- The Washington Times - Friday, May 4, 2007

Thanks to the proliferation of film, comic book and cartoon characters, companies are bombarding consumers with an incredible selection of action figures. With tongue in cheek, let’s take a peek at some of the specimens worthy of a place in …

Zad’s Toy Vault

Hammer Attack Sandman versus Spider-Man

Hasbro, the official master toy licenser of the Marvel Comics universe, celebrates the release of the movie “Spider-Man 3” with an astounding variety of action figures. A total of 28 characters ($7.99 each) from the film will be available this year in all of their 5-inch tall, multi-articulated glory, along with Superhero Squad members ($5.99, two figures per package) for the small-hands fan.

Most impressive is the Ooze Attack lineup, which includes figures and a canister of a slimy compound to incorporate into the battles. The line includes Spider-Man versus Venom Symbiote, Venom with Jaw Trap, New Goblin versus Battle Sandman and Flint Marko’s alter ego in a sandy struggle with our arachnid hero.

Figure profile: From the publicity material: “Nothing can stand in Flint Marko’s way. As the powerful Sandman, he is nearly invulnerable to damage, and incredibly strong. He is able to change the density of sand that makes up his body to turn his arms into steel-hard weapons or disappear like dust in the wind. A single blow from his mighty arms can turn concrete into powder. One messed up dodge by Spider-Man, and its over for the web slinger.”

Accessories: Owners get a complete play package starting with a Sandman figure (resembling the film’s actor, Thomas Haden Church) with one hand shaped like a mace and the other like a hammerhead. After about six twists of his torso, he spins his hands around to knock down anything in his way. He also has a hole in his chest into which children can pack some of the included moldable sand. Then the set’s Spider-Man figure (garbed in his traditional red costume) can knock the sand out with his pair of web missiles (loaded and launched in the figure through his forearms).

Enough moldable sand (much more cleanup-friendly for parents than the black slime included in the Venom sets) is available to use with a face mold of Sandman, disguised as a road sign, to further incorporate his molecular shifting features into the play.

Price: $14.99

Read all about it: Of the avalanche of comic books Marvel Publishing offers in May, I suggest either the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man Annual, No. 1 ($3.99), which covers the origins of Sandman, or the trade paperback “Marvel Adventures Spider-Man Vol. 6, The Black Costume” ($6.99), which younger readers will appreciate. It compiles issues No. 21 to 24 from the Marvel Adventures series and features many of the main characters seen in the latest Spidey movie .

Words to buy by: The Ooze Attack line simply delivers hours of fun, hands-on action for children who want to be part of their favorite hero’s new film.

Strange but cool

A short look at bizarre products associated with Spider-Man and his new film.

‘Triple Blast Hover Jet’

(Hasbro, $19.99)

If Spider-Man needed an official mode of transportation to fight crime he would want a full-sized version of this one. The sleek, 17-inch-long jet shoots webs and missiles and has a pair of claws to subdue the bad guys. It also doubles as a futuristic gun, with handle and trigger, for its owners and comes with a can of outdoors-only, Silly-String-like web fluid. A 5-inch-tall, multi-articulated Spider-Man action figure, which fits into the cockpit, completes the set.

‘Spider-Man 3 Chopper Patrol’

(Jasman, $29.99)

I do not remember Spidey getting his own helicopter in the comics, cartoons or movies, but youngsters won’t care as they control a cool, tethered, 2-inch-long copter, designed to look like his masked head, and use dual flight controls to handle throttle and pitch. The aircraft can circle 360 degrees around its base and the included plastic play mat while pilots slowly set down the copter on its spider-logo landing pad or pick up and deliver four, also included, red crates.

‘Secret Lab Assault’

(Mega Brands, $19.99)

This life-size Spider-Man head contains a 155-piece block set to build the New Goblin’s pumpkin bomb factory. Two-inch-tall, multi-articulated versions of Spider-Man in his red suit and Harry Osborn as the Goblin with his Sky Stick board (with a translucent wand that allows the youngster to pretend he can fly) enhance the slickly designed set. When built, the set features the Goblin’s data center, an assembly line to roll bombs through, four Pumpkin bombs, a piece of sticky webbing and a massive launcher to attack the arachnid hero.

Spider-Man 3 Kids Meals

(Burger King, free toy with $3.99 meal)

The home of the Whopper pays tribute to the new movie with an assortment of 10 Super-D-sized (a toy with a larger head and smaller body) figures. One 3-inch-tall toy is included in every regular Kid’s Meal for the next month or so (or until supplies run out). Highlights of the collection include a Spidey with a removable cloth mask to reveal a facial sculpt of actor Tobey Maguire, a Venom stamper (press down the villain on his base to leave a spider mark on paper), a Stick ‘n’ Go New Goblin with his flyer and a handle to spin him around, and a Spin ‘n’ Roll Sandman top that fits into an armored car and propels it.

Spider Spud

(Playskool, $9.99)

A classic toy gets a superhero makeover when Mr. Potato Head becomes Marvel’s famed web slinger and alter ego Peter Parker. Owners dress up their spud with a pair of eyes, a pair of shoes, a spider web, a pair of especially nerdy glasses, a nose, two ears, two arms, a set of teeth, a pair of spider shades and a stretchable Spider-Man suit to fit over its portly body. Best of all, the pieces fit into a compartment in the back side of the potato for easy storage and transport.

Super Pal Spider-Man

(Hasbro, $29.99)

The angst-ridden crime fighter turns into a toddler’s best friend with this soft, cuddly 16-inch-tall plush doll that is almost as cute as Hasbro’s Itsy Bitsy Spider-Man but way more functional. It offers a day and night mode, talks and delivers sound effects with touch sensors in its hand and chest, and has a blankie shaped like a web that can be tucked into his wrist. Most impressive is the volume control for parents. And when the hero is laid on its side in bed, he will doze off in less than a minute, held by his best buddy.

Zadzooks! wants to know you exist. Call 202/636-3016, fax 202/269-1853, e-mail jszadkowski@washingtontimes.com, visit Zadzooks at the blog section of The Washington Times’ Web site (www.washingtontimes.com/blogs/) or write to Joseph Szadkowski at The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide