What’s Hasbro doing with their 3 ¾” Marvel lines? Who the hell knows? I go to Target and they have four pegs that used to be Marvel Universe. Now you can find everything from MU to figures from the first Thor movie and even Iron Man 2 for God’s sake. You also have a bunch of shitty looking 5-points of articulation Avengers and Wolverine figures. And then there’s this Avenger’s Assemble line, the latest assortment of figures to be tossed into the confused mess. I assume these are being branded off the current Disney cartoon, which I still refuse to acknowledge because Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was cancelled. Oh yeah, baby, I hold grudges. Anyway, I would have ignored this line completely, but then I saw Black Widow on the card and I decided to open a small window in my boycott and make this one exception.
The packaging doesn’t seem to tie it into the cartoon all that much. The character artwork is quite good and looks more comic booky than the stylized portraits I’ve seen in adverts for Avengers Assemble. It’s a very nice card back and it was able to draw in my eye amidst the sea of confusion that makes up Hasbro’s Marvel pegs these days. Note the “SHIELD GEAR” and “Inferno Cannon?” You guessed it, we get some more goofy oversized weapons with these figures, but we’ll get to that later. First, let’s check out the figure!
Some of you may remember how impressed I was with Hasbro’s Black Widow from the Avengers movie line. Just kidding, that was over a year ago. If you remember that, you clearly have too much time on your hands. Anyway, this figure uses a tweaked version of that same body, which is obviously a good thing. The paintwork on the outfit’s piping is gone and this version has high gloss boots and full gloves. The SHIELD emblem is curiously gone from her shoulder and her bracers are painted gold. Last up, her gun belt is gone and in its place is a more comic accurate beaded gold belt with an hourglass emblem on the buckle. The result here is a very nice hybrid design that straddles the modern movie version and the traditional comic character and the black and gold really make this gal pop. I like it a lot!
It’s only in the head sculpt where I will take issue with this figure. Don’t get me wrong, the new head sculpt is pretty fantastic, especially for a figure in this scale. It’s a little more generic than the movie figure and definitely not trying to be Scar-Jo and that’s all fine. My issue here is just the windblown direction of the hair. Again, straddling the modern and the classic, this Widow has long hair, which is cool, but having it perpetually blowing off to the side works for me in statues, but not so much in an action figure. It’s not a deal breaker, but it’s not an artistic choice that I would have made. Fortunately, you can swap the heads between movie Widow and this Widow and I do rather like the results.
It’s been over a year since I looked at the movie Black Widow, so let me recap the articulation here. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, hinged at the ankles, and have swivels in the thighs. There’s no articulation in the torso, but the head is ball jointed. A ball joint in the torso would have really slammed the articulation home, but what we have here is still plenty good.
So how about that “SHIELD gear?” Well, it’s just an excuse to give the figures some huge gimmicky weapon and in this case… hey, wait a second… I this inferno cannon looks familiar. Yup, it’s a repaint of the rocket launcher that was included with Red Skull from the Captain America movie. You may be fooling the kids with this Hasbro, but not me! Actually, I guess it makes sense since Nick Fury’s “Phase 2” was usurping a lot of Hydra’s weapon designs, so why not give Black Widow a repainted Hydra weapon? Ugh, I can’t believe I’m justifying this. It’s just another oversized missile launcher that is mandatory these days with every GI Joe and Marvel movie figure. I’d much rather just have a damn figure stand and a repacked assault rifle from the MU line. To the depths of my darkest accessory tote with you!
I remember the movie Black Widow being a really tough figure to find. I eventually wound up paying a premium for her with another figure on Ebay. This figure fell right off the peg and set me back only ten bucks. Granted, it was the only one on the peg, but if I can find her with the horrible toy distribution in my neck of the woods, I’m guessing she’s got to be pretty common. She’s probably not a “must have” if you own the movie version, but I will say that after that simple head swap, I like this one the best out of the two because of the comic influences in her outfit. On the other hand, if you missed out on the movie version, you need to do yourself a favor and hunt this one down. She’s a solid addition to any 3 3/4″ Marvel collection.