#3121: Venom & Doppleganger

VENOM & DOPPLEGANGER

MARVEL MINIMATES

In the ’90s, Marvel was big into anti-heroes, and in a lot of cases, that meant refitting older villains into a newer role.  The popularity of Venom outside of even his main hero pushed Marvel to take that slightly more heroic angle with him, with a prominent anti-heroic role during “Maximum Carnage,” where he and Spidey are forced to team up to face down a common foe.  Over on Carnage’s side, he was building his own team of villains, which included a remnant of a prior crossover, the Doppelganger, who’d been brought into existence during “Infinity War” and had a hole in his schedule, I guess.  Those two are the subject of today’s review!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Venom and Doppleganger were released as part of the 76th specialty series of Marvel Minimates, which was based on the “Maximum Carnage” cross-over.  They and the rest of the assortment hit shelves in October of 2018.

Also included in this set is a piece to the Build-A-Mate Shriek.  For this particular set, it’s the torso, belt, and pelvis.  Not quite as distinctive as the head and hair, but it’s something.

VENOM

“One of Spider-Man’s greatest foes, Venom must help his enemy stop Carnage, whose powers stem from Venom’s symbiotic costume.”

No stranger to Minimates, DST sometimes seems to struggle with how to make each subsequent Eddie Brock Venom feel unique from the last.  We gotten all manner of different mixes of bulking him up, and, well, here’s another one, I guess.  Structurally, this Venom is really a mix of prior ones.  He’s got a bulked up torso, upper arms, pelvis, and upper legs, and then a pair of clawed hands.  The end result is…well, it’s different.  DST was clearly looking to capture the artistic take in Venom at the time, which had his upper torso being rather large in comparison to his arms and legs, making him look like a bit V…you know, for Venom, I guess.  Using just some of the power-house pieces is actually an idea that was suggested on the boards a few times, so there was certainly some demand to see it done.  I’m not super sure how well it worked out ultimately, but this is far from the worst take on Venom.  The paint on this guy does a decent job of capturing the art from the story, as well as selling him as distinctive from his prior figures.  That said, it’s a shame that the highlights on the upper legs don’t continue to the lower, as this only further emphasizes the jump between the parts, making it look like he’s missing something.  I do really like the print on that head, though.  Venom’s only accessory is a clear display stand, which is kind of a shame.  It would have been nice to get another unmasked Eddie, or possibly another of the sonic gun they included with Spidey.  As it its, he’s very light, especially without all of the usual bulk-up parts.

DOPPLEGANGER

“A twisted copy of Spider-Man created during the Infinity War, Doppelganger is adopted by Carnage and Shriek during their deadly rampage.”

The Doppelganger is an interesting enough concept, though he admittedly gets a little lost in a story with so many dark reflections of Spider-Man.  It was at least nice that they didn’t totally forget about him.  This is his first time as a ‘mate, which isn’t a huge surprise for a character that hasn’t been relevant since the ’90s.  Of course, with the 6-arm tooling ready to go since Series 36, it’s perhaps a bit of a shock it took quite as long as it did.  Like the standard Spidey, Doppelganger starts with the core body, but adds in the harness from 6-Arm Spidey, as well as a new set of hands and feet for more of a clawed appearance.  I felt the harness bulked up Spidey a bit too much, but it ends up working out okay for the Doppelganger, who was typically depicted as a little larger anyway.  I also appreciate that this guy got new hands and feet, rather than just re-using similar pieces from the likes of Nightcrawler.  It makes him even more unique.  His paint is generally pretty close to Sonic Attack Spidey, though the application’s not quite as good on my Doppelganger, with the eyes not really matching up quite right with the lines on the mask and a bit of slop on the base level of the work.  It’s not terrible, but it’s definitely a slight step down.  Like Venom, Doppelganger’s only accessory is a clear display stand, but with the new hands and feet, it feels a little less frustrating here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like I mentioned in my Spidey and Black Cat review, I’ve got no notable attachment to this storyline, and I was starting to fall out of Minimates by this point.  I was grabbing the one set, and I felt compelled to get this one too.  None of the others, though.  As I said above, it’s hard to do a lot new and different with a Venom at this point.  This guy gets points for trying something new, I suppose, and he’s ultimately not a bad effort.  I’m even hard-pressed to say what DST could have done differently, but he still feels ever so slightly off.  Doppelganger’s a decent new addition to the line, held back ever so slightly by some wonky QC, which has been afflicting Spidey for a while now.  I guess it’s only fair it might hit his duplicate.

