SPIDER-MAN: CLASSICS (TOY BIZ)
When is a figure you want not a figure you want? That’s a confusing question. What I’m getting at is that sometimes, there’s a character you really want, and when they arrive, they just aren’t what you wanted at all. That’s the perpetual story of Beetle. He’s a B-list Spider-Man foe, so his appearance in numerous Spider-Man lines over the years is no surprise. What’s continued to be a surprise is the versions of the character we’ve gotten. Back when Toy Biz was still pioneering the Marvel Legends style, they gave us our first 6-inch Beetle as part of their complimentary Spider-Man: Classics line. It was…not exactly what was expected.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Buzzing Beetle was released in Series 14 of Spider-Man: Classics as one of the two Spider-foes in the set. The figure stands a whopping 7 3/4 inches tall and has 39 points of articulation. This Beetle figure is based on one of the much later Beetle designs. It’s not exactly one of the more memorable designs that the character’s had. In fact, Abner Jenkins, the original Beetle, never even wore this armor. He instead controlled it by remote. It was eventually worn by Leila Davis, after Abner had given up the Beetle identity, but even that was rather short-lived. It’s at the very least a visually interesting design. The complexity of the design means it also requires a completely unique sculpt. It’s pretty decent work all-in-all. The various pieces of armor have differing textures, which adds a lot of additional cool factor to this figure. The design also really lends itself to toy form, so the articulation can be worked in pretty well. The hip joints are kind of obvious, as were all of these types of joints at the time. Beyond that, it’s really pretty solid. The “buzzing” feature was linked to the wings (which my figure is lacking) and the mechanics are placed within the torso. Due to the sheer size of the figure, though, the mechanics really don’t impede the sculpt or articulation all that much. There’s also a light-up feature on the visor, which turns it…red? Yeah, okay. The paintwork on Beetle is actually pretty great. The metallic shades are really cool to look at, and the purple and green go really well together. There’s also some really fun weathering on the purple bits, which helps further accentuate their already more worn-in sculpt. In addition to the (missing) wings, Beetle also included a pair of missiles (also missing) to go in the missile launchers affixed to the figure’s forearms.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I saw this figure a few times when it was new, and I never bought it. I was a little bit resentful that they went with this design over the classic look. Of course, once it was officially gone from all the regular places, I kind of regretted never picking it up. I ended up fishing this figure out of the $1 bin at 2nd Chance Toyz, which was pretty exciting. Sure, it’s missing a few parts, but the base figure is still cool. Really, at the end of the day, I’m actually kind of happy this figure was made when it was. It’s actually a pretty fun design, and it’s the sort of thing that wouldn’t really be financially feasible in this day and age. A good toy’s a good toy.