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Spider-Man & Friends
by yo go re

Say what you will about Marvel and ToyBiz, they certainly know how to get their product to the widest possible audience. Articulation fans have the Marvel Legends; if you're into the sculpt, then Marvel Select delivers; and if you're into bright colors and sounds and drinking juice from your sippy-cup, then you can play with Spider-Man & Friends.

Rhino "Spider-Man and Friends" are superheroes that use their super human powers in positive and constructive ways to aid those in neeed. They have unique skills and abilities that they use in their adventures to help others and explore the world around them. The teach pre-schoolers Spider-Man's code "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility."

Isn't that just the most wholesome thing ever? These toys are chunky, deformed "Rescue Heroes"-esque versions of Marvel characters aimed at the youngest market possible, and why not? If you want to create fans, it never hurts to start early. The line started out as just Spidey, but it didn't take long for the "Friends" to come in: Captain America; the Hulk; even Wolverine has showed up in this cute and friendly format. The new twist, however, is that now it's not just friends - for the first time, ToyBiz made one of Spidey's enemies.

Fatty-fatty-fat-fat The Rhino has been around almost since the start, a Russian spy trapped in an impenatrable suit of armor that mimics a rhinoceros hide. The original plan was to call Li'l Rhino not a friend but a bully, in keeping with the childish nature of the figures. However, now that our overly sensitive culture has attached some exaggerated connotations to the term, that idea had to be scrapped.

If you're familiar with the Rhino costume at all, you'll know just what to expect with this figure, superdeformed or not. He's got a gray body with purple shoulder pads, shorts and studded bands on his ankles and wrists. The horn on the top of his head almost reaches the 6 1/2" mark. Never a small guy, Rhino's got the stereotypical bully's weight problem - he's carrying a keg. He's got a big smile on his chubby face, which I guess helps sell him as a friend instead of an enemy.

Bad motor scooter

Rhino moves at the hips, shoulders, elbows, wrists and balljointed neck. He's sturdy enough to hold up to a child's play, so he'll be perfectly safe in your collection. He comes with a blue and teal scooter accessory that's 6" long and 3" wide and has three rolling wheels. The figure can either lie facedown on the scooter or, after extending the handlebars, ride upright. The scooter can also be stored on Rhino's back, if Tubby feels like walking off some of that gut.

Rhino, like all of the "Spider-Man & Friends" figures, is undeniably cute, and maybe he's opened the door; there are at least two more villains who will soon be getting the chunky, deformed treatment, so who knows which Marvel characters will eventually show up in this line? A cute and cuddly Punisher? Bike Safety Mephisto? There are hundreds of insane possibilities!

What completely unexpected Marvel character do you want to see get "cutified" for this line? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.


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