#1895: Spider-Man & Mary Jane

SPIDER-MAN & MARY JANE

SPIDER-MAN: HOLIDAY SPECIAL (TOY BIZ)

“Peter Parker spends a lot of the tome swinging from building to building, patrolling the streets as Spider-Man.  But when the holidays come around, Spidey makes sure he’s home in time to spend them with his wife, Mary Jane.  Spider-Man and Mary Jane celebrate the holidays like any normal couple, except that Spidey delivers the holiday gifts by swinging in through their apartment window!”

It’s once more that time of year; another Christmas day, a therefore another Christmas-y review!  I’ve covered all sorts of different topics over the course of the last five Christmas reviews, from basic Christmas concepts (Santa and a Gingerbread Man), to classic holiday specials (Hermie from Rudolph and Charlie Brown from…well, A Charlie Brown Christmas), to one of my favorite Christmas movies (White Christmas).  This year, I’m actually playing it a lot closer to the sorts of things I review on this site from day to day, and taking a look at Spider-Man and Mary Jane…albeit a slightly more festive take on the characters.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Spidey and MJ were released in 1999 as part of a seasonal “Holiday Special” pack, which was an extension of the Spider-Man: Animated Series line that was still running at the time, as well as a more festive take on the Famous Couple’s pairing of these two from the same year.  It included the two figures, as well as a Christmas-themed magnet featuring the two of them.

SPIDER-MAN

Headlining the pack is our main man Spider-Man.  Spider-Man takes his usual look, and adds a Santa hat, belt, and boots.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 11 points of articulation.  He uses the Spidey-sculpt first introduced with Octo-Spider-Man, which would be one of Toy Biz’s favorite sculpts to re-use during their 5-inch days.  It’s not the most posable take on the character, but it worked well enough.  The new parts, with the exception of his belt buckle, are all cloth parts.  It works best for the hat (which, it should be noted, is glued in place), and the belt is decent enough.  The boots, however, are kind of odd, and make keeping him standing a little tricky.  They’re removable if you so choose, though, so you have your options there.  The paintwork is mostly standard, though it’s worth noting that he gets a metallic blue in place of the classic blue.  Not entirely sure why the change was made; perhaps metallic blue is more festive?  Spidey actually does get an accessory; it’s a cloth bag, with a little printed cardboard insert with some presents on it.  It’s a little finicky to get him holding it, but it’s a decent addition.

MARY JANE

Both of Mary Jane’s figures during the Toy Biz run came in 1999, and they were built from the same base figure.  I mean, I guess that’s pretty sensible, right?  She stands 5 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation (though the neck is, as always with this mold, very restricted).  Like her Famous Couples release, this Mary Jane is a repainted Invisible Woman from the Fantastic Four line.  It’s  decent sculpt in its own right, though it’s slightly hindered for this release, by virtue of all the cloth and such she’s got glued to her.  The hat’s okay, and the skirt’s workable, but the fake fur on the arms, legs, and especially the torso end up looking really goofy.  She’s just not particularly playable as a figure, nor is she particularly appealing to look at.  She’s definitely the weak link of the set.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember seeing this set a good number of times at various stores back when it was new, but I never got around to actually buying one.  As regular readers will have no doubt noticed, I’ve actually had to outsource a couple of my Christmas review items in recent years, but last year, right before the holiday, I actually came across this set at Gidget’s Gadgets, and while I couldn’t get it done last year, I was able to ear-mark it for this round.  It’s goofy, and hokey, and totally without use outside of the holiday season, but the pair does have something of its own charm.

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#1883: Mysterio

MYSTERIO

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A master of illusion, Mysterio seeks universal fame as a cloaked villain with an unmistakable helmet.”

FINALLY!!!!!! …Sorry, was that too much?  I can get carried away some times.  It’s just…this guy was really hard to get, and I…ah, this is the wrong section for all of this.  Sorry!

