#2084: Spider-Man Doppleganger

SPIDER-MAN DOPPLEGANGER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Man, can you believe we’re still getting Infinity War tie-ins?  What’s that?  Wrong Infinity War?  Right.  Yes, believe it or not, the title “Infinity War” was not originally attached to Thanos’ quest to gain the Infinity Gauntlet (that was, wait for it, “Infinity Gauntlet”), but was instead a follow-up story centered on Magus, Adam Warlock’s evil alternate persona.  Over the course of the story, Magus created evil duplicates for most of Marvel’s major heroes, including good ol’ Spidey.  Spidey’s Doppleganger stuck around longer than the others (because they didn’t have enough evil Spider-Man equivalents) and actually found his way into a few other stories from around the time, including “Maximum Carnage.”  He’s not the most prevalent character to show up as a toy, but he’s got a few under his belt, and now he’s got a Marvel Legend.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Spider-Man Doppleganger is figure four in the Molten Man Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s the second comic figure, and Doppleganger’s third figure overall*.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 58 points of articulation.  He’s constructed pretty heavily out of re-used parts, primarily being made from the body of the Kingpin Series’ 6-Armed Spider-Man.  He inherits that figure’s articulation issues on the torso, since no changes have been made to the mold, but at this point I’ve made my piece with it.  He gets a new head, two sets of new hands, and new feet, as well as swapping out the bare secondary arms of the Spidey for the fully sleeved main arms.  The final creation is a decent offering, but definitely comes in a lot smaller and scrawnier than Doppleganger is usually depicted.  There’s a degree of artistic license I suppose, and obviously Hasbro wanted to quickly get a second use out of the new molds.  Also, a slight oddity is that the new head, hands, and feet all have raised weblines (like last year’s Spider-Ham), in contrast to the rest of the body.  It doesn’t stand out terribly in person, but the lighting for the photos really brings it out.  Doppleganger gets a noticeably darker colorscheme than Spidey did, which actually does him some favors when it comes to those unpainted weblines.  I’d still really prefer they were painted, but I’ve made my piece with it.  Everything else is pretty decent, and I particularly like the pearlescent finish on the eyes.  Doppleganger has no character-specific extras (I’m not really sure what he could have gotten), but he does include the right arm of the Molten Man Build-a-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

There was speculation of Doppleganger as soon as 6-Armed Spidey showed up, but I was really surprised by this guy’s presence just one assortment later.  For all of the prior figure’s flaws, I ultimately was quite happy with him, and marked him as a pleasant surprise in his assortment.  Doppleganger I’m not so sure about.  He’s not awful, but he’s really tiny, and still has all the issues from the last figure.  Ultimately, I think he may have been better served as a Build-A-Figure with a unique sculpt, but that’s not how it played out.  As it stands, he’s one of the two weakest entries in a generally pretty strong line-up, so he makes out alright.

I purchased Doppleganger from All Time Toys, who set me up with this whole set to review.  If your looking for other Legends or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

*Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time that Doppleganger and Hydro-Man have been part of the same assortment.  They both made their toy debuts in the “Spider Wars” series of Toy Biz’s ’90s Spider-Man line.

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#2083: Hydro-Man

HYDRO-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

The last time I reviewed a Hydro-Man figure, I discussed his nature as sort of a poor-man’s Sandman.  He wasn’t necessarily meant to be one, but that’s definitely where he tends to find himself, especially when it comes to other forms of media outside of the comics.  His biggest claim to fame was definitely courtesy of his stint on Spider-Man: The Animated Series, where he was really only featured because Sandman was off-limits.  By the time lines like Marvel Legends came along, Sandman found his way back into the spotlight, and poor Hydro-Man was back to playing second fiddle.  Fortunately things seem to be turning around, especially depending on how Far From Home plays out for him.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hydro-Man is figure 3 in the Molten Man Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s the first comic-based figure from the set, though he was undoubtedly chosen due to the character’s presence in the upcoming movie.  Unlike his last 6-inch figure (from more than a decade ago), this figure actually puts Hydro-Man in his classic black t-shirt and jeans combo, which is a good start.  He stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  The arms are a little restricted, especially at the elbows, but he’s otherwise quite posable and nowhere near as badly restricted as prior Hydro-Men.  The arms are actually some of the small handful of new pieces this guy gets, along with his head.  The rest of the figure is re-used from last year’s Netflix Luke Cage.  It was heavily rumored that those parts would be making their way onto a Hydro-Man, so nobody is super shocked to see that pay off here.  It’s worth noting that it’s a good fit for Hydro-Man, who is classically depicted as large, but not supernaturally so.  I was a little worried that there might be an attempt to re-use some Sandman pieces for him, which would not have worked at all.  The new parts jibe pretty well with the old, with the arms doing a pretty convincing job of the whole water thing and the head doing a pretty convincing job of the whole smarmy douchebag thing.  Hydro-Man’s paintwork is pretty straightforward, but definitely well-rendered.  It’s clean, and certainly hits all the major points.  He’s packed with two water effects pieces, which clip over his feet in much the same way as the parts included with the comics-styled Mysterio last year, and are a slightly better solution than the immobile lower half we tend to see.  Hydro-Man is also packed with the head to the BaF Molten Man.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I have an unabashed love for Hydro-Man, so I’ve been waiting for him to get decent Legends treatment for quite a while.  I was never big on his more “costumed” appearance, and was definitely happy to see this figure show up when this line-up was announce.  I think this figure turned out very well, and he’s easily the best Hydro-Man figure ever released.  He’s maybe not the most essential Spidey foe, but he’s still a very good figure.