#3111: Sonic Attack Spider-Man & Black Cat

SONIC ATTACK SPIDER-MAN & BLACK CAT

MARVEL MINIMATES

Marvel sure does like their cross overs, and they have for quite a while.  As perhaps the company’s biggest name hero, Spider-Man’s found himself at the center of a good number of them.  In 1993, it was actually one of his villains that was center stage, for “Maximum Carnage”, an event spinning around, you guessed it, Carnage.  Spidey himself was still rather involved, it running through his books and all, and so were a good number of his supporting cast members.  The whole event was a fairly big multi-media success, and in 2018, DST put together a set of Minimates to mark its 25th Anniversary.  I’m taking a look at Spider-Man and Black Cat today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Sonic Attack Spider-Man and Black Cat were released as part of the 76th specialty series of Marvel Minimates, which was entirely themed around the “Maximum Carnage” cross-over.  They and the rest of the assortment hit shelves in October of 2018.

Also included in this set is a piece to the Build-A-Mate Shriek.  This time around it’s the head and hair, which are definitely her most distinctive features!

SONIC ATTACK SPIDER-MAN

Every so often, we get an update on the classic Spidey, and since he had his standard look during the story, this is as good a time as any to get one.  This one specifically goes for that ’90s aesthetic, as a sort of a post McFarlane version of the character, which does have a distinctly different flair to it than previous figures.  Structurally, he’s pretty much like any basic Spidey, meaning he’s just that core ‘mate body.  It’s a good core body, so it’s hard to go wrong with a straight re-use.  Correspondingly, he stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  The paint does the heavy lifting here.  He’s got all the usual hallmarks of a late-line Spidey, so he doesn’t have quite as expansive a selection of weblines as some of the earlier versions.  He does get a lot of detailing on the not-red parts, though, with a very creative use of shading on the arms, legs, and torso, which help to capture the artistic feel of Spidey as seen in the story.  The paint work is all fairly clean on this guy, and the coverage for both colors is pretty consistent.  This Spidey’s accessory selection is where things really get more unique.  He gets the usual webline and display stand, as well as the sonic gun from which the figure’s name is derived, and, for the first time ever, a pair of thwip hands.  They’ve been on the request list for quite a number of years now, but it’s pretty cool to finally get them.

BLACK CAT

Black Cat certainly hasn’t had as many ‘mates as Spider-Man, but she’s gotten a respectable amount, with four separate releases under her belt.  What’s most impressive is that there hasn’t been any overlap in terms of costume choices.  This one uses her mid-90s appearance, which isn’t terribly different from her first ‘mate, but lacks the fur collar and has a deeper neckline…so deep that it becomes more of a waist line, really.  In terms of parts, Felicia gets five separate add-ons for her hair, glove, and boot cuffs.  The hair is from the MvC Phoenix, and is suitably large and flowing for a Black Cat piece.  It also follows her original ‘mates precedent of re-using a Jean Grey piece, so I guess that’s fitting.  The cuffs were last used on TRU Series 24’s more modern Black Cat, and work just as well here as they did there.  Black Cat’s paintwork is overall pretty decent.  It keeps the usual striking nature of her design, and the line work is mostly pretty sharp.  The skin tone is a bit uneven in terms of coloring, which is a little distracting, but for the most part she looks pretty decent.  They managed to convey a feminine figure alright here, though she does at times feel a little top-heavy to me.  Spidey may have done very well on the accessories, but Black Cat’s not quite so lucky.  All she gets is a display stand, which really doesn’t feel like much, does it?  Certainly there was something else to throw in?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve got no real attachment to this cross-over, and I was already starting to dwindle on my Minimates purchasing when these hit.  But, I kinda liked the look of the set, so I grabbed it.  Honestly, I wasn’t expecting a ton from yet another standard Spider-Man, but this guy turned out really well, and the accessories in particular really make him.  Definitely a worthy update to a core character.  Black Cat’s a solid ‘mate, but I don’t know that she’s terribly exciting.  Despite being technically something new, I can’t help but feel like she’s a little redundant.  Maybe I’m just not that huge a Black Cat fan.

