- The Washington Times - Friday, July 5, 2019

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.

“Spider-Man: Far From Home” Molten Man

Hasbro tempts action figure fans smitten by a certain friendly neighborhood web slinger with its latest 6-inch-tall collection of Marvel Legends devoted to the new film “Spider-Man: Far From Home” and Spidey’s comic book universe.

The latest lineup includes Spider-Man Stealth, Spider-Man, Mysterio, Spider-Woman, Scorpion, Hydro-Man, Doppelganger and a “Build-A-Figure” of the cinematic version of the fiery gold monster Molten Man.

Figure profile: According to Quentin Beck (aka Mysterio), Fire (aka Molten Man) is one of the super-powered entities called the Elementals, originating from Earth-833. Through an interdimensional rift, this undulating, multistory behemoth of shifting molten golden metals appears on Earth-616 bent on destroying the city of Prague with only Spider-Man and Mysterio in its way.



Accessories: Hasbro’s Build-A-Figure line continues to give collectors a way to go on a treasure hunt for particular Marvel Legends figures to assemble a key character from the Marvel Comics or cinematic universe.

Specifically, six of the Spider-Man Legends’ action figures are needed to assemble one of Hasbro’s more weighty and large masterpieces.

Remove the extra pieces from the plastic shells in each figure’s packaging to put together an 8-inch-tall, naked, hunched over and lumbering bipedal creature with radically different sized arms.

However, and take note, builders will find attaching the legs a bit of a quandary until they twist the pelvis 180 degrees (not the way it was placed in the packaging) and find the left lower appendage finally tightly fits on its stem.

The overall piece is golden bronze in color with splashes of orange denoting fire. Better yet, the torso is slightly translucent, and when held up to a light, clearly shows the creature’s orangish unstable, fiery molten state.

The orange head with beady yellow eyes looks almost skeletal as metal melts to cover over the skull and some drips falling over the mandibular region.

It’s normal-dimensioned right arm has a glowing red metal girder embedded in it while the massive left arm, more than 5 inches long and composed of molten layers ends with a fist posed much like a gorilla would use while in motion.

Finally, a barely recognizable left leg, shaped like an elephant’s appendage, is juxtaposed against a more normal-looking right leg.

Of course, Molten Man is not really to scale from the movie, where he is more a multistory monstrosity, but the action figure does offer a generous 19 points of articulation and an extra-bent construction I-beam girder to take out its rage on Spider-Man.

As far as its overall look, if the figure had been painted grey, it would perfectly resemble Batman’s arch enemy Clayface; or if beige, Sandman melting during a rainstorm. I’ll also go deeper and see some slight resemblance to Thomas Edison’s 1910 version of Frankenstein.

Now, to own this fluid beast, collectors will need to purchase some wondrous extra figures. Here is short breakdown of each in the lineup that offers more than a dozen points of articulation and a coveted Molten Man body part.

Mysterio (left leg): With a costume plucked from “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” this 6-inch-tall version of the alter ego of high-tech magician Quentin Beck features a flowing, non-removable purple cape (with green art patterns on the back) and gold armor, boots and temple-shaped gauntlets on top of a green, textured suit.

The cool key to the figure is the gold-rimmed, purplish, glittery fishbowl-style, frosted helmet that conceals Beck’s identity. The figure also comes with an additional set of fisted hands. What’s truly needed is an extra head sculpt of actor Jake Gyllenhaal, who portrays Beck in the movie.

When compared to the 2018 Marvel Legends comic book style version of Mysterio, our new guy falls a bit short. The older version had not only some translucent green magic smoke streams to attach to his hands or feet, but a spooky skeletal head sculpt in the helmet.

Spider-Man: Stealth Suit (left arm and girder): As seen in “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” this 5.5-inch-tall Peter Parker is wearing an all-black, high-tech suit textured with some glossy patterns, silver-eyed goggles and fleshy fingers fisted in fingerless gloves.

He comes with an extra pair of hands positioned in web firing mode and an extra head with the goggles pulled up to reveal Parker’s eyes.

I’m guessing, due to the costume’s debut in the movie, he may be one of the coveted figures of this collection.

