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DC Minimates Wave 1 - Batman and OMAC
It took a long time for the DC Minimates to hit the streets. There was something like a year between the original announcement that they were being made, to the product finally coming out. At times the Minimate fandom put its collective head in its collective hands as it assimilated the latest cancellation rumour. Thankfully the rumours were unfounded and January 2007 saw the release of DC Minimates wave 1.
This is not the first time we’ve seen DC Minimates. Play-Along/Art Asylum had treated us in the past to the C3 construction sets. Sadly distribution was spotty on some of the later waves and a lot of fans missed out on regular characters such as Flash and Martian Manhunter. Distribution doesn’t seem to be a problem for DC direct. The DC Minimates are readily available via comic shops and online retailers and word is they’ve sold very strongly indeed. First up for review are Batman & OMAC. Batman is arguably the biggest star in DC's ranks, so his inclusion is not a surprise, but OMAC was out of left field for a lot of people.
Thankfully DCD (DC Direct) have opted for the traditional blister fronted card rather than Marvel’s closed box. The design is simple but effective, a yellow/orange explosion against a white background on the card itself. The figures are framed by a black insert which has the DC and Minimates logos at the top, and the Art Asylum and DC Direct logos on the ‘feet’ of the blister. One corner of the blister insert features art depicting a Minimate-styled Superman bursting out of the box. This artwork is very reminiscent of the old Marvel blister cards which used to feature the main character from a particular wave on its card insert (at least the first couple of waves did). There’s a sticker on the outside of the box telling us the names of the figures. The figures themselves are very easy to see inside the packaging as are their accessories. The figures are held into the back tray of the blister by twist ties.
The back of the card features lots of corporate legal gubbins and small pictures of the figures available in the wave. It’s really not very exciting, really. But hey, no variant!
The first Minimate in this set is Batman. One of DC's signature characters, we have had several (er, many) Batman Minimates before in the C3 line, so how does this one compare in DC Direct's bright new dawn?
When these Minimates were first spied online a lot of fans (myself included) cried foul at the new Batman ‘mate. We didn’t like the fact that Bats had gone from having a mask that showed the bottom part of the face, to having what appeared to be a solid head. That is to say the mask appeared to be integral and non-removable. Thankfully this proved to be unfounded. The mask is a sleeve much like the C3 Batgirl headpiece. Aesthetically it’s much easier on the eye than the old C3 Batmen were. As an added bonus the ‘sleeve’ is removable and there’s a Bruce Wayne face underneath with a more ‘martini time’ expression to Bats.
Batman’s face is very well done, there’s no doubt that this is Batman. He has a grim expression which is helped by the extra detailing around the eyes. This is where the sleeve style head piece really comes into its own over the helmet type mask. He looks like he’s just about to bust a case, or someone’s head at least.
The body is also nicely done, this is Batman’s modern costume which has gone from black and grey to blue and Grey. I’m not sure why, or even when that happened in the books? But it looks fine, a lot cleaner and sleeker than previous Minimates too. Decoration is crisp and clear, the bat symbol on the chest stands out nicely and there’s a lot more abdominal definition than on previous Batman ‘mates.
The utility belt is a new piece and more compact than we’ve seen before. The gloves appear to be a re-use but that’s fine. The cape appears to be a re-tooling of the C3 miniflyer capes. The top part is the same shape but the cape is now non removable. It looks really good on Bats, more so than other attempts at the cape (worthy though they were). A minor complaint in regard to the paint apps on the trunks. The lines just aren’t as crisp as they could or should be. Whereas the apps for the boots are spot on.
Apart from the Bruce Wayne hairpiece Bats’ only accessory is a pair of Bat-cuffs. Why? Why not a Bat-arang? Or his grappler gun? The bat-cuffs are huge and ugly as hell. They are however the only bad thing in the pack so I think I can let them slide.
In conclusion, this is a great ‘mate and a fantastic version of Batman as well. There aren’t many faults, let down by bad accessories perhaps? That’s about all though. DC definitely come out swinging with this Batman, and in the process raise the bar somewhat for other comic-book Minimates.
MMC Score - 9 out of 10
Re-introduced to the DC universe a couple of years ago, the new OMAC (Observational Meta-human Activity Construct) are similar to Marvel comics human/sentinel hybrids that were around in the late 90’s in the X-Men books. These OMACs are humans that carry a latent technology-based virus. The virus is activated by a rogue sentient satellite (built by Batman, his bad!) named Brother Eye. The sole purpose of OMACs is to kill meta-humans.
Facially there’s not much to an OMAC. They have a single eye in the centre of their ‘face’ and a large crest which continues down the back of the head. Like Batman the ‘face’ is a sleeve which fits over the actual Minimate head. Both face and head are cast in translucent blue plastic.
The body is also fairly simple, again cast in translucent blue plastic the body sports the eye logo of Brother Eye. There is some very basic muscle definition on the torso. Much of this is a light blue print that I’m finding hard to capture in a picture. Trust me, it’s there, and it looks good.
OMACs can ‘morph’ their extremities into weapons and this is depicted in Minimate form as two detachable hands. One weapon is a vicious looking spike. The other a nasty claw that looks designed to sever limbs. Nice! The OMAC also comes with regular Minimate hands to make him a more soft and cuddly OMAC.
The legs are a major departure from regular Minimate design. Some OMAC designs (not all) show a flaring out around the hip area. This was probably to illustrate even further that the OMACs are no longer truly human. Sadly this look has been incorporated into the Minimate version of the character and it really doesn’t work too well on a block figure. For a start they appear to be asymmetric which detracts from the overall look of the figure. Secondly they severely restrict movement away from the hip joints as the top of the ‘flared’ section hits the T-piece of the hips.
In conclusion, a worthy adversary for Batman (for anyone really... the OMACs were a menace to anyone) and a signal of intent for DC Direct that shows any of their characters can turn up as a Minimate. The issue with the hips detract from what is otherwise a nicely thought out ‘mate.
MMC Score - 6 out of 10
Review and pictures by Stewart Kay
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