#2324: Demogoblin

DEMOGOBLIN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Boy do the Spider-Man foes have some confusing legacies.  Following the death of Norman Osborn, and by extension the Green Goblin, the Goblin role in Spider-Man’s rogue’s gallery fractured.  While the Green Goblin identity remained in play, we were also introduced to the mysterious Hobgoblin, a variant on the legacy role.  Hobgoblin himself became a legacy character, actually fairly early into his life.  The fourth man to take on the name was Jason Macendale, who had previously been the original Jack O’Lantern.  Macendale would end up gaining demonic powers from the demon N’astirh during the Inferno cross-over, and those demonic traits would eventually be separated from him and made into their own character, the Demogoblin.  Confused?  Yeah, me too.  Look, he’s got a toy, and I’m gonna review it.  Let’s get to that!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Demogoblin is the build-a-figure for the first Spider-Man-themed series of Marvel Legends for 2020.  He had previously been shown off as a single-carded figure for the Lizard Series back in 2018, but was replaced by Lasher in the assortment proper.  He’s been rumored for every Spider assortment since, finally showing up here.  I know a lot of people are happy to finally have him.  Demogoblin has had one prior figure in this scale, as part of Hasbro’s early Spider-Man Origins line, but that was a rather hasty repaint of Hobgoblin, making this his first proper figure.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Given the common lineage, this figure does end up re-using a fair number of parts from the Space Venom Hobgoblin, itself a variant of the Bucky Cap mold.  Demo reuses the torso, arms, boots, and cape from that figure, as well as getting the standard Bucky Cap legs in place of the scaly ones Hobgoblin was sporting.  It’s all topped off with a new head, forearms, hands, and webgear for the torso.  While Hobgoblin did include a demonic Macendale head as an extra, this one goes even further with the demonic appearance, incorporating more inhuman features, and a far more tattered hood.  I really like it, and it’s an improvement on the prior piece in pretty much every way.   The rest of the new parts similarly continue that trend of improvement, and he makes for quite a dynamic looking figure.  The paintwork matches the usual Demogoblin color scheme.  Everything is cleanly applied and does its job.  This figure is one that probably would have benefited from maybe a wash or something to help really play up that demonic side, but I suppose there’s a lot of room for error when you spread something like that across multiple build-a-figure parts, so maybe it’s for the best that they didn’t attempt it.  Demogoblin gets an all-new glider, which is distinct from both Hob and Green Goblin, and even features a flight stand (borrowed from The Black Series), which is the sort of trend I’d love to see continue with such things.  It also helps to make him feel a little more worthy of that build-a-figure slot.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m not personally that invested in Demogoblin as a character, but after he was displaced (admittedly for a character I wanted more, so no complaints there) I understood why people were anxious to see him turn up elsewhere.  Like a lot of recent BaFs, completing my Demogoblin was really just a side-effect of getting all of the figures in the set, and not really my main focus.  He did turn out really nicely, though.

This assortment is probably the most balanced Spidey assortment I’ve encountered as of late.  While I’d rank the Velocity Suit as the weakest entry, I actually have some trouble picking a favorite, not because they aren’t good, but because I like several figures in the line-up quite a bit.  I think all of the figures in this set stand out nicely on their own, and I quite enjoyed this line-up of figures.

#2323: Vulture

VULTURE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Adrian Toomes uses a specialized flying suit to soar through the skies as The Vulture.”

Hasbro has been really working at wrapping up a lot of iconic Marvel team line-ups.  In the Spider-Man department, they’ve had their sights set on a fully updated recreation of the original Sinister Six.  We’re still not *quite* there, but at least we now have all six members in generally classic costumes and from the same universe, thanks to a proper update of classic foe the Vulture.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Vulture is the final single figure in the Demogoblin Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s actually our third Legends Vulture under Hasbro’s tenure, following the movie and ultimate incarnations of the character, but this is the first proper classic old-man Toomes since back in the Toy Biz days.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Like the last comic-inspired release, this guy is built on the Pizza Spidey body, with a new set of arms, a new head, and an add-on piece for his collar.  The head is impressive, because while it’s definitely a new sculpt, replicating Adrian’s aged appearance, it’s got the same exact expression and likeness as the ultimate head (…which, *technically* isn’t Toomes, but the package still identified him as Toomes, so…).  It’s also a good match for how he tends to look in the comics.  The new arms come in tandem with a new set of wings, which plug into the shoulders and forearms.  They’re really great…from the front.  Yeah, they’re really only presentable from one side, which makes them look weird if you catch them from the other direction.  I’m not quite sure why Hasbro opted to handle this way.  It’s not the end of the world, but it is annoying.  It also continues to the paint, where one side gets a nice gradient and the other is just unpainted plastic.  Not hugely surprising, but again a little let down.  The rest of the paint is pretty solid, though.  Rather than paint lines all over the body suit (which has the potential to look sloppy and a little goofy), they’ve done them at key points more as accents.  I wasn’t sure about it at first, but in person I think it really works.  They also did a solid job again with capturing the old man look on the head; he’s even got liver spots!  Vulture is packed with a second head sporting some head gear.  Technically, this should make the second head Blackie Drago, but the face still seems to be Toomes.  Not sure if someone at Hasbro just missed that it’s supposed to be a different guy or what the deal is.  Still it’s a pretty cool piece, and gets us closer to a proper Drago than anything else has.  Vulture is also packed with the head of Demogoblin, which I’ll be looking at alongside the rest of the figure tomorrow.

