#3235: Hobgoblin

HOBGOBLIN

SPIDER-MAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (TOY BIZ)

“A criminal mastermind bent on Spider-Man’s destruction, the Hobgoblin employs an eerie arsenal to carry out his malevolent schemes. Hurling pumpkin bombs and razorsharp bats from his jet glider, the Hobgoblin has Spider-Man constantly on his guard!”

When Spider-Man: The Animated Series was going into production, its story editor John Semper, who guided the show throughout its run, was not part of the initial crew.  When he arrived, he discovered that a number of odd decisions had been made by higher ups, in an aim to keep the show more relevant.  With the Green Goblin identity having been abandoned in the comics and Hobgoblin serving as the main goblin antagonist, initial plans had Norman Osborne assuming the Hobgoblin identity, rather than Green Goblin.  This choice was so cemented that Toy Biz’s tie-in line’s first assortment had already gone into production with Hobgoblin in its roster, in place of the more classic Green Goblin.  Semper disliked the choice, but was forced to keep Hobgoblin for merchandising purposes.  However, rather than make Norman Hobgoblin, Hobbie was kept a separate character, and the order of the goblin appearances was reversed, with Norman’s Green Goblin joining the show later.  But, Hobgoblin was still in the show’s opening line-up.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hobgoblin was released in Series 1 of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man: The Animated Series tie-in line, with re-issues in both the Marvel Universe and Marvel Super Heroes lines.  The mold was also up-scaled for the 10 inch line, and downscaled for the diecast line.  He was based on Hobbie’s classic design, just like the show design.  It was really his only look at the time, so it made sense.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  His articulation scheme is rather odd; he’s got shoulders, hips, and knees on both sides, but only his right arm gets elbow movement, and he lacks a joint for his neck.  It winds up making the figure rather stiff.  His sculpt was an all-new one at the time, and wound up more or less remaining unique, though there were a couple of re-issues and minor re-colors.  It’s a decent one for the most part.  Some of the details are a little bit on the soft side, but the general layout of everything looks pretty decent, and he wasn’t a terrible match for the animation design.  His paint work is generally pretty good.  The application’s not particularly intensive, but it’s generally clean.  Though he’s clearly got sculpted elements on the hips for his shorts to go a little further, they are unpainted.  It’s not terribly noticeable, though.  Hobgoblin was packed with his Goblin Glider and a pumpkin bomb.  His arm is spring loaded, and there’s a notch in his hand so he can fling the pumpkin bomb, and the Glider also features a launching missile at the front.  None of it’s terribly obtrusive to the figure’s design, which is certainly a plus.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have the regular Hobgoblin as a kid.  I was never much attached to the character, really.  I did have the little diecast version, and one of my cousins had this particular release, but that was the real extent of it.  The one seen in the review came to me courtesy of Max.  I’ve been working on my 5 inch Marvel collection for a while, and he had snagged this guy, but ultimately didn’t feel like he needed to keep him, so he was kind enough to pass him on to me.  How very kind of him.  The figure’s okay.  There were better Hobgoblins and just better figures in general in the line.  Even the basic Green Goblin’s honestly a better figure.  But, he’s certainly not bad, especially for the era.

#3228: Peter Parker & Ned Leeds

PETER PARKER & NED LEEDS

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Civilians in Spider-Man movie tie-ins are always a bit hit or miss.  The first Raimi film actually did kind of crazy good on that front, with not only civilian versions of both Peter and Norman, but also Mary Jane and J Jonah Jameson.  Since then, they’ve been less invested.  For the latest range of films, we started off with no civilians, but did at least get an MJ for the Far From Home tie-ins and a JJJ from No Way Home.  We haven’t actually gotten a basic Tom Holland Peter, though, nor had we gotten Peter’s “guy in the chair” Ned Leeds.  Hasbro’s celebration of Spider-Man’s 60th anniversary amends both of those.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Peter Parker and Ned Leeds are one of the three two-packs in the “Spider-Man 60 Amazing Years” sub-line of Marvel Legends.  It’s the one movie-inspired part of the line-up, which I suppose is alright.

PETER PARKER

“Peter Parker is a high school sophomore with a big secret. Instead of rushing home to do homework, he spends his afternoons fighting crime as the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man!”

