Ah, my first review of a Toy Biz Marvel figure since Toy Fair. This may be their last year with the Marvel license, but
from all the figures they showed at Toy Fair it's going to be a really busy year. The flood of product to come is beginning
with a trickle already. The latest series of Spider-man Classics (now called The Amazing Spider-man) figures is starting to
show up on the pegs. Series 17 includes two villains and three Spider-man variants. The villains, which are always a big
draw to collectors, include Hobgoblin and Hydro Man. The Spider-man variants include two of the usual oversized accessory
laden repaint plus a third variant based on a story from one of the Spider-man comics: the Spider Hulk. (For a quick
lesson on the Spider Hulk, click
here.) Since I already have enough oversized accessories and I couldn't find Hydro Man, I'll focus on the Spider Hulk
Packaging - 5/10This is the second series to use the newest package design. The figures are neatly displayed in a fairly nondescript bubble with a photo and character information provided by a sticker near the bottom. The card has Spidey webbing above the city background and the "The Amazing Spider-man" logo. It is a nice design. But since the city doesn't show very well other than upon close inspection, the cards look a little plain on the store pegs. The back of each card has a brief bio of Spider-man, the instructions for the figure and photos of the other figures in the series. The photos are nice, but it would have been better if they also included a photo of the actual figure too. The instructions seem to get far more space than they warrant. For instance, the Spider Hulk has four steps demonstrate how to use a simple lever action feature. But where the packaging really falls short is in the lack of any character information. Toy Biz has done a wonderful job of making not only great villain figures like Hobgoblin but variants actually based on comic history. But you would never know it from the package. Swapping the generic Spider-man biography for a brief history of each character would help get kids more interested comics and may even help convince parents that they aren't just making up all of these variants to get more of their money.
Sculpting - Hobgoblin 9/10, Spider Hulk 8/10The sculpting on both the Hobgoblin and the Spider Hulk are terrific. The detailing on the Hobgoblin and very traditional character design complete with a pumpkin bomb in his hand is sure to make it a fan favorite. Really the only issue I have with the figure is the scale which has never been a strong point with Toy Biz's lines. The figure doesn't tower over the other SMC and Marvel Legends figures, but the difference is easily noticeable. Spider Hulk has an interesting sculpt as well. The bulk and stance does a great job of using enough elements of the Hulk to make it clear that this is more than just Mae Parker's boy on steroids. But there are few oddities to the sculpt. The first is the jaw line which is so pronounced that it makes the figure look like it should be called Spider Leno Hulk. There is also a fairly sharp contrast in the style of the sculpt from the body to the limbs. The body has a fairly simple style with just the basic costume details sculpted. But the arms and the legs below the hips have more and sharper details. Either style would have worked well, but mixing the two looks a bit strange.
Paint - Hobgoblin 9/10, Spider Hulk 4/10Just like the sculpting, the paint work on the Spider Hulk has a combination of two different paint styles. The body and most of the arms are painted in slightly muted tones. While it isn't the norm for a Marvel Legends/SMC figure it doesn't look too bad. I think it helps to give the illusion of a spandex suit stretched far beyond its intended limits. But the hands and legs have a much brighter paint finish. Stray paint marks are also a problem. The finger and toe nails in particular seem to be a problem area. My figure isn't too bad, they got a little sloppy with the white wash on one of the fingers. But the other Spider Hulk figure I saw in the store had the wash covering many of the fingers back past the first joint. This is a case where it may pay to buy the figure from a brick and mortar store so that you can compare paint.
The Hobgoblin figure follows the basic principle of KISS: keep it simple stupid. And it works. There are no intricate paint apps or washes on most of the figure. They did paint the important details such as the belt and buckle as well as the jack-o'-lantern bomb. There is some paint used to add shading around the eyes. But they did not let it get out of hand. Sloppiness isn't a big problem on my figure. The green for the stem of the pumpkin bomb is sloppy, but that seems to be the only thing of note.
Articulation - 8/10Hobgoblin has thirty eight points of articulation:
The Spider Hulk figure has forty six points of articulation. For the most part it is less posable than the Hobgoblin. The knees and elbows are all single joints and several of the usual joints such as the hinged wrists and rotating shins are missing entirely. The extra articulation all comes from the fingers. The thumbs are hinged where they meet the hand. All of the other fingers have two hinges, one at the second and one at the third joint. And yes, he can flip the bird.
Accessories - Spider Hulk 2/10, Hobgoblin 9/10Spider Hulk has just one accessory, a four and a half inch long section of steel girder for the figure to toss. It does have the feature of being able to be torn in half. But overall it is rather dull. It's a shame they didn't make a biokinetic energy absorber as an accessory.
Hobgoblin has three accessories: his glider, a smoke base for the glider and his satchel. The satchel is removable by sliding it down around the body. It can't be opened of course, but it does look great. The glider is fairly small compared to the figure, but that is pretty accurate. The foot hold loops combined with the figure's curly toed shoes allow the figure to stand on it quite securely. The glider also has a small contrail of smoke on the back. Besides being decorative, it also serves to balance the glider whether it is mounted on the cloud base or standing on its own. The cloud base has three wheels under it so that the figure can roll around. On its own, the cloud base isn't very stable and has no means of keeping it from rolling away. Fortunately a quick adjustment of the smoke contrail on the glider can solve both issues. I do wish that they had made the pumpkin bomb as a removable accessory. While finding a way for the figure to hold it would be difficult, they could use magnets embedded into both the hand and the bomb or even just use the peg in the palm of the hand and a small hole in the bomb like they have used on some of their other figures.
Action Features - Spider Hulk 3/10, Hobgoblin NASpider Hulk's action feature is supposed to be to throw his iron beam. There is a lever on his back. When it is pushed down, the figure's arms raise up. There is a small catch at the bottom that then locks the arms in place. You can then place the beam in the figure's hands and push the lever back up to toss the beam. The spring inside is far to weak to compensate for the weight of the bulky arms. As a result the feature is very weak. It also means that the shoulders tend to rotate together, though they can be moved independently.
Value - Spider Hulk 6/10, Hobgoblin 9/10Retail price for The Amazing Spider-man figures is usually between $7 and $9 at most brick and mortar stores. Scale problems aside, Hobgoblin is an excellent figure and well worth the price for any Spider-man or Marvel fan. Spider Hulk is also a decent figure, though of a far more obscure character variant.
Happy Hunting:I found these two figures at Wal-mart here in Madison, WI. From the reports I have heard so far, Wal-marts seem to be the only place where they have shown up so far. But that is certain to change before long. It is also worth noting that there seems to be two different case assortments shipping so far. Both assortments are packed heavily with Spider-man variants with just two each of Hobgoblin and Spider Hulk. The difference is one assortment also includes the new Hydro Man figure. the other assortment substitutes the previously released Sandman on a new card in Hydro Man's place.