BEN REILLY SPIDER-MAN – EDGE OF SPIDER-VERSE
MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES
In the 90s, Marvel was marred by lots of big, multi-part story arcs, all based on some terrible concept or hook, almost all of which have gone down in infamy. For Spider-Man, it was “The Clone Saga,” a story that actually started off alright, before Marvel decided to capitalize on the vast sales of early installments by extending the story to more than twice its intended length, resulting in…well, let’s be nice and just call them “serious issues.” At about the mid-point of the story, it was revealed that the Peter Parker we’d been following for the last 20 or so years was actually a clone, and the more recently introduced Ben Reilly was in fact the original Parker (this was later reversed, for obvious reasons). This resulted in a major status quo shift, where Peter stepped down from the role of Spider-Man, and Ben took over. Today’s figure hails from that particular era…mostly. I’ll get to that in a little bit.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Spider-Ben (that’s the shorthand I’m gonna use, just to make my life easier) is the first figure in the latest Spider-Man Marvel Legends Series (seems they’ve dropped the “Infinite.” Does this mean the line is now just finite? Oh no!). Like last series’ Scarlet Spider, Spider-Ben fills the slot of the required Spider-Man variant. The figure’s official title is “Edge of Spider-Verse,” a title he shares with Spider-Gwen. The thing is, Ben didn’t appear in the “Spider-Verse” event, at least not the Ben from the main universe. So, is this perhaps meant to be an alternate universe Ben? Who knows. Regardless of what universe he hails from, this figure wears the costume that Ben was sporting during his stint as the main Spidey during the mid-90s. It’s a slight tweak of the classic Spidey costume, but it’s actually a pretty sharp redesign, and proved popular enough to get re-used for M2’s Spider-Girl. Structurally, Spider-Ben is about 95% re-use from last year’s “Pizza Spidey.” That means he stands just over 6 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation. The Pizza body is by far one of Hasbro’s strongest bodies, with solid proportions and a pretty decent range of motion. It also makes a lot of sense to re-use it, seeing as Peter and Ben should have the same build (what with one being a clone and all). The only difference between the two sculpts is the addition of web-cartridges to the wrists. I think these are different from the ones used on Scarlet Spider, but it’s had to tell, due to differences in paint. The general paintwork on Spider-Ben is all pretty solid. Aside from one or two small bits of slop, he looks pretty sharp, and does a spot-on job of replicating Ben’s costume design from the comics. Ben includes the same three sets of hands included with Pizza Spidey: web-shooting, fists, and open gesture. They’re just as cool here as they were there, and I’m glad their inclusion has become a standard. Ben also includes the head and hands from Carnage, done up to match this figure’s color scheme. This allows him to be transformed into Spider-Carnage (from when Ben briefly bonded with the Carnage symbiote), which is a really cool extra. Finally, Ben is packed with not one, but two arms from this series’ Build-A-Figure, Absorbing man.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
While I was at MAGFest, buying Hellboy figures, my parents were out buying me this newest series of Marvel Legends (okay, it’s not like that’s all they were doing. They were actually having a day out and about). As odd as it seems, this was probably the figure I was most looking forward to in this new series. I love the new Spidey body, and I’ve always had a soft spot for this particular costume. This figure definitely doesn’t disappoint. In fact, he may very well be my favorite Spider-Man yet.