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

#2082: Spider-Man

SPIDER-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

What’s a Spider-Man movie without at least one variant on the main character’s costume?  Well, Spider-Man 2, I guess.  That doesn’t really sell my point very well, though does it?  Let me come in again.  What’s an MCU film without at least one variant on the main character’s costume?  Poor marketing synergy, that’s what.  For Homecoming, we got both Peter’s Stark-designed suit and his personal prototype suit, both of which got their appropriate due in the film proper.  For the follow-up, we get another two (at least, though there may be more), with an update on his main design, and a more stealthy option, presumably given to him by his new friends at SHIELD.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

This version of Spider-Man (which gets no notation of his varation in his name proper; he’s just “Spider-Man”) is figure 2 in the Molten Man Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s the third, and final, movie-based single release in this assortment.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Peter’s had a number of stealth suits in the comics, but this one seems to actually take a lot of influence from the Spider-Man Noir design (the comics one, that is, which is a little different from the one seen last year in Into the Spider-Verse), which kind of works if this is in fact a SHIELD design, and is therefore from an entirely different source than his usual costume.  It’s not a bad look all things considered.  That being said, it doesn’t seem to have made the transition to figure all that well.  It’s not terrible, but I don’t think it’s nearly as strong as the basic Spidey. The biggest issue, no doubt, is the neck, which is way too long.  Clearly, this is a production error of some sort, but it’s a pretty bad one, and throws the whole figure sort of into disarray.  Beyond that, the rest of the sculpt is a little better, but really feels devoid of detail when compared to the other figure.  There’s a lot of smooth surface, and a lot of very flat areas, making him look particularly toy-etic.  It’s possible this costume is just less texture heavy than the standard costume, but it seems kind of lackluster here.  There’s not a ton going on with the paint work on this figure; mostly, he’s just molded in black plastic.  There’s some slight variance in finish, which breaks up the monotony a bit, plus the silver for the eyes and peach-tone for the hands.  It’s accurate, so I can’t fault them there.  He’s packed with two sets of hands (fists and thwipping) and an extra head with the goggles flipped up.  The second head seems to sit a little better on the neck, but it’s still a bit high for my taste.  Spidey is also packed with the left arm of the BaF Molten Man.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy is kind of the reverse of the previous Spidey.  I was kind looking forward to him, and hoping he’d be new and different.  In hand, I was rather let down.  The neck issue is the biggest thing for me, because it’s hard to overlook it, even with posing.  Were that not present, I think I’d like him a lot more.  Ultimately, he’s probably not going to be a huge part of the film, so it’s not the end of the world, but that doesn’t make the figure magically better.

I got this figure from All Time Toys, and he can still be purchased here.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2081: Mysterio

MYSTERIO

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

The master illusionist Mysterio battles his foe Spider-Man using his wits and the technology embedded in his suit.”

