#1369: Spider-Woman

SPIDER-WOMAN

SPIDER-MAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (TOY BIZ)

“Once an illegal operative, Jessica Drew left the group called Hydra to fight crime as the original Spider-Woman! With the ability to climb walls and emit bio-electric spider-blasts, Spider-Woman put many super-villains behind bars. Eventually giving up her identity as Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew now fights crime as a private investigator!”

When does a spin-off character have nothing to do with the original?  When they’re Spider-Woman, of course.  The first Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew, was introduced in 1977 as little more than a way of preventing Filmation from putting out a cartoon with their own Spider-Woman.  She had a similar power set to everyone’s favorite wall-crawler, but there the similarities ended.  The two characters wouldn’t even meet for quite a long time after her creation.  Which makes the fact that her very first figure came from a Spider-Man toyline all the more amusing.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Woman was released in Series 7 of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man: The Animated Series tie-in toyline.  She wasn’t based on a cartoon appearance (likely to avoid viewer confusion; her successor, Julia Carpenter, was a regular on the Iron Man cartoon at the same time).  In fact, Series 7 was right about the time that the series stopped focussing on following the cartoon, so Spider-Woman was not the only non-show figure in the series.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and she has 8 points of articulation.  Jessica’s sculpt is a reworking of the Julia Carpenter Spider-Woman from Series 1 of the Iron Man line.  This would be the first time they’d share a sculpt, but far from the last.  Given the similarities in design, it’s a rather practical way of getting an extra use out of the molds, I suppose.  She’s been tweaked to add in elbow joints and also to remove Spider-Woman II’s action feature.  Sadly, they didn’t go as far as to add back in the neck movement lost due to the action feature, but that would have been a more hefty re-working, I suppose.  The sculpt is a pretty decent one overall.  The proportions are fairly balanced, and pretty decent for the time.  The hair has a pretty nice sculpt, and sits nicely, and the face isn’t too terrible.  The one main drag with this sculpt is just how stiff it is.  She doesn’t really look natural in any pose.  It’s largely to do with the arms, or more specifically, the hands.  She’s got this karate chop thing going on, and it just looks rather out of place.  The paint is really the key part of this figure, and it’s pretty decent.  The colors match well with her comics counterpart, and the work is generally on the clean side.  Some of the black lines are a little fuzzy, but it’s not terrible.  In terms of accessories, Jessica was about on par with most of the other figures of this time, which means she has a bunch of random stuff that doesn’t amount to much of anything.  There was like a shield and a weird gun-thing I think?  Mine has neither piece, and that’s just fine.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Spider-Woman wasn’t one of my childhood figures.  My dad had one, but I didn’t, largely due to not being overly familiar with Jessica Drew.  I’ve since picked up some knowledge and appreciation for the character, so I’ve been on the look out for this figure.  I found her at Yesterday’s Fun last week, but ultimately put her (and a few others) back in favor a few other things.  My Dad apparently took note of this, and presented me with the whole lot the next day.  He’s nice like that.  She’s a decent enough figure, I suppose.  Nothing amazing, but certainly entertaining.

#1356: Kingpin

KINGPIN

SPIDER-MAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (TOY BIZ)

“The colossal overlord of the underworld, the Kingpin has his dirty hands in almost every criminal enterprise on the East coast. His enemies often mistake his massive girth for flab – it is, in fact, over three hundred pounds of solid muscle!”

What’s this?  Kingpin in a Spider-Man line?  What?  It’s almost as if he was originally a Spider-Man villain or something.  Yes, before becoming the big (in every sense of the word) bad for Marvel’s resident horn-head, Wilson Fisk began life as a foe to everyone’s favorite friendly neighborhood arachnid.  So they put him in the ‘90s cartoon, and that meant he got his first action figure!  Let’s have a look at him!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kingpin was released in the second series of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man: The Animated Series line from the ‘90s. The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall (he’s a bit taller than the average figure from the line), and he has a whole 3 points of articulation.  Woooooo.  This guy had an all-new sculpt, based on his show appearance, which was also his standard look in the comics for a very long while.  It’s certainly a unique sculpt; it’s almost as wide as it is tall.  No doubt the cut articulation was to help ensure he’d cost the same as the others in the line.  The quality of the sculpt is fairly decent, but not without a few issues.  The head is way on the small side, or perhaps the shoulders and arms are in the large side.  Either way, the proportions are off.  In addition to that, he’s wearing the wrong style of jacket for animated Kingpin; it should be double breasted, but it isn’t.  Beyond that, it’s actually pretty decent.  The head definitely captures Fisk well, and his overall size is definitely impressive.  The paintwork on Kingpin is fairly good work.  The colors are all appropriate to the character and the application is all nice and clean.  Kingpin is packed with a diamond topped cane, which can be placed in either hand.  He also has a “crushing” action feature.  His arms can be pulled upwards and clipped into place; when the lever on his back is pulled, they swing down.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Kingpin is another more recent addition to my collection. Like a few others I’ve looked at recently, he came into my collection courtesy of the supremely cool Bobakhan Toys & Collectibles.  More specifically, he’s a Super Awesome Girlfriend purchase.  Honestly, he’s not a character I was ever dying to track down, and the figure’s just so-so, but I’m still happy to have added him to the collection!

