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Spider-Man Swings Back To Marvel Legends

spider-man-legends-featHasbro’s Spider-verse expands with seven new additions to the Marvel Legends collection.

There may not be a new Spider-Man movie in 2015, but Hasbro is moving along with their Spider-Man Legends collection regardless, with at least two new waves of figures set to hit retail this year.  The first wave is starting to surface now, and includes three characters all-new to Marvel Legends, as well as some welcome updates to major heroes and a cool Build-A-Figure Hobgoblin to tie everything together.

I’m basically an all-in type when it comes to Marvel Legends, but despite this, I tend to gravitate first and foremost to figures whose characters are new to the long running toy line.  This makes the new Spider-Man Legends weird, because the new figures are probably the least exciting, in my opinion.

The trio of newbies– Anti-Venom, Spider-Girl and Ultimate Spider-Woman– are perfectly fine figures, featuring smart reuse of the good looking and highly articulated Sentry and Jubilee base bodies… but between their simple costumes and predominantly non-expressive head sculpts, they don’t really seem to pop as much as others in this series.  Still, having two female characters in a single wave is awesome (and the trend will continue in the next set, with Misty Knight and White Tiger!), and while their costumes are plain, I think both Spider-Girl and Spider-Woman certainly warrant inclusion in the Legends collection.

Anti-Venom, I struggle with a little bit more.  He’s a fine figure, and I like having a more modern Eddie Brock in the collection… but in comparison to Marvel Select’s take on the character, this Anti-Venom comes up short.  Sure, this is a wholly separate toy line, but many of the best Legends figures measure up to– or come out better than– their Select counterparts.  Hasbro’s Anti-Venom is not one of these winners.

That’s only half of this new wave of figures, though.  We also get new updates of Spider-Man 2099 (his first Legend figure on a contemporary body since Toy Biz’s Spider-Man Classics Wave Two!) and Daredevil.  These two are both awesome– I love the skinny base body for Spidey, which has a very good range of motion and is very expressive.  Miguel’s metallic paint apps give him a very unique look, and the clawed fingers and tattered webbing cape complete his slightly monstrous appearance.

Daredevil’s new figure is easily his best Legends release to date, making smart reuse of the Bucky Cap body and its great range of motion and good sense of proportion.  The end result is a Daredevil who can hit his acrobatic action poses, while maintaining a look that is clearly bigger, bulkier and older than Spider-Man.  Daredevil’s new portrait is very good, with a determined scowl that totally fits Matt Murdock’s personality, and the two tones of red in his costume (the eyes, gloves, boots and belts are all a lighter shade) breaks up the monochromatic look of the character very effectively.

The last single released figure in this lineup is one I assumed I’d have no use for– yet another classic Spidey in his blue and reds.  BUT, this new version is so well realized, such a great update, he might be the highlight of the entire wave.  The new Spider-Man shares the very good base body from the 2099 figure, which features an excellent range of motion.  The neck, the shoulders, the abdomen and the lower legs are all amazingly effective, and while the hips are slightly limited in comparison, this is a Spidey figure that still manages to look great in any number of his iconic poses, while looking more “normal” when standing in a neutral pose, as well.

Even more than the figure itself, what makes this Spider-Man shine are the awesome accessories.  Spidey comes packed with three unique sets of interchangeable hands– fists, open fingers for crawling, and web shooting– which plug on and off his wrists with ease and security.  He also includes a second head with his mask pulled up over his nose, and the pose– as well as Peter Parker’s silly smile– are absolutely the perfect fit for the character.

Pete’s got a lot to smile about, too… since he also comes packed with a slice of pizza he can hold perfectly in his open hand.  It’s such a fun, appropriate little accessory to add, but everything comes together to make this hands-down the greatest Peter Parker ever released by Hasbro.

I honestly can’t tell you much about the Build-A-Figure Hobgoblin, whose pieces are scattered throughout this wave of figures.  He looks neat, though, standing just slightly taller than Spider-Man himself, and brandishing a nasty looking flaming sword (with an extra hilt that plugs into his winged backpack.  Hobgoblin is an all-new sculpt, with a slightly cartoony aesthetic that makes him stand out, without looking completely separate from the rest of these figures.

Design-wise, this is a great bunch of figures, although they’re not without their problems.  The biggest offender is the plastic used here, a return to the soft, rubbery material that plagued the Guardians of the Galaxy Legends.  I had hoped the higher quality of the Avengers Legends meant this problem was behind us, but many of the Spider-Man figures feature gummy joints which can easily warp, bend of even break apart (I lost the shoulder joint on my Spider-Man 2099 to paint and a weak arm peg which broke off and had to be glued).

To make matters worse, these figures are once again pre-posed in their boxes, which makes the likelihood of warpage even greater.  I have yet to see a Spider-Girl without pretty severe bow-legs, and some Spideys, Miguels, and Daredevils I’ve seen feature arms bent up to 90 degrees in the wrong direction thanks to the dumb in-package posing gone wrong.  Again, the Avengers’ first series largely corrected this issue, so why Habsro would return to it again here is a mystery… but one I truly hope disappears as quickly as it resurfaced.

It’s cool to see Hasbro rolling out more Spider-Man figures even with no major movie to help support them at retail, and I like that they’re taking the opportunity to deliver some more current looks to this corner of the Marvel toy universe.  I’m still astounded that the Marvel team have managed to get me more excited for the umpteenth Spider-Man and Daredevil figures in this lineup than the all-new, never-before-released characters, but there it is.  The whole lineup in this series is impressive, and they’re characters well worth adding to your collection.  There’s a few all-time greats in this assortment, even though the quality control seems to have stepped down from the impressive benchmark Hasbro hit with this year’s Avengers Legends.

Hasbro’s Spider-Man Legends are available at retail now.  Head over to our friends at Mike’s Comics N Stuff to order yours today!

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