The last time Hasbro made an Absorbing Man figure, it was kind of awful. Let's hear it for second chances!
Unwittingly given superpowers by Loki to battle Thor, Absorbing Man has never been afraid to face the mightiest heroes. Able to assume the properties of whatever he touches, he can harness the power of materials, energy and even weapons. No matter what form he takes, his criminal mind endures, allowing his body to reform even after heavy damage, making him almost indestructible.
That's the text from the card of the Marvel Universe figure - Build-A-Figures don't get biographical text, because Build-A-Figures don't have packaging. You may be wondering why a guy created for Thor and better known for fighting Hulk is the BAF for Spider-Man Series 3, but to that we say: who cares, we've finally got a good Absorbing Man again.
There are seven figures in this series, and
10 pieces of Absorbing Man: legs, torso, arms, head, arms, head, and prison ball. Yes, we listed the arms and head twice, and no, that's not a mistake - he really does have two heads and four arms. Most of the pieces fit together easily, but getting his left leg to attach solidly was tough: the peg for it is very thin, and no matter how hard I pushed, the thigh didn't seem to "click" into place the way it should; I eventually ended up boiling the leg a little bit in order to get it on properly.
Carl "Crusher" Creel has always been drawn with a bald, lumpy
head and big ears, features that this toy keeps alive. In fact, I'd bet you anything the uncredited sculptor based Creel on noted bald man Michael Berryman (you may not recognize the name, but trust us, look him up and you'll know you've seen him in something before). More muscular, sure, but all his facial features and even the curve of his brow are almost perfect matches. Somebody's influences are showing!
Of course, that's just the plain head. Like we said, the pile of BAF parts includes two, and the second looks much angrier. The anatomy is clearly the same person, just furious - his brows are knit, and his mouth is open so far that you can see his sculpted uvula back there. This one is also depicted mid-absorption: the left side is sculpted like stone or concrete, fading to smooth skin as it moves to the right, and has grey paint to match. The eye on that side is metallic gold with a black outline.
The figure shares his torso with Terrax, but that's really about all. He's wearing long pants, which clearly Terrax didn't have, and his shoes are an average style. Although, as we've said before, if these are supposed to be the clothes he was wearing in prison when he got his powers, he shouldn't have shoelaces or a belt. In his first appearance, his pants were white with big black stripes, but in later stories they were sometimes purple with thin stripes, and that's what we've got here. His chest is very veiny, but he has no nipples. You'd be angry, too!
After reviewing Rhino, we got emails aplenty from people who had ignored our super dire warnings and said they had no trouble swapping the heads. Apparently the major multi-million dollar toy company is smarter about making toys than
we I gave them credit for.
Anyway, because of all the feedback, I felt safe popping in Absorbing Man's arms without first making any modifications. Sure enough, they swap in and out with no trouble! But it really makes you think: Absorbing Man would be a perfect choice for that Hero Mashers line, wouldn't he? He's made for removable pieces!
So, let's discuss those arms. The pair that come with Scarlet Spider are the same as Terrax's: muscular, one fist and one gripping, etc. The left arm is pure pink skin, while the right arm is painted silver with a black drybrushing to make it look metallic. So if you had visions of a completely human Creel, well, sorry, but you're going to have to paint that yourself.
The arms that come with Morbius have the same underlying sculpt, but have been completely redone. The right arm is brown and jagged, suggesting it's made of wood. The left
arm is the same color as the side of the angry face, and has a rocky texture to match. Both right hands are open slightly, though getting him to hold his ball can be tough (and again, it should be a prisoner's ball and chain, not a wrecking ball). Despite what I've said in the past, Absorbing Man does tend to absorb multiple things at once, so this is perfectly fine. And like we said, swapping the arms is super easy. Given the trouble I had making the leg stay in place, you have to wonder if they were planning alternate legs for him, too?
While I still wish I had the 2004 ToyBiz Hulk Classics Absorbing Man figure, this figure may have finally supplanted it as the one to get. It's definitely tons better than Hasbro's last effort, with a nicely detailed sculpt, actual interchangeable parts, and a face that looks like something rather than being the blandest thing ever. In fact, the only thing minorly wrong with him is his size - breaking the 7¾" mark puts him more in scale with Marvel Select than Marvel Legends, and even that is easy to overlook, since he's been growing in size like this since his first appearance. It doesn't make a ton of sense for him to be included in a Spider-Man series, but who cares? Hasbro did a terrific job here.
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