The second wave of Marvel Legends box sets have hit stores. Actually, they hit stores
several months ago, but I've been a bit behind on my reviews lately. Like last year, there
are two box sets with a mix of reused or slightly redone figures along with one or two new
characters. However, this year one of the sets features the Fantastic Four while the other
is a Spider-man set based on the theme of the Sinister Six which oddly enough features seven
figures: Spider-man, Black Cat, Venom, Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Electro and Kraven. It's
a rather odd list of figures for a Sinister Six theme since I don't believe Black Cat, Venom or Kraven
were ever members of the Sinister Six.
Packaging - 6/10The Sinister Six box set comes in a box with a large window that covers most of two of the panels. the top two thirds of the front is largely occupied by the window displaying the seven figures and some of the accessories. The Marvel legends logo and name of each character is printed on the bottom third of the front panel in front of a brick wall pattern. The left and right edge of the box borrow from the Spider-man Classics card design which has spider symbols along the left and right side of the card but replace the spider symbols with symbols for each figure in blue on black stripes. The back of the box has images taken from the poster book that is included with the set and profile cards for each figure. The way the figures are actually displayed in the box is a bit of a let down though. Unlike the X-men Box Set which had the figures displayed in appropriate poses against a cool background. In fact, I've seen countless people save the danger room backdrop to be reused in figure displays. By contrast, the Sinister Six set has the seven figures positioned in various unusual poses with no particular rhyme or reason. They appear to me to be leaping away from some explosion occurring in the background that has yet to be added in by the special FX department. The background itself is a generic spider web pattern. The figure poses don't really detract from the set, but they don't add anything either. This is not going to be a favorite set of MOC/MIB collectors.
Sculpting - 6/10Doctor Octopus is the weakest sculpt of the set. This shouldn't be much of a surprise since this figure predates the entire Marvel Legends line. The head sculpt is a nice rendition of the pudgy, goggled faced version of Doc Oct. The torso is extremely plain, with just a few rumples of cloth sculpted onto it. The legs and hips are pretty much the same as the torso. But there is a glaring problem, the waist of the torso and the hips don't match up or even come close. I believe the earlier version of the figure must have had a belt of some sort.
Black Cat reuses the first ML female body first used by Elektra with fur trim glued on in the proper place. For a first attempt at a female form in the Marvel Legends style, it isn't bad, but there is certainly room for improvement as well. The hips in particular are an annoyance since they are sculpted in unflatteringly wide stance. The head sculpt is serviceable, but the face could stand to be thinner. I also think a bit more of a smile would have been more appropriate to the character.
Electro has a fairly nondescript body that appears to have been reused from some other Spider-man figure, though I have no idea which one. The forearms have small lightning bolts attached to them. And then of course there is the large mask that hides most of Electro's head. The mask looks great and the facial expression on the portion of the face that is visible is very nicely done and perfect for the character. The body seems more muscular than I envision Electro, but I'm far from a Spider-man expert.
Kraven, Venom and Green Goblin all reuse existing figures with new head sculpts. Kraven uses the same body as the previous, single carded version which was the same mold as the Prince Namor figure. The head has been replaced with a yelling version which make it look like Kraven just stepped onto his own bear trap. Green Goblin uses the body from the Hob Goblin figure from the Spider-man Classics line. The sculpt is a bit to extreme for the Green Goblin, but is acceptable. The head sculpt is completely new and very well done. Since the Green Goblin is supposed to be a rubber mask, the head sculpt has a nicely exaggerated look to it. In addition, Toy Biz recessed the eyes and then attached translucent yellow lenses over them so it is possible to see the eyes underneath. Venom is the most creative reuse of existing parts. It is the Sabertooth figure without the fur and a new head. The body works very well but Toy Biz took the easy way out in not removing the spike on the back of each elbow. The head sculpt is one of the nicest of Venom I've seen. Toy Biz has a history of going overboard when sculpting Venom's head (everyone remember the whacked out, giant tongue Venom from the SMC line.) This one strikes a nice balance with a wicked grin showing off his teeth.
Spider-Man is my favorite of the set. It is slightly bulkier than the early SMC Spider-Man figures, more comparable to the recent Black Costume Spider-man figure. The sculpt also adds a significant amount of texture for the fabric as well.
Paint - 4/10The paint work on these figures isn't poor, it just isn't consistent. Four of the figures, Electro Black Cat, Kraven and Venom, have fairly clean paint apps. Then Spidey, Green Goblin and Doc Oct have fairly heavy paint washes. Many people have criticized this line for sloppy or paint applications. I'm not as critical as some of paint but I did notice a few blemishes. The white for the spider on Venom's sides and back looks as though it was smeared at the factory before the paint had a chance to completely dry. Some of the green color of the plastic shows through on Electro, especially the crotch section which again appears to have been handled before the paint dried completely. The edges for the silver for the fur lining on Black Cat's legs and arms aren't quite right either. The problem is minimal, but with the sharp contrast between the silver of the fur and the black costume it shows up easily. On the plus side, Kraven turned out quite well. Unlike the carded version, the paint finish on this Kraven's head matches the rest of his body. They also added painted on hair to both his chest and forearms. They also changed the paint scheme for Kraven's pants so that they are no longer two different shades. The result helps to eliminate the raver's pants look that the original had.
