Marvel Legends (Armadillo Wave): Shriek by Hasbro

Yeah… I had to crap out of delivering new content last Friday, but it’s a brand new week and I’m optimistic about being back on track. And for today’s Marvel Monday, I’m pressing through with the Armadillo Wave and a look at crazy shouty person, Shriek!

Shriek continues to add to the Spider-Man flavor of the assortment, and because she’s on the petite side, she gets the Armadillo torso crammed into the package with her, and boy is it crowding her! I had heard that Shriek was going to appear in this wave before actually seeing the solicitation shots, and I’ll confess, this is not the version I had in mind. Give me the version on the Amazing Spider-Man #393 cover and I would have been a much happier person. But, let’s get her out of the package, have a look, and try not to hold that against her.

I’m assuming this is a recent look for Frances, because it smacks a bit of the OMG CUTESY look that Marvel seems to be going for these days, which is kind of at odds with the sultry and insane version of the character I prefer. That’s not to say it’s a huge departure in terms of costume. Her black and white body suit is familiar enough and it looks good, although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the ample show of cleavage and solitary buccaneer boot. The paint lines are pretty clean, and while white paint over black plastic is usually a nightmare for Hasbro, it manages to look pretty clean and vibrant here. Nearly the entire costume is executed through paint, but you do get a belt and bangle on her left wrist, both of which are separately sculpted pieces.

The portrait is fine, but again I prefer her with the more voluminous 90’s headbanger hair. It would have also been cool to get a Cable-style effect part for her left eye. I think the blur effect from the halftone printing is a little more apparent here because of the black and white (and blue) contrast, but it really only starts to break down when you get in close. My biggest issue is she just looks too happy, cutesy and nice. If you’re going to give her a smile, at least give her a crazy smile. I obviously don’t know what’s going on with her in the current crop of comics, because I don’t read contemporary Marvel, but she definitely looks like she’s lost her edge. Obviously, it would have been nice to get a shouty head, but this is likely one of the cost-saving figures in the assortment, so that was never going to happen.

But what’s this??? Double-hinged elbows? Swivels in the biceps? ON A G-G-G-GIRL??? Yeah, we saw this on Captain Carter in The Watcher Wave, and I’m surprised to see it here again. I like it so much better than the rotating hinge elbow that we usually get on the ladies, and I hope to see it continue. Additionally, Shriek comes with three sets of hands! You get a pair of fists, a pair of splayed hands, and a pair of totally useless accessory holding hands. Really, Hasbro? You give Shriek a third pair of hands, but we don’t get the splayed crawling hands with Integrated Suit Spider-Man? This makes no sense to me. Oh well. The splayed finger hands here work well for focusing her sonic attack, or it would if she had a shouty face to go with them.

Despite what it probably sounds like, I don’t dislike this figure at all, it’s just not the version of the character I wanted. Indeed, everything about this figure is executed quite well, from the sculpt to the paint. Yes, I wish they omitted her third set of hands and a third set to Spider-Man from last week, but sometimes it’s tough to understand what the peeps at Hasbro are thinking. I’d like to think we might still get a more classic version of Shriek with a proper screaming head… maybe a Doom Maidens box-set? Eh, probably not, but you never know!

Marvel Legends (Armadillo Wave): Integrated Suit Spider-Man and J. Jonah Jameson by Hasbro

Welcome back to another Marvel Monday! This week, I’m kicking off a brand new wave, and by that I really mean an older wave that’s on my backlog pile. The Armadillo Wave is a smattering of Spider-Man based figures covering everything from the MCU films, comics, and even the GamerVerse! I’d say only about two-thirds of this assortment really interested me, but the Armadillo Build-A-Figure was enough to tip me over to getting the whole wave. Let’s start today with Spider-Man in his Integrated Suit as he appeared in No Way Home, and then J. Jonah Jameson!

I re-watched No Way Home a couple of weeks back and I still really dig that movie a lot. Indeed, as sad as I am to say it, right now these Sony-Disney efforts are about the only thing holding my attention toward the MCU these days. Integrated Suit Spider-Man does not come with any BAF parts, but I’m guessing Hasbro figured this one would be the most desirable one in the wave and that he’d have no problem selling on his own.

The Integrated Suit is basically a merged version of both the Iron-Spider and Upgraded Suit, and the design is definitely not one of my favorites. I tend to like my Spidey suits red and blue and vibrant, although the straight-up Iron-Spider Suit was spiffy enough to get my approval. This one takes the black and red from the upgraded Suit and adds some gold trim and a gold spider emblem on the chest and back, as well as gold web-shooters. The gold does spruce up the Upgraded Suit design, but I still think this whole design is just a mess. Of course, none of that is the figure’s fault, and to be fair, I think Hasbro did a pretty nice job with what they had to work with. The paint here is very sharp, and the texturing on the red parts of the suit looks fantastic. I do, however, think a little wash or panel lining in the web pattern would have looked nice.

You get only one portrait, which feels kind of cheap given the lack of a BAF part. Hasbro has enough Tom Holland heads by now that they really should have thrown one in here. And if not an unmasked head, than maybe a second masked head with squinting eyes.

The articulation is everything I expect from my Spidey Legends these days, which means it has all the usual points plus the shoulder crunches. You won’t get some of the extreme poses you will out of the more expensive imports, but I still had a whole bunch of fun playing around with this figure, and he’ll likely spend some time on my desk so I have something to fiddle around with on my down time.

You get two sets of hands: Fists and thwippy hands, and once again here the figure comes up short. With no BAF part and no extra head, the least Hasbro could have done was throw in the splayed finger hands we’ve seen with some previous Spidey Legends releases. I think this wave came out before the big price hike, but with Legends now approaching $30 each, I’m going to need more to get me to keep going even as a selective buyer.

Overall, I think this is a decent figure, it’s just based on a suit design that I’m not terrifically fond of. Still, if anything I think the design works better as a toy than on the big screen and Hasbro did a decent job making me like it a little more here. An extra head, another pair of hands, and a little linework on the web pattern, and I’d have no other complaints. Still, even with no BAF part, I’m glad I picked him up. Let’s move on to J.J. Jameson!