Civilian Peter Parker figures aren’t a total rarity when it comes to tie-in lines, but thus far the only Tom Holland version of Peter is in Minimate form.  Legends has also been pretty stingy on the unmasked heads for the MCU Spider-Men, with them only being available in a handful of rather tricky to acquire exclusive offerings.  So, I guess this release just generally makes up for all of that.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation.  The articulation scheme on this figure is actually quite impressively handled for a civilian figure; he’s not quite as posable as the top-end Spider-Men, but it’s still pretty agile, which is certainly appropriate for Peter.  He’s also got the pinless construction for the arms and legs, which makes him a little sleeker looking.  Peter’s sculpt is entirely new.  The standard head sports a rather impressive likeness of Tom Holland, which is definitely amongst Hasbro’s best.  The body sculpt is patterned on one of Peter’s sweater wearing looks from one of Homecoming‘s school sequences.  It’s a suitably character appropriate look, especially for Holland’s take on the character, and the sculpt does a solid job of capturing the outfit, as well as balancing his proportions in a realistic manner.  The color work on the figure is generally pretty basic, with a good chunk of it being molded colors.  The face is nice and lifelike in its paint application, and the plaid pattern on what we can see of his shirt under the sweater is quite nice for the scale.  Peter is packed with an alternate smiling head, two sets of hands (fists and open gesture), a back pack, and a book.  The alternate head is an interesting concept, and I appreciate Hasbro’s attempt at something a little different, but it’s not quite right, especially compared to the standard head.  He looks more like Marty Feldman than Tom Holland.  The book’s lacking any paint details, and neither set of hands can really hold it, but it’s a decent enough extra anyway.  The back pack’s definitely a solid piece, though.

NED LEEDS

“Classmates and best friends, Ned is the only person at school who knows Peter Parker’s secret.”

While we’ve had a number of Peter Parker figures over the years, Ned Leeds has been completely absent from the world of action figures.  His comics counterpart was honestly never really notable enough to warrant any coverage (though an extra head with a Hobgoblin at some point might be nifty), but movie Ned is far more prominent.  Still not particularly action oriented, but that hasn’t stopped other figures from being made, so why would it stop Ned?  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Compared to Peter, the articulation scheme is a fair bit more restricted on Ned.  He’s obviously a far less agile character, so there’s a degree of sense to that, but I do wish he at least had a better range on his elbows.  Ah, well, you can still get some decent poses out of him.  His sculpt is another all-new set-up, courtesy of sculptor Dennis Chan.  The head sculpt has a likeness of Jacob Batalon that’s pretty much on par with the Peter figure’s Holland likeness.  I particularly like the small trace of a grin on the face; it feels very on the mark for Ned.  The body sculpt puts Ned in an outfit that matches up with Peter, which is definitely nice, and he gets a set of proportions that matches up well with Batalon’s build in the movies.  The paint work on Ned is a bit more involved than was the case with Peter, with some wear on the pants, and a decent job with the stripes on the shirt.  Ned is packed with an alternate head sporting a Spidey mask (as seen briefly in the movie), and he’s also got his own back pack, unique from Peter’s.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up MJ back when they released her, and she’s kind of just been there on her own since then.  I was definitely hoping we might see at the very least a Ned figure.  Getting him and Peter together was something of a surprise, but a pleasant one.  These two aren’t going to be the most thrilling of the anniversary line-up, but they’re both still a lot of fun, and do a great job of rounding out the cast just a little bit.

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

#3204: Spider-Man & Spinneret

SPIDER-MAN & SPINNERET

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Peter and Mary-Jane Parker are partners in marriage and crime-fighting as Spider-Man and Spinneret!”

With the character’s 60th anniversary upon us, now’s as good a time as any to really look into the history of Spidey and his supporting cast.  In 1987, Peter Parker and Mary-Jane Watson officially tied the knot in not one, not two, but three different venues, which included the mainstream Marvel universe in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21, the Spider-Man newspaper strip, and even a live performance of the marriage held at Shea Stadium and officiated by Stan Lee himself.  Within the main universe, the marriage lasted 20 years, before Joe Quesada, during his absolutely wonderful and not at all the worst thing ever run as Editor-in-Chief at Marvel, decided he didn’t think people could relate to a Spider-Man who was married.  Because, apparently people had been not relating to Spidey for the last two decades at that point.  Obviously, the solution to this issue of relatability was to have Peter and Mary-Jane sell their marriage to the literal Devil in what has got to be the most convoluted sequence of events ever crafted in order to end a marriage.  Very relatable.  “One More Day” went over about as well as a lead balloon at the time of its publication, so there have been plenty of attempts at circumventing its effects.  During 2015’s Secret Wars crossover, Dan Slott and Adam Kubert helmed a limited series exploring a world where Peter and MJ had never sold their marriage to the literal Devil, called “Renew Your Vows.”  The story was generally seen as a good thing, and has spawned itself its own two-pack, Spidey and Spinneret, which I’ll be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Spider-Man and Spinneret are one of the pair of two-packs in the “Spider-Man 60th Anniversary” sub-line of Marvel Legends.  The pack is officially branded “Renew Your Vows” after the story that spawned it.

