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Tarantula

Spider-Man Legends
by yo go re

Spider-Man Legends 10 had seven figures in it, and this is literally the only one that could possibly count as the "Retro" release Hasbro wants you to believe it is.

A former revolutionary, Tarantula serves New York's criminal underworld as a robber and mercenary.

For 71% of this series (reminder: not a "wave"), the oldest figure in the lineup could be traced aaaaaall the way back to the distant, "retro" year of... 2020. Wow, so old-school. Way to plumb the depths of history, Hasbro. Rose broke tradition by being a character from the '80s, but he'd never had any toys before, so even putting cartoon-style graphics on the card didn't make him a legitimate update of some older offering. Ah, but Tarantula, though? Introduced in 1974 (or 1988, depending on how you want to count), had a figure in the same 1997 series as Swarm, could absolutely count as a Retro Collection release! It's like the old familiar saying goes: one outta seven ain't bad!

Hasbro released a Tarantula early on in their time with the Marvel license, but it was not great: it was weirdly short, the pieces didn't fit together right... it was good enough, but there was room to do better. And now they have! A character on the level of Tarantula doesn't merit a new sculpt, so he uses one of the standards - one that was already being used in this series. The only new part is his feet: this sculpt may be partially identified by its pointy toes, but even those weren't pointy enough for the knife-boots Tarantula uses to fight. Technically those are supposed to be retractable, but almost no artists ever draw him without them out, because it's just cooler that way.

Tarantula was intended, by his government, to be a patriotic hero a la Captain America - during skirmishes with nearby Boca del Dios in the 1890s (they're described as "border wars," despite there being, at minimum, two full-ass countries in between them), a Delvadian soldier nicknamed "El Tarántula" became a folk hero, and the modern-day government used that name and a patriotic costume (Delvadia's flag is red and black) for their new nationalist symbol. The spider design is painted better on this figure than it was on Hasbro's 2009 attempt. though we do have to suffer the modern problem of companies being unable to get ABS and PVC plastics to match, meaning his limbs are a different shade than his trunk. And then there's the head.

Taranula's costume is two colors: one for the majority of the body, and then another for the boots, gloves, spider design... and mask. The body color is red. The secondary color is black. So why, in god's name, did Hasbro make the mask blue? Tarantula does not wear a blue mask. He wears a black mask. A blue mask wasn't right on the Minimate and it's not right here. Tarantula does not wear a blue mask. It is the same black used on the rest of his costume. A blue mask was wrong when Hasbro announced the figure. Every single fan told Hasbro it was wrong. Hasbro did not fix the wrong mask before the figure was released, though there should have been time to do so. Because when you're already trying to scam buyers out of an extra 25% on every toy, there's no room for running new parts and correcting blatant, easily spottable mistakes that never should have happened in the first place! Painting the head black will be easy, but you shouldn't have to customize a figure right out of the package in order for it to not be visibly wrong. We said that 21 years ago and it's still true now.

If Hasbro weren't cheating you on the price, they could have included two heads: one blue, for fans who don't understand how color works, and one black, for fans who want their expensive toy to be made correctly. Heck, for $25, we should have gotten both those heads plus the mutated spider-head he got after trying to enhance his powers! As it is, we don't even get alternate hands. There's not a single accessory included. At least this body has enough articulation to display his martial arts prowess - the head sculpt is based on the art of Kieron Dwyer, which would suggest this is Anton Rodriguez (the Tarantula who got mutated), not Luis Alvarez (the Tarantula who got beat up by Batroc). Though honestly, it could be either, since they both had this same mustache at various times.

The only Tarantula that appeared in the '90s Spider-Man cartoon was one of Alistaire Smythe's Spider Slayer robots - if you remember it at all, it's because it was one of the three big robots that all Voltronned together into a bigger, eviler robot. But the human Tarantula did make it into the old toyline, and so deserves a spot in a (supposedly) retro series. Unfortunately, he also deserved to be painted the right color and to have any kind of extra pieces at all, so this release is far from perfect. This entire series was a grift perpetrated by Hasbro on you and me.

-- 12/25/23


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