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Spider-Man Noir

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

Let's start at the beginning, one last time.

My name is Peter Parker. I was bitten by a radioactive spider. In my universe it's 1933, and I'm a private eye. I like to drink egg creams and I like to fight Nazis. A lot. Sometimes I let matches burn down to my fingertips just to feel something, anything.

Bet you good money that when Spider-Verse 2: Age of Ultron comes out, Hasbro will have plenty of toys ready to go. They seem to have been caught off-guard by the first movie's massive success, taking three years to get an ML series out, and still didn't manage the entire lineup. Now a year later they're one step closer thanks to this Target exclusive.

Most of this figure's mold comes from What If...? Star-Lord, which is clever re-use: cartoony style, fairly plain shirt and pants... it works. They slipped a new collar piece on to create his turtleneck, and they did all-new boots even though they probably could have gotten away with just leaving Star-Lord's here, since they're solid black. His coat is a new piece, because it needs to billow in the wind dramatically, not just hang around his legs. Wouldn't be too surprised if we saw that again in the future. The back is very wrinkly and even has the sash belt hanging down - a separate piece, not just part of the same sculpt!

Instantly propeling this figure above the other ML version, he's got his hat! Seems like a simple thing to get right, but so far the Minimate is the only other one to do it. (The less said about the Marvel Universe one, the better; that one didn't even remember the coat!) You can have fun tipping the head down so the eyes look intense, then throwing it back so they look like they've popped open in surprise.

You even get the option of having him hatless, in case you think he looks better that way. It's not a removable accessory, because the size wouldn't look right at this scale, so instead we get an alternate head. The goggles stick out from the face slightly, and two smooth seams run over the top of the sculpt - sadly, not the rough stitches the character often has.

The paint is a nice representation of what was seen in the movie. The bulk of the figure is matte black, with gloss for his boots and hatband. The eyes are white, and the webs on his face are painted in grey. It's hard to see under normal lighting, but there are "highlights" on the sleeves, shoulders, knees, and the brim of his hat. They're not just splashes of color (or grey, as the case may be), but halftone patterns like you'd see in a newspaper. Outstanding!

The coat blowing out all over the place means it doesn't get in the way to the legs. Spider-Man Noir moves with swivel/hinge ankles, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, a swivel waist, hinged chest, swivel/​hinge wrists, double-hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/​hinge shoulders, and a barbell neck. You can't tip his head back very far, not with the brim of his hat and the upturned collar of his coat fighting for space.

His only accessory is a black Luger pistol that can fit in the new holster belt he's wearing. That's good, but they could have done more. Remember in the movie when he got obsessed with the Rubik's cube? Hasbro has a mold for that. Just grab the Cosmic Cube mold (and the hand to hold it), paint some colors on each side rather than leaving it translucent blue, and you'd have the perfect extra for this figure. Because the extra he does come with isn't very good.

For some unfathomable reason, Hasbro has decided to pair Spider-Man Noir with Spider-Ham; the same Spider-Ham that was already available with Spider-Gwen. Same mold, same paint... who was this for? If they really felt the need to include more in the package than just Spider-Man Noir, how about another pair of leg segments for Stilt-Man? If you've got the BAF, you'd get to make him taller; if you don't, they'd just be cool pipes for Spider-Man Noir to lurk among. Win/win either way, and definitely better than an unchanged Spider-Ham.

There's just something about Spider-Man Noir that makes him a popular choice for alternate realities; Spider-Verse movie, Shattered Dimensions videogame, Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon... Noir is one of the go-to counterparts who always make the cut. Maybe it's the contrast between normal Pete's upbeat attitude and Noir's beat-'em-up actions, maybe it's the costume, maybe it's that he's not afraid to use guns. Spider-Man Noir is a great addition to the Spider-Verse ranks and shows intelligent re-use of existing parts, but he could have come with more accessories, and he should have come with a better pack-in.

-- 11/24/22

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