#2914: Spider-Man – Negative Zone

SPIDER-MAN — NEGATIVE ZONE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Spider-Man’s Negative Zone suit allows him to absorb the Negative Zone’s dark energy and even merge with shadows. By doing so, the wall crawler becomes practically invisible, which gives him a major advantage against his enemies.”

Last fall, Hasbro leaned pretty heavily into the retro carded style for Marvel Legends, specifically for their Spider-Man sub-section of the line.  There was a dedicated assortment of figures, as well as a handful of one-offs and exclusives.  Target got themselves two different variants on Spidey himself for their exclusives.  I looked at Cyborg Spider-Man last year, but I never got around to the other one, Negative Zone Spider-Man, who I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Negative Zone Spider-Man was released at the tail end of November of last year, alongside Gambit, Rogue, and Cyborg Spider-Man, as a small set of Target-exclusive Retro Collection offerings for Hasbro’s Marvel Legends line.  Like Cyborg Spider-Man, this is the Negative Zone suit’s third time in toy form, also following a Toy Biz 5 inch figure and a Minimate, just like Cyborg.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  The figure is a total repaint of Pizza Spidey.  It’s an interesting choice, really.  I don’t dislike Pizza Spidey in the slightest, and it was the standard Spidey for several years, but I find it funny that Hasbro tooled up a new standard Spidey for this very sub-line, and yet none of the variants on Spidey made use of the new parts.  Maybe they felt Negative Zone should be a skinnier Spider-Man?  Like I said, I don’t mind so much, but it is curious.  It’s all paint that makes the difference here.  He’s in a stark all black and white, as is accurate for the design, and it does look pretty sharp, I must say.  I just dig the sleekness, and the Pizza Spidey body emphasizes that.  Also something that excites me is the accessory selection, because for the first time in far too long, we get a Pizza Spidey release that actually gets the full range of hands.  How about that?  Boy how I missed the full range of hands.  He also gets the pizza, but in Negative Zone colors, which is pretty fun.  No half-masked head for eating the pizza, but I’ll learn to live with it, I suppose.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Neither of the Spidey variants from this round were essential to me, as I was far more focused on Gambit and Rogue at the time.  Target was running that “Buy 2 get 1 Free” sale at the time that they dropped them, and the only reason I really got Cyborg over this one was that this one wasn’t in stock at the moment I was ordering.  I saw him once or twice in-store, but I wasn’t in a rush.  I wound up getting him finally when one got traded into All Time.  I know, it’s quite a thrilling story, right?  Well, I guess more a touch thrilling than “I bought it at Target.”  I didn’t think much of the figure, but he’s actually pretty fun, and I’m glad I finally snagged one.

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

#2764: Spider-Carnage & Spider-Woman I

SPIDER-CARNAGE & SPIDER-WOMAN I

MARVEL MINIMATES

As I discussed last week, the 10th series of Marvel Minimates would be the first of a number of re-use assortments, which were entirely built from previously existing parts.  This certainly had an impact on character choices as well, since they needed to be characters that would require no new parts in the first place.  The end result was something of a hodgepodge, but they did hold to a vague Spider-Man theme, I suppose?  Today, we’re looking at the totally sensible, and not at all strange pairing of Spider-Carnage and Spider-Woman!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Spider-Carnage and Spider-Woman I were released in the 10th specialty assortment of Marvel Minimates, which hit in the summer of 2005.  This set was the non-variant set, with the  Spider-Woman II variant swapping out for this one in one pack out of every case, while Spider-Carnage remained.  They’re an odd pairing, since Spider-Woman wasn’t actually a Spider-Man character, and was in fact retired during Spider-Carnage’s brief run, but here we are.

