#1786: Spider-Ham

SPIDER-HAM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

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

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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

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#1785: Poison

POISON

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Believing himself to be a living miracle after seemingly coming back from the dead, symbiote-possessed Peter Parker rejects the Venom identity and calls himself Poison.”

Guys….I’m gonna critique the bio for a sec here.  I know, I keep promising I won’t, but it’s sort of important.  So, the “living miracle” “back from the dead” “gave up the Venom identity” Peter Parker, aka Poison, mentioned in the bio appeared in What If? Spider-Man: The Other in 2007.  He is *not* the character this figure is based on.  This figure is instead based on the Peter Parker Poison from last year’s Venomverse, where a symbiote-wearing Peter Parker was one of the first victims of the host-devouring symbiote hunters known as the Poison.  In Hasbro’s defense, neither character is anything bordering on major, so they can be forgiven for some slight confusion.  Now, let’s get onto the figure, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Poison is figure 3 in the Monster Venom Series of Marvel Legends.  After the pretty obvious choices of Venom and Carnage, Poison is undoubtedly out of left field, given he’s got, what, three appearances?  If that?  But, I guess if Hasbro’s content to give us every single Spider-Man from Spider-Verse, it shouldn’t be a huge shock to see them dipping into Venomverse as well.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Poison is built on the Spider-UK body, which is a favorite of mine.  That said, he actually gets a surprising number of new pieces.  He only actually shares his upper arms and lower legs with the standard body; everything else is brand new.  This allows for the figure to properly replicate Poison’s inorganic, exoskeleton-like appearance.  It serves as quite a nice counterpoint two Venom and Carnage from the last two days.  I definitely dig all of the etched detailing work on his torso, head, and upper legs as well; its something that could have easily been overlooked.  The tendrils mounted on the front of his torso showcase the last traces of the symbiote Poison assimilated, and while they can be a little odd to work with at first, they certainly do add a unique flair to him.  Poison’s color work is more involved than you might think; he appears just straight white and black at first, but the white is actually a slightly pearlescent plastic, and there’s some light silver accent work running along yhr engravings, giving them a nice extra bit of pop.  It’s a small touch that really adds a lot to the figure.   Poison includes no character specific accessories, but he does still get the left arm of the Monster Venom Build-A-Figure, which is certainly a sizable piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had no clue who Poison was prior to this figure being shown off, and therefore didn’t really think much of his announcement or really plan on picking him up.  Like the last two days, it was really that Monster Venom piece that was pulling me in.  That said, after getting all of the figures in hand, Poison is undoubtedly my favorite of the set.  There’s just so much coolness going on with the design, the sculpt, and the paint.  Who would have ever thought a character like this would get this sort of treatment from Hasbro?

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

The Blaster In Question #0066: Venom Blaster

BlasterInQuestion1VENOM BLASTER

DART TAG (SPIDER-MAN)

venom1I was wondering what would break first: your spirit, OR YOUR BO- what? Oh sorry, wrong Tom Hardy role.  Why Tom Hardy, you ask.  That’s because he will be playing Eddie Brock in the upcoming Venom movie.  So in the spirit of that film, I thought I’d showcase something that only exists for its context to Spider-Man, but without any mention of Spider-Man on my part.  I give you the Dart Tag Venom Blaster.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

