By Chris Troy
While I’ve been known to sing the praises of the Marvel Legends line here on the FPNYC blog, it’s worth noting that Diamond Comics/Art Asylum’s Marvel MiniMates line has been around just as long as their 6″ counterparts! The line debuted in the early 2000s, and unlike the Marvel Legends line, has never faded from toy shelves, even ending up with figure lines based on DC Comic charters, as well as a large variety of movies, cult TV shows, and a few other comic properties here and there. The figures are usually released in 2 or 4 packs, come with tiny figure-specific accessories and all sport about 8-10 points of articulation. They’re small, about the size of Lego characters (the lines inspiration) and the average 2-pack retails for about $10, while a 4-pack runs about $20. Today we’ll be looking at the latest line, based on last Summer’s Shadowland mini-event, as well as an Uncanny X-Force 4 pack.
To be honest, the Shadowland arc was pretty weak as a story, but who cares about that right? (Me that’s who. And yes, I’m excited for the Waid relaunch come July. It’s Mark Waid afterall!) The 38th(!) wave sees three 2-packs; Shadowland Daredevil with his on-again off-again lover, assassin Elektra, a Hand Ninja and White Tiger (Angela Del Toro) and Big Time Spider-Man with modern Iron Fist. The chase figure for this wave was the original White Tiger Hector Ayala, who met his tragic end during Brian Michael Bendis’ excellent run on Daredevil. I ended up buying the Big Time Spidey and Modern Iron Fist 2-pack, because they’re 2 of my favorite Marvel characters, and packaging them together is how you sell me on Minimate set!
This is the first and only Big Time Spidey figure, despite the costumes appearance in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Funfact: The suit doesn’t even appear in the event, debuting afterwards in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man. Still I’m a fan of the day-glo lights meets original black costume design, so I had no problem with it being included with this 2-pack. Spidey also comes with a neon-green web-line, which is neat. Iron Fist, who does appear in Shadowlands in this costume, is the real star of the set. Aside from clip-on chi-energy which can be attached to his fist (hence the name), you can swap his mask for blonde hair, revealing Danny Rand’s face. A really cool gimmick if you ask me.
Let’s move onto the Uncanny X-Force box set. Let me say, unlike Shadowland, the source material is fantastic. While I was kind of “eh” on the claw-squad roster, the current team of Wolverine, Deadpool, Archangel, Psylocke and Fathomex (who is a Toy’s R Us exclusive mini- mate :/)makes for a MUCH better read, thanks in part to some great work by Rick Remender and a rotating cast of artists. Getting back to the Minimates themselves, it’s a solid box set. Both Deadpool and Psylocke come with tiny swords that can slip in tiny sheaves, and Psylocke herself has a tiny psychic knife for an added effect. Deadpool is a pretty basic Minimate, but the original comic Deadpool Minimate is extremely hard to come by, so his inclusion in this box set is welcomed. Archangel has snap on wings, and the Wolverine in the set is a re-release, and has a swapable mask to reveal Logan’s face. Again, well worth the $20 bucks if you don’t have the original Deadpool and Wolverine releases, and these 4 can keep you Warpath/X-23/Apocalypse minimates on your shelf. And with sets based on the upcoming Thor and Captain America movies, as well as a line based on Marvel vs. Capcom 3, so you’re going to want to pick up the current releases ASAP!