#2757: Black Cat & Ben Reilly

BLACK CAT & BEN REILLY

MARVEL MINIMATES

The third year of Marvel Minimates had a very focused beginning, bringing in the FF for the first time, but after getting them out of the way, the rest of the year wound up being a pretty major mixed bag.  The 9th, 10th, and 11th assortments were all sort of mixed bags in terms of characters, and the 10th and 11th in particular would introduce something new to the brand: total parts re-use assortments.  In order to stretch things as far as they could go, DST would do as many characters as possible with no new pieces.  Included amongst these heavily re-used figures were today’s offerings, Spidey characters Black Cat & Ben Reilly!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Black Cat and Ben Reilly were released in Series 10 of Marvel Minimates, which hit in the summer of 2005.  Black Cat would remain exclusive to this pairing, but Ben found his way into a re-pack, alongside fellow Series 10 figure Sandman, for Target later that same year.

BLACK CAT

Black Cat made her Minimates debut here, sporting a fairly classic design for the character.  She was built on the basic body, post C3 feet, so she stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  She doesn’t get the new head with peg hole, due to the re-used hair piece, which comes from the Series 6 Phoenix.  While not a terrible piece on its own, it was about to get a bunch of uses all right on top of each other, which earned it the nickname “The Rachel”, in reference to when lots of women got the same haircut as Jennifer Aniston, during Friends‘ hey-day.  And now you know that completely useless bit of trivia.  Aren’t you glad?  Apart from the hair, Felicia was a totally vanilla ‘mate, which honestly isn’t all that out of place for the character.  The rest of her design is handled through paint.  It’s actually pretty decently handled.  The face is really my favorite of the Black Cats that DST did, and they even did a respectable job of recreating a more feminine shape for her body, by use of shading.  It’s actually pretty cool.

BEN REILLY

Spider-Man had plenty of Minimates by this point, but this marked the first one for his clone, Ben Reilly.  Interestingly, it’s not in his Scarlet Spider gear, but instead his take on the Spider-Man costume.  Exactly why is anyone’s guess, especially since it’s usual thing of “being a more credible standard Spidey variant” is kinda lost given he didn’t get Spider-Man in his name at all.  I’m probably over thinking things.  DST didn’t overthink this guy, that’s for sure.  He’s got two add-ons, for his web-shooters on his wrists.  They’re re-used from Power Man, and, while they should technically be segmented, they do work pretty well in a pinch.  Beyond that, he’s another heavy on the paint sort of figure.  It’s pretty good paint, and I do like how they actually painted the red entirely, rather than the mix of paint and plastic like the standard Spidey.  Honestly, this is probably my favorite Spidey paint scheme.  He’s got no accessories, not even the generic webline piece, which is kind of a shame in one way, but a bit of a relief in another, because one man can really own so many of that one piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is a set I actually snagged new.  This whole period of time marked me starting to fall out of things a touch (though, to be fair, it’s not like even DST felt all that invested at the time), but I liked this pair enough to buy them.  I’ve always had a soft spot for the Ben Reilly Spider-Man costume, and it remains perhaps my favorite Spider-Man minimate.  Black Cat’s not too shabby either.  Overall, a pretty solid set, even if they were just re-use.

#2684: Black Cat

BLACK CAT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Black Cat is the most confident, cunning burglar the world has ever seen! Donning a black costume and mask, heiress Felicia Hardy changes into her Super Hero persona and prowls the streets with Spider-Man at her side.”

