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Spider-Man Legends
by yo go re

The only Spider-Man villain who shares his name with a pizza.

The dangerous and high-priced hitman known as Tombstone faces off against Spider-Man and other heroes of New York.

"Hitman"? How long has it been since Lonnie Lincoln has been a hitman? He's a boss now, and has been for a while. Worked his way up the old-fashioned way, from simple enforcer to the king of the mountain. Well, one of the mountains - there are a lot of small-time gangs in Marvel's New York, most often scrambling and scrapping for whatever little pieces of Kingpin's empire Daredevil has most recently managed to chip off. But since this is wink-wink nudge-nudge a "retro" series, that bio is accurate to who he would have been at the time we're all supposed to pretend the toy is homaging. Even if nothing else is.

The packaging style for the Spider-Man Retro Collection figures is based on the '90s Spider-Man cartoon toys, and Tombstone did have a toy in that line: it was in Series 6, and the back of the card read "As one of the mob's most brutal and dangerous enforcers, Lonnie Thompson Lincoln was a force to be reckoned with. So when a chemical accident turned his skin rock hard and cold as the grave, he adopted the name Tombstone - an apt moniker for this strong, silent psychopath! Only the might of the amazing Spider-Man has been able to plant this Tombstone into the ground, stopping his reign of terror... but for how long?" Of course, back then he wore a disco shirt and jodhpurs, meaning he looked more like the last Tombstone Legend than like this one, in its fancy new suit.

And it really is new: rather than reuse any of the existing suit bodes, Tombstone gets a unique sculpt, possibly because no one else would have been this tall - remember, even before gaining his superpowers, he was 6'7" and was strong enough to injure Spider-Man pretty badly in a one-on-one fight. It's easy to forget how Spidey's power levels have crept over the years; today it would seem weird if some baseline human guy broke Spider-Man's ribs just with punches; it's like in old X-Men comics where Wolverine's healing factor was just "quicker than average," not "instant."

Dan Yun and the Marvel team really did a lot of "budget sliding" with this series: you know, taking money away from one figure and putting it into the production of another. So we've got figures that are totally reused molds and can't even get alternate hands, and then we've got Tombstone, who's entirely new and is still blassed with two different heads! The normal head has a chilling, sinister smile curling his lips, while the alternate has much more of a snarl, giving him a very distinct pair of expressions. And his skin is white this time, instead of gray like the last one.

Considering how Hasbro has been cutting corners with articulation lately, it's no longer a given that any new Marvel Legends body will deliver the best it could. This new one (we'll call the "brute suit") has swivel/hinge feet, swivel ankles (yay!), double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, some sort of waist (it's hidden by his jacket, so it might be a balljoint, it might be a swivel and a hinged torso), swivel/hinge wrists, double-hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, and then a surprising head: instead of having a balljointed head on a hinge neck, like you might expect, the head and neck are molded as one, with a balljoint at the base of the neck that plugs into a socket in the body. It's an unusual choice, with no real impetus; like, it made sense when it was Talos and he needed to switch between alien and human, but for an average figure there really isn't much call for it. What does Hasbro have in mind for this body in the future?

Tombstone includes swappable fists, and also has a crowbar, because he likes to beat people. Since Hasbro wants to imagine this is a Retro Collection series, there's no Build-A-Figure.

The Spider-Man Homecoming Tombstone was nice, but the character looks cooler in a business suit than in his pseudo-supervillain get-up. If these two figures had been released in the opposite order, this release could have actually counted as "retro": the 1996 toy was wearing the open shirt and popped collar, so painting the 2017 mold's legs grey instead of black would have been a direct update of the cartoon figure. Shame it couldn't be that way!

-- 05/20/24

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