So, Mysterio.  Former-movie-special-effects-technician-turned-supervillain, with perhaps one of the most distinctive design in comics.  And, of course, soon to be played by Jake Gyllenhaal on the big screen in the upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home.  Pretty cool guy all around.  No stranger to action figures, but being a decently well-known foe of Marvel’s best known hero will do that for you.  Now I’m going to review his latest figure right here and right now.  Let’s get right to that!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mysterio is figure 6 in the Lizard Series of Marvel Legends.  He is, by far, the most demanded and hardest to find in the set, in part because he’s sort of an army builder (he frequently makes duplicates of himself to fool Spidey), in part because there was a distinctive change to the figure half way through production, and also just because he’s never had a figure that was quite this good.  This is out first officially Legends branded Mysterio, though Toy Biz put out a Legends compatible figure in their Spider-Man: Classics days.  That figure, like many from the line, was marred by a half-formed action feature, and, as an non-Spidey figure, was also rather hard to find.  It was definitely time for a replacement.  This figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  I’m pretty sure Mysterio is sporting an almost entirely unique sculpt.  His hands look to be from other figures, but otherwise he’s all-new.  Obviously, the cape/helmet, and the gloves and boots were always going to be new pieces, but I really have to commend Hasbro for going the fully sculpted route on his body.  They really could have phoned it in here and just painted the grid pattern on a basic body, but they didn’t and the figure looks so much better for it.  I really dig the cuffs to his gloves as well; those are slightly tricky to make work in three-dimensions, but they look quite nice here.  The one slightly off part of the sculpt is the helmet/cape combo.  It’s a nice enough sculpt, but making it all one piece feels slightly off to me, and the way it pegs into his back has it popping off more frequently than I’d like.  And then there’s the topic of the underlying head.  Hasbro was somewhat secretive about what was going to be under the fishbowl at first.  I myself was hoping for another go at a Quentin Beck head (which we sort of saw on the Toy Biz figure), or maybe even some sort of blank head, just to leave a silhouette under the helmet.  Hasbro opted for something more out there, meant to be another illusion created by Mysterio.  It’s a skull with a tentacle running through it, which is certainly…different.  It’s an interesting sculpt, but the helmet ended up being a lot more transparent than most of us had expected, which, coupled with the dark green plastic of the initial release’s head, left a lot of fans unhappy with the end result.  Fortunately, Hasbro was able to change the figure mid-run, so later shipments had the head molded in white instead of green, which works a little better.  I think I might have just preferred for the whole dome to just be a solid piece myself, but this works better than I’d expected.  The paint work on Mysterio is fairly straight-forward stuff, being mostly basic color work.  There’s a little bit of accenting on the gloves, which is cool, and I definitely like the metallic green paint.  I’m not thrilled by the slight change in the color of plastic from the hips to the legs, though it’s not quite as bad in-person.  Mysterio is packed with a pair of effects pieces, which clip onto his feet, making it appear that things are emanating from the ground beneath him.  It’s a fun effect, and really tops off the whole look of the figure, since Mysterio is so often seen with his feet obscured like this.  He’s also packed with the left leg of Lizard, meaning I can finally complete that guy!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s been a long road to getting this figure.  This was the first full series of Marvel Legends that All Time Toys got in, and I just missed the boat on getting Mysterio from them the first time around.  The assortment hasn’t been particularly plentiful at mass retail around these parts either, so six months after getting the rest of the assortment, I didn’t really expect to get this guy.  But, you see, I have these wonderful sponsors who own a toy store, so they were finally able to get ahold of another case of this series, and the Mysterio format was set aside for me.  Yay!  After waiting so long for him, this figure certainly has a lot to live up to.  Does he?  More or less.  There are some definite flaws here, which sort of impact his playability, but for the most part I’m happy with him.

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

#1866: Scarlet Spider

SCARLET SPIDER

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

“The clone of Peter Parker left New York and wandered the country returning years later calling himself Ben Reilly.  He became the superhero known as the Scarlet Spider!”