Whoa guys, spoilers.  Are you telling me that this Mysterio guy is actually a bad guy?  That’s a crazy, shocking, and completely unpredictable twist.  Which is exactly why every news site announced Jake Gyllenhaal’s casting in the film as “Jake Gyllenhaal cast as villain in next Spider-Man movie.”  To throw us off the scent.  I mean, I guess it’s always possible they *could* do a Skrulls-esque switch-up and stick to that heroic thing and throw us all off, but somehow I doubt it.  Does this guy look heroic to you?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mysterio is officially figure 1 in the “Molten Man Series” of Marvel Legends, since Spidey was technically un-numbered.  This marks his second Legends figure in just over a year, since he just got a comics release in last year’s Lizard Series.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Mysterio is sporting an all-new sculpt, based upon his movie design.  Said design is actually a pretty nice translation of the comics design; not a spot-on recreation, but definitely a design that hits all of the major notes. Based on what we’ve seen in the trailers, the figure appears to be a pretty close recreation of the film’s design.  I’m sure there are some details that have been tweaked here and there, but it works well enough for me.  The detailing is nice and crisp, especially on the texturing of his underlying jumpsuit.  The articulation is a little limited at the shoulders, but he’s otherwise pretty posable.  While the comics Mysterio had an underlying head, and a helmet/cape combo, this figure separates the cape and the helmet, and makes the helmet a solid head piece.  I don’t mind this so much, because as cool as the underlying head is in theory, it never really works out in practice.  At least this figure can look good in his standard layout, without any needed compromise.  It also allows for the cool starfield sort of affect they’ve molded into the plastic, which is a fun new take on Mysterio’s usual smoke-filled dome.  The rest of the color work is pretty straight forward.  The painted applications are pretty clean, and the metallics work well on this figure.  I also really appreciate that they painted all of the green details on his cape, because that’s the sort of thing that’s usually first on the chopping block.  Mysterio is packed with two sets of hands, one in fists, and one in open gesture.  He is also packed with left leg of the BaF Molten Man.  It’s a shame we couldn’t get an unmasked head, but I think the Cosmic Spider-Man unmasked head makes for a nice stand-in.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really feel like I *just* got the comics Mysterior….probably because I kinda did, since I got him a good six months after the rest of the line-up.  Because of that, I can’t say I was in as dire need of Mysterio as I have been some other figures, but I was certainly intrigued to see how this guy faired when compared to the comics version.  I think the comics version is better in terms of really capturing the look, but this figure’s definitely the far more playable option, especially with the solid construction on the helmet.  Which one you prefer is really going to be dependent on what you want to get out of the figure.

This Mysterio, like the last one, was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re interested in buying Marvel Legends figures, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2080: Spider-Man

SPIDER-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Going into Avengers: Endgame, the only MCU film we knew would be following was Spider-Man: Far From Home, the follow-up to 2017’s Homecoming.  We didn’t even know for sure whether it was pre or post-Infinity War (though we all had a pretty solid hunch), but the first trailer post-Endgame made it very clear, as well as follow-up comments that have confirmed that Far From Home will be serving as Phase 3’s proper send-off.  The movie’s set to hit theaters next week, and to get us all in the Spider-Man spirit, Hasbro is particularly on-the-ball with their Legends tie-ins.  I’ll be kicking my reviews of those off today with the Friendly Neighborhood hero himself!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Man is part of the “Molten Man Series” of Marvel Legends, which is the second Spidey-themed assortment of the year.  This guy is the extra sans-BaF-piece figure for the assortment, which has been the running trend for the movie line-ups (and Spider-Man line-ups, for that matter).  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  As we’ve seen from all the promo material, Peter’s got yet another new suit this time around.  It’s got a fair bit in common with his Homecoming look, but switches the blue out for black (ala his earliest comics appearances) and streamlines a few more elements.  It also looks to have picked up a few elements from the first Superior costume, as well as his appearance from the PS4 game.  Despite all the little changes, it still reads as undeniably Spider-Man.  As with the Iron Spider figure from Infinity War, while this figure has a lot in common with the main Homecoming release aesthetically, he’s actually an all-new sculpt.  I’ll admit, I was actually quite surprised to discover this, and it wasn’t until I compared the two releases in hand that I realized there were no parts at all shared between them.  This figure takes a design that’s closer to the Homecoming figure and applies it to an articulation scheme and base body layout that’s much closer to Iron Spider, and it really works out well.  As much as I liked the Homecoming figure, he was definitely working with some slight iffy pieces he’d inherited from his Civil War predecessor.  The fact that this one starts from scratch removes all those issues outright, rather than trying to work around them, and the end result is a very playable figure.  The attention to detail on the smaller elements of his costume is also quite impressive, with elements such as the mechanics surrounding his eyes standing out, especially given their absence from prior figures.  On the flipside, the paint’s a bit of a step down.  It’s not terrible; all of the basic elements are there, and they’re reasonably well applied.  There’s some slop on the edges, but nothing terrible.  For me, the biggest loss is the outlining for the weblines.  This detail was also missing on the Infinity War release, but seemed less glaring there.  Here, especially when compared to the Homecoming figure, it really seems to stand out.  Spidey is packed with two sets of hands, one set thwipping and the other gripping.  The choice of gripping instead of fists is interesting, since he doesn’t have anything to hold or anything, but hey, at least he got extra hands, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this figure, since I initially thought it would be a pretty heavy re-use of the Homecoming parts.  When I brought this set home, I didn’t really think much of this guy, but was pleasantly surprised by him when I opened the box.  I think this is probably my favorite of the three MCU Spidey designs, and the figure, while not perfect, is the best basic MCU Spidey you can get.

