2015
22.08

Excalibur

Today we’re going to look at a set based on Marvels’ UK-based (mostly) mutant heroes, Excalibur!

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This set is based on the earliest issues of 1988’s Excalibur series. After the Mutant Massacre, several of the X-Men were injured. Nightcrawler and Shadowcat were sent to Muir Island to recuperate. Little be known to them, the sorcerer Merlyn’s daughter Roma orchestrated these events to get these characters together with Captain Britain, Meggan, and also a dimensionally-displaced Rachel Summers to face a future threat. In one of their first adventures together, they prevented longtime X-Men foe the Juggernaut from escaping prison.

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Excalibur started out as a direct market-only comic and since I got all of my comics at news stands when I was a kid, I didn’t get to follow those early stories. When I was able to finally go back and pick up some issues I was always surprised at how different it was from the other X-Books. The book was by Chris Claremont and Alan Davis, so as you can imagine it was fairly lighthearted. This set was released in 2011 as a Direct Market exclusive and it gives us Captain Britain, Meggan, Nightcrawler and Juggernaut. Let’s take a look at the Minimates!

 

Capt. Britain

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Brian Braddock’s life was planned for him from before he was even born. Merlyn sent his father James Braddock to Earth to sire a champion who could defend the multiverse. As a young man, Brian Braddock visited America in a student exchange program, rooming with Peter Parker (a.k.a. Spider-Man), alongside whom he faced the assassin Arcade and the lycanthropic menace known as Litter.

We received a Minimate of Brian’s first Exaclibur costume (second overall costume, his first was a completely different look seen in the above mentioned Spider-Man team-up) back in Wave 31 with Shadowcat. Brian started wearing this costume during the Cross Time Caper story line. It’s nice to get a different version instead of a repeat of the previous. Here’s a comparison of both costumes:

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Unfortunately, this one has some problems. Brian is a really big guy so he just looks wrong on a basic Minimate. There’s no add-on parts here with the exception of the boots. This version cold have probably used the same gloves as Wave 31 and preferably a brand new sculpted helm. Brian has very unique headgear, he really needs a unique piece to get the look right. A powerhouse chest piece should be required too as it is now, Meggan dwarfs him.

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Other than that, the paint is actually decent, the red, blue and white are very clean. He gets no accessories, nor should he really.

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I appreciate the fact that we get a different costume, but unfortunately the execution here really misses the mark. 4/10

 

Juggernaut

 

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Excalibur’s earliest escapades found them preventing Juggernaut from escaping prison, and taking on the Crazy Gang and Arcade in his deadly “Murderworld”. Who could have imagined that years later, due to the decimation of the mutant population following “M-Day’” that the unstoppable Juggernaut would journey to England and become a trusted member of team Excalibur?

This is the reason a lot of people bought this set, our first Juggernaut Minimate since the original scrawny version that does not fit with today’s product. Juggernaut is actually only the second Marvel Minimate to use the fully bulked-up pieces after Wave 37’s Thing. Updating older Minimates into this style is thankfully a trend that continues to this day. He’s suitably massive, however I wish he could have received a chest riser like later Hulks because the Juggernaut should be enormous.

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The hair is a strange piece, I don’t remember Cain Marko ever rocking such a wild perm, he usually just had a neutral hairstyle. Even stranger is that I don’t recall this piece being used anywhere else, unless I’m wrong it was created for this set. The helmet is great! A big hunk of metal bolts along the edges. All of the bands on his arms are sculpted on, a great design choice. The only thing I would add would be the skullcap he worse underneath the helmet to protect him from his stepbrother Professor X’s psychic attack. For some reason, Juggernaut has identical thigh covers on both legs. I thought maybe it was just an error on mine, but all other pictures I’ve seen show this error too. If Juggy gets an update, hopefully they address these issues. And he hopefully he does because a lot of collectors missed out on Juggernaut and he commands a hefty aftermarket price!

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A great representation of a classic X-Men villain. Until they make a better one, you need this in your collection! 8/10

 

Nightcrawler

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Kurt Wagner was shunned at birth due to his demonic appearance, which included blue skin, pointed ears, fangs and a long pointed tail. Nearly dying during the massacre of the Morlock population by Riptide, Kurt was taken to the Muir Island mutant research facility to recuperate. Lead to believe that the X-Men had died in Dallas at the hands of Adversary, Kurt carried on, later becoming one of the founding members of the British super-team, Excalibur.

I’m sure somebody will correct me but I think this is the only times a figure from an exclusive box set was made available elsewhere. Nightcrawler was released later in 2011 as a Toys ‘R’ Us exclusive with Betsy Braddock. His only prior Minimate was in the Giant-Size X-Men box set from way back in 2004. The old one was clunky compared to today’s stuff, Kurt was definitely overdue for an update.

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I really love that teleportation base! It’s a piece we’ve only seen used a couple times since then. It captures Kurt’s teleportation effect perfectly, a trait that no other toy line has ever managed to do. The hands and feet are re-used from the original, it’s not a bad choice but some tighter sculpted pieces would have been nice. The tail attaches like a belt piece would between the crotch and the torso, it’s not noticeable which is a good thing. He uses the shoulder pads from many Wolverine figures which I hate, they move around too much. However, it is a better choice than a solid piece over his entire chest. The last thing Nightcrawler needs is added bulk, he’s a skinny acrobat. I like the newer shoulder pad piece from Domino and Avalanche, it would have been nice to see a single piece that attaches around the neck or shoulders like that. Kurt’s only accessory is the teleport base. He probably could have came with a sword, which he used a lot in Excalibur.

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Everyone needs a Nightcrawler, who doesn’t love this guy? Very little to complain about here! 9/10

 

Meggan

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Meggan and Brian Braddock (a.k.a. Captain Britain) helped found Excalibur. After defeating Mastermind, Brian was crowned King of Otherworld, with Meggan as his queen. The pair recently returned to their own world (Earth-616) during a reality storm, and Meggan appeared to sacrifice herself to seal an interdimensional rift, thus preventing the reality disruption from spreading across the multiverse.

Wow! Meggan looks exactly like an Alan Davis drawing come to life! I must admit, I usually don’t like artist-specific renditions of characters. I like my figures to look “neutral.” If a figure looks too stylized, I often find they look out of place with the rest of the line. But here? I don’t care. Meggan is THE Alan Davis character, she represents all of his style quirks. The huge flowing hair piece is Meggan and Meggan only. It’s a great representation of the artwork but it sits a little crooked over her eyebrows. Her costume is a nice bright green, but there’s some weird paintwork going on. The black lines on her arms don’t really connect to the lines on her chest like they should and for some reason there’s a space between the green straps on her feet and the legs, it’s supposed to be a solid legging.

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Unfortunately the odd paint errors keep Meggan from a perfect score, but she’s a character you need for an Excalibur display and nobody else would ever make her. 9/10

 

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Captain Britain is a bit of a dud but Nightcrawler and Juggernaut are absolutely essential updates to any collection and Meggan is a really cool character that has never received a figure elsewhere. Thumbs up for Excalibur!

 

Photos and review by BigVis497

 

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User Rating for Minimate #1:
Rating: 4.7/10 (7 votes cast)
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User Rating for Minimate #2:
Rating: 9.3/10 (7 votes cast)
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User Rating for Minimate #3:
Rating: 8.3/10 (7 votes cast)
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User Rating for Minimate #4:
Rating: 7.9/10 (7 votes cast)
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