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Mary Jane

Spider-Man 2
by Artemis

Everyone knows that Mary Jane statue that people made a big fuss about, with the laundry and the visible g-string and the sexy smirk. This figure isn't anything like that statue. Pity.

Mary Jane spent her entire life dreaming of something better. She knew that coming home every day Mary Jane to her mom crying and her dad sullen and angry was just the prelude to her life. Out there in the world, there was adventure, fame and fortune. Her future. As it turns out, she wasn't far off. Not long after getting out of high school, she started making almost a career out of getting in the middle of fights between Spider-Man and whichever super powered bad guy he was fighting this week. Finding out that Spider-Man was actually her old friend Peter Parker just added to the excitement, and made a lot more sense out of the crush she had on the webhead.

So she's an adrenaline junkie? I guess if you're going to date superheroes it helps. This is MJ from the movie series, where she's a struggling actor, rather than the comics where she's a supermodel and super-heroine - and adrenaline junkie, so it all ties together, I guess. The bio, incidentally, lists her powers as "patience, charm," which I guess would be useful occasionally, but I can't see them really topping super-senses or energy projection. I doubt a flirtatious smile is going to be much good if Doctor Doom turns up in a foul mood.

The sculpt is serviceable but unremarkable - but then again, so far as her body goes I'd like to thank the Academy... there's nothing there to be remarkable, since she's just a regular woman in regular clothes. Her physical proportions are decent, and suitably modest in musculature - MJ doesn't hit the gym much between rehearsals, it seems - and her simple wardrobe is sculpted about as well as it needs to be, with some shallow creasing in the boots and dress to give them some realism. The main problem with her is that the dress doesn't offer anywhere to hide her upper body joints - both the torso and shoulder joints are plain as day, and since the dress shoulders are sculpted as part of the arms, they look a bit separate from the rest of the dress.

Her face is a fair if unambitious likeness of Kirsten Dunst - knowing it's meant to be her, somebody you can see the resemblance, which is about as far as the average action figure aims for anyway. Her skin - face and body - has a slight plasticky sheen, but her eyes and lips are painted pretty well. Her hair and eyebrows are on the light side of the range shown on the photos, but the main issue with her appearance is that she looks like she's just ambling down the street having a pleasant day, whereas the photos - and her base and accessory - place her in a scene where she appears to be fighting for her life. Her hair isn't exactly styled, but it's just a bit mussed, not soaked and bedraggled, and her expression is calm and happy, rather than afraid and determined.

There's not a lot of paintwork to speak of - paint apps? what are those? besides the face it's just matching elements to cast-in-colour pieces, such as the boot tops and shoulders. The former are fine, the latter a bit off - more noticeable due to the highly visible articulation break in the sculpt - but it only shows up under strong lighting. There's one huge problem with the paint, and that's that there isn't any on her dress. In the photos from the movie the dress has a speckled, lacy kind of texture, but on the figure it's completely flat, and consequently as boring as an Uwe Boll film. On a character who's already struggling to stand out beside a shelf full of spandex-costumed superhumans, omitting the dress texture is a huge mistake.

MJ has a decent articulation set, by Hasbro standards. Her balljoint neck turns well enough, thanks to the soft hair, and has a bit of side to side tilt, but forward and backward are pretty limited by the hair down her back. eh, I'll vacuum later She has shoulder and elbow balljoints, plus swivel wrists, that make her arms decently mobile, and her torso balljoint gives her body a bit of flexibility, though she looks a bit weird if you push the joint to its limits. Her hips are balljoints, but there's no swivel - a shame, since it limits her poseability quite a bit, and would have been hidden beneath her dress anyway. She has double peg knees, and ankle balljoints, and with the soft dress, within the bounds of what her hips will allow, her legs can move pretty well.

MJ comes with three accessories. it shares her cup size Her base is a circular section of wooden floor with piles of sand on it, and that and her weapon - a plank of wood - are obviously part of a big fight with Sandman. The base has two pegs, fairly close together, which fit nice and tightly into her feet, and she can be made to hold the plank well enough with a bit of posing, but any action stance you achieve with her is going to be undercut by that goofy grin.

Her final accessory is the torso of the wave's Build-A-Figure, Sandman - this is Sandman going all berserk, as opposed to the fairly restrained weapon-handed Sandman sandy you can get as a single figure. It could have been a lot worse - the colour is decent, and the sculpt is highly dynamic, with some neat design in the form of cavities and a stuck-on section to show his body coming apart in streams of sand. His belt and a bit of the shape of his pants are all that remains of his regular, human form - the rest is fluid and textured, though the sculpt seems a bit soft, more suggestive of mud than sand, aside from the colour (if this bit of the movie had him getting wet, that'd make sense, but I haven't seen it so I wouldn't know). Judging from this piece his arms will attach with balljoint shoulders, his head will be on a three-axis balljoint, and his legs will be on high-thigh swivels.

This is, I must sat, a very dull figure. Guess Spider-Man 3 wasn't worth it Hasbro's Marvel Legends lines are up to producing superheroes at a decent, if thoroughly mass-market standard, but superheroes are big and bold and brightly coloured - the figures may not be excellent in quality, but they at least tend to look good and fun. Mary Jane is just some girl in a dress, and when you make a ho-hum figure of a girl in a dress, there's nothing to help it stand out. If you're collecting the whole Sandman series you're probably quite into Spider-Man, so having a Mary Jane - even an unremarkable one - likely won't be a great annoyance, but as a collector of individual figures, I'm really wishing I'd gotten the original Spider-Man one, with that cool oriental-style dress. This one is just going to fade into the background of my shelf and never catch anyone's eye ever again.


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