venom2The Venom blaster was actually part of the Spider-Man vs. Venom set in the Dart Tag line, released as a tie-in with the film Spider-Man 3 back in 2007.  It uses a pretty unique mechanism as far as I’m aware, featuring an air pump and 3-tier staged trigger.  This allows you to fire each of the 3 barrels one after the other in semi-auto fashion, or just mash the trigger down to launch all 3 simultaneously.  The shells of both the Venom blaster and the matching Spider-Man blaster in the set are the same aside from the colors, but beyond that, they are unique.  Being Spider-Man themed, the ergonomics are a little strange, but perfectly functional. You secure the blaster to your inner forearm using the Velcro strap, with the trigger in reach of your middle and ring fingers.  While on your arm, the most awkward part of the operation is by far pumping up the air tank as it takes a decent amount of force to actuate the pump handle, particularly when you get close to maximum pressure.  That being said, they do stay pretty secure on your arm, and the cloth Velcro strap doesn’t cut into your arm the way the plastic venom3watch strap things on more recent arm blasters do.  The performance isn’t the best, but keep in mind these came out well before N-Strike Elite was even a thing, and they’re licensed blasters, so it’s pretty easy to forgive.  While it won’t hit very hard, you do effectively have a 3-round burst strapped to your arm which can be somewhat concealed fairly easily, especially if you’re already holding a blaster in your hand.  That way, when your younger siblings think its safe because you’re out of ammo, you can blast them with an extra 3 shots they didn’t know existed.  That’s how you know you’re the cool older sibling: subterfuge and treachery.  The Spider-Man vs. Venom set originally came with the 2 blasters, 1 in each color scheme, a Dart Tag vest for each, a set of Vision Gear goggles that also matched, and a total of 12 Dart Tag darts, 6 for Spider-Man, and 6 for Venom.  I, however, picked mine up second hand, and as a result, only have the Venom blaster.  No Spider-Man anywhere.  But if Marvel wants to use any of my review in their current Tom Holland Spider-Man movies, I’d be more than willing to license it out to them. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

Movie politics aside, I was actually one of those kids growing up who didn’t really care about Spider-Man, the character, but I thought Venom was awesome.  Pair that with Nerf and it was fairly inevitable that I would pick one of these up sooner or later.  And to be fair, the movies I’ve seen that had Tom Hardy in them, for the most part, I thought he did a good job.  Overall, my opinion on the blaster is it’s a bit dated but still fairly fun and I’m glad to have it.  Do I think the movie will be any good?  I think Mad Max said it best when he said “Hgrmngr rgn rgmrn mrgrnm…”

#1783: Venom

VENOM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Eddie Brock takes vengeance on his skeptics as the all-consuming, spine-chilling symbiotic, Venom.”

Though roughly 20 years newer than the rest of Spider-Man’s most popular foes, Venom has undoubtedly made a home for himself in the mythos, and in fact made something of his own mythos.  How else can you explain the guy getting a whole series of Marvel Legends devoted to him.  Oh, right, movie.  Well, he’s also got the movie, I guess.  Look, the point is, there’s a new series of Venom-themed Marvel Legends, and I’m totally reviewing them, starting with the main man himself.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Venom is figure 1 in the Monster Venom Series of Marvel Legends.  This assortment is the Spider-Man equivalent to how the loosely-Deadpool-themed Sasquatch Series was kind of an excuse to get more X-Men characters.  Anyway, this particular figure doesn’t do a whole lot of new stuff.  He’s really just a slight re-working of the Absorbing Man Series Venom.  That was a pretty solid take on the character, and he didn’t need a hard re-do, but given slightly higher aftermarket values, a re-release isn’t unwarranted, especially if the movie further elevates his profile.  The primary difference between these two figures is the head, or rather heads.  There are two of them: an unmasked Eddie Brock, and proper masked head.  The Eddie head is the most outwardly different, and does an alright job of capturing the spirit of McFarlane’s take on the character without getting too overly stylized.  My big complaint is that it’s a little bit on the large side, especially when compared to other figures.  I’m not sure I really buy that Eddie’s head should be almost twice the size of Peter Parker’s.  The masked head is kind of a halfway point between the two included with the last figure, so he’s got an open mouth, but doesn’t have the crazy tongue.  Of the three masked Venom heads we’ve gotten, this is definitely my favorite.  He also gets a new add-on piece; a set of tendrils that slips over his neck.  It works best with the unmasked head, but doesn’t look too bad with the masked head either.  His paint is also ever so slightly different from the prior release; the finish on the black sections is shinier and a little bluer than the first release, though it’s not really different enough to prevent reasonable swapping of pieces between the two figures.  Outside of the extra head, Venom is also packed with the right leg of the Monster Venom Build-A-Figure.  He lacks the extra set of hands like the prior figure, which is slightly disappointing, though I guess the larger BaF piece somewhat makes up for it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I got the original release of this guy, I really wasn’t sure I’d be grabbing this one, especially since he was originally rumored not to even be including a BaF piece.  That of course didn’t prove to be the case, and since I wanted Monster Venom, this guy had to come along.  I’m actually not too unhappy about the extra of him.  The new pieces offer a lot of value to the original, and the Pork Grind head included with Spider-Ham means having a spare body isn’t the worst thing.  Plus, now he’s much easier for fans joining in a bit later to get ahold of, which is the most important thing.

