#87 - Spider-Man Friends & Foes
Here's some behind-the-scenes info for you: way back at the dawn of this feature, I showed you my filing cabinet and said that was the reason we started reviewing Minimates every week. Well, that's only partially true: the real germ of the idea was disappointment that I'd probably never get to review this particular set.
Whether fighting the rampaging Rhino or battling the relentless Morlun, Spider-Man has had more than his share of knuckle sandwiches. Explaining the bruises, broken bones and scrapes, however, is much more difficult.
Oh look, a battle-damaged Spider-Man. Haven't seen that before. This one's certainly been through hell, with his costume torn over his forehead, mouth, right shoulder, left arm below the elbow, stomach, and several patches on the legs. He's covered in scratches and the lenses in his mask are cracked. He has one of Black Widow's bracelets, I guess as a stand-in for a webshooter? The "skin" paint on his legs is so thin that the red and blue beneath it show through, which is not good.
Battle Ravaged Spider-Man comes with the usual webline, as well as a hand molded with a web coming out of the palm. This web terminates in a big "claw" designed to fit around a standard Minimate torso, as though Spidey has just grabbed them. The piece originated in Series 4, but that was way back in 2004, six years before this set came out, so an update is welcome.
Felicia Hardy dons the Black Cat costume and slinks along the New York skyline as a private eye now that she's attempting to give up her thieving ways. With her bad luck powers returned though, it won't be an easy task.
Speaking of old releases, the only previous Black Cat Minimate was in Series 10. That means she was hard to find, and done in a fairly cartoony style. This one is more detailed - and it depicts her modern costume, which, instead of having full rings of fur around the arms and legs, simply has thin strips of fur running vertically. Her costume's gone Brazilian! The fur isn't just painted on, either: that means new hands and feet, and a unique shawl to cover her shoulders. Her hair is new, too. The body is glass black, with dark grey highlights for the anatomy.
Otto Octavius invented his famous mechanical harness to safely handle chemicals, yet became permanently fused with the device after a radiation leak - creating one of Spider-Man's most dangerous foes - Doctor Octopus!
Legend has it that Dr. Octopus was based on Roy Orbison, and looking at this figure, you can definitely see the parallels: the shaggy bowl cut, the dark shades, the paunch... but Roy Orbison didn't look like that in the '60s. He was thinner, had a pompadour and wore normal glasses. He just happened to turn into Doc Ock as he aged! This Minimate gets a neck chest cap to bulk him up, and a new hair piece, despite the fact that they could have gotten away with using Guy Gardner's mop.
Otto poses a problem for Minimates, in that his arms are not conducive to the style. This figure deals with them fairly well, making four separate limbs that each swivel at two points: once where they plug into the back of his chest cap, and once more in the middle. Since there are two bends in the distal segment, you can get a nice variety of poses out of the arms - they don't have to look like four copies of the same thing (which, after all, is what they are). It was tough to get them into his back at first, but once they're in they're secure.
When Adrian Toomes' business partner bankrupted their company, the enraged scientist invented a high-tech wing apparatus which allowed him to take his supervillain career to the skies as the deadly Vulture!
Ah, the Vulture; the one character in this set who hadn't been released before (and also hasn't been released since - you can get him here or nowhere). This is the classic Vulture, not the more recent black and red costume. He's wearing dark green longjohns with lots of thin vertical lines for shading/anatomy. The face looks a little young and happy: Vulture's an old grump, so this Minimate could use more lines on its face. The white feathers around his neck are a separate piece, larger in the back to suggest his anti-gravity hump. His wings are two pieces, so they don't block the articulation: the upper part is on a ring that fits around the arm, while the lower part is molded as part of the new hand. Nice work! It's surprising we've never seen these wings used again.
You'll notice that in a set called "Friends & Foes," there's Spider-Man himself, two villains, and one character who could qualify as an ally. So shouldn't this really be "Friend" and Foes? In any case, with this set you can finally build a complete Minimate Sinister Six.