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Iron Spider-Man

Spider-Man Origins
by yo go re

When the Hasbro/Marvel deal was announced in January '06, there were a lot of lingering questions. Nobody knew what to expect. We kept track of the facts and the rumors, but there was still some doubt about what would be. Now, one year later, we finally get the hard answers.

As an official member of the world's mightiest super-team, it's high time Spider-Man upgraded his gear. By way of welcoming him to the Avengers, the invincible Iron Man constructed this bullet-proof, liquid metal battle suit for the web-slinger. As well as bringing state of the art technology to the tips of the wall-crawler's fingers, it also complements and enhances his new powers and features a set of cybernetic spider-legs. The new duds might take some getting used to, but please welcome your friendly neighborhood Iron Spider-Man!

The first thing you should notice about the Origins figures is the packaging. Hasbro is a perennial "Best Packaging" multiple-nominee in our annual ToY Awards, and they didn't slack off here. Though it may look like a simple blister card at first, there's more than that going on. Rather than a simple rectangle, the card is hexagonal, designed to be viewed at a slightly skewed angle. The red, black and blue packaging features pictures of Spidey from the comics (Mike Wieringo at the top, Todd McFarlane smaller and below the logo) and the movie. The graphic design recalls comic panels, and the Origins logo, in addition to the spider dangling in the O, features a subtle web pattern. The upper left corner of the blister is curved and molded to resemble a spiderweb. The back features a big picture of the toy inside, and a specific bio (something a lot of companies have been dropping lately) and photos of three other figures in the line. Overall, it's a really attractive presentation.

So, the figure. That's what everybody's been waiting for, right? Well here you go: there is no appreciable drop-off in quality from ToyBiz to Hasbro. This could have eaily been part of the old line of toys. The figure stands 6⅛" tall, and moves at the toes, ankles, double-knees, thighs, balljointed hips, hinged torso, individual fingers, hinged wrists, double elbows, biceps, balljointed shoulders and balljointed neck. Sounds right on par, doesn't it? We don't get a waist, nor any swivels at the wrists, but it's not that noticeable. Plus, he makes up for it.

The three waldoes each have two hinges and a balljoint to give them poseability. We lost three joints and gained nine? That seems okay. The joints are of the same general quality as ToyBiz's Spidey stuff: nothing was stuck, and though it can be hard to get the double joints to both move at first, nothing broke. If anything is going to snap, however, goes over his shoulders my money's on the balljoints on his back - those things just feel a bit too stiff for the soft plastic. Someone's going to twist one of them right off.

The Iron Spider costume was designed by Joe Quesada, based on a sketch by Chris Bachalo, who was playing around with the Venom design. The sculpt is good, and doesn't re-use any old parts. The "spider" pattern is raised, just as it's supposed to be, and the detail on the extra arms is intricate. The figure isn't 100% true to the comic design, but only because the yellow parts cover the joints in a way that an articulated figure can't duplicate. It's hard to convey a specific artist's style when you've just got a plain face with a pair of giant yellow eyes, but if I had to guess, I'd say the figure is based on the work of Ron Garney.

The paint is good. The metallic sheen really works for the armored suit, but it's not quite vac-metallized - thank goodness. The suit is red and yellow - like Tony Stark said, "my design, my colors." He's a business man: he knows the value of branding. He didn't want anyone getting confused about who owned Pete's ass. Iron Spidey doesn't have any accessories, but he does have a red Origins base, similar to (but smaller than) the discs ToyBiz put in its Marvel Legends box sets.

In a line that mainly comprises re-released Spideys and repainted villains, an all-new figure in an all-new costume is a welcome treat. If this is the way Hasbro is going to be running their show, fans have a lot to look forward to.

-- 01/04/07


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