#2757: Black Cat & Ben Reilly



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!


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 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.


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.


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.

#2187: Maximum Clonage



“When the scientist known as the Jackal cloned spider-man, he intended to destroy Spidey! Now several years after Spider-Man defeated the clone, he has returned as the hero, Scarlet Spider. Fighting alongside the original Spider-Man, the spider clone seeks to uncover the answers behind the many players in the clone saga!”

Oh boy, you want a fun time?  Why not have a little talk about “The Clone Saga,” the gargantuan, over-stuffed Spidey crossover from the ’90s that forever is remembered in infamy.  Early commercial success of the story, which brought back unexplored plot threads from two decades prior, led to Marvel editorial greatly extending its run through the Spider titles, adding in all sorts of aimless and needlessly complicated plots that seemed to go nowhere.  At the crux of the story, it was revealed that the Peter Parker the audience had been following for two decades was in fact a clone, and the recently introduced Ben Reilly was the original, which was really Marvel’s first stab at the “carefree, single” Peter Parker that we would later get out of “One More Day.”  By the end of the story, Ben was dead and confirmed as the clone, and the whole thing was put to bed.  Of course, that didn’t stop Toy Biz from taking advantage of the story in order to get some toys out of it!


Ben Reilly, Scarlet Spider, and Spider-Man were released in the fall of 1997 as part of a BJ’s Wholesalers exclusive “Maximum Clonage” boxed set, which also featured unmasked Peter Parker, Kaine, Spidercide, Jackal, and Sandman, and covering the Clone Saga as a whole.


“When the clone of Peter Parker left New York City, he took the name Ben Reilly. Now, Ben Reilly has returned to join Peter Parker in his quest to find the truth behind the clone mystery. Just as much hero as the real Peter Parker, Ben creates a new super hero costume and takes the name Scarlet Spider. Fighting together as the Scarlet Spider and Spider-Man, Ben and Peter are an amazing web-slinging duo. But when the real Peter Parker loses his powers, Ben takes his place becoming the all new Spider-Man!”

One of the handful of truly exclusive figures in the set, Ben Reilly in his civilian garb has so far never been done again in action figure form.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 10 points of articulation.  Ben was built out of the main Spider-Man line’s Peter Parker figure, at least from the neck down, anyway.  It’s a guy of average build wearing a bomber jacket, jeans, and sneakers, so it’s reasonably generic.  Plus, even if it weren’t, it’s not like there isn’t a good excuse for the two to look similar.  It’s honestly a very nice sculpt, and definitely one of Toy Biz’s best civilian looks.  To differentiate himself from the original Peter Parker, Ben bleached his hair blond and got a very mid-90s style ‘do, which this figure replicates by throwing the head of Archangel III on top of the body.  While it does the hair justice, it’s a little off on the facial front, since it means he doesn’t look all that much like Peter, and he also has Warren’s super intense stare.  Still, there were worse parts choices that could have been made, and at least he was slightly different from Peter.  The paintwork further differentiated the two, changing his jacket from brown to black.


“Returning from a self-imposed exile, the clone of Peter Parker reappears, now calling himself Ben Reilly.  Possessing all of Spider-Man’s powers and abilities, Reilly begins to fight crime as the Scarlet Spider.  With an all-new costume and special high-impact web-shooters, the Scarlet Spider fights with the enthusiasm of a rookie hero.  Patrolling the same streets as the original Spider-Man, the Scarlet Spider leaves no doubt for criminals their days are numbered!”

Previously offered in another exclusive release during the Overpower line, this figure is pretty much unchanged here.  This figure, just like the original release, was built using the body of Octo-Spider-Man, which would become one of Toy Biz’s favorite base bodies.  It’s not terrible, and benefits from not having sculpted weblines, meaning that Scarlet doesn’t look odd or out of place.  The downside is that the hoody is just a painted on element, rather than something new.  He does get webshooters, a belt, and pouches for his legs, which mix up his look well enough.  Ultimately, he’s sort of simple, but he’s probably my favorite figure from the set, so I really can’t complain much about him.


“When Peter Parker temporarily steps down from his crime fighting career, his clone Ben Reilly takes his place as the all new Spider-Man!  Wearing an exciting new costume and utilizing the impact web shooters of his Scarlet Spider suit, Reilly can tackle anyone.  Facing the threat of the evil Jackal, and the enigmantic Kaine, the new Spider-Man will have his work cut out for him!”

