Welcome to MINIMAPOCALYPSE II: The Comic Con-ing!!! I'm busy recovering from the exhaustive expanse what was San Diego Comic-Con 2014, so while I try to pick up the pieces of what used to be my bank account please indulge yourself on this properly Convention-themed special Spoils - all of the Minimates I got last year! After all, it wouldn't be Comic Con without a resultant Minimapocalypse.
Art Asylum: Lord of the Rings - Boromir & Pippin
Boromir comes on one of the 2.5" bodies created specifically for this line because Art Asylum didn't want to go smaller than 2". It's a reasonable idea, though now the line isn't in scale with any other Minimates, which kind of spoils the universality of the format. Regardless he's a great figure - wonderful paint and plenty of accessories. He gets the Horn of Gondor, a bed-roll, a cape, sword and scabbard plus his shield and leather gauntlets. The shield had an arm-loop on it so that it can slide on his forearm in place of the gauntlet, and since both gauntlets are removable you could easily move them over to Aragorn for an end of Fellowship/Two Towers look! Pippin uses the 2" body and looks pretty good. He gets a scabbard and belt, sword and cape plus a clear 2x3 flat brick from the now defunct C3 line which serves as a little base for him. The sculpts are a bit soft but the clothing is painted on as much as it could be, which is a very welcome refresh from the more modern Minimates who'd have that all as bulky add-on pieces. These come from effectively my favorite era of Minimates and the purest success of the aesthetic. I love them!
Art Asylum: Lord of the Rings - Merry & Uruk-Hai Crossbowman
While Pippin has his coat and scarf painted on Merry, here, has his coat and vest as a sculpted add-on. It's an odd aesthetic division between the two Hobbits and a weird choice but at least the piece looks great on Merry. He too comes with a clear C3 brick as a base plus a unique cape contoured to his coat, and a scabbard for his sword is also attached to the coat piece. Packed with him is the bane on my collection - the Uruk Hai Crossbowman. I have no idea why we got so many toys of this guy and so few of the regular Uruk Hai soldier but it really irks me. This Minimate uses the 2.5" body and while I do prefer the more restrained details of this period of Minimates this guy just seems a bit too simple. The helmet is removable but there is no alternate hair nor is there any paint on the torso under the armor so that's two big points in favor of modern Minimates. These are good figures, though, and get me closer to a complete set!
DST: Iron Man 3 - Tony Stark (Cowboy Disguise) & Aldrich Killian
This is one of the two direct market exclusives and certainly the more appealing since it gets us the big baddie Aldrich Killian. He comes in an excellent dark suit, which I quite like. The face is pretty good though not a dead-ringer for Guy Pearce. It's a very nice Minimate, though it does feel lacking. He could certainly use a syringe or some kind of accessory, though it would be far, far preferable for him to come with an alternate "final battle" torso. Cowboy Tony is a really weird choice but they did a decent job with him mainly because he comes with a removable coat piece and alternate arms and hat-ed hair. It's an odd choice since it's such a relatively minor costume and he only wears the hat in, like, one shot, but I'm guessing it's the only one they had reference material for (since the "MacGuyver Tony" would have been infinitely cooler and would have made more sense in this pairing). It's a neat set but doesn't feel "must have."
DST: Iron Man 3 - War Machine & Maya Hansen
If the previous set wasn't "must-have" then this one is "easily passable." One of the things I love most about Minimates is their ability to dig deeper into the character pool than most toy lines, so I'm pleased to have a Maya figure even though she had little screen time and was barely more than an exposition/plot-point, but sadly the figure is just as exciting as that film presence. Paired with her is "Sir Not-Be-Appearing-In-This Film," who is basically just an obligatory repaint (though I recall reading DST said War Machine had a bigger presence in the script). These aren't bad Minimates, they're well executed for what they are, they just aren't exciting at all, alas.
DST: Marvel Minimates - Colossus & Rogue
This set is both awesome and frustrating. Rogue is a beautiful figure - that costume goes incredibly well with the Minimate aesthetic and the metallic green paint really pops! Colossus is equally great looking, with metallic silver skin, and comes with an INCREDIBLE volume of alternate pieces to create three different looks for him! That is really using this format to its ultimate best! But then we get the most frustrating things here... there is only one look for Rogue. So... it's a really tough sell to double or triple up unfortunately. The most exciting thing about the set is also the other highly frustrating thing. Colossus with comes with alternate flat-palmed hands with foot-pegs on them so that he do the trademark "Fastball Special" move of chucking Wolverine into the fight! THAT IS TOO COOL! The downside, though...? The pegs are too small to hold Wolverine and he just can't be balanced in any capacity so it is all for not. Heart. Breaking.
