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Sandman

Spider-Man Legends
by yo go re

Anakin Skywalker must haaaate this guy!

Lying on a beach when a nearby nuclear reactor exploded, small-time criminal William Baker was forever transformed into the super-villain known as The Sandman! Able to convert his entire body into a powerful sand-like substance, Baker decided to continue his life of crime. As one of Spider-Man's oldest enemies, Sandman has long sought to destroy the web-swinging do-gooder.

That bio comes from way back in the ToyBiz days, because Build-A-Figures don't have informational text anywhere. It's all still true, though, without any crazy retcons or anything to change the story now.

There are seven figures in this series, and nine pieces of Sandman: legs, torso, arms, head, hands, and head. Yes, we listed the head twice, but no, that's not an accident - you get your choice. Extra pieces mean not everything can be attached to the figure at once, but whatever combination you choose, the pieces fit together easily. Even the legs, which have been a problem in the past.

Other than the arms, Sandman's entire body is the same that Absorbing Man had two series prior - right down to using the same belt. The chest isn't a great choice here, because Marko (oh, that's his most common alias: William Baker is his birth name, "Flint Marko" is the name he committed crimes under) is wearing a shirt, while this torso has visible veins. How tight must that shirt be?!

The arms, meanwhile, get wrinkles on the shoulders that suggest cloth. So do the biceps, though those are harder to spot since they're right where the sculpt starts transitioning from normal anatomy to crazy piles of sand. We don't get "normal" arms for him, just these powered-up versions. They're roughly conical, getting bigger and wider as they move from the elbows to the wrists, leading to hands that are each almost as big as his torso.

The hands that come attached to the arms are a fist on the right and an open, clawing one on the left. They're as rough and gritty as the rest of his arms, and they're molded with bits of sand pouring off, which is a lovely bit of detail on the sculptor's part. It helps sell the idea that he's a walking pile of particles, rather than a solid object. It's cool enough that the tendrils come off the knuckles on the right hand and a few of the fingers on his left, but to include them falling off his palm, as well? That's above and beyond!

The extra hands are more traditional: they're giant weapons. The pegs in the wrists are the same size, so you can put either one on either arm and still have it look right. You get your choice of a big rectangular mallet, or a spiked ball. Both of them look great in place (though the detail is softer on these pieces than the other hands), and they swap out with no trouble at all.

As mentioned, the BAF includes two heads. One, of course, is normal and human. Since this figure is 7¾" tall (closer to the scale of Marvel Select than Marvel Legends), the head is larger than usual and allows for subtler detail. Sandman has an unhappy snarl on his face, a big square jaw, strong cheekbones, and that ridiculous curly haircut he shares with Norman Osborn.

The second head is wilder. His mouth is open wide in a shout, his eye is blank white, and part of the left side of his head is missing. It's all sandy and indented, suggesting that Spider-Man just punched him there, scattering sand and leaving a crater. His chin is sand as well, which ends up looking like a beard, and his hair is changing color as it nears the point of impact.

The figure moves at the ankles, knees, thighs, hips, waist, wrists, elbows, biceps, shoulders, torso, neck and head. You need to be careful posing him, because the large arms really change his center of gravity. His shirt is painted with his usual green stripes, which of course stop lining up the moment you move his joints even a little bit, but some things are unavoidable. His skintone is tan, which makes sense since it's really made of sand, but then his sand parts are a distinct shade that's a darker, more yellow hue. Except, of course, for the sand on the alternate head, which is two shades that don't match any of the others. Taking a cue from the Marvel Universe release, this figure was also sold in the SDCC 2016 "Raft" box set, painted entirely in sand colors. And it got normal arms while this one didn't? How the heck does that work?

When ToyBiz made a Sandman figure in 2005, it was the best toy released that entire year. This Sandman isn't as good as that one, but it's still nice in its own way. Those interchangeable hands are a lot of fun! Still, some kind of texture on the body would go a long way to making it better.

Green Goblin | Multiverse Spider-Men | Ms. Marvel | Black Spider-Man | Jackal | Shocker

-- 07/05/19


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