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The Rose

Spider-Man Legends
by yo go re

A "retro" figure from... wait, 1984? That would actually count! ...if The Rose had ever had any toy before for this to be a retro update of.

Richard Fisk, the son of Kingpin, becomes an adversary of both his father and Spider-Man when he returns to New York as a crime boss known as The Rose.

Richard Fisk first appeared as "The Schemer" in Amazing Spider-Man #83, in 1970. At the time he was just a mysterious gang leader, but Spidey figured out something was up when the only thing the Schemer's gang seemed interested in was messing up Kingpin's operations. When he revealed who he was, the shock put his father into a coma. He joined Hydra seeking a cure, and, that accomplished, the two claimed leadership of the organization - something that led to conflict with the Red Skull, and Richard being critically wounded and placed in suspended animation. Eventually he came back in disguise, wanting to dismantle Kingpin's empire from within, but getting wrapped up in a gang war made him realize he really was no better than his father, so he might as well really embrace his evil side.

Of course, all that story came later: when Tom DeFalco created The Rose for Amazing Spider-Man #253, he was just criminal middle management; the mask was simply a way to make the character more distinct. It was only later that DeFalco realized fans were taking it as a "mystery," and so he had to pick a character for it to be. Richard Fisk was not his first choice.

The head is a new sculpt, because no one else wears this particular combination of "goggles/visor" and "mask with no facial features." We once said they could have gotten away with gluing a visor onto the Eel mold, but this one, with its sculpted seams, is better. Other than that period where he reimagined himself as a Punisher-style vigilante called "Blood Rose," the Rose has always worn a clean white suit, so this figure has a double-breasted suitcoat with fairly wide lapels and the extra accoutrement you know he needs, a flower in his button hole. Probably some sort of carnation, I'd imagine. He has fancy dress shoes, and blue gloves to match his necktie.

That could honestly have been any suit body chest under the jacket, because there's no way to take it off and thus no way to know. We can at least verify that his necktie is the same one worn by lots of figures, so you'd assume the throat it's glued into is the same as well, right? Well, nobody's had a rumpled neck like this, for the lower edge of Rose's mask, so no, the upper chest at least has to be an original sculpt. The arms are new, because everyone else who had a similar size was also more rumpled, and the legs come from the Tracksuit Draculas, meaning we get ankles here. Nice!

Despite Hasbro expecting us to pay $25 for this figure, Rose is light on accessories. He has the blocky Cameron Bye guns, but no flashes or smoke to go in the muzzles, and only one hand capable of holding them. His other alternate hand is pointing, and can gingerly clutch the final included piece, a single loose rose. If you're careful. That's a perfect inclusion, but it doesn't warrant Hasbro trying to steal an extra five dollars from you.

I once tried making a custom figure of the Rose from a ToyBiz Professor X body (the only suit there was back then) and a masked head, but this official version is obviously going to be much better. It would have been greater in a normal line at a normal price, but as long as a company believes it can over-charge you, Capitalism demands that they do. But hey, between Kingpin, Jigsaw, Tombstone, Hammerhead, Silvermane, Mr. Negative, Mr. Fixit, and now The Rose, you can stage a pretty impressive gang war on your shelves. The street-level heroes are in trouble!

-- 12/04/23

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