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Marvel Villain Zombies box set

Minimates
by yo go re

In a parallel universe, Earth has been overrun... by zombies! And if an ordinary zombie is bad, then a zombie supervillain is a thousand times worse. Magneto, the Red Skull, the Green Goblin and Galactus were dangerous before, but now they have an insatiable hunger, and the only thing that brings temporary relief is consuming living flesh.

Now, just for the record, Magneto was never zombified: in fact, he was one of the last remaining "humans" on Earth (though don't call him that, or his mutant pride might make him pull your fillings out), hiding in a subway and defending a handful of other survivors. It's good to know that he may be a jerk, but deep down in the heart of him he's a decent human being. Anyway, he was eventually bitten by Wasp, but was devoured by Thor and Hulk before he could become a real zombie.

That said, there was nothing saying he couldn't be depicted as a zombie on the homage covers, and that's exactly what this figure represents. The cover of the one-shot Marvel Zombies: Dead Days was a parody of Jim Lee's gatefold cover for X-Men #1, and so naturally it had Magneto off to one side. This figure takes its design cues from that cover (and its add-on pieces from Dark Magneto).

His torso is a clear block, painted to look like there's a hole all the way through revealing his spine. It's not the standard Minimate chest, though. If you remove his cape, you'll find that it has sculpted battle damage - rough edges on the rear right shoulder and around the left ribs. This piece was originally seen on the "Female Zombie" in the first series of Walking Dead Minimates. For whatever reason, his feet are really loose; one had already fallen off in the package, and they rattle around in his legs.

If you take Magneto's helmet off, there's white hair to replace it - it's a weird style though, all flat and plastered down. Like the comic cover, he only has a single eye left in his head, though the thick black shadows prevent us from seeing how skeletal the rest of his face is. The figure also includes two pink energy blobs and a flight stand.

Like Magneto, Galactus was never zombified, either. Even when he appeared on a cover (the third printing of the hardcover collection was a parody of Fantastic Four #49), he was still not zombified! He did appear in the actual issues, but again, he was eaten so fast that he never had a chance to be anything other than a big ol' skeleton. So clearly, this set is taking some artistic liberties.

When we reviewed the Galactus Minimate, we said that there wasn't much re-use potential unless they wanted to do the Marvel Zombies version, and sure enough, here he is! This is the same mold as that figure, with only paint applications setting it apart from the TRU release that many people could never find. The purple is flat, rather than shiny, and a much more muted shade; meanwhile, the blue is far darker. These are not the colors Galactus was given in the book, so we can only deduce that they were chosen primarily to make sure this Galactus looked different from the last Galactus. Mission accomplished! On the plus side, the Minimate style means that you can pop anyone else's head onto this body if, say, you wanted to turn Hulk, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Giant-Man or Iron Man into the Galacti (the name they took when they got a portion of his power/costume after eating him).

There are a few black slashes painted on the helmet and chest cap, this line's way of showing blood. You can remove the helmet to really show off Galen's zombie face, but the big surprise is that if you remove his chest cap, the chest is painted with anatomical details, as well! For some reason, the set also includes Terrax's rocky base for him to stand on. Okay, whatever. Given Galactus' usual huge scale, you can pretend it's Asteroid M, where Magneto's Acolytes concealed and protected the last dregs of humanity.

Green Goblin! Green Goblin did appear as a zombie not just on a cover but actually in the books, as well! In fact, he was one of the villains that almost got to lay hands... well, "teeth" on Galactus when he fell, until Spider-Man destroyed him. That had to feel cathartic, after all the terrible crap Norman's put Pete through over the years.

Rather than simply using the bog standard Minimate body, Green Goblin gets the wounded left leg from the same Female Zombie that gave Magneto his torso. The flesh is torn away, revealing the outer edge of the femur (the "greater trochanter," to you medical students/sufferers of bursitis). There's black blood all over, and a few painted wounds on the left bicep and pectoral, and on his stomach. He's got the same hat Green Goblin Minimates have been coming with since forever, the pumpkin bomb hand, glove flares, folded boots, and the new satchel that came in 2012's "Best of" series. His colors are dark and desaturated, unlike any Goblin before.

The face shows the typical Marvel Zombies style, which shows why Venom didn't really have anything to do in this universe: when your shorthand for "zombie" is blank white eyes, heavy black shadows on the face and crooked teeth, how would anybody know Venom had been bitten? This figure comes with an unmasked Norman Osborn head that's just as zombified.

GG comes with the same Goblin Glider and "exhaust plume" display as the last release, though that isn't quite problem free. For whatever reason, the holes in the bottom of the folded-boot feet the figure was given aren't as deep as usual, so it doesn't sit all the way down on the peg the way it needs to in order to tightly hold on. You can't even try to push him down harder, because the foot-peg is on the opposite side of the glider from the peg that attaches it to the flight stand, meaning it'll just pop right off if you push down at all. It's just frustrating.

Our final figure in this set is Red Skull. It really shows how the market has changed in six years: the first Marvel Zombies box set had five figures (and a head); this set has four figures (and lots of accessories) but costs two dollars more. The arc of history may bend toward justice, but the arc of economics bends toward inflation.

Red Skull is wearing his black uniform, which is not a version we've had before as a Minimate - there was the military jacket/business suit combo, but not this sleeker number. Why, if not for his ruined arms (the right arm, ripped off below the elbow, is taken again from the Female Zombie; the bony left arm, broken above the elbow, from the WD Series 1 One-Armed Zombie), he could be a decent base for a plain Red Skull! How convenient that the set includes a second pair of undamaged arms for him - otherwise he wouldn't be able to hold the reused Tomb Raider pistol and rifle that he comes with!

You'd also have to swap the head out, if you wanted this to be a 616 Skull. Sure, the exposed teeth are standard for him, and you could forgive the black shadows in the middle of the face, but the blank eyes just don't say anything other than "zombie." Of course, since this is a Minimate, you can pop his head off, just like in the comics.

The set also includes the loose entrails that came with the Walking Dead "Guts Zombie." They're behind Red Skull in the tray, but they can be given to anyone you like. The guts technically work like a base, plugging into a Minimate's waist and allowing them to lift themselves up off the ground at a slight angle.

At one point, Marvel was apparently worried about oversturating the market with Zombies merchandise, because when asked about making more Minimates, Art Asylum said they weren't allowed to. Obviously something's changed, because here's this set. The packaging (which, like the first box set, is designed to look like it's got severe shelf wear) indicates that the set was supposed to be part of Halloween ComicFest (it's like Free Comicbook Day, except nobody's ever heard of it) but that was October 26 and 27 and this set didn't reach stores until last week. Regardless, it's nice to see more Marvel Zombies toys, especially now that they have access to zombie-damaged bodyparts. Let's keep it going!

-- 11/25/13


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