I got my Spidey from All Time Toys, and he can still be purchased here.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2053: J Jonah Jameson, Aunt May, & S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent

J JONAH JAMESON, AUNT MAY & S.H.I.E.L.D. AGENT

MARVEL MINIMATES

Civilians and Army Builders!  What a combo!  Though absolutely pivotal to the Spider-Man mythos, J Jonah Jameson and May Parker are not the most toyetic characters.  But, as usual, Minimates prove to have an easier time at making such characters into figures, as evidenced by today’s focus, where the two are each paired off with one of the most requested Marvel army builders, the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These guys were released in the “Death of Jean DeWolff”-centered Series 43 of Marvel Minimates.  Jameson was the regular release, with Aunt May as his one-per-case variant, and the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent filling in as the second release in both sets.

J. JONAH JAMESON

Perhaps Spider-Man’s most persistent antagonist, J. Jonah Jameson’s actually not part of the “Death of Jean DeWolff.”  In fact, his absence from New York at the time is a fairly prominent plot point.  But, I guess that sort of makes him important to the story in his own way.  JJ has actually been a Minimate before…kind of.  A Jameson mask was included with the variant version of Chameleon way back when, but this figure rightfully gives Jameson his own due.  Jameson makes use of five add-on pieces, for his hair, vest, tie, and sleeves.  The hair is a new piece, depicting Jameson’s distinctive flat top.  It’s a nice piece, and a noted improvement over the much less detailed offerings of the past.  The rest of his parts are re-used, with his vest coming from the Ghostbusters Mayor, and the sleeves and tie coming from The Spirit.  It’s a nice combo of pieces, and it gives him a very unique, character specific feel, all without actually needing many new pieces.  JJ’s paintwork is fairly standard stuff.  The blue certainly looks nice, and the detail work on his face in particular is really sharp, and really expressive.  In general, the faces in this assortment were really strong, and JJ is a great example.  One rather minor touch I quite like as well is the two-toned nature of his vest, which is blue at the front and black at the back, showing that the two sections are actually made of two different fabrics.  JJ includes a nice selection of extras.  He has a second set of arms, in blue to match the legs, as well as a corresponding suit jacket/tie/vest piece, allowing for a slightly more formal appearance for the character.  He also has two copies of the Daily Bugle; one rolled up and one folded flat.  The flat one gives us a couple of news stories, including a shot of Spider-Man and of Tony Stark (who is inexplicably the RDJ version).  This offers a ton of variety for the figure, and makes him quite versatile.

AUNT MAY

Peter Parker’s elderly aunt is even less toyetic than Jameson, and it shows in the difference of figure representation.  This was May’s introduction into the Minimates form (though her second figure would be only three series later), and only her second action figure ever.  The important thing is that our Minimate Spider-Men will no longer have to go without their wheatcakes!  Aunt May uses two sculpted add-on pieces; one for her hair, and the other for her skirt.  The hair was a new piece for this figure. It’s a nice offering, and matches up pretty decently with the sorts of hair styles we tend to see May sporting.  It’s also generic enough for some pretty swell re-use, which we’ve already seen at least once.  The skirt piece is Gwen Stacy’s, just like the Jean DeWolff figure also in this series.  It’s serviceable for the job it’s got to do.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?  Aunt May’s paintwork is decent enough.  Not incredibly eye-catching, and in fact she seems maybe a touch washed out, but maybe that’s sort of the point, with her spending most of her time in the comics as glorified scenery.  The detail work is pretty solid stuff, and the face is, once again, pretty solid looking.  The very slight smile works quite well for the character.  May is packed with no accessories.  Scratch what I said about the Spider-Men getting their wheatcakes.  Looks like they’re going to have to wait a little longer on those.

