Hoo boy - San Diego Comic Con 2018 was last week/weekend and ol' Rustin needs a bit of a breather! So, let's take this chance to do a quick catch-up Spoils on a bunch of Walgreens exclusives I've yet to write-up. But which Walgreens exclusives? What kind? Well, my presumably loyal casual OAFE enthusiast... the Minimates kind... which can only mean... that's right... its.... MINIMAPOCALYPSE V: THE WALGREENENING!!! Brought to you exclusively by champion of toys and hero to collectors, Walgreens Toy Buyer/Executive, the delightful Mr. Steven Anne - without whom we'd have none of the figures (nor, now that Toys R Us is dead, any Minimates at mass retail)! The guy is super nice, super enthusiastic and single-handedly is responsible for a bunch of great toys/exclusives from a bunch of companies and I didn't get a chance to thank him in person last week at SDCC for what he's doing so I'll take this chance to do so now!
Since this week we're focused solely on the Minimates from the Animated Marvel shows, I figure it's worth including direct callouts of those what came before. Below you'll find Walgreens Series 2, 2.5, 3, 4, and 5 - a quick trip to Minimapocalypse IV will avail you of Series 1 and 1.5. I never understood why, nor was it ever clearly explained, why Walgreens' series had these weird "half numbers" of 1.5 & 2.5... shouldn't this really cover us up through Series 9 (including what's come after)? Oh well, they count the regular Marvel Minimates line as up to 75 even though the Ghost Rider movie
wave series, Series 15, was never released. DST just does these things. Also, Toys R Us had its own surprise series of Animated Minimates right around the time Walgreens' first series popped up. TRU's was themed entirely around the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon. And then we've talked about Walgreens Series 6 previously (and here) as well as Series 7 - so this will get us all caught up on the Animated Universe of Marvel Minimates!
DST - Marvel Animated Minimates: "Ultimate Spider-Man" Iron Spider-Man & Taskmaster
I've never been a fan of the "Iron Spidey" costume, it's graphics are a bit too basic for me and, really, the red and yellow/gold colors don't look great together on it. But it's a mash-up of two popular characters so it ain't goin' anywhere any time soon. This version helps make it a bit more dynamic by incorporating some cool two-tone shading effects to help give it a more animated look. I really adore this approach on these figures! Spidey gets a removable "backpack" that the three mech legs plug in to, as well as a "hover base" and an alternate, revealed-face head - not bad! He comes with Taskmaster, whose white and dark-blue colors are a nice counter point to Iron Spidey, but it would have been cool to see some of that cell-shading applied to him as well, particularly on the mask/skull. He comes with a sword and shield; and an alternate head would have been nice since Spidey gets one.
DST - Marvel Animated Minimates: "Avengers Assemble" Dark Avengers Iron Man & Black Widow
"Dark Avengers"...? Okay. Weird that they'd do an "evil" Iron Man before a regular one, and an armor that's just not very appealing - but maybe that's part of his evilness. It looks like a basic/standard Iron Man suit, but with the red replaced by dark blue which grossly contrasts against the bright yellow on the limbs. I do like that they used minimal tooling here and relied heavily on prints and paint - including some excellent shading effects on the torso! He comes with a flight stand and a removable helmet, and I kinda dig that he's still wearing a tech "hood" negating the need for a hairpiece while also seeming more "right" while being fully armored. Black Widow turned out pretty great too with some excellent print/paint work and a nice design perfectly balanced between simple and complex. A head with an alternate expression would have been nice and tipped me over into buying a second of this set, given Iron Evil's removable helmet.