SPIDER-MAN

There has been no shortage of standard Spider-Man variants in Legends, but Hasbro is intent on continuing to improve their standard issue Spider-Man wherever they can.  Just under the current run of Legends, we got Pizza Spidey in 2015, and the Retro Spidey in 2020, and now, there’s a whole new one.  Well, I say “whole new,” but that’s not entirely accurate.  I’ll get to that.  The figure stands just over 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 38 points of articulation.  Yesterday, I spend a good portion of my review of discussing how impressive the Amazing Fantasy Spidey’s articulation is.  Today’s Spidey is…well, he’s different.  A lot of it comes down to how this guy is built.  While AF Spidey is an all-new sculpt from the ground up, Renew Spidey is sort of retrofitting older parts into a modern set-up.  He’s taking a lot from the Retro Spidey from 2020, a figure that was himself slightly hindered by his reliance on pieces from the ANAD 2099 figure.  In order to make up for that figure’s older pieces, this one replaces or at the very least alters a few more pieces to modernize things just a bit.  The arms and legs are now adjusted to feature the pinless construction on the elbows and knees, which was a major issue with the last release, since he literally *just* missed the implementation of that feature.  This figure also gets a new set of feet, which see the return of toe articulation, something that was once a staple, but has been absent from Legends since shortly after Hasbro took over the license.  Admittedly, I tended to find the toe articulation overused, but on Spidey it does make a degree more sense.  It’s all topped off with a head that looks like it might be a re-use of the Pizza Spidey head, but there’s enough slight change-up of the width of the jaw that I’m not sure if it’s actually new or if that’s just a slight variation in the mold over time.  Whatever the case, it’s a more current looking Spidey head than the one that was on the retro release.  The whole set-up on the mold is a little bit piecemeal, but it’s greater than the sum of its parts.  The articulation gets the job done, and he ultimately gets a similar range of motion to the AF Spidey.  There are definitely some areas where one articulation set-up is compensating for another, so it’s not as fluid in its motion as the other figure.  Still, it’s not a bad set-up.  The figure’s paint work is generally pretty good.  The palette is a little darker than the Retro Spidey, which fits well with the particular storyline the figure’s adapting.  Spidey is packed with an unmasked head and three sets of hands (in fists, thwipping, and open gesture).  The unmasked head is the same one we’ve seen a few times, though this time with the face printing, which is honestly a notable improvement.

SPINNERET

Within the original run of Renew Your Vows, MJ is still doing the civilian thing, but when it was continued as an ongoing book under veteran Spidey scribe Gerry Conway, he gave MJ her own super hero identity as Spinneret.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and it has 29 points of articulation.  MJ winds up as about as much of a patchwork job as her husband, which is appropriate, I suppose.  She starts with the AoA Rogue-modified version of the Polaris-modified version of the Phoenix torso, which translates to her having two separate ports on her back that don’t actually do anything for this release.  She’s then got the upgraded pinless-style arms and legs from Shriek, an all-new head, and a pair of add-ons for the cuffs on her ankles.  I’m not super thrilled by the extra ports on the back, but otherwise it’s a body with a decent set of proportions and a really nice range of motion.  The new head does a solid job of recreating her masked look from the comics, and manages to do a not so terrible job of a teeth baring grin that doesn’t look frightening or goofy.  Spinneret’s paint work is pretty decent.  I dig the rather unique color scheme, and the paint on the face in particular, which is using the face printing.  The figure’s packed with an unmasked head (the same one included with the Retro Gwen Stacy figure) and three sets of hands (fists, thwipping, and open gesture).  As with the Peter head, MJ gets the face printing, which is again a marked improvement.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was on the fence with this set.  I enjoy the storyline and all, but it’s a pricey set, and I’d not really been wowed by the Retro Spider-Man in his first release.  That said, once this set was in front of me, it was harder to turn down, especially when I suddenly found myself getting another item for a lot cheaper than I’d expected, so I had some extra cash to justify it.  Spidey is definitely a bit of a Frankenstein, but it ultimately works out better than I’d expected.  He’s the slightest bit undercut by how well the AF Spidey turned out, but they serve different purposes and they serve them well.  Spinneret isn’t the main draw of the set, but she’s still a really solid figure, and rounds out the pack really nicely.