It wasn’t all that long ago that I was reviewing a Legends Scarlet Spider, but I assure you, this one’s totally different and distinct from that one.  Now, of course, you might recall that I reviewed *another* Legends Scarlet Spider a few years ago.  Well, I assure you, this one’s…more or less the same as that one.  But that one has a super hefty aftermarket price, so hey, re-release time, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Scarlet Spider headlines the second series of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Vintage line.  For the second round of figures, Hasbro’s really taken the Black Widow thread to heart, and tried to give us more than straight re-issues of prior figures…well, except for this guy.  This Scarlet Spider is by design supposed to be very similar to the Rhino Series figure from 2015.  Apart from one small change, the sculpt is the same between the two figures.  That means he’s 6 1/4 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation, and is build on the Pizza Spidey body.  I was very happy with this sculpt the first time around, and I still really like it three years later.  The small change has to do with his web-shooters, which are now the more rounded capsules we saw with Spider-Girl and Black Widow.  They’re a bit more accurate than the more squared off versions we saw before (which were usually more associated with Ben’s Spider-Man costume).  Apart from that, the biggest changes between the two figures are in the paint department.  His blue hoodie has remained more or less the same, but his red body suit is now far less orange, and his eyes no longer have the black outline.  The brown of his accent pieces is also more of a tan this tome around.  Honestly, I don’t know which version I prefer.  They’re certainly different, but neither really jumps out as “better.”  This release of Scarlet Spider drops the Rhino heads from the last release, obviously, but also loses the open gesture hands from the last one, which I was a little saddened by, especially with the reds not matching.  On the plus side, he does get an unmasked Ben Reilly head, which we’ve not gotten before.  Sure, it’s just a repaint of the unmasked Peter Parker from the Spidey/MJ two-pack, but given how scarce that set was, it’s new to me. Also, he’s a clone, so I guess re-use makes sense.  That’s probably the better rationale, isn’t it?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t initially planning to get this figure.  I’m happy with the prior release, and while I did like this one’s unmasked appearance, I wasn’t sure that would really warrant the purchase.  But, Super Awesome Fiancee’s store got him in, and she sent me a picture, and I liked how he looked in person, so I kind of caved.  There’s not a lot of new going on here, and I don’t really see this guy replacing the prior release, but I do like the extra head, and I think he’s distinct enough to be worth my time.  And, for someone who missed the first release, he’ll be awesome, which is really the main point.

#1853: Spider-Man

SPIDER-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS GAMERVERSE (HASBRO)

“Now a seasoned Super Hero, Peter Parker has been busy keeping crime off the streets as Spider-Man.  Just as he’s ready to focus on life as Peter, a new villain threatens New York City.  Faced with overwhelming odds and higher stakes, Spider-Man must rise up and be greater.”

I had originally planned to continue the Star Wars thing today, but with the passing of comics-legend Stan Lee yesterday afternoon, I’ve decided to shift focus for the purposes of today’s entry.  I never met Stan Lee, but for 23 of my 26 years, he managed to influence every day of my life, be it directly through his introductory segments during the Marvel Action Hour in the ‘90s and his numerous cameos in all of the Marvel films since, or indirectly through the universe he helped to create, and all the characters he created to populate it, and all of the important messages that he would use them to tell.  The man influenced the lives of a great many people he never even met, and taught a lot of us how to be the best versions of ourselves, while at the same time reminding us that nobody’s perfect, and that’s okay too.  Stan had great power, and he did his very best to use it responsibly.  The creation Stan was always the proudest of was Spider-Man, and so I feel it’s only fitting that in his honor, I take a look at a Spider-Man figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Man is the inaugural release in the Marvel Legends Gamerverse line, which, as you may have gathered from the name, is a line devoted to the current crop of Marvel video games.  Spidey here is based on his appearance in the recent PS4-exclusive Spider-Man game, which hit just a few months ago.  The figure was initially supposed to hit closer to the game, then was pushed back to December, and then was moved up again.  The important thing is that he actually made it out.  So, yay.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  He’s built entirely from re-used parts, but Hasbro’s got a substantial enough library that it’s a reasonable way of handling certain figures, this one included.  He’s built on the 2099 body, and makes use of the head from Spider-UK.  Interestingly, this means we have a Peter Parker figure that’s not built from any Peter Parker parts.  The end result is a figure that actually has something of a John Romita Sr-styling to him (I’d love to see this same combo done up in a classic deco), which definitely works for the game’s version of our favorite wall-crawler.  The paintwork for this figure is, of course, its main selling point, since that’s what truly signifies it as a video game Spidey.  The design is nice and distinctive, and the paint is crisply applied and a solid match for the in-game appearance, all while still maintaining the currently running Legends aesthetic. Spidey is packed with two different sets of hands in thwipping poses and fists, as well as a two of the new webline piece we first saw with the House of M Spidey.  It’s a nice selection of extras, especially in light of some of the recent Spidey variants lacking the extra hands and such.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve liked the PS4 Spidey design since it was first shown off, and was definitely hoping for a figure of some sort, so when this guy was announced, I knew I’d want to get one.  Super Awesome Fiancee was nice enough to pre-order him for me through her store, which proved an especially helpful move, since this guy’s proved rather scarce since his release.  Despite being made up totally of re-used parts, this is one of my favorite Spider-Men of recent years.  He’s just an entertaining figure all-around, and a good fit for today’s theme.