The “New Costume” Spider-Man had previously seen release in Series 7 of the main Spider-Man line, but saw another inclusion here, for obvious reasons.  This new costume design is definitely a favorite for toy makers, and I myself am rather fond of it, probably due to its inclusion right here.  This figure is built the same way as the Scarlet Spider, which is sensible, them being the same guy and all, but he gets tweaked forearms with the webshooters molded into place, just like his single release had.  This figure does change some things up a little bit from the single, swapping out the blue for a darker shade that’s a little more appropriate for the character.  My particular figure is also missing a chunk of the spider insignia on the front, for whatever reason.  He’s been like that since I got him.


“Maximum Clonage” was my first introduction to the Clone Saga, and I got the whole set as a Christmas gift from family friend Pat Sponaugle back in ’97.  While I ended up losing most of the other figures, these three in particular have always been some of my very favorites of my 5-inch Marvel collection.  I’m glad I hung onto them over the years, and someday I really do need to replace the rest of the set.

#2008: Carrion & Scarlet Spider



Something new and something old.  Not an uncommon theme when it comes to Minimates, especially Marvel, where there’s a definite need to refresh some looks every so often, so as to both make them available for a newer audience and update some things to fit in a little better with more recent releases.  And hey, if a new character comes along for the ride, that’s not so bad either, is it?  So, with that in mind, let’s look at Carrion (the new) and Scarlet Spider (the old).


Carrion and Scarlet Spider were part of the second to last TRU assortment of Marvel Minimates, Series 24.  The assortment was a sort of a mixed bag, with each set being a somewhat contained theme.


He’s not the most well-known of Spider-Man’s foes, but Malcolm McBride, the second incarnation of Carrion, is a sensible choice for a Minimate, especially given his pack-mate.  The original Carrion (who had more or less the same appearance as this figure) was a defective clone of Miles Warren, better known as the Jackal, the mastermind behind the infamous “Clone Saga.”  Malcolm was also a prominent player in “Maximum Carnage,” meaning this figure fits right in with the Maximum Carnage-themed Series 76, so he’s just all around a pretty sensible choice.  Carrion is built using seven sculpted add-on pieces for his hood, pouch, loincloth, and two pieces each for the wraps on his arms.  The upper and lower arm wraps are re-used from Heihachi and and Jack Skellington, respectively, and the pouch is Kim Bauer’s purse from 24, because Carrion is super down for taking fashion advice from the similarly accessorized Green Goblin.  The hood and loincloth both appear to be new pieces, and they work well enough, though the hood is a little restricting to the head movement.  Carrion’s paintwork is clean and sharp, though perhaps not the most eye-catching look.  Pale yellow and purple isn’t a particularly appealing palette, but it’s accurate to the character’s comic appearance, so one can hardly fault DST for that.  The linework is actually quite nice on this figure, and does a solid job of capturing that early ’90s style of illustration.  For accessories, Carrion is somewhat on the light side, with only a flight stand and a basic display stand.


Carrion’s great and all, but the main reason for most people to buy this set is Ben Reilly, aka the Scarlet Spider.  He wasn’t a stranger to Minimates, with his Spider-Man costume cropping up first back in Series 10.  A proper Scarlet Spider followed in 2007, as an FYE exclusive of all things.  A decade later, he finally got an update.  Despite his predecessor making use of no add-ons, this Ben Reilly has six of them, for his hood, belt, webshooters, and ankle pouches.  All of the pieces are re-used from elsewhere, and they for the most part do their job pretty much perfectly.  The only slightly off parts are the ankle pouches, which are actually knife sheaths with nothing in them.  There exist non-sheath ankle straps, so why these parts were used is anyone’s guess.  Ultimately, though, they sell the look well enough, so I can’t complain too much about their use.  Scarlet Spider’s paintwork is actually quite impressive.  In the comics, he was frequently shaded in a very dynamic fashion, and that’s the look this particular figure tries to capture, at least on the figure’s mask.  It’s a cool looking effect, and the sort of thing that really only works on a Minimate.  Scarlet Spider is packed with an alternate head and hair for an unmasked Ben Reilly (the first proper Ben Reilly head we’ve ever gotten), a webline, and a clear display stand.


After a bit of a hiatus from Minimates, I picked this set up last year, at the very beginning of Toys R Us’s shut-down process.  It was actually a set I was looking for, which I was only able to find once TRU started pushing things out from their warehouses.  Carrion wasn’t really going to be at the top of anyone’s list, but it’s always nice to get a new character, and DST did a respectable job of translating him to ‘mate form.  Scarlet Spider was in desperate need of an update, and this figure really delivered well on that.  He takes every aspect of the old figure and makes it better, and results in a generally far more enjoyable figure.

