Minimates Central is pleased to show off a review from our latest reviewer karamazov80, who is taking a look at the Punisher: War Zone boxed set. Make sure you all give him a warm welcome, and take it away k80!
One of the welcome changes that Art Asylum/DST has made recently is the decision to revert back to window box packaging on their Marvel Minimate releases, as we saw with some of the earliest Marvel Minimates. I feel that this is a major improvement over the closed boxes used for the bulk of Marvel releases for 2 major reasons:
1) Minimates almost always look better in person than they do in pictures, and for the casual fan walking through a comic shop, seeing these great figures through their clear plastic cages may provide the extra push that someone might need to bite the bullet and buy. As such, I think that this can only help to move sets.
2) “Mint In Box” collectors can, I’m sure, appreciate packaging where they can see the figure that they aren’t willing or able to open the package up to get. So, there is an extra incentive to buy for these types of collectors as well (disclosure: I am not generally a MIB collector, so this is all based on speculation and discussions that I have read elsewhere).
Now, as for the specific packaging here, this box, appropriately, is covered with bullet holes. The characters are all poking out of giant bullet holes on the front (sorry I don’t have pics of the figures in the box, as I threw the plastic holster out a while back) [I’m sure if anyone is interested, they know they can check out the in-box pictures at the fantastic resource of Minimate Database – Ed]. The logos are nice and bold on both the front and back, and both of these sides has a photo of Ray Stevenson as Punisher in black and white, brooding in the background. The back also has a nice posed group shot and mini-bios for each figure. Each side of the box has the disembodied head of each figure poking out from behind more bullet holes. The box suits the set quite well, because of the bullet hole theme.
Mob Thug (Looney Bin Jim)
For anyone who has seen the movie, you may note that Mob Thug bears a striking resemblance to Jigsaw’s brother, Looney Bin Jim. I don’t know why he is called Mob Thug on the packaging (and is described thusly in his mini-biography) – whether it is a licensing issue, a marketing decision (targeting army builders?), or something else – but, there really is no doubt that this is Jim.
The shape of the mouth and lips, the spacing of the eyes, and the slightly arched eyebrows actually make for a good likeness of Doug Hutchison, the actor portraying Jim in the film. The facial expression is ambiguous – he could be angry, shocked, confused, crazy, etc. I think of this as a plus, as you can project your own idea of what he is thinking onto your figure. He has a broken nose with tape over it and a scuff on his cheek, accurately reflecting his self-mutilated, beat-up look in much of the movie. Regarding the hat, it is a kind of sock hat and it works fine, though it does have the look of a limp pancake thrown onto his head.
As for the outfit, Looney Bin is fairly bare-bones. He has a brown jacket, black pants, brown shoes, kind of purplish shirt, nothing really spectacular, but it does the job. A flashy outfit wouldn’t fit what he wore in the movie. This outfit is also great for civilians if you are planning on doing a diorama of some kind. Not sure if the jacket is a new sculpt or not, but I don’t recall seeing it before. Clean paint job throughout on my figure, no slop, tampo seems on straight, all that good stuff.
I’m not 100% sure which accessories go with which figures here, as apart from the Punisher’s accessories, there are just a couple of simple handguns (I believe there were 2 extras for the 3 non-Punisher figures to fight over). You could give one of these to Jim, though in the movie he seemed to prefer a more personal approach, using his hands and handheld weapons like an axe.
In Conclusion: This is a nice Minimate, but nothing spectacular. If you like civilians, generic thugs, this actor, or his character in the movie, then you probably won’t be disappointed. However, if you prefer characters that are a little flashier and more distinctive, then he may end up in a box rather than on your shelf. Though there aren’t any major flaws, there isn’t much to distinguish him, apart from the likeness.
MMC Score – 6 out of 10
Next we have Frank Castle. With his furrowed brow and slightly frowny, closed mouth, he looks a bit serious or angry, fitting the character. Or possibly, he is just really focused – you choose! The angle of the stubble is a little strange to me, and I can’t help but think that he would look better without it. Honestly, I don’t see much of Ray Stevenson here. Could just be the nature of the actor (he may be difficult to capture in Minimate form without a nose, etc.), could be a licensing issue of some kind, but whatever the reason, I don’t see it. Still makes for a nice civilian though, and a nice Frank Castle head that can be switched out with Assault Armor Punisher’s head, if you want to spice things up a bit. The hairpiece fits the character nicely, and accurately captures the slicked back hair that Stevenson had in the film.
My first impression was that Frank’s outfit has a 1970s-era vibe, as if he were pulled out of some old cop movie, where he could either be the criminal or a detective in casual, period-appropriate attire (I’m sure that cops never actually dressed like that in the 70s, but. . .). Apart from that, he is wearing a blue sweater, covered by a black coat, with gray pants and black shoes. Nothing fancy, but fitting of the serious, no-frills Castle.
Accessory-wise, again, there is possibly the one handgun. One of these guns probably was meant for Castle since: 1) he is Punisher in civilian guise, and thus always has a gun; and 2) there is a scene in the film involving civilian Castle, the wife of a slain undercover cop, and a handgun. So, this could be that handgun.
In Conclusion: Not a bad Minimate, but similar to Mob Thug he is kind of boring. Nice for those who want an extra civilian, and the extra head is useful to switch out if you want a less angry, more serious Punisher, but this is another figure that could easily spend the rest of his existence in a box in my closet.
