#2676: Gwen Stacy

GWEN STACY

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Intelligent and quick-witted, Gwen Stacy has a sharp sense of humor and is a natural leader.”

While Into the Spider-Verse was a rather loose adaptation of the Spider-Verse crossover in terms of most of its elements, one piece it did lift essentially wholesale was the super-heroic version of Gwen Stacy, affectionately known as “Spider-Gwen,” whose role and background are effectively the same for the purposes of the story.  Admittedly, she’s a pretty great concept, so it’s hard to blame them for keeping her more or less the same.  And, as part of the film’s main trio of protagonists, it’s also hard to blame them for pushing her when it comes to the toys.  She’s no stranger to Legends at this point, but one more certainly can’t hurt, can it?  However, we’re not *just* talking about Gwen here, are we?  No, of course not, because Gwen doesn’t actually come packed on her own!  Following the lead of the Hot Toys figure (I guess; is it still following the lead if your product beats the “lead” by, like, a year?), Gwen gets packed in with fellow Spider, Spider-Ham, another character not too terribly changed for the movie.  What a pair they are!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gwen and Spider-Ham collectively represent figure 2 in the Stilt-Man Series of Marvel Legends, and are the second piece of the four figure Spider-Verse tie-in for the line.  Though both characters are included, this is definitely being billed as a Gwen figure with a Spider-Ham pack-in, and less as a proper two-pack.  As such, Gwen is a more proper figure, standing 5 3/4 inches tall and sporting 29 points of articulation.  She’s in her main costumed look from the movie, since she’s got less looks than Miles, and this is the one that she spends most of her time in anyway.  Structurally, this figure winds up having a lot in in common with the last two Spider-Gwens.  Unlike Miles, for whom the straight repaint from the two pack was pretty far off the mark, Gwen’s design falls a little more in line with the traditional base bodies for the line, so the re-use is a little more excusable.  That doesn’t mean she’s all re-use, though, as the head, upper torso, hood, and lower legs are all new pieces, with the aim of making her that much more film accurate.  Additionally, her legs have been modified to remove the visible pins on either side of the knee, brining her in line with the rest of the modern sculpts.  It’s minor, but much appreciated.  The head and hood are separate pieces, but not as easily separated from each other as earlier versions.  The hood hangs a touch closer to the masked head than it does in the film, but the general appearance works pretty well, and fits the overall clean aesthetic.  The new upper torso slims and streamlines the figure a bit further, again bringing her more in line with that animated look.  It’s pretty basic, but it gets the job done.  The new legs give Gwen her ballerina shoes from the film, one of the more notable design changes from the source material.  I also found that these new feet made the figure a little more stable when standing, which I definitely appreciated.  Gwen’s paintwork is pretty basic, and does suffer from a few spots of fuzziness.  It is, however, a notable improvement on the prior Gwen figure, and just generally pretty good overall.  It is lacking the pattern on the black sections, but given they’re black, this detail isn’t too obviously missing.  Gwen gets an extra unmasked head, a hood pulled down, and two pairs of hands in both fists and thwipping poses.  The unmasked head is actually my preferred of the two heads included, and is a very spot-on recreation of Gwen’s design from the movie, with a solidly rendered paint job to boot.  I was very happy about both sets of hands being included, since the last Gwen only got one of each style.  Gwen is also packed with the torso for the Stilt-Man Build-A-Figure, and, of course, Spider-Ham.

Spider-Ham himself is more figurine than figure.  He’s 2 1/2 inches tall and has a single point of articulation, that being a ball joint at his neck. He is otherwise limited to the hands on his hips pose he’s sculpted into.  Given the build and size of the character, this isn’t the worst thing, because it at least allows him to keep his look alright aesthetically.  One of the biggest issues with the single release Spider-Ham was that, worse than his lack of general movement was how badly worked in the articulation was into the sculpt.  At least in this case, he’s just not mobile from the start.  This results in the sculpt being fairly film accurate, and it also results in a figure that’s better scaled to his compatriots.  And sure, he’s got sculpted webbing again, but it’s at least recessed instead of raised, making it easier to fix the lack of painted lines this time if you were so inclined.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m a big fan of the Spider-Gwen design, and I appreciated the changes they made for the animated version.  I’ve actually looked at the two pack version a few times, and been quite tempted by it, but it’s quick jumps in price and lack of a properly updated unmasked head held me back.  I was quite pleased to see her shown off with the rest of the set, though I’ll admit I didn’t give her quite as much thought as some of the others in the set, given her general similarities to the prior figures.  In hand, I really like how this figure turned out, and she’s actually my favorite of the Spider-Verse set.  Plus, this gives me another shot at Spider-Ham, whose single release greatly disappointed me.  Sure, this one isn’t his own standalone thing, but that also means I didn’t end up dropping full price for him either, which certainly makes him a lot easier to enjoy.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with these figures 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.

