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Peter B. Parker

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
by yo go re

Alright, people, let's do this one last time:

Peter Parker mentors Miles Morales, an all-new Spider-Man, to understand the importance of power and responsibility.

Of all the alternate characters in Into the Spider-Verse, Peter B. Parker is the closest to the "real" one: his middle name is "Benjamin," he hails from Earth E-616... really, the only differences are that his Aunt May is dead, his divorce didn't have anything to do with Satan, and he's more overtly Jewish. In the comics, he's loosely "unidentied Protestant" if anything, but he can at least be read as a Jewish metaphor. Superman, in the Golden Age, was a Mosaic figure, a baby sent from his people to live with those who could protect his life; Peter Parker, in the Silver Age, was a post WWII story, a kid being raised by relatives because he'd lost his immediate family (in Europe, no less!). Even his home of Forest Hills, Queens, was a very Jewish neighborhood at the time. So if Peter Parker wasn't Jewish, he was at least Jew-"ish". Spider-Verse was just the first to say the quiet part loud.

For whatever reason, Spider-Verse Peter Parker ended up looking like a cartoon doppelganger of comic artist Todd Nauck. Like, it's uncanny. The oblong head, the messy hair, the several days worth of stubble... we're not ragging on Nauck, by the way, he's the one who pointed it out. He's even cosplayed it at conventions! It's not like the animators did it on purpose, it's just a great coincidence.

PBP gets a new body, because no other Spider-Man has been wearing sweatpants and an overcoat. And two mis-matched shoes: his right foot has a brown boot, while his left has a gray sneaker. The bit of Spidey costume visible under his jacket has sculpted webs and even a sculpted emblem on the chest. The figure's arms are the same as a lot of ML coat-wearers, but the hands are new. He's not quite sculpted with the big pot-belly seen in the movie, but there is a hint of a curve, and definitely no six-pack.

You can give him a bigger gut if you want, though. Both torso joints are balljoints, so if you lean the waist all the way back and the chest all the way forward, it fakes the schlubbby look very well. And the coat hides how out-of-line his spine looks then! The rest of the joints are what we expect: ankles, shins, knees, thighs, hips, wrists, elbows, biceps, shoulders, neck, and head. The neck and torso were molded as separate pieces, presumably because that was cheaper than painting the neck pink (they were already skipping the unneccessary blue on the back of his shirt), but while there's a bit of "wiggle" in the join, it's not an actual joint.

The bare neck limits our choice of accessories, though. There's an alternate head with Pete's Spidey mask, but because the neck is skin and not cloth, it can only be the version where it's pushed up onto his forehead. Yep, the exact thing we asked for with Miles. It looks awesome, but we don't get a fully masked version (and other ML heads won't fit this balljoint). Maybe they made the neck this way because they're planning a second series, and this will allow them to reuse the torso mold.

Beyond the extra head, Spidey gets four alternate hands - fists or thwips, wearing his gloves instead of being bare like the human hands are. He's also got a big drink with a straw, which is why the pink right hand is open so wide.

This series has Stilt-Man as a Build-A-​Figure (for some reason), and Peter includes the helmeted head.

Stories meant to include kids in their audience often need to leave some things unsaid. For instance, in Into the Spider-Verse, Peter B. offers to be the one to stay behind and send the other Spider-Men home; on the surface, it just seems like he's performing a heroic sacrifice, paralleling Peter Not-B. Parker's death from the beginning of the film; but if you consider his life at home, where Aunt May has died and Mary Jane has divorced him, he's not staying because he's super valiant, he's staying because he thinks he doesn't have anything to live for. He's staying because he doesn't care if he dies. He's staying because he wants to be dead. That's friggin' tragic, man! Fortunately, he does change his mind and starts working to turn things around, so there you go: if you feel like that, don't give in. Be strong like Spider-Man, and get some help. He didn't do it alone and you don't have to either.

-- 05/12/21

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