The Blaster In Question #0014: Spider-Man Rapid Reload Blaster

RAPID-RELOAD BLASTER

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING

Spider-gun, spider-gun, radioactive spider-gun. Ok, so it’s not radioactive, and the proper term is blaster, but it is indeed a Spider-Man blaster. Nerf and Hasbro in general have had several iterations over the years with varying mechanics and degrees of commercial success. Given the recent release of the Spider-Man: Homecoming film, I thought it was appropriate to review the tie-in Rapid-Reload Blaster, so let’s get right into it.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Spider-Man: Homecoming Rapid-Reload Blaster was released in summer of 2017 to coincide with the July release of the movie. The exterior of the blaster is completely original and deco’d up to look like a part of Spider-Man’s costume, complete with straps for mounting to the user’s wrist. The internal mechanics are a mix of old and new, using a smart AR system arranged in a unique setup. The actual barrels that hold the darts are part of the detachable 3-round clips that let you reload quickly from the included clip holster, hence the name. The priming slide serves two purposes, first being to prime the blaster, obviously. It should be noted that the priming pull is very short, but I’ll get back to that in a bit. The slide also functions as the ejector for the clips by pushing it towards the front of the blaster. The blaster is one of the chunkier Spider-Man blasters I’m aware of, given the complexity of the internal mechanisms. The barrels protrude far enough forward that they cover the user’s palm, making grasping anything else while wearing the blaster clumsy and practically impossible for larger objects. This eliminates the use of this as a tactical backup blaster for Nerf wars and such, which was a popular use of the previous model of Spider-Man and Venom themed blasters. The rapid reload feature, while novel, doesn’t work quite as smoothly as I might like. The idea of jamming the blaster onto the clip holster to load a clip as the instructions suggest falls apart when you realize how much hand-eye coordination it must take to accomplish that effectively. As I mentioned earlier, the priming pull is exceptionally short, and fairly light, which means performance from the blaster is mediocre at best, and laughable at worst. Clunky form factor, awkward loading, and disappointing performance, that leaves just one thing left to consider. While this was clearly not designed as a competitive, performance driven blaster, it works quite well as a playing pretend kind of toy. Sure, you’re not gonna be sniping people from 50 feet, but you can still bust into your siblings’ rooms pretending to be Spider-Man and give them a sound pestering. I think that should be the main use of a blaster like this. All that matters is that it shoots something. The Spider-Man: Homecoming Rapid-Reload Blaster comes packaged with a clip holster, 2 3-round clips, and 6 funky Spider-Man darts, which even feature uniquely molded dart tips.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

You may have gathered that this isn’t my favorite blaster out there. It has plenty of issues, but that’s not to say I hate it either. It still has a decent potential for fun, just as long as you know exactly what type of play the blaster is suited for. Once I found that out, I began enjoying it a good deal more. Can it swing from a web? I don’t know. That’s a really odd question to ask. You’re weird for asking it. If I had to guess, though, probably not.

 

1301: Spider-Man – Homemade Suit

SPIDER-MAN — HOMEMADE SUIT

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (HASBRO)

“Peter Parker swings around New York City in a suit he made himself as the web-slinging hero, Spider-Man!”

