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Black Costume Spider-Man

Marvel Legends
by Poe Ghostal

It took a few decades, but it's arguable that Marvel Comics' Spider-Man now has the worldwide recognizability of your Batman or maybe even Superman. In fact, thanks to his movies, Spidey's riding higher than the Man of Steel right now (if not Bats, who got a nice boost from The Dark Knight).

Since taking over the Marvel license, Hasbro has had mixed results in their efforts to continue the Marvel Legends line that ToyBiz came so near to perfecting. Spidey here is a good example of this.

Transported to an alien world by the mysterious Beyonder alongside dozens of other heroes and villains from Earth, Spider-Man is in the fight of his life. Pitted against villains far more powerful than any he has faced before it's all he can do just to stay alive and protect his fellow heroes. With costume and web-shooters destroyed, his first priority is to keep things decent. When he encounters a mysterious, high-tech costume making machine, he's more than willing to give it a shot. The result is a slick new costume, with a whole host of new powers seemingly designed specifically to give him the extra edge he needs.

To my knowledge - which is admittedly limited in this area, but I'm sure our readers will correct me if I'm wrong - this is the first comic-based black costume Spider-Man since Series 9 of the Spider-Man Classic line way back in aught-four, and therefore, that's the gold standard to which this figure is being compared by many collectors. [you forgot the Marvel Select one, but that's a different size --ed.] It's part of the Target "Red Hulk" exclusive series, and each figure is selling for $14.99 - yes, that $14.99 - at retail.

Black costume Spidey seems to have been composed of several different figures, put together in a somewhat slapdash manner. I assumed he'd mostly be a repaint of the Fantastic Four ML Silver Surfer, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I'm sure a few parts of him are from that figure, but since he has a big fat seam running down his lower back (but not his upper back), obviously it was swiped from someone else. He's also got the common Hasbro Small Hands Syndrome.

But that's not all. Spidey's wearing Depends. That's right, if you look closely, you'll notice his crotchular area is too large. It's especially noticeable where the torso meets the crotch. Again, this is undoubtedly a result of the mash-up method of toy design Hasbro seems to be employing with much of this line: Bullseye at least had a belt to help hide the difference. Then there's his head. Spidey's a bit of a peanut head - his neck is almost as wide as his profile. It just looks weird.

I'm okay with Spidey's articulation; at least he's got the bicep swivel, which has gone from being a standard Marvel joint to being a bonus one. He's lacking the finger and toe articulation of previous Spider-Man figures. The toes are missed, but I was never that fond of the finger articulation. Still, for $15, would it have killed Hasbro to throw in a joint so he can put his fingers to his palm?

The spider logo has been painted on in a satisfactory way, but Hasbro also attempted to give Spidey an airbrushing of blue highlights. Their heart was in the right place, and had the color been applied properly, it would have worked well. Unfortunately, before the wash was applied, the figure's limbs were twisted this way and that, especially the forearms and shins. When you move them into their correct positions, the blue parts don't line up anymore.

Spidey's only accessory is an arm of the Build-A-Figure. Without it, I wouldn't have bought this figure. I like Spider-Man and all, but I'm not much of a Marvel collector - but I love Red Hulk. This is a big, bulky arm, befitting the Hulk: if the arm were plugged into Spidey's shoulder, his fingertips would skim the ground. The wrist is one of those Hasbro balljoints, but the elbow is a single hinge and the bicep swivels beneath the shoulder.

Still, at $15 at Target (it's an exclusive series), I definitely don't feel like I got my money's worth, even with the BAF part. The haphazard design and shoddy paint represent an annoying lack of effort on Hasbro's part.

-- 10/02/08

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