OK, so I absolutely lost my shit when I saw that post-credits stinger at the end of Far From Home with J.K. Simmons reprising his role as J. Jonah, and again in No Way Home. Say what you will about the Raimi Spider-Man movies, and I am most definitely still a fan, but Simmons as Jameson was pitch-perfect casting. It was inspired. Still, this figure is something of a consolation prize, because I would have much rather had younger, newspaperman Jameson from those films as a modern Legends figure. But hey, I’ll take what I can get, and I still think this figure is a real treat. This looks to be mostly a reuse of the business-suit body that we’ve seen in the past with characters like Agent Coulson and Chameleon, but the lack of tie puts it a lot closer to the Bruce Banner figure we got in the Age of Ultron 4-pack. The key difference is Jameson here has one button of the sports jacket buttoned. I don’t remember seeing that on a previous suited figure, so it may be some new sculpting there, or just recycled from a figure I missed. The suit is blue, the underlying shirt is white, and he’s got a freshly polished pair of black shoes. Yup, this was a pretty easy figure for Hasbro to knock out, and as such I don’t have a whole lot to say about it.

The two portraits are really spot on for a contemporary Simmons. And even without the full head of hair and the trademark silver wing tips, this is still J. Jonah through and through. The sculpt does a beautiful job of recreating every line in his face, both in the relatively calm portrait and the angry shouty one. And let’s be honest, who among us is going to display this figure without the shouty face?

You get two sets of hands, the first of which are relaxed hands. Well, I say relaxed hands, but they really aren’t. They’re actually more like flat karate chop hands, and they don’t really fit this figure unless you want to have Jameson doing the robot at the Daily Bugle’s annual Christmas party. And honestly, I just don’t think that’s his style. A pair of actual relaxed hands would have been more welcome here, and we all know Hasbro has done them before, so it’s odd they went with these instead.

Now, the second pair is more his type. You get a pointing finger on his right hand and a left hand that is clenched into a tight fist of righteous anger. Combine these with the shouty head, and you’ve got all you’ll ever need!

As I stand with one foot ready to step outside the Marvel Legends collecting circle, figures like these give me hope that maybe I’m not quite done yet. Jameson surely isn’t the most exciting figure around and he isn’t the version of Simmons/Jameson that I really wanted, BUT… I love him, and I love that Hasbro gave him to us. Likewise, the Integrated Suit ranks pretty far down on my list of Spider-Man’s MCU suits, and yet I can still find some fun and joy in this figure. Off the top of my head, I honestly couldn’t tell you what other figures are in this wave, so it’ll be a surprise when I dive into the box to get my next figure to review, but so far the assortment is off to a pretty OK start.

Marvel Gallery: GamerVerse Spider-Man by Diamond Select

Since I’m between waves of Marvel Legends, I thought I’d take this week’s Marvel Monday as an opportunity to check out another Marvel Gallery statue by Diamond Select. I’ve cut down on my buying of these statues quite a bit, not because I don’t like them, but rather they just take up a lot of space that I don’t have. And while I don’t mind storing action figures in boxes, it seems silly to buy statues and not have them on display. Still, every now and then one shows up at a price I can’t resist, and that was the case with this one!

As the name suggests, this statue is inspired by the Spider-Man PlayStation game, which I own but still have not gotten around to playing. Although, I do have a vacation coming up with nothing planned, so I may remedy that soon. As always, the packaging for this line is superb, with windows on the front, top, and both side panels, and the statue itself encased between two transparent trays. The box lets in plenty of light, and I do actually display most of these in the box, almost like it’s its own display case. On the back you get a picture of the statue and a little write-up about Spider-Man, just in case you’re considering purchasing the statue, but don’t know who he is. Let’s open up the box and see what we got!

Diamond’s Gallery statues tend to waffle between subdued museum-style poses, and those with a hint of action. Both have their merits, but I think the composition of this piece really shows the excitement that a good action pose can deliver. Spidey looks like he just landed on the roof of the cab and is instantly ready to fire off his web at an unseen foe. It could easily pass for cover art, and that’s a great compliment. Yes sir, I like this pose a lot!

One of the big features of the game is the ability to unlock a bunch of different suits, and pictured here is Spider-Man’s Advanced Suit, probably best distinguished by the large, white spider emblems on the front and back. This seems to be one of the most prominent suits featured in the game, as I see it merchandised a lot, and I like it enough to have plunked down the scratch for the Hot Toys release some time ago. I think it’s the colors that make it so appealing to me, as the white really compliments the bright blue and red of the rest of the suit. I especially like the return of this particular shade of blue dominating this costume. It’s far more appealing to me than the darker blue or black of some of Spidey’s MCU outings. Regardless, the colors are beautifully represented on this statue, and when mixed with the bright yellow of the cab roof, this statue is a feast for the eye!

Just about every detail of the suit is part of the sculpt, from the deep cuts in the web pattern to the puffed out reinforced seams. There’s a nice wash to bring out the webbing on the red portion of the suit, as well as add a little definition to the muscles, while the blue portions are left clean and slick. The figure does a splendid job of capturing Spider-Man’s physique, with the suit fitting him like a second skin. Overall, the paint lines are solid, but there is definitely some slop around the longer white spider legs on the front of the suit. The closer you get in, the more apparent it is, but it’s not something that is going to bother me while I’m admiring this piece on the shelf. It ain’t bad for a budget statue, and truth be told, I’ve seen worse on more expensive pieces.

The portrait is great, albeit not at all expressive. You don’t get any variance in the apertures of his eyes, nor do you get any hint of the contours of Peter’s face under the mask. Still, the portrait exudes a confidence, which I like. After all, isn’t that why Peter wears the mask? So his foes can’t see his fear! Either way, it came out really nice and I particular love the texture they gave to the eye pieces. Very nice!

Diamond often refers to these Gallery Statues as PVC Dioramas, but I think that has more to do with their licensing scope, as a lot of them have simple bases and are anything but dioramas. Here, it’s nice to see the phrase being applicable, as the top portion of the cab makes for a wonderful base, which not only tells a story, but frames Spider-Man in his home environment. The base incorporates just enough of the cab roof to sell it, and the Daily Bugle advertisement is just icing on the cake! It’s just absolutely perfect.

Diamond rarely disappoints me with their Gallery line, so when I say that I think this is one of the better ones, that’s meant as high praise. Sure, you have to keep in mind that these are budget statues, with MSRPs of about fifty bucks, but even taking that into consideration, I think these are a great value. Go back and read some of my old Kotobukiya reviews, and you’ll see that I rarely wrote one where I didn’t say they were some of the best values in statues out there. Well, now Koto’s statues retail for about twice what they used to, forcing me to pass that trophy along to Diamond Select and these Gallery Statues. This one just really captures the character perfectly, and the colors are just phenomenal. It also doesn’t hurt that I grabbed this one on sale for only thirty bucks!