SPIDER-CARNAGE

Spider-Carnage, being a combination of Ben Reilly and the Carnage symbiote, and even being in the same assortment as a Ben Reilly Spider-Man, honestly feels like he would have made more sense as the variant for this particular line up, but DST clearly felt differently.  He’s built on the post-C3 body (with a pre-C3 head, of course), so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Spider-Carnage’s construction makes use of the same bands as Ben Reilly, plus the hands from the Series 1 Carnage.  It’s a pretty straight-forward combo of the two, so I guess that makes sense.  Otherwise, he’s just handled with paint.  The application on the torso is 100% identical to the Ben Reilly, which makes sense from a consistency stand point.  He swaps out the blue for black, which isn’t strictly accurate, but Spider-Carnage was typically shaded a little darker, so I guess it’s not terrible.  He gets some additional red detailing on the arms and legs, which is true to the comics design.  The face is new, of course, but, rather strangely, the head loses the web-lines on the back that should be there.  Also, rather oddly, he drops the extra detailing on the wrist bands for a straight silver.  It’s an odd detail to drop, and feels like it would be more hassle than not, but I’m not in toy production, so what do I know?

SPIDER-WOMAN I

Jessica Drew had actually just returned to active duty in the comics, as part of the New Avengers line-up, early in 2005, making this figure a very well-timed and relevant choice, which was really a first for the line.  She too was built on the basic post-C3 body, but with the pre-peg-hole head.  As far as construction goes, do you remember Black Cat?  Because she’s exactly the same, as was her variant, the Julia Carpenter, and also Silver Sable, who was in this same assortment, too.  Not a ton of diversity there.  It’s not an inaccurate look for Jessica, so I guess it works.  Otherwise, she’s all paint.  Curiously, Jessica is entirely painted, from head to toe, with none of her parts being molded in the appropriate colors, a real rarity for Minimates.  It’s not terrible looking, though, and does help keep any weird bleed through from happening, so that’s good.  The one downside to the figure is that she’s got flesh tone painted on the top of her head, ruining an easy conversion to her fully cowled look from her earliest appearances.  It’s kind of an odd choice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I snagged this set at the same time as last weeks pair, back when they were still new.  I actually don’t really know why, as neither of them really spoke to me.  I mean, I guess I like Jessica Drew well enough.  But it’s still not a set I really get excited about.  Ultimately, they’re both well put together figures, but neither of them really jumps out as all that inspired or anything.

#2757: Black Cat & Ben Reilly

BLACK CAT & BEN REILLY

MARVEL MINIMATES

The third year of Marvel Minimates had a very focused beginning, bringing in the FF for the first time, but after getting them out of the way, the rest of the year wound up being a pretty major mixed bag.  The 9th, 10th, and 11th assortments were all sort of mixed bags in terms of characters, and the 10th and 11th in particular would introduce something new to the brand: total parts re-use assortments.  In order to stretch things as far as they could go, DST would do as many characters as possible with no new pieces.  Included amongst these heavily re-used figures were today’s offerings, Spidey characters Black Cat & Ben Reilly!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Black Cat and Ben Reilly were released in Series 10 of Marvel Minimates, which hit in the summer of 2005.  Black Cat would remain exclusive to this pairing, but Ben found his way into a re-pack, alongside fellow Series 10 figure Sandman, for Target later that same year.

BLACK CAT

Black Cat made her Minimates debut here, sporting a fairly classic design for the character.  She was built on the basic body, post C3 feet, so she stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  She doesn’t get the new head with peg hole, due to the re-used hair piece, which comes from the Series 6 Phoenix.  While not a terrible piece on its own, it was about to get a bunch of uses all right on top of each other, which earned it the nickname “The Rachel”, in reference to when lots of women got the same haircut as Jennifer Aniston, during Friends‘ hey-day.  And now you know that completely useless bit of trivia.  Aren’t you glad?  Apart from the hair, Felicia was a totally vanilla ‘mate, which honestly isn’t all that out of place for the character.  The rest of her design is handled through paint.  It’s actually pretty decently handled.  The face is really my favorite of the Black Cats that DST did, and they even did a respectable job of recreating a more feminine shape for her body, by use of shading.  It’s actually pretty cool.

