Bloodshot and XO Manowar make a great debut as the first Valiant comics MiniMates from Diamond Select.
We’ve now seen two entirely unique iterations of Valiant comics, two distinct continuities, and almost two decades’ worth of fantastic storytelling and great characters. And yet, we’ve never seen any Valiant toys.
After a few apparent false starts– both in the 90s and since the Valiant relaunch– that trend is finally starting to change, and the first toys to hit retail are the debut Valiant MiniMates two-pack, featuring XO Manowar and Bloodshot, two of the biggest players in this shared universe.
I’m pretty hit-or-miss when it comes to the MiniMates aesthetic, but these Valiant figures are incredibly cool, following the recent trend of Marvel sets with the inclusion of swappable alternate parts and other accessories that totally add to the fun experience of these little guys.
I think Bloodshot is the more immediately eye catching, with his pale white skin, piercing red eyes and the omnipresent red circle on his chest. Project Rising Spirit’s most notorious experiment has a lot going on in toy form– he features a sculpted belt, leg holsters with removable pistols, and straps that wrap around his shoulders. These sculpted details give Bloodshot a great texture which syncs nicely with his painted details, like the face and chest muscles.
Bloodshot also comes packing a machine gun and a sword, so he is appropriately armed to the gills. The coolest accessory in the pack, though, is the alternate chest and arms. Like all MiniMates, Bloodshot’s body can be easily dis-assembled, and he includes an alternate chest and arms wearing his black t-shirt. This means you can easily display your Bloodshot in either black or shirtless, which is a totally fun option to include.
Before I said Bloodshot was the most immediately eye catching figure in the set, but that’s only because XO Manowar is cool in more subtle ways. Aric of Dacia, the first character we met in this new Valiant universe, sports much less sculpted detail and more paint work. This give him an appropriately streamlined look, and allows the figure to showcase all the intricate line work and detailing on his iconic armor. The colors used here– a rich golden yellow and a shiny metallic blue– really work well together, and make Aric pop, especially in relation to the more muted tones of Bloodshot.
XO features an alternate head without a helmet, so Aric can show off his long, flowing locks. It’s a cool feature, but could have been executed better. In the pages of his comic book, Aric typically wears his hair back in a pony tail, which I think would have been a better option for the MiniMate, as well. And as much as I love the streamlined look of the figure, I think featuring only one head with a removable helmet and swap-out hairpiece would have been just as– if not more– effective for the figure overall.
Still, it’s a great looking XO Manowar mini figure, something I’ve been wanting since 1993… so I’m perfectly okay with the design choices as they stand.
Speaking of stands, each MiniMate includes his own clear plastic stand, and Aric also features a very cool flight stand, which can plug into either foot for a variety of flying poses. This works so well for the character, really opening up the posing opportunities, and the stand itself is nice and solid, meaning the figure stays in place with ease.
XO Manowar’s final accessory is a green energy blast which can overlay either of his hands. It’s a neat thing to have (although mine rests fairly loose on his hands), though I think I would have preferred a green energy sword, instead. The two-pack also features a fun Valiant mini-comic, starring the MiniMate versions of our heroes, as well as download codes for the first issues of XO Manowar and Bloodshot, which is a brilliant pack-in offer for these less mainstream characters, in my opinion.
The XO/ Bloodshot two-pack is a Toys R Us exclusive, with an alternate battle damaged edition coming to specialty shops this summer. At $7.49, there’s a lot of value in this set, delivering two of the coolest and most important characters from the Valiant universe in the traditional MiniMates style.
I love Valiant’s universe, and I am hopeful this two-pack is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of MiniMates and action figures. Having these two in hand has me dying to see an Archer and Armstrong two-pack, or a Harbinger four-pack, or the Eternal Warrior and his big brother Ivar… there’s so much potential here! And if the rest of the Valiant universe DOES get the toy treatment, and they are handled as well as Diamond Select pulled off their Bloodshot and XO Manowar MiniMates… this line could be something truly amazing.