One of the biggest things to come out of last summer’s Captain America: Civil War was the introduction of Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Tom Holland’s portrayal of Peter was the best to grace the silver screen, and even in a smaller role, he was one of my favorite things about Civil War.  Needless to say, I’m pretty excited for his upcoming solo flick, Spider-Man: Homecoming, which is hitting in July.  The tie-in toys are just starting to hit, and while the Legends assortment hasn’t yet seen a wide release, I did snag one of the figures from the basic line, which I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Homemade Suit Spider-Man is one of the four figures in the first series of Spider-Man: Homecoming figures from Hasbro.  As the name notes, he’s sporting his initial homemade costume, seen very briefly in Civil War before he gets a new one from Tony.  It’s looking like this suit will be getting a bigger focus in Homecoming, given its prominence in the various merchandise.  The costume’s pretty nifty; it kind of calls back to Scarlet Spider’s design, but with the colors switched up a bit to make him more resemble the classic Spidey.  The figure stands about 5 1/4 inches tall and has 15 points of articulation.  Size-wise, he’s a little hard to place.  He’s a bit smaller than the Legends stuff, but also a little larger than the old TB 5-inch stuff.  He’s sort of compatible with the more recent Doctor Who figures from Character Options.  Ultimately, he’s kind of close enough to a few lines that you could probably fudge him to fit if you were so inclined.  The articulation is a bit on the basic side, but given the price, it’s actually not bad.  Maybe some hinges on the hips would be nice, but that’s my only real complaint.  The sculpt is a bit more primitive than a Legends figure, but certainly not bad.  All of the important details are present, and the proportions are about right for a skinny teenager.  I like that you can make out his nose beneath the mask.  The paint is probably the one area where there’s some room for improvement.  The molded and painted reds don’t really match up, and the blue seems really pale and drab.  Also, I’m pretty sure the deco on the gloves isn’t quite right, but I’m not 100% on that.  My biggest complaint is the silver paint that’s been used for the web shooters, which doesn’t seem to have adhered very well to the plastic.  It’s been slowly chipping and scraping off since I opened it.  Simply running a fingernail across it is enough to give it a scratch, which is really annoying.  It’s a basic silver, so it’s easy to repaint, but that’s still not something I should have to do with a figure I just bought.  Fortunately, it’s just limited to that one color, so I’m hopeful it’s just a fluke.  The figure’s one accessory is a web attachment, which is kinda cool, though I think it’d be even cooler if the large end of it were a suction cup.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Walmart near me was in the process of resetting their toy aisle for about two weeks, and they had one of those diagrams hanging to show what was going out, which included the Legends assortment.  I checked back just about every day for about a week and a half, but that one aisle remained un-set the whole time.  I passed up these basic figures a few times while waiting, and on one of my later trips, I finally gave in and grabbed this guy.  If you’re looking for Legends quality, wait for the Legends version of this costume, but if you just want a fun, cheap figure, there are worse things you could do than buy this guy.  Issue with the silver paint aside, he’s a lot of fun, and he makes me nostalgic for my old Toy Biz figures.

#1287: Miles Morales – Ultimate Spider-Men

MILES MORALES — ULTIMATE SPIDER-MEN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“With amazing agility and wall-crawling skills, these young web-slingers take down the bad guys!”

Hey, remember waaaaaay back when I was reviewing Marvel Legends?  It’s been, like, days.  Plural.  I think I might be going into withdrawal.  Could be serious.  Near as I can tell, the only surefire way of avoiding that withdrawal is to review some Marvel Legends.  Oh darn.

