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Spider-Man Retro Collection
by yo go re

Okay, this is a toy no one was expecting!

Hammerhead's skull is reinforced with adamantium, making his head flat on top. All the same, this hard-headed criminal's frequent run-ins with Spider-Man have caused him no shortage of headaches!

The various Marvel Legends Retro Collection lines have given up any pretense of actually being updates of old toys (if such a stance ever existed in the first place), becoming just a place to put repaints and molds that would be too expensive to put in a line where they also had to have a Build-A-Figure piece. So it's no big surprise that Hammerhead is here, despite the fact that he's never had his own action figure from anyone before (even if they did create some nice "animated" style card art of him to help sell the illusion). No, the surprise is everything else about him.

When this figure was revealed, a 6" Hammerhead wearing a blue suit, all of us naturally assumed it was just going to be a rerelease of the Spider-Man Legends Series 2 Chameleon, just with that toy's Hammerhead accessory on the neck and no other heads included. Instead, he's all new! Or, well, all new to him, at least: like, yes, he's still wearing a suit, but it's not the usual suit body like Chameleon-Hammerhead was, it's the big, burly, Happy Hogan mold, which suits a bruiser like this. The fake Chameleon version of him was well-dressed, but skinny; this one looks like a guy who could hurt you by running at you head-first, adamantium skull or not.

It was logical enough that, with a new body in their parts library, Hasbro would want to use it to set this toy apart; the real shock is that they didn't reuse the existing head. Sure, it's seven years old at this point, but it's Hammerhead: who's ever going to need two different Hammerhead molds? This one is unquestionably an improvement, with sharper detail and better paint. It's not as wide as the older mold, but it's still distinctly flatter on top than a real human's head could be. So it's a surprise choice on Hasbro's part, but a welcome one.

The way the suit bodies work is to have shared arms and legs, with different torsos or at least different torso coverings to make them look like distinct characters. In keeping with his "1920s gangster" persona, Hammerhead is wearing a dark blue pinstripe suit with a black shirt and a red necktie - quite fashionable! Happy Hogan just had a suit jacket, but Hammerhead goes a step further, wearing a vest underneath his jacket. The two are molded as a single piece, of course, which does impede the chest joint - something that's less than ideal, but seemingly unavoidable. All his other articulation works fine, though.

Hammerhead's accessories are appropriately low-tech. The last one had an old-fashioned Tommy gun, which worked for him, but this one is more hands-on: right out of the package, he's got balled fists, with a set of brass knuckles molded on his left hand. The knuckles are molded with letters on them: Ⴇ A Ǝ H, so the wounds on his victim would read "HEAD" when they get turned around. But if that's not enough, you can trade for more open hands, and arm him with a simple black baseball bat. Not an accessory Marvel Legends has seen before! [yes it was --ed.]

The old Hammerhead was fine, but with the release of this one, it looks like what it was: somebody wearing a costume pretending to be the real guy. For his first-ever official action figure, Hammerhead is really impressive work.

-- 05/02/22

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