Marvel Legends’ Latest Spider-Man Wave Builds a Dream of a Sandman Figure [Review]
When it comes to Marvel Legends, Spider-Man is about as bankable a hero you can find. As the centerpiece for numerous lines in a given year, Spider-Man’s action figure waves have been among the most diverse and impressive in Hasbro‘s Marvel Legends catalog. The latest Spider-Man series, which features the Sandman as a build-a-figure, is a prime example of everything Hasbro has gotten right with Legends, even if it also includes a few figures that fail to impress.
Finally, after years of asking for a Kamala Khan action figure, Hasbro has delivered. Ms. Marvel is one of the standout figures in the set mostly because fans have been waiting so long for her arrival, but also because it’s a darn good Ms. Marvel figure. Hasbro has been getting much better about it’s sculpts for female figures of all body types, and the teen woman build has certainly come in handy the past few Spider-Man waves.
Her costume gives her a rather unique look compared to most of the other figures, not just from a design standpoint, but from the sculpt side as well. I wish her face was a bit more expressive, as Ms. Marvel has always been emotive, but it’s an otherwise decent portrait. Giving her some elongated hands as accessories was a nice touch, and more than we can say about a few of the figures in this wave, though they do throw off her balance a bit when standing. Still, we got a Kamala Khan, and minor complaints such as those don’t diminish this toy in the least.
Look at this magnificent figure. Spider-Man 2099 doesn’t come with much aside from another part of the Sandman build-a-figure, but Hasbro really nailed the design of the current Spider-Man 2099 costume. This figure continues to build on the Spider-Verse characters that have been making up the back-ends of the recent Spider-Man Legends wave, and comes out way more successful and has more impact than certain other efforts from that storyline.
Even if it isn’t the traditional Spider-Man body buck, the figure comes with all the articulation you could ever need — but with a different head sculpt and those fancy spikes on his arm. The paint app is what makes this ordinary figure special though, with the metallic red really popping off the white and deep blue used throughout. The revamped costume always struck me as an improvement over the original 2099 costume, and having it in physical form just seals the deal on its greatness.
Spider-UK, aka William Braddock, is one of this wave’s disappointments. The figure is built from the same Spider-Man mold as the rest, and thing separating him from the crowd is his costume from the shoulders down. Unlike Spider-Man 2099, whose design is drastically different from most every Spider-Man, Spider-UK just adapts his web pattern into the crosswork of the Union Jack. William Braddock wasn’t a boring character in the Spider-Verse comics, but this figure doesn’t have any impact.
Perhaps if some accessories were included, such as the talisman which allowed him to travel through the multiverse or an unmasked head, this figure could have been a bit more impressive. Like Spider-Man 2099, he doesn’t even come with additional “web-shooting” hands. As it stands, it’s merely a character for completionists to fill out the full Spider-Verse roster as much as Hasbro is willing to aid.
It pains me to say this, but Symbiote Spider-Man is another tiny disappointment in this wave. If we hadn’t just gotten an Agent Venom, a classic comic Venom, and a Space Knight Venom build-a-figure, perhaps my enthusiasm for yet another spin in the symbiote suit wouldn’t have been quite so diminished. The black suit was a huge part of my childhood Spider-Man reading, as the original Secret Wars happened just as I was getting old enough to actually follow comic stories with more than a passing interest in the art. It’s such a remarkable design that it’s held strong all these years later. I just couldn’t be less enthused to see it as a figure right now.
The articulation is great, as the figure is built on the thin Spider-Man body, and the few different hands included give you some display options. A Peter Parker head dealing being exposed by the more liquid-like symbiote suit would have been a nice change of pace from the recent offerings, but all we get is the standard masked face. It’s not a bad thing that Hasbro is giving us all the Spider-Man costumes we could possibly ever need, but the timing on this one was just off enough to make it seem derivative.
Though I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the Jackal, or his classic interpretation, Hasbro does a nice job bringing him to life with this figure. The character notably comes from one of the darkest times in Spider-Man’s narrative history, but he’s an important part of the character’s legacy even today. No matter how much you try to ignore him, the Jackal will always be a thorn in Spider-Man’s side.