#1786: Spider-Ham

SPIDER-HAM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Part pig, part scientific mishap, Peter Porker becomes the web-shooting swine, Spider-Ham”

Spider-Ham?  It’s come to this?  I’m reviewing a Spider-Ham figure?  Yeah, I know, I’m as shocked as the rest of you.  Even with his elevated status as a variant of Spider-Man, I don’t really know that I ever expected to review a Spider-Ham figure.  Of course, I say this as a guy who just reviewed Poison, a character with far, far less comic book appearances than the esteemed Mr. Porker here, so maybe I’m just overreacting.

Spider-Ham is a 1983 creation, parodying Spider-Man through the lens of an anthropomorphic cartoon animal.  He began his life as a spider, before being bitten by a radioactive pig, causing him to turn into a pig, while still retaining many of his spider abilities.  He’s actually been a pretty recurring staple at Marvel since his creation, and in 2016 met up with his main universe counterpart during the Spider-Verse cross over.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Ham is figure 4 in the Monster Venom Series of Marvel Legends, and perhaps the one figure in the series who feels more like a straight Spider-Man character than a Venom one.  I guess they just really wanted a counter for all of the ‘90s X-treme-ness that was oozing from the rest of the assortment.  The figure stands 3 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Okay, so let’s just rip the band-aid right off, shall we?  Spider-Ham’s biggest failing, by a country mile, is his articulation, or rather his lack thereof.  While his upper body is fairly decently articulated (though it’s not as smoothly integrated as I’d like; his arms end up with quite a segmented look), the legs only have simple cut-joints at the calves, and nothing more.  That splayed leg position is all you’re getting out of him.  This is a sincere let-down, especially after Hasbro had just last year addressed a similar problem with their original Rocket Raccoon, and released a fully articulated version for Vol. 2.  There are some characters for whom I could forgive the missing articulation, and I could even forgive it on Ham if he were a pack-in figure or something, but as a single-release figure, this is ridiculous, and quite a step backwards.  In addition, Hasbro seems to be aware of the potential problems with releasing such a small-statured figure on his own, and has subsequently upscaled him a bit, making him too large to properly scale with other figures.  It’s a minor thing, given how infrequently Ham interacts with other characters, but it’s still annoying.  Beyond that, his sculpt’s okay.  The internal proportions are fine, and he certainly looks like Spider-Ham.  The choice to go with sculpted webbing, something that all of the recent Spider-Men have forgone, is sort of an odd one.  It looks fine, but it’s anyone’s guess as to why Hasbro chose this of all figures to give that treatment to, especially since it removes their option to do any black-costumed variant down the line.  I think the oddity of the choice is further highlighted by the decision to leave the webs unpainted, making them easy to miss at first glance.  Also, they’ve used painted red for exactly one part of the figure, his belt, and it’s so obviously a different tone from the rest.  Why not just paint the legs instead? Another mystery.  Spider-Ham includes two accessories, neither of which is actually for him.  The first is the head of Pork Grind, the Venom to Ham’s Spider-Man.  It’s a really nice piece of work, and has been designed to be compatible with the standard Venom from this same assortment.  It’s a nice bonus for those of us who had the Absorbing Man release, and by far my favorite thing about this figure.  Secondly, Ham includes the largest piece of Monster Venom, the torso.  Hasbro used this same pack-out style for both versions of Rocket, so it’s not a huge surprise here.  While I certainly appreciate the two pieces included, given the smaller size of Spider-Ham, I’d have loved to see some extra heads and hands and maybe even a webline thrown in to sweeten the pot.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was so excited when Spider-Ham was announced.  He was one of the two figures in this set I was certain I’d be getting.  The prototype shots made me slightly apprehensive, but I’ve learned not to judge a Legends release by the prototype.  And then I got him in hand, and, well, most of my my problems were still there.  I really, really wanted to like this figure, but the simple fact is that Hasbro dropped the ball pretty hard on this guy.  I wish that weren’t the case.  I wish I could say this was another win for Hasbro, but this figure honestly showcases a number of problems that we haven’t seen from Hasbro in years, and I wouldn’t mistake someone for thinking he was a pre-Return of Marvel Legends release.  I don’t hate him, because I genuinely can’t bring myself to hate a Spider-Ham figure.  I’d rather have this than nothing at all, and I can enjoy him for what he is, but I’m sad that he doesn’t live up to Hasbro’s current standards, and I’m sad that he’s not this Series’ logical star like he should be.

Spider-Ham was purchased 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.