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by yo go re

Whenever a new series of Minimates is unveiled, there's always that guessing game: which figures are paired with which? When Series 28 showed up at Toy Fair '09, nobody guessed that Sabretooth would be included not with Wolverine, but rather with the inexplicable Skrull.

One of Wolverine's oldest enemies, the savage Sabretooth possesses the same healing factor and enhanced senses as his nemesis but without the compassion or honor - making him a non-stop killing machine.

This Sabretooth is the Jim Lee version, which debuted in 1992's X-Men #6. Seeing as this series of Minimates also includes of Gambit and Psylocke, and the just-announced Series 34 is going to be all Jim Lee figures, going with this version of Sabretooth rather than the classic costume is a logical choice - they were just planning ahead.

Sabretooth is wearing his orange and brown suit, and everything is painted well. His chest cap is entirely new, since there's no existing figure from which they could steal a bulky chest with fur trim. The ruff starts in the area of his nipples, then goes over the shoulders and behind his head. The figure also gets new hands, done as large blocky claws. Why are the hands new, rather than re-uses of the existing claw-hands? Because these also have a long bar on the bottom to suggest the little points that Jim Lee drew on Victor's elbows. They don't work perfectly, but it's an effort.

Victor's face is painted with an incredibly angry snarl, and his eyes are blank white. For whatever reason, Jim Lee was never very big on drawing pupils. His headgear is new, with those big bushy eyebrows, untamed sideburns, and mop of hair sticking out the top. Seriously, you have to wonder what it was with superheroes and goofy-ass headsocks in the '90s: where did that idea come from, and why did it gain so much traction? The hairpiece fits inside the fur collar without any loss of movement.

The Skrull race is among the most dangerous in the galaxy due to their unpredictable behavior and shapeshifting abilities. Their recent attempt to replace Earth's mightiest heroes backfired and dealt the Empire a crippling blow.

The Secret Invasion set gave us our first-ever Skrull Minimates, but those were just green faces on superhero bodies. And yes, there is that fairly rare Super-Skrull exclusive, but Kl'rt had some bits that were permanently in FF mode. So really, this set is our first opportunity to get a plain Skrull soldier, and since they've been involved with pretty much every superhero group in the Marvel Universe, that's a good thing to get.

This little green man is wearing a purple jumpsuit, with silver bands around the wrists and ankles, creating a bit of separation before we get to the dark purple gloves and booties. His collar and cap (and by extension, its molded-on ears) are the same pieces we got with the Super-Skrull all those years ago, proving that some things never go out of style. Coe to think of it, this head piece would have made perfect "hair" for one of the Namors. The Skrull's forehead is even wrinklier than his chin, and he's showing a mighty grimmace!

In the Spider-Man/Kraven/Tarantula review, we mentioned how stupid it was to include a variant who was a vastly different character than the figure he was replacing. Fortunately, Art Asylum has really gotten smart since that time. Why is Sabretooth included with a Skrull? Because he's the Series 28 variant.

Making his debut in Iron Fist #14, Sabretooth's early years are shrouded in mystery due to his sociopathic drive to murder those closest to him and years of serving black-ops government programs.

Why look, it's the classic costume we said AA decided against! They definitely know how to cater to their fans. Starting with Series 24's Iron Man/AIM Soldier set, the variant figures have been paired with an army builder character. You wanted both Tarantula and Kraven? Then you ended up with two Spider-Men. You want both Sabreteeth? You end up with two generic Skrulls, ready to cause some trouble. Brilliant!

This Sabretooth's orange is a bit lighter than the normal version's, and he's accented with black instead of brown. Reflecting the art of the time when he was introduced, First Appearance Sabretooth doesn't have a chest cap - he's muscular, but slender. He shares the new claws, but his lack the pseudo-elbow spikes. Different mold, or was the excess just trimmed off at the factory? The fur around his ankles and wrists is a painted element, and since he just has a normal torso, the fur on his shoulders is a separate piece.

Sabretooth's face is still angry and violent, but less inhuman - his teeth are clenched, and his eyes actually have detail rather than being blank spheres. His hair is a new piece, very '70s chic. I mean, come on, big bad Victor CReed has feathered bangs and fuzzy muttonchops? Oooh, butch! The hair is sculpted very well, though, seen as strands on the top and tips in the back. Thinking of potential re-uses, this same hair might work for Banshee, if AA is considering him.

The pairing of Sabretooth and a Skrull might not make much sense at first, but once yourealize AA's new "army builder" scheme, it works well, and give us three great new Minimates.

-- 11/09/09

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