The fans are up in arms, as fans tend to be, with the news that Wolverine's own little she-clone, X-23, will be getting the Marvel Legends treatment a few months from now. Most of them hate the fact that she's even in the comics at all, but this is hardly the first time that characters created for another medium have been adopted into the real continuity. The example we always cite is Lex Luthor's power armor, but such appropriations are hardly the exclusive realm of DC - Marvel's been in on the act for ages.
When Spider-Man was set to make his return to national television in the early '80s, the producers wanted a larger, more interesting cast than just Peter Parker, so Marvel saw an opportunity to pimp two of their other properties, bundling in guest stars from the Fantastic Four and the X-Men.
From the X-Men came Iceman. Bobby Drake was one of the first students at Xavier's school for gifted youngsters, a mutant with the ability to generate intense cold, which usually amounted to him covering himself in snow as a disguise and icing down the floors to make people trip. Pretty lame. He's since gotten a power boost not through any outside means, but simply by being forced to recognize his own potential.
The snowman look was originally explained as frost forming on his skin when he used his powers, but it got thicker and harder (tee-hee!) over time until it turned first into an ice shell, then finally a solid ice body, the look most fans know today, and the version represented by this Minimate.
Iceman is the variant figure for Series 11. While the normal version is just clear witha few icy details, you can also pick up Frosted Iceman. The figure is still molded from clear plastic, but has been sprayed with a fine coat of white paint. The details of his chest and face, drawn angular to suggest the crystaline nature of his powers, are created with thin blue lines.
He's got the same inexplicable angry look on his face, but while the regular version comes with just a small power effect that fits over his fist, Frosty's accessory is a large ice blast, a white mold of the flame that came with Johnny Storm. At least in Bobby's case, it makes sense that it has to rest on the ground: he's making an ice slide, not shooting at an enemy.
Speaking of which: to contrast with Iceman, Spidey's other amazing friend was to be the Human Torch, representing the FF. However, worried about kids who'd be dumb enough to copycat Torch's powers, they created Firestar, Angelica Jones, a mutant who had all the same abilities - flight, fire blasts, all that - but didn't have to burst into flame to do it.
It seems that this summer's Dark Phoenix was a dry-run for Firestar, because she's got the same flame wrists and '70s hair. Stylin'! To finish off her disco-chic (that's "chic" like the desert ruler, not the baby hen) look, Angel's wearing the just about the most fabulous yellow polyester jumpsuit ever. The design is okay, but it really shows the limitations of Art Asylum's decision to make every Minimate body exactly the same.
Firestar's chest is detailed with fine black lines, but they carried it too far. AA painted on an extremely thin wasp-waist, trying way too hard to force femininity onto what is essentially a cube. If they used different blocks for their female figures, like Palisades does for its PALz, they probably wouldn't have had to exaggerate so much. Add to that the fact that although her decollete is quite obviously on display, it hasn't been painted pink as it should, and the chest block just seems wrong.
The other paint is good. Angel's hair is more orange than Jean's, and she's got a really cool flame pattern on her gloves, boots and face. Her bright green eyes are slightly cartoony - which makes sense, considering her origins. Firestar didn't really get an origin in the cartoon - it was just mentioned that she and Iceman had both been X-Men. Truth is, she didn't even appear in the comics until three years after the cartoon had ended, and even then she was never an X-Man: she started out as one of the Hellions (think "New Mutants," but evil), then disappeared until she became a member of the New Warriors before being recruited to the ranks of the Avengers.
From replacement character on a crappy cartoon to full-fledged member of the World's Mightiest Superheroes? Not a bad career path, that. Spider-Man was one of the first Marvel Minimates released, and now, in Series 11, we get a great representation of his amazing friends. Let's just be glad that they didn't bother to make the show's other addition to the Marvel Universe, Ms. Lion. The only problem I can see is that the better-looking Iceman, the one with the frosting, is the variant. Of course, they did the same thing with Series 10's Spider-Woman, so maybe this is the new trend.
How often do you like the variant of a figure better than the figure itself? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.