Winging It Works Wonders For Marvel Legends’ ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Figures
Though Hasbro has many different ways for Marvel fans to enjoy their favorite characters, the Marvel Legends brand is the flagship series for devout collectors. For years now, Marvel Legends has been the home of Hasbro’s deepest roster, figures with the most articulation, and the most unexpected build-a-figure toys at retail. Spider-Man has already been a major part of the Legends brand, with at least one wave per year. This year’s release of Spider-Man: Homecoming gave the web-slinger the expected movie-themed wave, but also included one of Hasbro’s latest experiments: a build-an-accessory. It’s a gamble that pays off with a completed collection, but all the individual figures are worth the price of admission anyway.
Only three of the seven figures in this Vulture Wings collection are from Spider-Man: Homecoming, but the three choices are all the ones fans of the film will want immediately. There’s a Spider-Man in his Tony Stark-designed suit, a version of Peter in his homemade hoodie costume, and of course, the Vulture decked out in his complete villain garb. Not that we would have been disappointed with a plainclothes Vulture with a Michael Keaton head sculpt, but if you’re just getting out of the film, you want the “hero” costume versions of all the major players. All seven figures come with one piece of the Vulture’s mechanized pack, which extends out to give him just under a 24” wingspan. It’s a good thing those wings come with an additional clear stand.
This isn’t the first Marvel Cinematic Universe Spider-Man figure we've seen. Last year, Spidey was part of a Captain America: Civil War three-pack with Iron Man and Captain America, with all three in battle damaged paint apps. This version is a much cleaner Spider-Man, and he comes with just as much articulation as you can hope for from the wallcrawler. All the fantastic detailing of that new and improved costume is included, all the way down to the deep blue seams on his leggings. The two heads this figure comes with do give you some display options, with one having big bug eyes, and the other featuring squinting eyes. No Tom Holland head in this set though. That you’ll have to find in the Iron Man/Spider-Man two-pack available elsewhere.
The only other thing that sets this particular Spider-Man apart from the earlier iteration is the inclusion of little web wing accessories. They’re meant to fit in his armpits, with little sockets built into his biceps, but good luck with all of that. Though they’re set in the figure as part of the packaging, the moment we removed Spider-Man from his box, the web wings refused to stay in place. It took some finagling to get them to stay in place, but it also removed just about all the poseability from the top half of the figure. The web wings are a nice little inclusion, but they don’t offer enough flexibility to make them worth the effort of keeping attached.
I’m not going to gripe about the hoodie and sweatpants today, as I’ve done that enough elsewhere before, but it’s not my favorite look for Spider-Man. Though I’m admittedly not a fan of the homemade costume, the Marvel Legends version of this Spider-Man is a solid toy. There’s some really great detailing and texturing to give the various materials a more authentic feel and appearance. The sculptors have done a good job making the most out of Peter’s budget look, and that's not an easy task. The simpler the construction or design, the more flaws in the figure tend to stand out. There’s still a lot going on here, from the two different hoods (one folded, one open), to the drawstring on the pants, and the lining on his socks.
The figure still has plenty of articulation too, but compared to the more elaborate suit, and almost every other Spider-Man figure that’s come before, this one just doesn’t pop for the right reasons. He looks out of place when standing ground with the other Hasbro figures, but that’s not a fault of Hasbro's. It's just a shortcoming of the design Sony and Marvel wanted to go with for this particular incarnation.
Conversely, the Vulture’s take on a homemade suit is terrific. The way the costume designers paid homage to the character’s classic, though outdated, costume with the modern flight jacket was a touch of genius. You still get that “feathered” look around the collar, but without it looking ridiculous. It’s also a practical bit of clothing considering the Vulture is flying around. It suits the character, and the sculpting team has nailed just about every nuance in the suit. There are all kinds of straps and buckles for Vulture’s attachable flight gear, but there’s also those heavy mechanized legs. As his wings come separately, the standalone Vulture isn’t inhibited much in the articulation department either. He’s not as agile as Spider-Man, but the torso, legs and arms have more than enough to work with for a “normal” human.
Now if you happen to get all seven figures in the wave, you can put together Vulture’s impressive wing pack. It’s not a traditional build-a-figure in the least, but the wings are really impressively made. The engineering on the wings is immediately observable, and they’re filled with all kinds of mechanical technicalities. The wings give Vulture just what he needs to be complete without making the single figure overly expensive, or by cutting back on the wingspan. Each of the pieces is relatively articulated, with the rotors turning on an axis, and wing segments allowing you to create a slight flapping pose. They are heavy though, and the balance of the figure gets thrown off dramatically, even with the included clear stand for the pack. That stand does help, but you still have to work things a bit to get Vulture to stand without tipping.
