Art Asylum ended up with a lot of upset fans when they released Series 7 of their Marvel Minimates, because half the figures were re-releases. Well apparently AA didn't learn their lesson, because not only have they yet again given us a straight re-release of a figure, it's also one of the ones that was already re-released in Series 7!
Silver Surfer was one of the first Minimates released, a single-packed Tower Records exclusive. Then he was available in the TRU 10-pack, and finally in Series 7, so as you can tell, this fourth version of him was really necessary. So necessary, in fact, that we will now cut and paste that old review.
Molded from gray plastic, the Surfer was then given a glossy silver coat of paint to represent his striking metal body. To provide detail and bring him more in line with his comicbook counterpart, black and white details were painted on to delineate his musclature and light reflecting off his skin. It looks really good in person, much better than the vac-metallizing that ToyBiz usually gives him.
Whew, fun! This Silver Surfer is exactly the same as ever other versions - with the exception of the new C3 feet. Unfortunately, this small changes brings to light a major error. The Surfer comes with his board, and there's still no way to attach him to it.
This was (mildly) acceptable when the Minimates just had flat-bottomed feet, but now that they have the Lego-style holes in there, there's no excuse for AA not molding a brick bump on the top of the board. As it is, you can rubberband one of the LotR Minimates' clear stands on there, but it's still a stop-gap measure that we shouldn't have to take.
Now, to be fair, none of this is the fault of retailer AFX - though they hold the exclusive, they didn't design it. In fact, they'd wanted to do something to change the Surfer around, but didn't have time to get anything done and still have the sets available in time. At one point they even considered trying to chrome him - an idea that thankfully didn't come to fruition.
Surfer was always intended to be re-released in Series 7, but pairing him with Spider-Man 2099 was a last-minute change. He was originally supposed to be facing a character that 1) would have made sense with him and B) anyone on earth would have cared about: the mad god of Titan, Thanos.
Originally little more than a rip-off of DC's Darkseid, Thanos has since grown to become one of Marvel's few interesting cosmic characters. It's not because he's a better creation, but because DC refuses to do anything creative with ol' Darkie. Thanos' motivation and goals have changed over time, while Darkseid has just grown stale.
Thanos has been pretty under-represented in the realm of action figures, so getting him in 2" block form is pretty nifty. He's looking pretty good in his blue and gold costume, which is painted well - the colors don't spill onto one another, and there is plenty of detailing in the form of black lines.
To make the big guy look beefier, his skirt, chest and sideways shoulder-banana are all part of a separate piece that fits over the torso block. It probably would have been better if the shoulders and skirt weren't merged - as it is, he looks less like a hulking behemoth and more like he's bloated after a big meal. It would have been cool if he'd had a skirt that fit over his waist, and a shoulder piece with pecs, but that was not to be.
Possibly adding to his popularity, Thanos can be counted among the ranks of Marvel's biggest cash cows: he's a mutant. Though his parents were pretty much humanoid, he was born with a thick purple hide. The only skin showing is his face, but the color is perfect. Sadly, his big, lumpy chin is just painted on - it really should have been part of his helmet, to give it the proper dimension. If Darkseid's forehead could be part of his headgear, so could Thanos' chin.
For some reason, Thanos' gloves are cast from semi-transparent plastic. They're gold, but you can see the arm inside them. He's also got a yellow force blast that fits over his hand, but the really cool accessory is the glove on his left hand, which is detailed with six small bumps spaced all around. Yes, those are the soul gems, and that's the Infinity Gauntlet. Each of the gems is colored, but the fact that they're actually sculpted elements and not just dots of paint is really impressive.
Getting Thanos in Minimate form is enough of a reason to buy this set, which is good, since the Silver Surfer doesn't offer any value at all, unless you somehow missed the previous three releases. It's too bad AA couldn't have worked up an Adam Warlock or something to pair with Thanos, but at least the mad god has finally seen the light of day.
Who would win in a fight: Thanos or Darkseid? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.