 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Ultimate Vulture figure was a perfectly serviceable figure, but as we got more proper classic incarnations of the old Spidey foes, he looked more and more out of place, so this update was very much appreciated.  I’m not the world’s biggest Vulture fan, but I like a lot about this figure, and I think he does a fine job of giving us that classic appearance.

I picked up Vulture from my friends All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2322: White Rabbit

WHITE RABBIT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A brilliant woman with a twisted mind, Dr. Lorina Dodson is the deranged Queen of Crime, White Rabbit.”

The best part of a successful super hero toyline is once it gets far enough in that all the main hero’s primary rogues have gotten coverage, and then you get to have the fun of those second and third stringers.  For me, it’s those lower tier characters that really make or break a rogues gallery, especially when they get a good gimmick.  The literary gimmick is not an uncommon one, and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is one that’s spawned a few on its own.  The most prominent, of course, is Batman foe the Mad Hatter, but Spider-Man gets in on it to with his own Carroll-ian foe, the White Rabbit, who has recently gotten a nice little notoriety boost courtesy of Nick Spencer’s current run on the main Spider-Man book.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

White Rabbit is part of the Demogablin Series of Marvel Legends, where she is by far the most obscure figure offered up.  It’s her very first figure, which really isn’t that much of a surprise I suppose.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  White Rabbit is constructed from a pretty solid mix of old and new parts.  She’s got the jacket and arms from the Civil War Scarlet Witch figure, plus standard legs and feet, as well as all-new parts for the head, torso, and boots.  The new and old combine into a pretty faithful recreation of her comics design (with the patterning on Wanda’s jacket even serving as a solid approximation of the plaid pattern of White Rabbit’s jacket), and are just generally a pretty nice selection of parts.  I like the continued trend of slightly more dynamic head sculpts, especially as it applies to the hair on this figure.  She’s maybe a little bit restricted on the articulation front, especially at that mid torso joint, though, so her posing is a little more limited.  That said, while it’s restricted by Legends standards, she’s still quite poseable.  The paint work on White Rabbit is all pretty basic.  It’s cleanly applied, and matches with the comics color scheme, so it certainly gets the job done.  White Rabbit is packed with her umbrella, a blast effect for the front of it, and the glider and flight stand for the Demogoblin build-a-figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

White Rabbit is the sort of character that is right up my alley when it comes to these line-ups.  She’s relatively obscure, got a distinctive look, and cool gimmick.  I was definitely down for her when she was shown off.  In-hand, she can easily fade into the background of this particular line-up, but she does what she does well.

White Rabbit came from my sponsors at All Time Toys, and is still available here.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2320: Superior Octopus

SUPERIOR OCTOPUS

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Otto Octavius suits up in a high-tech spider suit to protect the city as the Superior Octopus.”

