Art Asylum and Diamond Select Toy's Marvel Mini-Mates
Series 4 & 5
photos by Mr. Stinkhead
Art Asylum and Diamond Select Toys are unloading the most recent waves of Marvel Minimates, and they're hitting stores now. Series 4 and 5 includes Captain America, Juggernaut, Absorbing Man, Logan, Thing, Dr. Doom, Doc Ock, Gwen Stacy, Bullseye, Battle Damaged Daredevil and Unmasked and Grabline Spider-Man.
You can read our review of Series 1-3 and the convention exclusives to learn more about the mini-figure explosion, and the reason why these particular collectables are right on the money. They're also addictive like crack. Once you get your hands on a pack of Minimates, you'll most likely be picking up more.
What's New and Different?
The most noticeable change is the packaging. The figures are now primarily in two packs in a closed box format. The characters are clearly printed and labeled on each box. With many mini-figures, Kubricks in particular, they come one to a box, blind-packed so you don't know who you're getting. Not only are these new packages clearly marked, but the side flaps also show you who you're getting, that way if a retailer has them stacked infront of each other on the shelf, you can easily browse the side of the box to see who you're looking for. Also, these two waves have some special variants, and the packages containing the variants are also clearly marked. Series 4 has a Maskless Daredevil, (similar to the series 1 DD, but with his hat and glasses instead of a cowl), Series 5 has a chase Maskless Dr. Doom, showing his scarred and weathered face. Oh, I also like I can reclose the packaging for either display or storage.
Wow, the guys at AA continue to impress with the level of detail squeezed into such a small package. Each Minimate stands less than 3" tall, yet no detail is compromised. Two that rise to the top of the crop are Doc Ock and Thing. Dr. Octopus has his familiar backpack with four poseable appendages. Each arm is solid plastic, but can rotate from its connection to his base. The famous bowl cut and paunch are present, as are eyebrows that would make Eugene Levy envious. That's right, you can remove the Minimate's mask or head pace to reveal the rest of their face. I have to comment on how impressed I am that each mask's eye holes line up perfectly with the faces printed below.
Thing is quickly becomming one of my favorites. He's got a sculpted brow and enlarged fists. Each little crack and crevice is detailed straight from the comic pages. Thing has always been a large, hulking beast. At first I was skeptical if he'd be recognizeable in a skinny block-figure representation. They pulled it off with the Incredible Hulk in series 1, but the Hulk's look is so engrained in our collective psyche, that it didn't really make much of a difference. To me anyway. Regardless, Thing is looking right on, his powerful fists are ready to pound and clobber those Fancy street nancys any day.
Collectors become accustomed to having chase variants for every collectible line now, even the brand new Xevoz have a "chase" we're, uh, chasing after. But the Marvel Minimates keep up this fine tradition with an alternative Daredevil and Dr. Doom. The maskless Dr. Doom is pretty cool. I'm not a big reader of the 4, but I have thought about buying that completed but never released feature film at various conventions. (Ok, I'm lying, I usually turn my attention to the Star Wars Holiday Special). Anyway, I have to give the guys credit for clearly marking the variant so you know what you have in your hands is the chase. This could end up helping the scalpers a bit more, but usually, a good scalper (which is typically a bad scalper to us) knows what to hunt down regardless.
So, there's a few more Spider-Men thrown into the mix. "What gives?" you ask? Well know that Spider-Man will hopefully help keep the sales going enough that we can keep getting our second tier figures. We all know as collectors that typically we're on the losing end of the primary vs. secondary figure ratio. But here's the good news: these Spider-Men are simple variants that reflect the comic. Maskless Spider-Man features Spidey's basic body with a Peter Parker head and a webbed back pack. Grabline Spidey has an interchangable hand with and extended web shot out. You can even manuver the claw around your favorite minimate. There's no samuari armor or ravingly acidic colors just to make some numbers. We know that repeating primary characters is a necessary evil with any toy, and we're more comfortable with this solution than with others that have been made in the not so distant past.
Back to the detail, I'll give you a quick rundown on each figure, but the pictures will speak for themselves.
Series 4 Maskless Spider-ManAnother Peter Parker to play with, but I like the detail on his webby backpack. Doctor OctopusI've been waiting for this guy since the line began. The poseable arms are nice, and the detail is perfect. Grabline SpideyThe interchangeable hand is nice, so you can pop this into any of your Spidey figs and it does make a nice touch for your action photos. Gwen StacyAlright, alright, though I think its wrong to encourage such behavior, it's true, I had to check and see if Gwen is indeed a party girl. Battle Damaged DaredevilI like the rough-housed versions of my favorite characters... I think it's kind of funny. Especially since I don't play with my toys and give them my own brand of battle damage like the days of ole. Oh, and the pupiless eyes really make his face creepy as all get-out. BullseyeI was not a big fan of the character in the feature film, but this figure accurately portrays the comic villian, and complements the new DD. Maskless DDBe sure to remove his glasses/hair piece to see those creepy eyes.
Series 5 Captain AmericaAh the Cap... his shield and gloves are done beautifully. Absorbing ManThe half and half job is done well, and he comes with a sweet ball and chain. Civilian LoganThis Logan has wilder hair, and you gotta check out his tiny detailed arm hair. Canuck-tastic! JuggernautHis helmet is pretty sweet, it's clearly the 'Naut and he's ready to pound away. ThingHis ink job and sculpted hands/brow really make a great package. Dr. DoomThe silver paint and detail make an accurate depiction of Fantastic Foe.
Alright, I'm done trying to make up trading card verbiage, check out these pics, and look ahead for our reviews of the Giant Sized X-Men box set, the ActionFigureXpress.com exclusive Magneto and Prof. X two pack and eventually Series 6 and 7.