DST - Marvel Animated Minimates: "Avengers Assemble" Dark Avengers Thor & Thanos
It's surprising to me that Thanos would be in an Avengers Assemble set rather than a Guardians one, but never having seen a second of any of these shows... who knows? He's a nice big, bulky figure though the dull yellow is a bit overwhelming and a couple hits of a darker hue for "shading" would have helped A LOT. He comes with a, to be perfectly honest, ugly figure. I'm sure it's a good representation of what's on the show, but these shades just clash awfully - and the whole set is just too yellow & dark-blue. Evil-Thor gets, oddly, swappable hair, a single-foot flight stand and evil-mjolnir. The extra hair is nice but totally unnecessary - BUT, since I'm such a slut, and really want to support the line, I'd have bought a second if Thanos had an alternate head... Maybe they should have swapped these two sets so it was Thanos and Black Widow and then a "Dark Avengers" two-pack. It's especially weird that they never came back to this team, especially when a quick googling shows an evil (gray?) Hulk and a US Agent were also on the "Dark Avengers."
DST - Marvel Animated Minimates: "Guardians of the Galaxy" Drax the Destroyer & Gamora
And now we finally complete the team started back in Series 1! Both Drax and Gamora are great designs that are perfect mid-way points between the comics and the movies, in fact and I think I prefer them over either other version! A good balance of simple and detailed, both also get some nice color variation and shading effects. Drax comes with his two daggers and Gamora, her sword, and the set includes an adorable little Baby Groot! It's a great pack - I just wish we had some other characters or villains for them to fight!
DST - Marvel Animated Minimates: "Ultimate Spider-Man" Spyder-Knight & Man-Thing
Our very first Man-Thing Minimate! It seems pretty on-model for the comic and would likely slot in well for regular Marvel collection. I like all the line work on his limbs and the new torso piece is nice, but it could use some line tampos or shading on the torso to help break up the sea of green and aesthetically tie it in more with the limbs. Spyder-Knight is some wacky new design but it's pretty fun looking and executed really well here - love those white highlights! He comes with an alternate gauntlet with an extended sword/blade, which can be used on either hand - not bad. This is a pretty darn good set!
DST - Marvel Animated Minimates: "Ultimate Spider-Man" SHIELD Armor Spider-Man & Power Man
Man, this cartoon gets some pretty neat Spider variants! Armored Spidey looks great here and comes with a (new?) set of upper torso/shoulder armor and a Magneto-esque helmet (the rest is captured solely by excellent line and shading work!) and a big laser gun (plus one of those useless old web strands). Power Man is a decent redesign but still a bit bland. He comes with two heads, which is nice, though one had a weird "scared" expression... guess it'd make sense if I saw the show... He comes with two slabs of broken concrete to prove that is he both a MAN and that has a lot of POWER. Totally secure, he is, in all regards. So, don't even worry about him. It's totally not an issue. He's not Weak Boy, he's Power Man. It's right in the name. It's your fault if it makes you uncomfortable. Seriously. What's your problem? Quit projecting. He doesn't have anything to prove, you do! Geez... Get over it. Move on. No, seriously. We have, like, 14 more sets to get through. You can drop it. He's fine; totally secure. Don't worry about it! Move on! Come on, guys...
DST - Marvel Animated Minimates: "Avengers Assemble" Thor & Nighthawk
And now, in Series 2.5 (aka the fourth series) we finally get a proper Thor. He's cool; a bit bland, but really what can one do with him. Like his Dark counterpart above he comes with swappable helmet and hair pieces, a flight stand and (Good) Mjolnir. The Odinson is packed with... NIGHTHAWK!? We're getting Squadron Supreme Minimates, motherfather!!! It's kind of amazing, given how deep DST has gone with some lines, that they've never done Squadron Supreme before, but they're apparently on the show and in relatively comic-accurate costumes so, much like with Man-Thing, this Animated line is proving to be a perfect surrogate or add-on to our comic collections! The figure turned out great and gets swappable hair and "cowl" mask plus and all-new, all-accurate ridged cape! Not bad! Man... given that both of these 'mates have alternate looks... why didn't I get two of this set!?
