Announced some time before Marvel waves 18 and 19 I’d assumed this set was a retailer exclusive (Target possibly) but it appears to have ended up having a regular release. The set appears to be based on the art of Todd McFarlane from his tenure on the Spider-Man comic book. It’s odd that DST have paid homage to that particular era of Spidey history. Though wildly popular in its time it is nearly twenty years since that particular run, and the only real carry over to the present day is the super-villain ‘Venom’. Still, people have been wanting a box set of Spidey and some of his foes for a long time, so let’s see how this set shapes up. This boxset of 5 Minimates boasts new versions of Spider-Man (twice), Venom and Sandman, plus Hydroman, who is the exclusive (ie “never seen before” figure in the set.
This set is generally referred to amongst fandom as the ‘Classic Spider-Man Boxset’ though there’s no mention of this on the pack itself. Reflecting the new style of Marvel packaging (see waves 14 up) this box set features photographs of the figures within taken in action poses set against a fairly neutral background that hints at a cityscape. It’s nice to see the old Spidey Minimate graphic that used to adorn the early wave blister packs being re-used at the top of the carton, as well as the Spiderman font for the logo itself. The side of the box features more photographs of the figures and also names them. The back of the box has the same photo as the front but is slightly smaller to show more detail.
Hydroman is a bit of a second-stringer in Spidey’s rogues gallery, so I guess it makes sense to get him produced this way as part of a larger boxset rather than sticking him in a two-pack. He got his powers from being bitten by a radioactive hosepipe or something (actually he fell overboard into the sea when some kind of experiment was being carried out). Hydroman’s a bit of a Sandman rip-off really, I’m assuming that he’s someone McFarlane liked.
Hydroman strikes me as a bit of a pantomime villain so for me the face on this guy is perfect – With his evil eyes and grin he looks bad to the bone, but he also looks like he enjoys being a baddie too. The hairpiece is a reuse from the variant in wave 3 (Cyclops No-Visor) but it looks okay here.
On the body there’s not a lot going on really. It’s a basic Minimate body only with translucent blue arms to represent Hydroman’s water based power. I’d heard a lot of scare stories about Hydroman’s arm posts shearing off the first time the arms were moved so was very careful with mine.Hydroman wears a black T-shirt and the translucent arms have black shirt sleeves painted at the top. It appears that the arms were attached to the body before the paint was properly dry so the paint sets against the arm post. Forewarned is forearmed (heh!) so rather than move the arms back and forth I gently prised them away from the body. There was a lot of resistance but the arms did become free and are fine now, though really fans shouldn’t be expected to put up with errors of this nature.
The body itself is detailed with musculature picked out in thin blue lines. I like the look of this, and blue is generally used in comic books to show definition against black backgrounds. It’s simple and effective, and works quite nicely here. Rather than the normal super-hero/villain costume Hydro-Man wears a simple jeans and t-shirt combo so his legs have been cast in blue plastic. There’s a little bit of belt detailing at the top of the t-piece but that’s about it.
Hydroman’s only accessories are a couple of ‘water blasts’ that have been re-cast from the old Street-Fighter II accessory pieces. At first I thought this was a bit cheap on DST’s part but when attached to the figure they do look very effective. Just a shame they’re so heavy and have to be rested against a surface. As per most modern Minimates Hydroman has C3 feet and a peg hole in his head (though no post on the hair piece).
In Conclusion, nothing to write home about but it’s still good to see another villain. Hydroman benefits from clean and tidy decoration, and a wicked expression on his face.
MMC Score – 6 out of 10
Another day, another Spider-Man Minimate, though I suppose a Spidey-themed boxset would be a bit pointless without a Spidey ’mate. This Spider-Man is based on the art style of Todd McFarlane from the story entitled “Torment”. I can’t say I’m a fan of his work, it always looked a bit too busy for my liking and so does this Spidey.
The print on the head isn’t too bad. The black lines around the eyes are much thicker than usual, and the webbing on the mask is both finer than on the original wave 2 Spider-Man and more intricate. This added level of detail actually detracts a lot from the overall look of the figure. It’s far too fussy and the web lines also look off-centre. There should be a small circle between the eyes which all the web lines radiate out from. This isn’t at all apparent. Another departure from wave 2 Spidey is the way the web lines continue around the head. On wave 2 Spidey, the pattern continued in concentric circles. Torment Spidey’s concentric circles stop at the sides and the rest of the webbing is a simple grid pattern. Maybe the Toddster’s Spidey looked like this? Though I don’t really recall it doing so.
