Art Asylum caused a bit of a controversy with Series 7 of their otherwise-popular line of Marvel Minimates. Two, really, but we'll get to the second in a bit. The first stir was caused by their choice to re-release previously exclusive figures.
First of all, fans were upset that the figures they'd paid more for were going to be put back on the market with no changes. Even worse was the fact that half of the figures would be packaged with brand-new characters: not only was the value of the exclusive figures dropping, but fans were being forced to buy doubles. Grey Hulk was paired with the Rhino, Silver Surfer met Spider-Man 2099 and Ultimate Spider-Man came with the Chameleon.
The Ultimate Spidey in this set is in no way different than the previous release. To that end, I'll just copy the text that I wrote for that review. The picture, too.
Ultimate Spider-Man is one of the best books on the shelf every month, but so far the only figure we've gotten has been the less-than-impressive Marvel Select version. Now Art Asylum has put Ultimate Spidey in their new Minimate line. How does Ultimate Spider-Man differ from the regular Spider-Man Minimate? Apparently based on the uniform Peter wore during his brief pro wrestling career, the figure doesn't have any webs on the red of his costume. The eyes are also bigger, but those change from artist to artist anyway.
Wow, wasn't that exciting? You can thank Art Asylum for it. At least Ultimate Spidey will make for good custom fodder, what with just being a plain body and all.
Though guys like Green Goblin and Dr. Octopus get all the recognition, Spidey's very first foe was a shmuck who operated under the alias of the Chameleon. Originally just a master of disguise and a quick-change artist, Cammy was a foreign spy who carried various masks with him to achieve his goals and evade capture.
Eventually it was decided that the Chameleon needed a better gimmick, so the writers had him ingest a special serum that made his face malleable, able to take on the appearance of anyone through the use of electical impulses controlled by a device in his belt. Art Asylum chose this later version for their Minimate, as evidenced by his strange gray head.
Since he's nearly featureless, Chameleon was a perfect choice for a Minimate - he's already got the cartoony "no nose" look. He's wearing a stylish grey suit and purple shirt (using the same pattern created for Professor X), and doesn't come with any accessories, which is the second controversy mentioned above.
Chameleon is the variant figure in Series 7, available in either plain or disguised versions. The disguise is a mask of J. Jonah Jameson that fits over the figure's head. Original plans called for the regular version to come with the mask, while the variant would just have an actual solid JJJ head. This was changed, but never announced - fans found out when they bought the set and found no mask inside.
On the plus side, the mask is very nice. It's not just a plain tube, but has sculpted hair that makes it look real. Having learned their lesson from Series 6's Iron Man (whose "removable" mask got stuck on his head very easily), the variant Chameleon has a slighter smaller head. It's not reduced so much that it looks out of place, but it ensures that the play feature will work for some time to come.
Marvel Minimates all share the same body with different paint decos, and they all move at the same 14 points: neck, waist, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles. My Chameleon has a unique problem: while the Minimate Green Goblin had two right legs, Cammy has one and a half left legs: though the lower half of his leg is fine, it's attached to the wrong thigh, so it doesn't bend properly. Of course, I know through experience that neither Art Asylum nor Diamond Select Toys has any interest in fixing their mistakes, so I guess it's a good thing I now have two Chameleons. And three Ultimate Spider-Men. Oi.
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