Hey, remember when Doc Ock died and then put his mind into Peter Parker’s body and then took it over and then fought for dominance with Peter’s remaining subconscious and then ultimately relented his hold on the body so that Peter could take back over in order to defeat Green Goblin and save the day once again?  Well, that just turned out to be the set-up for the rest of Doc Ock’s story.  The events of Spider-Verse led a pre-giving-the-body-back-to-Peter Ock to create a back-up of his mind in the Living Brain, which he then used to reconstitute himself in a clone body that merged Octavious’ DNA with Parker’s during the events of “The Clone Conspiracy,” thereby leading to the creation of the Superior Octopus! Wooooooo!  Yay comics!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Superior Octopus is figure 3 in the “Demogoblin” Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s sort of a two-fer figure figure, being both a high-profile Spider-Foe, and also kind of being a Spidey variant, which no doubt made him an easy sell for the assortment.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 42 points of articulation.  Ock is nominally built on the 2099 body, although it’s a slightly changed, slightly improved version of it, getting a retooled torso section.  It’s not wildly different from the standard pieces in terms of general sculpt and musculature, but in place of the previous ab-crunch joint, this one gets a ball-joint instead.  There’s some give and take on the range of motion on the respective joints, and it’s a little bit of a shame that Hasbro didn’t take advantage of this opportunity to go all out and do the joint combo they’ve been doing on their Lightning Collection figures, but on the whole, I do prefer this joint both in terms of poseability and aesthetics.  In addition to the tweaked base body, Ock also gets a new character specific head, hands, wrist bands, and back-pack with the tentacles that give him his namesake.  The new head and hands match the source material nicely, and also meld well with the pre-existing parts.  It’s again a bit of a shame that he just has the one set of hands, but the combo here works well enough.  The tentacles are handled in pretty much the same way as the last Ock, being solid pre-posed pieces with joints at the base and the claw.  The slightly thinner nature of them does make them a little more workable and less obstructive when posing him, and by and large, I like them a lot more than the standard Ock pieces.  The paint work on Ock matches up well with the comics design, and I certainly like the color scheme here. That bright green just really pops on this figure, especially in contrast to the otherwise monochrome colors.  Ock doesn’t get any of his own extras beyond the tentacles, but he does include both arms for the Demogoblin build-a-figure, who I’ll be taking a look at later in the week.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Superior Ock is one of those designs that was really just begging for toy treatment from the moment it was introduced, so I was neither surprised, nor upset when it was shown off for this line-up.  Honestly, it was probably one of the figures I was most looking forward to from this assortment.  There’s not a ton of new or different going on, but he’s a good example of slight tweaks to an already successful formula working out well for the final product.  Now, I really wouldn’t mind an updated Superior Spidey to match this one in terms of quality.

I purchased Superior Ock from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2319: Spider-Man – Velocity Suit

SPIDER-MAN — VELOCITY SUIT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Peter Parker enhances his spider suit with speed-boosting technology to become velocity suit Spider-Man.”

Oh yeah, how about some more Marvel Legends?  I know that’s what everybody is really craving.  Well, I kicked off a whole week of reviews with a Spidey variant.  What better way to follow that up than with another Spidey variant?  You can’t have too many Spideys, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Velocity Suit Spider-Man is the second of the two Spidey variants present in the Demogoblin Series of Marvel Legends, which is the first Spidey-themed Legends assortment of 2020.  Like yesterday’s Mark III Spider-Armor, this figure has been branded as part of the “Gamerverse” sub-line.  Unlike yesterday’s figure, he’s a more natural fit for that branding, since the Velocity Suit was one of the suits created specifically for Spider-Man for the PS4, and aside from game-specific tie-ins, it’s remained exclusive to that source.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  As with the Spider-Armor, the Velocity Suit is another all-new sculpt.  It’s definitely not something Hasbro *had* to do with this guy; I could see them getting away with a base body and some add-ons, but it wouldn’t be quite right, I suppose.  It’s a fairly decent sculpt, but I don’t find it to be quite as technically impressive as the Spider-Armor was.  A lot of the details are a bit more rudimentary here, and he feels more blocky and less sleek than he should for a suit called “velocity.” Also, despite the general nature of the design being less restricting, I found the range of motion on this figure to be a little bit of a let-down when compared to the Armor.  It’s not terrible, but it doesn’t quite feel like it lives up to the current Legends standards.  Despite the reduced range, the joints are actually fairly obvious on the sculpt, with the torso joint in particular sticking out like a sore thumb.  It’s not ideal.  In terms of paintwork, he’s generally okay, aside from one notable thing: the blue.  In the game, his suit’s more of a red/grey combo, but it’s a more standard blue on the figure.  It’s not terribly different, but it’s enough that the design does look a little…off.  It also removes some of the impact of the bright blue on the symbol, which would have stood out a bit better against a more subdued color.  The actual application’s alright, though, and I do like the sort of glossy finish.  The Velocity Suit is packed with another web effect piece, this time one that wraps around the shoulders, as well as the left leg for Demogoblin.  As with the other Spidey, I would have at least liked to see a spare set of hands included here to help the package feel a little less empty.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Of all the game original suits from Spider-Man, this one was probably my least favorite, so the fact that it got a figure wasn’t exactly thrilling to me.  It doesn’t help matters that the other Spidey variant turned out really well, and this one didn’t seem to quite translate to the toy form as nicely.  This isn’t a bad figure, and I certainly can’t fault Hasbro for wanting one of the two “Gamerverse” figures to be something actually original to the game, but he just doesn’t work so much for me.  The web effect is nice, though, and at least I can just stick him at the back of my Spider-Verse shelf.