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

#1780: Electro – Evil Adversaries

ELECTRO — EVIL ADVERSARIES

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Powered up and bent on revenge, these menacing villains are powerful opponents.”

What’s this?  Ethan’s looking at Marvel Legends again?  Shock!  Awe!  Other things as well!  Hey, speaking of “shock” that kind of ties into today’s review.  Oh yeah, it’s Spidey’s most shocking foe, Shoc—I mean, Electro!  Yeah, it’s it’s Electro.  Not Shocker.  That’d be insane.  And redundant.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Electro was released as part of the Space Knight Venom Series of Marvel Legends, which theoretically showed up at retail in late 2016, but was one of the most under-shipped assortments of modern Legends, so good luck finding it.  He was released under the moniker of “Evil Adversaries,” a title he shared with the even more impossible to find Hobgoblin.  This is Electro’s third time as a Legend, and his second since Hasbro took over.  Of course, the last one was from Amazing Spider-Man 2, and I think we’ve decided as a society to retcon that whole thing out of existence, so maybe we’ll just say this is his first from Hasbro, huh?  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Electro is built on the Pizza Spidey body, and despite my general distaste for non-Spidey characters being built on it, it actually works pretty well for Electro, certainly better than any of the other available base bodies would have.  Topping off that body, Electro gets a brand new head sculpt, detailing his classic 7-pointed mask.  It’s goofy as heck, but it sure looks nice, and I love the mad cackling grin on the face beneath it.  Electro also uses the electricity effects hands from the prior–er, the figure we’ve decided not to talk about.  They do the job well enough, and end up looking pretty cool.  The paintwork for Electro is pretty solid stuff.  The slightly metallic finish of the yellow parts looks really nice, and the overall application is very clean.  Electro included an extra, unmasked head, allowing for replication of his more modern appearance.  While it’s not going to be my go-to for this guy, it’s certainly a quality sculpt, and I dig the completely different expression.  He’s an angry boy when he takes the mask off.  What’s *not* included is an extra set of non-electrical hands, which is rather a bummer, really.  Fortunately, Speed Demon’s hands are a near perfect match, allowing for an easy, and rather cheap, replacement, but he definitely should have included those out of the box.  Also included was a leg of Space Knight Venom, unless of course you’re like me, and you got this guy second hand, and therefore don’t get that part.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Space Venom Series is my goddamned white whale.  I saw only a few scattered remnants of it, mostly in out-of-the-way Walmarts.  I saw Electro once, I believe, but I hadn’t the money to get him, and I never saw him again after that.  But, as luck would have it, my friends over at All Time Toys got in some loose Legends a few weeks back, and they were kind enough to set me up with a deal I couldn’t refuse on this guy.  I’m glad I finally got one, because he’s a really fun figure, and I’ve always had a soft spot for Electro.

Speaking of All Time Toys, if you’re looking for other Marvel Legends, or other cool toys both old and new, head on over to their website and their eBay storefront and check out what they’ve got!

#1771: Big Time Spider-Man & Shadowland Iron Fist

BIG TIME SPIDER-MAN & SHADOWLAND IRON FIST

MARVEL MINIMATES

Shadowland is an event I think most of us would like to forget, and most of us kind of have.  However, the event is notable for a few of the good things that came out of it.  Firstly, it led to a hard relaunch of Daredevil, thus giving us Mark Waid’s phenomenal run on the character.  Secondly, it gave us Marvel Minimates Series 38, which, despite its questionable origins, was a pretty exciting assortment, at least at the time.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Shadowland Iron Fist and Big Time Spider-Man were available in both the 38th specialty series and the tenth Toys R Us-exclusive series of Marvel Minimates.

