Sunday, 19 September 2021

Toybox REVIEW: MAFEX Spider-Man (Peter B. Parker)

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Release Date: January 2021
RRP: 8800 yen

Medicom continue their mission to produce as many Spider-Man figures as possible within their MAFEX Miracle Action Figure line as they continue to dive into 2018's award-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Hot on the heels of Miles Morales' release comes MAFEX Spider-Man (Peter B. Parker), the Spider-Man of another universe who becomes a mentor to Miles after falling on hard times in his own world. Though originally scheduled for a July 2020 release, repeated delays meant this figure not actually make it out until six months later in January 2021 - making it the perfect way to kick off a whole new year of figures. MAFEX have released plenty of Peter Parker Spider-Man figures over the years, but they've never done one quite like this before.

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Keeping continuity in their packaging, MAFEX Spider-Man (Peter B. Parker) comes in a box using the same graphics as Miles Morales which perfectly captures that distinct Into the Spider-Verse aesthetic. The bright colouring goes perfect with those movie logos, resulting in what's just a great bit of packaging all-round. Peter B. Parker is numbered 109 in the MAFEX line, although given how the numbering is based on announcement rather than release it's becoming more and more meaningless since delays are a regular occurrence in this toy line. he front and spines of the box each have some great images of the figure in various poses, and then you’ll find even more action shots (as well as a breakdown of just what’s included with the set) on the back. Inside you’ll find all the parts neatly laid out on a moulded clamshell tray, and the stand parts all bagged up and taped to the back. 

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The MAFEX Into the Spider-Verse figures immediately stand out from the rest of the six inch figure crowd through their use of soft goods parts, not just giving you a high quality Spider-Man figure but also one that makes full use of the interesting things the film did when it came to putting clothing on top of those iconic suits. In Peter B. Parker's case you get his jacket and sweatpants, which together with the mismatching shoes highlight how unprepared Peter was when he was sucked into Miles' universe - as well as how much he'd let himself go since his break up with Mary Jane. Each bit of clothing is made from a different fabric that mirrors a full-sized version - with the jacket a much thicker material with a wired bottom seam whilst the sweatpants are a stretchier material complete with elastic waistband. The jacket even has functional pockets, although you're perhaps better off removing the hands and just hiding the joints in there rather than trying to awkwardly force the hands in. In certain poses the jacket can look a little too baggy for the body, but overall it's a pretty great fit and the wired bottom is perfect for making poses that little bit more dynamic. Topping all that off is the Peter B. Parker head sculpt, perfectly proportioned to the body and spot on to the film's animation model.

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As was the case with Miles, removable soft goods means the option to display the figure in a number of different ways. You can either have Peter B Parker fully dressed in his jacket, sweatpants and mismatched shoes or in his full Spider-Man outfit. With either option, you have a number of different head options - four in total. There's the standard Peter B head, an alternate one with a sterner expression and pulled up mask and then a further two masked heads with different expressions. One has a fairly standard wide-eyed expression, but the other is a really cool squinted eye expression that really captures just Peter B's personality and expressions in Into the Spider-Verse. Each head works brilliantly no matter how you decide to display the figure too, so you're not short of display options with this guy even before you start touching some of the more specific accessories.

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With all the soft goods removed you have yourself a fairly standard-looking Spider-Man, but there are a few little touches here and there that make it stand out as an Into the Spider-Verse version. The most obvious of these is the colour palette - a really vibrant red and blue that perfectly matches the colours used on the film's animation model. Much like Miles the whole suit is covered in some textured detailing to give it extra depth, and the web lines across the red parts of the body have been brought out with black lining. Though it's much bolder than the silver lining they used over on Miles so is visible across the whole body, it can still appear a bit uneven in places which likely varies from figure to figure. Proportionally the figure looks amazing - although it's got the Spider-Verse character design down perfect with its long limbs, it's a much chunkier figure than Miles which doesn't just match their difference in appearance in the film, it also just makes it a much less fragile figure to mess around with. The other big advantage is that while the size made Miles' unmasked heads look a little disproportionate on the body, everything looks great here.

