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Spider-Man & MJ

Spider-Man: Homecoming
by yo go re

Far from Home is just a few weeks away, so of course there are still new Homecoming toys coming out, why wouldn't there be?

Students at the Midtown School of Science and Technology, Peter Parker and MJ experience the powers of Spider-Man firsthand when the web-slinger must suit up to take down the Vulture.

The Spidey in this set is mostly the same mold from before - no surprise there. The changes are pretty apparent though, because this toy represents Peter's time stuck in the Damage Control storage vault: he's wearing his costume, yes, but has his bright yellow Midtwon High decathlon team jacket on over it, and a black hoodie under that. Those are two separate pieces, by the way: the jacket is one PVC item, the sweatshirt is another. To keep the figure from getting way too bulky, the second one is mostly fake, like a dickie - if you look under the yellow coat, there's no back to the black. It's nice work.

Surprisingly, the chest has been remolded, too. It was done to take out the pec hinges, since there's no need for them under the jacket. Honestly, they could have just left them in place, and no one would have been any the wiser. Was it really cheaper to tool a new piece than to mold and assemble the existing ones? Must have been, or else Hasbro wouldn't have done it. Other than that, the articulation is the same, and the figure has the same choice of fists or thwip hands.

The second figure in this set is Michelle Jones - "MJ" to her friends. Dry-witted and sarcastic, in the Daria/April Ludgate mold, she's still incredibly smart - she attends the sci/tech magnet school after all, and it's pretty strongly implied she's already figured out who Spider-Man is, so she's clearly observant, too. Everyone loves a bookish gal! The filmmakers spent most of the film's pre-release insisting this character wasn't a secretly renamed Mary Jane Watson, and it turns out they weren't just pulling a Star Trek Into Darkness "John Harrison" on us: the two women may have the same initials, but they're not the same person.

Like Spider-Man, Michelle uses existing pieces, but mixes them up with some new ones. Her entire torso, from neck to knees, is the same "jeans" sculpt we've been getting since Jessica Jones, but her light jacket is new style none of the existing uses of this mold have worn before, so that necessitates new, thinner arms. She's also wearing her sleeves pushed up slightly, which would have required new molds anyway (plus a watch on her wrist). Her boots are molded as part of the shins this time, instead of being separate bits floating above the feet, because Hasbro was already making new shins with the lower edge of her capri pants. The new pieces are slightly smaller than the existing ones, too, so this teenaged high schooler can be a little shorter than the adults.

MJ was played by Zendaya, who was on some Disney Channel show, but was mainly known to our demographic for appearing in Proactiv commercials. The set includes two heads for her: one, with the hair down, is frowning - or at least not smiling, which in this character's case could just be a plain, restful face while she's delivering someone a piping bowl of sarcasm; the second, with the hair pulled back into a ponytail, has a bit of a grin, possibly from messing with Peter. The likeness on both is excellent, and swapping them is no problem.

The figure has a balljointed head, hinged neck, swivel/hinged shoulders, elbows, and wrists, a balljointed chest and hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, and swivel/hinged ankles. She doesn't come with any accessories (no books? Boo!) but she does have two extra hands: there's a pair with the fingers spread out, one fist, and one "holding" hand. With nothing to hold.

Reimagining MJ for the MCU worked out really well. Even if they'd hired a white girl with red hair, decades worth of comics have given us an idea of who the character is and what she's like, and "funny deadpan snarker" isn't it. And while she'd probably be enough to sell this set by herself, the fact that Hasbro made the Spider-Man here something new and different is a good change of pace for them that really pushes the value up.

-- 06/17/19


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