Today’s figure hails from Marvel’s Ultimate Universe (or at least he did.  It’s sort of complicated).  I’ve only briefly touched on the concept before, but in a nutshell, it was launched in the early 2000s as a more grounded, more accessible line of comics, geared towards newer readers.  After a few years, the universe was suffering from a lot of the same continuity lock-out as the main universe, thereby robbing it of its main hook.  To try and salvage some things, Marvel repurposed the ‘verse, and started using it to try out some more daring story telling.  For instance, in the main universe, killing Peter Parker and replacing him would never stick, but in the Ultimate ‘verse, they were able to do just that.  Following the death of the Ultimate Peter Parker, readers were introduced to his replacement Miles Morales.  Miles was a serious breakout for the Ultimate line, and actually kept it afloat for several years, before he was eventually moved to the main universe.  By virtue of bearing the title “Spider-Man,” Miles has gotten an assortment of figures, one of which I’ll be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Miles was released as part of the illusive Space Venom Series of Marvel Legends, under the title “Ultimate Spider-Men,” which he shares with the ultimate version of Peter.  This is Miles’ second time in this particular style; the first was released as a Walmart-exclusive figure in conjunction with the release of the first Amazing Spider-Man.  That figure was built on a very out of date, very ill-suited body, and was generally not well-regarded with the fans, on top of being nearly impossible to find.  This new one’s better on at least one of those counts.  The figure stands about 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Miles is built on the same base body we saw on the Sam Alexander Nova figure (it actually debuted here, though).  It’s a good, solid base.  Aside from the lack of butterfly joints at the shoulders,  and the addition of cut joints on the shins, it’s very similar to the Pizza Spidey body, which is certainly a plus.  The masked head (which is shared with the Peter figure as well) is also pretty similar to the Pizza Spidey head, though there are some key differences that help bring it more in line with the usual depictions of the ultimate masks.  I really dig the slightly wider eyes; it adds variety.  Miles also sports an unmasked head (putting him ahead of the main universe version of Peter in that respect).  It’s a really nice sculpt, and really manages to capture Miles’ in-comics look without getting too bogged down in any one artist’s style.  The level of detail, especially on the hair, is top-notch, and he’s got a nice, friendly expression that suits Miles really well.  The paintwork on Miles is generally pretty good.  The web pattern is sharp and evenly placed. Some of the reds on the rest of the body are a little thin, and there’s some slight slop here and there, but for the most part it looks pretty good.  The unmasked head is even better, with clean application all-around, even on the eyes!  In addition to the extra unmasked head, Miles also includes three pairs of hands (in fists, open gesture, and web-firing poses), as well as the right arm of the Build-A-Figure Space Venom.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I’ve noted in a few prior reviews, I didn’t have much luck finding this particular series at retail.  While that was a bummer all-around, the one figure I really, really wanted was Miles here, since I really needed him for my Avengers/Champions line-up.  While on a trip up to see Super Awesome Girlfriend’s dad, I stopped by the local Walmart, and they just so happened to have the remnants of this particular series.  I was initially only planning to get a Miles for my Dad, but Super Awesome Girlfriend insisted on going back and grabbing the second Miles for me.  Because that’s just what she does.  This is definitely a solid addition to the line, and a figure worthy of Miles’ awesomeness from the comics.  He really makes for a fun toy!  Now, if I can just get around to finishing Space Venom…

#1283: Green Goblin

GREEN GOBLIN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A cackling menace aided by advanced technology, Green Goblin seeks to destroy Spider-Man in the pursuit of ultimate power.”