I picked up the Velocity Suit from my sponsors at All Time Toys, and he’s still available here.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2318: Spider-Armor MkIII

SPIDER-ARMOR MKIII

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Oh man, we went a whole week without any Legends reviews.  That was a rough week, wasn’t it?  Everybody pull through okay?  No one lost during the long drought?  It’s okay, we’ve made it to the promised land which is…more Legends.  Whew.  And hey, it’s a Spider-Man.  That’s a rare sight!  …Listen guys, there are a lot of Marvel Legends, and I’m buying pretty much everything, and I have to review them sometime, so, you know, just go with it, huh?  Let’s just smile through another week of Legends reviews, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Spider-Armor Mk III is one of two Spidey variants in the latest Spidey-centric round of Marvel Legends.  It depicts Peter in his improved anti-Sinister-6 armor from “The Ends of the Earth.”  The suit then re-appeared as an alternate costume in Spider-Man for the PS4, which is how it earned its spot here, officially under the “Gamerverse” sub-line.  It’s a fairly unique design, with a fairly prominent role in a big Spider-event, which matches up with a few other figures we’ve gotten, so I really can’t complain about it showing up here.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  The armor gets an all-new sculpt, as it really has to.  It’s actually a pretty impressive offering, managing to capture the design from the comics, as well as keeping it slightly more real-world as it appeared in the game model.  There’s a lot of really nice layering to the armored parts, as well as some really great texturing in the under suit elements.  It also manages to bulk him up sufficiently from the standard Pizza Spidey body, making it look like he’s actually wearing armor.  Posability on this figure is a little more limited than your average Legends Spidey, but it kind of comes with the more heavily armored territory, and he’s still got a solid range on most joints.  Honestly, I was expecting him to be a lot more restricted than he ended up being. The paintwork on this guy is pretty decent; he’s a little more reserved in color than most Spidey variants, but still keeps enough of that distinctive scheme to make him easily identical.  The armor was also pretty consistently depicted as a little washed out, so it’s accurate to the source material.  The application is all pretty sharp, with no noticeable slop or bleed over.  The Spider-Armor is packed with a web effects piece that can slip over another figure’s face, as well as the right leg of Demogoblin.  It’s annoying that we aren’t getting alternate hands standard with Spider-Man variants; at the very least, I’d like a set thwipping and a set in fists.  As it stands, he does feel a little light.  That said, I do really like the web effect piece, and I appreciate that Hasbro is willing to try some new things here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I can’t say that this design was at the top of my list of most wanted Spidey variants (honestly, I’d prefer a Mk I armor myself), but do like this design well enough, and I can’t deny that it translated well into toy form.  The all-new sculpt is definitely fun, and I dig the new web effects thing they’re trying out.  If this figure had one or two more extras, he’d be fantastic.  As is, he’s still a very passable figure, and I feel worth a Spider-fan’s time.

I picked up the Spider Armor from my sponsors at All Time Toys, and he’s still available here.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2259: Spider-Man & Carnage

SPIDER-MAN & CARNAGE

MARVEL MINIMATES

The early assortments of Marvel Minimates were home to some quite distinctive ‘mates.  While they are by and large a simpler selection and design, that can’t be said for every release.  In fact, the two ‘mates I’m looking at today remained some of the line’s most detailed for a long period of time, to the point where replacing them with updates seemed quite a daunting task for quite a while.  Without further ado, let’s have a look at Spider-Man and Carnage.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Spider-Man and Carnage are the final pairing from Series 2 of the main Marvel Minimates line, hitting alongside Series 1 and 3 in the summer of 2003.  Both would see re-release in a TRU 4-pack the following year, and Spider-Man would also be released in a TRU 5-pack and as a single in ’03, as well as packed with Green Goblin at Walmart and Target in ’04, and with Gajin Wolverine at Target in ’06.  He got around is what I’m getting at.

