MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)
“Part pig, part scientific mishap, Peter Porker becomes the web-shooting swine, Spider-Ham”
Spider-Ham? It’s come to this? I’m reviewing a Spider-Ham figure? Yeah, I know, I’m as shocked as the rest of you. Even with his elevated status as a variant of Spider-Man, I don’t really know that I ever expected to review a Spider-Ham figure. Of course, I say this as a guy who just reviewed Poison, a character with far, far less comic book appearances than the esteemed Mr. Porker here, so maybe I’m just overreacting.
Spider-Ham is a 1983 creation, parodying Spider-Man through the lens of an anthropomorphic cartoon animal. He began his life as a spider, before being bitten by a radioactive pig, causing him to turn into a pig, while still retaining many of his spider abilities. He’s actually been a pretty recurring staple at Marvel since his creation, and in 2016 met up with his main universe counterpart during the Spider-Verse cross over.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Spider-Ham is figure 4 in the Monster Venom Series of Marvel Legends, and perhaps the one figure in the series who feels more like a straight Spider-Man character than a Venom one. I guess they just really wanted a counter for all of the ‘90s X-treme-ness that was oozing from the rest of the assortment. The figure stands 3 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation. Okay, so let’s just rip the band-aid right off, shall we? Spider-Ham’s biggest failing, by a country mile, is his articulation, or rather his lack thereof. While his upper body is fairly decently articulated (though it’s not as smoothly integrated as I’d like; his arms end up with quite a segmented look), the legs only have simple cut-joints at the calves, and nothing more. That splayed leg position is all you’re getting out of him. This is a sincere let-down, especially after Hasbro had just last year addressed a similar problem with their original Rocket Raccoon, and released a fully articulated version for Vol. 2. There are some characters for whom I could forgive the missing articulation, and I could even forgive it on Ham if he were a pack-in figure or something, but as a single-release figure, this is ridiculous, and quite a step backwards. In addition, Hasbro seems to be aware of the potential problems with releasing such a small-statured figure on his own, and has subsequently upscaled him a bit, making him too large to properly scale with other figures. It’s a minor thing, given how infrequently Ham interacts with other characters, but it’s still annoying. Beyond that, his sculpt’s okay. The internal proportions are fine, and he certainly looks like Spider-Ham. The choice to go with sculpted webbing, something that all of the recent Spider-Men have forgone, is sort of an odd one. It looks fine, but it’s anyone’s guess as to why Hasbro chose this of all figures to give that treatment to, especially since it removes their option to do any black-costumed variant down the line. I think the oddity of the choice is further highlighted by the decision to leave the webs unpainted, making them easy to miss at first glance. Also, they’ve used painted red for exactly one part of the figure, his belt, and it’s so obviously a different tone from the rest. Why not just paint the legs instead? Another mystery. Spider-Ham includes two accessories, neither of which is actually for him. The first is the head of Pork Grind, the Venom to Ham’s Spider-Man. It’s a really nice piece of work, and has been designed to be compatible with the standard Venom from this same assortment. It’s a nice bonus for those of us who had the Absorbing Man release, and by far my favorite thing about this figure. Secondly, Ham includes the largest piece of Monster Venom, the torso. Hasbro used this same pack-out style for both versions of Rocket, so it’s not a huge surprise here. While I certainly appreciate the two pieces included, given the smaller size of Spider-Ham, I’d have loved to see some extra heads and hands and maybe even a webline thrown in to sweeten the pot.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I was so excited when Spider-Ham was announced. He was one of the two figures in this set I was certain I’d be getting. The prototype shots made me slightly apprehensive, but I’ve learned not to judge a Legends release by the prototype. And then I got him in hand, and, well, most of my my problems were still there. I really, really wanted to like this figure, but the simple fact is that Hasbro dropped the ball pretty hard on this guy. I wish that weren’t the case. I wish I could say this was another win for Hasbro, but this figure honestly showcases a number of problems that we haven’t seen from Hasbro in years, and I wouldn’t mistake someone for thinking he was a pre-Return of Marvel Legends release. I don’t hate him, because I genuinely can’t bring myself to hate a Spider-Ham figure. I’d rather have this than nothing at all, and I can enjoy him for what he is, but I’m sad that he doesn’t live up to Hasbro’s current standards, and I’m sad that he’s not this Series’ logical star like he should be.
Spider-Ham was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys. If you’re interested in buying other Legends figures, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.