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Ultimate Spider-Men

Spider-Man Legends
by yo go re

First Hasbro created a teen girl body - now they've got a teen boy.

With amazing agility and wall-crawling skills, these young web-slingers take down the bad guys!

In the late '90s, Marvel decided to create the "Ultimate Marvel" imprint, a chance to streamline its complicated continuity for a new generation of readers. And also to give its books consequences. In the Ultimate Universe, a character who dies stays dead, so when Green Goblin managed to kill Peter Parker, that was it. But because Spider-Man was more important than any specific person, the mantle was taken up by another boy, Miles Morales. He had similar powers to Peter, plus a few others: he can camouflage himself, basically turning invisible, and he has a "venom sting" that can knock people out, comparable to being kicked in the crotch. There was already one Miles Morales action figure, but it was kind of garbage, so a new version is very welcome!

At first, Miles wore a knockoff of Peter's suit - red and blue body, black webs on it, you know the drill. After being apprehended by SHIELD, they gave him a new suit of his own, one that was mainly black with red webbing over the shoulders. Following recent trends, the eyes on his mask are sculpted, but the rest of the webs are just painted on.

Since Ultimate Spidey was just a teenager, he hadn't yet built up the muscle mass that comes from swinging yourself around the city on a thread, so a skinny little body works great for him. Originally, Miles was 5'2" and weighed 125 lbs, but he's been allowed to age slightly, so a 5½" body works just fine. It's definitely muscular, with defined pecs and abs even through the cloth of his costume, but it's also got smooth, slender limbs, and hands and feet that are perhaps just slightly too large, to suggest he's still got some growing to do.

Hasbro doesn't skimp on articulation - they've found a layout scheme that works for them (and for us), and they stick with it. Ultimate Spider-Man has a balljointed head, hinged neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, hinged torso, swivel waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel shins and swivel/hinge ankles. It may not be quite as flexible as you might want a Spider-Man to be (no lateral pec hinges like the adult Spider-body, for instance), but A) he's just starting out, not yet in full fighting shape, and B) this body has to work for future characters, too. Since his costume is predominantly black, there are no mis-colored joints.

Another distinct advantage this toy has over the previous Miles is the accessories. Rather than an inexplicable web shield, we get an unmasked head for him! Sadly, it does not look like Donald Glover - and so nerds everywhere shed a tiny tear. He does have a bit of a grin on his face, and his close-cropped hair looks like it would fit in a mask much better than Pete's.

Because this is the first use of a new mold, it also comes with a bunch of hands: two web-shooting, two wall-crawling, and two fists. Getting them out of the arms to switch is tougher than usual, but not impossible.

The Build-A-Figure for this series of Spider-Man Legends is another Venom, and Ultimate Spider-Man comes with the arm. The right arm.

It's cool that Hasbro has followed Mattel's lead by creating a mold specifically for teenage heroes, and cooler still that they gave us both Ultimate Spider-Men as a way to introduce it.

-- 11/14/16

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