TOY REVIEW: New Mutants Marvel Minimates
Among my biggest collecting pipe dreams is to have a full lineup of one of my favorite teams in all of comicbookdom ever: the 1980’s New Mutants.
Probably the first comic team I ever loved, over the years the various New Mutants were killed off, left in Limbo (literally), or left in the limbo (non-literal) of obscurity. And merchandise was, quite frankly, nonexistent.
But wait! In 2009, the New Mutants returned to the Marvel Universe spotlight! And while I still haven’t got the high-end Bowen Designs sculptures of the team I’m wishing for, this first set of New York Comic Con exclusive Minimates on my desk is a good start to my long-desired New Mutants memorabilia collection.
The Right: Cannonball is freaking AWESOME! Co-leader of the New Mutants, Cannonball’s self-propulsion rocket ability was going to be a tough one to capture. Art Asylum went the extra mile and succeeded amazingly. He comes with a blasting base that he hooks into for flight mode, as well as alternate clear energy legs that plug into the base, and energy hands for blast-mode. Seriously a fantastic figure, and I’d be tempted to pay the $16 this set cost just for him. Luckily, there’s more goodness to be found.
Wolfsbane is another tough character to do, as she’s essentially a naked anthropomorphic wolf chick. I was concerned they might try to stick in a figure of her from another era where she wears clothes, but she’s here in all her naked glory. Plus, her hair and facial features have been captured so perfectly that there’s no doubt that she’s Wolfsbane and not some generic werewolf babe.
The other really spectacular part about this set is that Art Asylum included alternate human heads for both Wolfsbane and Sunspot as a bonus. Since the uniforms for all of the New Mutants are the same, you can buy a second set of New Mutants Minimates and stick the alternate heads on the costumed bodies from Cannonball and Karma to have all four characters in their classic costumes! Part bonus and part money-making scheme, this was pure genius and I had no qualms buying a second set for this purchase.
The Wrong: Karma is the least popular and least interesting of the “Big 9” New Mutants, and her inclusion here baffles me. Alex Ross even forgot Karma existed when he made his amazing New Mutants team portrait (see side-picture). Is there really anyone who wouldn’t have preferred co-leader Dani Moonstar or flaming hottie Magma before boring, passive-powered Xi’an Coy Mohn?
We’ll be getting Magik and Warlock (plus a Doug Ramsey head to stick on another body from yet another purchase of this set–CHA-CHING!) as a Toys R Us exclusive soon, but that still leaves Dani Moonstar and Magma out, which has me pretty worried since Art Asylum is notorious for not completing the teams that they start. It’s neat to have a Karma figure, as she’s never been released as any type of figure ever, but I’ll be severely disappointed if we never get more interesting team members as figures and I have Karma on my shelf instead.
The Ridiculous: I was pretty certain Art Asylum wouldn’t be able to do a good job capturing Sunspot as a Minimate. Art Asylum did not defy my expectations. The huge clear-yellow hairpiece that goes on his head is outright stupid-looking, and the figure actually looks better bald. I’m sure that damages Roberto’s Dacosta pride, but he looks awful with hair the way that Art Asylum designed the figure. In addition, Roberto’s whole body is meant to turn black, with yellow energy outlining it. Unfortunately, the way that this is painted up, it looks like Roberto’s body itself is made of energy with some cancerous black blobs floating inside of him. Seriously, he looks bad. I’ll take it since it’s the first Sunspot figure done in over a decade (Toybiz did an X-Force version in the 90’s), but this figure cannot be considered a success.
“Where Can I Buy It!?”
The New Mutants Minimates were a New York Comic Con exclusive in 2010 and were never sold at mass retail. Amazon has the New Mutants Minimates set available for about $15 right now, which is a fantastic price since the set retailed for $20. That’s also just about the only option out there, as few other stores carried this set and BigBadToyStore had the set for sale online for $17.99 but is currently sold-out.
Overall: The very existence of this set is a dream come true for me, but even so, this isn’t a perfect set. The Cannonball and Wolfsbane figures are amazing, and the spare human heads for Sunspot and Wolfsbane are a stroke of genius. However, I would’ve picked any other team member to include in this set before Karma, and Sunspot’s energy-afro looks totally stupid. Regardless of any flaws, this set is an absolute must-buy for New Mutants fans, as it’s the first release of the team as articulated figures ever (not counting the poor three-figure failed attempt by Toybiz in the 90’s). For Minimates fans in general, I give this a mild recommendation, as only the Cannonball figure stands out as being truly spectacular and beautifully-done. These will do for now, but I’m really wishing for a high-end set of Bowen Designs mini-busts to capture the team in the near-future…