SPIDER-MAN

Perhaps the definitive classic ‘mate was this Spider-Man.  He was easily the poster child of the line’s launch, and remained front and center until the arrival of a new “standard” classic Spidey in Series 24.  It’s not a huge shock, I suppose, given that he’s Marvel’s most recognizable hero and his design allows for the showcasing of a “pure” Minimate body.  He stands 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation, and is constructed on the old long-footed body.  As with any standard Spidey, he’s great for taking a step back and appreciating the basic body at its best.  The heavy lifting, of course, is done with paint, and this Spidey had some of the very best.  All of his weblines are properly defined, something that would disappear as the line moved on.  Additionally, the face of his mask is really a perfect boiling down of Spidey’s classic mask.  No ‘mate that followed ever quite got that same feel.  It’s not 100% perfect; the blue is probably a touch dark, and compared to later releases, the lack of any musculature can be a little glaring.  On his own, though, he’s very strong.  Like the other Spider-Men in this inaugural assortment, he was packed with a webline piece.

CARNAGE

Having just escaped the ’90s, we were all still very invested in Carnage at this point, making him a solid choice for the final villain in this initial line-up.  It would be his only Minimate for a resounding 11 years, in no small part due to how well this one was implemented.  He’s fairly similar to Venom in his constuction, being a base body with a new set of hands, but it’s important to note that the hands on this one aren’t the same as on Venom, which was honestly a little bit surprising, but not unappreciated.  The real star of the show is again the paint.  Carnage’s distinctive black and red swirls are present on every visible surface, no small feat given how often details on the sides and backs of limbs got cut as the line progressed, or even compared to how sparse the rest of the early ‘mates were.  Heck, he gets full detailing on his hands and feet, the one place even Spidey’s weblines don’t go.  That’s impressive, and is part of why it took them 11 years to top this one, with a ‘mate that was rolling in the sculpted add-ons.  This one did it without those.  Carnage was packed with an extra hand, shaped like an axe, to demonstrate his shape-shifting abilities.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t actually get this set new.  My brother had one, but I ended up getting just the Spidey from elsewhere, and never felt compelled to track down Carnage until he was far too expensive on the aftermarket.  Then I got the 2014 release, and just didn’t feel the need to go back.  When All Time got in a large ‘mate collection back a few months ago, I managed to add every figure from the first year of the line to my collection, minus one: Carnage.  There was but one Carnage in the lot, and that went to Max, who’s definitely the store’s resident symbiote fanatic, so I wouldn’t dream of fighting him on it.  However, I did send him a photo of my shelf containing all but that one missing ‘mate, and he decided to go and be one of them pesky nice and generous people and give me his Carnage so that I could complete the set-up.  Can you believe the nerve of this guy?

#2245: Damaged Spider-Man, Black Spider-Man & Venom

DAMAGED SPIDER-MAN, BLACK SPIDER-MAN, & VENOM

MARVEL MINIMATES

After a slightly more off-kilter theme for Series 1, Marvel Minimates went a little more straight-forward for their second assortment, centering it on Marvel’s #1 super hero, Spider-Man.  We got three prominent Spidey baddies, as well as a whole handful of Spidey variants.  In a world where Marvel Minimates wrapped with Series 3, this assortment would have made for a satisfying Spidey sub-set.  Today, I’ll be taking a look at a slightly worse for wear Spidey as he faces off against his dark reflection, Venom, as well as perhaps the most popular Spidey costume variant ever.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Damaged Spider-Man and Venom were released in Series 2 of Marvel Minimates as one of the standard sets, with the one-per-case Black Spider-Man swapping out for Damaged in each case.  Both Damaged Spidey and Venom would also see release as singles and in the TRU boxed sets as well, but this would remain the only way to get this specific Black Spidey.

DAMAGED SPIDER-MAN

A battle-damaged Spidey is a pretty long-standing tradition for toylines, and this particular figure would himself start the trend of battle-damaged figures within this particular line, particularly in the earlier days.  He’s just using the basic ‘mate body, albeit that wonky long-footed old style release.  Everything else is paint, and the paint was never really better than on these earliest Spider-Men.  This one uses the standard Spidey from this same assortment as a starting point, but adds in several tears to the costume, with a bit of exposed skin.  The coolest bit is definitely that little bit of Peter’s face we can see; that teeth-clenched expression really sells the severity of whatever situation he’s in.  His one accessory was a simple grey webline, which would be the go-to accessory for Spidey sets going forward.