Spider-Man “Far From Home:” Upgrade Suit Spider-Man Sixth-Scale Figure by Hot Toys

It’s Marvel Monday on a Wednesday! With a crazy work weekend and me still feeling like shit from whatever Non-Covid sickness I picked up, I just couldn’t get back here on Monday to finish any content. But, I’m here now, and I made good use of the delay, by preparing a look at another Hot Toys figure from the MCU! Yes, my interest in the upcoming MCU flicks is drying up (still excited for No Way Home, though!), I’m eager to get to reviewing the last few MCU-related Hot Toys figures on my pile. Last week, I checked out Mysterio from Spider-Man: Far From Home, and this week I’m here to have a look at Spider-Man in his Upgraded Suit from the final Act of the film. Cue the Led Zeppelin… I mean… AC/DC!

Cards on the table, this was a consolation purchase. I slept on the Hot Toys release from the first film (but I did get the NECA Quarter-Scale version!) and now that figure commands crazy money on the Hot Toys resale market. I wasn’t going to let that happen again, even if I’m not quite as in love with the Upgraded Suit as I was his Homecoming duds. Either way, here’s the box! I like the art style, but it’s still just a big window box with a sleeve around it and it’s doubtful that I’m going to hang on to it. I only keep the Hot Toys boxes that feel special and premium, and those are few and far between these days. Let’s get Old Web Head out and have a look!

So, the black and red deco looks nice, but I don’t like it anywhere near as much as the traditional blue and red suit. With that having been said, it’s the contrasts of texturing where this figure really shines. The black parts of the suit are fashioned from the usual thin vinyl material that Hot Toys uses for many of its super-suits. The red portions of the suit is comprised of a really nice, soft cloth material, which feels a lot more substantial than the black parts. I think the suit looks excellent, but the seams on his backside are a little obvious. In fairness, they have to go somewhere, and I guess that’s the best place for them to land. The spider emblems on his chest and back are both raised to give them a little extra punch.

The texturing can’t really be appreciated until you get in real close. Some of the black black portions have a vertical striped pattern, while other areas have a cross-thatched pattern, and some are just left bare. The white spider on his back has a faint cross-thatch pattern and thick borders. Meanwhile, the soft fabric red parts of the suit feature some bumps. All that black portions are raised, to look like reinforced areas, and the webbing on the red fabric appears to be part of the stitchwork. I often tend to focus more on the sculpted aspect of these figures than the tailoring, but this suit is making me take notice.

The head looks great and features more of that spongy, bumpy goodness. There’s a seam where the head meets the top of the neck, but it’s not visible from the front, just he sides and back. The material used for the head matches the suit perfectly!

You get several sets of eyes, which can be swapped out very easily thanks to magnets. The eye sets are pulled off from the top with a fingernail and the new ones just pop in, with the magnets practically grabbing them right out of my hand. These eye sets run the gamut from wide open eyes to squinty eyes, to completely closed eyes. These are expressive and great options to have, but beyond the regular open eyes and the half-squint, I don’t know how often I’ll be making use of them.

You also get an unmasked Tom Holland head, which is an absolutely fantastic likeness. This is actually my second Hot Toys Holland head, but since I have yet to review the Infinity War Iron-Spider figure, I’ll hold off my judgement on which I prefer. I’m just about at the point where I don’t know what else to say about these portraits, other than they’re extraordinary. The expression here is particularly good and it actually reminds me a bit of that moment of self-reflection after Peter was dubbed an Avenger by Stark in Infinity War. You want me to nitpick something? OK, the strands of hair over his right hair are a little thick, but that’s to be expected with sculpted plastic hair. And that’s it! That’s the worst I got.

You also get a mask for him to hold while using this head. It’s made of cloth and while it comes out of the box with a perfect fold, a little crumpling gives it more of a convincing look, like he just pulled it off his head. This is probably my favorite accessory in the box.

And before leaving the portraits, I’ll note that the EDITH glasses are included and they are wearable. They even work just like real glasses, by slipping on behind his ears. Yes, it’s a delicate operation, as you don’t want to stress those thin plastic arms too much, but I really appreciate that they went this way instead of putting holes in his head for the arms to pass through. The lenses have a bit of a tint and if you look through them at just the right angle, you can see the HUD for calling a drone strike recreated in tiny, tiny printing on the insides. And yes, I made up that last bit. Come on, Hot Toys, up your game!

Articulation here is about as solid as I can expect from a Hot Toys figure, and the suit is remarkably forgiving, even in the crotch and the upper arms. You even get some nice ratchets in the sholders! As always, you get tons of hands, some are more useful than others. You get fists, splayed hands, an accessory holding right hand, a two-fingered peace symbol left hand, and of course thwippy hands, which I’ll come back to in a bit. The hands do a pretty good job of matching the suit, but since they’re plastic, it’s not a perfect match.

You get a cell phone accessory with a printed texting screen. There’s a right hand that’s perfect for holding it, but I wish it was a left hand, so I could do a better selfie-shot with the peace symbol left hand. I love that they included a little crack on the screen. The thwippy hands are designed to be used with the web effects and swap out web-shooters, and to showcase these, I’m going to have to swap out backdrops to better showcase the milky-white webbing, because you can’t see them against the white.

Ah, that’s better! The thwippy hands have removable plates in the palms, which can be switched out with the shooting web plates. These have some web build-up, which the web effect parts can be socketed into. You get two medium sized web strands with globby bits on the ends, and these work very well. They remain in place, they don’t weigh down the arms. They stay straight and they look pretty convincing to me.

You also get a few different lengths of web strand, which can attach to the web funnel piece. The weight of the funnel piece does cause the web stream to droop a bit, but it’s not at all bad.

Next up is a couple of web pieces for Spidey to hold onto, one of which works well for reproducing his web-swing. If you have any other recent Hot Toys Spidey figures, these are all probably familiar, as they’ve been packing these same pieces in with a lot of them. I’m not usually all that big on effect parts, but I dig these a lot. I wish Hasbro would create a bunch of these for their Legends line and sell it as a Deluxe set. What you won’t see in today’s review are the final web effect parts, which are supposed to attach between the legs and under each arm to recreate the flying-squirrel feature of the suit. These plastic pieces are supposed to attach with magnets, but they barely hold on and I just don’t think that they look good at all. Swing and a miss on that one, Hot Toys!

