2011
18.08

 

DST pumps out several Marvel boxsets a year, many of them focused on recent events in Marvel comics. The Skrull secret invasion of the Marvel Universe allowed Marvel to bring back some fan-favourite superheroes in their 1970s and 80s-styled costumes, and DST has picked up on this to give us a 4 Minimate boxset containing a couple of often-requested character looks that may not have made it into the regular line.

Packaging

The picture on the box for this set is really busy. The front is covered in hexagons with pictures inside, looking a bit like a bee-hive. I have not read any of the Secret Invasion stories, so I don’t know if this has any relevance to the story or if this was just a design choice, but it is not very eye-catching in my opinion. The muted colors and busy-ness are not a great combination. An obnoxious “4 PK Collectible!” notice on a red circle is plastered right in the middle of the pack, which is also not a choice I would have made. It seems unnecessary to have at all, but if you put it there, do you want to draw the viewer’s attention right there, to this silly note, away from the figures themselves? The words “he loves you” are posted on the bottom of the front of the package, which I’m sure has something to do with the storyline.

One side of the box has all 4 regular faces for the figures contained in this set, and the other side has all 4 Skrull faces. The gimmick of this set is that each character has a reversible head, so that they can each be a Skrull. It is a cool gimmick, but one that leads to a problem with Beast that will be discussed below.

The back of the package shows all 4 figures with their Skrull faces showing. It also gives a brief description of each character, a picture of the extra Skrull heads that come with the set (these are in addition to the reversible heads), and a description of how you can switch these characters’ heads around.


 

The Figures

Wolverine

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This is Wolverine as he first appeared in the Incredible Hulk issues 180 and 181 back in the mid-1970s. The most notable visual changes between this and later versions of the classic, blue and yellow Wolverine concern his mask, and the major changes here are two-fold. First, he has shorter “ears” than he later does. Secondly, this early Wolverine has “whiskers” on his mask. Something that I did not immediately notice on this figure was that the whiskers are unpainted, though on the box, they are painted black as accurate to Wolvie’s original appearance. Once I did notice it, however, it really bugged me. Further, the paint on the mask is fairly sloppy here. There are sculpted lines signifying where the paint was supposed to go, and where it was not supposed to go, and the paint just doesn’t neatly follow these lines. This is unfortunate, as the mask sculpt itself is pretty great, but the sloppy and missing paint really detract from that. I actually decided to paint in the whiskers myself, which I think improves him quite a bit, but this is something that we should not have had to do, in my opinion.

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The face under the mask shows Logan as angry but a bit annoyed. It is a pretty nice face, and unlike the mask piece, the tampo here is nice and crisp. Wolverine comes with an additional hair piece. This seems to be a new sculpt for him, and is a very nice improvement over previous Wolverine hair pieces, in my opinion. It isn’t too big, it gives him a nice, slightly receding hairline, it is finely detailed, and it gives him some cool sideburns. Wolverine’s Skrull face is a bit angrier than his human-faced counterpart. But he still looks a bit bored or annoyed. As with the other Skrull faces in this set, there are lots of lines and details here.

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The tiger stripes and muscles on his chest (painted on the top and sides as well as the front and back of the chest block), the red belt on his crotch piece, and hair on his arms all have a clean paint application. The paint apps on the boots are slightly off, but nothing too drastic. Wolverine’s gloves and underwear don’t have an outline, but they appear fairly evenly applied to both sides. This Wolverine uses new hands with claws, which are a great improvement over previous Wolverines. The detail on the metal sheaths that the claw pops out of is impressive, given how small those hands and claws are. The claws themselves seem sturdier and are slightly less bulky than most previous versions. These clawed hands are just a great improvement all the way around.

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In addition to the hair piece, mask, and clawed hands, there are also two new accessories that we are seeing with this Wolverine for the first time. The first are the new shoulder blades. They are separate pieces that fit in-between his arms and chest piece, and are really nice. A variation of this was also used with “Classic” Iron Man from wave 25, and I hope that Art Asylum continues to use pieces of this type in the future when appropriate. Secondly, the boots here are new. Instead of the old, bulky boots that we saw with “Giant Sized” Wolverine, these new boots are much slimmer. In fact, they are basically regular Minimate feet with extra boot extensions that slide up the front of the figure’s leg. These boots are also a vast improvement. For one, they are more aesthetically pleasing than the bigger boots, and secondly, they are more useful if you use LEGO stands with your Minimates (as I do). For the bulky boots like Wolverine and Thor have, you can’t really display these figures up on a flat LEGO stand (you have to add an extension so that their foot pegs lie higher than the surrounding ones), so these new boots are a nice change. Paint is applied to the sides and back of his feet to represent the boots, though there is no paint on the front where the boot extension slips up over the leg.

