SPIDER-MAN & SPINNERET
MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)
“Peter and Mary-Jane Parker are partners in marriage and crime-fighting as Spider-Man and Spinneret!”
With the character’s 60th anniversary upon us, now’s as good a time as any to really look into the history of Spidey and his supporting cast. In 1987, Peter Parker and Mary-Jane Watson officially tied the knot in not one, not two, but three different venues, which included the mainstream Marvel universe in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21, the Spider-Man newspaper strip, and even a live performance of the marriage held at Shea Stadium and officiated by Stan Lee himself. Within the main universe, the marriage lasted 20 years, before Joe Quesada, during his absolutely wonderful and not at all the worst thing ever run as Editor-in-Chief at Marvel, decided he didn’t think people could relate to a Spider-Man who was married. Because, apparently people had been not relating to Spidey for the last two decades at that point. Obviously, the solution to this issue of relatability was to have Peter and Mary-Jane sell their marriage to the literal Devil in what has got to be the most convoluted sequence of events ever crafted in order to end a marriage. Very relatable. “One More Day” went over about as well as a lead balloon at the time of its publication, so there have been plenty of attempts at circumventing its effects. During 2015’s Secret Wars crossover, Dan Slott and Adam Kubert helmed a limited series exploring a world where Peter and MJ had never sold their marriage to the literal Devil, called “Renew Your Vows.” The story was generally seen as a good thing, and has spawned itself its own two-pack, Spidey and Spinneret, which I’ll be taking a look at today!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Spider-Man and Spinneret are one of the pair of two-packs in the “Spider-Man 60th Anniversary” sub-line of Marvel Legends. The pack is officially branded “Renew Your Vows” after the story that spawned it.
There has been no shortage of standard Spider-Man variants in Legends, but Hasbro is intent on continuing to improve their standard issue Spider-Man wherever they can. Just under the current run of Legends, we got Pizza Spidey in 2015, and the Retro Spidey in 2020, and now, there’s a whole new one. Well, I say “whole new,” but that’s not entirely accurate. I’ll get to that. The figure stands just over 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 38 points of articulation. Yesterday, I spend a good portion of my review of discussing how impressive the Amazing Fantasy Spidey’s articulation is. Today’s Spidey is…well, he’s different. A lot of it comes down to how this guy is built. While AF Spidey is an all-new sculpt from the ground up, Renew Spidey is sort of retrofitting older parts into a modern set-up. He’s taking a lot from the Retro Spidey from 2020, a figure that was himself slightly hindered by his reliance on pieces from the ANAD 2099 figure. In order to make up for that figure’s older pieces, this one replaces or at the very least alters a few more pieces to modernize things just a bit. The arms and legs are now adjusted to feature the pinless construction on the elbows and knees, which was a major issue with the last release, since he literally *just* missed the implementation of that feature. This figure also gets a new set of feet, which see the return of toe articulation, something that was once a staple, but has been absent from Legends since shortly after Hasbro took over the license. Admittedly, I tended to find the toe articulation overused, but on Spidey it does make a degree more sense. It’s all topped off with a head that looks like it might be a re-use of the Pizza Spidey head, but there’s enough slight change-up of the width of the jaw that I’m not sure if it’s actually new or if that’s just a slight variation in the mold over time. Whatever the case, it’s a more current looking Spidey head than the one that was on the retro release. The whole set-up on the mold is a little bit piecemeal, but it’s greater than the sum of its parts. The articulation gets the job done, and he ultimately gets a similar range of motion to the AF Spidey. There are definitely some areas where one articulation set-up is compensating for another, so it’s not as fluid in its motion as the other figure. Still, it’s not a bad set-up. The figure’s paint work is generally pretty good. The palette is a little darker than the Retro Spidey, which fits well with the particular storyline the figure’s adapting. Spidey is packed with an unmasked head and three sets of hands (in fists, thwipping, and open gesture). The unmasked head is the same one we’ve seen a few times, though this time with the face printing, which is honestly a notable improvement.
Within the original run of Renew Your Vows, MJ is still doing the civilian thing, but when it was continued as an ongoing book under veteran Spidey scribe Gerry Conway, he gave MJ her own super hero identity as Spinneret. The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and it has 29 points of articulation. MJ winds up as about as much of a patchwork job as her husband, which is appropriate, I suppose. She starts with the AoA Rogue-modified version of the Polaris-modified version of the Phoenix torso, which translates to her having two separate ports on her back that don’t actually do anything for this release. She’s then got the upgraded pinless-style arms and legs from Shriek, an all-new head, and a pair of add-ons for the cuffs on her ankles. I’m not super thrilled by the extra ports on the back, but otherwise it’s a body with a decent set of proportions and a really nice range of motion. The new head does a solid job of recreating her masked look from the comics, and manages to do a not so terrible job of a teeth baring grin that doesn’t look frightening or goofy. Spinneret’s paint work is pretty decent. I dig the rather unique color scheme, and the paint on the face in particular, which is using the face printing. The figure’s packed with an unmasked head (the same one included with the Retro Gwen Stacy figure) and three sets of hands (fists, thwipping, and open gesture). As with the Peter head, MJ gets the face printing, which is again a marked improvement.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I was on the fence with this set. I enjoy the storyline and all, but it’s a pricey set, and I’d not really been wowed by the Retro Spider-Man in his first release. That said, once this set was in front of me, it was harder to turn down, especially when I suddenly found myself getting another item for a lot cheaper than I’d expected, so I had some extra cash to justify it. Spidey is definitely a bit of a Frankenstein, but it ultimately works out better than I’d expected. He’s the slightest bit undercut by how well the AF Spidey turned out, but they serve different purposes and they serve them well. Spinneret isn’t the main draw of the set, but she’s still a really solid figure, and rounds out the pack really nicely.
Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with these figures to review. If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.