#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.

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#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.

#1785: Poison

POISON

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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

The Blaster In Question #0066: Venom Blaster

BlasterInQuestion1VENOM BLASTER

DART TAG (SPIDER-MAN)

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

THE BLASTER ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

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

#1783: Venom

VENOM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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

#1780: Electro – Evil Adversaries

ELECTRO — EVIL ADVERSARIES

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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

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

BIG TIME SPIDER-MAN & SHADOWLAND IRON FIST

MARVEL MINIMATES

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

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

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

SHADOWLAND IRON FIST

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

BIG TIME SPIDER-MAN

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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