BEN REILLY

Spider-Man had plenty of Minimates by this point, but this marked the first one for his clone, Ben Reilly.  Interestingly, it’s not in his Scarlet Spider gear, but instead his take on the Spider-Man costume.  Exactly why is anyone’s guess, especially since it’s usual thing of “being a more credible standard Spidey variant” is kinda lost given he didn’t get Spider-Man in his name at all.  I’m probably over thinking things.  DST didn’t overthink this guy, that’s for sure.  He’s got two add-ons, for his web-shooters on his wrists.  They’re re-used from Power Man, and, while they should technically be segmented, they do work pretty well in a pinch.  Beyond that, he’s another heavy on the paint sort of figure.  It’s pretty good paint, and I do like how they actually painted the red entirely, rather than the mix of paint and plastic like the standard Spidey.  Honestly, this is probably my favorite Spidey paint scheme.  He’s got no accessories, not even the generic webline piece, which is kind of a shame in one way, but a bit of a relief in another, because one man can really own so many of that one piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is a set I actually snagged new.  This whole period of time marked me starting to fall out of things a touch (though, to be fair, it’s not like even DST felt all that invested at the time), but I liked this pair enough to buy them.  I’ve always had a soft spot for the Ben Reilly Spider-Man costume, and it remains perhaps my favorite Spider-Man minimate.  Black Cat’s not too shabby either.  Overall, a pretty solid set, even if they were just re-use.

#2685: J. Jonah Jameson

J JONAH JAMESON

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Tough, gruff, and loud, J. Jonah Jameson is a force to be reckoned with in the boardroom and on the front pages of the Daily Bugle. As the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Jameson is a perennial thorn in the side for both Peter Parker and Spider-Man.”

Not quite a villain, but certainly an antagonist, J. Jonah Jameson has been part of the Spider-Man mythos since almost the very beginning.  As really just a guy in a suit, though, you wouldn’t exactly expect him to be a very frequent part of the tie-in toys.  You would, however, be surprised by just how often he actually winds up getting proper action figure treatment.  He’s almost got Mary Jane beat!  What he’s never officially had, however, is a Marvel Legend, though he’s gotten close, since he had a 6 inch movie figure back in the Toy Biz days, and was also one of the extra heads included with Chameleon.  But now he’s official.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

J. Jonah Jameson is in the same boat as yesterday’s Black Cat figure; he’s a standalone release for the Retro Collection sub-line of Marvel Legends.  He’s also the third civilian release under this particular banner, so I guess the exciting package is good for something, huh?  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Jameson is built on the suit body, specifically the variant of the suit body that was used for Klaue, which is specifically designed for that vested appearance.  He additionally uses the Jameson head that was previously included with the Chameleon figure (taking a page out of the Toy Biz playbook), which was a pretty solid piece it’s first time around, and remains a really great character piece for Jameson.  In order to become sufficiently Jameson-esque, the body gets an assortment of new parts, including a new set of forearms, a new tie piece, and an add-on for the vest.  This vest/tie combo works better to help the body not be too bulked up, as it was on the Klaue body.  This set-up pretty nicely matches with Jameson’s usual newsroom appearances.  Additionally, the vest piece is open, so it can easily be removed, adding for an extra set of looks for the figure.  Jameson’s paint work is generally pretty decent.  It’s rather monotone, but that’s true to the character’s usual looks.  I quite like the pattern on the tie, and the application on the head is much improved over the one included with Chameleon.  Jameson gets a pretty solid selection of accessories to top everything off.  He’s got two sets of hands (one gripping, the other pointing/fist combo), the rolled up newspaper we saw included with Gwen (it makes way more sense here), and an unrolled copy as well, which features a ton of fun little references and in jokes.  Now, why it’s so much wider than the rolled up one is anyone’s guess; maybe it’s the proof they assembled before they sent it to the printers?  Actually, that would probably make a lot of sense, wouldn’t it?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Jameson is one of those essential characters that you just forget you don’t have a proper figure for.  The extra head was cool, but none of the available bodies really seemed to fit the character.  Getting a full figure for him wasn’t expected, but was certainly appreciated.  In hand, he’s a bit of an unsung figure, I think.  He’s quite nice, and he’ll go great with a display, but he doesn’t quite pop the way some of the costumed figures do.  Still, he’s definitely cool to have.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy for review.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2684: Black Cat

BLACK CAT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Black Cat is the most confident, cunning burglar the world has ever seen! Donning a black costume and mask, heiress Felicia Hardy changes into her Super Hero persona and prowls the streets with Spider-Man at her side.”

