There's a real advantage to the "buddy system" employed by the Marvel Minimates: just as with the recent GIJoe figures, having two figures in a pack means that you have a better chance of balancing out the forces of good and evil; to that end, all three sets in MM Series 5 feature one hero and one villain.
The Fantastic Four are the first family of Marvel Comics, a testament to Stan Lee's love of the noble scientist and the era's fascination with spaceflight. The team's main muscle, the Thing, has had a lot of action figures over the years - everyone loves to try their hand at that rocky hide of his. Now the big guy's gone tiny, but he's still ready for clobberin' time.
Thing is pretty cool in Minimate form. For the most part, his rocks are painted on. From head to toe, he's all orange with black lines. His trunks almost look a bit purple, though I'm sure the blue will be more apparent once more of the FF is produced. Thing's mouth is open wide and his ever-lovin' blue eyes stare out from beneath that big brow of his.
To help Thing look less human, the Minimate has a few add-on pieces. Instead of hair or a mask, the top of his head is a rocky lump, complete with sculpted edges. Ditto his hands - he gets big fists instead of gloves, almost like he's wearing Hulk Hands. In the comics, Thing has three fingers on each hand, just like a cartoon character. Since the Minimates already have three-fingered hands, MiniThing's now got two. It's a cute touch, and shows that Art Asylum was paying attention. It might have been cool if he also had a bulky torso that fit over his chest, but he's still impressive.
If you're only going to have one Fantastic Four villain, it has to be Dr. Victor Von Doom. A scientific genius who is also skilled in the mystic arts, the ruler of Latveria has proven himself the team's deadliest foe - even Galactus and the assembled forces of the Negative Zone can't compete with Dr. Doom.
Art Asylum had two previous cracks at creating the look of metal on a flat figure with the Silver Surfer and Colossus, and they've obviously perfected the idea for Doom. There's a lot of detail on this figure, and all of it looks great. His arms and legs give the illusion of depth while his mask presents every little weld and rivet. His green tunic is painted on, though the "skirt" part is a separate piece. His hood and cape fit on over the figure's head, which leads to an interesting point.
Dr. Doom is the variant figure for Series 5: there's an unmasked version whose scarred visage is showing. However, the way Doom's hood works, the back half of his head cannot be seen - it would have made a lot more sense to put the mask on one side and his face on the other. Fans could then turn the head to show whichever side they wanted. Medicom's Kubricks have done this for numerous figures, and even some Legos have this feature. It would have opened up the Series 5 variant slot for something different. Something better.
Sold in character-related multipacks, the Marvel Minimates all 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. While the first 'mates were an inch taller, those just look worse and worse as the ranks of the 2" Marvel charcters continue to swell. Art Asylum really put some thought into this line, and even though it's a departure from what has gone before, it's still very good.
What villains do you want to see packed with the three remaining team members? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.