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

#3203: Amazing Fantasy Spider-Man

AMAZING FANTASY SPIDER-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“In Spider-Man’s first-ever adventure, tragedy teaches a young Peter Parker that with great power comes great responsibility.”

On August 10, 1962, the world of Marvel changed forever, with the publication of Amazing Fantasy #15.  With the anthology series officially ending, writer Stan Lee was given free rein to do whatever he wanted for the final issue.  So, Stan dusted off an old concept he’d been trying to get published for a little while and Spider-Man found his way to print.  60 years later, he’s effectively the face of Marvel, and one of the biggest super heroes out there.  In honor of the character’s 60th anniversary, Hasbro’s running all sorts of figures from all throughout his history.  I’m kicking things off today with Peter as he appeared in the very beginning.  Let’s take a look at Amazing Fantasy Spider-Man!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Amazing Fantasy Spider-Man is a single release figure in the “Spider-Man 60th Anniversary” sub-line of Marvel Legends.  He’s based specifically on Spidey’s first appearance, the second Legends release to do so, following up on Toy Biz’s own stab at it back in 2005.  Things have certainly changed a bit since then, so a re-do feels like it was overdue.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 34 points of articulation.  Amazing Fantasy Spider-Man is built on a brand-new base body which, more so than the retro Spidey base from 2020, feels designed as a direct replacement for the Pizza Spidey base.  It’s key strength is how its articulation works; not only is it sporting those fancy pinless elbows and knees that Spidey has been deprived of up to this point, he’s also sporting an impressive range of motion on just about all of his joints.  Okay, so let’s talk about this figure’s articulation, because oh boy is that worth focusing on for a bit.  Perhaps the best area of range is on the figure’s ankles, which have enough forward motion that the figure can stand in a crouching pose while still keeping both of his feet flat on the ground.  Like, *I* don’t even have that kind of range.  He’s also got enough crunch range on the mid-torso and waist, and enough forward mobility on his butterfly shoulders that he can get his hands resting on the ground in front of him while crouching.  The coolest thing about all of this mobility, however, is that it doesn’t require the joints to horribly break up the aesthetics of the mold.  It’s the best of both worlds. The sculpt gives us a slightly more balanced set of skinny proportions than the Pizza Spidey body did, which I think will help it work a little bit better for other characters than that release did.  He also gets an all-new head; it’s not specifically Ditko-based, but it’s got the thinner eyes, which certainly suit the earlier days look a bit better.  The figure’s paint work is a decent set-up.  Thanks to the way the articulation and part break down works, he’s get less need for paint than earlier figures, since a lot of him can just be molded in the proper colors.  The work that’s there is generally pretty solid.  I did have one issue of slop on my figure’s left arm, and there’s a slight mismatch of the reds between the upper torso and the rest of the figure, but beyond that, it’s all reasonable work.  They’ve made sure to give him the slightly modified logo on the front and back, which I love.  I’m also just really overjoyed about the pinless elbows meaning we finally have a Legends Spidey without bright red dots on the interior of his arm.  Spidey is packed with four sets of hands (in thwipping, gripping, fists, and open gesture), a webline, and swappable web wings in both compact and stretched out set-ups.  I love the inclusion of all of the extra hands, since there’s a tendency to drop them these days.  These ones give him a great range of expression.  The webline’s the same one they’ve been using; it works out alright.  The web wings are always tricky in figure form; the swapable pieces feel like the best way of handling them.  They work well on mine, but I know that for some people they’ve been really loose fitting.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve got a soft-spot for the AF Spidey, especially when it comes to Legends.  The Series 10 version from Toy Biz was my standard 6-inch Spidey for a very long while, only being retired by the Pizza Spidey.  Pizza Spidey himself has been a favorite of mine, and, while the retro figure was okay, he wasn’t really an upgrade to me, just a lateral move that I personally didn’t like as much.  With this release, I feel like Hasbro has a suitable replacement for Pizza Spidey.  I mean, sure, he’s still not in standard colors, but in case you hadn’t been clued in by how attached I was the Toy Biz AF Spidey, I’m clearly not too shaken up about that.  This guy’s really, really great.  Honestly, he’s my favorite Legends Spidey to date.

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.