DST - Marvel Animated Minimates: "Avengers Assemble" Iron Man & Power Princess
THIS SET IS GLORIOUS, and I must have been low on cash at the time because I can NOT imagine why I didn't get two of it! Power Princess, aka fake Wonder Woman, gets a beautifully updated costume here - an exceedingly rare example of a modern improvement on a classic character. Sadly, as a result she's not comic (or at least classically) accurate, but the alternate hair piece seems fairly universal for her looks so I'm sure one could whip-up a decent kitbash of the old bathing suit costume adding this hair piece. She also sports a rad helmet and a neat hammer/axe weapon. Iron Man is... perfect. Seriously. This is probably my favorite (not Silver Age) Iron Man Minimate that they've ever released! Subtly sculpted upper arms, a waist cover and armored gauntlets on a basic Minimate body, so the bulk of this is gorgeous print and paint work! Best of all, he gets two heads and a removable helmet! The helmet is a basic "cowl" with the faceplate printed on which slips over the other heads, both feature Tony's head in a red "cowl" with just his face exposed... and ONE of them has a blue overlay with a targeting, and various other, graphics to give him that cool "in the suit" look! I love it! The only thing that would make this better would be if he had a standard Minimate head with the Helmet printed on it... but you know what... the Hulkbuster armor from Series 1.5 comes with exactly that head! So you can pop that on this body for a perfect Iron Man, AND THEN pop the "blue face" head here on the Hulkbuster body for an even cooler, arguably most-accurate, head under its armor! I LOVE YOU DST! I LOVE YOU WALGREENS! I LOVE YOU MINIMATES!!!
DST - Marvel Animated Minimates: "Ultimate Spider-Man" Jet-Pack Spider-Man & Squirrel Girl
What do you do when you run out of Spider-Man costumes? Just pop on some cool accessories! Spider-man here comes with a groovy rocket pack that plugs on to Nova's fire-hair base for a wickedly cool and fun figure! He comes with alternate standard-eyes and big-eyes heads as a nice bonus, and the new thumbs-up hand (which I desperately wish we could get in black, to put on the old Battle-Damaged T2 Terminator, though I suppose it'd be the wrong arm... but still, that figure has molten legs... he NEEDS a thumbs-up hand!). He comes with fan-favorite Squirrel Girl, a character I don't know much about outside of her runaway cult popularity, so it's quite excellent she gets a Minimate here! She looks pretty great, and even comic accurate, but she has weird stripes over her eyes that just look kinda odd. She gets an all-new, all-big squirrel tail to wear and two bizarre... ice cream daggers? Apparently, they're burritos but that clearly got lost in translation, cause... damn. She comes with THREE squirrels (which are even done in the Minimate style with cylinder heads), but thanks to their tiny legs and giant tails there is absolutely no way to keep them upright - poor design work there, DST. Still, though, is a really fun set and I definitely recommend it!
DST - Marvel Animated Minimates: "Ultimate Spider-Man" Spider-Man Noir & Itsy Bitsy Spider-Man
Spider-Man Noir is just a groovy design that I can't help but be addicted to. He comes with his groovy gray outfit and even alternate black arms so that you can have him in or out of the overcoat! Nice call! He comes packed with a new-to-me iteration of Spidey, but it's fun to get something a bit different. He uses the short legs and arms, then gets a new (or is it reused from something? Pathfinder?) oversized noggin to give him Mxyzptlk proportions; and he even gets two of those big heads with different eyes so you can double your fun!
DST - Marvel Animated Minimates: "Avengers" Captain America & Hyperion
Have we really gotten to the fifth series without a Captain America!? Oh, no, he was back in the first series - but this is a MUCH different, very modern costume and I do note that the packaging for this series has a different logo style which just reads Avengers rather than Avengers Assemble... so maybe they rebooted the cartoon? This new figure is a big visual improvement so I quite welcome it. He gets his shield which can be plugged on to the removable back harness or the swappable pegged hand; then of course there is the alternate helmet and hair. He comes with our third member of Squadron Supreme, the leader: Hyperion. Hypie is a dead-ringer for his comic look, like Nighthawk, so he's pulling double duty here, too! The costume is nailed in the design of paint'n'print, with a basic cape added. I do wish he came with an alternate head to (a) continue the trend set by Nighthawk and Power Princess and so that (b) I could justify doubling up. Regardless, this is one groovy set!
