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Sinister Villains

Spider-Man: Homecoming
by yo go re

If you thought we were going to let Horror Month pass without reviewing a figure named "Tombstone," you underestimated our love of first-draft, surface-level, super-obvious puns!

When the battle for justice is underway, artificial enhancements make these villains stronger, faster, and even more of a threat.

Lonnie Lincoln was a mob enforcer who worked for both Kingpin and Hammerhead. He was created by Gerry Conway for Spectacular Spder-Man, because that book was supposed to focus on second- and third-tier Spidey characters (not the "big" ones, like JJJ or Aunt May), so Tombstone was given a childhood connection to Daily Bugle Editor Robbie Robertson. Originally just a normal human, Tombstone used his natural size and strength to kill his targets bare-handed; then, while robbing a chemical plant, he was exposed to Diox-3, a preservative gas, which hardened his skin, increased his strength and speed, and generally made him impervious to most harm.

Tombstone has arms and legs we've seen before, but his trunk is new. His waist is molded with a studded belt - yes, molded, it's not just a piece floating over the existing body - and his chest has sculpted edges for his shirt (to say nothing of that big popped collar: there's a reason it's a popular misconception that he's a vampire). He has straps around his wrists and ankles that are similar to the ones Cyclops wore, but are not the same mold. In part because it's a different style, and in part because those tiny pieces wouldn't fit on this huge body. You can tell Tombstone was created post-Eddie Murphy Raw, because why else would he be wearing a full leather suit like this?

Oh, by the way, Tombstone is black. As in "African American." He was never actually black black. Like his clothes. He wasn't even brown, because he's an albino. White skin, pink eyes, the whole deal. To make himself more scary, he filed all his teeth to points, a feature shown off perfectly by this toy's big Sal Buscema-inspired grin.

The paint is very simple - flat black body, mottled gray skin, lighter hair, white teeth, a little bit of silver on the belt and buckles - but the edge where his shirt meets his skin is unusually sloppy. And for that matter, why is is skin gray in the first place? He's an albino, not something inhuman. The blame, I suppose, lies ultimately with the comics: coloring a character pale pale pink isn't as interesting as coloring him gray, especially when his name is "Tombstone," so the toy is just following suit.

The hips on the figure are a little bit wobbly, but other than that, everything is fine. He moves at the ankles, shins, knees, thighs, hips, waist, chest, wrists, elbows, biceps, shoulders, neck and head. Given the artwork the sculpt is clearly based, it's appropraiate that you can get him into the pose for a Sal Buscema Punch.

Tombstone comes with a piece of Vulture's wings, which are the BAF for this series. He gets the left turbine, which could easily be some piece of machinery he ripped off the wall to throw at Spider-Man. Fittingly, since Tombstone is paired in this series with Beetle (the real one, not his daughter Janice), their wing pieces are the opposites of one another.

Tombstone is a classic villain, and he hasn't had an action figure of any sort since 1996, so this one is certainly welcome. Surely some fans would have preferred to get him in his "dapper suit" phase, but that would have required a lot more new tooling. Considering that Tombstone is from Harlem and has rock-hard skin, he'd really be an interesting Netflix villain for Luke Cage to fight. Of course, it might be tough to find a 6'7" albino actor with enough muscle to play the part. How hard do you think it would be to make Terry Crews look like he's got no melanin?

-- 10/16/17


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