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Web Armor Spider-Man

by yo go re

In 2007, Target was scheduled to get a whole series of exclusive Spider-Man Minimates, but they backed out of the deal. Four of the planned figures had already been released in the Classic Spider-Man box set, but that still left half the series up in the air. It's not like Art Asylum could suddenly find space on the schedule for a bunch of unexpected two-packs, you know? It looked like the unreleased 'mates were just going to be swallowed by the tide of history, until online retailer Action Figure Xpress stepped in, offering Web Armor Spider-Man as an exclusive.

The Web Armor was only used for one issue, and has never been seen again. But it was fairly toyetic, which is why it keeps showing up on action figures. Its ignomious debut was in Web of Spider-Man #100, the culmination of a four-part story that... you know, I don't know what happened. I think I read it when it came out, and I just now read a recap, and yet I still couldn't explain it. It was 1993, kids: a dark time for comics. The story was terrible, but nobody cared as long as the book kept selling, and gimicks like the Web Armor made sure that happened.

The figure is black and silver, with thin double-lines creating the "webbing" pattern on the suit. His eyes are bright white, and all the paint is crisp. The pattern generally reflects the classic red and blue costume, just with less angles and more blocky lines - for instance, his boots now come up over his knees, and end in a square peak. The spiders on his chest and back are handled nicely, as well.

The Minimate is molded in black plastic, with the silver paint applied. For the most part it works out well, but there are a few problem spots. The silver on the front and back just stops when we get to the shoulders: it doesn't go over the top, and it doesn't wrap around the sides. If they'd just done that much, we'd probably overlook the lack of webbing just like we do on the top of his head. He should also have some silver on his hands, but they're solid black. These are tough areas to paint, sure, but we've seen Minimates with paint there before.

The name "web armor," by the way, doesn't just refer to the pattern. This really is made out of Spidey's web fluid. See, he apparently needed some extra protection from whatever forgettable threat he was facing, so he tweaked the web formula a bit to make it extra-hard, then sprayed himself a suit. Of course, since his webbing dissolves after an hour, that was it for the armor. Wonder why he's never felt the need to armor up again?

All Minimates are built on the same basic body, and they all move at the same 14 points: neck, waist, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles. Web Armor Spider-Man doesn't have ay extra pieces or accessories (though boots or a powerhouse chest would have been nice for the thick armor), but he's still a neat little figure. Surprisingly, though, he's still never been offered for sale: instead, AFX has only ever offered him as a free promo with a purchase; originally you had to spend $25 on a limited selection of items, then $75 on anything. With no published limit to the number of figures and no way to order one alone, there's no telling when this little guy might sell out.

-- 04/28/08

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