#1478: Vision & Abomination

VISION & ABOMINATION

MARVEL MINIMATES

Yesterday, I reviewed some Minimates.  How about some more Minimates?  That sound okay to you guys?  Ah, it doesn’t really matter; I’m reviewing the Minimates whether you like it or not.  What are you gonna do, stop reading?  Wait, wait, please don’t stop reading!  I didn’t mean it!  …I mean I sort of did…I’m still reviewing the Minimates, but genuinely hoping that doesn’t upset anyone…or something.  Without any further weirdness, here’s Vision and Abomination!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Vision and Abomination are from the sixth Walgreens-exclusive series of animated Marvel Minimates.  They join yesterday’s Black Bolt and Medusa in making up the Avengers Assemble portion of the series.

VISION

An artificial person designed by Ultron, the Vision draws his power from an Infinity Stone, and can adjust his mass from intangible to super-dense.”

This is far from the first time I’ve looked at a Vision Minimate.  In fact, of the 8 Vision Minimates out there, I’ve reviewed 7.  This one is rather similar to both the Age of Ultron and Civil War ‘mates, since the cartoon is really just using the same design as the movies.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has the standard 14 points of articulation.  Like the last two costumed Vision ‘mates, this guy’s just the standard ‘mate body, topped off with the DC Minimates Series 1 Superman cape.  Pretty standard stuff all-around.  The real difference here is the paintwork.  His line work is much simpler, cleaner, and a bit bolder, matching the show’s more streamlined design.  The colors are also a bit brighter, and in a rare instance for an animated ‘mate, they’re a little bit more exciting than the colors seen on the last two ‘mates.  Vision includes both the standard display stand and a flight stand, for those that want choices.

ABOMINATION

“Emil Blonsky wanted the power of the Hulk, so he subjected himself to massive gamma radiation bursts, becoming a super-strong monster.”

While Vision’s just been swimming in Minimates in the last few years, poor Emil here hasn’t been quite so lucky.  He got two ‘mates back in 2008, but nothing since.  And one of those was based on his movie appearance, which is pretty far removed from the typical Abomination design.  He was definitely in need of an update.  From DST’s perspective, this guy’s great because he’s also all re-used parts, taken mostly from the Ultimate Spider-Man incarnation of Green Goblin.  In their defense, all of the pieces work pretty amazingly well for Abomination.  In fact I like them more for Abomination than their original use, but that’s more a personal preference of design thing.  The paint work on Abomination is pretty solid work.  The colors feel a bit warmer than usual for this sub-line, which is certainly a plus in my book.  Abomination’s only extra is a display stand, which feels a little light, but I’m not sure what else he could have been given.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed this pair at the same time as Black Bolt and Medusa.  It was a bit of an impulse buy, truth be told.  I probably didn’t need this set.  Abomination’s never been a must-have for me, and I’ve got two Visions that look almost identical to this one.  But it was another Vision, and I’m all about Vision, no matter how minority different he may be.  And Abomination actually looked pretty cool.  And I was feeling kind of generous, so I got them.  It’s actually not a bad set.  Not the most exciting ever, but I liked it more than I’d initially expected to.

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#1477: Black Bolt & Medusa

BLACK BOLT & MEDUSA

MARVEL MINIMATES

The Inhumans have come into a bit of notoriety recently, thanks at least in part to their currently running live-action mini-series on ABC.  It’s gotten mixed reviews, but I’ve been generally enjoying it.  The characters have been getting a push in most media for a little while now, including cartoons, such as Marvel’s Avengers Assemble.  Cartoon appearances in turn lead to Minimates, which the Inhumans really seem to have been left out of.  Today, I’ll be looking at the heads of the Inhuman Royal Family, Black Bolt and Medusa!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Black Bolt and Medusa were released in the sixth Walgreens-exclusive series of animated Marvel Minimates.  Both figures included are based on their appearance in Avengers Assemble, where they sport slightly tweaked designs from the usual comics garb.

BLACK BOLT

“Blackagar Boltagon is the King of the Inhumans, granted abilities by the Terrigen Mists.  Even the merest whisper from his lips is a highly destructive force.”