A definite fixture of Spider-Man’s supporting cast (thought not truly consistently a rogue), Black Cat has had her fair share of toys over the years.  Perhaps it’s the striking visual that helps, but it could also be that she’s probably Spidey’s most notable female rogue…that is, when she’s being a rogue.  She’s gotten more prominent in the toys as she’s grown more prominent in the comics.  While she had just one figure during the Toy Biz 5 inch days, and just one more when they moved to 6 inch, Hasbro’s now coming in on their third time doing the character since they relaunched Legends in 2014.  Not a bad set up for her, now is it?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Cat is part of the Spider-centric Retro Collection sub-line of Marvel Legends.  At this point, Hasbro doesn’t really seem to be focussing on assortments for this style, so much as just dropping new figures one at a time when they feel like it.  Black Cat was, subsequently, her own solo release.  Black Cat has had a few looks over the years, and she pretty much gets a different one every time she gets a new figure.  This one in particular goes for her early ’90s variant on her classic look, which was also the design used for her appearance in Spider-Man: The Animated Series.  That’s proved a major influence on most of these Retro Collection figures, so it’s a sensible choice.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  The vast majority of this figure’s parts come from the Skyline Sirens version of the character from 2014.  That one was built on the Moonstone base body, and generally did a decent job of capturing Black Cat’s usual figure.  It’s not quite as well articulated as more recent bodies, however, which can be a bit of an issue when it comes to posing.  My figure in particular wound up being rather bow-legged.  Since this version of the costume doesn’t have the fur collar, the figure swaps out the upper torso for the basic Moonstone body piece.  She also borrows the calm head from the Dark Phoenix figure, as well as the studded collar from the Hellfire Club Black Queen figure.  She’s really going for that evil Jean Grey vibe, I guess?  The head sits a touch low on the neck, but overall it’s a nice selection of parts, and adds up to a decent recreation of the design they’re going for.  It’s amazing what you can do with nothing but re-used parts, huh?  The paint work on this figure is overall pretty basic and straight forward.  I do like how crisp and clean the detailing on the face and mask is, and the very slight accenting on the fur works quite well to showcase the sculpt.  It certainly looks a bit better than the blue from the earlier figure.  Black Cat is packed with the same whip as the Sirens figure (albeit in different colors), and a recolored version of Goose, this time as a…black…cat.  Actually having a cat’s more of a Catwoman thing than a Black Cat thing, but she’s already copying DC’s homework, so let’s just roll with it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was fortunate enough to actually get the Skyline Sirens Black Cat at retail, but a lot of people weren’t, which meant a lot of people’s only viable Black Cat was the Kingpin Series one.  It’s not a terrible figure, but it’s not a classic Black Cat by any stretch.  With the real push for that ’90s Spider-Man vibe, a redo of some sort felt pretty essential, and here she is.  She’s a decent figure.  Nothing amazing, or definitive, but a solid take on the character, and another somewhat unique costume for this scale.  At least this one’s a bit easier to get.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1922: Black Cat

BLACK CAT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Sometimes Spider-Man’s ally and sometimes his enemy, Felicia Hardy prowls the city as the Black Cat.”

Introduced in 1979, Black Cat is Spider-Man’s equivalent to Catwoman, a foe with whom he had a fair bit of romantic tension, which eventually led to her being less than a foe.  That is, until Peter’s mind was overwritten by Doctor Octopus, and Otto used Felicia’s skills to his advantage before dumping her off with nearest authorities and she swore vengeance against him, leading to her becoming one of New York’s biggest crime lords, all because she didn’t know it wasn’t really Peter in there at the time.  Comics everybody!  Black Cat is a common choice for Spidey-centric toylines, and her latest costume update from the comics has made for an easy transition into more toys, as is the case with today’s offering!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Cat is officially figure #1 in the Kingpin Series of Marvel Legends (since Six-Armed Spidey isn’t actually numbered).  She’s based on Felicia’s post-Superior Spider-Man costume, when she was working to become an established crimelord.  It keeps a lot of common elements from prior costumes, but is decidedly heavier on the black sections.  I don’t hate the design, but I’m not huge on the weird cat eyes near her shoulders.  They look sort of off.  Still, it’s a fairly recent look, and it got some solid coverage, so there are certainly worse choices.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Black Cat is built on the catsuited body from the Legendary Riders Widow figure.  I liked that one a fair bit, and it definitely makes a lot of sense here.  She gets a new head, collar, belt, and fur add-ons for her arms and legs.  She also borrows the clawed hands from her prior Legends release, which I suppose is good for consistency.  The new head is a decent enough piece.  I don’t like it quite as much as the last one overall, but I do appreciate Hasbro trying something with the less stoic expression.  I also like that they sculpted her missing tooth, since that’s an important detail from her downfall in the comics.  The fur pieces work about as well as sculpted fur ever does, but they certainly don’t look bad.  The belt’s alright on its own, but it’s a little annoying that it’s not removable, making the included whip piece a little questionable, since they’re actually supposed to be one and the same.  Black Cat’s paintwork is pretty simple and straightforward, but also very clean, which is always a plus.  The lack of the odd blue wash on her hair is certainly a welcome change.  The Cat is included with the previously mentioned whip piece, which is of course a little problematic when taking the belt into account, but is otherwise a decent piece.  She is also packed with the right arm and cane for Kingpin.  Including the cane with Felicia’s an especially smart move, since it can easily work as a piece of loot for her, should you not choose to complete the Build-A-Figure!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was pretty happy with the first modern Legends Black Cat, and am not really enough of a fan of the character that I was really looking to replace her.  So, this figure’s announcement didn’t exactly do a lot for me, nor can I really say I had my opinion of her changed all that much by getting her in hand.  The last figure’s still my preferred version to be sure.  That being said, this Black Cat is still a solid figure in its own right, and for anyone unable to get the last one (which was quite a few people; she was kind of hard to get for a while there), this one’s a more than serviceable replacement.