And we’re still not done with the accessories, because you also get one of Mysterio’s Drones. I thought this was going to be a throwaway accessory, but it is an amazingly detailed piece. When I first got it out of the box, I spent a good bit of time just turning it around and marveling at the sculpt. All the little VTOL fans can be seen, as well as vents, tiny screws, and exposed wires. And naturally, it’s brimming with guns! This is designed to attach to the stand, and thankfully it works with Mysterio’s stand too, because that’s where I’ll likely display it! The sheer beauty of this little guy makes me wish I had picked up the Drone accessory set that Hot Toys released.

And that brings me to the stand, which is a colorful hexagon with the front corner cut out for the nameplate. The Far From Home logo is on top surface of the base, and the nameplate reads Spider-Man Upgrade Suit. The support is the standard bendy flight post with a waist-grabber, so you can get him into those epic poses that you shouldn’t keep him in for fear of creasing the suit! And yes, this is a different style base than they gave to Mysterio, and the lack of coordination there just irks me.

I’ll confess that if Hot Toys had reissued the blue and red suit from Homecoming, I would have definitely gone for that one over this one. But, with that having been said, this is still a very nice figure, and I’m happy to have it in my collection and displayed next to Mysterio. The black looks good against the red, and I’ve already gushed enough about the textures. This figure also feels like they packed a lot into the box for a $250 figure. And so, while he’s not my first choice, he’ll still do a fine job representing the MCU Web Head on my Hot Toys shelf. Well, he’ll have to share that role with Infinity War Iron Spider. I’d be reviewing him for the next Marvel Monday, but…

Friday starts FFZ’s very first Halloween Horror Month! Throughout October I’ll be confining myself to reviewing only spooky figures, so break out a white board, set up an office pool, and place your bets to see how long I can keep that shit going! Can I go three weeks with no Marvel Mondays? Do I even have enough horror themed figures to carry me through the whole month? STAY TUNED TO FIND OUT!!!

Spider-Man “Far From Home:” Mysterio Sixth-Scale Figure by Hot Toys

It’s taken me a while to dip back into some of the Marvel Hot Toys I have left to review here. Most of the ones I still have on deck are Spider-Man related, and while I can’t promise a straight shot through all of them, I am going to try to look at both of the figures I have from Far From Home over the next couple of weeks. Let’s start out with Mysterio!

Once again, The MCU did a little bait-and-switch by giving us a very familiar villain with a very different twist. The Mandarin from Iron Man 3 sure pissed a lot of people off, although I don’t think Mysterio ruffled quite as many feathers. Or maybe he did… I can’t keep track of what new thing fans are pissed off about these days. I honestly didn’t mind either character treatment, but of the two, Mysterio was my favorite. I was happy to see him get to be a villain, even if it wasn’t the kind of villain I expected. I had no intentions of picking up this figure until I re-watched the movie a little while back and then decided that the suit looked so damn good, that I had to add it to my collection to keep Spider-Man company. The packaging is pretty standard stuff. The art design is slick, but it’s still just a flimsy window box with a sleeve on it, so let’s get him out and dive right in.

Quentin Beck comes out of the box more or less ready to go. You just have to clip off some plastic wrap that protects his cape and extremities. He comes wearing his fishbowl helmet And looking all sorts of awesome. This suit is something like The Vision meets Doctor Strange. The figure is clad in a fairly tight fitting textured green bodysuit, which feels like the same thin vinyl that Hot Toys uses on most of these super-suits. There’s a little bit more give in the crotch and upper-body than we usually see, and there’s plenty of room to move in the elbows and knees. I found him to be a bit more fun to play with than a lot of these figures are, but there’s still some restrictions here.

The golden armored pieces of the costume include a cuirass, which is intricately sculpted with various overlapping plates, ornate scrollwork, and even some reflective panels that will illuminate under black light. His forearm bracers aren’t quite as chunky as the comic version of the suit, but they still make for a nice homage. I actually like the designs on these a lot! They look like they’re comprised of tightly wrapped coils held and compressed together by four rods, as if they are for conducting his powers to his gauntlets. He has a pair of mismatched cuffs around his thighs, and finally a pair of high boots with knee pads. The feet are made of regular plastic, while the rest of the boots are soft, pliable material, which offers decent mobility.

The cape is an absolute work of art! It’s comprised of a fairly thick purple cloth and pleated into several segments. There’s some green embroidered trim around the edges, and gold diamonds scattered about, both inside and out. Like the panels on the cuirass, these diamonds are reflective under black light. The cape attaches to the front of the cuirass with a pair of triangular fixtures with occult eye carvings and it does that cool levitating effect off the shoulders as it plunges down the back. The garment is removable, and you even get an extra set of those eye-pieces to clip back on if you happen to display him with the cape off. The helmet is a thing of majesty. The dome is painted to give it a swirly blue and purple effect, while there’s also a sculpted cloud inside to give it that extra mysterious look! The dome can only turn left and right a little bit, but I suppose Beck just turned his head inside it. It can, however, angle up and back a bit. The only downside here is that there’s a seam running up the sides.

There’s a light up feature inside the dome, which is activated by pulling the dome up to expose a switch in the neck. It looks cool, but I think maybe they went a little too bright with it, as it does tend to drown out some of that beautiful painted detail on the globe itself. Still, when combined with the black light effects on the suit, it does look quite striking! It’s difficult to capture the effect on camera, but I really love that they added this feature.

You also get the unmasked portrait, which swaps out with a completely different neck. I remember seeing some criticisms of the likeness early on, but I think it’s a pretty solid Jake Gyllenhaal. As usual, the realism on display here is pretty eerie. The paintwork from the skintone to the lifelike eyes is Hot Toys at its best. I’m especially impressed by the paint and sculpt that went into creating his beard. Facial hair is not something that’s easy to get right, but somehow Hot Toys manages to nail it. When I get to reviewing Spider-Man, I’ll have to see if the EDITH glasses fit him. I doubt I’ll display him with this head a lot, but it’s great to have that option, and swapping the heads is fairly quick and easy.