Wow, I sure do seem to be writing about Green Goblin a lot lately.  Of course, to be totally fair, this is the first proper review I’ve written since September of 2015, so I guess he was somewhat overdue.  Despite being perhaps the most recognizable Spider-Man foe, when it comes to toys, GG almost always ends up playing second fiddle to his successor Hobgoblin.  Of course, now it’s a pretty easy tell to figure out when we’ll see a Green Goblin figure, since he almost always follows the release of a classic Hobgoblin.  When Hobby showed up in the Space Venom Series of Marvel Legends last year, it was really only a matter of time before the original Goblin got a shot.  As a matter of fact, it was only a single series later that he was added, which is a pretty quick turnaround.  It’s almost like Hasbro had this planned from the beginning…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Goblin is figure 1 in the Sandman Series of Marvel Legends.  Finally, Goblin comes first…ignoring that this is the sixth series of this particular iteration of Marvel Legends, of course.  Goblin is no stranger to Legends, with two figures during the Toy Biz era, and a build-a-figure from Hasbro back in 2014.  That being said, the last Goblin was the Ultimate Universe version of the character (bleh), so this is the first “classic” Goblin since the Bring On the Bad Guys version from 2006.  Admittedly, that figure still holds up as one of Toy Biz’s best offerings, so the need for a replacement was a bit lower than some of the other redos as of late.  But, eleven years is still a pretty long time in collecting years, and it’s safe to say there are a lot of people collecting now that weren’t in 2006, so the new one is far from extraneous.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  From the neck down, he’s mostly the same figure as the Space Venom Hobgoblin, which is sensible, since the suits are very similar.  The only difference is the belt, which has been swapped out for Daredevil’s.  The body’s got an interesting lineage.  It’s technically a variant of the Bucky Cap body, by way of using the Doctor Strange body as a starting point.  However, since that figure had a unique torso, and this figure swaps out the arms and legs for new pieces, the only actually shared piece between this figure and Bucky Cap is the pelvis.  Funny how that works out.  The arms and legs are solid additions to the body, and add a lot of texture and flair.  The opt for the modern, more pronounced take on Goblin’s scale-mail, which is perfectly fine, since it helps differentiate him from the Toy Biz version a bit more.  I’m curious to see how these parts looked on Hobgoblin (I’ve still yet to see him or the majority of the rest of the Space Venom Series anywhere), as they work really well for Norman’s Green Goblin, who I generally think of as being a bit scrawnier than any of the the Hobgoblins (well, barring Phil Urich).  The satchel is a separate piece, which can be removed.  It’s not affixed in anyway, which is rather annoying, as it moves around a bit too much for my liking.  Still, it’s not a terrible piece.  The one new piece on this guy is his head sculpt.  Like the scales on the arms and legs, the head goes with a more modern take on GG’s design.  The face is more angular and caricature-ized, and he has the tassels on his cap that were added in the early ’00s.  By and large, the figure looks the be at least somewhat modeled on Norman’s Goblin King appearance from the end of Superior Spider-Man.  As much as I love the old Toy Biz figure, one issue I had with it was the subdued nature of the paint.  This figure does a little better, I guess.  He could still stand to be a little brighter in my opinion, but seeing as he’s a more modern incarnation, it’s not too off.  I do wish the eyes were a little less out to the sides, but they look pretty good from just about every angle but dead-on.  GG is packed with one of his pumpkin bombs, as well as his trusty Goblin Glider.  The glider is rather on the small side, and also pretty flat, but as I noted in my last Friday Addendum, Goblin Gliders are almost always a little bit off.  Green Goblin is also packed with not one, but two heads for the Build-A-Figure Sandman.  While they were throwing those extra heads in there, I sort of was hoping he might get an unmasked head of his own, but I guess they felt four heads in one pack would be obscene.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I was able to grab most of this series at Walgreens during their Marvel Legends sale, Goblin was not amongst the selection of figures they had.  It would appear he’s this series’ in-demand figure.  Goblin came to me courtesy of my parents.  Amusingly enough, they picked him up from the K-Mart 15 minutes from where I live, but they were on their way home, so he made the 10-hour journey back, just to be mailed all the way back to me.  I will admit, this figure had a pretty high bar to clear, since the TB version is still one of my favorites.  Unlike some of the other recent replacement Legends, I don’t know that he’s truly displaced the prior figure as my go-to, but a lot of that is due to his slightly different execution.  I’m still more of a classic Goblin fan, but for a modern take, this one’s pretty solid. 

#1282: Spider-Man 2099 — Multiverse Spider-Men

SPIDER-MAN 2099 — MULIVERSE SPIDER-MEN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

EDIT: I know, it’s Alien Day, and I didn’t review anything Aliens-related.  That’s because I’ve reviewed almost every Alien and Aliens figure in my collection, and have nothing new.  Next year, maybe I’ll remember to save something.

“Across time and space, these web-slinging wall crawlers take on the bad guys and fight for universal justice.”

