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Civil War

by yo go re

Marvel's Civil War crossover drew a lot of criticism, both from those who misconstrued its story, and from those who couldn't understand the ending. Trying to draw a direct political allegory on Civil War is like trying to do the same for V for Vendetta or 300: there's nothing there but what you bring with you. Yes, it's a story about politics, but it's not political: it's just superheroes beating the hell out of each other, and doing it well.

Steve Rogers has fallen into a clash with both his government and his friends over the Super Human Registration Act - a battle that will end with his surrender, arrest and ultimately, his assassination.

You have to admire Captain America's ideals. Despite the fact that pretty much the entire world already knew his secret identity, he didn't immediately get onboard with the government's plan to register heroes (like they assumed he would). He recognized that just because he felt okay being publically known, it wasn't his place to force everybody else to agree with him. Heh. And yet some people think Cap's a conservative.

We've had a battle-damaged Cap before, but that one has nothing on this. This is obviously taken from the series' final battle, because Cap's uniform has been torn all to pieces. He has a newly designed mask piece, which is sculpted with big tears that allow his hair to poke through. His shirt is substantially torn, and the paint apps even wrap around the sides. Love that! The damage continues on his legs, and he's even got his big folded boots - the first Minimate Cap to have those. And no, they're not re-used from Deathstroke, because the Marvel and DC 'mates are forbidden from sharing parts. His belt's new, too.

Captain America has his mighty shield, and it's been given a surprisingly bloody paint app. The Zombie version got censored black, but this one gets red? Weird. Even weirder, they didn't include a red hand to hold the shield on his wrist - you'll have to make do with the naked hands, instead. Yes, like we said, this figure is taken from the end of Civil War, so you can remove his gloves and slap on the handcuffs (re-used from one of the 24 sets). And since he took his mask off, as well, the set was kind enough to give us a blonde version of Biff Tannen's hairpiece.

"My name is Peter Parker and I've been Spider-Man since I was fifteen years old." With those fateful words, one of the world's most closely guarded secret identities is revealed to the world - a revelation that will turn Spider-Man's world upside-down.

Civil War Spider-Man was supposed to be one of the figures released in the Target-exclusive Minimate series, until those were canceled. So between this set and Web Armor Spidey, Action Figure Xpress seem to be the go-to guys for those forgotten figures, don't they? At least we're getting them.

The figure painted in red and gold, which just demonstrates how poorly red and gold go together. Iron Spidey is supposed to match the usual Iron Man colors, right? So why isn't he the same red and yellow as the IM in this set? The gold is fine on his chest, where it's outlined in black, but everywhere else, it just blends in too much. There's a bit of silver for highlights, but some of the gold apps actually got missed on his chest. Smooth.

Sadly, we don't get any waldoes - the three mechanical arms that poked off the back of the Iron Spidey suit in the comics. It would have been way too big a hassle to do them in Minimate form, I guess, but it does seem like this figure's missing something. You can remove the Spider-Man mask (with some work) to reveal Peter Parker's smiling face underneath. Must have been before Pete realized Joe Quesada would be mandating the biggest screw-up since the Clone Saga. He has a nice brown hair piece, which is again taken from some 24 figure.

Viewing the Registration Act as a natural evolution of super humans' role in society, Tony Stark dons his Extremis armor and faces off against longtime friends and colleagues in the ultimate super hero showdown.

Ah, Tony Stark. It was his smug sense of self-importance that caused the entire superhero civil war in the first place. See, Tony constantly refers to himself as a "futurist" (which is, like, one step above being a "self-described Huguenot") - in other words, he predicts the future. Not through mystical means or anything silly, but by observing, analyzing and extrapolating current trends. Anyway, he saw that superheroes needed to register or things would go badly, but instead of actually telling anybody, he tried to fix it himself. He could have approached Captain America and asked for his help, but decided to fight him, instead. Dick.

This is Iron Man in his current suit of armor, which is actually more modern than the Modern Armor, thereby making that name wronger than wrong. The armor is fairly bulky, but only to the extent that it actually looks like you could fit a human inside it. Rather than just being painted on, the suit is built from seven separate pieces - boots, belt, gloves, chest and helmet. All the parts are re-used, but they still work fairly well. The boots are a bit too clunky, and the face paint apps don't line up with the molded helmet at all, but at a glance, it's not terrible.

The upside of the removable armor is that we get to see Tony in his interface suit: the thing he wears under the armor that helps him control it. His face is detailed nicely, and he gets a black hairpiece that's much better than the one the Series 6 Iron Man had. The yellow under-suit has some impressive detailing, and all the lines are crisp. The paint on his right arm seems to have been applied sideways, but overall this is a good presentation.

A powerful villain with enhanced explosive powers, Nitro unwittingly sets the events of Civil War in motion when he destroys the quiet town of Stamford and triggers a public backlash against super heroes everywhere.

As a character, Nitro doesn't have much of a personality - he's just a guy who blows up. In fact, if not for Civil War, he'd probably still be languishing in obscurity. His biggest claim to fame before that was killing Captain Marvel, and he didn't even do that directly: he was just responsible for giving the guy cancer, and letting it do his dirty work for him. Pansy.

Nitro is the only figure in this set who doesn't get two distinct looks - no extra parts to turn him into a 'splodey Nitro or anything. All he gets is a yellow energy ball that fits over his hand, which comes courtesy Iron Fist. He's got a wickedly evil sneer on his face, and his hair is donated from a surprisingly old source: Series 3's Ultimate Sabretooth, one of the first Marvel Minimates ever. Wow! His costume is the appropriate red and blue, and his bracelets are gold. Everything here is painted well.

It's no surprise that Art Asylum decided to put Nitro in this box set: after all, he's a key figure in the story, and it definitely beats another Wolverine or something. Spider-Man was rescued from a canceled line and Iron Man is swimming in re-used parts, making Captain America the standout figure in this AFX-exclusive box set. But really, all four figures are new and exciting, and worth adding to your collection. Heck, if you don't like the way Civil War played out, then buy this set and enact your own ending.

-- 07/07/08

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