It does what the retro Spider-Man did, but it does it better.
I can be a little fickle when it comes to Spider-Manses. Each time one comes along that is better than what comes before, it feels like it’s my new favorite Spider-Man. The Pizza Spidey had painted weblines and decent articulation, so I liked it, despite the stretched out proportions. There were Spider-Men on the Sunfire body, and I liked those, but there were areas that were bested by the retro. The retro was both Amazing and Spectacular, but in hindsight the neck range could have been better—even with that little notch cut out of the back.
Plus, it still had pins. Now, I am not nor have I ever been one for whom the “you can see a red pin on the blue arm” has been a problem. I’ve often thought that people who turn that into a “thing” are just trying to find something to complain about. Toys have joints, joints have pins.
But now that we’ve moved into a pinless realm, and we’re getting pinless Spider-Men. Which means no red peeking through the arm.
All this is to say that while every Spider-Man we’ve had so far has quickly become my new favorite, this Spider-Man right here is now…my new favorite. I say that now having the Renew Your Vows Spider-man in hand, of course, so my mind may change with that one, but right here and now, I dig this one a whole lot.
I have always loved first appearance version so figures, and the fact that this is a red and black FA Spider-Man with the specific chest spider and the squintier eyes pretty much seals my love for it. It’s also smaller in stature without being overly lean. It feels like teenage Peter Parker swinging around stopping crime.
The articulation mirrors the retro Spider-man overall, with butterfly shoulders and the upper torso wobble combined with lower waist crunch. It’s a great combo that facilitates an impressive amount of crunching.
Where this figure is different is that the drop-down hip feature is gone. In place of that feature is just a bit more crotch area missing, allowing him to get his legs into the same positions the drop-down hips allowed, but without the need for the DDH.
Drop down hips are something that sound good in theory, and can be done well on a figure-to-figure basis, but a lot of times you lose something in structural integrity, and the additional range afforded by the hips ends up not being all that staggering to begin with. The current GI Joe line features drop down hips, but the stability and flimsiness of the joints don’t actually balance out the very slight increase in maneuverability. At least, to me.
The fact that this Spider-Man can get a very high Rockette kick without the need for drop down hips is an excellent sign. The recent Toad figure had drop down hips and had excellent hip range, but this Spider-man can almost match Toad’s motion. They’re constantly improving Spider-Man. We no doubt haven’t seen the pinnacle yet. Do the people want toe joints? I’m ambivalent on them, but that seems to be one of the only joints this figure is missing.
Spider-Man comes with four sets of hands. He has fists, crawlers, grippers and thwippers. Too often we get a Spidey missing a key set of hands, but this one was packed with every option. They all swap in and out very easily.
There was also one of those spider-webs that I can never get to look right.
Finally, he came with two sets of pit-webs. There’s a relaxed set for standing around, and another set for outspread arms. They peg into the underside of his biceps and stay in pretty well once attached.
They look good, and I have always liked the look of Spider-Man with his pit-webs, but I think I’ll opt for leaving them off. I don’t think there’s a way to have a “perfect” solution for them outside of fabric, but that’s an entirely different issue.
I love the traditional red and blue Spider-Man, but I’ve also always held a major soft spot for red and black Spidey. Those super-early stories had a grittier feel to them than the later Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man of later eras, and the red and black encapsulates that feel. Peter was a tortured teen. Dead parents, dead Uncle, old, frail worry-wart Aunt, bullied at school, always trying to make ends meet, the weight of the world on his shoulders…it was a lot.
This figure is a lot also. A lot of Amazing.
I said it.