Spider-Man 2099 is undoubtedly the break-out star of the whole 2099 venture from the ‘90s, which is probably why he’s the only 2099 character who’s still even remotely relevant.  Since 2013, Miguel’s been stranded in the current-day Marvel universe, which has given him even more of an excuse to remain relevant, which is probably a good thing for him.  Miguel’s no stranger to action figures; it’s not exactly hard to sell buyers on a Spider-Man variant with a kick-ass design.  He got a Marvel Legend back in 2014, but since then, he’s gotten a costume change, which means he just *has* to have a new figure, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Man 2099 is figure 2 in the Sandman Series of Marvel Legends.  His official name is “Multiverse Spider-Men,” a name he shares with the previously reviewed Spider-UK.  This guy is based on 2099’s latest costume design, which he got with the launch of his “All-New, All-Different” title.  It’s not a bad look, but I’ve still got a soft spot for the old one.  I feel like this one’s too short on blue.  Regardless, it’s his new main design, so it’s only fair it see action figure form.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  The last 2099 was built on the Pizza Spidey body, which was fine for a classic version of the character, but these day’s Miguel’s looking a bit more robust, so this figure debuted an all-new base body.  Thanks to the weird distribution of this series, I’ve already reviewed, via Sunfire.  I liked it there and I like it here.  I’m really happy to have a middle ground between Bucky Cap and Pizza Spidey, and this new base is a great balance of sculpting and movement.  Those shoulder joints are absolutely fantastic, and feel more sturdy than the Pizza Spidey joints, which always give me pause.  In a lot of ways, this body feels like the true successor to the old Bullseye body, and that’s a definite compliment.  2099 gets a unique head, forearms, and feet, all of which are great fits for the body.  The head in particular is really nice; it’s a very clean, sharp sculpt, and I really appreciate how well you can make out Miguel’s face under the mask.  That’s some really great detailing.  The forearms are decent enough, though the spikes are a little on the soft side.  The feet being unique is a bit strange if I’m hones.  They’re not really that different than the ones on Sunfire, just with some extra etched-in details.  I’m certainly not complaining.  The paint on 2099 is pretty good, though not without some minor issues.  There’s a little bit of bleed over here and there, and the white paint on his legs seems a bit prone to chipping.  On the plus side, the metallic red they’ve used looks really, really slick, rivaling the last figure’s metallic blue in terms of coolness factor.  2099 includes no accessories of his own.  Some extra hands showing off his talons would have been cool, or even an unmasked head, but he was technically an all-new sculpt, so I guess it’s excusable.  Oh well.  He does, however, include the right arm of the Sandman BAF.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Spider-Man 2099 from an out of the way Walgreens, at the same time as the last three figures.  That $12.99 sale really made buying these guys easy.  I will admit, I wasn’t initially sold on this guy.  I’m at best a moderate 2099 fan, and I was really happy with the Hobgoblin Series figure.  Upon seeing this guy in person, I had a hard time saying no.  This may not be my go-to 2099 design, but this figure is super, super fun.  Despite not being super familiar with this iteration of the character, I find myself picking this guy up and reposing him a whole lot, which is really the gold-standard for an action figure.  This guy was another pleasant surprise in a series pretty much constructed out of pleasant surprises.

#1281: Marvel’s Jackal

MARVEL’S  JACKAL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Sharp claws, pointed ears, and super speed turn Miles Warren into the Super Villain known as Jackal.”

Wow, talk about tip of the iceberg.  I mean, sure, those are all words that describe Jackal, but oh boy is he way more complicated than this one sentence bio makes him out to be.  The average person probably isn’t super familiar with Jackal, but he’s actually a pretty integral character in the Spider-mythos.  He’s the creator of both Ben Reilly and Kaine Parker (both Scarlet Spiders) and a major driving force in the infamous “Clone Saga,” but he’s also responsible for the introduction of the Punisher, and has been a major part of several big Spider-themed cross-overs, including “Spider-Island” (my personal favorite Spider-Man story in recent years) and the just finished “Clone Conspiracy.”  Despite all of this, up until recently he’s only had one single action figure, and it was just a crappy repaint at that.  Fortunately, he was among the figures chosen for the most recent Spider-Man-themed series of Marvel Legends.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jackal is figure 6 in the Sandman Series of Marvel Legends.  There are a few different versions of Jackal out there to choose from in terms of design.  This figure more or less goes with the classic guy in a furry suit look, though he looks to take more specific influence from Stefano Caselli’s rendition of him during “Spider-Island.”  It’s a versatile look, fitting in with a large number if different eras, so it’s a good choice.  Plus, you just can’t beat the classics.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Jackal is 100% a new sculpt.  He also appears to be remaining a unique sculpt, at least for the time being, which is a little surprising for a character like Jackal.  I personally was expecting him to get re-purposed as a Perez-styled Beast, but Hasbro themselves have ruled that one out on the basis of him being too small.  Perhaps we’ll be seeing Werewolf By Night and Vermin in upcoming assortments.  So, how is this all-new sculpt?  Actually pretty awesome.  The texturing on the fur parts is really nicely rendered, and the different spots even have the fur hanging different ways. Even lesser-detailed the shorts have some  decent work on the folds and such.  The proportions on the figure The figure’s build feels rather similar to the Spider-UK body, though he’s a bit broader in the shoulders.  The neck is a tad skinny, and the head sits a little oddly on it, but a good crouching pose is enough to hide those issues.  Atop that neck is a pretty fantastic head sculpt, sporting a sharp maniacal grin, and those goofy, pointy ears.  Jackal’s paintwork is pretty solid work; for the most part, it’s just molded green, but he’s also got a little bit of brown accent work, which makes the fur look a bit more believable.  The rest of the work is all pretty clean, continuing the trend of the last few series of Marvel Legends.  Jackal includes no character specific accessories.  To be fair, I’m not really sure what you could give him, and he is an all new sculpt.  Maybe an alternate unmasked Miles head might have been cool? He does come with the right leg of Sandman, which is decent enough for what it is.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My first introduction to Jackal was via that first action figure of his, included in the big-box store-exclusive Maximum Clonage set.  I knew nothing about him, and that figure didn’t do much to enamor him to me.  I’ve long since parted with that figure (rather foolishly, it would seem, given the aftermarket value of the set).  In the mean time, a subscription of Dan Slott’s run on Spider-Man has given me a much greater appreciation for ol’ Miles Warren, so when this figure was announced, I was actually pretty excited.  The final figure is definitely a strong entry in the line.  Solid sculpt, fun design, and great execution.  The Jackal has finally been given his due!  Now, how about a “Clone Conspiracy” Jackal?

