Spider-Man is the quintessential Marvel hero. No matter what happens, his life is still crap. Even in a magical world
where everybody's fondest dreams come true, Spidey manages to find the cloud inside the silver lining. Maybe it's an extra power they never talk about - proportionate strength and speed of a spider, spidey-sense, and his toast always falls butter side down.
Reality as we know it no longer exists. Wanda Maximoff has truly lost her mind and unleashed her full power, creating an entirely new reality. In this world, mutants are dominant and "sapiens" are laughed at, if they're lucky.
In the last big Marvel crossover, "House of M," the Scarlet Witch used her reality-altering abilities to grant everyone's deepest desires. Spidey's wish was that all the people he's lost in his life were alive and well, so he found himself surrounded with a large and supportive family. He was also sporting a new costume, which is represented here.
There's nothing on the packaging that mentions "House of M," but make no mistake:
series 18's Spider-Sense Spider-Man is House of M Spidey. Salvador Larroca's costume design was really nice, and it's been captured well here. At a glance, it's the same costume we've always known: blue body, with red, webby sections all about. But there have been changes.
His boots are higher on the outside of the legs than on the inside, rather than coming straight across. There's no black spider symbol on his chest; instead, the entire shape of the thing has been draped over his head and shoulders, with the head pointed toward his stomach and the thorax on his spine. One pair of legs wraps around to the front of his waist, while another pair comes down Spidey's arms. His gloves are solid blue, save for a red patch on the back of each hand.
The sculpt is good, with the shapes of the costume and the webbing etched in. It's hard to find a sample with good paint, however - the costume jumps back and forth between red and blue around the joints, so there are a lot of small patches that can easily end up the wrong color. There's a black wash on the webbing, but it gets too heavy in some places and is way too light in others. His eyes, which should be white are instead clear, but end up looking black. When you line his boots up properly, Spidey's a bit pigeon-toed. You could fix that if he had thigh joints, but... well, keep reading.
House of M Spider-Man is well articulated... in some spots. His right leg and left arm are almost up to ML standards. The rest, though, is sacrificed for an action feature. Several action features, in fact. First of all, press the button on his shoulderblade and his "spider-sense" goes off, lighting up his eyes. The eyes light red, for some reason, though it is a nice bright bulb inside. If that was the only feature, we could probably accept it; sadly, the second one is even worse.
In addition to the spider-sense, this Spidey can fire webs. His right arm is a solid piece, designed to launch one of the four included missiles: two web balls, two web blasts. At least he has a forearm joint, unlike Electro, so you can find more than one pose for him. Unfortunately, there's no button to fire the projectiles - you do it by turning his waist, which also lights his eyes. So we were already down one elbow, a wrist, and a balljointed shoulder on the right arm; now we've lost his waist, as well. On top of that, the launching feature doesn't work very well. The missiles keep getting stuck.
In the House of M, Spider-Man had a successful wrestling career, Uncle Ben was alive, Pete was married to Gwen Stacey and they had a son. Of course, he was hiding the fact that he was just a human, not a mutant, and the knowledge was slowly eating away at him, as well as vague memories of what had happened to all the people he loved in the real timeline.
Even when his greatest wish was granted, Peter Parker found a way to screw it up. And in a way, that's what this figure did, too: it should have been a nice companion piece to Air Strike Wolverine and the upcoming House of M box set. If it had come out like the prototype, it still would have been sub-par, but at least it would have been somewhat acceptable. But with poor paint, bad articulation and two displeasing action features, Spider-Sense Spider-Man found a way to screw it up.
Leave this one at the store - you'd be better off finding a super articulated Spider-Man without sculpted webs (like the Series 6 Parachute Spider-Man) and customizing him yourself. It's cool that we got an official version, but it should have been - and could have been - a lot better than this.
What's better: "House of M" or Civil War? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.