Blackagar.  Boltagon.  Man, is that a stupid name.  That’s a very high contender for stupidest name in comics, and there are a lot of stupid names in comics.  Blackagar Boltagon’s on a whole other level, though.  There’s dumb, and then there’s Blackagar Boltagon dumb.  Yikes.  This is ol’ Blackagar’s second time as a Minimate, though it’s his first in a good long while.  The figure is about 2 1/4 inches tall and has the usual 14 points of articulation.  Black Bolt is built on the standard ‘mate body, which unique upper arms, which add his little glider wings.  The pieces are decent, and they work well enough for what they are, but they do restrict movement of the arms a little bit.  Everything else on this guy is handled via paint, which is decent enough.  I do like the choice to go for the mask painted on the standard head, which I find looks a bit better than the sculpted piece from the last one.  That being said, I’m not a huge fan of his overall colorscheme; there’s a lot of grey, and not a lot of actual black.  I pretty much always prefer black areas of costumes to be done in actual black, with highlights, rather than lightening the whole scheme.  As it is, he looks a little washed out.  Black Bolt includes an extra head with a screaming expression, a sound wave effects piece, and a clear display stand.

MEDUSA

“The Queen of the Inhumans, Medusa was given long, prehensile hair, which can obey her commands and even carry her from place to place.”

This marks Medusa’s first time as a Minimate, which is a little bit surprising, since she’s usually one of the better known members, and certainly the one with the most appearances under her belt.  She uses the same basic construction as Black Bolt, but gets a new hair piece, recreating her prehensile mane in all it’s lengthy glory.  The piece is designed to hold her aloft, as she’s frequently depicted in the comics.  It’s a nice piece; obviously animated in style, but very cool.  The paint on Medusa’s pretty decent.  She’s more colorful than Black Bolt.  I miss her usual mask, but Medusa’s look has always been more subject to change than Black Bolt, so it seems less weird to get her in a non-classic design.  Her only accessory is a clear display stand, which feels a little light, but the hair piece sort of makes up for it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been out of Minimates for a little while, but I stopped in Walgreens recently, and I saw this set sitting there, and I just had a hard time turning it down.  The Black Bolt isn’t quite as much of an improvement over the last version as I’d hoped, but I do prefer him slightly, and he’s certainly  a solid take on the character.  Medusa’s actually pretty fun, and it’s nice to have her at long last.  Here’s hoping we won’t have to wait quite as long to get the rest of the Royal Family.

#1368: Ms. Marvel & Kang

MS. MARVEL & KANG

MARVEL MINIMATES

Hey-ho there readers!  So, today’s gonna be another Marvel review, because, like 95% of what I’ve bought recently is Marvel.  On the plus side, I’m actually looking at a relatively new item for a change.  That’s cool, right?  I’ll be heading back over to the Minimates corner of my collection, and taking a look at one of my favorite new additions to the Marvel Universe, Kamala Khan, alongside long-time Avengers for Kang the Conqueror!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Ms. Marvel and Kang were released in the fifth Walgreens-exclusive series of Marvel Minimates.  Both are based on their appearances in the Avengers Assemble cartoon, but in both cases, this translates to a look that’s essentially identical to their comics counterparts.

MS. MARVEL

“Exposed to the Terrigin Mists, Inhuman high-schooler Kamala Khan gains the ability to shape-shift, and decides to become one of the super-heroes she idolizes.”

It’s been a good year for Kamala!  First she got a Marvel Legend, and now she’s got a Minimate too!  Not too shabby for a character that’s only been around since 2014.  Ms. Marvel makes her Minimate debut here, and is based upon her appearance in the episode “The Inhuman Condition.”  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation.  She’s built on the standard ‘mate body, with add-ons for her hair, scarf, and skirt.  The skirt appears to be a fairly standard piece, but the scarf and hair are both new.  They’re decent enough pieces, I suppose.  Obviously, they’re a bit more on the simplistic side, as is the case with most of the animation-based mates.  It’s really only noticeable on the hair, which you can easily replace if you really want a more realistic look.  That being said, the pieces mimic her design from the show pretty well, and fit the character nicely.  The paint work on her is generally pretty solid; the colors are still a little more washed out than I’d like, but she generally looks like she does in the comics, and the colors have more “pop” than some of the others.  I’m not the biggest fan of the rather bland expression on the face, though; Kamala’s usually depicted as rather jovial, so a smile or grin would have been more true to the character in my opinion.  Ms. Marvel is packed with a spare right hand and left arm (borrowed from Mr. Fantastic), simulating her stretchy powers, as well as the usual clear display stand.

KANG

“Kang is a time-traveling warlord from the 30th century who finds himself repeatedly embroiled in conflict with the 21st century Avengers.”