I purchased Black Cat from my friends at All Time Toys, who set me up with this whole set to review.  While she’s not currently still in-stock at their webstore, they should be getting in some more sets soon.  If your looking for other Legends or other toys both old and new, please check out All Time’s website and their eBay storefront.

#0413: Black Cat – Skyline Sirens

BLACK CAT – SKYLINE SIRENS

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

So, more Marvel Legends. Alright! Hasbro’s been putting a lot of effort into getting the line running successfully again. Over the summer, they did several series of figures that sorta tied in with this year’s Marvel movies. One of those lines was done to cash in on Amazing Spider-Man 2, and I’ll be looking at Black Cat (essentially Spider-Man’s version of Catwoman) from that series. Like Carnage, she was a figure that eluded me for a while, but I was finally able to track one down.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Cat is part of the Amazing Spider-Man 2 Marvel Legends Infinite Series, officially released under the name “Skyline Sirens.” She was replaced in later shipments by the other Skyline Sirens figure, Spider-Girl, which led to some scarcity for a while. Fortunately, it seems Hasbro has started shipping out Black Cat again. Black Cat is a little over 6 inches tall and she sports 29 points of articulation. I’m not incredibly well versed in the looks of Black Cat over the years, but this figure seems to be based on the “classic” design of the character. It’s a look not seen on her previous figures, but it’s what I think of when I think of the character. Anyway, the figure makes use of Hasbro’s new larger female base body, originally used on Moonstone in the Thunderbolts boxed set. It’s not a bad body, though it’s not quite as well-proportioned as the slightly more modest body used for Spider-Girl. The biggest issue is that the lower torso, which looks fine from the front, but is oddly flat from the side. They’ve also elected to give her high-heeled shoes, which are annoying, especially when trying to get her to stand. You really have to question the practicality of a cat burglar wearing high heels. The Cat has a unique head, upper torso, lower arms, hands, and lower legs. They’re all pretty solid sculpts, especially the head. Hasbro’s recent trend of female figures that actually have attractive head sculpts is a very refreshing change for Marvel Legends. Like so many other Hasbro figures, the paint is where things get iffy. However, to their credit, this figure’s problems aren’t with sloppy lines or bleed over. Everything is actually pretty clean. The real issue is the blue was that’s been done on the white areas. It’s just too heavy, especially on her hair, which ends up looking like some wacky dye job. Black Cat includes a whip (which is honestly more Catwoman’s speed, but whatever) as well as the requisite Ultimate Green Goblin piece (the torso, if anyone’s curious).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found Black Cat at the same K-Mart where I picked up Carnage and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates. Ha ha! I successfully vanquished my arch-nemesis The Scalper! Take that vile villain! …*ahem* Anyway, I’m glad to finally have the figure. While she doesn’t wow me quite as much as Spider-Girl did, but she’s still a really strong figure. Let’s hope Hasbro can continue with their upward trend.