#351 - Spider Sense Peter Parker/Chameleon
Full confession: right now, I'm wishing we'd reviewed one fewer Minimates set somewhere along the way, so that this one would get to be #350.
One of the gifts granted to Peter Parker by the radioactive spider-bite was a "sixth sense" that would alert him to nearby danger.
This is a really weird Spider-Man figure. It's the classic costume, a bit paler than you might expect, perhaps, but still the normal look. But he's wearing his webshooters and his belt above the costume, instead of inside it. What the heck? Is that supposed to be a reference to some specific incident from the comic? Is it just done to draw attention away from his unually thick boots? Probably that last one. You can take the pieces off to turn him into a plainer Spider-Man, but in general, this is an odd presentation.
The reason his boots are big is that they're removable And they're removable for the same reason the blue of his suit is so pale: the set includes pieces to turn this into a civilian Peter Parker. Okay, yes, the name of the figure is "Spider Sense Peter Parker," but he's packaged as Spidey in the tray, so that's why we say "pieces to turn him into Peter Parker" and not "pieces to turn him into Spider-Man."
He gets black shoes, blue arms, and a blue coat over a yellow vest and a red tie - when you're a teenager and all your clothes are bought by elderly relatives, you dress like a total square. Two of the accessories for this mode are particularly cool: first, giving the figure its name, is a half-hair/half-mask piece, suggesting the way artists depicted Pete's spidey senses tingling in the comics. There are wiggly yellow lines emerging from the masked half, as well. There was a similar half-human figure in Series 2 of the main line, and a Spider-Sense Spider-Man a few years ago at TRU, but this is still unique. And the second cool accessory, which we haven't even mentioned yet? An alternate pink hand with a black spider printed on it - it's the spider that gave him his powers! Neat!
One of Spider-Man's oldest foes, the Chameleon is a gifted mimic, able to disguise himself as Spider-Man's closest friends and worst enemies.
The last time we had a Chameleon Minimate was 2004, and its execution was controversial at best. This one is better, thankfully. It depicts Chammy in casual, "lounging around the house" gear: a big green robe and a purple cravat. The robe is a new mold, sculpted with its hem and lapels and even teh sash that ties it shut around his waist, and the arms get the sleeves other figures have had. The white head gets tampographed black lines to create his face, but the Minimate style means he looks less featureless than he normally does - when your gimmick is "has no nose" and Minimates have no noses, you don't stand out.
The last Chameleon Minimate had a mask that fit over his head as a disguise (which was part of the problem with the toy). This one has his normal face as the mask, with a normal head underneath. Using that and all the extra pieces included in the set, you can turn Chameleon into Mary Jane Watson!
This is MJ in her "face it tiger" outfit, the black top and tan pants. Does that mean Chameleon was the one who showed up for their first date? Did he engage in light conversation over dinner, and then give Peter a pity handy at the end of the night? That's clearly what the toy is implying. The only new bodyparts needed to make the change are bare arms and red hair, but it works.
Given the news about Toys Я Us, it seems likely this will be the last series ever of TRU-exclusive Minimates. The first series came out in 2008, and now, 10 years later, they're done. These three sets are part of Series 25, which is a nice round number to end on, honestly. (Of course, there were also 22 movie-based series, which got their own numbering rather than fitting into the regular line.) It's been a great decade of toys, and with a series featuring two new costumes, two new villains, and possibly the two most important civilians in Marvel comics, it's ending on a high note.