A definite fixture of Spider-Man’s supporting cast (thought not truly consistently a rogue), Black Cat has had her fair share of toys over the years.  Perhaps it’s the striking visual that helps, but it could also be that she’s probably Spidey’s most notable female rogue…that is, when she’s being a rogue.  She’s gotten more prominent in the toys as she’s grown more prominent in the comics.  While she had just one figure during the Toy Biz 5 inch days, and just one more when they moved to 6 inch, Hasbro’s now coming in on their third time doing the character since they relaunched Legends in 2014.  Not a bad set up for her, now is it?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Cat is part of the Spider-centric Retro Collection sub-line of Marvel Legends.  At this point, Hasbro doesn’t really seem to be focussing on assortments for this style, so much as just dropping new figures one at a time when they feel like it.  Black Cat was, subsequently, her own solo release.  Black Cat has had a few looks over the years, and she pretty much gets a different one every time she gets a new figure.  This one in particular goes for her early ’90s variant on her classic look, which was also the design used for her appearance in Spider-Man: The Animated Series.  That’s proved a major influence on most of these Retro Collection figures, so it’s a sensible choice.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  The vast majority of this figure’s parts come from the Skyline Sirens version of the character from 2014.  That one was built on the Moonstone base body, and generally did a decent job of capturing Black Cat’s usual figure.  It’s not quite as well articulated as more recent bodies, however, which can be a bit of an issue when it comes to posing.  My figure in particular wound up being rather bow-legged.  Since this version of the costume doesn’t have the fur collar, the figure swaps out the upper torso for the basic Moonstone body piece.  She also borrows the calm head from the Dark Phoenix figure, as well as the studded collar from the Hellfire Club Black Queen figure.  She’s really going for that evil Jean Grey vibe, I guess?  The head sits a touch low on the neck, but overall it’s a nice selection of parts, and adds up to a decent recreation of the design they’re going for.  It’s amazing what you can do with nothing but re-used parts, huh?  The paint work on this figure is overall pretty basic and straight forward.  I do like how crisp and clean the detailing on the face and mask is, and the very slight accenting on the fur works quite well to showcase the sculpt.  It certainly looks a bit better than the blue from the earlier figure.  Black Cat is packed with the same whip as the Sirens figure (albeit in different colors), and a recolored version of Goose, this time as a…black…cat.  Actually having a cat’s more of a Catwoman thing than a Black Cat thing, but she’s already copying DC’s homework, so let’s just roll with it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was fortunate enough to actually get the Skyline Sirens Black Cat at retail, but a lot of people weren’t, which meant a lot of people’s only viable Black Cat was the Kingpin Series one.  It’s not a terrible figure, but it’s not a classic Black Cat by any stretch.  With the real push for that ’90s Spider-Man vibe, a redo of some sort felt pretty essential, and here she is.  She’s a decent figure.  Nothing amazing, or definitive, but a solid take on the character, and another somewhat unique costume for this scale.  At least this one’s a bit easier to get.

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

#2678: Prowler

PROWLER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Equipped with an armored suit and gadget-filled wrist gauntlets, Marvel’s Prowler pursues his enemies under the cover of darkness.”

