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Mystic Rivals

Doctor Strange
by yo go re

With all these magical girls around, how long will it be until Tuxedo Mask shows up?

These women use their mystical powers for very different reasons: one for good, the other for evil.

Nico Minoru, aka "Sister Grimm," was introduced in Runaways #1. Her parents, Robert and Tina Minoru, were dark wizards and members of The Pride, the group of six villainous families who controlled Los Angeles' underworld. She inherited their powers, and was even considered as the replacement Sorcerer Supreme when Dr. Strange vacated the title. So she makes perfect sense for the comic half of this movie line.

In theory, Nico uses Hasbro's teen girl body, being that she's a teen girl. But in reality, the reused parts are limited to her arms, right hand, thighs, knees and shins - as you may be able to guess from the fact that she chose "Sister Grimm" as her nomme de superheroics, she's a goth, and in fact goes for the whole Gothic Lolita look in her choice of fashion. You can't paint that on a smooth body, so the figure gets new feet and shins (for her boots) and a new torso (for her frilly skirt and her corset). Say what you will about Hasbro releasing tons of "paint only" characters, they go in for the details when they're really needed. The boots have buckles up the sides, while her top features tiny buttons and wrinkles in between the supports.

Nico wears her black hair pulled back into a messy ponytail, with a few strands falling down to frame her face. She wears black lipstick and heavy black eyeliner, because of course she does. The face is sculpted to look like a young girl, rather than a small adult, which is nice to see, and as you'd expect, her skintone is decidedly pale.

Actually, let's discuss the paint. As mentioned, her skin is pale, and you can probably guess that most of her clothing is black. She wears a dark purple top beneath her corset, and her legs are painted with Tim Burton stripes in pale lavender and black. The frill on the edge of her skirt is pink, matching her hair tie, and her sleeves are painted with a stunningly complex black lace pattern.

Her articulation is typical for the line, but you might have some trouble getting her to stand securely, thanks to her accessories. The item that gives her her powers is known as the Staff of One - it originally belonged to her mother, but Nico's body absorbed it when her mother attempted to impale her through the chest with it. It emerges from her body, but only after she sheds her own blood (and because Runaways was more grounded than most superhero comics, she can summon it at will when she's got her period). It's also limited in that she has to verbalize the spell she wants, but can only use any specific word once - trying again will just cause a random effect. This is the third incarnation of the Staff of One, a short version with a ring at the top and a small ball suspended between two points. It's cast from golden plastic, and can be held in her right hand.

The figure also includes an alternate left arm - during Avengers Arena, the book in which a bunch of Marvel teen heroes were trapped on an island and forced to battle each other to the death, she was battled to death. Or, near-death. Her leg was broken, the Staff of One was broken, her left hand was severed, and she was kicked off a cliff. But with the last of her strength she crawled to the Staff, called for help, and it resurrected her, healing her in the process. Her arm regrew, clad in a mystical gauntlet, and this figure's alternate arm depicts just that. It's molded in translucent pink plastic from the elbow down, and swaps at the shoulder. Why the shoulder instead of the elbow? Good question. We also get a cloud of pink smoke that can fit onto the staff, just like when she was brought back to life. Fittingly, this is the costume she was wearing when it happened.

Part of the Doctor Strange movie line, Nico Minoru comes with a piece of the Series 1 Build-A-Figure, Dormammu. She gets the pelvis and the skirts, which are pretty much indistinguishable from the ones in last year's SDCC set.

We still don't understand Hasbro's reasoning on calling these figures by one shared name, rather than just themselves, but Nico and Enchantress are both good toys of unexpected characters.

-- 10/17/16


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