#3201: Homemade Suit Spider-Man & Vulture

HOMEMADE SUIT SPIDER-MAN & VULTURE

MARVEL MINIMATES

Through all of the iterations of cinematic Spider-Man, we’ve gotten a respectable coverage of his rogue’s gallery.  To the credit of, pretty much all of them, really, they do a good job of avoiding doubling down on anyone of them too much.  For the MCU’s first outing with the character, they chose to highlight one of the character’s oldest foes, and in fact his oldest foe to be adapted into live action, the Vulture.  I’m taking a look at the Vulture, as well as a variant of Spidey from the movie today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Homemade Suit Spider-Man and Vulture were one of the shared sets between specialty Series 73 and the TRU-exclusive Homecoming tie-in series of Marvel Minimates.

HOMEMADE SUIT SPIDER-MAN

Despite not being all snazzy, and not being the main focus of all of the marketing, Peter Parker’s homemade Spidey suit (seen very briefly in Civil War before getting its full focus in Homecoming) becomes his primary suit during the film’s final act, making it the natural pairing to go with the film’s main villain.  The figure is based on the standard post-C3 base body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He makes use of three add-on pieces, for the hood and the two gloves. The hood is re-used from TRU Series 21’s Spider-Gwen, and is a decent enough match for what he’s got in the movie.  It’s also easily removed if you don’t want the hood pulled up look.  The gloves appear to have been new pieces.  They’re pretty cool looking fingerless gloves.  It’s hard to go wrong with fingerless gloves.  The pant work on this Spidey is pretty decent.  The base work is nice and clean, and the line work hits all of the important notes. The figure is packed with a webline and a clear display stand.  Same as it ever was.

VULTURE

Michael Keaton’s Vulture is the best part of Homecoming, which is an awesome thing to say, considering that it’s generally just a really solid movie.  But Keaton really stands out.  His figure makes use of 7 add-on pieces, for his helmet, jacket, wings, gauntlets, and leg gear.  All of the add-ons were all-new to this release.  They’re generally pretty decent.  Perhaps a little bit on the rudimentary side in terms of detailing, and the wings might be more fun if they were separately articulated.  But, the look is definitely covered, and he at least looks unique.  His paint work is reasonable enough.  Like the sculpt, he’s a little soft in terms of the detailing, but the face under the helmet’s at least got a pretty solid likeness of Keaton.  In order to facilitate seeing the face, he’s got an alternate hair piece, as well as both a flight stand and a standard display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was in a trickier financial spot in 2017, so I didn’t get much in the way of new stuff, especially in terms of Minimates.  So, instead of buying these new, I wound up getting them a year later, during TRU’s going out of business clear out.  Homemade Spidey is a respectable variant, and he’s decently rendered for the style.  Vulture’s not the line at its greatest, and perhaps suffers a bit from over sculpting, but he’s also not bad.  Just sort of average.

#3196: Spider-Man & Shocker

SPIDER-MAN & SHOCKER

MARVEL MINIMATES

After making his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man was granted a solo-outing in short fashion with 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming.  As a Spider-Man movie, it was, predictably, pretty well covered on the merchandising front.  That included an assortment of Marvel Minimates which had, up to that point, not missed an MCU showing (they lost that run when Far From Home was the first MCU film they skipped two years later).  Today, I’m looking at one of those sets in the form of Spider-Man and Shocker!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Spider-Man and Shocker were one of the two shared sets between specialty Series 73 and the TRU-exclusive Homecoming tie-in series of Marvel Minimates.  Seeing as it was the set that included the standard version of Spidey, it made a lot of sense for it to be a heavier packed one, so that tracked.

SPIDER-MAN

The first of the four Spidey variants for the movie tie-ins was the standard Stark-tech Spidey suit.  It’s a solid updating of the classic Spidey costume, with just a little bit of MCU-flair, and I’ve always found it to be a strong design.  The figure is built on the standard post-C3 Minimates body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he’s got 14 points of articulation.  While most standard Spider-Men are just vanilla ‘mates, this one gets two add-ons for each of his wrist-mounted web shooters.  They were new pieces, which are fairly nicely handled.  The paint work is where this figure really shines….well mostly.  The entire figure is painted, which gives him a nice consistent finish.  The line work is nice and sharp, and captures all of the important details of the costume, adapting them quite nicely into ‘mate form.  The one notable downside on the paint is the upper arms, which get all of the proper line-work, but don’t have any blue detailing on the inner side of the arm.  It just abruptly changes color at the elbow, which looks super weird.  Kind of glaring, given the quality of the rest of the detailing.  Spider-Man is packed with a webline and a clear display stand, which is pretty standard fare for a Minimate Spider-Man.