S.H.I.E.L.D. AGENT

The S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent is the army builder that fans have been wanting since before army builders were really even a thing for Minimates.  Back when the first Nick Fury hit, there were a lot of people stocking up on his pack purely to build up a whole flank of these guys.  We got a slight tease at them with the Ultimates-based S.H.I.E.L.D. Soldier, but that wasn’t quite the same.  It’s the blue spandex-clad guys that we were all clamoring for!  The S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent uses six add-on pieces, for the hair, shoulder holster, gloves, belt, and ankle sheath.  It’s a mix of old and new.  The hair is re-used from the Shocker, and is a nice, generic buzz cut.  The belt, like Sin-Eater’s, is borrowed from Batman, because who doesn’t like a good utility belt?  The gloves are from the Cap TTA boxed set, and while S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents aren’t always seen with flared gloves, I myself quite like them, and certainly won’t shoot down extra parts.  The holster and sheath are both new pieces.  It’s the holster that’s really the star here, as it gives the Agents their distinctive look, and it’s a huge improvement over the slightly disappointing painted version from Fury.  The sheath is a little bulky for my taste, but it’s also the easiest piece to remove and leave off if you don’t like it.  The Agent’s paintwork is definitely solid work.  The darker blue provides a nice contrast to the white, and there’s some fantastic detail work.  The face is suitably generic, if you’re looking to army build, the logo on the shoulder is sharp and crisp, and the inclusion of the white piping on the seam down the middle of the chest, even under the harness where it will mostly be obscured, is a fantastic touch.  The S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent is armed with a pistol and a knife.  Both were new, and designed to fit in the corresponding holsters on the figure.  For the sake of easier army building, the Agent also includes a second hair piece, borrowed from Ultimate Iron Man.  It frames the face differently, thereby creating a credibly different looking “character.”  And, since the piece is blond, in a pinch it works pretty well for my personal favorite agent, Clay Quartermain!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

J. Jonah James is a pivotal character for Spidey, and this figure goes above and beyond to make him not just a good on the character, but a great take on the character.  Like Jonah, May is an important character, but unfortunately, this figure just doesn’t have quite the same hook as that one.  She’s not particularly exciting on the basis of design, and without any fun accessories to sweeten the pot, she ends up falling a little flat.  Still not bad, but not very standout either.  Undoubtedly, the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent is the shining star of this already very strong series, and perhaps DST’s best army builder.  With a few spare heads from other figures, it’s very easy to get carried away with these little guys.

#2036: Spider-Man & Kraven

SPIDER-MAN & KRAVEN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Unwittingly bonded with an alien symbiote, Spider-Man has the enhanced strength and abilities he needs to take on his deadly enemy, Kraven the Hunter.”

The last time I reviewed a Kraven figure, I remarked that long-running lines require a somewhat cyclical nature.  Well, uhh, I’m now reviewing a re-release of Kraven from that very line…so, hey, here we are.  Guess we’ve already come back around to him, haven’t we?  I, of course, already had the previous Kraven, but one more certainly couldn’t hurt too much.  Nor could one more of the Spider-Man he’s packed with!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Spider-Man and Kraven are a Target-exclusive Marvel Legends two-pack, clearly patterned after the much-loved “Kraven’s Last Hunt” storyline.  The set started hitting shelves just a few weeks ago, and will hopefully be showing up in plentiful quantities throughout the summer.  Both figures are tweaks of prior figures that have packed up a sizable aftermarket price.

SPIDER-MAN

Spider-Man’s black costume (or at least a cloth copy of it) was central to “Last Hunt,” and is enough of a fan favorite that a re-release of his Sandman Series figure definitely makes sense.  The basic figure is essentially identical.  Same base body and head, and for the most part, the same paint scheme.  The symbol is ever so slightly different, with the head being a little wider.  It’s minor enough that you’d only notice the change with both releases side by side.  The main change-up is the accessories.  They were kind of the let-down of the original release, but this one amends that.  He loses the open gesture hands of the original, but exchanges them for the missing web-pose hands that were sorely missing the last time.  He also gains an alternate unmasked head, which is a re-paint of the unmasked head from the Spidey/MJ pack, now featuring some battle-damage.  Of course, since I still don’t have that, I’m just building a continuing collection of non-standard Parker heads.