MMC Score – 4 out of 10
Jigsaw is one of the few iconic foes of the Punisher that I know about. Given that Punisher is one of Marvel’s heavy hitters (he is popular enough to have warranted 3 separate films), it might seem surprising that we haven’t seen him yet, but at least Punisher now has a mini-foil.
Jigsaw has a great face. The scars and stitches are very effective, and his wild left eye really helps to bring out his mad nature as he was portrayed in the film. Jigsaw always seemed to have a weird kind of smirk in the movie, and that is also represented here, with his lop-sided, snarling mouth. I don’t see much of the great Dominic West (McNulty from the Wire) in this figure, but then, it was tough to see him through the makeup in the film, so you can’t knock the figure for that. Jigsaw’s hairpiece, with his bangs protruding out, is a tad exaggerated. But at the same time, it works for the character, who is just crazy enough to sport such a wacky hair style. Jigsaw also sports a subtle, but noticeable white collar that fits on the neck post under his head. I’ve noticed this piece being used recently on the TRU exclusive Wonder Man, and I really like how it works to hide the neck joint when appropriate, adding a bit of extra character to a figure. Here, it seems to simply reflect the collar of the jacket that Jigsaw sports at the end of the Punisher film. However, in the comics (at least, in his early appearances), Jigsaw wore a kind of neck brace. This piece nicely doubles for this purpose, if you choose to use Jigsaw as his comic incarnation over his movie counterpart.
The outfit here is from the end of the film as I remember it, and is distinctive as a strange military dress shirt of some kind. On the Minimate, it looks more like a lab-coat to me, but whatever it is supposed to be, it works. Perhaps Jigsaw’s best known outfit in the comics is a white suit, and this approximates that. The bottom part of his jacket is a separate piece that slides over the crotch peg, and over the top part of the crotch piece. This is another new type of piece that AA used very effectively on the TRU exclusive Wonder Man. As with the previous two figures, Jigsaw’s pants and shoes are pretty hum-drum, being brown and a darker shade of brown. They do work well as a contrast to Jigsaw’s white shirt, though.
Accessory-wise, there isn’t much (unless you include the neck and crotch/jacket pieces), but I would give one of the guns that came with this set to him. I mean, he must have done something to warrant being punished, and it may well have involved a gun or two.
In Conclusion: Even if you don’t care to treat him as “movie Jigsaw”, this is a welcome addition to the horde of Minimate villains. He looks mean and distinctive, and is just a very solid Minimate all the way around. Not amongst my favorite figures, but he is definitely worth picking up.
MMC Score – 8 out of 10
Assault Armor Punisher
This is the gem of the set, and the reason to buy it (or the Toys R Us 2-pack with Jigsaw). The most obvious reasons are two-fold: 1) he is Punisher! Obviously, he is going to be the star of his box set; and 2) the accessories! But, I will get to that in a minute. To start out, let me go over the likeness.
The likeness to Stevenson, as with Frank Castle, isn’t that great in my opinion. But this doesn’t matter much to me, as he has a great face that makes up for this issue. It is an angry face, with more realistic-looking stubble than Frank has. He also has some scratches on his head, suggesting that he has been scrapping with crooks. His hairpiece appears to be the same one used with Frank Castle, and works fine here.
Punisher’s outfit is fairly accurate to the one he wore in the movie. First, he has an armored vest that covers his neck and shoulders. This looks like the armor that members of the bomb squad wear, suggesting some serious protection against bullets, blades, shrapnel, etc. The armor gives Punisher a nice appearance. The bulky, imposing look suits Punisher’s personality, and helps to promote his badass-ness. He has two gun holsters attached to the side of his vest, and a knife holster on his back. The straps and other details on the vest also look nice and work very well, giving it a bit of character. One other thing that you will immediately notice about this Punisher is the skull on the front of his vest. It is more exaggerated and pronounced than the version in the movie, looking almost anime-esque. Art Asylum has taken a different approach to each of the skulls on the three Punishers so far released, and though the SDCC exclusive Punisher has my favorite outfit, Warzone Punisher has my favorite of the three skulls. Other than the armor, Punisher is pretty generic in terms of the rest of his outfit, with a black chest block (almost completely hidden under the armor), black pants, dark gray arms, dark gray shoes, black fingerless gloves, and a gun and knife holster on his legs, similar to what Assault Punisher from Marvel Wave 9 came with.
As mentioned above, the accessories make the man here, and apart from the cool armor, Assault Armor Punisher comes with plenty of toys that he can use to punish evildoers. He has two silver pistols that go into the holsters on his armor, a silver revolver that fits into his leg-holster, a police baton that goes into his other leg-holster, a knife that goes into the holster on his back, and two assault rifles that can go onto the back of his vest. The guns are obviously great, and I don’t really think anything else needs to be said here.
In Conclusion: Given the appropriately pissed off face, the cool armored vest, and of course, all the great toys, Assault Armor Punisher is a must own Minimate.
MMC Score – 10 out of 10
Overall Thoughts: I am very pleased with this set. The two best figures are available in the TRU exclusive 2-pack that was recently released, but if you have to resort to eBay prices, you might end up paying the same for this 4-pack (which you can often find for reasonable prices on eBay). As I mentioned, Assault Armor Punisher is essential, and Jigsaw really is a cool villain to have. If you are a fan of the film, a fan of guns, a fan of civilians, or a fan of mad, deformed criminals and psychopathic serial killing anti-heroes, you could do worse than this set. Recommended.
(note: big thanks to MMMV member Buttheadsmate for giving me this set, and thus the opportunity to review it)
Review and pictures by karamazov80