Excelsior!

#1836: SP//dr

SP//dr

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Yo Shinji, get in the robot!  Your dad loves you, get in the robot!”

What, you weren’t expecting me to start this Marvel Legends review with a quote from Neon Genesis Evangelion?  Well…too bad?  It’s my site, I do what I want, which in this case means I’m gonna quote Evangelion for the purposes of drawing comparisons between the plugsuits from Evangelion and Peni Parker’s mecha suit, SP//dr, who just so happens to be the latest Spider-themed Build-A-Figure, who just so happens to be the figure I’m reviewing today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

SP//dr is the Build-A-Figure for the second 2018 Spider-Man-themed series of Marvel Legends, another entry in the every-growing Spider-Verse line-up in Legends form.  The figure stands 9 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  The mech is a touch under-scaled to go properly with the standard Legends figure.  It’s probably about 3/4ths the size it should be as is.  That being said, it still reads as suitably larger than the other figures, and its not as underscored as *some* Build-A-Figures we’ve gotten over the years.  I find its size to be reasonable enough.  The articulation on this figure is just a touch imbalanced.  The movement on the legs and torso is really great, with a lot of range and mobility.  The arms are something of a different story, with the shoulders being just a slight step-up from straight cut joints, and the elbows just being single-jointed.  It’s not enough to ruin the figure, but it does make posing it a little bit frustrating.  The figure is sporting an all-new sculpt, which I’d imagine will be staying largely unique.  It’s definitely a strong one.  The details are clean and sharp, and its quite faithful to the suit’s design from the comics.  The actual suit lends itself rather nicely to toy form, though that’s hardly surprising from a take-off of Evangelion.  I’m always happy to see Hasbro do something that relies on technical detailing, as it really plays to their strengths.  SP//dr’s paintwork is fairly decent.  It’s bright and eye-catching.  The application could stand to be a little cleaner, though, as some of the red sections miss their mark by a fair bit.  It’s definitely a piece-by-piece thing, though, as some of the parts for mine are a lot better than others.  SP//dr includes no accessories, but as a Build-A-Figure, that’s perfectly acceptable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I like SP//dr well enough as a character, though I wasn’t 100% sure I was going to build this one when it was first shown off.  Of course, that’s really just because I was lying to myself, because seriously, in what world was I *not* going to want this figure.  It’s a Spider-Man-themed fighting robot.  That’s totally up my alley.  It’s a figure that’s not without of flaws, but the overall product outweighs the cons, and makes for quite a fun toy.  I’d love to get VEN#m and Daredevil to go with it, but that might be ever so slightly reaching, I guess.

There’s a lot of re-treading in the SP//dr Series, but with SP//dr and Ock as my last features in the reviews, that re-treading starts to make a lot of sense.  I had a long wait for this set, so there was a lot of anticipation and a lot riding on them.  I have to say, the individual figures impressed me a bit less this time around, with my favorite of those being Daredevil, a figure that’s really not that different from the last two Daredevils.  Maybe I’m just really a Daredevil fan.  Nevertheless, the set does sort of come into its own when fully assembled, and I think SP//dr makes the whole thing worth it.

#1831: Scarlet Spider

SCARLET SPIDER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“The product of a failed Spider-Man cloning project, Kaine is an unstable villain who dons the suit of Scarlet Spider.”

