Chris Vs. Twinkies: Comics Alliance’s Exhaustively Thorough Review Of Hostess’s X-Men Snack Cakes
One of the things about being America's most beloved comic book critic is that strange things tend to show up on my doorstep. Sometimes, it's a Power Rangers Fan Club kit from 1994, and sometimes, it's a copy of the comic book adaptation of Space Jam, and it happens often enough that I didn't think I could be surprised when it came time to pop open a box anymore. And then I opened one up to find two boxes of X-Men themed Twinkies resting on a bed of glimmering golden Easter basket grass.
Yes, those diabolical bakers at Hostess are marking the release of X-Men: Days of Future Past with two new flavors for everyone's favorite golden sponge cake, complete with the somewhat unfortunate name of EXtreme Creme, in Strawberry and Blue Raspberry. And I have eaten them.
Hostess is, of course, no stranger to the world of comic book tie-ins. Their one-page ads where superheroes battled against crimes by distracting crooks with Twinkies and Fruit Pies ran for years and are still pretty fondly remembered by the kind of turbo nerds astute readers with fond memories of prowling through back issue bins. And who could forget the confectioner's DC Comics Flash Cakes and Green Lantern Glo-Balls or Transformers Chocwave Shockwave cupcakes and Snoballimus Optimus Prime Snoballs? Even the company itself seems to have taken a page from the way comic books are structured, dying last year only to return a few months later with a new logo. They might have even put out a zero issue, I'm not sure.
Incidentally, while we're on the subject of Hostess going out of business and fond memories, I remember that the day the news was announced, some dude went to the Walmart in my town, bought their entire stock of Twinkies and Hostess Cupcakes, and then set up in a field on the side of the road with a sharpie-on-cardboard sign advertising TWINKIES $20 and the boxes arranged into a pyramid on the bed of his El Camino. It was one of the most delightful things I have ever seen.
But now, Hostess is back, and they are banking on your interest in the X-Men to overcome your reluctance to try a Blue Raspberry Twinkie.
I think I can with complete sincerity say that this is the nicest packaging I have ever seen on a snack cake tying into an X-Men movie.
Specifically, it's worth noting that they've actually color-coordinated the characters that appear on each box. While the Strawberry flavor kind of cheats by having Bishop's red cape being the only color tie-in, the Blue Raspberry Twinkies feature Mystique, Beast and Colossus. Or, as I like to call them, two blues and a red:
But that raises a pretty important question of its own, namely WHY DID THEY NOT PUT WOLVERINE ON THESE? Has Hostess seriously learned nothing from comic books? "Put Wolverine On It" is like the first thing you learn when you get into the X-Men. Wizard Magazine ran for like 20 years and that was literally their only business strategy. Now, admittedly, Wolverine did make it into the ensemble shot on the cupcakes (along with Magneto, who is otherwise free of snack cake appearance), but man, he should be clawing up sponge cake all over the place. It almost makes me wonder if the movie people were charging different rates for different characters, and they had to decide if they wanted Bishop, Storm and Professor X, or just Wolverine on his own.
You gotta step your game up here, Hostess. Then again, on the other hand, we are now living in a time when you can see pictures of Bishop from the X-Men prominently displayed at your local grocery store, a reality that I don't think any of us ever expected to be living in.
As for the Twinkies themselves, they're the same classic shape as they always were, althoug it's worth noting that the Strawberry fared far better on the trip than the Blue Raspberry did. For whatever reason, the Blue Raspberry got a little banged up, and ended up coming out of the box with the dye used for the (eXtreme) creme leaking through the cake, giving them the appearance of being covered in mold:
I am not even going to lie, folks. I almost tapped out of this whole thing right there. It is not a good look.
As for the eXtreme Creme itself, the same division between Strawberry and Blue Raspberry held up. Strawberry remained neatly confined in the sponge cake, pleasantly appealing, while the Blue Raspberry was just kind of oozing all over the place, threatening to turn any turtles that may have been passing by into the wrong kind of mutants:
Blue Raspberry had a lot of ground to make up when we got to the taste test. Unfortunately, they didn't measure up.
I ate half of each Twinkie at the start of this article so that I could have that in the back of my mind as I wrote, and the Strawberry was the clear winner, with Blue Raspberry falling pretty lackluster. Having just eaten the remaning halves, I am ready to deliver my verdict.
Overwhelmingly sweet. I'm not a big fan of raspberry-flavored candy to begin with, but the eXtreme Creme adds a brutally saccharine taste that brings out the lingering chemical sensation. It is how I imagine Nightcrawler's post-teleportation smoke would taste: singularly unpleasant despite being my favorite color.
On a scale of Cyclops to Wolverine: Blue Raspberry Twinkies clock in at a solid Gambit. It has a look that's intriguing in theory but completely ridiculous in practice, and while I'd probably like it a lot more if I was 12, right now, I just basically want it to go away forever.
I think we can all agree that the classic vanilla creme Twinkie is a pretty solid piece of snack food engineering, right? I mean, it stopped crimes. And while the Strawberry doesn't quite reach the heights of the original, it is genuinely good. The Strawberry flavor is shockingly understated, especially compared to the Blue Raspberry, and the overall effect is like a store-bought snack-cake version of a strawberry shortcake. I would want to eat this even if it didn't have a scowling Patrick Stewart on the box, and that's saying something because that is literally the best enticement that a food product can have.
On a scale of Cyclops to Wolverine: Strawberry eXtreme Creme ranks at a solid Beast, which is ironic given the color scheme at play. It's not the best possible Twinkie, and I can't really see it carrying its own ongoing series where it fights ninjas and people with names like Cyber, but it's versatile, engaging and adds a lot every time it appears. Also, they can just repurpose it pretty easily when Avengers 2 comes out.