As for extras… there are two swirly illusion effect parts, which can be placed at Beck’s feet for some added mystery. These are semi-translucent green plastic with some frosting to give them the look of mystical smoke. They aren’t mind-blowing, but they do make for a nice addition to the display.

You also get two energy effect parts, which fit onto a special pair of Beck’s hands. These are translucent green energy triangles with occult eye emblems sculpted into them. They can be a little tricky to get attached to his fingers, but once I got everything to line up, I found that they held fast and look great. In addition to the spell casting hands, Mysterio comes with a pair of relaxed hands and a pair of fists. That’s not a lot of hands by Hot Toys standards, but still more than I’ll ever need.

As always, our last stop is the figure stand. Mysterio comes with a hexagonal base with a heavy bendable post that holds the figure with a gripper. This configuration allows the figure to be posed in flight, which is always a nice option. These have got to cost a lot more to produce than the regular crotch-cradle stands, so they definitely add some value to the box. The base itself is illustrated, and while I like it, it’s kind of annoying that it doesn’t match the Spider-Man figure’s base, but that’s a nitpick for my next review.

Mysterio took a little waffling back and forth before finally deciding to pick him up, and I am most definitely glad I did. The suit design looked great on screen and it looks great here as well. The sculpt, paint, and tailoring are all top notch, but the high points for me have to be the cape, the cuirass, and the paintwork on the globe. The smoke effect parts were probably not necessary, but when you’re paying $260 for a figure, every extra bit in the box is a welcome addition to justify that price point. Oddly enough, Mysterio is back to Pre-Order status on Sideshow’s site, so I’m not sure if they decided to produce more to meet demand, or maybe they’re still taking delivery on the original production run. Either way, he looks great next to the Advanced Suit Spider-Man, and I hope to have a review of that figure for the next Marvel Monday or the week after.

Spider-Man and Mary Jane Maquette (Exclusive) by Sideshow

It’s been a week, but I’m back and ready for action… and something a little different for this Marvel Monday! When Sideshow solicited their new maquette based on J Scott Campbell’s cover for The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1, I may have sprained my button pushing finger on that pre-order button. And then the waiting came. And I mean WAITING! My pre-order was placed in November of 2019, and about a year and a half later this statue finally showed up. I’ll concede that my patience has been wearing thin with Sideshow and pre-orders these days. When I first got into this game, it seemed like six months was the standard, and now over a year is not uncommon. With the exception of a Must-Have piece like this, I’m going to start rolling my dice and trying my luck with buying after release. But I digress! Let’s get to the goods!

You can dig around in FFZ’s past to find that my love for J Scott Campbell’s work runs deep, and I’m always happy to see him turn his talents to Marvel characters. I probably have at least a half-dozen of his Mary Jane covers, all signed, but sadly I don’t have the cover of Renew Your Vows #1 that this work is based on. I do, however, have it as a signed 7×11 art print, and I’m pretty content with that. Still, the front of the box also has a recreation of the art for reference, along with a rap-around red brick deco of the NY apartment, which looks quite nice! The box is absolutely huge, clocking in at close to Premium Format proportions, while the statue itself measures only about 12-inches tall, making the figures close to sixth-scale. The boxes large size comes from the fact that this statue comes spread out in a lot of pieces. Yes, there’s assembly required, but it’s all done with one connecting rod and a lot of magnets. In the end, I had not troubles fitting anything together.

And here is the piece all set up and I am absolutely in love. The composition sees MJ reclining on a comfy purple armchair, propped up on a couple of blue pillows, with one leg out and the other folded back under it. Meanwhile, Peter squats on the back of the chair, unmasked but still in his Spidey outfit. Their arms are intertwined, framing MJ’s face in the center. I was especially curious to see how they were going to engineer that web of arms, and the execution was quite clever, and the connections are for the most part fairly seamless. Spidey is secured to the chair with a peg, but MJ simply rests in molded indentations in the chair, and yet it still feels solid, even when I was transporting it from the studio to the display shelf. It is a satisfyingly heavy piece, mainly because the sofa is a solid block of polyresin.

The attention to detail in the costumes aligns perfectly with the art. MJ is wearing a long t-shirt, cut-off jean shorts, and a pair of Spider-Man themed knee socks, while Spidey dons his classic blue and red suit. Every detail, including the web pattern is incorporated into the sculpt and the paint lines are immaculate. They did a nice job applying some blue shading to MJ’s white top, and I really like the gradient colors in the chair. Indeed, everything about the colors here just pop like crazy! I’m particularly in love with the vibrant blue used on Spidey’s outfit.

Both portraits are a real triumph and a credit to the sculptor, Steve Schumacher. He also did the Abby Chase Premium Format, and I also own his Domino Premium Format Figure. It always amazes me when someone can take the very distinctive art stylings of Campbell’s and translate it so perfectly to three-dimensions. I love Peter’s wide, beaming grin. It’s almost smug in knowing that he has indeed hit the jackpot. Meanwhile, MJ is just looking as gorgeous as she always does when JSC sets to drawing her. The paint application on both portraits is just about flawless.

There’s no actual base for this piece, the chair serves alone in that capacity, and I think that was a great idea. It sits slightly off the ground on four stubby legs, and remains perfectly stable with no wobble to worry about. I do, however, recommend displaying this one toward the back of the shelf, as MJ’s one leg does reach out pretty far in front and it would be a shame to catch it on your arm when walking by. The bottom of the chair has an illustrated finish, along with the hand-numbered statement of limitation. Yeah, I really should have snapped a picture of that before putting this thing together, but I was just too excited to do it. Mine is number 244 of the 1200 piece Exclusive run. So before wrapping, up let’s take a look at what makes this the Exclusive!

The Exclusive includes the little stuffed tiger that’s depicted in the original art. It’s an adorable little fellow and it’s designed to just sit right between MJ’s rump and the chair’s arm. Lucky bastard! This tiger really hit the jackpot! In reference to the cover art, the absence of the tiger is a bit conspicuous, so I’m not sure it was the best incentive for exclusive. I would have probably rather the tiger be included with the standard edition and we got a metal art card with the Exclusive, but then the Exclusive is still available at Sideshow, so anyone jumping on this even after release will be able to get it.