#1866: Scarlet Spider



“The clone of Peter Parker left New York and wandered the country returning years later calling himself Ben Reilly.  He became the superhero known as the Scarlet Spider!”

It wasn’t all that long ago that I was reviewing a Legends Scarlet Spider, but I assure you, this one’s totally different and distinct from that one.  Now, of course, you might recall that I reviewed *another* Legends Scarlet Spider a few years ago.  Well, I assure you, this one’s…more or less the same as that one.  But that one has a super hefty aftermarket price, so hey, re-release time, right?


Scarlet Spider headlines the second series of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Vintage line.  For the second round of figures, Hasbro’s really taken the Black Widow thread to heart, and tried to give us more than straight re-issues of prior figures…well, except for this guy.  This Scarlet Spider is by design supposed to be very similar to the Rhino Series figure from 2015.  Apart from one small change, the sculpt is the same between the two figures.  That means he’s 6 1/4 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation, and is build on the Pizza Spidey body.  I was very happy with this sculpt the first time around, and I still really like it three years later.  The small change has to do with his web-shooters, which are now the more rounded capsules we saw with Spider-Girl and Black Widow.  They’re a bit more accurate than the more squared off versions we saw before (which were usually more associated with Ben’s Spider-Man costume).  Apart from that, the biggest changes between the two figures are in the paint department.  His blue hoodie has remained more or less the same, but his red body suit is now far less orange, and his eyes no longer have the black outline.  The brown of his accent pieces is also more of a tan this tome around.  Honestly, I don’t know which version I prefer.  They’re certainly different, but neither really jumps out as “better.”  This release of Scarlet Spider drops the Rhino heads from the last release, obviously, but also loses the open gesture hands from the last one, which I was a little saddened by, especially with the reds not matching.  On the plus side, he does get an unmasked Ben Reilly head, which we’ve not gotten before.  Sure, it’s just a repaint of the unmasked Peter Parker from the Spidey/MJ two-pack, but given how scarce that set was, it’s new to me. Also, he’s a clone, so I guess re-use makes sense.  That’s probably the better rationale, isn’t it?


I wasn’t initially planning to get this figure.  I’m happy with the prior release, and while I did like this one’s unmasked appearance, I wasn’t sure that would really warrant the purchase.  But, Super Awesome Fiancee’s store got him in, and she sent me a picture, and I liked how he looked in person, so I kind of caved.  There’s not a lot of new going on here, and I don’t really see this guy replacing the prior release, but I do like the extra head, and I think he’s distinct enough to be worth my time.  And, for someone who missed the first release, he’ll be awesome, which is really the main point.

#1831: Scarlet Spider



“The product of a failed Spider-Man cloning project, Kaine is an unstable villain who dons the suit of Scarlet Spider.”

….I think some wires may have been crossed on that bio.  Yes, Kaine is a failed clone, and yes he started as a villain, but he was firmly in the hero court by the time he adopted the Scarlet Spider title.  It was Ben Reilly who was the “villainous” Scarlet Spider after his recent resurrection.  So…there you have it.  I truly don’t envy the person who writes these bios, by the way.  Not only do they have to wade through all of these similarly named characters with similarly named backstories, but then there’s jackasses like me on the internet just tearing their work to shreds.


Scarlet Spider is figure 2 in the SP//dr Series of Marvel Legends.  This is the second time we’ve seen Kaine as Scarlet Spider in the Legends line-up; the first one was at the tail-end of the Return of Marvel Legends line, and is notable for being the final Spider-variant to be built on the old Bullseye body, meaning he was actually fairly quickly outmoded by the introduction of the Pizza Spidey and 2099 bodies.  Given his prominence in Spider-Verse and Clone Conspiracy, a re-do was very definitely warranted.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Kaine uses the 2099 body, which gives him a slightly different build than the guy he’s a supposedly a clone of.  Of course, the two builds really aren’t all that divergent, and Kaine is traditionally depicted as being a little sturdier than Peter, so it’s a reasonable choice for the character.  Scarlet Spider gets a new head and hands to complete his look.  The head’s kind of fun, being more on the expressive side.  They could have easily re-used a prior Spidey head, but I appreciate that they created a proper one for him.  The new hands include his “Sting of Kaine” stingers, and I was happy to find that, unlike the alternate Iron Man hands we’ve been getting, they still retain all of the standard wrist articulation.  Kaine’s paint work is fairly clean, and nicely details the two-toned nature of his costume.  Kaine is packed with an alternate head, hands, and the left arm of SP//dr.  The head is re-used from Cosmic Spidey, and depicts Kaine during his his Carrion-virus-degeneration from Clone Conspiracy.  It’s a bit more story-specific than I’d like, but I guess this was the best way for Hasbro to get some re-use out of it. 