#1280: Marvel’s Shocker

MARVEL’S SHOCKER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Herman Schultz suits up in battle armor that produces intense shockwaves, earning him the notorious name Shocker.”

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about Hasbro’s latest iteration of Marvel Legends, it’s that the current development team definitely has some favorite team line-ups, and they sort of have running themes in each assortment to finish up some sets.  One of the favored teams over on the Spider-Man side of things is the Superior Foes of Spider-Man, the stars of the eponymous book by Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber.  It all started with Boomerang (who was himself granted a slot courtesy of being part of Jeff Parker’s Thunderbolts, another favorite team) back in the Ultimate Green Goblin Series.  Then we got both Beetle and Speed Demon (*and* the head of Silverman) in last year’s Absorbing Man Series.  Now we’ve gotten probably the most recognizable member of the team, Shocker!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Shocker (who get’s the “Marvel’s” description, which is sort of amusing to me, since it kind of sounds like Marvel’s flipping me off) was released in the Sandman Series of Marvel Legends.  This is Shocker’s first time as an official Marvel Legend, though he was released in Toy Biz’s Legends-compatible Spider-Man: Classics back in 2006.  Of course, that was 11 years ago, and Shocker was one of the many villains from that line to be hampered by a gimmicky action feature, so a new figure is very much appreciated.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Included in that articulation? Elbow joints!  Shocker seems to lose those a lot, so it’s nice that this figure is different.  He’s seen here in his most recent costume, which is the one he was sporting during his time with the Superior Foes, as well as his tenure with the Thunderbolts a few years back.  It’s different from the classic costume stylistically, but very similar in spirit.  I dig it.  The figure is built on the Bucky Cap body.  While I personally tend to think of Herman as being a little bulkier (especially with all that padding), he’s certainly been drawn a size similar to this on more than one occasion.  In a perfect world, he’d get unique tooling to capture the quilted texture of the costume, but that’s not where Legends is right now, so he makes due with the standard pieces.  He also gets a new head, forearms, hands, and knees.  The forearms and hands add Shocker’s signature vibro-shock gauntlets, which feature a really awesome sculpt; there’s tons of little dings and such that really add character to the figure.  The kneepads seem a little out of place on the otherwise streamlined design of the figure, but they’re true to the comics.  The head is surprisingly well-done.  Masked characters don’t tend to gent noticeable expressions, but Herman’s got something of a bewildered look that just seems perfectly in character for the Spider-Verse’s resident punching bag.  This is how you sculpt a fully face-masked character!  Shocker’s paintwork is passable; it has to handle all of the quilted parts of the costume, which look pretty decent here.  The changes from the yellow to brown could probably be a little cleaner, but they aren’t too terrible.  I do really like the pearlescent white they used for the eyes; it really makes them pop.  There’s a running change on this guy, which adds a belt buckle with the Thunderbolts logo on it, allowing him to officially be the Thunderbolts version as well.  My figure is the earlier, non-Thunderbolts version.  No clue which of the two will be the rarer one, but I’m happy with the one I got.  Shocker includes the energy pieces used by Havok, Wonder Man, and Polaris.  I lamented their overuse in my Polaris review, and it seems even more egregious here, since the pieces don’t actually make any sense for Shocker’s powers.  The gauntlets cause vibrations; there’s no “energy” component to them at all.  I honestly would have preferred an unmasked head, but I guess the that would have cost too much.  Shocker also includes the left leg of the BAF Sandman.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been hoping for Shocker since Speed Demon and Beetle were first announced.  Superior Foes was one of my favorite books when it was coming out, so I’m happy to have most of the team.  With that being said, I didn’t really know what to expect from this figure.  Shocker’s not a particular favorite of mine or anything, but the figure looked kinda cool.  I ended up finding him at the same time as Spidey, for the same low price, which was enough to push me into grabbing him.  He’s sort of the anti-Black Spidey: a figure I wanted but didn’t need, but who ended up being one of my favorites from the series.  I’m glad I picked up this guy, because he may actually be my favorite of the Superior Foes sub-set.  Now, what are the chances of getting an Overdrive?