….I think some wires may have been crossed on that bio.  Yes, Kaine is a failed clone, and yes he started as a villain, but he was firmly in the hero court by the time he adopted the Scarlet Spider title.  It was Ben Reilly who was the “villainous” Scarlet Spider after his recent resurrection.  So…there you have it.  I truly don’t envy the person who writes these bios, by the way.  Not only do they have to wade through all of these similarly named characters with similarly named backstories, but then there’s jackasses like me on the internet just tearing their work to shreds.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Scarlet Spider is figure 2 in the SP//dr Series of Marvel Legends.  This is the second time we’ve seen Kaine as Scarlet Spider in the Legends line-up; the first one was at the tail-end of the Return of Marvel Legends line, and is notable for being the final Spider-variant to be built on the old Bullseye body, meaning he was actually fairly quickly outmoded by the introduction of the Pizza Spidey and 2099 bodies.  Given his prominence in Spider-Verse and Clone Conspiracy, a re-do was very definitely warranted.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Kaine uses the 2099 body, which gives him a slightly different build than the guy he’s a supposedly a clone of.  Of course, the two builds really aren’t all that divergent, and Kaine is traditionally depicted as being a little sturdier than Peter, so it’s a reasonable choice for the character.  Scarlet Spider gets a new head and hands to complete his look.  The head’s kind of fun, being more on the expressive side.  They could have easily re-used a prior Spidey head, but I appreciate that they created a proper one for him.  The new hands include his “Sting of Kaine” stingers, and I was happy to find that, unlike the alternate Iron Man hands we’ve been getting, they still retain all of the standard wrist articulation.  Kaine’s paint work is fairly clean, and nicely details the two-toned nature of his costume.  Kaine is packed with an alternate head, hands, and the left arm of SP//dr.  The head is re-used from Cosmic Spidey, and depicts Kaine during his his Carrion-virus-degeneration from Clone Conspiracy.  It’s a bit more story-specific than I’d like, but I guess this was the best way for Hasbro to get some re-use out of it. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While Ben Reilly’s always going to be my Scarlet Spider of choice, Kaine’s prominence during Dan Slott’s run on Spider-Man gave me an appreciation for the character, and I’d been hoping he’d get a re-do.  This figure’s a pretty strong one.  It might have been nice to get a new head-sculpt, rather than the re-use, but the standard figure is definitely well-handled.  Now, how about a classic Kaine?  Anyone?

I purchased Scarlet Spider from my friends at All Time Toys.  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.

#1830: Spider-Man – House of M

SPIDER-MAN — HOUSE OF M

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Quick on his feet and agile as they come, Peter Parker becomes the wrestling sensation known as Spider-Man.”

Ah, “House of M”, the second in an insanely long line of mid-00s-era events that were designed to “shake the world to its core and break the internet in half.”  Boy was that a greeeeaaat time.  My distaste for most things that Brian Michael Bendis is involved in has been no secret on this site, and “House of M” is certainly high on the list of things that have earned said distaste.  But alternate universe stories are prime choices for variants of main characters, and “House of M” has some decent ones, including everyone’s favorite web-slinger Spider-Man!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

House of M Spider-Man is figure 7 in the SP//dr Series, the second Spider-themed series (I guess third if you count the Venom set) of the 2018 Marvel Legends.  He’s the resident Spider-Man variant of the assortment.  This is the second time we’ve seen the House of M design in this scale; the last one was during Toy Biz’s final year with the license, and was part of their more action-feature-prone Spider-Man line.  This one is his first proper Legends release.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  You remember when I reviewed Pizza Spidey way back when?  Cool.  Well, this figure uses the exact same sculpt as that one.  No surprises there, since the designs really aren’t that far removed from each other, and they’re supposed to be the same guy.  Sensible re-use is sensible re-use.  The main breaking point between the two is the paint.  It’s still not crazy different, since the designs are still quite similar, but it nevertheless captures the slight differences in the costume design.  I gotta say, I actually like the red/blue used on this figure a little more than the basic Spidey, for what its worth.  House of M Spidey includes a web-line piece (which I hope to see become a standard inclusion going forward), and the left leg of the SP//dr Build-A-Figure.  That’s it.  No extra hands.  No unmasked head.  Nothing special.  This late in the game, we shouldn’t be getting any Spidey built on this body without the extra hands.  That’s kinda lame.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, dislike of “House of M” aside, I do kinda like this variation of the standard look, and I was certainly interested when he was first shown off.  The web-line in particular had me interested, since we haven’t gotten anything like that yet for the modern Legends.  The final figure gives me mixed emotions.  Just the base figure is actually surprisingly strong, but the lack of any sort of extras really, really hurts him here. I’m not sure why Hasbro opted to cut those extra hands just for this one variant is beyond me.