KRAVEN

Kraven’s been absent from Legends longer than Spidey’s black costume.  His Rhino Series release was four years ago now, and just predates a lot of collectors getting into the re-launched line, meaning he still goes for a bit of a premium.  His re-release is definitely the main driving force of this set.  Where Spider-Man was a fairly straight re-issue, Kraven is actually quite different from his prior release.  Where that one was his most recent appearance, this one is a classic Kraven.  He gets a new head, right hand, and belt, and swaps out the boots of the last release for more streamlined parts.  The head is by far the best piece; the crazed expression is a perfect recreation of Mike Zeck’s Kraven from “Last Hunt,” and it’s a marked improvement over the more generic sculpt of the last release.  Another marked improvement?  The paint.  It’s sharper, bolder, and just generally better detailed than the last release.  Hasbro’s definitely gotten a lot better at this part of the figures.  Kraven includes the same spear as the prior release, and also adds in a hunting rifle, which is a pretty classic Kraven sort of piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I have both of the original releases, when this set was originally announced I didn’t know if I’d be picking it up.  The images of the new Kraven head definitely did a lot to sell me on him, but the Spider-Man didn’t look to have much new to offer.  I was out looking for the Endgame Hawkeye and Widow (who I still haven’t found), and came across this set, and upon seeing the unmasked head and webshooter hands was definitely sold.  Both figures included are improvements over their original releases, and I don’t regret grabbing this one at all.

#1935: Spider-Man & Jean DeWolff

SPIDER-MAN & JEAN DEWOLFF

MARVEL MINIMATES


In 1985, then up-and-coming writer Peter David penned “The Death of Jean DeWolff.”  Published in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #107-110, the four part story began with the discovery of the titular death of Police Captain Jean DeWolff, a once quite prominent Spider-Man supporting cast-member.  It was rather ground breaking at the time of its publication, shifting the overall tone of the book, and helping to pave the way not only for longer form storytelling, but also darker stories, all within the confines of the mainstream Marvel universe.  In 2012, the story was used as the basis for the 43rd Series of Marvel Minimates.  The first of those sets includes Jean DeWolff herself, alongside Spider-Man.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two are a pair from the aforementioned Series 43 of Marvel Minimates, dubbed the “Jean DeWolff Saga” by a label on the upper right side of the box.

SPIDER-MAN

Though he had at this point ditched the actual symbiote, Peter Parker was still wearing his cloth replica of his black costume at the time of this story.  It’s fairly fortunate, really, as it better fit the more film noir stylings of the story.  In a meta sense, it gave Minimate collectors another chance at the black costumed look; this was the fourth time we’d seen it show up in Minimate form.  Unlike the prior release of this costume, which made use of a removable mask, this one returned back to the straight vanilla body, with no add-ons at all.  Given the general sleekness of this particular design, it was a definite improvement.  The important details are all handled via paint.  This figure takes a page out of the Big Time costume’s book, and augment’s Spidey’s two-toned look with a bit of accent work, detailing not only the musculature of his torso and legs, but also granting a slightly more human shape to his head and face.  In contrast to the Big Time release, whose accenting seemed a bit too subtle, this figure’s seems perhaps a touch too noticeable; that bright blue really stands out, and perhaps robs the design of some of its more striking elements.  Still, it’s far from bad work.  Spider-Man was packed with a webline, a fairly standard inclusion.  Given that he hit retail shelves at the same time as the Best Of version of the character, it’s a little bit of a shame that he doesn’t also get an unmasked head.  Of course, he hit retail shelves at the same time as that figure, so it’s not like an unmasked Peter Parker head was difficult to find.