#1279: Spider-Man

SPIDER-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Stealthily dressed in black, Spider-Man possesses incredible web-slinging, wall-crawling powers.”

Hey guys!  Guess what I’m reviewing for the next week!  Something new and exciting and…yeah, okay, it’s more Marvel Legends.  Look, I picked up three series of these suckers last month.  There’s a lot of them sitting here waiting to be reviewed.  So, let’s jump on into Sandman Week, shall we?

The first figure I’m looking at is none other than Marvel’s biggest cash-cow pretty much ever, the Amazing, the Sensational, the Spectacular, the Peter Parker, yes it’s Spider-Man!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Man is figure 5 in the Sandman Series of Marvel Legends.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  As you’ve no doubt deduced from the images and the bio, this figure is based on Spider-Man’s symbiotic black costume.  Believe it or not, this costume hasn’t been released in Legends form since 2008’s Red Hulk Series.  That figure was built on the Bullseye mold (and not even the slightly updated version that Iron Fist got!), so an update was more than warranted.  More importantly, he’s really the last major Spidey design to be moved to the Pizza Spidey body.  This figure not only makes use of the now standard Spider-Man bod, he also re-uses the head of the Rhino Series’ Scarlet Spider figure, making him 100% recycled parts.  Of course, this is a figure that kind of warrants being recycled parts, doesn’t he?  Pizza Spidey’s not a perfect body, but it’s a solid build for Spider-Man, and it even looks like Hasbro’s tweaked it ever so slightly to offer a little more motion in the hips.  The Scarlet Spider head is a good choice; the change of color is enough to make it look sufficiently different.  The paint on this guy is pretty standard fare for this design.  They’ve gone for the simple black and white, no accenting, which is, in my opinion, always the way to go with this design.  Blue highlights and the like always end up messing the whole thing up.  The logo on my figure is pretty clean, but it’s worth noting that I’ve seen a number of figures where that wasn’t the case, so be careful when grabbing this guy.  Oh, and a cool, minor, almost nonexistent thing I noticed?  The black plastic used for this figure is a cooler black, rather than the usual warmer black used on most figures.  This means if the light catches the figure juuuuust right, he’s got the slightest bit of a blue sheen.  It’s so minor, I’m not even certain it was intentional, but I think it’s cool regardless.  Okay, I love this figure, but there’s one area where it’s a letdown, and that’s the accessories.  He comes with two sets of hands: fists and open gesture.  Yes, just those two.  Not the web pose ones.  Now, it’s true that when Spidey had the symbiote, he didn’t need to do the usual pose to fire his webs.  The thing is, after ditching the symbiote, Peter actual sported a cloth version of this design for a little while, and used his usual web shooters, so the hands would still be accurate.  Plus, he’s already a total re-use, the very least you can do is throw in one more set of hands, especially when they’re already tooled.  Not to mention, the last two Spider-Men on this body both came with all of the extra hands *and* a spare head. There was some hope that this figure might at the very least have that unmasked Peter had we’ve all been waiting for, but no such luck.  It just feels a bit weak.  He does at least include a pair of swap out hands for the Sandman BAF, but he really should have had more.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After the previously reviewed Ms. Marvel figure, this guy was probably my next most wanted from the Sandman Series.  I actually saw him at the same time as Kamala, but I just couldn’t bring myself to pay a premium price for a figure that didn’t actually offer anything new.  It seems that was the right call, as I found this guy at a slightly out of the way Walgreens while they were running their $12.99 sale on all Marvel Legends.  Score!  The accessories are super annoying, and all, but honestly, I was just happy to finally find this guy, and for a price I haven’t paid for a Legends figure in like a decade.  The actual figure is exactly what I’ve been hoping for ever since the Pizza Spidey body was introduced.  I’m glad we finally got him!