Tuesday 11 June 2024

Toybox REVIEW: SV-Action Spider-Man Noir

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Release Date: February 2024
RRP: 13500 yen

Though at first it seemed either Hasbro or Medicom would beat them to the punch, it's actually Sentinel who've done the impossible and finally completed the core Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse cast (six years after the release of the film no less) in six-inch figure form. After successful releases with Miles, Peter B., Peni and Gwen/Spider-Ham over the last few years, 2024 sees them round things off with SV-Action Spider-Man Noir. Famously voiced by Nicholas Cage in the film, this version of Spider-Man hails from the Marvel Noir universe of Earth-90214 – a 1930s Great Depression-styled New York entirely in black and white.

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As per the other SV-Action figures Spider-Man Noir comes in a big black box which aims to capture the style of the character, in this case using dynamic white lines and white text against that black backdrop to suitably capture that noir feel. One side of the box features a large shot of the figure in a web-slinging pose alongside the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse logo (the only real bit of colour on the box, whereas the other features a second image against a greyscale city backdrop and a very small window to view the figure's head sculpts. The thinner sides of the box each feature various stock images showing the figure off in various poses. Inside both Spider-Man Noir and his accessories are spread across two plastic trays – one larger black one housing the figure and half the accessories and then a smaller clear one underneath with the stand and other accessories. Also note that the set includes a bonus accessory not mentioned in the solicitations (more on that further down), which is hidden inside a black plastic bag underneath the display base.

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Hatted and clad in a long black overcoat, Spider-Man Noir is exactly what his name suggests. Into the Spider-Verse did an amazing job of translating the design of the comic version over to animation, and in turn Sentinel have done an amazing job translating that to an action figure. Though cast almost entirely in black plastic (and what isn't is just dark grey), Spider-Man Noir sports some great moulded detail - whether it be the belt and button detailing on the torso or simply all the fabric folds that run across the figure. The mask looks especially good with the glossy web detailing raised above that matte grey base, as well as the white eyes highlighted with grey shading around the edges, As has been the case with the rest of the SV-Action line, Sentinel have opted for soft plastic clothing rather than the soft goods route Medicom choice. Of course on a big bit of clothing like Noir's coat that also requires adding joints into the mix, with two thick ball joints holding the tail pieces on and then a further (smaller) two for the belt pieces. If viewed from behind then yes the joints are noticeable, but the complete absence of colour on the figure does a good job of hiding it. More importantly though, any good dynamic posing will hide it all the more. So if this is one aspect of the figure you're a little more on the fence about worry not - it definitely doesn't impact it in the way soft plastic clothing might on similar toy lines.

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Although some collectors are probably more familiar with Sentinel's mecha offerings the SV-Action line really highlights how good they are at poseable action figures as well – after all Spider-Man isn't a character where you want to skimp on articulation. Spider-Man Noir features; 
- Ball jointed head, neck, torso and waist
- Swivel hinge shoulders, wrists, hips and ankles
- Double hinge knees
- Single hinge elbows and toes
- Thigh swivels
Though it's certainly true that a soft goods coat would have been much easier to work with, to their credit Sentinel have done a really good job with the system they've implemented here. The joints might pop out of place every now and again when posing, but overall they fit into the sockets well and are big/strong enough to hold the relatively heavy coat parts in place. Even though it's just the two ball joints holding the tails in place, you can get a great degree of movement out of them AND the figure is still able to balance on its own two feet well. And that's just about the only issue with this release, because the rest of the body moves and handles like a dream. Noir has that same smooth movement that made Figma figures stand out back in the day, with every joint moving beautifully without any need for additional force and/or pressure. Even with the flowing overcoat you can still get the same kind of acrobatic web-slinging poses you'd expect from any Spider-Man figure at this price range. Even the lack of double hinged elbows doesn't matter since the bend is so good from the single ones.

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Also helping to justify that high price tag is an impressive range of accessories. Altogether Spider-Man Noir comes with eleven standard swappable hands, a web-shooting pair of hands, two web ropes, alternate hatless head, match and pistol. The gun has a larger silencer-like piece attached to the barrel which prevents it from fitting in Noir's holster (and is noted in the instruction pamphlet), however a second pistol that DOESN'T feature this part is included as that secret bagged accessory mentioned earlier. This version isn't mentioned anywhere in the instructions, nor was it in the preorder solicitations for the figure. Presumably it's because both Disney/Marvel and Warner Bros/DC have become a bit funny about their characters coming with realistic guns, and this is how Sentinel opted to slip past that. Purely speculation, but if that is the case then good on them. The rest of the accessories are fairly standard Spider-Man fair, but the quality is top notch. No thin fragile web pieces here – everything is thick and sturdy but without any losing any accuracy. The alternate hands are the usual selection of open, posed and accessory holding, but swap in and out without any issue. The pair intended for holding the match are particularly good as they can also be used for hat-tipping poses. On which note, since the hat is also removable it's nice to have an alternate head option, particularly as the default one has a plug moulded into the to keep the hat secure. Finally there's the match, a tiny accessory but nicely done with its cartoon black and white flame. Overall a pretty good selection, though the lack of a Rubik's Cube does feel like an odd omission. It would have been nice just to add a bit of colour to the figure, but it isn't really a huge loss.

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Also included with the set is an articulated display stand, identical to the one bundled with the other SV-Action figures. This consists of a large square black plastic base and an articulated claw arm, the latter of which can be plugged into the base via the corner holes or along the removable clear plastic strips that run along each side. Simply remove the strip, and then plug the stand arm in the space left. As far as display bases go it's a little on the larger side, but it's sturdy enough to hold the figure comfortably in any pose you may think of.

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Although Hasbro may have come out first with a much cheaper option, as the only company to truly complete the Into the Spider-Verse line-up Sentinel's SV-Action Spider-Man Noir is a rather special release. Although the jointed plastic coat tails take a second to get to grips with, this is a beautifully sculpted figure that easily justifies its (admittedly high) price tag with fluid articulation and a great range of accessories. Better still is that the SV-Action figures still scale fairly well with the Spider-Verse MAFEX figures, meaning buyers who went down that route can also treat themselves to a collection that feels just as complete. It's been a long time coming, but boy does it feel good to finally have the gang altogether.

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