Today we’re jumping back to the 80’s for the very first (and best!) junior X-Men team, the New Mutants! This 4-pack was released as an AFX Exclusive in 2010. Let’s have a look, shall we?
The New Mutants are a little before my time. They were introduced in 1982’s Marvel Graphic Novel #4, which continued into their own ongoing series. They were Marvel’s very first X-Men spin-off title. Yes, at one time there were only two X-books. I became familiar with the characters much later through X-Force, the team they eventually evolved into. The New Mutants have always proved problematic in toy form. Some of them have powers that are difficult to represent in plastic and as for the costumes, I wouldn’t call them boring, but they are a little plain. The costumes are based off of the original X-Men costumes and have been re-purposed as the default X-Men Training costumes, seen as recently as Wave 60’s Strike Force X-Men. The thing about “junior” X-Men is that in theory, they should eventually graduate and join the main team. This rarely happens and since the characters are so linked to each other, Marvel always puts them back together. They’re permanently relegated to B-team status. But hey, a lot of comic readers grew up with these guys so the New Mutants brand definitely has a loyal fan base. How did DST manage to tackle these guys? Let’s look at each Minimate:
Sam Guthrie discovered his mutant power while attempting to escape a collapsing mine. Manipulated by Hellfire Club member Donald Pierce into serving as one of his operatives he was sent to battle Professor X and the New Mutants. Refusing to kill the young heroes, he joined them to defeat Pierce.
Since this is comics and Sam is from the South, he’s the most stereotypical southern archetype imaginable. Coal miner, “gee shucks”, 36 brothers and sisters, he probably listens to country and votes Republican too. Sam is sporting his second costume here. Want his first? Pop his head on a Hellfire Club Guard. As mentioned above, Sam was originally recruited by Donald Pierce. If you’re gonna make the New Mutants, it’s best to use the classic costume. I’ll just go over the costume once since all four Minimates are wearing the same thing. The yellows don’t match up exactly but they’re pretty close. The older model gloves were used instead of the two-piece hand/cuff model. The standard X-belt as a separate piece is a nice touch and makes the Minimate pop. I can imagine customizers have a lot of uses for these guys. There isn’t much muscle detail here which is smart, these guys are supposed to be kids. Sam was defined by his big goofy ears and flat top in those early appearances so it’s weird that they’re not represented here. I’m not exactly sure if this hairpiece was re-used elsewhere, if it’s new then that’s an even odder choice. He also has a very serious look here where he was always drawn as a goofy hillbilly.
In another odd parts choice, Sam comes with the Iron Man style boot jets instead of the waist attaching blast stand which is shown in the second picture. That blast stand came out around the same time so I’m not sure what’s going on here. Sam had a lot of difficulty controlling his direction in those early appearances, so I guess just pretend he’s blasting aimlessly? If you have an extra waist blast stand, switch them out.
As a basic New Mutant costume this is a good Minimate, but unfortunately it just doesn’t look like Sam. A couple part swaps could have made this Minimate perfect. 6/10.
Roberto da Costa was a young, wealthy Brazillian when his mutant power attracted the attention of Donald Pierce. After a failed kidnapping attempt Charles Xavier sent his New Mutants to help da Costa defeat Pierce. Da Costa later joined the New Mutants, under the code-name Sunspot.
Wait, this is Sunspot? Sunspot was never a “fire/glowing” type character, he was always drawn as pitch black when powered up with Kirby Krackle surrounding him. Translucent plastic is such a weird choice and it really brings him down, this looks nothing like any version of Sunspot. For some reason, he also gets plain hands and feet as alternates to the gloves and boots. There’s a rumor that this Minimate was originally conceived as a powered-up Beyonder that was never released and inserted here instead. I’m not sure if that’s true, but it would at least make sense.
As much as I don’t like the powered-up version, I equally love the powered-down head. This is where the set gets good. If you buy multiples, you can place the powered-down Sunspot on Cannonball’s body and you’ve got yourself a powered-down Sunspot. Clever! I would much rather display this version. The hair is definitely re-used from Beyonder but the Geri-curl fits ‘Berto to a T. Sunspot was always the “coolest” member of the team and Geri-curls were all the rage back then. He also really, really liked Magnum PI. The eighties!
The powered down head is the only thing saving this Minimate from a 1/10. There’s nothing really wrong about the Minimate itself, it just doesn’t represent Roberto at all and as everyone knows by now, accuracy is the first thing I look for. 4/10.
Rahne Sinclair was raised by Rev. Craig in a Scottish orphanage. Mistaking the manifestation of her power as demonic possession, Craig attempted to perform an exorcism. She was rescued and adopted by Doctor Moira MacTaggert and eventually became part of the New Mutants training team.
The problem with a written medium is that you can never be 100% sure how to properly pronounce made-up words. For the longest time, I thought Rahne was pronounced like the name “Renee” when it’s actually “rain.” If you just learned that here first, you’re welcome! Wolfsbane also shares the transforming gimmick that Sunspot had. You can place her powered-down head on a spare Karma body and you get her powered-down.
I’m not sure why they used this hairpiece (twice) since Rahne never wore her hair like that. They got the front right, but she doesn’t have a braid. In fact, there’s a lot of generic male hairpieces that would have worked better. The normal face is ok. It’s a little on the sassy side where Rahne was always drawn as wide-eyed and innocent. An expression like the one on Future Kitty Pryde would have been nice. The wolf version is a nice color, and in a rare move, she gets a nose! She gets claw hands but unfortunately no clawed feet. I don’t believe that part was around yet, but she does get claws tampo’d on her toes. All of the line work has some nice fuzzy detailing to it. But where’s her tail? I guess since she’s mid transformation, we can overloook it, but it does feel off. Hopefully if we get a new Wolfsbane DST fixes these issues. And hopefully she’s in her X-Factor costume. (Where are those guys, DST?)
Wolfsbane is a well-done Minimate but she does have some minor issues holding her down. 7/10
Vietnamese-born Xi’an “Shan” Coy Manh demonstrated and extreme ability to sacrifice in order to save the lives of her siblings. Having honed her abilities under Charles Xavier at various times, Coy Manh is currently a faculty member at the Xavier Institute.
Shan has never received an action figure of any kind, probably because mind control isn’t exactly the easiest power to replicate in toy form. I mean really, how do you do that? Alternate possessed heads, maybe? If this set was released today, she would probably get some sort of translucent alternate hair piece to replicate the effect. Maybe something like this:
That said, I really like this Minimate despite her plainness. The face is perfect and the hairpiece is an exact match. Good parts re-use here, I believe this was originally from Back to the Future’s Jennifer Parker.
There’s really not much to say about Karma. The few things she does have going for her all all done well enough. I can’t hold no power accessories against her since DST didn’t really do stuff like that in 2010. Not the most exciting Minimate in the world but that’s due to the source material. Just the fact that we got a Karma is pretty cool to me. 7/10.
Despite some odd parts choices and a really weird Sunspot, this is a fun set, even though it feels kind of rushed. DST also did something really cool in that they actually finished the team. This four-pack was supplemented by a couple TRU exclusive two-packs released later, a trend I really wish they would bring back. Completing teams is something action figure companies rarely do, or if they do, you have to overlook certain things like having them in the appropriate costumes. This should be common sense but you would be surprised how many toy companies don’t do this. DST deserves recognition here, do you think Marvel Legends is going to give you three different Cannonball costumes to choose from? Despite some quirks, I give this set a thumbs up. The New Mutants are an important part of the mythos and the fact that we actually have them is pretty cool. Don’t forget to buy two sets so that you can make the alternate looks!
Pictures and review by BigVis497