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Avengers vs. X-Men

by yo go re

The Phoenix is coming. The planet-destroying entity that once possessed Jean Grey is heading for Earth, and the world governments are on high alert. Atthe mutant haven Utopia, they know why it's coming - Hope, the first mutant born since the mutant race was decimated, has been exhibiting Phoenix-like powers since the day she arrived. The Avengers want to take Hope into custody, but they'll have to get past the X-Men - eye-beam wielding Cyclops, telepath Emma Frost and a newly empowered Colossus - to get to her.

Ah, Cyclops: he was always a dick, but it used to be more the "stick in the mud" type, and recently he's been a "do what I say or GTFO" type; basically, he's started acting like Wolverine. While his personality's changed, his costume hasn't, so technically this figure is the same design as this figure - what a difference six years can make! He's wearing a dark blue bodysuit with thin golden stripes, but the level of detail is insanely better! His chest is painted with complex highlights and shadows to suggest anatomy, he's got an X-logo badge over his heart, and the stripes don't cut out unexpectedly this time.

The only downside to the costume is that they have chosen to create the golden bits of costume around his forearms and shins as add-on pieces. If you're like Rustin and prefer simple paint on your Minimates, however, take heart: if you remove the "armor," the patterns are painted on the figure beneath. Now that's handy! It allows you to decide how you like your Minimates to look, and choose which display option is better. Or, if you're like Rustin and you don't understand how toys work, you buy multiples. His mask is removable, and the set includes a brown hair piece for him. Since he's sort of in "civilian" mode here, his face is painted with his ruby quartz glasses - don't want him blasting everyone he meets.

However, if you do want him to blast some of the people he meets, the set includes something new: a second mask with an optic blast coming out of the visor. The entire thing is molded from translucent red plastic, with the "head" area painted, so the blast looks spectacular. What a clever innovation!

After Before his wife died, Cyclops started hooking up with the former White Queen, Emma Frost, and the relationship has actually been going steady since then. This despite Namor doing his best to woo Emma at every turn. Seriously, what is it about sharing a bed with Scott Summers that turns a woman into catnip for homewreckers? The only person he's ever dated who didn't have some jerkass trying to get a piece was Madelyne Pryor, and that was because she was in the service of Mr. Sinister the whole time.

Emma is looking pretty good in her modern costume. The first White Queen Minimate was meant to depict her original John Byrne-designed outfit, but the second is this same design. The white pants, the bustier, the long white gloves... all of it. As with Cyclops, the details are a ton better on this release - and this time they even got her cape! It's actually an inspired way of doing it: rather than just molding the cape, and counting on the figure's arms to hold it in place, the put in two small rings that hook over the shoulder joint and support it. Brilliant!

And the coolest thing is, thanks to the way Minimates are constructed, you can barely see the rings, so the illusion is that the cape is just attached like the real garment would be. Her hair, a new piece, helps hide the "straps." Her face shows a certain haughtiness (if not "hotty"-ness), and she has the appropriate blue lipstick. Not every girl can pull that look off!

We've previously told you about Hope Summers. About her origins and her powers, so what is there to tell now? Well, how about the fact that there's something in the Avengers vs. X-Men story that nobody seems to be mentioning: the fact that although she, like the back-of-the-box text we quoted above says, has been exhibiting Phoenix-like powers since she arrived, it doesn't automatically mean she's the new host for the Phoenix; it could mean that she's channeling the power from someone else. That's what she does, after all - mimics other mutants. If she's displaying a certain power, it means someone else out there has it.

Hope is wearing her green jumpsuit with the yellow stripes, though they're only painted on the front and sides, not the back. Why? Because she's also wearing her poncho, and it covers everything back there. Her hair is a new piece, designed to fit into the large collar of her cape, and her face looks appropriately youthful.

Beyond the smock, Hope gets several new pieces and a lot of accessories. For instance, both her crossed belt and her fancy holster-strap thing are new. She's armed with a small silver pistol, a large rifle, and a jetpack with a two-piece flame blast base to allow her to fly. The jetpack comes straight from the comics - specifically, Avengers vs. X-Men #0. It plugs into her back, and the flame jets fit on the bottom. The rifle can also plug into her back, when the rocket's not there, and is a "Minimate-ized" version of the gun that Marvel Legends Hope came with - which means, in a roundabout way, it's also taken directly from the comics! Cool!

Months ago, DST asked on Twitter who fans would like to see in a hypothetical AvX Minimate set. One of the top responses was "Colossusnaut," and here he is! During Blackest Night Fear Itself, power rings mystical hammers came to Earth and selected worthy hosts - "worthy," in this case, meaning "angry and destructive." One came into the possession of Juggernaut, turning him into Kuurth, Breaker of Stone. When the X-Men were unable to defeat Kuurth, they appealed to a higher power: Cyttorak, the demon who powered Juggernaut. They pointed out that by submitting to Kuurth, Cain Marko was technically no longer a servant of Cyttorak, and so didn't deserve his blessings. The demon agreed, but only on the condition that the X-Men provide him with a new avatar, and Colossus volunteered, in order to save his sister from that fate.

This is the biggest Colossus Minimate yet. He's a monster! Over the standard Minimate body he has large, thick boots, bulky pieces on his thighs, a new belt ansd a waist extender, gloves with the traditional Juggernaut armor bands, big shoulders and a humongous chest cap! The anatomical details painted on his chest are oddly not aligned with the shape of the body, which kind of throws off the look. And don't think you'll strip the figure down to be a more normal-sized Colossus - there are no details painted on the underbody.

The helmet is removable. It's a new sculpt, with studded bands running back over the top. It's very thick, so despite the fact the eyes and mouth are cut out, you can't really see Colossus' face in there. When you take it off, he's looking incredibly angry, which fits the stories he's been in. There's no replacement hair, as he's been bald recently.

The set includes a clear display stand, but none of the figures need it, so "why?" [It lets Cyclops stand when his eye-blast head is on. --ed.]

It's unusual to get story-specific Minimates while the story is still going on. For comparison, Fear Itself came out last year, and the 'mates based on that are just coming out now. Meanwhile, we're only about halfway through AvX, and we've already got toys based on the beginning. Colossusnaut and Hope are figures that fans demanded, and though Cyclops and Emma Frost are ones we've had before, they both have enough newness to make them worthwhile.

-- 08/13/12

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