Comic-con has come and gone and with it like every year some interesting exclusives hit. This year we got a Galactus (which I passed on since it will appear at retail at a lower price), Ages of Thunder Thor (again I passed because I was not enamored by the head sculpt), Ultimate Captain America in WW2 attire (which I debated but took too long and missed my opportunity), Sgt. Slaughter (2 versions which lasted 3 seconds online) and the ones below that I was able to get: Movie Spider-Man and Owen Larrs/Darth Maul comic pack.
According to rumor, the Owen/Maul 2-pack was originally slated for regular retail release, but was halted when the impossible to find Comic Packs were low sellers. This still begs the question how something could be a slow seller if no one can find it? Still arguments aside the pack was released to the general public and it’s a very interesting pack.
For those not in the know, the comic this pack is based on is a sort of “What if…?” or “Elseworlds” type tale which proposes that Darth Maul survived the encounter with Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Phantom Menace. Is it a stretch, of course it is, but no more so than Superman crashing in the Soviet Union or The New X-Men dying on their first mission. The point is it’s not a canonical tale, but a fun one akin to Indiana Jones finding the wreckage of the Millennium Falcon and seeing Chewbacca as the legendary Bigfoot or the classic tale of Darth Vader dueling with a clone of Darth Maul.
First off there is Owen Larrs, whom we all know as Luke Skywalker’s uncle and surrogate father. Owen appeared to be just a re-deco of the Owen we received in the Legacy line with a different head. In fact he is not, it appears he is an all new figure. This was quite surprising as most pictures of this set showed Owen in the cloth cloak from the Legacy version, but underneath is a whole new figure. This new figure could easily be re-made into a new ANH Owen with very little alteration. I think that might be what ends up happening with this figure at some point. But for now he is a great mid-aged version of Owen.
Owen comes with a Zuckuss gun, which he uses in the comic (I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read it). Which does seem odd at first, but is comic accurate. While I like this version of Owen a great deal, I think this set would have been better served with an Obi-Wan, preferably the Ep III version with grey hair. This would have probably made this set more marketable in my opinion.
Of course the star of this pack is the Darth Maul, which does contain a set of cybernetic legs. Maul was the very few highlights of Ep. I, he came onto the screen as if he was pure liquid rage being the total opposite of the cool calculating Darth Vader. Truth be told this was a bit of a gamble when you think about it, and I think it paid off. Too bad most of the other gambles of Phantom Menace didn’t have as much of a payoff.
I saw on a message board where someone suggested these legs might be a good base for General Grevious. Given Hasbro’s proclivities to recycle I can see this happening. Anyway Maul has high level of articulation, even to the point of being able to do the spits. If any character deserves that much articulation it is Maul. I really love this figure because I thought the story of Maul attacking Luke as a child was kind of interesting.
While I admit the design is kind of fey like I still cannot help but think if Maul were to have lived in the films after the encounter with Obi-Wan, he would be something like this. I admit the General Grevious comment did make me think that slightly. The extended horns are odd at first, but I suppose the design is to indicate age, as if Maul’s race have larger horns as they get older. This isn’t that farfetched an idea when you think about it, there are tons of animals that have similar traits so why not.
The one knock I will give towards this figure is the fact we still have not received a fully articulated Ep I Maul in the Star Wars line. The closest we have is from the Sith Evolutions packs (which was released in a single pack under the Saga Legends line last year). I hope that problem will be corrected with the Vintage collection, but as of this writing that has yet to be confirmed.
While it is rare for me to mention packaging (I am not an MOC collector), I thought I should here, the pack comes in a very nice window box that contains panels from the comic. This has been talked about at length but I thought I would mention it because it truly is an impressive display.
Lastly but defiantly not least is Movie Spider-Man. There is some debate about which line this figure belongs to: Marvel Universe or Spider-Man. Personal Opinion, I don’t really care, I care about the figure and my word he is an impressive Spider-Man.
Admittedly, there have been just too many Spider-Man figures released by Hasbro in the past year. Avoid them as hard as you can and inevitably you will still get a few from comic packs and multi-packs. Spidey is a popular character, but he is becoming the Snake Eyes or Darth Vader of the Marvel Line. Still even though Hasbro has overdone it with Snake Eyes and Darth Vader, sometimes they hit on something worthwhile and totally awesome, Movie Spider-Man is defiantly in that category.
One of the things that impressed me about the Spider-Man movie design was the raised webs and spiders on the costume. This runs nearly counter to what we normally think of with Spider-Man’s costume on action figures in which the webs are generally lowered. This detail is captured on this figure quite well. There is also a scaling effect on the blue parts of the costume that is quite impressive and mirrors the movie look.
Another great thing is Spidey comes with a practical accessory. His web line is very flexible and hooks onto his web-shooting hand easy. Unlike the other Spider-Man figures, this web can be easily bent and twisted. The suction cup on end is a nice touch to put the web on a smooth surface. I am certain this accessory will show up again, but it’s a nice touch.
But the most impressive feature of this figure is the articulation. Spidey should be ultra articulated as he seems to be the most contorted character in comics and this figure defiantly reflects that. This figure rivals some Microman figures (But microman still wins) as well as the ultra articulated SHS figure from several years ago. He even includes wrist (swivel and joint) articulation.
The other amazing feature is that the articulation does not rob the mold of its form. Microman has had great articulation but the form of the figures detract from that fact. The same can be said of the SHS version of Spider-Man. But this time Hasbro somehow stepped up and gave us a super-duper articulated Spidey that has a great form. I think Hasbro needs to step up to the plate and attempt this kind of quality with ALL of their figures. This would justify many things that fans complain about (Price, reuses of molds, ect).
This figure has been ignored by many, probably because of the sheer volume of Spider-Man figures this past year. However this is one of the best figures that Hasbro has ever produced in my opinion and should be picked up if at all possible
Overall an impressive lineup for SDCC even with this small group. If you can pick them up, they will not disappoint.