Wednesday 9 January 2019

Toybox REVIEW: Figure Complex Amazing Yamaguchi Spider-Gwen

Release Date: June 2017
RRP: 5900 yen

Between Infinity War, Venom, the Playstation 4 game and of course Into the Spider-Verse, 2018 was truly the year of Spider-Man. My enjoyment of that last release in particular found me wanting to go back and pick up some of the Spidey figures I've missed over the years, and Figure Complex (aka Revoltech)'s Amazing Yamaguchi Spider-Gwen seemed like the perfect place to start. Parallel universes have always been my absolute favourite sci-fi trope, and from what I've read of the Spider-Gwen comic the writers have done an excellent job of twisting pre-established Marvel characters into something new and exciting. Both the comic and her design itself have proved exceedingly popular, and between her appearances in both Into the Spider-Verse and Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors it seems Spider-Gwen's popularity will just continue to rise.

Overall figure quality isn't the only thing Revoltech have seriously upped since their glory days – the packaging for the Amazing Yamaguchi figures also represents a serious overhaul to the brand. Gone are the boring one-colour boxes, replaced with busy, colourful packaging that fully embraces the characters' comic roots. The box features both figure images and actual comic panels, giving it a nice bit of variety as well as display value. Even the backing card on the inside is gorgeous, again using artwork lifted from the comics to give it a very premium feel. Inside the figure and its accessories are loaded onto a single plastic tray, with the display stand pieces individually bagged underneath.

The Spider-Gwen suit design is perhaps one of the most unique and iconic Spider-Man variants to have come out in recent years, partly because of the insanely cool (if a little impractical) hood and mask combination but also because the black and white in a nice departure from Spider-Man's traditional red and blue threads. Like most Revoltech figures Spider-Gwen has a glossy finish, but this goes quite nicely with the pearly white paint job so doesn't make the figure look in any way cheap. The splashes of neon pink and blue add a nice bit of colour to the overall suit, though the paintwork on the webbing can be a little hit and miss. For example, the web pattern on the right arm is far thicker on the left arm of my figure than the right, giving it a bit of an uneven look. That aside, it's still a pretty solid figure and doesn't really get anything wrong as far as sculpt is concerned. It is unfortunate however that the figure has no sort of hood down option, as the hood piece is attached directly to the head assembly. On the plus side this means the hood doesn't impede on head articulation in any way, but it does takeaway what would have been a nice little display option to have on the figure.

However it's in the articulation that this figure really begins to shine, and the line undoubtedly earns that "Amazing" in its name. Spider-Gwen might not excel (though she's hardly bad at it either) at neutral poses but when it comes to the kind of dynamic acrobatics the Spider-verse is capable of, she cannot be beaten. She has double Revoltech revolver joints in her shoulders, as well as single revolver joints in her head, neck, elbows, wrists, torso, waist, hips, knees and feet. These all act fairly similar to standard ball joint, but with the added satisfaction of a distinct clicking sound all Revoltech figures share. On top of these standard Revoltech features, Gwen then also has thigh cuts and toe pivots to add that little bit more variety to the mix. While certain areas (such as the shoulders and knees) can often make the cumbersome look of the revolver joints stick out a little more than they perhaps should, the overall range you can get out of this figure certainly makes up for it. Often figures with this much range of motion require a bit of playing around with before the poses come out seamless, but Spider-Gwen handles everything you throw at her effortlessly. The pictures featured in this review are only a tiny example of just how much you can do with her.

Webs are an essential accessory for any good Spider-Man figure, which is something Kaiyodo obviously acknowledge because Gwen comes in pretty good supply. The figure comes with three different varieties of webbing – a long spiralling strand, a curved rope and a finally a short blast. All three can either be pegged into the appropriate web-shooting hands, or alternative pegged into the gripping hands to simulate proper web-slinging. All in all it's a pretty nice variety and lengths and styles, and together with the included display stand(s) you can get the figure into some utterly fantastic web-slinging poses – far better than any other articulated Spider-Gwen figure on the market can pull off, that's for sure.

In addition to the webs Spider-Gwen also comes packaged with two alternate masked faces with differently shaped eyes, an unmasked Gwen Stacey head, seven additional hands and a smart phone accessory. For fans buying this figure after watching Into the Spider-Verse it's worth noting that since this figure is based off of the comic version of Spider-Gwen, the unmasked face has long hair rather than being the shorter-haired version seen in the film. This is one area where the figure could have also benefitted from the ability to display the hood down, because the unmasked face is much too small for the body and a whole new head would have done the job much better. Still, even having an under-proportioned option is better than not having the option at all. The smart phone meanwhile is rather basic but does have a nice little voicemail screen sticker applied, though the much bigger hassle is getting the damn thing to stay in its designated hand. The accessory is small and thin, and the hand itself isn't really in a pose that allows for particularly grip. It's not impossible, but it is frustrating.

Finally there are also a number of different supported display options, including an articulated display stand that both directly plug into the figure or attach to an articulated claw piece. Far more interesting however is the additional magnetic stand piece, which allows Spider-Gwen to stick to metal surfaces just like the wall-crawler she is. This accessory is simply a revolver joint attached to a simple magnet, plugging directly into the figure's back but with enough strength to hold the figure on its chosen surface. With some careful posing of the arms, the adapter is almost completely unnoticeable and it genuinely looks like the figure is sticking to the surface. While Kaiyodo might not be the only ones giving their Spider-Man figures magnetic options (Mafex's figures have had magnetic hands for some time for example) it still remains an incredibly cool display option that really ALL Spider-Man figures should implement one way or another. It's a shame that the port being in the back means Gwen isn't capable of any front-facing wall climbing poses, but the lack of magnets on the hands and feet does free her limbs up for a bit more variety in poses.

Much like their Carnage figure Amazing Yamaguchi Spider-Gwen is a little rough around the edges in some areas, but even taking that into account it's incredible to see just how far Revoltech have come in the past few years. Exaggerated comic book poses and the Revoltech articulation system are truly a match made in heaven, and you're definitely not going to find a Spider-Gwen as dynamic or expressive as this one currently on the market. Uneven paint apps, an undersized head and lack of de-hooded options are just minor complaints in the face of the near-perfect poses this thing can pull off. After watching Into the Spider-Verse I made sure to pick one of these up on the aftermarket before demand soared, and if you loved that film just as much as I did then I recommend doing the same.


Anonymous said...

Just a notice: your Amazons movie review is with Akibaranger reviews on the list of toku reviews.

Alex said...

Fixed, thanks for letting me know!