SHOCKER

Though not the primary antagonist of the film, Herman Schultz’s Shocker makes his live-action debut as one of the Vulture’s crew in Homecoming.  He also got his second, and more than likely final given the shape of things at the moment, Minimate out of it, after a 9 year gap between releases.  Shocker gets three add-on pieces on the main base body.  He’s got a jacket piece with a sculpted hoodie hood beneath it, re-used from the Big Bang Theory Leonard, as well as a gauntlet piece, re-used from Crossbones.  Given that the gauntlet used by Herman in the movie is actually re-purposed tech, presumably from the same source as Crossbones, it’s a sensible choice of re-use.  Finishing up on the sculpted add-ons, he also gets the basic torso cap piece to extend the hoodie a bit.  The paint work on Shocker is generally pretty solid.  The likeness on the face is an okay match for Bokeem Woodbine, but perhaps not as strong as others from the same time period.  I do really like the quilting pattern on the arms, though; it’s very Shocker-y.  Shocker is packed with a clear display stand.  Not thrilling, but it’s at least something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

2017 was not a year for me to be buying excessively, so I wound up passing on all of the Homecoming ‘mates at the time of their release.  Instead, I wound up getting this particular set during TRU’s shut down, when they were clearing everything out.  I was pretty glad to get the second chance on them.  Spidey’s largely pretty good, apart from the weirdness with the arms.  Shocker’s a little blander than Spidey, but he’s better than average.

#3185: Vulture

VULTURE

SPIDER-MAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (TOY BIZ)

“When his business partner attempted to swindle Adrian Toomes out of the flying harness he had invented, Toomes stole the harness back and embarked on a life of crime as the high-flying Vulture! Recently rejuvenated, the Vulture is now a more dangerous threat than ever – as Spider-Man has learned, to his lasting regret!”

Man, the ’90s were definitely rough on some characters, especially as they tried to stay hip and relevant.  Spider-Man foe the Vulture, perennially defined by being, like, the oldest man alive, got saddled with the whole “making myself young again by draining off other people’s lifeforce” thing, in addition to also getting a new armored look, which also had a headband built-in.  It was, like, all of the ’90s things at once.  And it didn’t really stick, which was probably for the best, really.  Man, what a time.  And that’s how we got his first action figure, no less.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Vulture was released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man: The Animated Series tie-in line.  He was based on the character’s revamped design, which got a special focus on the show.  And, more specifically, he was actually kind of animation-based, in contrast to the likes of the X-Men line.  The figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  I’ve actually looked at most of this sculpt before, albeit at twice the size, when its 10-inch equivalent was re-used for Savage Land Angel.  It’s a rather awkward sculpt, all things considered.  The body’s kind of scrawny and goony looking, and the head is rather large in comparative scale, which just makes the scrawny and goony thing even more apparent.  The armor detailing is at least pretty sharply handled.  You know, if you like your Vulture to be armored.  The paint work on the figure is basic, but pretty well handled.  There’s a little bit of bleedover on the edges of the lighter green, but otherwise it works well.  Vulture was originally packed with a small gun sort of thing, meant for storing in his side holster, thought that piece is missing from mine (and most loose ones, honestly; it was super easy to lose).  He also featured a “Spreading Wing Action”; squeezing his legs lifts his arms, thereby spreading his wings.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, you know how I was ragging on overly ’90s Vulture?  Yeah, well, as stupid as it may be, I kinda like the overly ’90s Vulture.  That being said, I didn’t own this figure, for whatever reason.  I remember looking at it, but I just never picked it up.  I wound up getting one loose a few years back at a toy show, in one of my pushes to complete my Toy Biz run.  He’s a really goofy figure, and I don’t know that he really captures the design as well as he could.  Or maybe he does, and it’s just destined to be forever super goofy.  You know what?  It’s probably that.

#3121: Venom & Doppleganger

VENOM & DOPPLEGANGER

MARVEL MINIMATES

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

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

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

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

VENOM

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

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

DOPPLEGANGER

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

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#3111: Sonic Attack Spider-Man & Black Cat

SONIC ATTACK SPIDER-MAN & BLACK CAT

MARVEL MINIMATES

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

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

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

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

SONIC ATTACK SPIDER-MAN

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

BLACK CAT

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#3081: Spider-Man & Hobgoblin

SPIDER-MAN & HOBGOBLIN

MARVEL MINIMATES

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

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

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

SYMBIOTE SPIDER-MAN

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

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

HOBGOBLIN

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

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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