BLACK SPIDER-MAN

Swapping out for Damaged Spidey is perhaps one of the most controversial choices for a limited variant release, Spidey in his black costume.  This figure, unlike his fellow Series 1 and Series 3 variants, showcases a “we’re not gonna get more than three series” mentality, because without that in place, it makes absolutely no sense to make the most popular costume variant for Spidey a supremely limited release.  It’s not a huge shock that DST would eventually release several additional versions of this costume, since he was going for mad money for a good long while.  This one uses the same layout as the Damaged, with just the standard body, no add-ons.  His painted details are sparser, befitting the costume’s simpler design, but it honestly ends up working seriously in the figure’s favor.  Straight black and white’s a very good look.

VENOM

After Peter ditched the alien symbiote, it moved onto Eddie Brock, and the two became Venom, one of Spidey’s definitive foes.  Venom has no shortage of ‘mates, but this is certainly the most basic.  The majority of it’s actually identical to the Black Spidey from above, but he does get a unique set of clawed hands, and a different head.  The head seen here is actually the one with the uniquely sculpted tongue, but there’s an important note on that.  Originally, Venom was meant to include two heads, one with tongue, and one without.  All of the standard US release Venoms from the first year were actually shipped out missing the second head with the tongue, so DST offered to send the piece out to customers who bought the earlier release.  LAter releases would add the missing piece back in.  In a turn of fate, my figure is actually missing the head without the tongue.  Of course, I see no situation where I would display that head, so I’m not worried about it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Unsurprisingly, given how popular the costume is, the Black Spidey was very hard to find when these hit.  I wanted that one, and didn’t really have much interest in the damaged version, so I ultimately ended up getting none of them when they were new.  When All Time got in a very large Minimate collection a few months ago, Black Spidey was at the top of my list of wants, and the other two just sort of came along with him.

#2202: Spider-Man Symbiote

SPIDER-MAN — SYMBIOTE

MARVEL MIGHTY MUGGS (HASBRO)

It’s been almost a year since I last reviewed one, but I want to remain on the record about not having forgotten Mighty Muggs.  Everyone else may have, but I’ll be damned if I will.  Launching in 2007, Muggs pre-dated the Funko’s Pop! craze by a few years, and really just missed the earlier designer vinyl push from the early ’00s, making them sort of an odd duck in terms of success.  They definitely had their supporters, and the licensed properties in particular did well for Hasbro.  Though not quite the smash success that Star Wars was, the Marvel line got a decent run, with six main series plus a bunch of exclusives.  There was enough space for a few variants of the heavy hitters, and who’s a heavier hitter than Spider-Man?  Not only did he get his basic costume, but he also got that suite symbiote treatment…wait, that sounds wrong….

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Man in his Symbiote Costume was released in the third series of Marvel Mighty Muggs, alongside Ghost Rider, Doc Ock, and Thor, hitting shelves at the end of 2007.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has movement at the neck and shoulders (the legs are separate pieces, but do not move).  From a sculptural standpoint, there’s not a thing that’s unique about this figure.  He’s just the basic classic Mugg body, with no add-ons or alternations.  To be totally fair, that’s really the best way to handle this particular design, and works for that whole sleekness angle.  The heavy lifting is handled by the paint, which in this case is itself pretty basic and straight forward.  The base coat is black, and there’s white accenting.  That’s it, and what more would you want.  Sure, there’s all sorts of highlighting or creative shading you could try, and Muggs were known for being somewhat experimental with simulating lighting styles, but I’ve always found that such tactics just really muddy up the clean look of the Symbiote’s design.  I also appreciate that the design on the logo has been changed from Series 1’s Venom, who was lopsided and monstrous looking.  This one is much more symmetrical, and makes sense for the comparatively far more balanced Peter.  Spidey included no accessories, which wasn’t very out of the ordinary for this incarnation of the line.  I suppose he could have gotten a webline or something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Mighty Muggs were sort of tricky to judge when they first hit, and so there was a lot of speculation.  That made getting a hold of a figure like Symbiote Spidey a little difficult when the line was still new, and I myself never did get one at the time.  Fortunately for me (but unfortunately for the line as a whole), as people forget about Muggs, whole collections appear and pretty much go for next to nothing.  I got Spidey over the summer, courtesy of Yesterday’s Fun, and I was pretty happy to find him.  There’s not a ton to say about him, but it’s worth noting that he’s an example of a design that worked great for this style, and one that wouldn’t have really worked for the updated Muggs, which I guess is why they didn’t make one.

#2187: Maximum Clonage

BEN REILLY, SCARLET SPIDER, & SPIDER-MAN

SPIDER-MAN (TOY BIZ)

“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!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

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.

BEN REILLY

“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.

SCARLET SPIDER

“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.

SPIDER-MAN

“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.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

“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.