The remainder of the Spider-Man: Homecoming wave is filled out with some comic book stars that haven’t had a proper chance to shine in a long time, if ever. Since taking up the Marvel Legends mantle, Hasbro’s been fairly good about inserting a number of characters to the growing roster that longtime Marvel fans go nuts over. While they sometimes don’t always attract the same applause from more casual collectors, the team working on Marvel Legends knows its core audience, and how happy they can make fans with just three or four never-before-seen characters.
Captain Universe hasn't had a figure to call his own, but thanks to his resurgence in Spider-Verse, adding him to this wave made perfect sense. Habro’s been building up the Spider-Verse roster, and the Spider-Man of Earth-13 wields the Enigma Force while looking handsome as heck. The base is basically a reworked Vance Astro from this year's earlier Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 wave, only with a slightly different paint app and a few different heads. The paint app is really what makes this figure something special, as the sparkling blue spacefield with white stars pops in just about any light. Having multiple Peter and basic Captain Universe heads just adds to the cool factor. This figure will certainly be one that customizers come back to often.
Moon Knight is no stranger to action figures, but to this point we hadn’t seen a Declan Shalvey-inspired take on the character at 6” scale. Typically, Moon Knight has donned an all-white costume with various capes and hoods throughout the years. While that familiar silhouette is still present, beneath it lies a more practical and modern take on the Fist of Khonshu. The hood and cape give the character more drama than any of the others in this wave, and they stay true to Moon Knight’s origins. He also comes with a bunch of little crescent throwing blades, which are nice, but very small and likely to get lost.
Where Shalvey’s design alters is in the body armor itself. There you can see more combat-ready gear on the legs, arms and shoulders, all of which follow a crescent shape. With the celestial body playing such a central part in Moon Knight’s mythology, Shalvey’s take isn't just change for change’s sake. It actually offers more of an thematic tie to Khonshu, Egyptian god of the moon, than previous outfits. The armor isn’t restrictive in his articulation either, and the updated black mask gives Moon Knight more of an ominous gaze than he had before, too.
Though the modern, female Beetle already got a figure a few Spider-waves ago, along with a number of the Superior Foes, “classic” male Beetle has been out of sight for more than a few years. I don’t have any particular allegiance to one Beetle or another, but this latest take on the character has a few things going for it that the female version was lacking. First is the ability to stand on its own two feet. Long a problem of female action figures, but especially those in the Legends land, the female Beetle could barely stand upright without assistance. The balance just wasn’t as steady as it is with the more masculine body build.
Second, the male Beetle does still come with the big purple wings, but he also comes with an articulated “shell” for his back. You can have it open while the wings are out, but closed if you don’t want the wings on display, giving him a much different silhouette on the shelf. The simplicity and practicality of that original costume is there, and that’s a nice little bit of thoughtfulness on Hasbro’s part. The paint app is great, the articulation is solid, but it’s really the small costume touches with the wings and shell that make this Beetle such a fine figure for a B-list (at best) rogue.
Tombstone is a bad dude. As one of the many supervillains working out of New York, he’s crossed paths with just about every hero from Hell’s Kitchen to Queens, and everywhere between. Adding him into the Spider-Man: Homecoming wave as a villain does make sense, as he debuted in Spider-Man’s comics, and has battled ol’ webhead more than a few times over the years. It’s also good to see the Marvel Legends line continue adding in more African American characters, regardless of whether they’re villains or not. That said, it’s also a very strong Tombstone toy.
He doesn’t come with many accessories, but when you’re as bad as Lonnie Lincoln, you don’t need much but your fists and your razor-sharp teeth. That popped collar is also something to behold, and thankfully Hasbro went with the this take on the character versus versions that have him in a more traditional suit. We’ve had enough plainclothes figures, and despite Tombstone not being overly costumed, those black duds contrast well with his albino skin. That head sculpt is where Tombstone makes his money though, and the pointed teeth, the angered grimace, devilish eyes and a haircut you could set an atomic clock to make him a near-perfect comic book figure.
He also survived a six-story fall off a parking garage roof during the photo shoot, so read into that what you will about Tombstone’s abilities.
All told, this is a rather impressive wave in the Spider-Man branch of Marvel Legends. Having had a few misfires over the past year or so, getting back on track with some great movie- and comic-based figures bodes well for future Spider-Man series. Hopefully fans and casual consumers respond well to the build-an-accessory feature, as it opens up lots of doors for potential build waves down the line. Not that getting build-a-figures isn’t great, but having that kind of flexibility offers Marvel Legends more opportunities to surprise fans in the future.
The Hasbro Marvel Legends Spider-Man: Homecoming Vulture Wings BAF series is available now for ~$20 each. These figures were provided by Hasbro for review.