SPIDER-MAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (TOY BIZ)
“Once an illegal operative, Jessica Drew left the group called Hydra to fight crime as the original Spider-Woman! With the ability to climb walls and emit bio-electric spider-blasts, Spider-Woman put many super-villains behind bars. Eventually giving up her identity as Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew now fights crime as a private investigator!”
When does a spin-off character have nothing to do with the original? When they’re Spider-Woman, of course. The first Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew, was introduced in 1977 as little more than a way of preventing Filmation from putting out a cartoon with their own Spider-Woman. She had a similar power set to everyone’s favorite wall-crawler, but there the similarities ended. The two characters wouldn’t even meet for quite a long time after her creation. Which makes the fact that her very first figure came from a Spider-Man toyline all the more amusing.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Spider-Woman was released in Series 7 of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man: The Animated Series tie-in toyline. She wasn’t based on a cartoon appearance (likely to avoid viewer confusion; her successor, Julia Carpenter, was a regular on the Iron Man cartoon at the same time). In fact, Series 7 was right about the time that the series stopped focussing on following the cartoon, so Spider-Woman was not the only non-show figure in the series. The figure stands about 5 inches tall and she has 8 points of articulation. Jessica’s sculpt is a reworking of the Julia Carpenter Spider-Woman from Series 1 of the Iron Man line. This would be the first time they’d share a sculpt, but far from the last. Given the similarities in design, it’s a rather practical way of getting an extra use out of the molds, I suppose. She’s been tweaked to add in elbow joints and also to remove Spider-Woman II’s action feature. Sadly, they didn’t go as far as to add back in the neck movement lost due to the action feature, but that would have been a more hefty re-working, I suppose. The sculpt is a pretty decent one overall. The proportions are fairly balanced, and pretty decent for the time. The hair has a pretty nice sculpt, and sits nicely, and the face isn’t too terrible. The one main drag with this sculpt is just how stiff it is. She doesn’t really look natural in any pose. It’s largely to do with the arms, or more specifically, the hands. She’s got this karate chop thing going on, and it just looks rather out of place. The paint is really the key part of this figure, and it’s pretty decent. The colors match well with her comics counterpart, and the work is generally on the clean side. Some of the black lines are a little fuzzy, but it’s not terrible. In terms of accessories, Jessica was about on par with most of the other figures of this time, which means she has a bunch of random stuff that doesn’t amount to much of anything. There was like a shield and a weird gun-thing I think? Mine has neither piece, and that’s just fine.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Spider-Woman wasn’t one of my childhood figures. My dad had one, but I didn’t, largely due to not being overly familiar with Jessica Drew. I’ve since picked up some knowledge and appreciation for the character, so I’ve been on the look out for this figure. I found her at Yesterday’s Fun last week, but ultimately put her (and a few others) back in favor a few other things. My Dad apparently took note of this, and presented me with the whole lot the next day. He’s nice like that. She’s a decent enough figure, I suppose. Nothing amazing, but certainly entertaining.