DST - Marvel Animated Minimates: "Avengers" Ant-Man & Falcon
In all honesty, this one feels like filler to me, and with red dominating both costumes it's just not a very dynamic looking two-pack. Ant-Man is pretty much just a cartoon-ized version of his movie outfit while Falcon gets a modernized take on his classic outfit. He comes with a backpack that his translucent red wings plug on to, so at least they are poseable somewhat. His helmet is weird, obviously trying to allude to a bird's beak it just looks WAY too much like a Battle of the Planets helmet and that plagiarism is all I see when I look at it. Like Cap above, both these guys' helmets are removable too with Falcon's hair painted on and Antman getting an alternate red-hair piece.
DST - Marvel Animated Minimates: "Ultimate Spider-Man" Deep-Immersion Spider-Man & Anti-Venom
Anti-Venom feels like a character they JUST did, but apparently not since 2010, so I guess I'm the a-hole here. White costumes are never appealing, but fortunately this is based on animation so they're able to fold in some gray shading on the head and torso to make things a bit more interesting. Aqua-Spidey is neat, but does recall some the annoying old '90s toys so I can't say I'm super enthusiastic about it. At least it is new/different/fun so at least there is that. He comes with a hover base to really sell the "I'm swimming" gag, and the useless old web string (SERIOUSLY, DST, drop this and tool an alternate up - it can't be reliably uncoiled and, genuinely, I'd rather get NO accessory than another one of these pointless things). His helmet is a removable clear bucket separate from the shoulder gear - so my immediate thought is that we gotta use this to make a Mr. Freeze custom! Anti-Venom is blank under the bulky add-ons, unfortunately, so there is no real value to having a second one despite Aqua-Spidey's removable gear kind of opening the door to a second purchase.
DST - Marvel Animated Minimates: "Ultimate Spider-Man" Scarlet Spider & Green Goblin
THAT's Scarlet Spider...? I mean, the dumpy hoodie is ridiculous but at least it's kinda neat looking... this is just a bland-as-hell flavor-of-the-month modernization... Black? Really? Afraid he wouldn't be hip and edgy enough? Well, at least they doubled down by giving a giant face scar... Whoooooa, sooooo badass!!! But WAIT, there's more to his edgy hipness - now he's got knives in his wrists!? Or are those supposed to be the beginning spurts of web slinging...? That's actually kind of weirder than knives.... He comes with a big, giant Green Goblin in the Ultimate vein, but now with armor (and a newly sculpted head with goblin hears and horn ridges). I don't love him but, especially with the shading, I do dig him. I just wish that fake Scarlet Spider had blue rather than black on his costume, at least. He's just soooo tacky and desperate.
DST - Marvel Animated Minimates: "Avengers Assemble" Speed Energy Hulk & Speed Demon
Glow in the dark Hulk? GLOW IN THE DARK HULK!!! Sadly, DST use some cheap-ass, weak GitD plastic so the glow isn't that good, but I do like the light/bright green color of this Hulk - something we rarely ever see any more. He comes with Speed Demon, another member of the Squadron Supreme, and in, not his classic (I believe), his comic-accurate costume (which Marvel Legends recently hooked us up with). He comes with a little translucent black "cloud of dust" base to help imply his running. I'm not crazy about the Speed Demon costume, but I really adore this Hulk and the two Minimates complement each other nicely.
DST - Marvel Animated Minimates: "Avengers Assemble" Iron Skull & Doctor Spectrum
And Doctor Spectrum completes our core Squadron Supreme! He's even sporting his goofy, classic costume! He comes with a one-foot flight stand with two clear electricity clip-ons. Since Nighthawk and Power Princess both had alternate looks I wish all the Squadron Supreme figures had alternate heads or removable masks as well, but given that three don't and two do... I guess it was meant to be that we'd really only need to build up one team. Specty comes with Iron Skull - Red Skull in Iron Man armor, which is at once a goofy and great concept! In fact, I think the figure is identical to the regular Iron Man above, but with simply color changes and a skull added to the chest emblem. I am effectively shocked that he doesn't come with a removable cowl head recreating his helmet, like Iron Man above and the Marvel Legends figure, but what ARE you gonna do?