#3081: Spider-Man & Hobgoblin

SPIDER-MAN & HOBGOBLIN

MARVEL MINIMATES

It’s another Monday, and I’m doing that Minimate thing again.  So, here we are, looking at more Minimatrs.  2018 marked the year that Walgreens’ supply chains got a little gummed up, at least as far as Minimates were concerned.  Technically, four series hit that year, but for a good portion of collectors, those figures didn’t actually arrive for the better part of a year after their first sightings.  While the most infamous case of this was certainly Series 10, the two series prior also were rather afflicted.  Things did eventually level out, though, making things easier to find.  So ,let’s have a look at some of those ‘mates, specifically Symbiote Spider-Man and Hobgoblin!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Spider-Man and Hobgoblin were released in Series 9 of Walgreens’ Marvel Minimates line-up.  These two were part of the assortment based on Disney’s then-running Spider-Man cartoon, with marketing to match.

SYMBIOTE SPIDER-MAN

“Recovered on a space mission, the substance known as V-252 is actually a sybmiotic creature, which bonds to Peter Parker and increases his aggression.”

We’ve had no shortage of Symbiote Spider-Men (well, not in recent years, anyway), but this does mark the design’s first inclusion at Walgreens.  It also sports the somewhat up-dated design of the cartoon.  It’s not a bad look, truth be told.  It manages to keep the sleekness and simplicity of the original design, while still doing something a little different.  I can get behind it.  The figure is built on the standard post-C3 ‘mate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Structurally, this, like most Spidey ‘mates, is just a standard vanilla ‘mate.  It’s the right course of action for such a design, and it’s never a bad thing to get a good focus on the core body.  It’s the paint work that really sells this guy, of course.  It’s not perfect; there are a few spots where I definitely feel the application could stand to be a little sharper, and those fuzzy edges do hinder the sleek design a little bit.  Overall, though, it’s a solid look, and has the benefit of being one that can integrate with non-animated ‘mates without too much trouble.  Symbiote Spidey includes a webline and a dynamic posing base, both of which have become fairly standard for Spideys.  Unfortunately, on my copy, the stand’s peg for connecting to the figure twisted off.  I’ve not encountered such an issue with one of these stands before, so perhaps it’s limited to my copy.

HOBGOBLIN

“Hiding his true face behind a hood and metallic mask, the mysterious Hobgoblin will stop at nothing to destroy Spider-Man.”

Despite what the bio might suggest, the 2017 Spider-Man‘s take on Hobgoblin is actually something of a departure from how the character is usually handled, being a more heroic identity held by Peter’s best friend Harry.  While the two are initially opposed, and the identity later gets co-opted by Harry’s father Norman, Harry as Hobgoblin serves as an ally for Spidey within the confines of the show.  We’ve gotten only three Hobgoblin Minimates over the years, each somewhat reflecting a different incarnation of the character.  In addition to being the show version of Hobgoblin, it’s worth noting that this design also draws fairly heavy influence from Humberto Ramos’ design for the Phil Urich version of the character.  Hobgoblin’s construction makes use of a single add-on piece for his hood/shoulder pads/backpack.  It’s a little restricting in terms of articulation, and the details do seem a little soft, but it looks fairly decent overall.  It matches well with the character’s design from the show, to be sure.  The paintwork on Hobgoblin is passable overall.  The line-work is pretty sharply handled, and instances of slop are fairly minimal.  The add-on piece is again a little more softly defined, but it’s not too bad.  Hobgoblin’s only accessory is a clear display stand.  This feels rather light, and it’s a shame we couldn’t get any of Harry’s goblin gear.  The glider might have been too big, but his sword, or even an alternate head with an unmasked Harry would have been cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked these two up back when they were still relatively new, with a bit of an assist from Max, who was also scoping out Walgreenses for ‘mates at the time.  I was slowing down by this point, but this pack appealed to me.  It got to the point where it was a little bit difficult to make a new Symbiote Spider-Man distinct, but this one did a decent job, and turned in a pretty fun, somewhat unique figure.  Issues with the breaking stand aside, he’s pretty alright.  This Hobgoblin figure represents a fairly unique take on the character, and is well-removed from previous releases of the character.  While he lacks in the accessories department, he’s still a pretty nifty figure overall.