It’s tough for a collectible to live up to a year and a half’s worth of anticipation, but this maquette managed to pull it off. The paint and sculpt are both absolutely sterling, and the quality control is positively above reproach. I don’t think there was a single month in all that time where I didn’t find myself on Sideshow’s site and drooling over the pictures. And on the positive side, the $525 price tag is a lot easier to swallow when amortized over eighteen months. It’s great to have another killer piece for my ever expanding J Scott Campbell display.

Marvel Legends: (Retro Series) Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy by Hasbro

Hasbro’s retro-carded offshoot of Marvel Legends really pisses me off. These figures look so amazing on the cards, but with very few exceptions (Some ReAction and some Star Wars Vintage Collection), I do open open all of my toys. And I sure as hell don’t have the space to collect doubles to keep a set carded. Of course, some of these releases are simply recycled figures in new packaging, but some, like today’s pair, are brand new. As of now, I’m only picking up two figures from this wave, so let’s check out Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy!

Here they are carded, and they are simply magnificent to behold. The colors are bright, the artwork is crisp, and the figures look fantastic on their crystal clear bubbles against this nostalgic canvas. Even the backs of the cards mimic the old Toy Biz stylings. What’s more, Hasbro uses some durable and heavy stock for these cards, making them a lot easier to find in good condition and that’s obviously a big plus for all the collectors who plan on keeping these carded. The cards are so durable, that it’s actually a bit tough to tear them open. Again, a very good thing! Let’s start out with Gwen!

Truth be told, I’ve always been more of an MJ kinda guy, but that doesn’t mean I’ve got anything against Gwen. Indeed, it’s great to finally have a figure of her in the modern Legends line up. And I have to say, Hasbro did a fantastic job on this figure. Ms. Stacy is dressed in a textured black top with a purple skirt, a green jacket, and high-heeled boots that come up to the tops of her calves. I really like the black and purple deco, because it makes me think Gwen may be a closet Decepticon sympathizer. Yes, I jest, but I really do like these colors. The jacket uses the familiar trick of being sculpted sleeveless and in soft plastic, with the sleeves sculpted as part of the arms. In this case, there is a bit of a gap between the arm holes on the jacket and the sculpted sleeves. It may irk some people, but it doesn’t really mess with the illusion for me. If I had one gripe about the figure it would be that the hands look a little oversized, but maybe that’s just me.

The jacket is sculpted in a slightly open position, with maybe just a bit of billowing to show off her outfit. The belt is sculpted so that it comes away from the jacket and looks pretty good. I really dig how the belt is brown and the loops are green, rather than just sculpting it all in one color to match the jacket. It may sound like a little thing, but I think it adds a little premium feel to the figure. The heels on the boots are a little chunky, and I was happy to find that I didn’t have a lot of difficulty getting her to stand. At the same time, she isn’t a figure that’s terribly well suited for extreme action poses, because the skirt does impede her hip movement a bit, despite slits to help out. There are no surprises in the articulation, and since I’m cramming two figures into today, I won’t run down all the points here.

The head sculpt is excellent, but that’s pretty much to be expected from Marvel Legends at this point. Hasbro continues to stick with paint for their comic characters over the more realistic halftone method that they have adopted for their MCU figures, and I’ve got no complaints here. The paint for the eyes is crisp and clear and I like the softer pink paint they used for her lips. Her long blonde hair is held in check with a simple black headband, and as it spills down the back, it fans out a bit as if by the same light breeze that billows her jacket. It’s really nice how they matched the two.

Gwen comes with a few welcome accessories. First off, she has her Trapper Keeper and her High School Year Book. The Trapper Keeper is cast all in aqua plastic and has some sculpted details, where the Year Book actually has printing on the front cover. Her left hand is sculpted to work with the accessories pretty well. I would have liked a swap-out right hand to help her carry them to class, but I guess that’s what Peter is for!

She also comes with a rolled up copy of the Daily Bugle, which is a very welcome accessory indeed!

And finally, Gwen comes with a Mary Jane head, which I thought was a really strange inclusion. Can we not let Gwen have her own figure? Especially since we got a Mary Jane in a two-pack about five years ago. Well, I’m never one to complain about something extra and it is a very nice portrait indeed. I think it works OK on this body, although MJ’s hair is kind of at odds with the sculpted lapels on the jacket. But in the end, I think this body just works better for Gwen then it does MJ.

If you’re wondering, the new MJ head is too small to work on the previously released Mary Jane figure, and even if it wasn’t, the skin tone is all wrong. Honestly, I like the previous released MJ head. I’m especially fond of the freckles. OK, let’s move on to Peter Parker!

We’ve had an unmasked Peter Parker head bundled with Spider-Man before, but I think this is the first time we’re getting an entire Peter Parker in the modern Legends line. If not, I must have slept on it. Either way, I always thought this figure would come double-packed with a Spider-Man, but the Retro Series seems like as good a place as any. Parker’s civvies include a blue button down shirt, brown leather jacket, blue jeans, and some very white sneakers. The sculpt of the shirt is interrupted by a ball joint under the chest, but otherwise looks fine. They did a particularly nice job with the jacket, right down to the sculpted elastic cuffs, popped collar, and slick glossy finish. The vest and sculpted sleeves trick works better here than on Gwen’s, because the arms fill out the holes and drive the illusion home. You get a little gold paint on the belt buckle, and that’s about all I have to say about the body sculpt here. Oh yeah, the hands look a little too big here too. Is that a running theme with this pair or is it just me? Is hallucinating large hands on action figures a symptom of the COVID? Maybe I need some time off from work. Just think of how many reviews I could get done!!!

Moving on to the portrait aaaand, let’s talk about those glasses, eh? Holy shit, do they look goofy! I totally get what Hasbro was going for here, but I’m just not sure it works well on the figure. Maybe it’s just a question of classic panel art not translating all that well to plastic. The rest of the head sculpt is excellent, and sure, he does have fully sculpted and painted eyes under there, so if you want to lose the glasses, it’s not that difficult to do it without defacing the figure. They’re basically just tabbed into the sides of his head and held fast with a little glue. With all that being said, I’ll probably leave the glasses for now. I do really dig his hair sculpt.

Naturally, Peter comes with his trusty camera, and here’s maybe why his hands look big. This is a chunky camera and he needed some meaty paws to properly hold it. I like that they went with a more traditional looking camera, although maybe kids these days don’t even know what it’s supposed to be. This reminds me that my camera is on its last leg and I’m going to need to invest in a new one real soon.