DST: Marvel Minimates - Longshot & Dazzler
This set is way more cooler than I expected. Longshot has never been anything but a joke to me, you can't really get any more dated than his mullet and costume. But he comes with alternate hands, one holding his knives and one throwing them, which look pretty cool. Plus he gets a little leg-sheath and a knife to fit in it. I have little knowledge of Dazzler but she's just as '80s and Longshot so this is a great pair. Excitingly she comes with alternate arms and hair so you can actually get two different looks! It's really a bummer she wasn't packed with Colossus (as I want a second Longhshot much less than a second Rogue) but I'm sure things didn't cost-out that way, plus these character-pairings make more sense. I really do like that Dazzler figure though; much more than I expected.
DST: Mavel Minimates - Wolverine & Brood
Here we get another Brown Wolverine but he's arguably the best one yet with much more vivid coloring. He comes with alternate hair and mask plus a very cool "pulled down mask" - a feature I am an absolute sucker for! The Brood is pretty good, and does a decent job of incorporating Minimate pieces but the design just doesn't mesh too well with the Minimate look. Still though, this is a nice compliment to this series' whole 1980s vibe. While not the most exciting theme it is pulled off pretty well.
DST: Marvel Minimates - The Incredible Hulk Through The Ages Box Set
We get four variations of Hulk, all good but all of varying necessity. Composite Hulk is certainly the weakest of the set as he's just a "filler" piece. It's fun though and perfect for a boxset like this. I have a very special connection to Maestro Hulk as the book he comes from was the first "special issue" and first Hulk book I ever got. He's enjoyed a reasonable amount of popularity thanks to the ToyBiz figure from the '90s and this guy is a perfect Minimate! He nails the wacky costume Old Hulk wore plus he gets an alternate crowned hairpiece and a super cool cape that replaces the right arm with a sculpted one holding the cape around him. All this and a neat little rubble display of fallen hero trophies! Joe Fixit Hulk is a character I first "met" through that same ToyBiz line that featured Maestro and I've been waiting for this guy ever since the new Kingpin tooling rolled out. Plus he gets parts for full suit and battle-ravaged look (just like the ToyBiz figure)! And finally we get Barbarian Hulk who comes hot on the heels of the Marvel Select figure. My understanding is that this is a fairly short-lived variation of the man but he still looks neat and makes for a great Minimate.
DST: Mavel Minimates - "Fear Itself" The Mighty Box Set
Marvel rolls out yet another "epic maxi-series" that is promptly forgotten. However, that's what DST is here for and what makes Minimates so great - they can quickly and easily swing in and bust out some nice figures for something not popular/significant enough to warrant the higher production costs of figures, etc. Spider-Man comes in an approximately grayscale version of his costume to ensure he is as boringly dressed as ever. For some wacky/"badass" reason he now has giant wrist blades... Next up is our first Odin Minimate and he's pretty good if not quite bulky and very movie-inspired. It's nice to get him, but I can't help but prefer a more Silver Age iteration to go with that roster of characters. Hawkeye comes in a very dark purple with bright yellow Tron lines, plus a translucent yellow arrow, in a further effort to make the guy with a bow and arrows somehow relevant to the 21st century. Finally there is Iron Man which is a wildly simple Minimate, but is fantastically printed in a cool gun-metal gray and red-orange pattern.
DST: Mavel Minimates - "Fear Itself" The Worthy Box Set
And here are the "bad guys" from Fear Itself. The box text did its best to condense what sounded like a pretty convoluted plot, but it afforded us some fresh, fun "dark" variations to some popular characters. The Serpent is some Asgardian god of fear or something. I can't imagine being afraid of him with that redonkulous '70s stache, though. Skadi is the Red Skull's daughter (so do we call her the Pink Skull?). I like the green costume she's sporting, which makes her the sole 'mate with no bulk torso piece in the set. Mokk is Grey Gargoyle, a seemingly random and odd choice to pull out of the bin but looks fairly neat, though a bit "Ultimate Green Goblin"-y. Finally we have the Thing as Angrir in a neat bit of color reversal (orange cracks and black skin). I figured he'd be an easy repaint of the new-ish Thing tooling but there is less re-use than I expected. Overall, despite my flippancy, this is a pretty good set for what it is.
