#1407: Beetle – Sinister Villains

BEETLE – SINISTER VILLAINS

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“When the battle for justice is underway, artificial enhancements make these villains stronger, faster, and even more of a threat.”

Freaking finally!  That took forever didn’t it?  Can we address the insanity that is having to get four Legends-style figures of admittedly lower tier villain the Beetle before we actually got the version of the character that 99% of people who have any clue about the Beetle would be expecting?  Because it’s kind of nuts.  All I can figure is that Hasbro’s just a real big fan of running gags, and consistently delivering the wrong Beetle was just the best one they had going.  But it’s finally over now, and I finally have the Beetle figure I’ve been patiently waiting for.  Yay!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Beetle is figure 7 in the Homecoming-tie-in assortment of Marvel Legends.  He’s officially named “Sinister Villains,” a name he shares with Tombstone.  I guess it works okay for Beetle, though I’m not sure sinister’s at the top of the list of words I’d use to describe Abner.  I got the figure, so I’m not gonna complain about the name.  This Beetle figure is based on Abner Jenkins’ Mark II Beetle armor.  It’s the design he sported throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, and even into the ‘90s.  It’s definitely his most prominent design, as well as his strongest.  This marks only the second time this design’s appeared as a toy, following the one from the ‘90s Spider-Man line.  This figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Beetle is built on the Bucky Cap body, or at least a lot of parts derived from it.  The legs and most of the arms are the standard Bucky Cap pieces.  In addition, he’s got Taskmaster’s shoulders, as well as the lower torso of Darkhawk.  On top of all that, he’s got a new head, upper torso, and pelvis.  The head’s a fantastic piece, even better than the old Toy Biz figure’s.  It’s sharp, clean, and very nicely scaled for the body.  The pelvis piece is really just a slightly tweaked version of the pelvis used on Darkhawk, just with Beetle’s belt added on.  The new torso mimics the slightly squared-off nature of the shoulders (aiding in selling this as armor, rather than a spandex jumpsuit), and has two sets of ports on the back for Beetle’s wings and forewings to plug into.  The basic wings are the same ones used on the last Beetle, who in turn got them from Wasp.  They were good pieces both times before, and that certainly hasn’t changed now.  The forewings (which, fun fact, are also known as “elytra” or wing cases) are new to this figure, and can be used in conjunction with or independently of the larger wings.  Personally, I kind of dig the folded up look.  Beetle’s paintwork is really great.  He’s done up in all metallic shades, which looks super sleek, and all of the application is really sharp.  Beyond the wings, Beetle has no real accessories of his own, but he does include one of the Vulture’s wing-turbines.  That’s pretty nifty, I guess.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This assortment’s line-up was actually leaked a little while before the prototypes were shown off at Toy Fair.  All we had to go on was the names.  When Beetle showed up on the list, I was pretty sure it was this version, but not certain.  I’ve been tricked before.  Maybe Hasbro would drag us along one more time and roll out a first appearance Beetle.  Maybe they’re sadistic like that.  So, when this guy was shown off, it was like a great weight had finally been lifted.  I was pretty pumped. 

Beetle’s actually the very first figure I found from this series.  I didn’t buy that one, due to not having the money on me at the time, but I found this one about a week later, right after seeing Homecoming for the second time, in fact.  After Moon Knight, he was my biggest want from this series.  I’m glad I found him before Moon Knight, because it allowed me to enjoy him on his own, and not just play second fiddle.  This figure’s really great.  Another strong figure in a line-up of very strong figures.  And now I finally have the Beetle figure I’ve been waiting on for twelve years. 

#1393: Buzzing Beetle

BUZZING BEETLE

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.