Scorpion (right leg): The alter ego of Spider-Man-hating Mac Gargan arrives in a comic book styled version reminiscent of the days when Todd McFarlane drew the villain. He stands slightly more than 6 inches tall and wears a full costume featuring metallic grey boots, gloves and pelvis area covering.

His signature flexible tail is also metallic green with a grey stinger and is 14 inches long as well as very bendable for some striking poses (thanks to an internal wire construction).

The head sculpt shows a snarling Mac flashing white teeth with most of his face covered by the green mask.

Despite the weighty tail, the figure poses surprisingly well, but it may take some effort to keep him standing 

Although the paint job and tail excels, I am still in love with the 2004 Toy Biz Tail Strike Scorpion that offered a more exaggerated comic book design, large hands with grasping articulation, a ferocious head sculpt with the mask not covering most of the face, and a launching stinger.

Doppelganger (right arm and I-beam): A nearly perfect re-creation of the super villain creature seen in the Marvel Comics‘ 1993 crossover event “Maximum Carnage” arrives in this ferocious 6-inch-tall figure with six arms and a big mouth.

Wearing Spider-Man’s darker and textured red-and-blue movie-style costume with silver-eyed coverings and a black embossed spider logo on the chest, it features three-fingered hands in various poses, three-toed clawed feet and a head sculpt that breaks open the mask’s jawline to display two rows of long, razor-sharp and pure-white teeth.

It’s a much more menacing design than Toy Biz’ 1996, Infinity War version. Thanks to the off-the-charts articulation on all of the arms and open mouth, this Doppelganger re-creation should make quite an impression on fans of the character.

Hydro-Man (head): This exaggerated 6 3/4-inch-tall figure does a great job of highlighting the powers of Morris Bench, a sworn enemy of Spider-Man who can turn his body into water.

Once again, I am seeing inspiration for the design from Todd McFarlane’s legendary run drawing the Amazing Spider-Man comic in the 1980s, especially in the crisp facial features and sandy blond hair with strands flipping up the air.

Morris wears jeans, a black shirt and brown shoes, and both arms (up to the biceps) are composed of a jagged, tubular, translucent blue plastic to represent undulating water. Each large hand also features the water effect with one in a fist and the other in a grasping pose.

Additionally, a pair of water splashes can attach to his feet and the hands can be easily removed to really complete the slick hydro-merged-with-man effect.

Spider-Woman (torso): The alter ego of Julia Carpenter stands 6 inches tall and wears her traditional black-and-white costume with white spider logos painted on her chest and back.

This pure comic book version of the figure (plucked from her 1984 appearance in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars) also gets an extra hand spewing pinkish white Psi-webbing.

The head sculpt stands out due to the finely painted red lips and the long plastic strawberry blond hair that flows down to the nape of her back.

Note: The extra figure in the series that does not come with a Molten Man piece is a 5.5-inch-tall Spider-Man wearing his blue-and-red costume from the latest movie. He is an absolute necessity for fans wanting to relive key moments from “Spider-Man: Far From Home.”

Price: $119.94 (requires purchase of six figures at $19.99 each).

Read all about it: Marvel Comics debuted the original Molten Man aka Mark Raxton in “Amazing Spider-Man” No. 28 way back in 1965.

Pick up “The Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus Vol. 1” ($69) and read “Amazing Fantasy No. 15,” “Amazing Spider-Man Nos. 1 to 38 (including Annuals No. 1 and 2),” “Strange Tales Annual 2” and “Fantastic Four Annual 1” to appreciate some of the best Spidey stories ever created by writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko as well as learn the origins of Molten Man, Mysterio and the Scorpion.

What’s it worth: One of the more unusual Build-A-Figures ever released, certainly next to Fin Fang Foom, Molten Man delivers a key villain in “Spider-Man: Far From Home” and offers an impressive set piece for display or role play.

The price is steep for collectors or younger fans and, although the figure might not be as ferocious looking as Caliban or impeccably sculpted as Armored Thanos or Gladiator Hulk, I believe he will be remembered as a key gem in Marvel Legends‘ history.

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