While Ben Reilly’s always going to be my Scarlet Spider of choice, Kaine’s prominence during Dan Slott’s run on Spider-Man gave me an appreciation for the character, and I’d been hoping he’d get a re-do.  This figure’s a pretty strong one.  It might have been nice to get a new head-sculpt, rather than the re-use, but the standard figure is definitely well-handled.  Now, how about a classic Kaine?  Anyone?

I purchased Scarlet Spider from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re interested in buying other Legends figures, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#0882: Ben Reilly Spider-Man




In the 90s, Marvel was marred by lots of big, multi-part story arcs, all based on some terrible concept or hook, almost all of which have gone down in infamy. For Spider-Man, it was “The Clone Saga,” a story that actually started off alright, before Marvel decided to capitalize on the vast sales of early installments by extending the story to more than twice its intended length, resulting in…well, let’s be nice and just call them “serious issues.” At about the mid-point of the story, it was revealed that the Peter Parker we’d been following for the last 20 or so years was actually a clone, and the more recently introduced Ben Reilly was in fact the original Parker (this was later reversed, for obvious reasons). This resulted in a major status quo shift, where Peter stepped down from the role of Spider-Man, and Ben took over. Today’s figure hails from that particular era…mostly. I’ll get to that in a little bit.


SpiderBen2Spider-Ben (that’s the shorthand I’m gonna use, just to make my life easier) is the first figure in the latest Spider-Man Marvel Legends Series (seems they’ve dropped the “Infinite.” Does this mean the line is now just finite? Oh no!). Like last series’ Scarlet Spider, Spider-Ben fills the slot of the required Spider-Man variant. The figure’s official title is “Edge of Spider-Verse,” a title he shares with Spider-Gwen. The thing is, Ben didn’t appear in the “Spider-Verse” event, at least not the Ben from the main universe. So, is this perhaps meant to be an alternate universe Ben? Who knows. Regardless of what universe he hails from, this figure wears the costume that Ben was sporting during his stint as the main Spidey during the mid-90s. It’s a slight tweak of the classic Spidey costume, but it’s actually a pretty sharp redesign, and proved popular enough to get re-used for M2’s Spider-Girl. Structurally, Spider-Ben is about 95% re-use from last year’s “Pizza Spidey.” That means he stands just over 6 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation. The Pizza body is by far one of Hasbro’s strongest bodies, with solid SpiderBen3proportions and a pretty decent range of motion. It also makes a lot of sense to re-use it, seeing as Peter and Ben should have the same build (what with one being a clone and all). The only difference between the two sculpts is the addition of web-cartridges to the wrists. I think these are different from the ones used on Scarlet Spider, but it’s had to tell, due to differences in paint. The general paintwork on Spider-Ben is all pretty solid. Aside from one or two small bits of slop, he looks pretty sharp, and does a spot-on job of replicating Ben’s costume design from the comics. Ben includes the same three sets of hands included with Pizza Spidey: web-shooting, fists, and open gesture. They’re just as cool here as they were there, and I’m glad their inclusion has become a standard. Ben also includes the head and hands from Carnage, done up to match this figure’s color scheme. This allows him to be transformed into Spider-Carnage (from when Ben briefly bonded with the Carnage symbiote), which is a really cool extra. Finally, Ben is packed with not one, but two arms from this series’ Build-A-Figure, Absorbing man.


While I was at MAGFest, buying Hellboy figures, my parents were out buying me this newest series of Marvel Legends (okay, it’s not like that’s all they were doing. They were actually having a day out and about). As odd as it seems, this was probably the figure I was most looking forward to in this new series. I love the new Spidey body, and I’ve always had a soft spot for this particular costume. This figure definitely doesn’t disappoint. In fact, he may very well be my favorite Spider-Man yet.