#3076: Iron Spider & Spot

IRON SPIDER & THE SPOT

MARVEL MINIMATES

I guess Mondays are for Minimates, huh?  Well, this month at least.  I guess we should just jump right into that, there.  Back in 2018, Toys R Us closing brought their exclusive Marvel Minimates assortments to an end…a little quicker than DST anticipated, in fact.  While TRU’s last official exclusive assortment was Series 25, there was one more assortment produced and ready to go when the chain went under.  Fortunately for us Minimate fans, Walgreens stepped up to the plate and took the assortment on.  It does, however leave us in the precarious position of just how to refer to the assortment.  Today, I’m taking a look at the series’ Spidey-themed set, Iron Spider & The Spot!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Sinister Six Iron Spider and The Spot are one of the three two-packs of Marvel Minimates originally intended for TRU, before becoming an online-exclusive for Walgreens after TRU’s closure.  Of note with this particular assortment’s packaging was an extra large Walgreens sticker, which was actually just covering the TRU sticker that was already in place.  The figures actually had to be taken back to have that sticker applied.

SINISTER SIX IRON SPIDER

“A mysterious figure has stolen Spider-Man’s Iron Spider armor and now wears it as the leader of the all-new Sinister Six.”

Well, maybe he’s not quite so mysterious, given he was rather quickly revealed to be *SPOILERS(?)* Miles Morales’ uncle Aaron.  Kudos to DST for not spoiling that, I guess, but now I’ve just done it for them.  The Iron Spider armor has been featured three times prior in Minimate form, but this time it’s got a new hat differently colored!  The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, so its about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Structurally, this version of Iron Spider is the same as both the Walgreens Series 2 and the TRU Series 21 Iron Spider-Men, meaning he’s a vanilla ‘mate with a harness that has the three mechanical arms attached to it.  It helps keep things sleek, and it also keeps things consistent with the other figures.  On the paint front, Iron Spider is again quite similar to the TRU Iron Spider, effectively having the exact same paint apps (with a couple of minor changes on the eyes), but swapping out the red base of the prior figure for a black one here.  It looks pretty decent, and the contrast’s a little better, so I think it works.  Iron Spider is packed with a dynamic posing base and a standard clear display stand.  Not a bad combo for a Spidey-variant.

SINISTER SIX THE SPOT

“With his ability to create portals to anywhere, of varying sizes, the Spot is the ultimate getaway driver, as well as an unpredictable opponent.”

The Spot is one of those quirky lower tier Spidey foes that’s just absolutely fun every time he shows up.  He’s not been very lucky when it comes to toys, however, as his only prior figure was one of Toy Biz’s 10 inch figures.  Given how easily he can be assembled from re-used parts, that’s a little surprising.  Fortunately, “assembled from re-used parts” is Minimates’ jam, so he finally made his way in here.  Spot’s a vanilla ‘mate, but that’s okay, because that’s exactly what the character should be.  He’s a guy in a form-fitting spandex suit with no add-ons.  That’s just how he do.  The Spot’s paint isn’t super complex or anything, but it does a really sharp job of applying all of the dots all over him, as well as giving him a few lines to represent the man in the suit beneath.  It’s a stark-looking design, and its harsh black/white nature helps it pop out against more colorful characters on the shelf.  Of note, the face on the standard head is another black whole, in keeping with more modern appearances for the character.  The Spot’s accessory selection is a rather impressive selection of common place items repurposed for some fun times.  There’s an alternate head with Spot’s classic design on it, plus two repainted Tron Discs, two smaller display stands, and two larger display stands, all in black.  It’s great because they work perfectly as Spot’s “spots”, and the modular nature of Minimates means you can toy around with disassembling him to make it look like he’s popping out of various portals.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I snagged this whole assortment from Walgreens’ website, back when that was an easier thing to do.  I don’t have much attachment to this version of the Iron Spider design, but I can certainly support a new character being added to the line, and the design’s not a bad one.  He’s a decent way of putting a Spider-Man into the line, while still doing something new.  Spot’s the main reason I got the set, because he’s one of my favorite Spidey foes.  He’s a great example of how clever execution can make a second-string character made from re-used parts the real star of an assortment.  He’s absolutely fantastic, and I can’t imagine him being better if they’d tried.

#3045: Shocker

SHOCKER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Shocker’s vibro-units allow him to blast through solid metal, or hurl long-range vibrational punches! But they’ve yet to help him defeat his eternal nemesis, the amazing Spider-Man!”

