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Skrull Queen & Super-Skrull

Avengers 60th Anniversary
by yo go re

Using her shape-shifting powers to impersonate Spider-Woman, Skrull Queen Veranke infiltrates the Avengers and launches a secret invasion of Earth wreaking havoc with her Super-Skrull infiltrators.

It's been eight years since Hasbro released the Spider-Woman wearing this costume, which isn't really enough time to need an update, especially since they're still using that same body for current figures. And speaking of which, it's become apparent some of you need a butt-lesson.

To the many, many readers who got in touch to insist that the WCA Julia Carpenter wasn't using the same body as the previous release, well, we admire your confidence, but that doesn't mean you're not wrong.

We've spoken before about how Hasbro can get more variety out of their female body molds (this seems as good a time as any to remind you that they are not "bucks") than they can from the men, because there are a lot more swappable pieces: every male use of a particular body has the same chest, but a female use can be different, because the parts trade more easily.

Vaguely related tangent: you're probably aware that all clothing used to be specifically tailored to the wearer; but when the US Civil War came around, the government needed to find a way to produce uniforms quickly; that meant factories rather than tailors, and factories meant standardization. Going through the data for all their soldiers, they found men could reliably be grouped into four size categories (S,M,L,XL) based on predictable measurements of just the chest and waist, and even if the clothes didn't fit perfectly, they fit well enough.

It would be several decades before anyone tried mass-producing women's clothing, and when they did, it was imperfect: even adding a third measurement, hips, there is tons more diversity in women's bodies than there is in men's, which is why it's so hard even today for a lady to choose things that fit well. The point of all this is to say that it makes sense that all the boy Marvel Legends might wear the same shirts, but the girl Marvel Legends might not, and that's why Dagger with her slight dancer's chest and M with her huge whooperproperdrs can both use the same "body" (or maybe that's the "same" body). Because it refers to the lower torso, not the upper torso. Or the arms, or the legs. And I know I've gotten the identification wrong in the past (and will likely get it wrong again in the future), but this time, trust in me when I say: no matter what you believe to be true, no matter what somebody else might have told you, Julia Carpenter and Jessica Drew do not use the same body.

The easiest way to tell this body apart from that body is the butt. The butt on the Spider-Woman II figures, both of them, may stick out nicely, but the butt on both versions of this Spider-Woman has rounder cheeks that come out wider and overlap the leg more. And oh my god, this is way more time than I ever expected to have to spend delineating female Marvel Legends anatomy! Butt-lesson over.

Surprisingly, while most of this figure is the same as before, the chest has been changed. No, not to make her boobs smaller; sorry to those of you out there who want to believe there's some Hasbro conspiracy against hefty naturals. They're as sizeable as before, but this time there are cloth wrinkles on the front instead of them looking like they've been vacuum-sealed into separate sides of her top. To lift and separate this release from the 2015 figure, her colors are darker: a less vibrant red, a more muted yellow. Instead of being cloudy white, her swappable armpit wings are clear, though since they're the same molds as before, they don't line up as well with this new chest as they did with the old one. This time, if you tip her chest joint back, you see a large block of black paint instead of continuing the yellow.

If that's all this figure had to offer, she wouldn't be worth reviewing to this extent. But after all, like the bio said up above, this isn't Jessica Drew: this is Queen Veranke. Therefore, the set includes a new alternate head for her, one revealing her natural Skrull face. It's green, with pointed ears and the rippled chin, and while the hair is similar to the standard head, it's not the same. The set also includes Storm's lightning hands, a new inclusion to represent Jess' bio-electric "venom blasts." The zaps are also green.

Before Secret Invasion, there was only one Super-Skrull, and he only copied one set of powers. We've come a long way, baby!

This particular Super-Skrull gets the powers not of the Fantastic Four, but of the Illuminati, the group of secret leaders who had banded together to protect Earth: Mr. Fantastic, Dr. Strange, Black Bolt, and Iron Man. (Presumably he's also got Professor X's telepathy and Namor's ability to inflate himself like a puffer fish, but those powers don't show up on an action figure.) Like the Super-Skrull BAF, this one is made from the big body with a new chest (because apparently copying the "powers" of Iron Man means getting a unibeam inserted in your chest cavity).

The new parts of this figure were sculpted by Dan Mitchell, and that includes the head. The Illuminati Skrull first appeared in Secret Invasion #2, so this head, with its big jaw and long, wide frown, is based on the art of Leinil Francis Yu. Hasbro has chosen to interpret the Black Bolt tuning fork on the forehead as a flat element etched into the surface, instead of a raised element, but it works.

Other than the head and the chest, the new parts include the big-shouldered Dr. Strange cape and the alternate left arm. The cloak plugs into the figure's back and features the ornate patterning along its edges, though that doesn't extend down the body of the cape - it's like a big piece of shoulder armor with a plain cape hanging down from it.

The figure includes two alternate arms. First is the "stretched" right arm from the BAF, to show Reed Richards' abilities, and then there's a new left arm wearing an Iron Man glove, to show Tony's. Though it's not really any different than any other random Iron Man toy you might look at, the red here is a bit too plasticky to next to the rest of the figure - they should have painted it, rather than just molding it in color. However, you can pull the fist out of the wrist, so if there's a "repulsor blast" hand you like from another Iron Man toy, you can trade it in here. If you really want to get nitpicky though, this guy should also have Iron Man boots, not just plain black legs.

I wasn't really jazzed about this set when it was announced, but getting the big, curvy Spider-Woman back out for newer fans is good (seriously, the Kris Anka costume may be better than this 1970s thing, but put it on a properly sized frame, guys), and the extra Veranke parts make her more than just a double-dip for those of us who've been here a while. And the Illuminati Super-Skrull may not be a big draw by himself, but he looks nice flanking his queen. Now we just need Hasbro to go back into production on that Skrull army-builder figure they apparently released a few years ago.

-- 09/28/23

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