The body carries a heck of a lot more detail than wave 2 Spidey – In my opinion far too much detail. The web lines are tighter and more numerous, the spider symbol on the chest is much smaller than usual too, but that’s probably due to this Spidey being based on McFarlane’s work. The blue on the body is very dark, almost black in fact, and is highlighted with light blue lines for muscle definition. That muscle definition is picked out in black lines on the red section of the body; this further spoils the look of the figure. The web lines are already too busy, add the black lines for muscle definition and it messes things up even further, it really is a dropped ball. Look at the webbing on regular Spidey and you’ll see it pretty much stops at the ends of the head, arms, and legs. Check this one out, and it’s plain to see that the web pattern finishes before the joint lines. It’s good to see they’ve tried to add a print to the feet, it’s a shame then, that this print is also mis-aligned.
Turn the figure around and the first thing that’s noticeable is that the red spider symbol on the back is much smaller than usual. It doesn’t look as bad as the symbol on the front because it isn’t surrounded by over fussy web lines. The web lines at the shoulders follow the same pattern as the back of the mask, a simple grid pattern rather than the more rounded lines of the wave 2 Spidey. The only good thing I have to say about this Spidey is that I do like the way they’ve moved the belt detailing down to the t-piece. It gives Spidey the illusion of a slimmer, more athletic look which I’d like to see continued in any future Spidey ‘mates.
Torment Spider-Man has no accessories. He has C3 feet but no peg-hole in his head as that would just look silly, wouldn’t it?
In Conclusion, there is hardly anything good I can say about this Minimate. It’s extremely fussy and over-complicated, and further let down by badly applied transfers.
MMC Score – 4 out of 10
Melee Symbiote Spider-Man
This Minimate is essentially a battle-damaged Symbiote Spider-Man. One of the mysteries of the universe was why DST chose this popular costume as a variant in wave 2, and they have said repeatedly that they will not reissue chase figures, so to redo that figure with battle damage is a nice compromise.
This figure is again based on Todd McFarlane-era Spidey, so the head has a little bit of blue highlighting where Peter Parkers’ forehead would be underneath the mask. Peter’s face is visible in places where the mask has been torn away. The transfers are well applied but could have done with more of Peter’s face being visible as the lack of any white eye-piece on the right side makes the face look oddly asymmetrical. A nice touch is the torn section on the back of the head which shows a patch of Peter’s hair.
The body is a basic Minimate body, no bells or whistles here, it’s all in the detailing. Spidey has the large ‘Venom’ style spider emblem on his chest. It’s very similar to the original Symbiote Spidey/Venom chest block but for the battle damage patches and the extra buffness across the abdomen. As this Spidey is so much simpler than Torment Spidey the extra muscle definition doesn’t look out of place. There are further patches of battle damage on the arms and legs, a minor irritation is that the skin colour on the body doesn’t match the skin colour of the left hand, this sticks out like a … sore thumb (sorry!). Turn the ‘mate around and it’s surprising to see a lack of battle damage on the back of the chest-block and legs, not sure if that’s intentional or an oversight, but it is odd.
Something that does occur to me regarding this ‘mate is that it’d be fairly simple for even the most amateur customiser to make themselves a reasonable Symbiote Spider-Man. Most of the basics are already in place so people should be aware of this when trying to get themselves a Symbiote Spidey via eBay or unknown traders.
In conclusion, I quite like this figure, forgetting minor gripes regarding flesh tones I find it to be a well executed but non-essential Minimate.
MMC Score – 5 out of 10
I’ve no idea if Sandman appears in McFarlane’s run on Spider-Man but he is one of the main villains in Spider-Man 3 so it makes sense to include him in this boxset.
This Sandman is very different to the one released in Marvel wave 10. Where that Sandman had an expression that positively revelled in being a bad guy, this one just looks furious as hell. DST have re-used the slip over head-piece first seen on wave 7’s variant (J Jonah Jameson), consequently the head appears larger and there is more area for facial detail. However the face isn’t anywhere near as cool as on the original. It looks more like J Jonah Jameson sans moustache than it does Sandman. The eyebrows are a bit of a mistake, this Sandman has big bushy brown caterpillars sitting above his eyes, the original had very solid black lines which conveyed a much nastier demeanor as well as a hint of devious intelligence. This guy just looks like a bruiser.