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Medicom are bringing their lengthy experience with Spider-Man figures to the table with the articulation too, which for the most part easily matches up to all the other variants of the character that have been released by both MAFEX and rival companies in the last few years. Altogether he features;
- Ball jointed head, neck, torso and waist 
- Pull down ball jointed hips
- Swivel hinge shoulders, ankles and wrists
- Butterfly joint shoulders
- Double hinge elbows and knees
- Single hinge toe sections
While Peter B. might not win the award for the most articulated Spider-Man figure out there, the articulation really isn't that far off what its contemporaries and rivals have so there certainly isn't a lot in it. The only reason I say this is perhaps a little less articulated is because obviously the Spider-Verse MAFEXs have to think about functionality with the soft goods bits too, so it can be a little difficult to navigate the joints to their full potential when you can't see them properly. The good thing is though that because Peter B. is a much chunkier figure than Miles was, it also means that the joints are much chunkier and there isn't all that fear of accidentally snapping a piece. Ultimately this isn't just a figure that'll give you some great Spider-Man poses it's one that'll oozes that incredible Into the Spider-Verse characterisation whilst doing so as well.

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A key area where MAFEX continues to shine though is the accessory count, because boy do these Spider-Verse figures come with a lot. Miles was an extremely loaded release as it is, but Peter comes with even more! On top of the three alternate heads, neck piece and lower legs mentioned earlier in the review, Peter B. Parker also comes with eight additional pairs of hands, two pairs of feet, an alternate right hand with a coffee cup, pizza slice, a fully removed mask and six different web lines. The webs are the same variety as the ones included with Miles (long and short strings that loop around the wrist joint, and longer rope lines that fit into a specific pair of hands), but because two of each are included here it does make me wonder where Medicom were aware of the fragility (so included back-up pieces) or were just feeling extra generous. The selection of hands is excellent, ranging from a variety of open hands to closed fists, accessory holding ones (one pair has a built-in peg so that they can hold the mask piece properly) and of course the obligatory web-shooting pose pair. All of this is pretty standard fare for MAFEX's Spider-Man figures, so it's the pizza slice and coffee cup that reference Into the Spider-Verse specifically. Simple as it may be, the pizza slice looks like it jumped right out of the film!

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Finally in what now seems like tradition in Japanese Spider-Man figures, one pair of the hands included have built-in magnets to allow the figure to stick to metal surfaces, as do the alternate costumed feet. Sadly as these are the only magnet feet included, if you want to pose it with either the mismatched shoes or bare feet you'd have to rely on just the hands to hold the figure up - which is pretty difficult to do as the magnets themselves are relatively small so not actually all that strong. Still, building them into the hands and feet is both a better and more seamless option than making it a plug-in display piece. Speaking of display pieces, like all MAFEX releases this also comes with a clear plastic articulated display stand. Whilst Medicom have pretty much got the design of the stand piece down, they definitely still need to work on that claw attachment because it's far too big for these figures. It works pretty well when you've got the clothes on, but without them it just wraps completely around the figure and doesn't really offer much purchase. I used it for some of the photos here, but after a while I just gave up and used a Tamashii stand instead. The frustrating thing is they shrank the claw down to a smaller size for Miles because it's a smaller figure, but that same size would be perfect for this as well.

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While there are plenty of Spider-Man figures on the market which all bring something different to the table, very few of them are quite as charming as MAFEX Spider-Man (Peter B. Parker). After getting off to a rocky start with their Spidey releases, Medicom have show just what their line is capable of with their Into the Spider-Verse figures. Miles Morales was already a fantastic figure, but Peter B. manages to improve upon that template even more with a sturdier body and even more accessories. This thing is an excellent Spider-Man figure, but it's as Peter B. Parker that it really shines - oozing that same personality and charm that made Into the Spider-Verse so special in the first place. Hasbro may have a more affordable option available in the Marvel Legends line and Sentinel have their own higher-end version coming out soon, but Medicom really hit that sweet spot with this release.

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