Ah, but the real star accessory here is the Spider Sense head. It’s easy to forgive those hideous glasses, when we get an alternate head that is this amazing. Everything about this one works for me. I love the startled expression on the exposed part of his head, and the clear sculpted line running between the mask and his face. I’ve been waiting for Hasbro to do something like this for a while now and I’m happy to finally have it.

As much as I would have loved to collect this entire wave and cover my wall with them, I had to be good and just pick up Peter and Gwen. I may pick up the Daredevil if he turns up on sale at some point down the road. And yeah, I wouldn’t mind just having the Spider-Man and Gobbie to keep carded as showpieces, but no… I have to draw the line somewhere. And retro packaging or not, these are both great figures. I would have been just as happy to have gotten these in a two-pack and not had to cry over the torn packaging.

Spider-Man Homecoming: Quarter-Scale Spider-Man by NECA

I decided to spend one more Marvel Monday on something else before returning to my Marvel Legends backlog, and today we’re going BIG! I love NECA’s Quarter-Scale figures, but they don’t love me back. Or more accurately, they don’t respect my available space. These figures are often amazing, but they need so much room to display, and that’s something that’s in constant short supply in the toy warehouse that I call a home. And so I swore off collecting this line a while back, and I probably swore it off again two or three more times since. I was good for a while, but then I found an amazing deal on the Quarter-Scale Homecoming Spider-Man and all bets were off. “Space be damned!” I shouted! “Get into my shopping cart, you magnificent wall-crawler!” And that brings us to today’s review!

These figures come in huge window boxes with lots of colorful artwork on the panels. They show off the figure very well, so if you’re buying one at a brick-and-mortar store you can really scrutinize the paint on the one your selecting. The packaging also does a great job of concealing the extras, which are trapped under a bubble inside the side panels of the inner tray. These are also the only aspect of the box that’s not collector friendly, but if you tear up the sides to get at them, it really doesn’t show and the figure will still display just fine in the box with the extra pieces rattling around on the bottom. And just to put the size of these Quarter-Scale figures into proper perspective, here’s a quick shot of this figure beside Hasbro’s 6-inch Marvel Legends Homecoming Spider-Man figure.

Yeah, he’s big! And with great size comes great heft. A lot of the so called “Big Figs” I have seen put out by other companies tend to be mostly hollow, but NECA’s are mostly solid chunks of plastic. As a result, this figure weighs a lot and feels so satisfyingly solid in hand. You could use it as a club and seriously hurt some. So please don’t do that!

It’s safe to say that I was a big fan of Homecoming, but even more so I absolutely loved the design of this suit. It manages to look fresh and new while still evoking a sense of the classic Spider-Man I know and love. Every bit of the figure’s surface is covered with a basketball-like texture, you get some raised panel lines in the blue sections, and the red sections have the sculpted and painted web pattern running throughout.  The black bands on the tops of the boots and the shoulders are sculpted, as are the black frames on his forearms that support his web shooters. I also absolutely love the detail in the black strips on his waist where he stores his extra cartridges of web fluid. The tiny sculpted spidey logo on his chest is the only thing I’m cool on when it comes to this design. I wish that was a bit bigger, but that’s not the figure’s fault. Happily, he does have a much bigger emblem on his back, which looks great in red against the blue background..

You get two head sculpts with the figure, one masked and one partially unmasked. I will mostly be displaying him with the masked head, but it’s nice to have options. The The masked head features regular wide open eyes and the unmasked has narrower eyes, but these are interchangeable between the two. You just plug them out of the head and peg them into the other. It’s not a huge difference, but I like that NECA incorporated that ability to swap them out.

While other companies are content to do their “Big Figs” with five points of articulation, and sometimes less, NECA really loads these things up. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, double-hinges in the elbows, hinged pegs in the wrists, and swivels in the biceps. The legs have heavy ratchet joints in the hips to help Spidey stand in even wide stances, the knees have rotating hinges on top and an extra hinge below. There are no thigh swivels, but the upper knee joint and hip joints take care of that. The ankles have rotating hinges and the feet are hinged. There’s a well concealed swivel in the waist, a not-so-well concealed ab crunch hinge, and the neck has ball joints on the bottom where it meets the body and the top where it meets the head. In short, this guy may be big, but he’s loads of fun to play around with.

Spidey comes with a bunch of extra hands. Actually, these sets of hands pretty much account for nearly all his accessories. You get some relaxed hands, some hands with splayed fingers, some fists, some THWIP hands, and web-holding hands, which are basically fists with a hole running through the fingers. NECA did a beautiful job recreating the web-shooters on each of these hands.

The other accessories consist of two strands of webbing and these are the only disappointing thing about the figure. These thin wire-like strands are stiff with a frayed end. These are supposed to stick into the hole in the web shooter, but they don’t stay put very well at all. And even when they do there’s not a lot to do with them, so I only bothered to include one picture to show how it works. I think a better way to go here would have been have a pair of hands with a plastic web permanently attached. It’s not like this hefty boi was going to be swinging on webs anyway.

NECA’s Quarter-Scale figures tend to run from around $80 all the way up to $125, depending on where you look and how much in demand they are. I wound up getting Spider-Man for $75 and I even had a Gift Card, so he was basically free. These figures can be a real bitch to collect unless you have tons of space, but they’re a fantastic way to express your undying love for that one character you want showcased in your collection. I’ve had this fella sitting on the corner of my desk and he gets plenty of attention when visitors come round. The main reason I picked this one up was because I missed out on the Hot Toys version of this Spider-Man, so this big guy is kind of like a consolation prize for me. And not a bad one at that! He may not reach the levels of craftsmanship of a Hot Toys figure, but he sure makes a statement and he’s a lot more fun to play with. And as much as I love him, I am now once again swearing off buying any more of these. For reals this time. NO MORE!

Marvel Legends (Demogoblin Wave): Gamerverse Velocity Suit Spider-Man by Hasbro

It’s a new week and that means a new Marvel Monday, so I’m continuing to dip into the relatively new Demogoblin Wave of Marvel Legends. Last week I had a look at the Mark III Spider-Armor from the PS4 Spider-Man game, and since we got one more figure from the game in this assortment, I decided to open this one up next. Today we’re checking out the Velocity Suit!