The Prowler is a relatively early Spider-Man villain, appearing in 1969, and also an early entry in two of Marvel’s favorite things to do with villains: reforming and replacing.  Hobie Brown was the original Prowler, and was ultimately not so bad a guy, eventually becoming one of Spidey’s allies after retiring from his villainous past.  However, the Prowler identity didn’t end with Hobie, and he wound with a few successors as the years went on.  The one that stuck the best wasn’t even truly a successor, but a full-on reboot, when the Ultimate universe’s version of the Prowler was revealed to be Miles Morales’ Uncle Aaron.  This development served as the basis for the character’s appearance in Into the Spider-Verse, which boosted the identity into more of the public consciousness, and has helped to further cement Aaron as the Prowler.  And now he’s got a Legends release to help with that.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Prowler is figure four in the Stilt-Man Series of Marvel Legends, and is the final Spider-Verse themed figure this time around.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Prowler’s construction follows in Gwen’s footsteps, re-using some of the older base body parts, albeit with a twist.  He’s officially Bucky Cap adjacent, using the pelvis and hips from that body, as well as the related, but altered torso from Dr. Strange, as well as the similarly related but altered upper arms from Shatterstar.  As we saw on Gwen’s legs, the Shatterstar arms have been tweaked to remove the visible pins around the elbows.  The pattern of the wrinkles on the sleeves is the same, however, so they’re using at the very least the same CAD files.  In addition to the re-used and tweaked parts, Prowler gets a healthy amount of new pieces as well, including the head, forearms, hands, legs, and add-ons for the cape and belt.  The end result is a little bulkier in terms of build than Prowler was in the film.  However, he was still definitely bulkier than Peter or Miles in the movie, so it’s not terribly far off.  He does also inherit some of the issues of the re-used parts, most notably the iffy shoulder and elbow movement from the Shatterstar arms.  The new cape piece also doesn’t *quite* peg in correctly, causing it to pop free a lot, and making it a little bit of a pain when posing.  That said, the posability on the new parts, especially the legs, is really smooth, and there’s a very nice range.  The paint work on this guy is pretty decent.  Fairly straight forward in terms of the color work and such, but it looks pretty slick, and matches well with his movie appearance.  The biggest let-down for me on this guy is definitely the accessories, or more accurately the lack of them.  He’s got the right arm and an extra hand for Stilt-Man, and a briefcase with money in it, also for Stilt-Man, since Prowler’s hands are too big for the handle.  There are no extra parts for Prowler himself, which is a bummer, because I was at least hoping for an extra unmasked Uncle Aaron head, if not also some extra hands.  As it stands, he definitely feels the lightest of this assortment.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Prowler’s always been one of those characters that I don’t mind owning as a toy, but I also don’t feel an undying need to own.  While I liked him well enough in the movie, he was undoubtedly lower on my list than the various Spiders.  So, I wasn’t quite as pumped for this particular release.  Of course, that ended working to his benefit, I think, because I didn’t have much in the way of expectations.  He’s not the star of the assortment, and I do wish he’d gotten a few more accessories, but he does manage to get the look down pretty well, and I do quite like the new parts.  Overall, not a bad release.

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

#2677: Peter B. Parker

PETER B. PARKER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Peter B. Parker mentors Miles Morales, an all-new Spider-Man, to understand the importance of power and responsibility.”

Up until Into the Spider-Verse, Spider-Man movies always had Peter Parker as their lead, and typically a younger version of Peter at that.  Even the comics version of “Spider-Verse” had the mainstream Peter Parker as its central Spider-Man.  So, it was a bit of a shift when the movie’s version of Peter was aged up and moved into the role of mentor for Miles.  It ended up working very well, of course, and gave us a Peter that was consistent with prior incarnations, while still offering up something audiences hadn’t really seen before.  It also gave us a Peter with a lot of kind of goody and distinctive variants on his usual Spidey costume, which are really just ripe for toy treatment, aren’t they?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Peter B. Parker is figure 3 in the Stilt-Man Series of Marvel Legends, the third of the four Spider-Verse figures included.  Like Miles, Peter has several notable looks over the course of the film.  This figure goes for his appearance when he first encounters Miles.  It’s definitely distinctive, and matches Miles in terms of theme, even if it doesn’t quite match up in terms of actual interaction.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  In terms of posability, Peter’s a little more stiffer than Miles and Gwen.  There’s still a good range, but the joints can be a bit tight, and the rather thin limbs can make them a little tricky to get posed.  Also, on my figure, the neck keeps wanting to come out of the torso.  Ultimately, I think this will loosen up over time, but it’s definitely tricky right out of the gate.  And, like Miles, he’s got a little trouble standing, so it takes some more careful posing to get it done.  Peter’s sculpt is all-new (though, as with Miles, I wouldn’t be shocked to see some of these parts get used for a more fully suited Peter down the line), and it’s a pretty great recreation of his animation model from the movie.  The head really nails the disheveled appearance of Peter in the movie, and I love the sort of out of it smile he’s got.  Even the sweat pants and the mismatched shoes look great, and really sell that hastily assembled appearance.  The paint work on this guy is pretty well rendered.  The basic color work is largely handled via molded plastic, but the paint application that is there is pretty clean.  There’s a lot of detailing going on on the face (though I did notice a bit of variation from figure to figure on the stubble), which matches up pretty well with the movie, and they’ve even included smaller details like all of the buttons on his jacket.  I’m still iffy on the total lack of paint for the weblines on what we can see of his costume, but it does mean he matches Spider-Ham.  Additionally, since he’s not supposed to go with the comics style figures, per se, the change isn’t as drastic as it was on, say, 6-Arm Spider-Man.  In terms of accessories, Peter makes out probably the best of the three Spiders, with a second head with the mask on the top of his head, plus three sets of hands (ungloved, and gloved in fists and thwipping), and his fast food beverage.  The lack of a fully masked head lends credence to a full-suited version coming later, and I do like the beanie style look they’ve given him here, as well as the fact that he’s got a slightly changed up facial expression.  They’ve changed up the neck joint, however, making the ball for this one much smaller than usual, meaning it’s a different construction even from Miles.  Not entirely sure why they moved away from the standardizing for these two figures, but hopefully it’s a) just a fluke and b) any further variants of these two characters will at least remain internally consistent.  The hands are a decent mix, with the ungloved ones in particular being designed for use with the drink, which is itself my personal favorite of the accessories included.  In addition to his own accessories, Peter also gets the head for the Build-A-Figure Stilt-Man.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Schlubby Peter is one of the movie’s most distinctive visuals, right next to “What’s Up Danger?” Miles, so he was definitely a design I was wanting to see in some form, especially when the more basic lines completely left it out.  I was definitely down for his inclusion in Legends, and he was another figure I was really looking forward to.  Ultimately, I do wish his posing wasn’t quite as stiff, but beyond that he’s pretty awesome, and definitely a figure I’m glad I have.

