Every now and then I have to remind myself that Lego is largely designed with children in mind, rather than the AFOLs. When the Mighty Micros range was first announced, I was actually quite excited. The character line-up was a good one, and featured a few characters who were either discontinued or had only been featured in sets that were rather expensive. These would be a great way to plug a few gaps in my DC and Marvel collections, and the spare bricks from the karts could be tossed aside into a box somewhere, never to be seen again.
But then I discovered that they would be using the short minifigure legs instead of the regular ones. I was very disappointed – this was one geared much more heavily at kids than adults. I mean, it works for Robin, but who else would want a short Flash, or Catwoman? And the funny thing is, I would have HATED the core concept as a child. Why would The Flash have a car/go-kart when he’s the fastest man alive? Did Captain Cold ever have a Zamboni-eqsue vehicle in the comics? Granted, I didn’t understand marketing, cost vs profit, or being deliberately (cynically?) toyetic as a kid, but the variant versions of main characters that have no basis in comics or other media drove me up the wall as a child. I suspect I’m not the only one, either – really, if you give just about anyone the choice between a regular Batman or some kind of bizarre armour variant, you’d probably pick the regular one, I’m guessing? Which is part – though not the entire – of the reason that so many media-based action figure lines pegwarm for months after the film has gone from cinemas.
I digress. I didn’t see myself with any other options for a Flash or Captain Cold minifigure anytime soon, so I decided to bite the bullet while I was in the States recently. These guys have been selling out left, right and centre in Australia, so obviously the kids do like them; and I have to say they’ve grown on me a lot after getting them out of the box.
After that lengthy rant, let’s discuss the actual product. The core conceit behind the Mighty Micros concept is that a bunch of Marvel and DC characters are having Mario Kart-style races against one another. They’re paired up in hero/villain teams (and before anyone points it out, yes I know Catwoman isn’t really a villain these days).
The karts are loosely themed around the character driving them. Captain Cold’s looks like a Zamboni, which is kind of fun even outside of the context of this set. There’s not enough Lego love for ice hockey these days. The Flash’s is a red kart-thing, with flames trailing out the back. It doesn’t really look like anything specific but it works – and the flames do give the impression that he is much, much faster than his rival. As is key for any toy car, both designs are very swooshable. And given the inherent fragility of plenty of Lego sets, rougher kids than I could probably have a pretty hectic demolition derby.
Additionally, both are paired with loosely relevant accessories. Captain Cold gets his usual Cold Gun, and an ice-cream cone, while Flash gets a can of “Power Bolt”, which is presumably some kind of energy drink. This is continued across other sets, in mostly logical fashion – Red Skull gets the Tesseract, Catwoman gets a carton of milk, and Hulk for some obscure reason gets a chicken drumstick.
I like the concept, and it seems to be selling well – but I really wish they’d used regular minifigure legs instead of the short ones we got instead. As mentioned above, it would have been a great way to make more obscure/previously released but rare characters more readily available – as it is, it's a fun novelty.