Some of Spider-Man’s rogues are memorable because of how menacing they are, or how close they come to actually defeating the wall-crawler in battle.  On the other hand, some of them are memorable based more on the ineffectiveness.  Such is the case with the Shocker, peroneal punching bag of the Marvel universe.  He’s such a punching bag that the fact that She-Hulk *didn’t* beat him up to get information out of him is a memorable change.  Such a punching bag that his first entry in the 6-inch scale was not as his own figure, but rather as an action feature-based pack-in with a Spider-Man, which saw him permanently stuck in one of Spidey’s web-traps.  Such a punching bag, that even his own bio doesn’t give him any respect.  That’s cold, man.  But, there’s hope on the horizon, because all of this has actually made him memorable and worthwhile in his own right, meaning he’s getting a double-dip on the Legends treatment.  That’s not so bad, I suppose.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Shocker is the last of the three villains in the latest Spidey-themed Retro assortment of Marvel Legends.  It’s his second time as a Legends release, following the one from the Sandman Series in 2017.  While that one was in his at the time current gear from Superior Foes of Spider-Man, this one instead goes back to the very beginning, for a proper classic Shocker, fitting with the retro-theme of the release.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  While he’s got the elbow joints that Shocker so frequently loses (complete with the pinless construction that Hasbro’s been rolling out with their new sculpts), he does loose the standard wrist movement, in favor of a swivel joint further up the forearm.  While it ultimately results in less mobility at the wrists, it’s for the sake of keeping the gauntlets one piece, which is true to the original design.  And, honestly, with those gauntlets on, he’s unlikely to be able to really move his wrists anyway, so it’s not like it’s unrealistic.  Shocker is sporting an all-new sculpt, which serves his design a little more justice than the Bucky Cap body of the previous version.  It beefs him up a little bit, as you’d expect for a guy in a big padded suit, and it just generally does a really nice job of capturing the character’s classic look.  All of the quilting is properly sculpted, and I like how he’s even got extra detailing on the non-quilted parts, especially evident when comparing the head sculpts from the two releases.  I do somewhat miss the bewildered expression of the last one, but I don’t know that it would fit quite as well for this release.  Shocker’s color work is alright, though nothing particularly spectacular.  The base work is there, and the colors work well for the character.  The sculpt could really benefit from any sort of accenting on the quilted sections, as they do sort of get lost in the big patches of yellow here.  I may wind up giving this guy the same treatment as Six-Arm Spidey, just to help him pop a bit more.  Shocker is packed with two sets of hands, one set with fists, the other with relaxed hands.  They swap at the forearm joint, which keeps things clean.  I like the attention to more options on these figures.  He also includes the same effects pieces as the last one.  I still don’t think they really work for his powerset, but I won’t complain about getting extra stuff.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really liked the last Shocker.  Like, a lot more than I’d expected, really.  But he wasn’t a classic Shocker, so another felt like it kind of needed to happen at some point.  This guy is really great.  Getting an all-new sculpt for him is really great, and the end result is a lot of fun.  He’s going to make it really difficult for me to pick a Shocker for the shelf, because I do still really love the old one, but this one’s just so good.

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

#3044: Ben Reilly Spider-Man

BEN REILLY SPIDER-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“After years of self-imposed exile, Spider-Man is back! Now calling himself Ben Reilly, and sporting a brand-new costume and web-shooters, the Wall-Crawler returns to fight crime!”