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

#2676: Gwen Stacy

GWEN STACY

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with these figures for review.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2675: Miles Morales

MILES MORALES

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A Brooklyn native and just 13 years old, Miles Morales is a Spider-Man unlike any we’ve ever seen before.”

Released in late 2018, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was a pretty big success, both financially and critically, being perhaps Sony’s best translation of the Spider-Man mythos to the big screen.  It helped a lot that it was the first Spider-Man movie not to retread on more or less the same story we’ve seen many times before, in part due to the fact that this film’s focus wasn’t on Peter Parker, but was instead centered on Miles Morales, who had as of that point not gotten any sort of cinematic treatment.  Due to the film being produced outside of Marvel, and therefore being subject to some slightly different licensing, the toy tie-ins at the time were rather on the light side.  We got some basic figures, and one pack of re-decoed Legends that weren’t even really movie accurate.  Demand for something more faithful was definitely there, however, and now, 2 1/2 years after the fact, the movie’s starting to get some proper toy love.  I’m kicking things off today with the movie’s main character, Miles Morales!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Miles is figure 1 in the Stilt-Man Series of Marvel Legends.  It’s the first Spider-themed assortment of this year, and four of its six figures (seven if you count the Build-A-Figure) are based on Into the Spider-Verse.  Miles has a handful of looks over the course of the film, but this figure is based on his look from the “What’s Up Danger?” sequence, where Miles first suits up before the film’s big climactic battle.  It was the look used for a lot of the advertising, and in the teaser trailer, and it’s also part of what is probably the film’s signature moment.  Plus, it’s just a cool look.  So, that all adds up to it being a very nice choice for Spider-Verse Miles’ first proper figure.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  The articulation scheme for this guy goes for Hasbro’s general “less is more” sort of feeling they’ve been aiming for as of late, where there are less joints, but they wind up with an overall greater range of motion that makes the figure easier to pose, but also doesn’t hurt the aesthetics quite as much.  Miles is an all-new sculpt, so there’s no parts shared with any of his prior figures.  After the last “Spider-Verse” figure was just a strict, and quite frankly rather inaccurate, repaint of the comic style Miles, a totally unique sculpt is certainly called for.  It’s a pretty good match for the animation film from the movie, with one notable, but fairly excusable exception.  As with all of the other merchandized versions of this design, Miles’ shoes aren’t the Nikes he was sporting in the movie, but rather a more generic sort of sneaker.  Obviously, the additional licensing fee isn’t really going to be worth it for a figure on this scale, so it’s a sensible choice.  They’re a little less sneaker, and a little more boot looking on this figure, but ultimately, they get the idea across.  Otherwise, the sculpt is quite faithful, down to the really scrawny nature of the limbs.  In the case of the legs, this does make him a little more difficult to keep standing, but not impossibly so.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of these parts, notably that masked head and the torso, show up on a fully-suited Miles at some point down the line.  Miles’ paint work is generally pretty basic.  A lot of the colors are molded plastic (aided by the separate construction of a lot of the pieces), but there’s some base color work in a few spots.  There’s some fuzziness on the edges of the red parts, and one of the fisted hands on mine has a spot of missing paint, but generally he doesn’t look too bad.  Miles has a decent selection of parts, including an alternate unmasked head and two sets of hands (fists and thwipping).  The head’s a close match to his animated appearance, though the hair does seem just a touch short for proper accuracy.  Also, each of the heads gets its own ball joint, rather than there just being one in the neck, as is the usual way of handling things.  It swaps just fine, but it does mean there’s no chance of swapping this head onto other bodies.  The hands are useful, but I still lament the fact that we aren’t getting the open gesture hands with Spider-Men anymore; it would really go well with this particular design for replicating the skyscraper scene.  Alas, I’ll just have to make do with the two sets we got.  Miles also gets the shoulder gear from the Build-A-Figure Stilt-Man.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really enjoyed Into the Spider-Verse and was quite disappointed by the lackluster tie-ins at the time.  We’ve been slowly seeing some proper stuff show up, with both Hot Toys and MAFEX getting in on the game, but they’re on the higher end, which sort of puts off the idea of getting the whole team of spiders from the movie.  Legends was definitely my preferred medium, and I was pretty excited when Hasbro announced these figures.  Miles getting this design first really works for me, and it makes for a very impressive and distinctive looking figure, and certainly one of the coolest Miles figures out there.