Articulation - 8/10Most of these figures have around 40 points of articulation.
Black Cat actually adds two additional rotating joints, one in each upper arm. Of course, having two rotating joints in each upper arm is just pointless since the second one adds nothing to the poseability of the figure. And then there are the infamous hip joints that Elektra and Rogue had. Rather than the ball style joints of the male figures, Cat actually has two separate joints. The legs rotate where they connect to the hips in a fairly standard V configuration. But then there is a hinge joint in the top half of the thigh. It seems that the purpose was to design a set of joints that would provide a comparable range of motion to the standard joint with less impact on the overall sculpt. They failed on both counts. There is no way for the figure to be posed with its legs together. And the hinge in the thighs is fairly worthless since when posed any way but straight they make it appear as if the figure's legs have been broken.
Green Goblin clocks in at just 25 points of articulation. He lacks the toe hinges, ankle swivels, rotating shins, torso hinge, and the wrist and finger articulation. The knees and elbows are also only single hinges. The lack of articulation is regrettable but not worst thing. From the reports which I have heard Green Goblin tends to suffer from serious seizing of the joints and my figure was no exception. Many of the joints were extremely stiff, so much so that I ended up breaking off his left arm at the biceps because the joint would not move.
Doctor Octopus is the least articulated of the entire set with just 16 POA: hinged ankles and knees, rotating hips and waist, double jointed shoulders, hinged elbows, rotating wrists and a rotating neck. The less than good Doctor does gain a lot of poseability from the four tentacles which are rubber covered wire. Unfortunately the wire doesn't go all the way to the ends of the tentacles. For the claw ends, this isn't much of a problem. But since the wire doesn't start until about an inch down the tentacles, all four tentacles wind up being floppier than they needed to be.
Finally we come to Spidey himself who is by far the most articulated at 49 POA though the difference made by those extra nine joints in minimal. Two thirds of the added articulation is in the fingers which are individually jointed rather than all four being cast and moving as one part. Spidey has an additional ball joint at the base of his neck. The final two points are additional shoulder joints. Not only do Spidey's shoulders have the ability to rotate and operate on a hinge like all of the figures, he is also has a hinge joint to allow the shoulders to move forward or back. And then on top of that, there is a fourth hinge joint to allow the entire arm to be swung up next to the head. The result is one of the few figures that can actually wrap its arm around the back of its head. Though I can't image too many reasons why someone would want to display a figure that way.
Accessories - 6/10This set has so many figures packed into it that the accessories tend to be overshadowed. Unlike so many figures from Toy Biz, there aren't a bunch of giant spring loaded, missile firing, super hyper monkey force cannons. (Well there is one projectile firing weapon, but its not as bad as most of what Toy Biz produces.) The most obvious accessories are the stands. There are seven stands included, one for each figure. The bases are all the same base, a gray disk with two foot pegs. But each has a three dimensional insert for the individual character. Their small size makes them far more useful for displaying larger groups of figures. Then there are the accessories for the individual figures. Spidey has a webbing cape that serves as the webs under his arms. It is removable. There are four elastic loops that hook around the figure's arms, neck and waist which do a good job of keeping the webbing tight. Doctor Octopus has a cloth lab coat which fits quite well and is remarkably well constructed. Even the holes in the back for the tentacles are hemmed to avoid fraying. Goblin and Kraven have the most accessories. Green Goblin has two pumpkin bombs, his goblin glider and bag of not-so-goodies. Kraven has a hunting knife, machete and the one spring loaded weapon of the set, the same bolo firing cross bow that came with the carded figure.
There is one final bonus unrelated to the figures, the poster book. It includes nineteen images of the various characters. I much prefer the individual comics that used to come with the separate figures, but since the SMC line no longer includes comics any way, it is a small lose.
Value - 6/10The Sinister Six box set retails for approximately $45 but can be found for under $40. For seven figures, that's between $6 and $7 per figure. That's a pretty good deal considering that the SMC and Marvel Legends figures usually run at least $7 apiece. Of course, all of this is also dependent upon whether you have any of these figures already. Electro, Black Cat, Green Goblin and Venom are all new figures. But Kraven was available carded not that long ago. And some people may still have Doc Oct from when he was first released or from the two pack of the same figure and Spidey that is currently available. And then there is the main man himself. The chance of anyone having even the slightest interest in Spider-man and not already having at least one if not a small army of Spidey's is pretty slim.
Happy Hunting:The set has been showing up at Toys R Us stores for several months now. But so far that seems to be the only store stocking the set. It may be available online through Amazon.com at some point but I do not see it there now. So I guess it's time for everyone to go pay Geoffrey a visit.