SHADOWLAND IRON FIST

This was only Danny Rand’s second Minimate, hitting shelves a whopping 7 years after the first.  By this point, the character had been successfully re-launched by Matt Fraction and David Aja in the pages of Immortal Iron Fist, so a new version was overdue.  DST took advantage of his appearance during Shadowland to finally get us Danny’s current (at the time) design.  Iron Fist used add-ons for his mask, sash, and wrapped hands.  The sash was re-used, though not from the original Iron Fist as you might think.  Instead it came from the PX-exclusive Dark Phoenix, which had a much more simplistic piece.  Honestly, I think I’d have preferred the old Iron Fist piece, which had more detailing, but I guess a sash is a sash.  The mask and hands were new to this guy.  The mask actually gives Danny hair and ears, unlike the first one, and is generally just a solid piece (hence why it’s still in use another 7 years later).  The hands, on the other *hand* (heh), I’ve never been much of a fan of.  They’re just oddly shaped, and definitely far too long and skinny.  I think the wraps would have looked better as a painted on detail.  The paintwork on Iron Fist is actually surprisingly dull.  Like, I get wanting to maybe downplay the colorfulness of the costume a little bit, but this always seemed to take it a little far.  It still looks fine, though, and I suppose isn’t too far off from how he looked during the Immortal Iron Fist run.  I’ve always found the face to look a little old for Danny.  I think there are a few too many lines.  With the mask on, he looks decent enough, though.  The one detail that really frustrates me is that his sleeves go all the way down to his wrists.  He had extra unwrapped hands to swap out, but without the exposed skin on his forearms, he just ends up looking wrong.  In addition to those previously mentioned extra hands, Iron Fist also included a hair piece for an unmasked look (re-used from Series 27’s Ultimate Iron Man) and an energy effect piece for his “iron fist.”

BIG TIME SPIDER-MAN

Right around the same time that all that crazy stuff was going on in Daredevil, Dan Slott began his legendary run on Spider-Man, kicking things off with a storyline titled “Big Time,” which finally brought the focus back to Peter Parker’s prowess as an engineer.  During the story, he starts building newer, more advanced Spider-suits, including the stealthy suit seen here.  Though the suit was rather short-lived, it was a very sleek look, calling back to the fan-favorite symbiote design, as well as throwing in a bit of Tron for good measure, so it had a lasting impression with fans.  This would be the first of a handful of figures based on this costume.  This Spider-Man, like a lot of Spider-Men, is a completely vanilla ‘mate, making use of no extra add-ons or anything.  It’s nice to get the occasional vanilla ‘mate to remind you of how good the standard body is.  All of the important details are handled via paint, which is handled pretty well overall.  The slight highlights are a very effective way of detailing the all-black suit, and capture Humberto Ramos’ illustrations of the suit well.  My only complaint is the shade of green used; I think something brighter would have popped more against the suit.  It’s not bad as is, but it could be better.  Spidey was packed with a web-line piece.  It’s the same piece used with other Spider-Men, but molded in translucent yellow plastic, which gives it a nice, unique feel.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Iron Fist was a much anticipated figure, but also a somewhat flawed one.  It fixed some of the issues from the first Iron Fist ‘mate, while at the same time introducing new ones of it’s own, making the whole thing a bit of a wash.  The later Best Of version ended up being the one most of us were actually waiting for.  Big Time Spider-Man is one of my favorite Spider-Man designs, and this ‘mate does a pretty exceptional job of translating it into plastic.

#1753: Spider-Man & Spider-Gwen

SPIDER-MAN & SPIDER-GWEN

MARVEL AMAZING YAMAGUCHI (REVOLTECH)

While I’m familiar with Revoltech, I’ve not really jumped into the deep-end when it comes to their stuff.  I was quite a big fan of Assemble Borg, an in-house line of theirs, but my experience with licensed figures has so far been limited two their two Aliens offerings.  Outside of Aliens, perhaps the best way to pique my interest is Marvel, and as luck would have it, Revoltech has recently been offering up a line of Marvel comics-based figures, under their Amazing Yamaguchi banner.  Today, I’ll be looking at two such figures, Spider-Man and Spider-Gwen.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Spider-Man and Spider-Gwen were released in Revoltech’s Marvel Amazing Yamaguchi line of figures.  They’re numbered 002 and 004 respectively.  Spider-Man arrived in early 2017, with Gwen arriving just a few months later (Venom bridged the gap between the two of them).

