In his review of Zizzle's 3¾" Pirates of the Caribbean figures, Rustin reminisced about a time when toy fans didn't know months in advance what toys we'd be buying. Honestly, it's kind of hard to remember those days, but I shared that experience recently when I went into Suncoast and was surprised by a pair of exclusive Minimates, Hobgoblin and the Scarlet Spider.
Hobgoblin's bio (yes, these Minimates inexplicably have bios, a first for the series) states that Roderick Kingsley discovered the Green Goblin's abandoned lair and stole the technology inside to become the menacing Hobgoblin! Well, the character may just be a recycled Green Goblin, but this Minimate isn't. They do share some pieces, but there's a lot more here.
we get the formerly unique "pumpkin-holding" hand, but GG's hat and elf shoes didn't make the transition. Instead, Hobgoblin has a new hood and a cape designed with a notch to accommodate the strap of his manpurse. The blue of his arms and legs is covered with a crisp scale pattern, and there are a few black lines to detail wrinkles on his boots and gloves.
The paint apps on his chest seem to ride too low - it's not majorly misplaced, but seems to have been shifted south just a skosh. His face is yellowish, as it should be, and his teeth look sharp. The designers even captured the look of Hobgoblin's thick, knobby eyebrows. The manpurse is black, and the pumpkin bomb is a deeper shade of orange than the glove that holds it (and, therefore, the orange on the rest of the costume, as well).
Hobby's foe in this unexpected set is a unique release, as well: the Scarlet Spider! For those not in the know: Cloned from Peter Parker's DNA, Ben Reilly cannot escape his inner nature and dons the Scarlet Spider costume to fight both street crime and super villains. There's more to the character than that, but it's enough to get you by in conversation. Though if you're having highly demanding conversations about the Scarlet Spider, you need new friends.
It just wouldn't do for Spider-Man's clone to wear the normal Spider-Man costume, so Scarlet Spider has his own suit. Well, actually he has a red leotard under a bright blue sleeveless hoodie, but it's certainly a different look. He has little pouches around his ankles, for some reason, and his webshooters are a different "bracelet" design. Surprisingly, the eyes on his mask were even larger than Spider-Man's - and in the mid-90s, that was a hell of an accomplishment!
Scarlet Spider's webshooters
and belt are detailed with fine black lines, and you can even tell the front of his sweatshirt from the back by virtue of the fact that his hood is hanging against his shoulders. Though you might not expect this figure to have any accessories, he actually does: one of the gray weblines that Spidey Minimates have been coming with for ages is coiled in the tray with him.
All Minimates move at the same 14 points: neck, waist, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles. On the last few Minimate releases, we've complained about the figures being cast in white plastic and then painted, causing stuck joints and unsightly gaps in the paint - that didn't happen this time, a fact that's doubly impressive since this is an exclusive set (exclusives, of course, being long-associated with cutting corners to increase profits).
I wasn't expecting to find this set when I went to Suncoast, because I had no idea it existed. I'm really glad I picked it up, though, because Hobgoblin and Scarlet Spider are two of the best Minimates Art Asylum and Diamond Select have delivered in a while, and missing them would have been a real shame.