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Ultimate Spider-Man/Gray Hulk
For geeks, summer means one thing: Con season. SDCC, a few Wizard Worlds, Gen Con, Dragon Con, 'Bot Con and many other smaller venues bring together the great unwashed masses (in this case, that's literal) in honor of their favorite pursuits and passtimes. And just as summer means conventions, cons mean exclusives.
Any company worth its salt will offer at least one exclusive item as it makes its way from convention to convention. This year Art Asylum really went all out, giving us not one, but four: an early look at Star Trek with yellow shirt Kirk; small-scale Nazgul and invisible Frodo from their partnership with Play Along; and two Marvel Minimate sets, Ultimate Spider-Man/Gray Hulk and Peter Parker/Mary Jane.
All the Minimates share the same basic generic body, with paint apps bringing the specific characters to life. The initial 'mates were 3" tall, but contract limitations sliced an inch off that measurement for Marvel characters. Still, the little guys are pretty cool.
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.
When Bruce Banner first became the Hulk, he wasn't the green monster we know and love today. No, his skin was gray back in those early days, and this exclusive Minimate reflects that period. His pants are shredded, letting us know that this isn't the also-gray "Mr. Fixit" Hulk. More than just a repaint of the standard green Hulk Minimate, Gray Hulk has a different hair/headpiece and a different expression on his tiny face. Nice! Love that retro feel; totally Jack Kirby. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Ultimate Hulk is also grey, making this two-pack potentially all-Ultimates.
The other exclusive set features the first two 'civilian' Marvel Minimates. Sure, there was a Kingpin figure packaged with the red Daredevil, but there haven't been any plain folks in mass release yet.
Taking the human side of the "spidey sense" Spider-Man and carrying it over to the other half of the figure, Peter Parker is in full nerd regalia for this Minimate, including a sweater vest and necktie. His unique headpice includes his hair and a tiny pair of glasses, which slip down perfectly in front of his eyes (and will make for a great custom Matt Murdock). He's got a smile on his face, probably thinking unclean thoughts about the girls in his life.
Fortunately, one of said girls is included with this pack: Mary Jane Watson, one of those stunningly hot girls-next-door who only exist in fiction. Appearing here in a decent approximation of her on-panel debut from Amazing Spider-Man #42 (or any one of her swingin' ensembles): sleeveless blue shirt and lavender capris. Her red hair spills down over her shoulders, she's got a huge smile and bright green eyes. For an entirely featureless block figure detailed only with paint, Art Asylum sure did a great job re-creating the look of the character.
All the Minimates 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. That's a heckuva lot of motion for something so tiny.
These are all great little figures, and fun representations of the characters. Congrats to Art Asylum for not only making such cool exclusives, but also making sure that there were enough to go around. Now if only DC would deep-six their asinine "Pocket Superheroes" line and commit to the Asylum, we could have the first pure toy inter-company crossover since the long ago days of Mego.
What Marvel Minimates do you want to see? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.