If there's one thing the Marvel Minimates don't have, it's consistency. Series 13 just came out in the fall of 2006, and the last time we saw a new assortment was summer of 2005. And you know what? Series 12 hasn't even come out yet! Pity those who have to keep track of these things.
The three sets in Series 13 are based on Astonishing X-Men, Joss Whedon and John Cassaday's entry into the X-Universe. We've had a few Marvel Legends figures based on these versions of the characters, but Art Asylum has given us the entire team in tiny block form.
First in this set is one of the original X-Men, Hank McCoy.
Of course, he's changed quite a bit since his early days. He was originally a fairly average-looking guy, but has gotten more and more bestial over the years. These days he looks like a vertical blue lion, and the face painted on captures those feline features well. His AXM costume is a big yellow bodysuit that forms an X and runs from his ankles to his armpits. It's a really weird design, and it's duplicated okay here. Not great, just okay.
To begin with, the black panels at his waist should go around the sides, and be matched on the back.
The black on his legs should be around his knees, not his ankles. Like Powerhouse Thing, Beast has a bulkier torso thanks to a floating "jacket" piece over his yellow block. His hair is the same mold as Civilian Logan's, and it's still just as loose. It's a strange choice for several reasons, the most obvious of which is that Beast no longer has Wolverine-style hair. The plain head works better. Plus, the piece is molded in white plastic and then painted blue - wouldn't it have been easier to just use dark blue plastic?
Paired with Beast is the team's public face, Kitty Pryde.
Like Cyclops said, she was the most human: he couldn't look anyone in the eye, Beast was a monster, Wolverine was a mass-murderer and Emma Frost was a villain. Kitty, meanwhile, is an incredibly cute girl from Chicago, with powers that are purely defensive. How could anyone not like that? Kitty's costume is based on the classic X-Men uniform: black body with a big yellow stripe down the center.
Since there's really no way to portray Kitty's powers with a solid figure, AA went the tried-and-true "translucent pieces" route. It's not like Kitty goes clear when she phases, but what else are you gonna do? Actually, the fact that she's a Minimate means you can simulate her powers really well - removable pieces means you can pretend part of her is still in the floor. She's got the same hair as Firestar and Phoenix, but it doesn't really work for her; her hair is pretty straight, and she usually wears it in a ponytail.
After more than a year hiatus, it's good to see Marvel Minimates back. Even more encouraging is the fact that Art Asylum seems to be getting more of their product into real stores - Target sells Marvel two-packs, and Toys Я Us has Street Fighter four-packs and Speed Racer sets. This set has a few problems, but none of them are deal-breakers. Both of these characters are ones we've never had before as Minimates, so it's not like you're stuck buying another Wolverine. Still, why Kitty and Beast? Wouldn't it make more sense for her to come packed with Colossus?
What's your favorite version of Beast? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.