SPIDER-MAN

Spider-Man is, of course, no stranger to action figures.  In fact he’s usually on the short list whenever anyone picks up the license.  So, it’s not a shock that he was amongst Revoltech’s first two releases (supplanted only by fan-favorite Deadpool).  This Spider-Man appears to take inspiration from J. Scott Campbell’s version of the wall-crawler, with a little bit of Humberto Ramos’ very expressive version thrown in, and it’s all filtered through Revoltech’s usual style.  The point is, he’s definitely a very stylized figure, designed to fit specifically with the rest of Revoltech’s Marvel figures.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall (just a little shorter than Hasbro’s Pizza Spidey) and he has 43 points of articulation…theoretically.  He’s got a lot of joints (the majority of them are Revoltech’s signature Revolver joints), to be sure, but how they interact and are used is slightly different that your typical action figure.  Due to how the figure has been sculpted and how the Revolver joints are placed throughout the sculpt, you can’t really just pick this figure up and randomly pose him, the way you might with, say, a Marvel Legend.  You have to know what pose you’re going for, and sort of reconfigure him into that set-up.  In some ways, he’s a little more like a construction set that you can reassemble into different configurations.  The end result is a figure that can get into and hold some pretty spectacular and very Spidey-esqe poses.  He’s definitely dynamic.  By nature of the figure’s design, his sculpt is, overall, rather unimpeded by the articulation, though he is rather segmented.  Depending on how you have him posed, this segmentation isn’t as noticeable.  He’s very sleek, and there’s no denying that this is a very good looking figure.  His paint only adds to that.  The blue is nice and metallic, and the red has a satisfying glossy sheen, which only furthers the very slick stylings of this guy.  Accessories are another strong suit of this figure.  He includes four different sets of hands, in fists, open palm, web-shooting, and gripping.  The gripping hands don’t really have much practical use on this figure, but the rest are all pretty great.  The fists and the web-shooting hands have spots to plug in weblines, making for even more dynamic set-ups.  My personal favorites, however, are the open palmed ones, because they’re just very versatile.  There are two full-length weblines and two shorter ones, as well as one with a slight hook on the end, for actually using to hang the figure.  They definitely follow the Todd McFarlane style guide for webs, which is a good a good one to go by.  Perhaps the coolest extras included with this guy are the extra eyes.  Some of the recent Legends Spider-Men have experimented with extra heads with differing “expressions” on the eyes of his mask.  This takes that idea and runs with it, allowing for the eyes to be swapped out independently.  There are rather basic eyes included on the figure, plus squinting, wide-eyed, and “angry.”  You can mix and match as well, which certainly results in some amusing combos.  Lastly, the figure includes display stand with an articulated arm, so you can keep him in those more intense poses for longer.