#0885: Beetle

BEETLE – SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES

BeetleAM1

From one legacy to another, I suppose. The subject of today’s review is Beetle, an identity originated by Abner Jenkins. Back in the 90s, Jenkins pulled a heel-face turn and took on the identity of Mach II (later Mach III, Mach IV, and Mach V), leaving the Beetle identity vacant. Recently, Janice Lincoln, daughter of Spidey villain Tombstone, took on the name, and had a prominent role in Spencer and Lieber’s Superior Foes of Spider-Man. She seems to be something of a pet character for Spencer, as she’s most recently found herself with a recurring role in his Ant-Man run. Now she’s got her very first action figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BeetleAM2Beetle is figure six in the fourth series of the Spider-Man Marvel Legends Series line. She is the other half of the shared “Superior Foes of Spider-Man” title, which is sensible, given the she’s one of the titular foes. Though she hasn’t been around as long as some of the other characters in this series, Beetle has a few changes to her look. The one presented here is her more streamlined, basic look from Superior Foes. Though her earlier look was a little more interesting, this is the one that fits with the other “Foes” and it also allows for a bit more parts re-use. The figure is just over 6 inches tall and has 33 points of articulation, counting the wings. Beetle is ostensibly built on the mid-sized female body, which has been used for the likes of Hellcat and Wasp. She only actually uses the arms and legs from that particular body, along with the wings from the aforementioned Wasp figure. These pieces are all pretty good, but I did notice a slight bow-leggedness, presumably caused by the packaging. The head, torso, and (as far as I can tell) hands are new pieces. The head is basic, but striking, and hits all the right details. At first glance, I thought the upper torso was Scarlet Witch’s, but a closer look revealed it to be new. It’s a pretty well done piece, but, as with Wasp, I wish the connecting point for the wings weren’t so darn obvious. The lower torso is actually a pretty cool piece, with some fun detail work. Plus, they managed not to make the hip things too silly looking. I do wish it weren’t so flat from the side, though. The hands are hands; they aren’t too big or too small, and that’s what counts. After getting that weird red and silver thing a couple series back, it’s nice to get a Beetle in the proper green and purple. The purple’s a bit too magenta-y for my taste, but other than that, the paint application’s pretty decent. The one area where this figure is somewhat lacking is accessories. All she gets is the Absorbing Man piece (his right leg), which feels really light. An unmasked head would have been cool, since we see her that way several times over the course of Superior Foes.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, so here’s the thing: I like this figure, but it’s not what I wanted. Let me explain: when this figure was first found out about, it was via a list of solicited figures. All we had was the name “Beetle.” As a pretty big fan of Abner, I was hoping for a non-Ultimate version of him. But, we got Janice instead. It makes sense, especially when paired up with Speed Demon. Plus, Janice is a pretty cool character in her own right. The figure isn’t perfect, but she’s still pretty cool, and I’m glad to have her. Now, Overdrive and Shocker can’t be far behind, can they?

BeetleAM3

#0781: Beetle

BEETLE

SPIDER-MAN (TOY BIZ)

BeetleSF1

Marvel has a great history of wacky c and d list villains that would get passed back and forth between their various leading heroes. One of my favorites is Abner Jenkins, formerly known as the Beetle. He’s kind of a low rent Tony Stark, which amuses me. Of course, he’s no longer The Beetle, he’s Mach IV of V or X or whatever he is this week. But that’s another story. Good ol Abner’s gotten a few figures over the years, but it all started with today’s figure, from the golden age of Marvel action figures, the 90s.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BeetleSF2Beetle was released in the “Spider-Force” series of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man line from the 90s. It’s kind of funny, because he never actually showed up on the Spider-Man cartoon, but he did cameo in the Iron Man cartoon from the same time. He’s based on his “classic” look from the 70s-80s (officially known as his MK II armor), which is probably his best look. Curiously, this is the only figure of him to use it. The figure stands about 5 ¾ inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation. Of course, a lot of that articulation is rendered somewhat ineffective due to the use of these freaking “v” style hips, which make doing any real posing of the legs virtually impossible. Beetle sports a body sculpt that would go on to be used for a couple of Toy Biz Marvel figures, but I believe he was actually the first to make use of it. It’s a slightly wonky sculpt, with some weird proportions. The waist is definitely very thin for a guy this size, and the pelvis seems a bit high-set. The hands and feet are also pretty huge, giving him an overall very exaggerated look. The body also has a slightly pre-posed nature to it, though exactly what pose they were going for, I can’t say. The hands definitely suggest some villainous gloating, though. His head sculpt, which was unique to him, does a pretty decent job of capturing the classic Beetle look, though, like the rest of the figure, it’s a fair bit exaggerated. One piece BeetleSF3conspicuously missing from the figure is Beetle’s signature wing-pack. I’m not sure why it wasn’t included, but it makes an otherwise very accurate figure rather inaccurate. Beetle’s paint work is fairly straight forward, but generally well done, and it has a few nice touches. The purple areas are all done with a metallic finish, which looks really sharp, and the green areas have a nice wash to keep those sections from being too drab or boring. The accessories are where things get weird. The main gimmick of the whole Spider-Force series was that each figure came with this sort of a bug… buddy. So, Beetle comes with a giant beetle thing. Said thing can be taken apart and clipped onto Beetle, transforming him from Beetle into, to quote the box, “The Dangerous Beetle.” Because that lovely shade of salmon is just soooooo dangerous….

