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Daredevil

Spider-Man Classic
by yo go re

When the excellent Spider-Man film was on its way to theatres, ToyBiz planned to create a line dedicated to the film. This would mean the end of the well-received Spider-Man Classics line after only two series, but it did give birth to the even more popular Marvel Legends. Sadly, the level of quality seen in the Classics line would not be recaptured when comicbook Spidey once again got his own line of toys.

The new Spider-Man Classic line is filled with variation after variation of the wallcrawler, most using the same molds that have been around since Classic Spider-Man. Every few series, however, ToyBiz does manage let some good toys slip into the assortment. This time we got two.

A Good Samaritan act stole young Matt Murdock's sight, but also enhanced his remaining senses to superhuman level! After becoming a lawyer - and suffering the murder of his father - Matt now uses his powers to protect the innocent in New York City's Hell's Kitchen as Daredevil, the man without fear!

Daredevil has long been an upper-B-level star. But his star has been on the rise lately, with a mega-popular storyline written by Kevin Smith and a record-breaking motion picture. Any jump in popularity almost guarantees an action figure, and DD was no exception. He found his way into both Spider-Man Classics and Marvel Legends and now he's back in the Spider-Man line.

After seeing ML's Gambit, I expected that his body would be Marvel's new generic offering, the one around which most of its figures were built. I was quite surprised, then, when Daredevil's body turned out to be very similar to Gambit's, but still an entirely new sculpt.

To capture DD's athletic prowess, the figure moves at the toes, ankles, boot tops, knees, hips, waist, upper biceps, elbows, forearms and wrists. He also has the new chest joint that looks to be inspired by McToys' triumphant Spawn 10 and, in addition to balljointed shoulders, the new "pull out" lateral shoulders.

Visually, the sculpt is a little jarring. Though the musculature is all detailed well, the big balljointed shoulders really stand out, and his knees look too skinny. This isn't the greatest sculpt ToyBiz has ever produced, but I'm willing to give it some slack and overlook two minor problems for such a good character.

I'm not crazy about the figure's paint scheme - though I first found the red to be too vibrant for my tastes, the tone looks much better once you get DD in with the rest of the figures. There is a darker version coming out in the "Urban Legends" boxed set later this year, along with Elektra, the Punisher and Spider-Man. Since DD is now Marvel Legends-sized, he'll fit in nicely.

DD comes with his billy club, looking more like the comicbook version than either of the past two offerings. Transformed from his cane, the club has a hook on one end and is connected by a cord to its other half. The string is nearly 8¼" long, giving Matt some long-range attack capability. Both halves of the weapon can be stored in a sheathe on his hip.

In addition to the ML-quality figure, this set also includes a nicely detailed base. Representing one of the Hell's Kitchen rooftops Daredevil so often prowls, the base measures 4" wide, 4½" deep and 6" tall and has an action feature: pull the large plastic ring that hangs from the bottom of the base and the flagpole spins around. There are two handles that Daredevil can hold onto, so it looks like he's just grabbed the flagpole and is spinning himself up onto the roof. The cord and ring are fairly blatant, but can be easily removed without ruining the base. I unscrewed the back panel and tucked the cord away inside - if I ever want it back, it'll be available.

No matter how old he gets, Spider-Man will always be a kid: youthful, energetic and kind of annoying. Daredevil, on the other hand, is an adult. His stories have always been darker, his enemies more powerful and his life more complicated. Though he's seldom been as recognizable or popular as ol' web-head, he's much cooler.

-- 09/24/03


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