & CULL OBSIDIAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

“As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment – the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.”

Man, three Marvel movies in one year sure does have a way of burning out and making it easy for some of the merch to slip through the cracks for way longer than you’d expect.  Good thing I made it through last year unscathed and I don’t have to do it again…crap, I have to do it again, don’t I?  Well, I’d best get through the last of *last* year’s stuff, then, shouldn’t I?  So, without further ado, War Machine & Cull Obsidian!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

War Machine and Cull Obsidian were one of the two Walgreens-exclusives pairings in the second Infinity War-based assortment of Marvel Minimates.  Compared to the more retread-heavy Drax and Gamora, they had a tendency of being the first set to vanish a lot of the time.

WAR MACHINE

After peddling the same War Machine ‘mate three times, DST finally gave us an honest to god update for his Infinity War appearance.  Though not amazingly different from his armor in Civil War, Rhodey’s suit had still been slightly tinkered with for its somewhat brief appearance in IW, so that’s what we’re seeing here.  The figure is based on the standard ‘mate body, with a generic slip-on mask piece, a new torso cap, upper arms, and belt, and the gauntlets from the last five versions of the character.  It does a respectable job of estimating Rhodey’s appearance from the movie.  I don’t mind the move back to printed faces for the helmets, and it’s at the very least consistent with how they handled Tony’s Mark 50 armor.  The more specific parts are as well-sculpted as ever, matching up with the re-used gauntlets in terms of design aesthetic and level of detailing.  The paint work on this figure is better than the last few War Machine’s; the mix of gunmetal grey and silver looks nice, and I’m happy that they kept the camo patterning the armor had in the movie.  It helps to make this armor seem a bit more unique compared to the others.  Under the helmet is another stab at a Don Cheadle likeness.  I think this one’s not as good as the IM2 version, but at least it doesn’t look as goofy as the AoU variant.  War Machine is packed with a flight stand and a standard clear display stand.

CULL OBSIDIAN

Poor Cull Obsidian.  He just can’t catch a break for accuracy.  His Legends release, though an awesomely fun figure, was based on an early design that wasn’t all that close to the final.  The ‘mate clearly was put into production later in the process, as he ends up a lot closer, but there are still some slight inaccuracies.  He gets a unique head, torso cap, upper left arm, and skirt piece, as well as re-using the standard “big guy” parts for his right arm, left hand, legs, and feet.  The detail work on some of the character-specific parts, the head in particular, is a little soft, but the important details are all there, and he’s got more sculpted elements than not.  The design, at least from a sculpting standpoint, isn’t that noticeably different from his final look in the movie.  The paint is is decent, though he’s again a little light on the detailing.  I think it’s the skin that bugs me the most, especially after the Legends figure.  The colors on the costume were ever so slightly tweaked by the time the movie came out as well, but they aren’t terribly far off.  The biggest change from this figure to the screen comes in the form of accessories.  In the movie, Cull has a sort of hammer/axe/chain sort of thing.  Here?  He’s essentially got some space-brass-knuckles.  The Pop! and one of the statues also had these, indicating the weapon he had in the final movie was a very late game adjustment.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked these up…gosh…back in September, if you can believe it.  The second set took forever to hit Walgreens, but I managed to find this particular pair without too much trouble once they actually started showing up.  And then they sat and waited for me to open them for a good four months, because I got distracted and kind of forgot I had them…whoops.  It’s nice to finally get a new War Machine after all this time, and a more accurate Cull Obsidian is pretty cool too.  Definitely not a bad pack.

#1930: Ghost Rider & The Fallen

GHOST RIDER & THE FALLEN

MARVEL MINIMATES

Toys and gimmicks go together like…two things that go together really well.  Sorry, I’m not much of a wordsmith.  (Pay no attention to the fact that I’ve written 1929 prior daily entries for this site).  Toys and comics also go together pretty well, as do comics and gimmicks.  So, sometimes, you hit this perfect trifecta of toys based on gimmicky comics.  Take, for instance, today’s focus, the Avengers of 1,000,000 BC, a very gimmicky concept running in the current Avengers comic from Jason Aaron, which has, in turn, led to some matching gimmicky toys.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Ghost Rider and The Fallen are one of the four two-packs in the standalone “Avengers of 1,000,000 BC” series of Marvel Minimates, available exclusively at Walgreens, starting in the fall of last year.

GHOST RIDER

“Bonded to a Spirit of Vengence, the Ghost Rider sits atop a giant wooly mammoth, who later falls victim to the Fallen.

I feel I should at this juncture clarify something I needed clarified for me: it’s the mammoth that is a victim of The Fallen, not Ghost Rider.  The phrasing on the bio’s slightly off, so I got confused, especially since I haven’t actually read the whole “Avengers of 1,000,000 BC story.  With that bit of confusion aside, let’s look at the actual figure!  He stands 2 1/4 inches tall and he has the usual 14 points of articulation.  He’s constructed on the basic ‘mate body, with add-ons for his “hair,” necklace, loincloth, and arm wrappings.  The hair is re-used from the Series 50 Ghost Rider; a sensible choice, since it’s not like flame hair’s gonna really change all that much.  The arm bands are similarly re-used; they’re the same ones that cropped up on the Best Of Iron Fist, among others.  The necklace is new, and it’s a pretty impressive piece.  It certainly sells the 1,000,000 BC aesthetic.  I *think* the loincloth is new, which is honestly a little surprising, since there’s not really anything all that unique about it.  That said, the same piece was also used for the Phoenix from this line-up, so maybe DST just thought it was time for a new standard piece.  Whatever the case, it gets the job done.  The paintwork on Ghost Rider is solid work.  The colors are a bit monochromatic, but that’s true of a number of the designs from this set.  The line work is quite sharp, and I do really like the skull face on this one.  I may be swapping that onto a more standard issue GR.  Ghost Rider is packed with a pair of flame effects to slide over his fists, as well as the standard clear display stand.

THE FALLEN

“The Fallen is one of a race of Celestials, highly powerful beings who pass judgement on all planetary bodies and the creatures who live on them.”

Despite their recurrent presence in the Marvel Universe, the Celestials have never been a particularly toyetic bunch.  Also known as Zgreb the Aspriant, The Fallen is the first of them to actually been made as an action figure, largely thanks to his presence as the main antagonist to the Avengers of 1,000,000 BC’s first story arc.  He’s by far the most divergent of the bunch design-wise, being all futuristic and robot-y.  He’s also largely re-used parts, if you can believe it.  His torso/head is an all new piece (and a quite nicely sculpted one at that), but the other eight add-on parts are borrowed from the Series 63 Hulkbuster. While not perfect matches for the source material, I’m willing to call the appendages close enough, and there’s no denying he looks pretty darn cool.  Also pretty darn cool is the paint; unlike the rest of the assortment, he’s actually pretty colorful and dynamic, going back the classic Marvel color scheme of green and purple.  The application is nice and clean, and the metallic finish really looks top notch.  His only accessory is a clear display stand, but honestly, I don’t know what else you would give him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m not overly enamored by the whole Avengers of 1,000,000 BC thing, so for the most part the ‘mates didn’t do much to excite me.  However, I came across them after last year’s incredibly lengthy minimate drought, so I was just excited to find *anything* new.  While the other three sets still didn’t grab me, I liked The Fallen a fair bit, and if nothing else Ghost Rider had a decent Ghost Rider head.  Of course, then they sat on my desk waiting to be reviewed for five months.  Yikes.