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

#2649: Miles Morales – Maximum Venom

MILES MORALES — MAXIMUM VENOM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“When the Venom symbiote attaches to Miles Morales, he gains extreme new powers.”

Season 3 of Marvel’s latest Spider-Man cartoon was dedicated to an overarching theme: “Maximum Vemom.”  Essentially, the symbiotes got proper Oprah treatment and were just handed out to everyone in the studio audience super hero community.  While Peter Parker is classically the Spider-Man with symbiote experience, this time around Miles got in on the action, getting his own Venomized appearance in the process.  Marvel Legends doesn’t tend to cover the cartoons, but they’ve made a little bit of an exception here, with a few Venomized figures to help fill out this Venom assortment, and Miles is included among them.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Miles Morales is figure 4 in the “Venompool Series” of Marvel Legends.  He marks our third variant of Miles under the modern banner, though this one’s certainly less all-purpose than the last two.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Miles is largely built out of the same parts as the prior, more standard Miles, using the smaller male base body.  He does get a new head, arms, hands, and feet to grant him that more venomous appearance.  They add a fair bit more detail and texturing, which is cool on its own, but does make him feel generally less cohesive when compared to the pre-existing parts.  Honestly, the way the jaw ends up looking more beak-like and the feet end up looking a touch on the large side, the whole figure kind of screams “chicken” to my eyes, but maybe that’s just me.  Whatever the case, he’s not a very imposing looking figure by my count, nor do I feel he really does all that great a job of translating Miles into a more symbiote-inspired appearance.  He winds up looking like someone got Miles’ regular design a bit wet.  He’s just…droopy.  At the very least, the core body’s a good one, so he’s at least a solid figure from a just playing around with him sense.  In terms of paint work, he follows the general Miles color scheme, albeit with some more metallic finish on the black sections. It’s not terrible, but the whole thing does sort of contribute to the overall runny feeling of the design.  Miles includes no accessories of his own, which is a real shame.  He does include the left arm and alternate hand to the Venompool Build-A-Figure, however.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The venomized designs aren’t really my thing, so I had no interest to speak of in this figure.  In hand, I still don’t have much interest in it.  The base body is good, so he’s at least some fun to mess with, but otherwise he really does nothing for me, other than give me an opportunity to reflect on how good the standard Miles figure still is.  I guess that’s not the worst thing, but it doesn’t speak well to a figure if the best thing it does is remind you of how much you like a figure you already owned previously.

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