In the midst of the monster of a cross-over that was “The Clone Saga”, there was a big shocking twist, revealing that Ben Reilly, the clone of Peter Parker, with whom the audience had just become re-acquainted, wasn’t a clone at all, but was the original Peter, and, by extension, the Peter the audience had been following for 20 years, was actually a clone.  With this (obviously temporary) revelation, our Peter stepped down from the role of Spider-Man, leaving it to Ben, who would take over the Spider-titles for a year, up until the ultimate conclusion of the Clone Saga, which saw Ben’s demise.  But, of course, no one stays dead in comics, and so Ben came back.  He re-adopted the Spider-Man title quite recently, making it the perfect time to revisit his time as Spidey in figure form.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ben Reilly Spider-Man is s the last of the three Spidey variants in the latest Spidey-themed Retro assortment of Marvel Legends. He’s the second version of the Ben Reilly Spidey in the Legends line-up, following up on the one from the Absorbing Man Series in 2016.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 36 points of articulation.  He marks the third figure on the updated Retro Spidey body, following regular Spidey and the Symbiote costume.  This one uses all of the main retro body parts, as well as the exterior web shooters previously used with Scarlet Spider and the last Ben Reilly Spidey.  It’s a pretty by the numbers construction, which does about what you expect.  If I’m honest, it doesn’t work quite as well here.  The head sculpt and build on this figure are very much a Romita Spidey, and that doesn’t quite so much fit with the Bagley design.  He just feels too bulky for how Ben was usually depicted, at least to my eyes.  That said, it still makes for a decently assembled figure, even if it’s not one that’s quite as ripped from the pages as the others.  Ben’s paint work is generally pretty decently handled.  It brightens up the colors compared to the last one, which is different.  I’m not entirely sold on the colors, especially the blue, which does feel a touch too bright and also means this figure isn’t quite able to match the Spider-Carnage pieces from the last one, despite the larger build making more sense for that particular design.  Speaking of extras, this Spidey gets the full run of extra hands again, which is always nice to see.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really like the Ben Reilly Spider-Man design, and I really like it as an action figure.  That said, I was pretty happy with the last Legends release, and he’s definitely a solid instance for me of the Pizza Spidey really working in the appropriate context.  So, I was iffy on this one, but I still really like the design, so I grabbed it anyway.  I don’t like it quite as much as a standard Ben Reilly Spidey, but I do like it as a way to display the Spider-Carnage parts, even if the blues don’t quite match.  And, I’m glad there’s another Ben Reilly Spidey available to those that couldn’t get the last one.

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

#3043: Hobgoblin

HOBGOBLIN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Deploying an eerie arsenal of pumpkin bombs and razor-sharp bats from his goblin glider, the criminal mastermind Hobgoblin has Spider-Man constantly on his guard!”

In preparation for this review, I realized that I haven’t actually reviewed a Hobgoblin figure since 2015’s Build-A-Figure of the Phil Urich version of the character.  On one hand, that seems like forever ago, but on the other, I suppose there really aren’t that many Hobgoblins for me.  To be honest, I do generally gravitate more to Green Goblin proper, rather than his runner up, so I don’t have a ton of them in my collection.  Further more, the last Legends release was part of one of the most scarcely distributed assortments of the current line, so he wasn’t exactly easily found.  It’s cool, though because there’s a new one.  How about that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hobgoblin is the second of the three villains in the latest Spidey-themed Retro assortment of Marvel Legends.  This marks the third Hobgoblin in the modern line, following the Build-A-Figure in 2015 and the more classic version in 2016.  He continues the trend of 6-inch Hobgoblins each being different incarnations of the character, meaning they could all theoratically be different people, I suppose.  This one’s based on the incarnation seen on the cartoon most specifically, which fits with the design of the packaging and all.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  As with the last Hobgoblin (and the last two Green Goblins, for that matter), this figure is built on a Bucky Cap-centric body, specifically the less muscular torso first use of Dr Strange.  Since they’re going for more of an animated look, this one gets the standard arms and legs, rather than the scale-mail ones that the other Goblins got.  Less going on visually, but it’s also more accurate, and it does also give him some slight variance from Green Goblin from the same line.  He gets the cape, hood, satchel, and belt from the prior Hobgoblin, which are still good fits.  The head beneath the hood is similar to the more classic Goblin head from the last figure, but it’s a distinctly different.  It’s a pretty nice sculpt, and matches well with the character, so I can definitely get behind that.  Hobgoblin’s color work is rather on the basic side.  Mostly, it’s just molded colors.  They match the animation look, so it’s very bright.  Brighter, perhaps, than Hobgoblin tends to be, but it’s certainly eye-catching, and a good callback to the old figure.  Hobgoblin is packed with a glider and a pumpkin bomb.  The glider has trouble working with the standard Bucky Cap feet, so he’s not very easy to get balanced, and he doesn’t really stay in place very well, which is kind of a shame, because it’s a good looking sculpt.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As touched on in the intro, I’m not the biggest of Hobgoblin fans, and even within the whole Hobgoblin set-up, I’m more of a fan of the Urich version of the character.  All that said, I was still a little bummed about missing the Space Venom Series version.  I was glad about getting another chance at a more classic version of the character at the very least.  He’s a pretty by the numbers figure, all things considered, and in an assortment of slightly more inventive figures, he’s maybe not the flashiest or most showy, but he’s a decent follow-up to the old Toy Biz figure.

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

#3042: Symbiote Spider-Man

SYMBIOTE SPIDER-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Spider-Man gets an all-new look when he finds a sleek black costume in a space shuttle wreck. Little does Spidey realize he’s joined himself to the predatory alien symbiote: Venom!”

