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Marvel vs. Capcom Box Set #1

Minimates
by yo go re

Marvel vs. Capcom is the most popular crossover fighting series of all time, and now that the third game has been released, it's no surprise that there'd be a toyline to go along with it. The surprise comes from the fact that the toyline is in the form of Minimates.

After a decade of waiting, the biggest names from the Marvel Universe clash head on with the combine [sic] might of Capcom's best know [sic] and most feared roster of gaming characters. Marvel vs Capcom 3 delivers the best ever match up of legendary fighters and no holds barred fighting action.

Yeah, that has a few typos, but what do you want? They probably had to rush the packaging to get these out in time. Anyway, there were two sets of MvC exclusives available at SDCC, all done in Player 2 colors. ("Player 2," in this case, being a stand-in for "alternate costume" - it's not that they're necessarily the second choice on the list.)

The Merc with a Mouth... while he is incredibly silly, Deadpool is one of the most effective mercenaries out there.

We've had a few Deadpools before, based both on the comics and the movie, but certainly none of them have looked like this. This is actually a very obscure costume: it's Wade Wilson in his X-Men uniform, but not this X-Men uniform. This is from an alternate future where Wolverine leads a team of former villains, mostly, in a war against Weapon X and its Sentinels. The comic (the little-read Weapon X: Days of Future Now) didn't have the pouches running up the chest, but otherwise that's where this look came from.

Unusually for a Deadpool Minimate, this version doesn't have very many add-on pieces: he has the wristbands from the Series 28 version, the ankle straps from the X-Force box set (the first one), and a belt that appears to be new. That's it! Otherwise, he's a normal Minimate, painted yellow and blue, with a little bit of black and a thin line of red to outline the X on his chest.

He does have some weapons, of course: two swords (new) and two silver pistols (reused from several sources, but originally seen with the DC Blackhawk Minimate). He can only hold two at a time, since he has no holsters or sheaths, but better to have them than not, right?

Dante is a mercenary dedicated to vanquishing demons, which were responsible for killing his mother and corrupting his brother. He is also half demon himself.

Dante (not this Dante) is the main character of Devil May Cry, a beloved hack-and-slash (and shoot!) franchise in which you hack and slash (and shoot!) your way through an army of demons to defeat the demon your demon father demoned. Er, I mean, locked away. The demon your demon father locked away. In demon jail. The game was based on an abandonned concept for Resident Evil 4, but apparently the ability to juggle enemies with your gun forever was deemed too unrealistic for that series.

Dante gets a new jacket and a new hair piece. The white jacket we can accept: he usually wears red, but white is still a normal color for a coat; it makes him look like a doctor. This would be a good jumping off point for a custom Dr. Stein, from Soul Eater. No, the weird thing is that his hair is, for some reason, light blue.

Dante has three accessories: the same two pistols that Deadpool had, to represent his guns Ebony and Ivory; and a new sword, his trademark blade Rebellion. The sword was a gift from his devil daddy, and the hilt is styled like a human skull and ribcage. Creepy!

Mutant Jean Grey became the recepticle for the powerful Phoenix Force, which grants Jean near god-like powers when it becomes fully active.

We got a Dark Phoenix as a 2005 SDCC exclusive, a light Phoenix in a 2009 box set, and now White Phoenix in a 2011 SDCC exclusive box set - eventually, Jean might actually be released at mass retail. As you know, the original plan was for Phoenix to wear white, but the crappy production quality at the time precluded that. This is also the first Jean Grey to come with the Phoenix effect - in orange, rather than red.

Phoenix shares her sash with the previous figures, but that's it: the hair comes from '90s Jean, and the details painted on the body have been entirely redesigned, as well. The anatomy is more detailed than the last effort, but you have to wonder if there was some way other than dark black to create it - it stands out harshly against the white, but then again, that duplicates the game's style.

Sir Arthur is a brave and valiant knight who goes into hell to save his love Princess Guinevere.

Guinevere? That name comes from the instruction manual of the Super Nintendo version: in earlier games her name was "Prin-Prin," and these days she's just "Princess." Arthur is the star of Ghosts 'n Goblins, which is perhaps the most notoriously difficult game ever released. Levels were full of infinitely respawning enemies, defeated bosses came back either paired up or doubled, and through the whole thing you only had two hit points. Literally two. The first hit from an enemy would knock off all your armor - the second hit would kill you. Oh, and the only way to stop running around in your underwear? Defeat the boss at the end of the stage. Brutal!

Arthur's traditional armor is silver, but this version is gold. He gets new boots, a new waist piece (with a belt and built-in codpiece), bands on his forearms to suggest gauntlets, new upper arms with pauldrons molded on, and a new knightly helmet. He has big cartoony eyes, and a bushy red beard. But we can't be the only ones disappointed you can't remove his armor to reveal heart-print boxers, can we?

This brave knight gets three accessories: a lance (his weapon of choice), a shield and an axe. Improbably, they're all ranged weapons. The shield is impressively detailed, for its size, and clips onto the forearm with a C-clip, rather than a full circle. The axe is very nice, as well, with blue detailing to offset the gold. He can hold all three weapons at the same time, making him look like quite the warrior!

All Minimates 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.

In all honesty, as much as Mrs. yo loves Phoenix, I would have absolutely passed on this set if Rustin hadn't already preordered it for me by the time I made up my mind - and I did pass on Set #2! The fact that all these characters are just prepaints of figures that will be out in the upcoming two-packs keeps this from being a very desirable set. It'll rate very highly on our criteria for a perfect exclusive, but if you're getting the two-packs, you can ignore this box set unless you really love the costumes depicted within. Unless, of course, you think DST will release more variant colorschemes in the future, and you want to collect all four versions of any specific character.

-- 08/13/11


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