I purchased House of M Spidey from my friends at All Time Toys.  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.

#1811: Spider-Man & Green Goblin

SPIDER-MAN & GREEN GOBLIN

MARVEL MINIMATES

Any long running line encounters the risk of making latecomers feel like they have an interminable game of catch-up to play to grab classic versions of major characters.  Sure, someone collecting from day 1 might have all the classic Iron Men they’ll ever need, but little Johnny who just got in at Wave 75 isn’t so lucky.  Fortunately, DST had a great way of handling this:  Best Of Marvel Minimates.  The idea behind this sub set was keeping the definitive versions of the main Marvel Heroes and villains on the market, while trying to produce the best possible Minimates of those looks.  And, really, can you possibly get more “Best Of” than definitive takes on Marvel’s best known hero and is greatest foe?  I would say you can’t, sir.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Spider-Man and Green Goblin were released in the first series of Best of Marvel Minimates.

SPIDER-MAN

Whooo boy have there been a lot of Spider-Man Minimates.  This one here was the 44th of them.  He’s a return to the classic red and blue, as you’d expect from something intended as the definitive take on Spidey.  If you want to get really technical, he’s a late ’60s/early ’70s Spidey, as denoted by the shape of his eyes and the presence of web wings under his arms.  When it comes to construction, Spider-Man has classically been a vanilla ‘mate, but that’s not the case with this guy.  He has a unique set of upper arms, which incorporate the previously mentioned web wings.  These were a recurring feature of his costume for quite some time before quietly disappearing, but for the most part they’ve been absent from toy versions of the webhead.  The reason is fairly simple: they’re hard to translate.  That’s as true here as it is on any web-winged Spidey.  They’re decently sculpted, and look fine from a basic standing pose, but you try to pose the arms, and they’re going to start looking a little goofy.  They’re a nice idea, and they aren’t awful to look at, but perhaps they would have worked better as a set of spare arms?  Spider-Man’s paintwork is, as always, doing the heavy lifting.  The detailing on the mask and the torso in particular is very strong, and his color scheme is bright and quite striking.  Sadly, he’s a little marred by some missing weblines on his gloves and the sides and backs of other sections of his costume, which is a little bit of a let-down.  This was a trend that had been going on for a little while at the time of this figure’s release, though, so it’s not as if he was the first example; just an unfortunate victim of changing styles and budgets, I suppose.  Spider-Man was quite well accessorized, including a the usual webline accessory, as well as an extra head and hair piece for an unmasked Peter Parker, and a clear display stand.  The head and hair are the best extra of the bunch, as it finally signified a move away from trying to use removable masks to give us the Peter Parker look.

