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Wonder Man/Union Jack

by yo go re

Marvel Minimates usually come in two-packs that make sense: it'll be a pair of characters who may not necessarily share a book, but they'll at least make some contextual sense. But how does that explain Wonder Man and Union Jack?

Originally sent to infiltrate the Avengers, Simon Williams chose to join them instead - becoming Wonder Man! His control over all forms of ionic energy give him powers of enhanced strength, longevity and flight.

We've had a Wonder Man Minimate before, in his '90s costume. You'll recall that Wonder Man has worn some of the most god-awful eyesores to ever grace the printed page - this Minimate gives us one of those. For some reason, after Civil War Wondy reverted to his ridiculous smoking jacket, because nothing says "superhero" like a liesure suit. The detailing on the jacket is good, with fine lines creating the pockets, lapels, and the wrinkles on his... sigh... dickie. He has the same neck-ring as Jigsaw, acting here as a black collar for his shirt. Maybe he's wearing a turtleneck? His cuffs are golden, which is weird: it doesn't jibe with anything on this version of the costume, but he's got an extra "skirt" piece to complete his jacket.

One of Wonder Man's features is that his eyes are a constant blazing red, so many of his costumes have involved glasses of one form or another. That's true here, though his spectacles don't have any arms running back to his ears: they must clip onto his nose or something. His hair seems to be a new piece: one that's parted very neatly, but has a single lock hanging down onto his forehead. There are sculpted lines suggesting the direction his hair is going, as well.

Third in the line of men to bear the Union Jack name, Joseph Chapman defends the people of the United Kingdom from all manner of threats thanks to the peak physical conditioning and mystical power he obtained as a Pendragon.

Wait, the mystical what he whatnow? We must have missed that. And consiering how long Knights of Pendragon lasted as a comicbook, so did everybody else. The way UJ's written, he's just a normal guy in a costume: strong fast and agile, but nothing superhuman. When a character has something introduced in a real source, but it's then officially ignored, that's called discontinuity. It's different than a retcon, where a story is told explaining why something isn't the way you thought it was: in this case, it's just never mentioned again. Spider-Man got his powers from a Totem? Never happened. Spider-Man's girlfriend had children with Norman Osborn? Never happened. May Parker got pregnant and is actually Spider-Man's real mother? Never happened. Spider-Man and Mary Jane made a deal with Satan to undo their marriage? (Give it time.)

Union Jack, like his ML counterpart, is a smart-looking toy. The flag on his chest doesn't follow an accurate layout for the real thing, but it's nice by Minimate standards - plus, since this set is a Toys Я Us exclusive, there are good odds that most Brit fans won't ever get to see this one in person. The bands on his wrists and ankles are merely paint, but he does have one of those nifty utility belts that several figures have spored. His actually gets a sheath plugged into the hole on the side, where he can sheathe the included dagger. He's also got a revolver, which holsters on his right leg.

Now, the dagger and gun were also seen in Marvel Legends, but this figure gets something that one didn't: a removable mask. It's one of those full-head pieces with the eyes just painted on, but that's a good thing. Joey's got a rather stern face, and a brown hair piece, molded with lots of tiny etches suggesting a close-cropped hairdo. The mask gets a bit smished in the tray (it's off in the package, with the figure wearing his hair), but a few minutes on the toy and that gets sorted.

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. It's a shame that this set is a store exclusive. Both characters are great, and even if Wonder Man is wearing one of his goofier costumes, at least he's all-new. Union Jack has more features than the ML version, and he has the distinct advantage of not wearing the kind of clothes your grandfather would have. You won't be disappointed by this pair.

-- 07/06/09

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