SPIDER-GWEN

Who knew Spider-Gwen would take off quite as well as she has?  Marvel, apparently, since they actually managed to get her merchandising out there pretty darn quick for a brand new character.  Her Legends release hit shelves in record time, and this one wasn’t that far behind, hitting less than three years after her original appearance.  Gwen is actually a lot less stylized than Peter.  While she’ll still certainly fit in with him, she’s a lot more versatile than he is.  She stands about 5 3/4 inches tall (again, not much different from the Legends figure) and she has 45 points of articulation.  Unlike Peter, who has a bit of a learning curve attached to his articulation, Gwen’s actually fairly straight-forward.  Her articulation is far more intuitive, a lot smoother, and the joints are more carefully placed.  Where Spidey feels a little like the Revolver joints were added to a finished sculpt after the fact, Gwen definitely was sculpted with those joints in mind.  This is most clearly illustrated in the two figure’s knees.  On Spidey, the joints are set back behind the knee, and there’s this large flat gap that appears when the knee is bent.  On Gwen, her knees *are* the joints, and they work like actual knees.  No weird breaks in the sculpt necessary.  On the flip side, however, Gwen’s multi-part hood construction doesn’t work quite as well as the multi-part head/neck that Peter has.  For the most part you can make it look alright, but there are some angles where it just looks perpetually off.  Still, its hinged design is somewhat inspired, and I can tell they were trying for something a little better than how the hood was attached for the Legend.  There’s a bit more going on with Gwen’s paintwork than there was with Peter.  It’s all very clean, and the slight gradient of the pink around the eyes is very impressive.  There’s a slight bit of slop on the edges of the white parts, but it’s very minor, and not particularly noticeable.  There’s another very impressive accessory complement with Gwen.  She gets even more hands, with all of the same basic offerings as Peter, as well as an extra pointing hand for her right hand, and a left hand for holding her phone.  She then gets the aforementioned cellphone, two very dynamic web-lines, and two shorter ones for plugging into her web-shooter hands.  Instead of swappable eyes, Gwen features four different face plates to choose from.  There’s the basic eyes, the squinty eyes, the asymmetric eyes (by far my favorite), and a fully unmasked face.  The unmasked face is very stylized, and I find not particularly well-scaled to the body, but the other three plates work very well, and swap in and out without much trouble.  Lastly, Gwen also includes a display stand, for those prolonged poses, though she’s quite stable on her own.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In terms of 6-inch figures, my go-to for Marvel’s always going to be Marvel Legends.  When this line was announced and Deadpool and Spider-Man were unveiled as its first offerings, I wasn’t particularly sucked in, but I kept my eyes open to see what else they might be doing.  Upon seeing these two in-person, I was certainly intrigued.  Ultimately, I think your opinion on these figures is going to be heavily depended upon what you want from them.  Do you want something that looks good on your shelf and can hold extreme poses long-term?  These are for you.  Do you want a figure that you can just pick up and mess with from time to time?  These are less for you.  Ultimately, I’m more in that latter category.  As such, Gwen, the more traditional figure of the two, is definitely my favorite.  I can appreciate both for what they are, though, and there’s no denying that they’re both solid, well-made figures.

This pair aren’t from my personal collection, but were loaned to me for review by my friends over at All Time Toys.  If you’re interested in owning either of the figures reviewed here today, they’re both available individually from All Time’s eBay store.  And, if you’re looking for other toys, both old and new, please also check out All Time’s full eBay store front, and take a look at their webstore at alltimetoys.com.

#1733: Negative Zone Spider-Man & Jack O’lantern

Before their demise last month, Toys R Us played a tremendous role in getting the Minimates brand into the hands of many new fans, as well as helping to introduce new licenses and bolstering the ranks of existing ones.  As with all things Minimates, by far the most successful of these ventures was with the Marvel license.  In the decade that they supported the line (well, the second time around, anyway), they put out 47 series and 6 boxed sets, with over 200 unique Minimates released therein.  That’s pretty darn impressive.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Negative Zone Spider-Man and Jack O’Lantern, comes from Series 25 of the main comics line of Marvel Minimates, which would prove to be the final TRU-exclusive assortment.

NEGATIVE ZONE SPIDER-MAN

Amongst the many zany properties of the Negative Zone is apparently the ability to create killer costume variants.  In addition to doing it for Spider-Man, it’s also done it for the Fantastic Four.  It’s a wonder Marvel hasn’t stuck a few more popular heroes through there to get some additional variants!  Negative Zone Spider-Man’s a variant that’s cropped up in other lines, but not yet been seen in Minimates, which is honestly a little bit surprising given how many Spider-Men we’ve gotten over the years (this one marks the 83rd, for those keeping count). Negative Zone Spider-Man is another vanilla ‘mate, so no add-on pieces here.  I much prefer this method of handling Spider-Men, so I’m happy this was the way they went. The important costume details are done via paint, which is applied very cleanly and is sharply defined, capturing his negative look from the comics very well.  It all makes for a very striking looking design, that’s also quite sleek.  As an added bonus, the head is almost a dead match for Agent Venom’s mask, should you wish to swap out the slip mask from the TTA set or turn your animated version into a comics one. For accessories, Negative Zone Spidey includes a webline (done in smokey translucent grey instead of the usual solid color; guess Spidey’s web-fluid was affected too), a Negative Zone effects base (a clever re-use of Invisible Woman’s forcefield piece), and the usual clear display stand.

