MASKED SPIDER-MAN & GWEN STACY
In its second year, Marvel Minimates worked to fill in some of the gaps left by its first year, but also looked to find its footing and how to successfully carry on a brand when you’ve already put out a lot of the heavy hitters. For their first series in the second year, they had a theme of “retread and new” to their pairings. This was already visible with the Doc Ock and Unmasked Spidey set from last week, and it becomes even more obvious with today’s set, Masked Spider-Man and Gwen Stacy.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Masked Spidey and Gwen were released in Series 4 of the Marvel Minimates specialty line-up. Gwen would remain exclusive to this particular assortment, but this version of Spidey wound up paired off with Series 5’s Wolverine variant for the Walmart/Target assortment. Oh good, he was more places.
So, yeah, I’m wondering the same thing you’re wondering: isn’t “Masked Spider-Man” just a regular Spider-Man? I mean, that would be my guess, but this figure seems to think otherwise. I believe the figure was originally solicited as “Half-Masked Spider-Man”, and perhaps they realized this was too many words to fit on the packaging. They were still committed to giving each figure a unique name, though, so “Masked Spider-Man” he became. From the neck down, he’s the same as the other two non-battle damaged Spider-Men, which I guess is good for consistency. It means that the majority of this guy is the same as a really good ‘mate. But now he’s got his masked pulled up to reveal his mouth. It’s not an uncommon look for the character, and was of course prominently featured in the first Spider-Man movie, so I guess it makes sense? It would make more sense packed with an MJ, but I digress. To further mix things up, this guy’s also got a new web-line piece. Its attached to a hand, and the end of it is shaped to a Minimate torso, allowing him to grab them. It’s probably the best thing about this figure.
After butchering poor MJ’s debut ‘mate, I guess DST felt the need to prove that not every woman in Peter’s life was a horrible monster mash. So, we got a Gwen Stacy. How about that. Gwen didn’t have a costume, but DST opted to put her in the outfit that most people remember: the one she died in. It’s got a distinctive flair to it, to be sure, and it’s certainly iconic. Gwen is constructed from the usual base body, with add-ons for her hair, jacket, and skirt. All of the add-ons were new for this release, and they look decent. The jacket does really bulk her up, though, especially when compared to other supposedly larger characters, who were still just on the basic body. Hey, that’s the difficulty of using the same base for everyone, I suppose. Gwen’s paintwork is cleanly done, and pretty basic, but that’s honestly a good thing, because it’s really that too many details approach that messed up poor MJ.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I didn’t have this set when it was new, but my brother did. I myself was never majorly impressed by either figure included. However, I found them from Luke’s Toy Store for really cheap, and I’ve been slowly filling out my early Minimates collection, so now I have them. I still don’t find it to be a terribly exciting set. Gwen’s okay, and honestly better than I expected, but Spidey’s just kind of pointless, even moreso than the unmasked figure from the same set. Fortunately, they would learn how to make better Spidey variants as the line progressed.