Other than the snazzy white GamerVerse boxes, I’ll confess to not being all that excited about these figures. The prospect of giving Peter Parker 1,000 different suits like Tony Stark’s armor just doesn’t appeal to me, but I guess it makes sense as an incentive gimmick in a video game. Plus, having a bunch of different suits to make action figures out of probably had Hasbro licking their collective chops. Speaking of which, the Spider-Man game remains sealed on my shelf, because I just haven’t had the time to play it. And yes, I do see the irony in that since the majority of the country is under lock-down vacay, while I am just working more hours. Nonetheless, I wound up liking the Spider-Armor well enough, so here’s hoping I can find something to love here as well.

As the name suggests, the Velocity Suit gives Peter a speed boost. The figure doesn’t make use of any texturing, instead giving the suit a smooth and slick surface all around. That combined with the high gloss finish makes this one look as much, if not more, like armor than the previous figure. Maybe they were going with the idea that smooth means less friction and that leads to speed. Or more likely they didn’t put that much thought into it. The deco consists of a red and dark blue base, which is fairly familiar, but adds some light blue lines and integrate the spider emblem into their design. Virtually all these light blue painted lines on the suit are part of the sculpt, which is cool. Based on how they’re executed on the figure, I’m going to assume these channels glow on the suit in the game. Whatever the case, I have to confess that the high gloss paint looks great and goes a long way to sell me on a figure I don’t really care about.

The head sculpt strikes me as being very Stark-like in design, perhaps even more so than the last figure. There are even some faint panel lines that seem to form a mouth, although they are very subtle. The eyes feature more of the light blue piping around them. What else can I say, other than to admit it looks good.

As with the Mk III Spider-Armor, the articulation here lacks the shoulder crunches we see on most Legends Spider-Man figures, and that makes the figure feel a little more stiff than I’m used to my Spider-Man figures to be. But the rest of the articulation is there, making him fun to fiddle about with. Here too, we only get the hands that are attached to the figure, one right fist and one left thwippy hand. The only other noteworthy thing about the articulation is that the ab crunch doesn’t seem to have as wide a range as usual. I don’t know why, all the points are there, but this one looks a little stiff when posing.

I don’t imagine that it’s a coincidence that Hasbro chose these somewhat uninspired Spidey figures to be the first to get web effects included. The Mk III armor came with webbing to cover an adversary’s face. This one comes with a loop of webbing to tie up a foe and it’s pretty great. I usually keep effect parts bagged with the figures they came with, but I think I’ll be keeping these on hand to use with future Spidey figure shoots.

Conceptually, I just don’t give a crap about this figure. The idea of a go-faster suit for Spider-Man is just kind of stupid to me. Nonetheless, I can’t deny that it’s an attractive figure. The sculpted lines and the brilliant new-car finish really makes the red and blue pop splendidly. In the end, I bought these for the effect parts and BAF parts, and because I got them super cheap, but both this one and the MK III Armor managed to win me over in the end. I’ll certainly find a place for them on my Spider-Verse shelf, but they’ll probably be towards the back.

Marvel Legends (Demogoblin Wave): Gamerverse Mark III Spider-Armor by Hasbro

I’m likely going to start knocking off another wave of Legends from my backlog next week. In the meantime, I got the two GamerVerse figures from the Demogoblin Wave in the mail a few days back and they were within arm’s reach so I decided to have a look at one of those today. Let’s go ahead and do the Mark III Spider-Armor!

I’m assuming these are based on the PS4 Spider-Man game? Alas, my copy is still sealed on my shelf. I was pretty excited to play it at one point but then I watched my nephew playing an agonizing stretch as MJ in a stealth level and it was like getting doused in freezing water. Truth be told, if I was on lock-down like everyone else, I would probably have played it already, but all I got is loaded up with more work hours out of this whole pandemic mess. Ah well, I’m sure I’ll get to it eventually. I do know the game had a ton of unlockable suits because Spider-Man sure is known for his diverse catalog of costumes. Wait, what? Hey, whatever it takes to sell action figures, right?

Because Spider-Man suits are just like Stark Armor now? I guess that ties in with the MCU. Sorta. Anywho, this is indeed an armored suit and all things considered, it’s a pretty damn cool looking figure. The Mark III Spider-Armor preserves a bit of traditional underlying Spidey suit and just adds some armored bits to it. I dig the texture in the red parts, particularly on the chest and arm bracers. The bracers look like they have two web-shooters on each one and the tiny red diamonds on the knuckles look great. Spider-Man comes with his right hand sculpted into a fist and a thwippy left hand.

There are some subtle panel lines in the black areas, which give it an MCU vibe. The large shoulder pauldrons are an interesting choice, and I’m not sure I like the blue there and on the biceps. I feel like they should have gone either all red and black or all blue and black. Plus, the blue paint on mine has some scratches, which don’t look all that great. I do, however, think the spider emblem on the chest looks fabulous.

From the back, the Spider-Armor features a partial segmented spine, like we sometimes see in the Stark armors. He also has a little backpack, which looks like a jetpack? That’s weird. Maybe it’s also used for launching Spider-Drones.

The head is the most Stark-like feature of the whole suit. It’s smooth, with gears for neck bolts and the neck is segmented. It lacks the usual Stark armor mouth, but you do get a pair of stylized eyes, which look pretty bad-ass.

The articulation is standard stuff, meaning he’s very poseable. We don’t get the shoulder crunches we usually see in the regular Spider-Man figures, but I guess that armor has to limit agility, right? Instead, the arms get by with rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double-hinges in the elbows. The shoulder armor will overlap the shoulders to allow for some mobility there. The legs have ball joints in the hips, double-hinges in the knees, and swivels in the thighs. The ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a waist swivel, an ab-crunch hinge under the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

There are no extra hands included, but hey… Web effect! Oh, long I’ve been asking Hasbro to start doing web effects! It seems like such a no-brainer! This one is meant to cover an opponent’s face and it fits quite well.

I was originally going to pass on this figure, as I wasn’t too keen on the concept, and I could probably live without building the Demogoblin. Luckily, it turned up for dirt cheap online and now that he’s in hand, I’m actually surprised how much I dig this figure. I’m still not a fan of taking the whole Stark Spidey suit thing to the extreme. We don’t need a Spider-Man House Party Protocol. But  as a concept figure I think this works great. Hell, I guess it even works as an extrapolation of the MCU Spider-Man. Either way, I’ll admit that it won me over in the end. Next week I’ll see if the same is true for the Velocity Suit Spider-Man.