Sunday, February 8, 2009

Marvel Universe Wave 1 Spider Man

I'll be the first to admit it, I'm not a huge Spider-Man fan. I'm one of those fans who has read a handful of comics, has a figure or two and enjoyed the movies. Now that I got that out of the way, when I picked this figure up after reviewing Iron Man, I felt like I was looking at a whole different toy line. While the Iron Man figure had this awesome feel and look, Spidey here just had this almost animated look to him. But let's not get ahead of myself and have everyone wanting to hang me at the stake, before I go on, lets look at the package and then the goodies that are inside.

Nothing too much to say that I didn't already have to say in the Iron Man review, though I did notice a different looking back to Spidey's card. Now, I don't know if they're gonna change it up like this on the US release figs, but I hope they stick to some sort of package with the same looking back like some similar lines. I've always been a fan of a package you can turn around and look at all the other figures in the wave, so here's hoping they stick to something like that. Here you can see 4 figures in the first wave, Silver Surfer, Spidey, Punisher and Iron Man.

And of course, again one of my fav. parts of the package, the little picture on the side showing that Spidey is #2 in the wave. Here's hoping they bring out some sort of check list, something I know my son will love looking over, checking off figures he has and dreaming about ones he wants.

Like Iron Man, Spider-Man also comes with his Top Secret folder with cards, files and online code. Over the weekend at the New York Comic Con, it was announced that Nick Fury will be a mail away figure. Now I don't know if that has anything to do with the Fury Files codes or not, or if it's a completely separate offer, like you, we'll have to wait and see what they "officially" announce. Spidey also came with the little poster. While it's a neat touch, I would have preferred some sort of File Card like the GI Joes have, but I guess a poster is cool too. We'll have to wait and see what the US release comes with.

I know what you're thinking, finally... the meat of the review. The figure! Right before I do dig in though, I did want to bring up the one lone accessory that came with Spider-Man, his webbing. Now, I've seen some pretty cool custom webs made from clear plastic twist ties. I've used them on my Movie figures in the past. I've also seem some cool rubbery webbing that came with some figures, while not that strong, looked real cool. All those mentioned above were cool, looked cool and I think made the figures look nice. Spidey's little web he comes with here, I don't know, just doesn't look that great to me.

Maybe I was spoiled by the other offerings that I've seen, but this is one little hard plastic web that clips on the wrist of Spider-Man. Now, if that was it, I think I would have liked it a little more. But for some reason, they felt the need to add a big jumble of webbing at the end, so it really limits the amount of poses you can use with the webbing. In my picture below, that's the best thing I could come up with without it looking like some sort of blob covering half of his body. I know, a small gripe, but I think at the price these are nowadays, they could have done a little more on accessories.

And now... onto the figure. When I first saw pictures coming out, I wasn't happy with the figure. I saw a fat rendition of every one's favorite wall crawler. Something just looked off about the figure that was popping up over the net, whether it was the actual pictures that people took, or it was the pose, I don't know, but I didn't like it. So when I first opened this figure, I was already ready for disappointment.

When I first started playing around with Spidey though, there were a lot of things I liked, a lot of things I actually loved about it. Though, as soon as I started playing around with him, there were so many things that I started to notice that I didn't like, I was back to how I originally felt about him. For one the sculptor looks like he spent most his time on the upper half of the figure. By the time it came to the lower half, it looks like he/she pretty much gave up. To me, the lower half just looks plain compared to the top. Now, I guess that could mainly be because of there being more plain blue in the costume, but that's not what I'm talking about. If you look at the figure from the side, you can really see the plain cylindrical look of the lower legs. He has no definition at all, and to me looks weird.

Maybe I'm just being a little picky, it's not a bad figure, it was just something that caught my eye and since then, I keep looking back at the lower half and wish it was a little better.

I mentioned a little about the detail in the sculpting, and what I think really helps this figure is the painting on him too. There have been a lot of Spidey figs out in the past, and while good figures, they were ruined by sloppy paint. This one is far from that and I think what saves this figure from being thrown in the fodder bin, is just that, the wonderful paint job on the figure. It really helps bring out the detail on the webbed suit. Not only that, some parts you can't even tell what's painted, the red or the blue, so props to the big H for that.

I had to dig out my Marvel Showdown Spider-Man for a minute to throw up some comparison pictures. The main reason I did this was to both show the amount of detail that I think this figure could have had, but also to show that the two lines are compatible... to a point. Where the Showdown figures had a real gritty realistic comic book look to them, these new Hasbro figures have more of a cartoonish, almost animated look to them, while not a bad thing at all, just shows how different two people(or companies) can look at one character.

Moving on to my favorite part of a figure, the articulation. While Spidey shares some similar articulated joints with Iron Man, there are some that differ slightly here and there. Some I love and some leave me scratching my head, so let me break them down and then I'll go through them one by one in more detail.