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite the fact that I quite like the character, and the fact that I had quite the expansive collection of 5-inch Marvel figures back in the 90s, Beetle was not a figure I owned until fairly recently. I ended up picking him up at this year’s Baltimore Comic-Con (from the same dealer who sold me US Agent, Lasher, and Hybrid). He’s definitely one of the more exaggerated figures Toy Biz put out, and the gimmick is goofy as heck, but he’s pretty cool figure.

#0642: Beetle -Deadliest Foes

BEETLE – DEADLIEST FOES

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

Beetle1

There are very few lines of which I would consider myself a “completist.” Off the top of my head, I believe the only two I’ve really stuck with are NECA’s Aliens and SMC’s Weaponeers of Monkaa. There was a time, back during ToyBiz’s run on Marvel Legends that I gave owning every figure in the line some thought, but I ultimately decided against it, due mostly to the unevenness of figure quality. When Hasbro took over, I backed down even more, and almost quit the line entirely. When they re-launched under the Infinite Series handle, I went back to cherry-picking, but the quality of the figures has been rapidly increasing, leading to me getting figures I normally wouldn’t. Take, for instance, Beetle, the subject of today’s review. Now, I generally like Beetle as a character, so it’s odd for me to say that he wasn’t a figure I’d normally buy. I’ll get to the why of that in a bit.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Beetle2Beetle was part of the first series of Amazing Spider-Man 2 Marvel Legends Infinite Series. Officially, he’s not actually called Beetle, he’s called Deadliest Foes, a name he shares with Boomerang, who was his swap figure in this line. While they are swap figures, they don’t actually share anything but the Build-A-Figure piece. Beetle is roughly 6 ½ inches tall and has 30 points of articulation. Beetle’s had a few looks over the years, of varying styles. This figure is based on his Ultimate universe design, which is my least favorite of all the Beetle designs. It’s the one used in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon show, so I guess it makes a little sense, but it definitely turned me off the figure. Beetle features a sculpt that is unique to him (though a fair bit of it will be re-used for a comic-style Ultron later this year). It’s a well detailed sculpt, and it does a nice job of replicating Mark Bagley’s design of the character from the comic. While there are lots of details and bits, the sculpt still maintains certain sleekness, which is definitely cool. The wings and backpack are a separate piece, which clips into place and stays there nicely. The paintwork on the figure is okay, but, for me, it’s flawed from the start. See, the Ultimate Beetle is silver and red, in contrast to the green and purple scheme of EVERY OTHER BEETLE DESIGN EVER. So, yeah, I don’t really care for the color scheme. Aside from that, the paint is decent enough. There’s a bit of slop here and there, but it’s generally pretty clean. Beetle’s only accessory is the leg to the series Build-A-Figure Ultimate Green Goblin. So, now I’ve got two of those. Cool?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Beetle was yet another contribution to my collection courtesy of my Super Awesome Girlfriend. Apparently, she was walking through Walgreens and saw this guy and thought I’d like him. Amazingly enough, I hadn’t actually broken down and gotten him yet! While I’m not the biggest fan of the design he’s based on, the figure is actually a lot of fun. I’m really glad I got him!

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