JEAN DEWOLFF

Before becoming the unfortunate victim of the murder that kicks off this story, Jean DeWolff had been a fairly prominent Spider-Man supporting player for about a decade or so.  Jean was introduced by Bill Mantlo while working on Marvel Team-Up in the ’70s, as he wanted a supporting cast member to serve as connective tissue from story to story.  I suppose in that respect, Jean was something of a prototype for the live-action versions of Phil Coulson and Claire Temple.  Jean was always known for her retro sense of fashion, with berets and fishnets and the like; this figure follows that, giving us a look that is a good summation of DeWolff’s classic look.  Jean makes use of two sculpted add-on pieces, one new, one old.  The new was her hair/beret.  It’s a very nicely detailed piece, and manages to make her hat not look totally ridiculous, which is always good with this style of thing.  She also uses the knee-length standard skirt piece, first introduced on the Series 17 Gwen Stacy.  It’s a fairly basic piece and perhaps a little limiting to the articulation, but it gets the job done.  Despite getting more sculpted extras than her pack-mate, Jean doesn’t skimp on the painted details either.  The colorscheme is bright and eye-catching, and the detail lines, especially the stitching on her jacket, is some of the best we’ve seen on a Minimate.  She’s even got the proper cross-hatching on her legs for her fishnets.  That’s definitely a nice touch!  Jean is packed with two accessories: a revolver, and an alternate hand holding her badge.  The revolver comes from the Dollars sets, and is still a great piece.  The badge was originally set to be included in the Beverly Hills Cop set, but with that set’s cancellation, it saw its debut here.  It’s always cool to see such pieces find a new home, and given how Jean’s badge factored into the Death of Jean DeWolff, it’s a smart inclusion here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This was an assortment I was quite excited for, so I quite eagerly picked them up from Cosmic Comix when they first showed up at retail.  Topping the original Black Costume Spidey is a very steep task indeed, and this one doesn’t quite get there.  He’s very close, and definitely the best of the follow-up black costume releases, but that bright blue detailing holds him back ever so slightly.  Still, a very strong offering.  Jean could have just been a rather forgettable civilian figure, but instead, DST put in the effort to make her one of the best figures in this wave, and certainly the star of this set.

#1924: Symbiote Spider-Man

SYMBIOTE SPIDER-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“The Venom symbiote gives Peter Parker a black suit with special, enhanced powers.”

After a long hiatus from the line, Spider-Man’s distinctive symbiotic black costume re-appeared in Legends back in early 2017.  That figure was a pretty straight forward “classic” symbiote Spidey, which I guess left the door open for a *less* classic symbiote Spidey?  And wouldn’t you know it?  Dan Slott and Staurt Immomen were kind enough to provide Hasbro with a variant of the symbiote right in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man.  In one of the fastest turnarounds from page to plastic, here’s the newest Symbiote Spider-Man!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Symbiote Spider-Man is figure 3 in the Kingpin Series of Marvel Legends, as the second Spidey variant in the assortment.  This one’s just got the normal number of arms.  He’s based on SPider-Man’s appearance from the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #800, where Peter is forced to re-bond with the Venom symbiote in order to defeat the Red Goblin (more on him later in the week).  It takes the classic black costume, and adds a bunch of minor tweaks.  Some work, some don’t.  I like the re-worked version of the logo, and I don’t hate the claw hands, but I’m still not sold on the monster feet, and especially not sold on the eyes.  He looks like he’s wearing some form of funky eye-wear, and it feels like it’s needlessly breaking up an otherwise streamlined design.  All that said, I’ve certainly seen worse designs, and there’s good reason to include him in this line-up (again, more on that later in the week).  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation. Unlike the other Spidey in this set, Symbiote Spider-Man sticks to the formula of the last few years, and is built on the Pizza Spidey body.  He gets the clawed 2099 hands and the monster feet from Superior Venom, with a brand-new head to top the whole thing off.  If nothing else, the whole thing is faithful to the comics design.  The new head is a fairly nice sculpt.  The eyes still bug me, and the fact that they stick out the way they do means that there’s some potential for them to be bent in the package.  Fortunately, they’re a soft enough plastic that you can reshape them with a bit of heat if its an issue.  Beyond the eyes, though, I really like the shaping of this head, especially how you can see Peter’s nose beneath the mask.  I wouldn’t mind seeing a version of this sculpt without the eyes; it would make for a cool basic Spidey head, I think.  Symbiote Spidey’s paintwork is pretty simple, molded black plastic with white detailing.  It’s the usual for this design.  The white for his symbol is a little sloppy in some spots, but he’s overall a solid effort. Spidey’s packed with a spare set of hands in fists, as well as both heads to the Kingpin Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: I wasn’t really that interested in getting this guy initially.  Yeah, with the standard Symbiote look covered, I wasn’t hurting for another version of it, so I wasn’t sure about this guy, especially with some of those weird design elements.  The desire to get that Kingpin figure really drove this one.  I didn’t expect much, but I was actually quite surprised, and I find myself really liking this figure.  Yes, those eyes still bug me, but he’s a fun toy nonetheless.

I bought Spidey from my friends at All Time Toys, who were kind enough to set me up with this whole set to review.  He’s currently in-stock at their webstore.  If your looking for other Legends or other toys both old and new, please check out All Time’s website and their eBay storefront.

