Thursday, June 10, 2010

A New Notary: The Black Widow

Funny thing happened: I'd have reviewed Marvel Universe HAMMER Files 3.75" Black Widow earlier if I hadn't noticed that there was an error in her packaging.

It's not a big deal, but the cardboard insert in the bubble for the figure read "Bucky" instead of "Black Widow."  So I put off opening that particular figure hoping that one day it'll be so rare I'd make a million off it.

But in the meantime, I went out and snagged another fig of our fave Russian spy and cracked it open.

While it may not be the figure with the most eye-catching costume or the character who's the popularity contest winner, the Black Widow turned out to be a surprisingly good figure.  And it was the simplicity of the sculpt that made it so...

Like: Her clean sculpt.  Nothing obstructing joints except on her head, where her trademark flowing red locks limits the swivel despite the ball joint.

A clean sculpt means less tooling and detail, but in this case Black Widow doesn't need it because she's the ultimate spy/killing machine--she's supposed to be efficiency personified.  A clean sculpt also means here original articulation goes unhindered, which brings me to my next "like"...

Like: Her articulation.  It's befitting of a superspy. While she's made of the standard Marvel Universe female body, it does seem like this is her body, as if it were made for her in mind.  Where certain characters might look a tad spindly with this sculpt (Enchantress, perhaps even Storm), it seems to fit Natasha Romanov here pretty neatly, so she looks sleek but at the same time dangerous.

Like: That she's got her wrist guards and belt as separate pieces that are not glued on to to sculpt.  Granted, you can't actually remove them without taking off her hands or disconnecting her waist, but if you do, you'll have yourself a completely clean body that is ready for customization.

In fact this is the good thing for Hasbro and customizers alike--the female MU body is pretty much clean, while the head is easily popped off. It makes it easier for Hasbro to do new figures but equally, it's easy meat for newb wannabe cuztomizers like myself or veteran ones who won't really have to take apart the figure.

Dislike: Her left elbow. Poor QC issues here because the hinge is somewhat incomplete--looks like a defective part. It's kinda hard to tell it's there unless you look real close, so I can understand why the QC people might have missed it.  I'm still keeping her though. I don't feel it's that big of a deal but if I'd noticed her flaw I wouldn't have bought her in the first place.

Like: The head sculpt.  First off, they got the hair right. It's the right shade of red-brown.  The face is rather expressionless but this works for the character as a cold blooded killer/spy.

The eyes and the lips are also really well done and when you put her side by side with someone similar looking like Jean Grey, she still has a distinctively different look.  Both their face sculpts are pretty much the same, but the eye and lip color is different.  Natasha's got darker eyes and even slightly more tanned skin.  Of course overrall, Blakc Widow's face is painted better as a figure from a newr wave should be compared to an older one.

Dislike: That other than the Fury HAMMER File and the Figure stand, she only comes with an M-16 with a M-203 grenade launcher attached.

An accessory is all well and good, but I think in this case two handguns would've suited her better.  One: she's a spy and is all about being silent and sneaky but deadly.  So she wouldn't be inclined to lug a damn M-16 around.  Two: two guns are a very large part of what made Sienna Miller look really sexy in GI Joe:Rise of Cobra.  And three: Two hand guns have been cool since time immemorial. Ok, maybe not that long, but just since Chow Yun Fat sported them in the classic Hong Kong gangster flick "A Better Tomorrow."  Yeah, go ahead and YouTube it up. ;)


Aesthetics: 7.5/10 - A great looking figure--but you wouldn't know it until it's out of the package. Sure, here face looks great but the rest of the figure does look a tad bland in packaging. Only when you do open it up will you realize the subtle things like the really slick paint on her face and the great shimmery blue-blackness of her body suit.

Poseability: 8/10 - Black Widow's best feature.  She's almost as good as Attack on the GI Joe Pit Baroness but lose out slightly because I feel the Joe figures were better constructed overall (in terms of things like metal ball-joints and harder plastic) except when it comes to the head sculpt.  Now we all know how much of a failure the Baroness' face turned out to be...

Still, Black Widow is similar to Baroness in that she's got unrestricted joint movement.  Also, her softer hair makes it much easier to rotate the head.  Too bad she doesn't have small holes in the sides on her legs like Baroness does nor the guns to go along with it.  That would've made this figure awesome.

Fun: 7.5/10 - I always like my figure poseable and well balanced for their poses.  But that's proven to be a problem for most of the female figures I have--they're so slim and their feet have to be small enough to be in proportion that they can hardly balance without a stand, let alone on one foot as lots of great poses require.  That's not a huge problem with the stand or if you're putting her side by side with Nick Fury or Tony Stark, both of whom, along with movie Natasha/Scarlett Johansson, are slated to be released in the Iron Man 2 Movie line somewheer down the road.

And that's the other plus point of having this figure: if we don't see the IM2 line figures (as toys which come at the end of lines tend to be rare for some reason), then we'll at least have this figure, which fits is nicely with the IM2 line

Value: 7/10 - Despite the figure stand and the Fury HAMMER File, Blakc Widow only comes with one M-16 assault rifle.  For someone of her nature, she should've been more GI Joe like--more guns, a grappling hook (?), even a grenade or two.  That would've ben fun and would've made a popular character a popular toy.  As it is, she seems to sit on pegs as Modern Thor steals her thunder. ;)

Overall: 7.5/10 - A fair score for a fairly good figure which had the potential to be a lot better.  Still, Natasha Romanov aka Black Widow is one of the rare few female characters to appear in the Marvel Universe line so far.  The fact that's she's single carded and comes with her own file and stand makes her more appealing than Secter Wars two-pack Enchantress and Storm.  But by the same token, since she was sold as a single figure, more could've been down to make sure they got the best and more accessories.


  1. I'm a bit confused as to why the package says Bucky. lol

  2. I can't blame you for not opening it.. (stupid comment got cut off before.. user error hehe). That's the sexiest Bucky I've ever seen, and you're right that it's finally a good base female body for them. I dunno.. I've been burned too many times with the Marvel Universe line though.

  3. Haha, I didn't even notice she was "Bucky" until the Rangerlord pointed it out.

    As for being burned, I say go for the character that you only reaaally like. That way, even if it turns out sub-par, at least you have that line's version of your fave character. ;)

    Watch out for an MU Juggernaut review over at AD soon! :)

  4. Bucky is Captain America's sidekick. Whatever came down the shoot in the assembly line is what got inserted in this pack, or they ran out and started using left over Bucky cards. I for one welcome our new Bucky overlords.

  5. Thank you for another great article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such information. traffic


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