Legendary hero Captain America has gone through more than his fair share of costume revisions over the years. Some have been more well-received than others, but the man has always stayed true to the core concept designed by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. It's hard to argue with the classic stars and bars. In fact, it's so hard to argue with the good ol' red, white and blue, even Cap's most radical revamps have incorporated the scheme because it's impossible to top. That even holds true when other characters that have suited up under the guise of the Captain like Bucky and Sam Wilson.
I thought for sure that Square Enix would take the character through some unexplored territory with its upcoming Play Arts Marvel Variant version, but even the talented team there found that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. While the Square Enix version of Captain America is immediately recognizable, it lacks much of that trademark Play Arts touch. It's not the most outrageous armored Avenger we've ever seen, and that oddly makes it kind of a boring figure.
I'll admit, when Square Enix hinted the Black Widow would be joining its Marvel Variants line, I was a bit concerned. The Variants line is filled with some fairly radical redesigns of familiar characters, and some of the artistic choices made for the DC Variants line's female figures left little to the imagination. However, once I saw the prototype at SDCC this year, I was actually excited to see the final version. The Black Widow on display there wasn't quite as massive a departure as some previous Variants figures had been, and showed a lot of unpainted promise for the final release.
This week, Square revealed the fully-painted prototype, and the images (courtesy of ToyArk) show off a Black Widow that's actually really close to her comic book counterpart. Only Iron Man, Spider-Man, Venom and Thor have been shown off in this form to this point. Each of those is still immediately recognizable, but share some influences that are instantly noticeable as Play Arts style. The new Black Widow, while proportionately rocking some Taylor Swift legs, doesn't appear to look that drastically different from iterations of her design that we've seen in her comic book past.
Though Square Enix had more than a fair share of existing product on display at SDCC '15, the company still managed to bring a few new pieces to the show, too. The Variant line has been a fairly big hit for Square, allowing for some more radical takes on familiar characters like Batman, Superman, Iron Man and Spider-Man. Though a tad pricier than most other collectibles featuring your favorite comic heroes, there's an undeniable personality in Square's products that you just don't see anywhere else.
Though the DC version of the Variant line didn't have much new, beyond yet another look at the incredibly divisive Tetsuya Nomura Catwoman, the Marvel line saw two Avengers leap into the fray. Black Widow joins Iron Man and Thor in the Play Arts series first, with Captain America coming some time after Natasha. Both are easily identifiable as the characters you've grown familiar with over their published lifespan, but feature that hallmark Squeenix style. Widow has a lot of detailing in her uniform, which makes up for how she's traditionally not outrageously outfitted. She's buttoned-up pretty well, too, and it's nice to see a Widow figure that isn't letting it all (or most of it anyway) hang out.
Square Enix went big -- and, it turns out, little -- this year at Toy Fair 2014 with a hearty display of upcoming DC Comics and AppleseedPlay Arts Kai toys, plus a new line of DC Variant Static Arts Mini figures.
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