In early 1984, after over 20 years of more or less just getting minor tweaks to the same basic design, Spider-Man debuted an all-new costume on the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #252.  This black and white number would get its own origin story in the pages of Secret Wars later that year, where it was revealed that the suit was actually an alien symbiote, bonded to Peter during his stay on Battleworld.  He wound up keeping the suit for about 6 months, before discovering its true nature and ditching it.  Not long after, though, he took to wearing a cloth replica of the design, and actually stuck with that for another four years, making it a fairly lengthy run with the suit.  As such, it’s become a staple for toy coverage, meaning it gets trotted back out every so often to keep things fresh.  We got a standard Black Costume Spider-Man Legends release back in 2017, with a re-release in 2019, but with a new standard Spidey body out there, it’s time for another go at the design, which I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Symbiote Spider-Man is the second Spidey variant in the latest Spidey-themed Retro assortment of Marvel Legends.  Like the standard Retro Spidey before him, this guy looks the be the most-in-demand of this round of figures by quite a bit.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 36 points of articulation.  He’s only the second figure to be built on the body that was debuted with the first Retro Spidey, which is at once surprising, and also appropriate, I suppose.  It’s nice to see it crop up again after such a big deal was made about it.  In contrast to the last Symbiote Spidey, who was a total re-use of parts, this one actually gets an all-new head sculpt.  While I was willing to live with the re-used Scarlet Spider head on the last one, I must admit, I was very happy about the all-new sculpt here, and it’s such a nice sculpt.  It really matches well with my ideal version of the black costume mask.  Beyond that, it’s just re-using the previous body.  While I find myself drawn more to the slighter build of the Pizza Spidey body for a basic Spider-Man, it did perhaps mak the Symbiote design look a little scrawnier than he should have been.  The slightly bulked up body works really well with the design.  The figure’s paint is on the basic side, as is best with the Symbiote look.  No blue accents or anything to muck things up, and the application on the white is pretty sharp.  The eyes are notably a more glossy finish, which adds a nice bit of pop to the head.  Symbiote Spider-Man is packed with three different sets of hands, and can I just say how glad I am that all of the hands are back again?  It was a major nick against the last Retro Spidey was that he didn’t have the open gesture hands, so I’m really psyched that the whole spread is here this time.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Something about the Sandman Series Symbiote Spidey always just slightly missed the mark for me.  He was decent, but just not quite there.  Likewise, I kind of felt that way about the previous Retro Spidey.  So, this was a combo that I was iffy on, but it really, really works.  Legitimately the best version of this costume design, at the very least in Legends form, and certainly the best version I own.

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

#3040: Spider-Armor Mk I

SPIDER-ARMOR MK I

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“When Spider-Man’s powers aren’t enough, he dons his patented Spider-Armor. This ceramic-metal battlesuit protects Spidey from his deadliest foes, giving him the time he needs to take it to the bad guys!”

Alright, it’s been about a month since I did any Marvel Legends reviews.  I suppose I can manage to jump back into some of those without fear of triggering any flashbacks or anything.  They do seem to be hitting a bit rapid fire again, so I feel like I should tackle them while I can.  I just reviewed a set of Spider-Man-themed Legends back before the holidays, but there’s already another one to take a look at.  This time around, it’s another retro-inspired set.  I’m kicking things off with a figure that certainly helps me to feel nostalgic, the Spider-Armor Mk I!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Spider-Armor Mk I is the first of the three Spidey variants in the latest Spidey-themed Retro assortment of Marvel Legends.  He’s a natural choice for the line-up, since the original line included this very design making its toy debut, and all.  Though short-lived in the comics, the suit was repurposed in the cartoon as an alternate reality version of Peter, and has more recently re-surfaced as one of the alternate suits for Spidey in the PS4 game.  It seems the presence in the game is what really sealed the deal for this release, given how the figure is clearly inspired by that specific iteration of the design.  Funnily enough, this isn’t the first Spider-Armor that’s gotten the Legends treatment courtesy of its presence in the game.  And, given that there’s still the Mk II, which was also in the game, it’s likely this one won’t be the last, either.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  The Spider-Armor’s articulation scheme is generally pretty decent.  It’s certainly better than it looks at first glance, and the neck joint in particular gets some impressive range.  It’s also nice to finally get a proper Mk I Spider-Armor that can actually fully move both of his arms.  Additionally, the figure makes use of the new pinless construction for the elbows and knees, making him the only Spidey in this set to make use of them.  The Spider-Armor is an all-new sculpt, inspired by the PS4 version of the design, thereby making for a slightly sleeker overall silhouette, as well as a little more texturing on the darker sections of the design.  It’s a strong sculpt, with a really sharp, really geometric take on the design.  It works really well in figure form.  The figure’s paint work is pretty straight forward, but also really solid at what it’s doing.  The silver is applied quite cleanly, and it’s a really slick, almost reflective silver, which works really well with the design.  The Spider-Armor is packed with two sets of hands (fists and thwips), as well as two different web effects.  The web effects are cool, but also not really usable with the figure in any way, which is odd.  It’s also a shame he doesn’t get the web shield, but I guess that was more of a vintage toy thing anyway.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m a huge fan of the Mk I Spider-Armor design, and I’ve been hoping to see an update of it crop up in Legends form for some time.  I was really pumped when it showed up in this line-up, and it was certainly my most anticipated figure from this round.  I’m really happy with how this guy turned out.  The sculpt is top-notch, and that paint is really crisp and clean, and the silver is a really nice shade that works very well with the sculpt.  All-in-all, just a really strong figure, and a great way to kick off the 2022 Legends.

