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Marvel vs. Capcom Box Set #2

Minimates
by Rustin Parr

Diamond Select Toys rolled into the San Diego Comic Convention with a fair share of exclusives, and unsurprisingly the bulk of them were Minimates, most of which were offered by other vendors. Sure they had the Alice Minimate, but the Thor: Stormbreaker set was exclusive to ActionFigureXpress and while DST sold the first Marvel vs Capcom set themselves, it was technically a Diamond Distributors exclusive and was thus available to all vendors at the show, then finally we have this set, exclusive to Toys Я Us but sold by Entertainment Earth - oh DST, what a tangled web you weave!

After a decade of waiting, the biggest names from Marvel Universe clash head on with the combine [sic] might of Capcom's best know [sic] and most feared roster of gaming characters. Marvel VS. Capcom 3 delivers the best ever match up of legendary fighters and no holds barred fighting action

Diamond Select, you and your ubiquitous copy problems... so what does this bio tell us? Simply that Marvel vs. Capcom 3 exists. It would have been nice to provide some hint or mention towards the "Player 2" variations of this set, but really none of the text matters. At the end of the day we're buying this set for the figures.

For all intents and purposes this is a "pre-paint," a set of variant figures repainted from the standard release but with the twist of being released before the standard release. Just as with the other MvC3 boxset at SDCC this year, this set features characters in their "Player 2" colors.

Billionaire Tony Stark fights the forces of villainy in the high-tech Iron Man Armor. He is one of the cornerstones of the Super Hero community and a founding member of the Avengers.

This is essentially Stealth Iron Man, featuring a nice metallic dark blue with red highlights. This is the third release of the stealth armor and also the third version of armor to be done in the style (The first was a variant of the original Iron Man Minimate, and the second was a repaint of the movie's Mark III Armor as the first real exclusive two-pack way back in Toys Я Us Series 1).

This armor gets lots of collectibles in the stealth colors, though it never actually appeared officially as thus - at least until now, with MvC 3. Like all good Iron Man Minimates, you can remove the helmet and torso revealing an alternate look. I quite like this "cowl on" look for unmasked Tony, too. He even comes with an alternate pair of gloves with missiles or guns raised. His torso armor is the same piece that came on Iron Patriot and I like this "cover the chest and shoulders as opposed to the entire torso" approach quite a bit. It gives gives the body a nicer, more streamlined appearance. The rest of the armor is essentially kit-bashed with the helmet coming from Neo-Classic Iron Man while the boots and gloves come from the Extremis Armor figure, though both sets of gloves come from the Iron Man films.

A fun-loving succubus, Morrigan is very powerful and prefers to her duties and spend time in the human world.

Morrigan comes to us from the game Darkstalkers of which I know exceptionally little. This is technically the third Morrigan Minimate as she had two paint versions released back in the very shortlived Street Fighter II line. Her signature features are two pairs of bat wings, a small pair on her head and a larger pair growing from her waist. Unsurprisingly these are new sculpts as the original had the more simplified sculptural style of that era. The sculpts are solid and the paint is great here, especially considering the little bat patterns on her legs are on both the front and outer sides of the thighs. The regular release's outfit will be black and pink rather than the red and green here.

When Bruce Banner was exposed to radiation from a gamma bomb, the power of the Hulk was unlocked. Now, whenever Banner gets angry, he becomes the massively strong and powerful Hulk.

Well, Red Hulk certainly isn't Bruce, but I guess that's just more nit-picking for the copyeditor over there. Red Hulk comes to us courtesy of the just released "Mega-Rage" Hulk from Series 41/TRU Series 11. It's a much bulkier body with specific hands and feet which cover and pad out the shins and forearms while slip-on pieces bulk out the thighs and biceps. Add to that a new waist cap with sculpted-on torso extender and a torso piece we finally get a figure with the size worthy of the Hulk - and more importantly, none of the joints (other than ankles) are restricted much at all! Go DST! The only issue is that the torso extender of the waist is only about half the length of the overhang of the torso cover, so despite the six-pack abs Hulk's gut is hanging over the belt. Like Stealth Iron Man, Red Hulk is built out of well-reused parts with one new sculpt and in this case it's the hair, a cool mop just for the top. Though World War Hulk had a similar 'do this is an all new, much better and surprisingly less-detailed sculpt. While Series 25 already gave us one Red Hulk, this is a vast improvement. Not only in size but in color: this is a much brighter red.

Despite being created by the evil Dr. Wily, Zero fights for good and righteous causes throughout his robotic existence.

Mega Man Zero is the fifth title in the Mega Man series and focuses on the exploits of the side character, Zero, 100 years after the previous game. That explains why he looks nothing like the Mega Man I know! Unlike all three of the other characters in this set this is the first time Zero has had a Minimate, and it's a fairly solid one. The design and paint is suitingly simple and anime-ish and his helmet, chest armor (with ponytail), hands and feet are all new sculpts. The cannon for his right hand has an open hexagonal hole in the front so hopefully that means the standard release will come with some blast effects! Zero also get the sole accessory (excepting Iron Man's alternate hands) of the set: a translucent-bladed laser sword! This repaint puts him in the familiar blue tones of the classic Mega Man, which is a fun nod for a Mega Man novice such as myself.

While these are solid Minimates, with Red Hulk being the real winner of the set, this pack just lacks any real sense of enthusiasm or excitement. Much like yo found with the first of the MvC boxsets this is a pretty ignorable release. DST seemed to be banking way too highly on the anticipation for the game to expect Player 2 color schemes to be popular before the release of the regular figures. It's rare that a "prepaint" is a good idea, and these sets prove that case. Of course there is a group of hardcore gaming fans or hardcore Minimates fans (like myself) that will buy just about anything, but for the average person you're just paying twice the standard price for variants of the Marvel characters that you probably already have. They are welcome additions to my Marvel collection, but really, who needs the repainted Capcom characters? For me, these sets essentially stole the thunder of the standard release and have greatly lessened my anticipation.

We've talked about "color theory" in the past and that's part of what bugs me about these sets. The first set is predominantly white and yellow while this one is dominated by red and blue. While it's fun grouping, the problem is that both sets have an implied boredom because the same colors are repeated. This isn't a team pack, like Fantastic Four or X-Men, where we expect repetition: here it just adds to subtle sense of boredom of the sets.

I also have to take exception with the idea of there being two sets at SDCC dedicated to Marvel vs. Capcom variants. While DST has regularly had trouble releasing Minimate convention exclusives that sell as well as we fans would like, this seemed to be a significant step in the wrong direction. Beyond the excitement-stealing mentioned above these sets included NO new characters (or at least that would be available beyond the sets). At the least it would have been better to dedicate these to characters not appearing in future series or, preferably, filled one if not both slots with sets from different licenses.

The figures are good for what they are, and while Red Hulk is close to being a must-have, Morrigan and Zero are seemingly pretty forgettable variants with Stealth Iron Man being somewhere in the middle. These sets didn't seem to be moving too well at the con so beyond the above issues I think most people are just waiting for the regular releases. The standard Iron Man will be in both the Specialty Market and Toys Я Us versions of MvC3 Series 1 while Hulk and Mega Man will only be at Toys Я Us and Morganna only in specialty stores. If DST makes more Player 2 sets I can see these ones being more desirable, but since they seemed to move sluggishly I can't imagine DST will be dipping back into this pool any time soon. Only time will tell though.

-- 10/03/11


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