Wow, another Kang?  Man, it was such a big deal to get him the first time, but I think I might have burned out all of the excitement.  Of course, that ‘mate was only in an exclusive 4-pack, which not everyone got, so I suppose a new one makes sense.  Like Ms. Marvel, he’s built on the standard body, and has the usual articulation.  He has add-ons for his head-piece, shoulder bit, and skirt.  The shoulder thing is re-used from the last Kang ‘mate (rather sensible), and the other two parts appear to be new.  They’re decently sculpted, though I’m not 100% sold on the head piece.  It’s an odd looking thing in the comics, and neither attempt at translating it into ‘mate form is particularly right.  This one’s not terrible.  This figure uses the standard upper-arms, which is one change I’m in favor of, since I was never much of a fan of the puffy sleeves from the last one.  As far as paint goes, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the paint on this guy; the colors just aren’t vibrant enough for my taste.  The green in particular just feels really dull and boring.  I’m also not a big fan of the reduced detail work, since the things like the wrinkles of the shirt and the lines on his mask were some of my favorite parts of the last Kang.  In terms of accessories, he only includes a display stand.  I feel like there has to be something else he could have gotten.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found these two while looking for Marvel Legends at Walgreens.  I’ve largely fallen out of collecting Minimates hardcore, in part because of the difficulty of finding the Walgreens releases, so these two sort of snuck up on me, and I was really surprised to find them as quickly as I did.  Ms. Marvel’s the real draw of the set for me, and aside from the slight disappointment with the expression, I’m really happy with her.  Kang is kind of meh.  Rather drab and un-interesting to me.  Perhaps it’d be different if I didn’t have the first one.  Still, it’s a pretty decent set all in all.

#1210: C-3PO

C-3PO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

c3pobs1

Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series has been running almost 5 years now, and over the course of that 5 years, we’ve gotten the main look for just about every major character from the Original Trilogy.  However, one major character has been pretty consistently absent: C-3PO.  Now, obviously, with a character like Threepio, it’s not a question of if he’s going to be made, but rather when he’s going to be made.  You don’t just willy nilly leave out one of two characters to appear in every film in the franchise.  So, when his name popped up as one of 2016’s upcoming figures, no one was really surprised.  Well, that is, not until they saw the figure, standing there in all his red-armed, The Force Awakens-glory.  Why would the first release of this much anticipated character be what is undoubtedly a one-off look?  It turns out Hasbro had more up their sleeve, and a regular Threepio found its way to release.  I’ll be looking at that figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

c3pobs2This C-3PO figure is Walgreens’ 2016 Star Wars: The Black Series exclusive.  This has been a point of contention for a lot of fans, since many of them think this Threepio should have had the main retail slot, and the Force Awakens figure should have been made the exclusive, citing the second version as a less necessary variant.  While I can’t argue with that, I can sort of understand why the figures ended up the way they did.  In 2015, Walgreens got stuck in the Emperor’s Wrath Darth Vader as their exclusive, and sales on him were pretty soft.  With that in mind, I can easily see Walgreens pushing for a higher profile exclusive.  On Hasbro’s side, I can see them feeling that Threepio might be more easily acquired for some fans as an exclusive item shipped in solid cases of himself, as opposed to being stuck in a revision assortment of the main line, which may or may not get put out (I can attest to having seen more of this guy out in the wild than I’ve seen of his red-armed counterpart).  In addition, Threepio has traditionally been a slower seller than the rest of the main characters, a fact Hasbro is likely banking on.  Ultimately, it’s not the ideal solution, but it’s workable.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and has 21 points of articulation.  Early reports had me worried that this guy wouldn’t be very posable.  The final figure lacks any elbow joints, but this ends up having little effect on the posability, and the rest of the joints offer a more than serviceable range of motion.  Threepio’s sculpt is shared with his Force Awakens version, but is otherwise totally new.  It’s a very strong sculpt, and does a really solid job of capturing Threepio’s basic design.  There’s a lot of really sharp detail work, and he’s definitely one of the best figures in the line in terms of working in the articulation.  The arms do seem a touch long when compared to the legs, but it’s only barely noticeable, and far from the worst case of this in the line.  Threepio’s paint is pretty decently handled; Hasbro let fans know from the get-go that this figure wasn’t going to be vac-metalized like many of the smaller Threepios have been.  Some fans were a bit let-down by this, but I find myself not minding that much.  While the process is fine on smaller figures, it can rob a sculpt of a lot of its best details, and on larger, more articulated items, it can also be rather susceptible to damage.  I was happy to see they opted for gold paint instead of gold plastic, as it allows for a brighter sheen and a more consistent application of the color.  The only part that seems a bit odd to me is the eyes; rather than the usual flat yellow, they’ve been done with three white dots on each eye.  It’s not terrible looking from far away, but looks quite strange up close.  Threepio includes no accessories, which is a real letdown, especially since there are technically no new sculpted pieces here.  The communicator from the Death Star would have been nice, especially since they already have the tooling for it. Oh well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