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In conclusion, this is a well-known, iconic variation of Wolverine, and deserves a terrific Minimate. Unfortunately, the paint issues on the mask are not what we have come to expect from Minimates. However, this is balanced out to some extent by the paint applications on the rest of his body and the great new pieces used here. On the whole, this is a good Minimate, and one that I like, but a real under-achiever because of that mask.

MMC Score – 7 out of 10

 


 

Phoenix

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This is the third version of Phoenix that we are seeing in Minimate form. The second version, like Beast, was from the X3 movie, and is now a highly sought-after chase figure. The first version that came out was a comic version, similar to this one, and was a convention exclusive. That version is distinctive from the one currently being reviewed, in that the previous release had a red outfit, and was Dark Phoenix, or Jean Grey possessed by a powerful cosmic force who consumed planets. This version of Phoenix is “Light Phoenix” I guess, or Jean when she was not fully taken over by the Phoenix entity, wearing a more pleasant facial expression and a more serene, green outfit (apologies if I am misrepresenting some detail regarding the Dark Phoenix saga – the comic version I have is in black and white, so it is hard for me to know precisely when she was what color).

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The regular face on Phoenix is very nice. She has exaggerated eyelashes and full, pouty lips, suggesting that she is supposed to be quite good looking. I’m not sure if she has a “come hither”, or indifferent and contented look, but it looks great. Her hair seems to be a new sculpt, and is also quite nice, with a lot of detail. The hair looks intentionally tousled as if she had it done for a fashion photo shoot. I personally don’t see how a block figure could possibly look sexy, but if one were to meet this criteria, it would probably be this Phoenix. Since the character she is based on is supposed to be incredibly good looking, this is appropriate.

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The Skrull face for Phoenix is menacing of course, with a slight, evil smirk. It is also clearly a girl, which you can tell because of the lips. Similar to Skrull Beast’s face, Skrull Jean has quite a bit of detail here.

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Jean’s outfit consists of only three colors: green, black, and shiny gold. The gold works nicely, really helping her to pop when viewed alongside other Minimates. The neck post that you can see is painted black, and shows that Phoenix’s shirt covers her neck. The phoenix design on her upper chest is nice and crisp, painted in that shiny gold, and the rest of the paint application on her chest block is fine. However, her boots are a bit more problematic. On the previous comic Phoenix Minimate, you can clearly tell where the boots end and the pants begin, but here it is less clear, since there is no clear black edge. Plus, on one side the boots are painted higher than on the other side. Then, on the front, both boots come way up to her hips, but on the back, they only reach her knees. I don’t know if this was a mistake, or if it references something from the comic, but it looks a bit odd. Her gloves similarly lack a clear outline, but at least are more uniform. Jean comes with a sash piece that slips over her crotch area that is painted in that shiny gold color.

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In conclusion, I think this is a very nice Minimate. The main issue is with the boots which pulls her score down a bit, but despite that, she is still my favorite Jean Grey figure released thus far.

 

MMC Score – 8 out of 10


 

Jewel

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Jessica Jones, private detective and reporter, used the superhero alias Jewel early on in her career.

Jewel has a contented look on her face, and big pink hair. I am not familiar with this character at all, so I can’t comment on her likeness, but she looks fine to me. Jewel’s Skrull face is also pretty non-descript. She has pouty lips with a slight smirk and a furrowed brow, but with bags under her eyes making her looking tired.

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Again, I am not familiar with this character, but to me, Jewel’s outfit looks pretty generic. She has white pants, a white, sleeveless shirt with a blue, angled design at the top and no sleeves, blue gloves, blue boots, and a blue wrap/sash around her waist with a pink diamond on it (this is a separately sculpted piece that slips over the crotch piece). Her gloves are sloppily applied, looking almost tattered though I doubt they are supposed to look this way. I am not a fan of her outfit or look generally, as I think it is dull and forgettable, like one of those characters you would see once in the 1970s or early 80s, and never hear from again. Apparently she has a fan base, but I bet it is not because of her outfit.

