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Ultimate Comics Spider-Man

Amazing Spider-Man
by yo go re

Say what you will about the Ultimate Marvel universe, they're not afraid to take some chances.

When Peter Parker falls, a new Spider-Man rises in his place. This brave teenager will fight to uphold Parker's heroic legacy, protecting the innocent and battling evil as the new Ultimate Spider-Man!

In the Ultimate universe, dead is dead. There's no revolving door like there is in most superhero comics: if someone bites it in an Ultimate title, it stays bitten. And that was an easy position to take when it was minor chumps, but it's become more impressive as they got to bigger and bigger characters. So when Ultimate Peter Parker met the only logical fate that awaits a teenage boy who tries to fight clinically insane supervillains, the world was left without a Spider-Man, and there were no clones, time travel, brain-switching or last-minute deals with Ultimate Mephisto to bring him back. Enter Miles Morales.

Right from the get-go, Miles has an awesome costume. It clearly says "Spider-Man" without copying Pete's suit. The body is black, with red webs over the head and shoulders (perhaps inspired by Alex Ross's movie costume design) and red fingertips. On this figure, his eyes are painted a pearly white, making them look like real lenses rather than patches of cloth.

Miles uses the same body as Tarantula - that is, a Hasbro version of the Bullseye body. An inexplicably small version of the Bullseye body. As noted in the Tarantula review, this isn't the usual mold, but rather a slightly reduced new version. The figure stands only 5¾" tall, which definitely makes him look like a child next to other 6" figures - maybe that's why they picked it? It doesn't quite work, though, since the sculpt is so muscular. It makes him look like a short adult, not a teen.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man has swivel/hinge ankles, hips, wrists and shoulders; swivel shins, thighs, waist and biceps; double-hinged knees and elbows; a hinged torso; and a balljointed head. Those aren't the same joints that Bullseye or Tarantula had! Everything moves fine, but the pins that run through the elbows and knees seem to have been sized for the 6" version of the sculpt, not this shrunken one, so the caps poke out visibly on both sides. It's really ugly. Oh, and the crotch piece is still too big for the body, but it might be the right size for the larger figs. And on top of all that, the balljoint in the head is poorly designed, so the neck is basically a plain swivel. Get your house in order, Hasbro!

The figure comes with one accessory: a whitish "web shield" that clips onto his wrist. It's not the greatest piece in the world, but it's preferable than not getting anything at all, right? The shield really does look like a mass of webbing, and is detailed front and back. It measures 2⅛" in diameter. Since we haven't been following Hasbro's 6" Spider-Man toys, there's no telling whether this is a reused piece or not - heck, the entire figure could be reused, who knows? Well, clearly the body is reused, we just don't know to what extent. Are the hands new? The head? The feet? Doesn't matter, really.

Like the 6" movie Avengers and the upcoming Marvel Legends Series 3, the Spider-Man movie toys come with an interlocking figure stand that's actually a piece of retooled Heroscape terrain. There are still three footpegs on this one, but no logo in the center. That means it can be used by anyone!

This is the first Miles Morales figure, and it's impressive we got it so fast: the character was announced on August 2, 2011, and here we are just over 13 months later and he's cast in plastic (there's also a Marvel Universe version that's just beginning to appear, but a lot of samples are missing the paint apps on the back). Unfortunately, the speed with which it became reality is commensurate with the quality of the final product. This figure isn't bad, but there's room for improvement.

-- 09/10/12

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