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Spider-Man and Spinneret

Spider-Man: 60 Amazing Years
by yo go re

If anything stops Marvel Legends' new packaging from winning the ToY Award this year, it's going to be the fact that they don't put any informational text on the box anywhere. Like, yes, part of the reason you come to us is for excellent explanations of who and what things are, but there's a difference between a TV show having a series bible they can give to new writers and that same show just telling them "go read the fan wiki."

During the 2015 Secret Wars event, every universe in the Marvel multiverse was destroyed, with God Emperor Doom using his vast ultracosmic powers to hold some loose remnants together in a piecemeal conglomeration known as "Battleworld" - basically an excuse for Marvel to publish a bunch of "What If...?" miniseries for a couple months. For instance, Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, which was five issues of "What if Joe Quesada hadn't been bored in his marriage?".

Okay, it's really "What if Spider-Man and Mary Jane had stayed together?", but that's less snarky and I'm still bitter. You'll recall that in the normal universe, Marvel's solution to "some readers might find the concept of divorce distasteful" was to give Peter and MJ a Satanic abortion, which is surely going to be much more comforting to any readers with that kind of 1950s morality. In the timeline we should have gotten, they stayed married, stayed pregnant, had their daughter, and when she grew up and displayed powers, began fighting crime as a family.

The first figure in this set, disappointingly, is Spider-Man. Honestly, this would be great, if the Retro Collection version didn't exist. This is that, with darker colors and larger icons - hardly the most purchase-worthy change ever. This one does get the wall-crawling hands that the last one didn't, and pinless joints, but is that enough to make you double up? No, but maybe the unmasked Peter Parker head would be. It's the same sculpt as before, a bit young and a bit happy, and with his hair combed back. Do you think Pete gets this haircut specifically because it's easy to hide the "hat hair" wearing his mask would get him?

Let's get on to the good stuff. On Earth-18119, Civil War never happened, because Professor X was active with the X-Men at the time, and was able to convince everyone that superheroes were capable of policing themselves without governement intervention; basically, the Superhero Registration Act was Seduction of the Innocent, and he suggested the Comics Code Authority. Anyway, with no Civil War, Tony doesn't convince Spider-Man to unmask, and thus he doesn't have to sell his family to Mephisto to make everyone forget. Famly stays together, daughter gets born, daughter gets powers, parents work together to take care of her.

In this world, Mary Jane goes by the name "Spinneret," because that sounds both spidery and feminine. Their first group enemy had tech that allowed him to utilize other supers' powers, and Pete used that stuff to let MJ go out on patrol with him; in other words, she has Spider-powers because she's piggybacking his. Her costume is a version of Spidey's, with the blue replaced by white and the belt extended so it looks like a pair of booty shorts. Change approved! She's also got calf-high boots that she folds over into anklets - and the lining is white with red webs instead of red with white webs. Neat!

Hasbro's really been hammering this torso mold a lot recently, with the two holes and everything. Have they lost every other bust tooling, that they're forced to keep reusing one that's clearly meant to have some sort of collar piece glued in? She's not the first Spider-MILF to have this abdomen, at least. The red on his stomach doesn't match the reds on the rest of her body; either they all needed to be painted or they all needed to be molded, because the mix stands out. On the plus side, the white is pristine: we've nearly forgotten the days when every "white" costume needed to have colorful "shadows" painted on. Progress!

Spinneret's mask only covers her eyes, but unlike other Spider-Women, she has enough sense to at least wear her hair up: it's pulled up into a bun at the back of her head, with just a few stylish strands falling loose. The set does include an alternate head for her as well, unmasked and with her hair hanging down. That's the same mold that was included with Retro Collection Gwen Stacy, just with brighter hair and the lipstick painted closer to the actual shape of the mouth this time. Like her hubby, she gets fists, thwips, or sticking hands. No webs for anyone, though.

If this set was going to be limited to being a two-pack, then like we said above, getting a Spider-Man is disappointing. Sure, it's good for marketing, but there are plenty of Spider-Men available already. You know what's not available anywhere? Annie Parker, their Renew Your Vows Spiderling daughter (who, had everything gone right, would be the younger sister of Mayday Parker). They fight as a family, not a couple with a babysitter at home. "Oh, but that would require a new mold, they can't use a kid's body to make anyone else." Well, 1) who else is that giant Knull mold ever going to be turned into, and 2) Valeria Richards, Elsie Dee, Katie Power, Peni Parker, Molly Runaways. All preteens, all ways to reuse a potential new mold. Or if you don't want to do that, the book lasted long enough that she'd become a teenager by the end, so that costume instead. A three-pack would have been the best way to make this set, but no matter how good Spinneret is, this two-pack isn't even the best it could be as long as Spider-Man is taking up half of it.

-- 11/20/22

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