Marvel Legends Opens a Hole to the Spider-Verse [Review]
Hasbro hasn't been bashful about dropping Spider-Man Marvel Legends waves a few times a year. Alongside the Avengers, Spidey has provided the foundation on which the Marvel Legends collections these past few years have been built. With that in mind, it's getting to be a bit of a challenge to find new versions of Spider-Man to include.
Using Spider-Verse as a bit of inspiration, Hasbro's turned out a terrifically diverse set that gives us a new twist on Peter Parker, Miles Morales and Venom --- all characters that have been seen in the Legends line before. Coupled with those three, we also get our first Silk, a fantastic Electro and a delightfully creepy Hobgoblin. In a year when we were fast approaching Spider-saturation, Hasbro found a way to keep things fresh.
With how many Spider-Man waves Hasbro has released in the last year, you'd think there's very little mileage to get out of Peter Parker figures. Fortunately, there's a new stone to turn thanks to Hasbro's new teen hero body build. Smaller and thinner than the adult bodies, these new molds actually give Hasbro the ability to turn out figures for some of Marvel's best and brightest without the worry of them being terribly out of scale. Two Ultimate Spider-Men get things rolling, with Peter Parker and Miles Morales both rocking this new body to great effect.
The requisite additional posing hands are included here, but the big Bagley-inspired masked and unmasked head are what set this Spider-Man apart. It's hard to find new ways to make classic Spider-Man interesting within the Legends line. Different accessories and head sculpts are how Hasbro has chosen to approach that problem this year, and it's mostly worked. If this figure wasn't on the new teen body though, it wouldn't be quite as big a deal. The paint app is nice and the articulation is good, but we've seen that kind of thing before. The smiling head and the proportions matching Miles are the the real draw.
Miles Morales has been in the Hasbro Marvel Legends before, and the result was less than stellar. Hasbro stuck him on a more adult body, which left him looking like a hulking version of the hero we know and love, and this new Ultimate version makes up for past mistakes to great effect. The costume looks terrific, the size and articulation are on point, and the unmasked head sculpt is sharp. The portrait has a little smirk that gives Miles a bit more personality than we've seen from most of Hasbro's head sculpts, and he definitely needed it. Miles isn't some grim and serious hero; he's a kid that embodies the Spider-Man spirit all his own.
Again, like the Peter Parker, there are alternate hands included to give you some posing options. Despite being a new body, the articulation is appropriate for a character with the nimbleness and agility of a Spider-Man, but it isn't overly articulated like Pizza Time Spidey. That means this body will work well for other teen heroes down the line. On top of all the goodness Miles brings, it's hard to be disappointed with that.
Hobgoblin is an interesting inclusion in this series, not because he played a role in any of the Spider-Verse content like much of the rest of this line, but because was just the basis for the Build-a-Figure in a Spider-Man wave earlier this year. That figure was nice, but this one is a more traditional Hobgoblin that fits much more in line with the rest of the Legends. Curiously, Venom is the BAF in this wave, and he got a normal Legends figure earlier this year too, so Hasbro has really been doubling down on the Spider-Man side.
In Hobbie's case, that's not such a terrible thing. This figure is detailed and the colors are fantastic. The orange has a little sheen to it, but the sparkling blue mail armor really sets the figure off. The gloves also look good, and actually have a bit of life to them, but it's really all about the two portraits included. The standard Hobgoblin has a some great sculpting going on, with the snarling expression really capturing that horrible face. The Demogoblin head is a nice throwback though, and has a terrifically monstrous mold. Hasbro did real well on both heads, and in giving this second Hobgoblin a reason to exist.
Following hot on the heels of the successful Spider-Gwen comes Silk, who might actually be a better figure than Gwen solely based on her execution. The body is the same, and the trick of using the folded hood as her resting mask is really smart. Silk's costume comes off well in figure form, too. There was definitely a chance for some sloppiness, but the lines are all crisp and clean, which keeps her figure looking fresh.
Both head sculpts are again the feature, which has apparently been a running theme with this wave. The masked and unmasked portraits are strong, and her long flowing hair adds a bit of dynamism that's missing from the clean cut men in this wave. There's also some interesting coloring in there to give the dark hair some contrast. It's a simple trick, but one that works to great effect in giving Silk her signature look, while also helping her stand out from the rest of the similarly built female figures in the Legends line.
Electro is pretty stellar. You get two different heads (classic and Ultimate), and both look good. The Ultimate version has never been one of my favorite redesigns, but it's detailed and making a mean enough mug that you might be persuaded to keep it on over the more classic electric star shape. Not me. That big mask is what makes Electro so cool, and you'd be hard-pressed to convince me any other Spider-villain has a better one. It's magnificent.
The electric hands you might remember from the Eel in the Captain America wave we just reviewed, but unlike that figure, Electro doesn't get powered-down hands. The only hands in the package are these electrified ones, and while they are cool, it's a shame you don't get any options for alternating the look. The figure is otherwise very solid, with a great deep green paint app that is complemented by the yellow highlights. This is easily one of the better Sinister Six figures Hasbro has done. Now we just need the rest of the full team.
Alas, they can't all be winners, and here we are with the Ashley Barton version of Spider-Girl. This figure is a pretty deep cut, but if Spider-Verse hadn't been relatively recent, the inclusion of Ashley would have been one of Hasbro's most obscure releases. That's not to say people wouldn't have guessed who she was, but she's had so few appearances over the years, it's a wonder why she's earned a figure at all. That's without considering this figure is fairly boring too.
The figure takes the tall adult female body Hasbro's been getting rather good use out of elsewhere and does next to nothing with it. There's a paint app that looks like Ashley's version of the Spider-suit, but that's about it. No accessories are included; there's nothing from her time in Spider-Verse, and not even a remnant of the Old Man Logan universe. Aside from being another female figure to help flesh out the Marvel Legends roster, there truly isn't very much noteworthy about this figure.
After joining up with the Guardians of the Galaxy, Flash Thompson and the Venom symbiote discovered the truth about Venom's race (the Klyntar): they weren't bad symbiotes, they were actually benevolent. Turns out Venom was just corrupted by the original host Eddie Brock. The Klyntar liked Flash, so they purged the Venom symbiote of all his bad feelings, and now he's 100% good dude. He's also Space Knight Venom now, so he's got that going for him.
I actually like the Space Knight Venom design, which turns him from the military-inspired Agent Venom into something more befitting a planet-hopping hero. The helmet and the more armored design work really well, and the white highlights beyond the traditional spider emblem add some personality without being overdone. He's also a hulking mass of man now, unlike the McFarlane-era Venom released earlier this year in the Legends line. Articulation isn't bad, but it's fairly limited, even for one of the build-a-figures. Still, if you're a fan of the character, it's unlikely we'll see a better representation of this more chivalrous Venom.
The Marvel Legends Spider-Man - Space Knight Venom Build-a-Figure Series is available now for ~$20 each. These figures were provided by Hasbro for review.