DST: The Spirit - Boxset
You know, I finally got around to watching The Spirit last year and my recollection is that it wasn't as bad as it looked, it just was that Frank Miller wasn't the right guy to direct the movie (or at least to do so with as few reins as they put on him). The Spirit is a quite simple but well done figure. He comes with alternate hair without a hat but it came too jacked-up and pinched to fit on his head. Sand Sarif is just another character in all-black. The Octopus was our first Sam Jackson Minimate and is easily the star of the set if, for no other reason, that he isn't dressed in all black. Plus he gets the only two accessories, two machine guns with extra bits glued on the outside. Silken Floss was also our first Scarlett Johanssen Minimate so it's novel that this set includes Nick Fury and Black Widow. She comes as "generic sexy nurse" and gets a nice hairpiece I'm kind of surprised hasn't been re-used for the Walking Dead line. This isn't a bad set, but it's as forgettable as the movie so it was smart of DST to not spend much money on it.
DST: The Spirit - Battle Damage Spirit & Formal Wear Sand Sarif
Completionism strikes again as I can now walk away from The Spirit. Formal Sand is a lovely figure and Battle-Damaged Spirt is just battle-damaged Spirit. Again, it's all just pretty boring. I think we can thank "visionary" "director" Frank Miller for that.
DST: Star Trek - Captain Picard (First Contact) & Borg Queen
Here we get "movie" Picard and his most iconic screen villain, the Borg Queen. Picard is quite good and though technically never-before-made he was a very easy custom made out of the previous Picard and Sisko 'mates. This one gets a phaser, movie rifle and series tricorder. The Borg Queen is very cool and comes with a new, unique, hollow torso into which the "spinal column" and sternum fits (in fact the spinal cord plugs on to the peg from the hips). It's a pretty fun feature and works impressively well, the only downside is that they didn't include a way to let the head and spine hover. On the plus side, those flight stands included with some figures and the stand-packs fits over the neck, so if you have a spare one that'll do the trick. The Queen's face and wire-hair is also a slip-on piece and underneath the head is painted like her skull. That's a pretty cool attention to detail, however I'm not sure what to do with it since we never see it separate from the spine but the spine has the collar-bone flesh painted on it - but still, I'd rather have the skull than not.
DST: Star Trek - Captain Sisko & Jem'Hadar
Here get Sisko from that brief period of time when he was bald and not in the First Contact uniform, so it feels a little underwhelming; especially since it was also easily customized from the last go-around. He really needs an alternate "Season 1" head to boost the feeling of necessity, especially since he's packed with a Jem'Hadar. This guy gets a new blaster and rifle, head and torso cover. He's great, but there's one problem... the Jem'Hadar are all clones so they packed the ultimate armybuilder with not only a figure that has no alternate looks, but who comes in his least prevalent look from the show and is a character available in the previous series and in the concurrent Toys R Us one! Basically, it's the worst possible pairing they could have done and practically seems to be a conscious move to piss off fans and collectors who want to build a proper army. I mean, I guess you could do a head and hand switch with the Picard to warrant double-ups on both, but come on... the Sisko here is just as boring as possible.
DST: Thundercats - Boxset 2
I was finally able to get caught up the Action Figure Xpress exclusive Thundercats boxsets so lets take a look at the villain themed one! Jackalman looks pretty good and while it seems like there is something "off" about his head the body and chest armor are pretty cool. Vultureman turned out equally neat, though there is something odd about his beak-head, but I'm pressed to think how of else they could have done it. Monkian probably works the best here since he's the most humanoid. Slithe turned out awesomely and is my favorite of the set. The new torso looks good and even reuses the little half-head from the Halo Arbiter, so big points for re-use! The select includes the signature weapon of each character (two for Monkian) and unique mini-robo-pet: the 'Wolfrat'. It's sculpted quite well and though un-articulated is sculpted to look like he were a proper Minimate - cool!