This ’70s-style version is well-sculpted, and has a lot of detail that you wouldn’t necessarily attribute to a character that’s basically a glorified Scooby-Doo villain. The paint app makes him a bit more monstrous and evil as well, adding to the impressive nature of this take on the Jackal. Again though, this is another figure that lacks any accessorization beyond the BAF piece, but beyond some science equipment I’m not sure what you could have given him. I appreciate that Hasbro often digs deep for its character rosters, but when so many figures get a number of additional pieces, seeing so many in one wave get virtually nothing is a bit of a bummer.
There have been many Green Goblin figures over the years, but Hasbro’s latest take on Spider-Man’s greatest villain is arguably the best to date. The portrait in an of itself is wonderful, capturing the demented grin of Norman Osborn, while also going all in on the more grotesque features of the Goblin mask. The flapping straps and tail of his cap also make for a bit of dynamism, which so many mass market figures are sorely lacking.
Once you look beyond the head sculpt though, there’s still plenty to like. The mail armor on his arms is well sculpted, and the metallic sheen does well to bring them to life in the light. It also provides a nice juxtaposition with the darker green used for his “skin” in other areas of the figure. The deep purple tunic and gloves are spot on, and the glider he comes with works perfectly with the classic pointed-tip boots. This figure is the perfect culmination of decades of Goblin costumes and designs over the years, and is easily the one Green Goblin Spider-Man collectors will want in their collections.
Finally, the last good member of the Superior Foes of Spider-Man (sorry, Overdrive) gets a proper Marvel Legends figure, and it’s a winner to boot. Shocker is one of the last iconic Spider-Man villains to get a figure from Hasbro, and I’m sure his upcoming turn in Spider-Man: Homecoming had a little bit to do with the timing of this release. Shocker’s figure is all about the paint app, as his costume is what makes him stand out from other villains with more elaborate designs. Hasbro’s done a nice job capturing his classic comic look, with nary a blemish to be found.
Smartly, Hasbro also gave him a bit of an expressive face, with the eyes giving a quizzical look. As simplistic as many facial expressions are for unmasked characters, the masked folks usually get the excuse of not having a visible mouth. Here though, the eyes say everything you need to know. Additionally, Shocker gets the latest power accessories to strap onto his hands to make it appear as if he’s actually powered-up. The hombre effect throughout looks nice too, and gives this figure another mark in the positive column.
Sandman is everything you could ever want from a Marvel Legends build-a-figure. We sort of knew a Sandman BAF was coming thanks to his appearance in the Raft box set from San Diego Comic-Con last year, but it wasn’t until New York Comic Con that our suspicions were confirmed. While the Raft version was but an average teaser of what was to come, the actual BAF version is spectacular. The basic Flint Marko looks the same as the Raft incarnation, though he’s not painted to look like sand. The green striped shirt and brown pants that are so synonymous with the character look much better here.
What sets this BAF apart from all the rest are the sand construct arms and head. The wave features two different sets of hands for Marko, including an open palm, a fist, a mallet and a mace, all of which are interchangeable depending on your mood. The sculpting on these is fantastic, as the texturing is awesome and the the way each part looks as if it’s constantly in motion, forming as it goes makes each arm look that much more authentic.
The damaged head sculpt is my favorite part however. The screaming Marko face looks like Spider-Man just walloped it, and left a huge impression that shattered the illusion Marko wasn’t made from sand. You can almost fell the grit of the sand exploding against Spider-Man’s fist. The way it transforms from the big indentation to the “normal” look is great too, with Hasbro’s sculptors really outdoing themselves with this figure from top to bottom.
With Spider-Man: Homecoming on the horizon, we’re due for another few Spider-Man Legends waves in 2017 and beyond. This wave wasn’t all winners, but it does set a strong precedent for the year to follow. It also showed that Hasbro can step up the build-a-figure game when it wants to, and we can only hope that the complete Legends line will see more figures like Sandman scattered throughout as the line continues to grow.
The Marvel Legends Spider-Man Sandman Build-a-Figure wave is available now for ~$20 per figure. These figures were provided by Hasbro for review.
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