JACK O’LANTERN

Jack O’Lantern’s a name that’s been held by four Marvel Super Villains.  None of them have ever really risen beyond second-string villain, but he’s got an intriguing design, so he’s gotten a few toys.  This marks his first Minimate, though.  This particular figure’s design is one that could equally work as original Jack O’Lantern Jason Macendale, or his immediate replacement Steven Mark Levens, and it could even work as Daniel Berkhart from before he re-designed his costume to become Mad Jack.  Point is, you’ve got options. Jack O’Lantern makes use of a unique pumpkin-shaped head in place of the usual cylinder.  At first glance I thought it might be re-used, either from Samhain or Pumpkin King Jack, but it’s a new piece.  He also has add-ons for the flame effect, and his flared boots and gloves.  It makes for a nice summation of Jack’s classic design, and the flames in particular work a lot better here than they have on the various Ghost Riders we’ve gotten over the years. Like Negative Zone Spidey, Jack’s paintwork is sharply handled, cleanly applied, and very bold and striking.  Traditionally, Jack’s color scheme is variations of green, rather than the green and black combo seen here.  However, differences in shading mean this general look has shown up on occasion, and it certainly looks very eye-catching. Jack O’Lantern is packed with a spare pumpkin-bomb-wielding hand, as well as his flying disk, a corresponding flight stand, and a standard clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up this set during TRU’s lengthy liquidation sales.  It was nearer the beginning, so they were essentially full price, but given how scarce Series 25 proved, I’m glad I got them when I did.  Negative Zone Spider-Man is far from an essential design, but as far as one-off variants go, he’s a pretty strong one, and quite a bit of fun.  Jack O’Lantern’s a fun lesser villain, and his Minimate lives up to all that fun, and even elevates him, crafting one of the best Spider-Foe ‘mates available.

#1729: Iron-Spider & Hulk

IRON-SPIDER & HULK

MARVEL MINIMATES

I’m just gonna keep on rolling with this Avengers: Infinity War thing that I got started yesterday, taking a look at another of Diamond Select’s Minimate offerings from the film.  This time around, we’re back to the two-packs, and we’re also looking at two of the film’s heaviest hitters, Spider-Man and the Hulk!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Iron-Spider and Hulk are–or were, I suppose is the better term– the shared two-pack between Walgreens and Toys R Us.  Of course, thanks to TRU’s untimely demise, they’re instead available everywhere, just like the Iron Man and Thanos pack.  As far as pairing goes, they’re not really the most natural choice, but at least Peter and Banner interact with each other at *some* point, even if it’s not in these particular forms.

IRON-SPIDER

Peter’s new suit for Infinity War was technically introduced in Homecoming, but doesn’t see any action until Peter winds up in space with Tony and Dr. Strange.  It’s name and Stark-designed nature tie it to the red and gold suit that Peter was wearing for “Civil War” in the comics, but its actual design seems to have more in common with Peter’s more recent Parker Industries-designed armor.  This was more than likely due to them not really wanting two red and gold armored guys flying across the screen doing battle with Thanos.  The figure uses the standard ‘mate body, so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He gets an additional harness piece, replicating his extra spider-limbs, which also grants him an extra four points of articulation, thanks to the balljoint at the base of each leg.  The piece is new to this figure (since they can’t re-use the comic ones; they only have three legs), and works decently enough.  Sure, it bulks up the neck and waist a bit, and a dedicated torso sculpt would have possibly looked a bit better, but then you’d lack the option of displaying him sans legs, which would be annoying.  Iron Spider’s paintwork is quite cleanly applied.  Not quite as shiny as I might have expected, but still decent looking.  The details are all crisp and well defined, and he replicates the film design rather nicely.  Iron Spider is packed with an extra unmasked head and hair for the Peter Parker look.  It’s sporting a pretty spot-on Tom Holland likeness.  More Spider-Men should include the unmasked head option.