DST: Thundercats - Boxset 3
First up is Tygra, the blue-clad tiger man, and he looks great. They could have easily re-used Wolverine hair so kudos for doing a new sculpt. He comes with a little gold hilt with three balls on it which I didn't realize until reading yo's review that the balls could be removed and the blue whip attached between them and the hilt to create is signature bolo whip. Cheetara, the sole woman on the team, has a pretty simple design but it looks great on the Minimate. She comes with a little gold "T" that plugs into her wrist-guard, a compacted version of her signature staff - nice attention to detail! Then we have the twins Wilykit & Wilykat which roll-out all new forearms and lower legs that remove the wrist/ankle articulation in order to shorten them for a more youthful proportion. It's of medium success but I far more prefer that than not! I just wish they would have used those even smaller bodies they unveiled a while back for the unreleased "Father's Day" line. The set also includes another of the mini-characters, and this time it's Berbil Bill, who has unarticulated but normal-sized 'mate hands and a tiny little dagger. Too cute!
DST: The Walking Dead - Dexter & Dreadlock Zombie
Here we get a pretty cool Zombie in properly ragged clothes and a neat big bit of gore that plugs on to his left shoulder. He even includes an alternate arm in case you'd prefer to move that piece over to a different figure! Dexter comes in an awesomely done prison-orange jumpsuit and the two 'mates make a great pair. However, I have one issue with the Dexter figure and that's the inclusion of a tiny patch of brown skin at his neckline on the torso. It's accurate and looks good but it kills a lot of re-usability for the body to make some much desired "imprisioned" versions of characters. I suppose it's more a comment on the unvaried race in comic books and film, since really... who could we use this for? Black Manta? Any other first, second or even third tier villains? I ended up snagging another one of these in the big Toys R Us sale but if I could have used this body for Norman Osborn, Loki, Lex Luthor or the Joker I would have just been the happiest boy ever!
DST: The Walking Dead - Riot Gear Rick & Guard Zombie
I really like the look of the Riot Gear outfit, much more so than the old M.A.X. version, but I'll be goshdarned if it isn't frustrating as heck. The real issues are the boots and the gloves. The former keep falling off the legs and have footpegs so shallow there is absolutely no point to including them in the sculpt, or even a base for Rick. The gloved hands have such a tight grip it is a huge pain to force the weapons into them (and the axe was an absolute no-go). Other than those shortcomings, though, it's a nice figure and the helmet with flip-up visor works quite well. The Security/Cop Zombie is pretty cool, but he comes with the boot feet that lack pegholes. He does get interchangeable half arm and full arm so that is an awesome touch which allow for some nice variability.
DST: The Walking Dead - Prison Hershel & Farmer Zombie
The Farmer Zombie is a really great Zombie figure as he feels very "zombie," if that makes any sense. I particularly like appreciate that the shoulder-embedded scythe piece is removable. Hershel is a fine figure, but somehow is less exciting than Dexter above - perhaps it's the lack of gun-belt. I suppose I could get a couple more of this set to use for my prisoner customs, but the short sleeves and low-buttoned chest just don't seem appropriate for most comic villains (and particularly for Joker).
DST: The Walking Dead - Battle-Damaged Tyreese & Farmer Zombie
Here's the variant set for Series 3 and it's a fairly unexciting one, I must confess. It's nice to get a second of the Farmer Zombie to have him displayed with both scythe-on and off looks. Tyrese is just... a guy. And honestly I just don't recall this storyline well enough to remember if Tyreese getting beat up is really significant enough to warrant a figure. I'm sure it was key though and related to the several horrible things that happened to these poor characters as Kirkman just delights in subjecting decent people to the most horrific things imaginable for the pure sake of "no way man, that's totally what would happen."
DST: The Walking Dead - Boxset
This is a 75% good boxset, with the 25% fail being Michonne's identicalness to her previous release, save but for an ever so slightly different facial expression. The two zombies, however, are awesome, especially the one in the teal shirt, who is pretty much my favorite zombie 'mate to date. Then we get another nice Rick in an unique look that fits perfectly with the other prison figures. Maybe I could use this guy for my prisoner customs, but while he does have an undershirt on the jumpsuit it's too unbuttoned, and short-sleeved, to feel right for the more proper bad guys. Not mention that my un-desire for a third Michonne outweighs my interest in doubling-up on the zombies. Oh well... maybe if I ever see this in a sale...