#1921: Spider-Man – Six-Arms

SPIDER-MAN — SIX ARMS

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Hoping to cure his spider powers, Peter Parker drinks a special mixture and wakes up with four extra arms.”

Let that be a lesson to you kids: if you drink special mixtures, you might just wake up one day with four extra arms.  And then what are you gonna do?  Hide your four arms in your pants when your Aunt May comes around?  Doesn’t that sound awkward?  It sure does!  The message is clear: don’t drink strange mixtures!

Vague sort of PSA thing aside, the six-armed variant of Spider-Man is something of a classic one.  First introduced in the comics in the ‘70s, and then brought to a new audience courtesy of the ‘90s cartoon, the Six-Armed Spider-Man asks a pretty simple question: what if Spidey had eight limbs, you know, like a spider?  The answer is, unsurprisingly, extra toys to sell.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Man is the first figure in the Kingpin Series of Marvel Legends, the first Spidey-themed assortment of 2019.  He’s one of two Spidey variants, and definitely the most classic figure in the line-up.  He’s also the only one you don’t need to complete the Kingpin figure, but let’s not hold that against him.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has a whopping 58 points of articulation.  All those extra arms are certainly good for something.  Of course, it’s a bit of give and take on the articulation.  Though all of the arms sport the standard articulation, the figure’s torso lacks any sort of movement.  While I can understand the complexities of getting a working ab-crunch in with all of the arms, the lack of a waist joint seems particularly egregious.  There’s no practical reason for that joint to be missing, so I can only assume it was a cost saving choice.   Fortunately, the rest of the figure is able to somewhat pick up the slack, and ultimately the lost posability doesn’t hold the figure back *too much*.  This Spider-Man breaks from the last several mainline variants of Peter by being built on a body other than the Pizza Spidey body.  Upon first glance, I thought he might be an all-new sculpt, but a little bit of double-checking shows that he’s actually re-using the vast majority of the ASM2-based Spider-Man from the Ultimate Green Goblin assortment.  The figure was well-regarded when it was new, and a lot of people were content to have it as their standard comic Spidey, but with the introduction of Pizza Spidey the next year, the ASM2 mold was kind of abandoned.  That makes its use here somewhat odd.  I can only guess it’s one of two things.  Either they developed this figure shortly after the ASM2 figure’s release, before it was clear the ASM2 aesthetics were going to be dropped, and just sat on the mold for a while, or they opted for this mold because of its sculpted weblines, allowing for another bit of cost-cutting.  I’m leaning more towards the latter.  Whatever the reason, it means this sculpt doesn’t quite jibe with the rest of our Spidey variants, much like last year’s Spider-Ham.  I will say that at least the weblines are recessed on this sculpt (in contrast to the raised ones on Spider-Ham), so at least giving him painted weblines on your own won’t be quite as hard.  He does also benefit from the ASM2 figure just being a good figure in its own right, and by extension making this one very playable himself.  Even the newly sculpted torso and arms are pretty solid, with the detailing on the torso matching well with the rest of the figure, and the layout of his arms being such that he can actually let them rest pretty well by his sides.  I was anticipating it would be a lot harder to work with them than that.  I was also pleasantly surprised to find that the shoulders on the extra arms have sculpted torn sleeves; I expected those to just be painted on.  The paintwork on Spidey is fine.  It’s clean.  It’s bright.  It’s missing the weblines, of course, but I knew that going in. I’m still frustrated by those red pegs on the underside of his arms.  Certainly there’s some sort of fix they can come up with for that, isn’t there?  Spidey is packed with no accessories.  At the very least, I would have liked to see some extra hands.  At least with all the arms in the package, he doesn’t look too light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m gonna be honest, I was prepared to hate this figure.  After being so letdown by the Spider-Ham figure, I saw a lot of the same flaws on this one when its prototype was shown off.  I mostly just bought him because I was getting the whole set.  Then I actually opened him up and played with him a bit, and I realized I really didn’t hate the figure at all.  Sure, there are some definite issues.  I don’t like seeing the articulation cut, and I hope the unpainted weblines aren’t a trend that continues.  Beyond that, though, I found this figure to be a lot of fun.

Six-Arm Spider-Man was purchased from All Time Toys, who got me this whole set to review.  He’s currently still in-stock at their webstore.  And, as always, if your looking for other Legends or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.