In conclusion, and basing this Minimate purely on its own merits, I just don’t like it. It is boring, and I can’t help but think that this spot in the box set could have been used for a more well-known and visually interesting character like Mockingbird. Despite the flaws of the other figures, at least they are memorable.

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[Editor’s note: DST sometimes try to put in a figure into a box set that would have no chance at being made in a regular wave. Jewel is that figure, much like Thunderbird was in the Giant Size X-Men set.]

 

MMC Score – 6 out of 10


 

Beast

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The main draw to this box set, for me, is Hank McCoy, the Beast. We have actually had two Beasts already, but one was from Joss Whedon’s “Astonishing X-Men” comic, who decided Beast should resemble a cat for some reason, and the other was from X3, resembling Kelsey Grammer in some freaky makeup, so neither really satisfied those of us looking for a classic, iconic Beast. There are two classic Beasts, by my reckoning – the hairless Beast from his first appearance in the X-Men in the 1960s and later as a member of X-Factor, and the blue furry Beast who was probably the most familiar version to Defenders, X-Men, and Avengers fans from the 1970s to early 2000s. The figure released in this set is this second, furry blue version of the Beast, the one that many fans of the Beast have been most looking forward to.

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Beast’s regular face has an angry expression, where he is bearing his fangs and looks ready to fight. The blue Beast is a fairly menacing-looking character, but his personality as I knew it was typically that of a fun-loving, albeit thoughtful scientist. I like the look here, but I’m not sure that the angry look is the most appropriate expression for the Beast. This version of the Beast had a funky, Wolverine-type hairdo, and this is represented well by Beast’s hairpiece. However, Instead of having the peaks of his hair pointing backwards as Wolverine’s do, Beast’s point forward slightly, making him look as if he has horns and reflecting George Perez’s interpretation of the Beast. One issue with this face is that it is impossible to completely hide part of the green from the reversible Skrull face when the regular blue Beast face is pointing forward. The hairpiece isn’t big enough to completely cover the back half of the face. This doesn’t bother me too much personally, but I know that it irked some others, and it is a minor distraction from what is an otherwise great face and head.

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Interestingly, the Skrull face for Beast might be a better reflection of the actual Beast’s nature than his regular face. Even though he is still menacing-looking, at least he is happy about it. There are a lot of facial lines and details on Skrull Beast’s face (including the Skrull chin), and it looks great, though I typically prefer my Minimates to be a little less “busy” than this.

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Beast’s body is covered in blue fur, which is evident on the Minimate around his muscle shadows, and he has light blue underwear that he wore during his time with the Defenders and Avengers. He also has sculpted claw hands, which is appropriate. Overall, the Beast’s body isn’t anything fancy, but it does the job. We were recently shown pictures of First Appearance and X-Factor Beasts, which creatively adapt the Thing fists and infamous “duck feet” to great effect. These additions would probably improve upon this figure as well (one of Hank’s main traits has always been huge, ape-like feet and hands). But since this figure was released before that idea came about, I can’t hold his missing these pieces against him.

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In conclusion, apart from the green face poking through the side of the head, there isn’t much to complain about here. This figure is a great representation of the character, and I am quite happy that we finally got a Beast that I am proud to display.

 

MMC Score – 8 out of 10

 


 

Skrull Faces

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I’m going to briefly discuss the extra Skrull faces that came with this set on their own, as they don’t apply to any specific character (that I know of). These four heads were included so that, in addition to the figures included in this set, you could add 4 more disguised Skrulls to your collection.

Two of the heads are male – one angry, one with an evil smirk – and the other two are female – one with an insane smile, and the other with a seductive kind of look. The Skrull heads look fine enough, but they fit very tightly on almost every head that I’ve tried to put them on, and hair pieces and masks also fit on tight. I won’t give them a score since they are essentially accessories, but though they are a nice addition to the set, it would have been nice if they were better fits.

 

Overall Thoughts: On the whole, I like this set. Sure, every figure has its flaws, but they are still decent interpretations of important, previously unreleased versions of characters, and the Skrull gimmick is cool. In fact, the Skrull heads are more useful than ever now that series 28 has been released, and you can switch that army builder Skrull’s head with some of these to provide your Skrull army with some diversity. Though I am hoping to get an improved first appearance Wolvie and furry Beast in the future; apart from Jewel, these are currently very nice Minimates worth picking up

Review and pictures by karamazov80

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