BANSHEE & PYRO
In the 90s, the X-Men were just the very biggest thing at Marvel. They were in everything, they had everything. They even had two rather extensive lines of toys running, offering pretty much everyone who showed up even for just a little while. After the 90s ended, that cooled down a bit, and they haven’t had nearly as extensive a hold on the market since. However, Diamond Select Toys, with their extensive Marvel Minimates line, is doing their very best to live up to the 90s X-Men toylines. The most recent round of ‘mates is once again centered around the team, and does its fair share to fill a few X-shaped holes. Let’s kick things off with my favorite set, Banshee vs. Pyro!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
This two pack is part of Marvel Minimates Series 60. The series is an even split between the X-Men and their foes the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Each set includes one X-Man and one Brotherhood member, and, as an added bonus, three of the four sets feature parts to turn the X-Man into another member of the team.
Banshee is a figure we’ve been waiting quite some time for. He started popping up on wishlists just a few series into the line, mostly due to his absence from the Giant-Size X-Men #1 boxed set. Then he showed up as one of the choices in the Series 50 poll, but was ultimately not one of the finalists. Now we’ve finally gotten him. Of course, he’s in his 90s Strike Force uniform instead of his traditional green and yellow, but let’s not split hairs here. We got Banshee! Focus on the positive! The figure stands 2 ½ inches tall and features the usual 14 points of articulation. As I noted above, this is Banshee’s Jim Lee design from the 90s. It’s not his longest lasting look, but he did wear it in a few noteworthy appearances. He uses the standard Minimate body, with the addition of a hairpiece, cape, gloves, leg straps, and boot straps. I believe that the gloves are new to this series, though they are used on all of the X-Men in this series. The rest of the pieces are some rather clever re-use. The hair is from the Infinity Gauntlet set’s Adam Warlock, the cape is from the Secret Wars set’s Photon, and the straps are all from Series 34’s 90s Cyclops. All of the pieces are well-sculpted and well-chosen for Banshee’s look. Banshee’s paintwork is generally pretty good. The colors are nice and bold, and the detail lines are all very well applied. There is a little bit of bleed over here and there on the changes from blue to yellow, and the belt buckle isn’t fully red like it should be. All minor things, but things that it would be nice to see handled just a bit better. Banshee is packed with a piece replicating his sonic scream ability, a flight stand, and a clear display stand. In addition to the Banshee parts, he also includes parts to transform the figure into Gambit. He has a head, hairpiece, set of card throwing hands, and a satchel. All of these pieces are very nice, and they translate the figure to Gambit quite expertly.
Now, the wait for Pyro alone hasn’t quite been as extensive as it was for Banshee, but he and his fellow Brotherhood members have been waiting in the wings for a little while. Like Banshee, Pyro is about 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. The collar piece is a little bit restricting of the head movement, but it’s still there, so that’s good. Pyro makes use of add-on pieces for his mask, collar, and gloves. All of these pieces are new to Pyro, and they’re all pretty good adaptations of his comic design. The mask is a little soft on the details, but it’s not too bad. The paintwork on Pyro isn’t quite as good as Banshee, but it’s still not horrid. The biggest issues seem to occur on the mask, where the paint is only in the same general area of where it should be, which is rather distressing. Aside from that, the colors are nicely chosen and the linework is all pretty clean. In particular, I really like the fully detailed face under the mask. It has a lot of personality. Pyro includes two flame constructs and a clear display stand.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I picked this set up all by itself from my local comicbook store. They had three of the four other sets, but this was the only one I felt like I had to get right away. These are two of my favorite X-Men characters, and they turned out quite nicely. I can’t wait to get the rest of the series now!