HULK

Hulk plays a very, very minor role in Infinity War, being dispatched rather quickly in the film’s opening minutes, and then not really coming around.  So, the fact that he got such a prominent spot here is a little bit baffling, but the amount of Hulk merch out there for this movie suggests that licensees weren’t really told about his small part up front.  Hulk’s construction is pretty much the same construction as several prior Hulk’s.  The only notable change is that this one’s using the hair from Tomb Raider‘s Roth.  Not really sure why, can’t say it’s a favorite, and it ends up just looking kind of goofy, but I suppose worse things have happened.   Hulk’s paintwork is rather on the basic side; his skintone is entirely molded plastic, which is a change from the prior MCU Hulks.  Beyond that, there’s some paint for his pants, and touch of grey on the sides of his temples, because Hulk’s starting to get distinguished in his old age.  He’s also looking a lot more Ruffalo-like than prior Hulks.  Obviously, there’s a lot of Ruffalo in the CG model for Hulk, but this seems to veer far too close to the Bruce Banner side of things.  He doesn’t even look all that angry; he looks more like he’s trying to calculate how much to tip his waiter.  Hulk’s only extra is a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed these guys from Cosmic Comix when they got the TRU-reject assortment.  I mostly bought this set for Spider-Man, and for that, I’m pretty pleased.  He’s a solid addition to our MCU Spideys, and a solid figure all-around.  Hulk, on the other hand, is really just an odd offering.  Not only his he nonessential, he’s also one of the weakest versions of the Hulk that DST has put out.  I’m not sure what happened with this guy.

1719: Spider-Man Noir

SPIDER-MAN NOIR

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Reluctant hero Spider-Man Noir battles bad guys and mob bosses alike in 1930’s New York City.”

Remember earlier in the week when I was talking about the gift that was Spider-Verse?  Well, this isn’t quite that.  I mean, yeah, Spider-Man Noir was part of “Spider-Verse,” but he predates the event, and had a pretty loyal fanbase before it.  Like the 2099 venture, the Noir line of comics was an venture by Marvel that’s mostly just remembered for its take on Spider-Man.  Noir has had three action figures, and I’m looking at the most recent of those today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Man Noir is part of the Lizard Series of Marvel Legends.  Despite being kind of divergent from the usual design, he’s technically the headlining figure, being the resident Peter Parker Spider-Man.  There are a few different versions of Spider-Man Noir out there, but this one’s based on his original comics design, which I’d hazard is his best.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Despite his more unique design, Noir is actually largely made of re-used parts.  He’s built on the AIM/Ghost Rider body, with the trench coat from the Punisher/Red Skull body.  The torso has been tweaked to give him a new collar, and he’s also got a new belt add-on.  The overall body is a little bit of a frankenstein effort, but there’s no denying that it’s an improvement on the previous trenchcoat body.  At least this guy can put his arms all the way down.  Noir also gets a new head sculpt to top things off, which is a pretty impressive translation of the character’s distinctive mask and goggles.  As far as paint goes, Noir is understandably monochromatic.  He’s largely just a lot of black, with some minor changes in finish and the exact darkness here and there.  Noir is packed with a pair of pistols.  They’re the sci-fi looking guns from the AIM figure, which doesn’t seem quite right for a character like Noir, but I guess they work in a pinch.  I know Hasbro’s recently decided to move away from more realistic firearms, and Noir’s the first one to really be negatively impacted by it.  Noir also includes one of the Lizard’s arms.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After grabbing the last four from All Time, I was a little too late to get this guy from them, so I had to resort to my usual sleuthing to find him.  I ended up coming across him at the FYE at the mall where Super Awesome Girlfriend was working until recently.  Noir’s a cool character with a cool look, and I’m glad to finally have a figure of the guy.