DST - Marvel Animated Minimates: "Ultimate Spider-Man" Spider-Girl & Carnage Hulk
This is possibly the weakest set in the entire Animated sub-line, unfortunately. This is a visually bland pairing since red and black are the dominate colors on both, AND both figures are almost indiscernible from previous releases (at first glance). I genuinely thought this was just another regular Spider-Man and just a simple re-do of the Animated Carnage we already got - nothing but line filler - until I read the names on the package and realized these were technically different. Spider-Man is actually Spider-Girl, which you can tell because the pecs and abs are slightly more curved to indicate feminine proportions (and the same with the eyes). And then this is "Hulk Carnage" so he gets the bigger body (which regular Venom and regular Anti-Venom used anyway) and bigger, bolder black tendril art. And then the only accessories are the standard clear stands and the crappy web-string they've been releasing for 15 years. I love this line and don't want to crap on it, but... this is just... a boring and weak two-pack. I'm sorry guys, but it is. Completists only (or if you missed the TRU Carnage or need a basic Spidey).
DST - Marvel Animated Minimates: "Avengers Assemble" Ms. Marvel & Kang the Conqueror
Like Squirrely Girly above, really all I know about Ms. Marvel here is that she is a dynamic new take on the character and a breakout, cult success. It's our first Kamala Kahn Minimate, and she could more than easily double for her comic self (along with her pack mate here, too) so she's good for either Marvel collection! She comes with a big, stretchy alternate left arm and a giant alternate hand (which technically could go on either arm) so you get a good amount of posing and play options here! She comes with Kang, who gets no accessories but does get a visually gorgeous costume that is executed TO PERFECTION here! He is just sooooo good looking! I love him! This set is EVERYTHING the one above isn't! Two cool, new characters with different styles and colors of costume - this set is PERFECT and easily fits BOTH the Animated and the Comic lines!
DST - Marvel Animated Minimates: "Avengers Assemble" Iron Man Mark 2 & Proxima Midnight
This is a set I feel like I should not like... but I really do! Iron Man is just a straight repaint (same print art, and everything) as the Iron Man (Dark and Regular, not to mention Iron Skull) above but now in shades of gray. It's that line work and the shading that really make this more interesting and dynamic looking than it should be. He comes with Proxima Midnight, my introduction to the character, who looks too visually interesting to be a turn-off due to lack-of-familiarity. I dig the Galactus-y head gear and the yellow arm with bring shoulder pad and wrist-guard adds a surprising amount of dynamism to her! Color wise, this is a relatively bland set, but man... thanks to stellar paint apps and cool design work I really do dig it!
DST - Marvel Animated Minimates: "Avengers Assemble" Bruce Banner's Hulkbuster & The Leader
WHOA!!! Awesome!!! This was also my introduction to the concept of Banner in a Hulkbuster, which is an idea I really adore! The Hulkbuster armor is wonderfully repainted to look like the hulk here (which is bizarrely meta), and the underlying figure is Bruce Banner in a Stark Industries shirt - super cool! He even comes with hands, feet, and hair to complete the Bruce (so obviously I had to buy two)! He comes packed with a genuinely beautiful take on the Leader! I LOVE the muted green with the bright orange and the gray straps. Normally I'd complain about the lack of an alternate head (and sure I would have preferred there being one) but the Leader is just done SO WELL I really don't mind having two of him! This is genuinely one of the best sets in the line!
Well, that about does it for this week, but for those eager-beavers out there, here's a handy guide to the previous chapters of MINIMAPOCALYPSE:
Minimapocalypse II, The Comic-Con-ing