Lift the head-piece off and there’s another face underneath. This has been cast in translucent yellow plastic and is supposed to represent Sandman’s metamorphosis from one state to another. It’s a great idea and kudos to DST for attempting it, but the execution is spoiled by the use of transparent plastic rather than a simple sand colour, and also the very dodgy expression on the head-piece.
Onto the body, it’s good to see the “Powerhouse” chest (originally given to The Thing in wave 8) on Sandman. The first Sandman ought to have come with one too. The chest-piece really does give an impression of greater mass which a lot of Marvel super-villains should convey (brute strength vs brain power). Sandman’s in his customary green and black striped shirt but the green is a lot darker than on the original and doesn’t contrast all that well with the black stripes. There’s a bare minimum of muscle definition on the chest-piece, it’s there to suggest shape rather than tone. Under the chest-piece is a plain green chest-block. This is another mistake, in my opinion the chest should also have been cast in transparent yellow with the black lines of the shirt painted across it. I imagine cost was the reason this didn’t happen. The arms are cast in the same translucent yellow plastic as the head with the green and black shirt sleeves painted on. There were a lot of scare stories regarding broken arm posts on this figure, presumably caused by the arms being attached before the paint was dry. If you’re reading this review before buying the set make sure that you pull the arms gently away from the body before rotating them. This should break the paint seal and restore full mobility to the joints.
Sandman’s legs have also been cast in translucent yellow plastic but have had some kind of paint wash applied to them. This gives the impression of sand particles not quite combining and is very effective. Unfortunately the feet are plain translucent yellow which somewhat spoils the effect. It would have improved this ‘mate no end if this paint treatment had been applied to all of the transparent parts.
Sandman comes with two arm attachments cast in the same transparent plastic as his arms to give a sandblast effect. These are the Human Torch’s flame blasts recoloured and reused [Ed:- Thanks to regular readers for spotting this]. Sandman has C3 feet and the obligatory peg hole in his head.
In conclusion, a bit of a mixed bag. If only they’d used a similar face to the wave 10 Sandman rather than a new print. The inconsistency in the ‘sand’ parts also jars. This figure was well conceived but poorly executed. I want to give it a higher score but the failings detract from what should have been a very cool Minimate.
MMC Score – 4 out of 10
Did Todd McFarlane invent Venom? I’m fairly certain he was the first guy to draw him, and as he’s also in Spider-Man 3 then including him in this set is a no-brainer! Venom’s great as a big cartoony bad guy. He hates Spider-Man with a passion and has all his powers, and then some…
The face is very different to the wave 2 Venom, whereas that one was all caricatured teeth and eyes this one strives for the same appearance as the comic book Venom. This is a mistake, Minimates aren’t about every detail being perfect, they’re all about capturing the essence of the character in as few lines as possible. The eyes and mouth are far too small, the mouth particularly seems to disappear into the face, there just isn’t enough white to contrast between the dark red of the mouth’s interior and the black of the head. The teeth are tiny and painstakingly picked out. It’s a good transfer, it just doesn’t work very well.
Thankfully this Venom comes with a “Powerhouse” chest-piece. Venom’s always been depicted as being much bigger than Spider-Man, generally appearing to be 7-8 feet tall and very bulked out. So the inclusion of a chest-piece makes perfect sense. The spider print looks to be exactly the same as on wave 2 Venom but must be new as it’s necessarily larger to fit the chest. There is a small amount of abdominal definition picked out in a silver grey colour.
The only other decoration is on the backs of Venoms’ hands, incidentally the hands are the same clawed hands as found on the wave 2 version. At first I thought the print on the hands was the same as on wave 2’s but closer comparison reveals that it’s very different. It’s smaller and there are no black dots in the middle. I’m puzzled as to why they didn’t re-visit the earlier print but it doesn’t detract from the overall figure.
Venom has no accessories, he has C3 feet and a solid head rather than one with the usual peg hole.
In conclusion, what should have been a good update of a great Minimate falls flat on it’s too-small face. Stick a wave 2 Venom head on this ‘mate and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
MMC Score – 5 out of 10
I looked forward to getting this boxset when I first heard about it, yet overall I’m really disappointed with the contents. DST can, and have produced much better product in the past. I’m hoping this is just a blip.
Review and pictures by Stewart Kay