News broke on this guy back around Rogue Friday, and I pretty much immediately started looking for him.  I didn’t have much luck, but on a hunch, I stopped at a slightly out of the way Walgreens on the way home from grabbing some dinner last month.  He wasn’t in the proper action figure aisle, but I remembered that a lot of Walgreens stores had a separate Star Wars end display, and, sure enough, there he was.  Odd choice of distribution aside, this is a really good figure, easily the best Threepio that Hasbro’s put out.  Hopefully everyone that wants one can get one!

c3pobs3

#1153: Black Widow & Dark Avengers Iron Man

BLACK WIDOW & DARK AVENGERS IRON MAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

widowdaim1

Hey ho, it’s another Minimate review. They kind of come in clusters, I guess. Of course, where yesterday’s focus figure came from way back at the beginning, today’s is a more recent addition to the line. So, without further ado, here’s Black Widow and Dark Avengers Iron Man!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair is part of Series 2 of the Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Minimates. As with all the Walgreens ‘mates, these two are animated series-based, specifically Avengers Assemble.

BLACK WIDOW

widowdaim2Black Widow is one of the main members of the team in Avengers Assemble, so her appearance here isn’t a huge shock, especially since they’ve been steadily working through the animated incarnation of the team. The figure is a little under 2 1/2 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation. Widow is based on her second costume from the show, which is a bit more distinct when compared to the same basic Widow we’ve gotten a few times, so definitely a good choice. Her only add-on piece is her hair, which she shares with the previously reviewed Gamora ‘mate. It’s a nice enough piece, and I guess it matches well enough with her animated design. The rest of her design is rendered via paint work, which is pretty solid. As I’ve noted a few times before, the animated designs really do translate pretty well to the ‘mate form, and Widow definitely fits that trend. The colors are nice, bright, and bold, and all of the line work is nice and crisp. The figure is packed with a pair of batons and a clear display stand.

DARK AVENGERS IRON MAN

widowdaim3The second season of Avengers Assemble introduced frequent Marvel fixture the Squadron Supreme, who are the Marvel equivalent of the Justice League. They took advantage of the Squadron’s alternate universe to also introduce the Dark Avengers, evil counterparts to the main heroes. DST decided to take advantage of these new designs to offer some slightly more unique designs for the characters we’ve all seen so many times before. The first one was Iron Man, whose design swaps out the red portions of his armor for black, because everyone knows black = evil, I guess. Construction-wise, he’s got add-ons for his helmet, gloves, and belt, as well as special upper arm pieces. Everything is reused, which is generally okay. The Mark 42 arms still aren’t among my favorites, mostly due to serious limitations they place on the shoulder movement. Aside from that, though, he does a decent enough job of capturing the look of the armor on the show. The paintwork on this guy is passable, but nowhere near as nice as some of the others in this subset. He’s rather drab, being a dark blue and a rather cold yellow. Ultimately, he ends up looking like a slightly blander version of the Marvel Now Iron Man from a few years ago. Under the helmet, there’s a Tony Stark face, which is a bit angrier than the usual Tony. The flesh tone on the face is kind of thin, so he ends up looking rather bluish. Also, the figure’s paint just seems rather sloppy in general. The figure is packed with a flight stand and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These two were given to me by my Super Awesome Girlfriend, who bought them from a Walgreens during a trip back home over the summer. Apparently, she likes to buy things for me when she’s stressed. Widow’s a pretty solid ‘mate. Dark Avengers Iron Man is…well he doesn’t feel like the most inspired choice. Of all the Dark Avengers designs, his is really one of the less interesting, and to top it off, his paint work is noticeably lower in quality than others in the series. Overall, I think Widow’s enough to save the pack, but it would have been nice if her pack mate had been more exciting.