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Stilt- Man

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

Look! Up in the sky!

As a scientist in the employ of Kaxton Industries, Wilbur Day stole a design and fashioned a pair of telescoping stilts attached to an armor suit that he would use in the pursuit of crime. Originally confronted by Daredevil, Stilt-Man has entered into battle with Captain America, Spider-Man, and has even dared to challenge Thor.

And then he got shot in the dick with a rocket launcher by the Punisher, so maybe he should have retired while he was still on top. Also, Punisher then used the occassion of his funeral to poison and blow up all the other villains who were in attendance. Even in death Stilt-Man is more of a menace to his allies than to any heroes.

Stilt-Man is the Build-A-Figure for the first series of Hasbro's Into the Spider-Verse figures. We say "the first series" with no indication there will actually be a second - that's just guessing on our part, because there are enough characters left that that could easily do it. Buy all six figures in this series, plus as many extra Hand Ninjas as you want, and you can assemble the tall guy.

(You might have a little trouble doing it, though: getting the head onto the balljoint proved exceptionally difficult - nearly impossible, in fact, if the backpack piece was already on the figure. Meanwhile, trying to put the pack on over the head makes getting the peg into the back-hole difficult, so you're going to have a little struggle no matter which way you choose to go.)

The head is the only part of the figure to get any paint: his Stilt-Man suit is plain silver, with no patterns or designs, so all they had to paint are the white lenses over his eyes and the pink of the little bit of exposed skin. He's sculpted with a bit of a smirk, because he enjoys his work even if he's not too good at it. There are antennae over his ears, kind of like Yellowjacket, and his helmet is generally sculpted to be fairly squarish.

Despite what the trading-card bio we quoted above said, there's no evidence Wilbur Day was a scientist. He certainly claimed to be, but what does that mean? His scheme was actually pretty clever: he hired Matt Murdock, claiming his boss had stolen his tech; he then committed crimes using Kaxton's tech (which Day had in fact stolen himself) in an effort to frame his boss. That might be the cleverest thing the character ever did.

The trunk is, of course, unremarkable, other than the sculpt being a little blockier than usual to make clear this is armor and not anatomy. I guess he must have been at least somewhat of a scientist, if he built such strong armor (even if it was partially based on stolen Iron Man blueprints). He wears gloves with rectangular sections on the back, to parallel the design of his legs. He's got a wide belt with some small rockets(?) on the hips, which don't serve much of a purpose beyond breaking up the lines of the all-gray suit and giving your eyes somewhere to land, briefly.

Deadpools's Guide to Super Villains, card #1111 of 4522:
• He's a man with stilts, hence the name I guess
• Uses stilts to commit crimes higher up in the air than normal law enforcement can reach, unless they themselves have stilts, which they often do not but sometimes they do
• Also his stilts are real slippy so if you thought "oh I'll just climb up his legs and stop him that way" then think again, bucko
• One thing's for sure, he definitely doesn't have access to any time machines!

The figure's shoulder harness thing is, like we said above, a separate piece that fits over his torso and plugs into the back. In the comics, the circular thing on the chest is a loudspeaker, because how else does a guy who's several stories up in the air talk to anyone who is not standing on a rooftop? Not sure what the idea is behind the half-dome that comes up behind the head, other than general protection, but there are things behind the shoulders that look like piston-drivers, a logical design choice even if they're not anywhere near the legs.

One story revealed there's some internal device, accessible from the rear of the suit, that assists with balance and keeps Stilt-Man from falling over. See, Turk Barrett once stole the suit from Stilt-Man and went on a bit of a rampage. Wilbur couldn't exactly go to the police and say "hey, someone stole my supervillain suit," so he turned to Daredevil for help. He gave DD a special tool that would let him remove the unknown device, and told him where to find it. (After getting the suit back, Wilbur changed that part of the design so Daredevil couldn't use it against him the next time they fought. Smart.) Anyway, Hasbro did miss a minor opportunity by not giving one of the figures in this series Turk's head. Maybe it'll show up in a Walgreens set someday.

Speaking of heads, the toy's feels a little too large to be proportional with the rest of the body. Maybe it's an optical illusion based on his already-screwy proportions, maybe it looked too small with the dome behind it, maybe it was just a tooling error, who knows? It's not even a huge amount, just enough to make things look slightly off - and to mess with the articulation, because now his chin almost bumps against his collar, and you can't tip the head back because of the antennae. Annoying. The torso has the usual ML articulation (head, neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, chest, waist, and hips), and then we get to the legs.

The legs plug onto the hips, so there's a swivel at the thigh. There's no knee joint, which is accurate to the original Stilt-Man's suit (when Lady Stilt-Man took up the mantle, she made some improvements). There's then a "shin" swivel near the bottom, and the feet are on swivel/hinge ankles. The legs can pull apart at the shin joint, and the peg there is the same shape as the one on the hips - in other words, you can get extra legs (by buying extra Hand Ninjas) and add them on, increasing Stilt-Man's height! But how high should you go?

Stilt-Man's stilts can reach 250' tall in the comics. (At least, we're assuming that is just the stilts themselves, not his full height in them.) The full leg segment for this BAF (including the foot/ankle) is 7¾" tall, or 7'9" in scale. The leg without the foot (ie, the segments you'd be using to increase the toy's height) adds 6⅛", or 6'1".

Doing a quick bit of math reveals that in order to make a Stilt-Man who's at his full height, you'd need an even 40 Hand Ninjas - one for the legs with the feet, 39 for the legs without. At which point this toy would stand about 21 real-world feet tall, or two stories high, so that dude aiming for his third-story window is trying way too hard. Put some of those Ninjas back on the shelf, hombre!

Outside of the suit, Wilbur Day stands 5'6", and is sensitive to any jokes about his height. He shouldn't have been, because that average stature didn't stop him from marrying Princess Python, the lovely snake charmer from the Circus of Crime. A short guy and a single mom, making it work!

Despite already having the whole "Build-A-Leg" thing going on, Stilt-Man is one of those rare BAFs who get accessories of their own. He's not a guy who just uses his fists a lot, especially when the people he's fighting are 100' below where his fists are, so he has alternate hands capable of holding things. Things like a gun. Or, since so many of his appearances involve someone willingly or unwillingly handing him a briefcase full of cash, a briefcase. One that's full of cash! Yes, you can open the case (on flimsy plastic hinges) and find a removable stack of bills. It's not as good as the Pursuit of Cobra Destro, but it's better than the Classified Destro. The gun is plain silver, while the case is tan with golden latches, and the money is green.

Because the action figure doesn't have an internal gyroscope to keep it from falling over, Hasbro was nice enough to include a clear plastic oval stand for the figure. It has four pegs to fit into the little round feet: two near the edge, where the angle of the hips naturally wants to fall, and two near the center, if you want to force the legs to be perfectly straight. The stand is definitely needed, even with only one set of legs in place, and it even does a nice job keeping him standing in a "striding" pose.

Stilt-Man is an amazing choice for a Build-A-Figure: he's a character who might work as a solo release, but not nearly as well as this does - and no matter how well he worked, it would feel like he was taking away a slot from some better character. Plus, the choice to include the legs, the repeatable part of the toy, with an army-builder is the right one. Heck, it's exactly what we said they should have done two years prior! This feels like a character who would never exist as anything other than a custom, but here he is as a real, official release. That's stupendous!

We're still waiting for this Stilt-Man, though.

Miles Morales | Gwen Stacy | Peter B. Parker | Prowler | Hand Ninja | Frog-Man

-- 05/15/21

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