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Prowler

Spider-Man Legends
by yo go re

Remember when Beetle became a supervillain so he could get famous? Get ready for something even dumber!

Plagued by memories of his youth and desperate to prove his worth, Prowler turns to a life of crime.

Hobart "Hobie" Brown was a window washer whose vaguely racist boss wasn't interested in any of the new safety devices he'd invented. Hobie decided the way to find a buyer was to convert his equipment into superhero gear - then he decided that it would take too long to get any publicity as a hero, so he'd pretend to be a villain. His plan was to steal something as the Prowler, then return it as Hobie and be a hero, which... even if that part worked (big if) and he wasn't immediately arrested as a suspect for the crime, how would it do anything to promote the things he invented? Way to think things through, Hobe.

Prowler was basically "what if Spider-Man was black" years before there was a Miles Morales to make that happen: young guy, scientifically minded, facing constant money and relationship troubles... just without the privilege Peter Parker had as a white kid from Queens. He even clings to walls and shoots things from his wrists!

Allegedly based on a suggestion by a 13-year-old John Romita Jr., Prowler was originally to be known as "The Stalker" and was designed by Romita Sr. It'd be great to ask him what the symbol on the character's chest is supposed to be, because it really just seems like a green shape. Prowler's costume has always been a little thicker and more protective than average superhero spandex, so this figure is based on the Spider-UK/Cosmic Spidey mold, which is signified by its cloth-like wrinkles. He does get new clawed hands, and new pieces on his wrists and ankles to show the gas cartridges he wears. The figure has been given a belt, and Moon Knight's cape.

Prowler moves with a balljointed head, hinged neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a hinged torso, swivel waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel shins and swivel/hinge ankles, which is what we expect from good action figures in the year of our lord 2018. Even if it wasn't, he'd still deserve it, because Hobie is flexible and athletic enough that he's filled in as Spider-Man on occassion.

The brightest spot on the figure is the "Romulan Warbird" pattern on his chest, a very light green. The body of the suit is a darker green, while his mask, cape, and boots are deep purple. His gloves and the anklets get to be metallic purple, which makes sense, since they're supposed to be made from steel. He's also got black patches around his eyes, but you can barely make them out against the shade of the mask - even though the edges are sculpted.

Prowler comes with the right leg of this series' Build-A-Figure, the Lizard, meaning this particular release offers 20% more green-and-purple than the competing brands.

Because of the sharp claws, huge flowing cape, and angled patches around the eyes, some people joke that Prowler is Marvel's Spawn, but that's just silly - everyone knows Nightwatch is Marvel's Spawn. Still, Prowler's only other action figure was released in 1994, which was right when Spawn was at his peak, so it's not like the two have no connections at all. He may not be a popular character, or a toy that anyone was clamoring for, but... I forget where that sentence was supposed to be going. The figure's not terrible, it's not great, it's just kind of there.

-- 10/22/18


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