#0650: Scarlet Spider




It’s a mark of a truly popular character when they get a clone (or are revealed to be a clone, in the case of one Boba Fett). Okay, maybe not. I actually just made that up. Off the top of my head. Sorry if you feel lied to, but I needed an intro for Scarlet Spider, the (first) clone of Spider-Man. So, there you have it. So, yeah, I’m reviewing a figure of Ben Reily, aka the Scarlet Spider. 90s nostalgia activated!


ScarletSpiderML2Scarlet Spider is the first figure in the third series of Spider-Man Marvel Legends Infinite Series. He’s filling the slot of the requisite Spidey variant for this series, so good for him. He’s presented here in his main Scarlet Spider costume, which, in story, was pieced together from some novelty store items in order to fight Venom. The figure is just over 6 inches tall and features 30 points of articulation. Structurally, he’s built on Hasbro’s new Spider-Man body, which is a pretty good start. He has a new head and torso, as well as add-one for his web shooters, belt, and the pouches on his ankles. The head isn’t wildly different from the one we saw on Pizza Spidey, but the outlines on the eyes are slightly more angular and much larger, which is true to the character design. The torso has been re-sculpted to replicate Scarlet Spider’s sleeveless hoodie. It removes some of the shoulder articulation, but it works aesthetically, and the sculpt is appropriately layered. The bottom has even been sculpted to fit around the contours of the belt, which is a ScarletSpiderML3nice touch. The web shooters don’t feature any real sculpted detail; the lines are painted. This is a little disappointing, though I assume it’s to maximize reuse potential. Scarlet Spider actually doesn’t have much paintwork. What’s there is decent enough; there’s a bit of bleed over, but nothing terrible. The logos on the sweatshirt are nice and sharp, which is really cool.  The figure is packed with three sets of hands in web shooting, fist, and open palm poses. They’re the same as the ones packed with Pizza Spidey, but no less cool because of it. He also includes not one but two heads for the series Build-A-Figure Rhino, which I’ll touch on in Rhino’s review.


He’s a little confusing, and part of one of the more controversial Spider-Man stories, but I kinda love Scarlet Spider. So, I was super excited when Hasbro showed him at this year’s Toy Fair. I’ve been patiently waiting since then, and I ordered him (along with the rest of the series) from Big Bad Toy Store as soon as he was in stock. This figure turned out really well, and he’s a great counterpart to last series’ Pizza Spidey, as well as a tremendous improvement on the old Spider-Man Classics version of the character.


#0151: Scarlet Spider & Hobgoblin



Well, we took a break to do the usual HT review for the 150th review, but now we’re back to, that’s right, the Minimates.  Once again, it’s an entry from the expansive Marvel Minimates line.  This time around, it pulls two characters from the Spider-Man corner of the Marvel universe: Scarlet Spider and Hobgoblin.  Scarlet Spider is Ben Reilly, clone of Peter Parker.  Hobgoblin’s been a few people, but in general, he’s kind of a successor to the Green Goblin legacy.


These two were released as a FYE & Suncoast exclusive set a few years ago.


Scarlet Spider is up first.  He’s based on the original Scarlet Spider, not the more recent one, so he’s in Spider’s early 90s look, which was assembled from pieces from a novelty shop, I believe, on his first adventure.  Dude wore a hoody with the sleeves torn off and his first adversary was Venom.  Can you get much more 90s than that?  Spider is built on the basic Minimate body, so he’s about 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He’s a vanilla ‘mate, so all of his details are painted on.  Everything is pretty clean, though he is a bit basic, which does date the figure a bit.  I also do wish the eyes were a little higher, but that’s more personal preference.  Scarlet Spider included a web-line.


Up next is Hobgoblin.  He was a pretty big character in the 90s, but his popularity has died down a bit recently.  This figure is based on the character’s more reserved original appearance, instead of some of the more ghoulish looks the character got later on.  Hobgoblin is built on the usual body, so he’s got the standard stats.  He’s got 3 sculpted pieces: Hood, cape, and hand holding a pumpkin bomb.  These pieces were all new to the figure, though the pumpkin bomb has been reused a few times since.  The hood and cape are nice, and look pretty spot on to what the character looked like in his classic incarnation.  The paint is much more detailed here than it was on Scarlet Spider.  He actually holds up pretty well, if you’re really looking for a classically styled version of the character.  Hobgoblin includes no accessories.


I picked up this set at a Suncoast at my local mall.  The Suncoast isn’t there anymore, which is a bit sad.  This was one of the few times in recent years that I can actually remember being surprised to find an item I didn’t know was being made.  I’ve always kind of liked Scarlet Spider, so I was glad to get him, and Hobgoblin’s not bad either.