Neck-Ball joint
Shoulders- Ball hinged
Bicep- Swivel
Elbows- hinged
Wrists- Swivel
Mid Torso- Multi-swivel joint
Hips- Ball socket/jointed
Knees- Double hinged knees
Ankles- Ball hinged

Wheeew, now that's a lot of articulation on a lil' guy like this, but with someone who sometimes bends his knees over around his head, I guess it's to be expected. First off we'll look at the head. Like Iron Man, Spidey here also suffers from not being able to look up and down that much, or at least as much as he should be able to with a ball jointed neck. The whole purpose of a ball jointed neck is to give almost super realistic poseability on the part of the character's head. But for some reason, I think more and more sculptors are forgetting this and lately, it seems head movement has taken a step back in progression. I'm hoping as more and more lines switch to 1:18th scale, companies will be forced to up their game a little and hopefully, they'll get ball jointed necks back to where they should be.

Where the head lacks, the shoulders more than make up for it in poseability. Not only does the shoulder have a basic Ball hinged joint that plugs into the torso, it also has the swivel joint that leads into the bicep. I love this combo because it gives you ultimate range in realistic poses than just having the one shoulder joint. Now, of course there had to be a downside to the arms, at least for me there was, and it's the elbow joints. Again, it seems like they stepped backwards a little and gave him simple hinged elbow joints with pegs showing through the arms. In the last couple of years Hasbro has almost exclusively switched to hidden pegs and injection-molded joints, so I don't know why they did this and went back to this old method. I guess it works, but I don't know, it just seems a little dated to me and I wish and hope they update it in the future. Finishing off the arms are swivel wrists, while not much else you can do, I would like to see something like the Animated clone trooper wrist joints in the future. I know it's wishful thinking, but with someone like Spider-Man, I'd hope they'd look for as much poseability as possible and I think those type of wrists would be perfect for him.

Now taking a look at the Torso, it looks pretty much like your standard action figure torso. Not that much of a difference here, but some things I did notice was not only could you swivel his mid-joint, you could also rock it from side to side. And if that wasn't enough, you can of course bend him forward and backwards, all of these combining to make for some real good poses. To top it all off, he also has a swivel waist to add to the fun.

Heading down the figure we next look at the hips. Like Iron Man, Spidey also has ball socket like joints made popular by the GI Joes. Again, unlike the Joe's metal bar, he has a plastic bar in his crotch. While I'm sure may feel uncomfortable for our lil' web slinger, I think it really works for him. I noticed his legs don't feel as bad as Iron Man's did. They move with ease and I don't feel like they're going to rip off this time around. I do wonder why they didn't go with a more traditional Marvel Legend like hip joint with the ball socket/swivel action similar to the shoulders. Again, some of the little things that I think will hopefully be added into future figures.

Unlike Iron Man's knees, Spidey has double jointed knees, which I think is a must for having him in cool crouched and crawling poses. I'm glad they went with these knees and I wouldn't have wanted them any other way... well, at least until they come up with some sort of double hinged/swivel/jointed knees that combines all them into one. After the knees, we head down to the ball jointed ankles, which work perfectly well on Spidey. Nothing much else they could have done besides maybe some mid feet articulation or some added "rocker feet" like some Marvel Legends have had in the past, but it's not anything to really get too upset over.

Now from a customizer's point of view, I guess there's not really much you could do with Spidey here. I guess you could pop him apart for parts, but besides his thighs, I think Spidey's distinct look kind of limits what you can actually use him for on an actual custom besides, well... another Spider-Man. With that said, he does pop apart pretty easily with some simple heat either from a cup of boiling water or a simple 30 seconds under a hair dryer. I didn't take a deconstruction picture yet due to the elbows and knees, but I will in the future and I'll be sure to update this when I do.

With that said, I couldn't help myself looking for a suitable head for a quick unmasked Spidey/Peter Parker look, so with a quick look in the drawer-o-heads I came up with this...

Like I mentioned above, for the most part, these new Marvel figures fit in well with the older Showdown figures scale wise. They also fit well with some other lines as well. I can see all those battles now where Snake Eyes is taking on Spider Man, or Punisher joined the GI Joe team or even some classic Marvel vs DC.. but after that I think it'd be stretching it a little on some of the other lines out there.

Thank you again for taking the time to read this. Please feel free to leave me a comment on anything you feel needs work. If there are any picture request, also feel free to make them and if possible I'll be more than happy to take them.

Keep your eyes peeled for Human Torch and Punisher's reviews coming soon...


  1. Another excellent review... I really appreciate how thorough you are.

    I also really like the "deconstructed" pictures you post... looking forward to seeing Spidey.

    I would disagree that this figure is too fat... I prefer it to the spindly look of the ToyBiz one.

  2. yup my fav 3 3/4 spider fig is the showdown just love the open left hand this one from hasbro is sloppy sculpting wise


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