SPIDER-WOMAN struggles with self-definition. Her birth and the genesis of her powers are a mystery, and the earliest years of her life are a haze. She has been an agent of Hydra, a soldier for S.H.I.E.L.D. and an alien hunter for S.W.O.R.D. She battles constantly to take full control over her life, and do away with the sinister mysteries of her past.
Hasbro's latest wave sees a lot of new faces to augment the existing line-up of big hitters and today I'm looking at one of the former in the shape of Spider-Woman.
Like all of the Series 3 Marvel Universe figures, Spider-Woman's packaging features an illustration from Olivier Coipel. His rendition of Spider-Woman is better than his previous characters, but I'm still not won-over.
In addition, the HAMMER/SHIELD-file references on the front of the pack are replaced with the ''Figure stand included!'' aston.
There's really nothing much else to report. Business as usual on the pack-front.
Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew, in this case, not the Julia Carpenter version seen in the Secret Wars double-pack) has always seemed a second-rate character, not through any fault of her own but rather due to her relative obscurity. Most fans probably know her best from the Saturday morning cartoon series of the 70s rather than her in-print persona, but she's recently become a more active character due to the events of the Secret Invasion and their aftermath. It's certainly this renewed popularity that is the driving-force behind this release and it's certainly welcomed, as the figure is actually very good.
I'll start with the negatives so I can end on the positives, as I don't want to give the impression she's a poor figure. But there are some problems. Firstly, her webbing wings are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they look great and make her stand-out from the standard female Marvel Universe figure. However, they also - effectively - make her elbow joints redundant. It's impossible to pose her arms without bending the webbing out of shape. The webs are held in-place by loops at the bicep and wrist and can be swiveled upon these two points. It's the only way I can imagine Hasbro could simulate the wings without completely redesigning the torso and arms of the toy, so I can understand why they did it this way. And it just about works. However, it's not a perfect solution. You'll have to play around to get a decent pose with them but when you can, they do look nice.
The only other issue I have is with the stand not holding the figure properly. I speculated as to whether this was a common problem across the wave in my Doc Samson review and I'm afraid to say it appears I was right. The foot pegs on the stands seem fractionally too small to dock with the figure's feet and, as a result, the stand-mounted figure is unstable. Why this change has come about, I don't know, but it's annoying to see this backward step, given that the quality of the figures in the last few waves has really upped Hasbro's game. With Spider-Woman being the THIRD figure of three to have this issue (and being based on a pre-existing body-type that doesn't have these problems) it seems Hasbro has indeed somehow screwed-up the bases. That's not good.
Now onto the positives.
The head-sculpt is great. Spider-Woman's hair is cast mid-flow, giving it a natural, lifelike look and her face and mask are captured perfectly. The rest of her body is the core female-type used on every Marvel Universe woman so far. It's functional enough and holds a pose pretty well.
What really stands-out though is the colouring. A nice, crisp paint-job - combined with the superb head-sculpt - makes for a very well-defined figure and you won't struggle at all to recognise the character she's representing. Similarly the paint-job on her torso and groin are very neat, with thick, perfectly-applied black accentuating the yellow of her logo, a theme that continues on her boot and glove trim. It's faultless on my figure and looks great. I think that she's actually one of the best-painted figures I've seen from Hasbro and is probably my favourite female character so far from the Marvel Universe range.
Spider-Woman comes with the standard Marvel Universe figure stand, labelled with her name and figure ID (006 if you were wondering.)
There's little else to say that I haven't already covered. Spider-Woman is based on the standard Marvel Universe female cast and her accessory webs are restrictive. But look beyond these two negatives and you'll quickly see how Hasbro has taken what could have been a very average figure and - thanks to a superb head-sculpt and crisp paint-job - turned her into what I'd probably say is one of the best female figures they've released so far. She may have a few poseability problems but work with them and you'll see what an amazing-looking figure she truly is.
I was quite excited when I saw Spider-Woman was to be released and I'm pleased to say the final figure surpasses all my expectations and more.