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

#2985: Armadillo

ARMADILLO

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

With how many animal-themed foes Spider-Man’s got, plus the fact that this is a Spider-Man-themed assortment of Legends, it’s natural to assume that Armadillo is just a Spidey villain through and through.  He’s not.  He actually first appeared in Captain America, and would kind of remain revolving around Cap and the Avengers for a bit, before the animal-themed thing did eventually lead to him being grouped with Spidey’s foes.  He’s one of those lower-tier villains with a rather tragic and relatable backstory, who writers like to start down the path of redemption every few years or so.  I certainly can get behind that type of storytelling, since it’s kind at the core of the whole Marvel experience, really.  Armadillo is the latest of those sorts of characters to finally get the action figure treatment, and I’ll be taking a look at said treatment today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Armadillo is the titular Build-A-Figure for the Armadillo Series of Marvel Legends.  His choice for the assortment is more than likely based on his cropping up in the MODOK show, though it also just may be because Hasbro was running through the list of larger characters without any toy coverage and settled on him.  Either way, I’m not gonna knock it.  The figure stands about 8 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Similar to Ursa Major earlier this year, Armadillo is a figure I was expecting some sort of re-use or something on, since he’s a rather minor character and all.  However, this guy is all-new, which is a pleasant surprise to say the least.  He’s based on a more modern interpretation of Armadillo.  I like him to be a little goofier myself, but I won’t deny that it’s a pretty decent sculpt, which does an alright job of capturing the general essence of the character.  I quite like the detailing on the armor plating; it’s got some great texture work.  Curiously, though he’s an all-new sculpt, the elbows and knees have visible pins…on one side.  The other side is without the visible pin.  It’s weird.  Armadillo’s paint work is generally rather basic looking.  His construction means that the underlying body and the armor are mostly separate pieces, so they can be molded in the proper colors.  What paint is there is very clean, and I definitely dig the subtle shift in the coloring on the main body.  It adds more to the look than you’d expect.  Armadillo’s got no accessories, but there’s not a ton you can really give him, and given his size and the uniqueness of the sculpt, coupled with him being an accessory himself, it’s not a big deal.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Armadillo is one of those characters that you don’t realize you want until someone goes and makes a figure, and then you’re suddenly aware of how lacking your life has been without him.  Or maybe that’s just me.  He served as my main reason for completing the set, and I gotta say, he’s a really fun, really chunky figure.  I really love these sorts of characters and I’m glad that Hasbro’s focusing on getting them to us.

This assortment is, overall, kind of a weak one for me.  Armadillo was definitely the main selling point, and in hand he’s definitely my favorite piece.  Shriek is probably the best of the singles for me, since we’ve just never gotten one before.  I do like Jonah a lot, though he’s not breaking any molds or anything.  Strange and the two Spidey variants are nice figures, but at this point some of the MCU upgrades are getting harder to get enthused about.  And while Miles and Morlun are both serviceable, both are figures that aren’t remaining in my collection beyond these reviews.  Given how fantastic the Spider-themed assortment that started the year off was, I guess this one just had too high a bar to clear.  I am happy with the figures I like, though, so it’s not like it’s a waist of my time or anything.