Thursday, March 5, 2015

REVIEW: Marvel Universe's Green Goblin

Welcome to this week's Throwback Thursday Review, where today we're going old school - both in terms of character and toy - with our look at the Marvel Universe's Green Goblin.

The Green Goblin
First appearing in 1964, The Green Goblin is one of Spider-Man's most well-known - and deadliest - foes. Although the character has undergone a number of changes - both in terms of design and even identity - over the years, for me the original Norman Osborn version is the best (because I'm a stickler for Silver Age designs.)
Released way back in 2009 as part of the new Marvel Universe line's second Wave, the figure is a great example of Hasbro getting it right. Sure, kids may clamor for Iron Man's Mark 9839 armor or Ninja Fisherman Wolverine but for older fans, it's always great to see the line acknowledging its roots by including such classic characters in their original garb.
The design is a great translation of the comicbook version, from his mesh-like armored limbs to his maniacal expression and - best of all- his utterly ridiculous-yet-awesome nightcap hat. They really don't design characters like this anymore and it's a real shame, as there's such a fantastic, timeless look to the Green Goblin's appearance.
The head is particularly impressive. I'm surprised Hasbro sprung not only for a unique head design but also one so utterly different to anything in the line. I'm certainly glad they did, though, as the results are excellent.
Hasbro would go on to re-use this design (with a couple of tweaks and a new color scheme) to create the Hobgoblin. Some might argue that it's a bit of a cheeky move to do so but given Hobgoblin's origin, it makes sense that he'd have a lot in common with the original Goblin. Plus the sculpt is so good that it's worth re-using...
One cool little touch - which is more an accessory than a piece of the figure per se - is his cool little ''bag of tricks'' satchel. I always liked that the character's design included a little bit of reality in the costume department, namely that he had somewhere to keep his pumpkin bombs. Speaking of which...
The figure includes a very neat-looking pumpkin bomb. As you can see, there's a small peg on the base, which slots into the figure's left hand. It's interesting to see Hasbro trying this method out early on in the line's run. I don't think the response must have been that great, though, as I don't recall seeing any other figures using such a system. Personally I think it works nicely, as it's cool to be able to place the bomb in his hand and not have to worry about it falling out.
Articulation is good, overall, with some nice tight joints yet enough movement in them to allow the figure to be posed in a variety of cool ways. The early Marvel Universe figures didn't include stands - we'll come back to that in a moment - but, as you can see from the images here, he's pretty solid on his feet and can be posed in a standing up position with ease.
Paint is also impressive, with his classic purple-and-green costume combo present and correct, along with some nice weathering detail and - coolest of all - that face app. His eyes are fantastic.
As I mentioned above, the figure doesn't come with a base. Instead you get this very cool Goblin Glider accessory. Getting it to stay attached to his feet is a fairly simple process (although I'm surprised they didn't simply use a peg and port system - again, Hasbro is still working things out) but it can involve angling his feet (and knees) to ''grip'' the Glider and, as a result, he can look a little odd in some poses. It's also marginally back-heavy and so he will on occasion topple over backward. It's a problem that can be overcome with a bit of balancing and re-posing, though.

Final Thoughts
I love classic superhero comic designs and the Silver Age represented, for me, probably the best era in comicbooks in terms of characters and designs. If you look at Spider-Man's line-up of foes, it quickly becomes apparent just what a great time it was at Marvel. Vulture, Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio, Rhino, Doctor Octopus, the Lizard... The list goes on and every one is awesome. And it was the presence (or in many cases, promise of) these characters that really made me pay attention to the Marvel Universe line. And yes, they did indeed keep a steady flow of vintage-style awesome alongside their Camping Expert Iron Man and Neon Fireblast Spideys but for me Hasbro seemed more interested in pushing the modern versions of characters. Which makes sense if they're selling to younger fans but, as an old school comics fan, I'd have loved to see a full-on Silver Age line-up.

Which brings us to Green Goblin himself.

As you've probably been able to surmise, I absolutely loved this figure when I first saw him and I still do. Along with the classic Iron Man, he was the first Marvel Universe figure I bought and so he most definitely has a place in my heart. But that's not the only reason I dig this figure so much. I mean, look at him. It's a page-perfect version of the character translated into 3D. The Marvel Universe line certainly had its share of misfires and mistakes but when they got it right - as they did here - then it could be an absolute pleasure to collect.

If you're a fan of Silver Age comic characters - or you just want to see how good the Marvel Universe line could be - then this is an absolute must.

Image Gallery

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