GREEN GOBLIN

Compared to his wall-crawling foe, Green Goblin is a far lest frequent inclusion in the Minimates line.  This marked only his fifth time as a Minimate, and six years later, it’s the last standard Goblin we’ve gotten.  Goblin represents his classic look, but is a more amalgamated, less era-specific look than Spidey (we had just a few months prior gotten a pretty fantastic Silver Age Goblin, so it was an acceptable choice). The figure uses mostly the same selection of parts as his Series 41 counterpart, who in turn was using a lot of re-used parts from other figures.  The hat/ears is the same piece that’s been used since the old Series 2 version; it’s the epitome of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  It works.  He gets the improved flared gloves introduced in the Cap Through the Ages set, as well as the cuffed boots from the Invaders set.  The really notable change for this figure is the satchel.  After using the same Series 2 piece for a decade, they finally upgraded Goblin’s bag this time around, and gave him Kim Bauer’s purse, which actually works quite well. Goblin’s paintwork is pretty standard stuff.  The colors are definitely the best palette of any of the Goblins we’ve gotten, and his detail line work is solid.  The mad grinning face looks suitably intimidating and is reliably different from his previous ‘mates, allowing for some variety. Like Peter, Goblin is pretty well accessorized.  He too gets an extra head and hair for an unmasked look, as well as a spare hand with an attached pumpkin bomb, a goblin glider, and a flying stand for it to plug into.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though I wasn’t initially planning to get in on this line, having followed Marvel Minimates since its very beginning.  But, upon seeing this pair in person at Cosmic Comix back when they were new, they just really spoke to me.  Best Of Spider-Man is a solid ‘mate.  A really, really good stab at a major character, and undoubtedly one of the best takes on the character housed within this line.  He is, however, held back slightly by one or two iffy design and cost choices, that perhaps keep him from being the best that he can.  Coming so close to the Series 41 version, there was a good chance for this release of Green Goblin to be redundant, but he takes what was improved on that figure and adds even more to it, and truly creates the best Green Goblin to date.

#1808: Spider-Man – Spider Armor

SPIDER-MAN — SPIDER ARMOR

SPIDER-MAN (TOY BIZ)

“When Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider, he gained all of the arachnid’s abilities and became the amazing Spider-Man! But when even these powers aren’t enough, Spidey dons his patented Spider-Armor! This ceramic-metal battlesuit protects the web-slinger from all manner of attacks – giving Spidey the added time he needs to take it to the bad guys!”

Before devolving into some truly ridiculous variants of the title character (“who doesn’t want a deep sea fishing Spider-Man?”), Toy Biz’s 5-inch Spider-Man line actually worked pretty hard at releasing sensible variants of its main character, ones which would appeal to fans and kids alike.  One such release is actually one of my very favorites from the whole line, Spider Armor Spider-Man!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider Armor Spider-Man was released in Series 3 of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man line.  He was one of two Spidey variants in the assortment, with the other one being the more straight-forward super posable Spider-Man.  This figure is based on Spidey’s armored appearance from Web of Spider-Man #100.  The same design would also appear on Spider-Man: The Animated Series, as a Tony Stark-inspired alternate universe version of Spider-Man.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  Thanks to an action feature, his right arm lacks any sort of elbow articulation, which makes the figures a little bit on the stiff side.  In fact, the way the articulation and the sculpt interact, the whole figure really does look rather stiff.  That’s fair, I suppose, given his armored nature, but still slightly frustrating.  The sculpt on this guy was all-new, and would see re-use for a handful of repaints down the line.  Aside the stiffness thing, it’s actually pretty good.  The bulked up look differentiates him from the average Spidey, and for once the sculpted web-lines actually make sense, and look quite decent.  The paint work on this figure was pretty basic, and rather monochromatic, in keeping with the design from the comics.  It’s black plastic with silver paint.  Voila!  The silver paint on my figure is a bit worse for wear these days, the figure having seen some decent play back when I was a kid.  Spidey was packed with a “Super Web Shield,” which could be either mounted on his left arm, or launched from the launcher built into his right.  The launching feature’s not all that impressive (it’s the same gimmick used on Professor X and US Agent), and I’d really rather he just din’t have it, but oh well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I vividly remember watching the Spider-Man: Animated Series finale that introduced this guy back in the day.  I had all of the other Spider-Men from the crossover, but this guy seemed the coolest.  Of course, he was gone from regular retail by that point, and the toy aftermarket wasn’t yet what it would become.  I did eventually get the little metal figure to hold me over for a little while, though.  This guy would eventually make his was to my collection via KB Toys’ liquidation center, which my Dad and Grandmother took me to once, back in the 2002, I believe.  After searching to no avail for this guy for a couple of years, I found a literal wall of him at that location, which was definitely a thrilling experience for me.  He’s not a perfect figure, but he’s certainly a very cool one, and I’m still very happy to have him in my collection.

#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.  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.