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Bombastic Bag-Man

Marvel Legends Retro Collection
by yo go re

Paper or plastic?

Left without a costume, a desperate Peter Parker dons a spare Fantastic 4 costume and a brown paper bag. And so the Bombastic Bag-Man was born!

There, you see how important it is to have text on the back of these packages? Sometimes an appearance just requires explanation. Realizing something was up with his black costume, Spider-Man decided to take Reed Richards up on an earlier offer to examine it. One batch of tests later, Spidey (and the readers) learned the suit was an alien symbiote, and Reed and Johnny helped him remove it. Since the symbiote had been mimicking all Pete's clothes at the time, he was left with nothing but his tighty whiteys, and needed a way to get home without also picking up a public indecency charge.

You may be slightly surprised that this Spidey doesn't use the usual superarticulated body, but it makes sense upon reflection: the Fantastic Four's costumes are meant to be more like jumpsuits than superhero costumes, so they're not as form-fitting as the usual look, even with the unstable molecules. So this is instead the mold we've seen on all the Mister Fantastics (and The Leader), an appropriately skinny but undetailed body with arms that can pop out of the sockets, though that feature doesn't serve any purpose here.

This is the older light blue costume, not the not-black one, which is correct for the scene in the comic (Amazing Spider-Man #258, for those keeping track at home): since the team was in the newer costumes, this older look was one they could spare. Because Pete's wall-crawling ability only works very close to his body, normal boots would have gotten in his way, and thus he goes barefoot: those feet are an existing mold, but they have blue stripes painted around them to represent the stirrups that would hold the legs in place inside the FF's boots. That's a neat attention to detail, both from the original artist and from Hasbro for remembering it.

The major change is Peter's mask, obviously. The FF don't hide their identities, so even if they had spare costumes around, they wouldn't have any way to keep Spider-Man anonymous; and webbing up his own head probably would have been inconvenient, even if he had the fine level of control to not accidentally plug his nose or glue his eyes shut. So he went low-tech, just poking a couple holes in a grocery bag and using his powers to keep it in place while he was swinging jumping home. For this toy, the bag is a separate piece over a "head" plug glued inside, with sculpted and painted eyes, and even a chin in case you want to peek up under there.

This body moves at the head, neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, chest, waist, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles, so even if it's not as highly articulated as a Spidey normally is, it's enough. Like we said, the arms can pop out, but there isn't really much point. He doesn't comes with any webs or anything but he does have an accessory: a "Kick Me" sign taped to his back! Because even if this was before Pete and Johnny were pals, Johnny Storm isn't above playing pranks on coworkers. The sign works like a backpack, plugging into the hole in the figure's back, which means you could theoretically give it to any figure you wanted. Paging Casual Deadpool! We also get a pair of the splayed-finger hands, because that's what the Spider-Man do.

This figure is sold as part of the Marvel Retro Collection, rather than the Spider-Man Retro Collection, which means a big gray and blue card instead of a big purple and yellow card. Doesn't really matter, especially once you get it open. Bag-Man is a Target exclusive, so don't expect to see him anywhere else for a while, but don't wait too long: this is a cool alternate costume for everybody's favorite webslinger, and not one that's been made in this scale before.

-- 11/21/22

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