Avengers week continues! All the Marvel figures that I’ve reviewed this past week so far have been pulled from my giant Marvel tub. These have been toys from the 80s and 90s that were once on display and some of them even played with. Very few toys from my youth are on display in my apartment because of the “play” factor. A played with toy has lose joints, worn paint and just generally doesn’t make a great display piece. Though the Marvel stuff holds up quite well as they were pretty sturdy to begin with, much more so than G.I. Joes and Transformers anyway. Regardless I only have so much room to display action figures so older stuff like the Toy Biz produced Marvel toys of the 90s end up in storage, gotta make room for the new stuff. Circle of life and all that. The line of Marvel figures that I currently collect is simply called Marvel Universe, kind of an umbrella branding that covers all of Marvel’s biggest properties like the X-Men and Avengers as well as lesser known heroes like Moon Knight and Dr. Strange. (both are whom are actually Avengers these days, I told you before, it ain’t easy to name a Marvel hero who hasn’t been an Avenger at some point) So this here is the Marvel Universe line’s Black Widow. Black Widow is a former soviet super spy and current Avenger. She’s supposed to be relatively young and hot which is well and good except for the fact that her history is directly tied to the cold war. Like the punisher being a Vietnam war vet that stuff worked out great a few decades ago but leaves you wondering, “just how old are these characters exactly?” as more and more time passes. In a recent Black Widow mini-series they revealed that she had actually taken a drug similar to Captain America’s super soldier serum which keeps her young so in truth she’s much older than she appears. They retro-actively did the same thing to Nick Fury. It was done out of necessity but it does kind of change the dynamic of the character somewhat. For better or for worse I dunno. Though she was at odds with the good guys when she was first introduced (and has been a few times since) she has been a “good guy” and an Avenger mainstay for quite some time now.
I wasn’t thrilled when Scarlett Johansson was cast as the Widow in Iron Man 2. I don’t mind her as an actress but I did not think she could pull off the sultry super spy. And I think I was right. Her role in Iron man 2 was nothing to call home about and the character’s accent was disregarded altogether so Ms. Johansson didn’t have to stretch her acting chops too far. I think a slightly more mature and seasoned actress would have been a better choice but off the top of my head I’ve got no one in mind. No matter though because Scarlet redeemed herself in The Avengers. Her character was given a lot more to do and she truly had some memorable moments. This reminded me of how Widow is portrayed in the comics, a free–agent who works outside the law if necessary but who must drop whatever she’s doing if Fury makes the call. The scene where she’s sent to recruit Banner was one of my favourite quieter moments of the movie. Plus that bum looked pretty good in black spandex, especially in 3D. 🙂
This figure is a pretty decent representation of Widow’s standard appearance. The costume is pretty plain other than the odd circular patterned belt and wrist guards. This is pretty much all there is to the Widow’s design and that’s really all she needs. She’s got her long signature red hair and the black window spider pattern belt buckle. So what’s she lacking? Where this figure fails is that it lacks sex appeal. That can be a tough thing to pull off in an action figure and it may sound like a pervy thing to request in a plastic toy but it’s a big part of who the character is. Male super heroes are portrayed as strong, muscular, cool-looking guys and if the representative action figure is scrawny and dull then it fails. Female heroes are portrayed as strong, sexy and beautiful and if the figure is square jawed with no curves then it fails to represent the character. Not not this figure is curveless and square jawed but it’s joints are to noticeable giving her a weird snap together build-a-woman look. They could’ve hidden the joints better in folds of the leather if they had added some more detail in the costume. She just looks too much like a toy. Don’t get me wrong, this figure is leaps and bounds better than the female G.I. Joes of old but a far cry from what I know the sculptors are capable of. I’m sure a new Black Widow figure will be out soon based on Scarlett Johansson’s likeness and I’m hoping that it succeeds where this one has failed. Not a bad figure but there is room for improvement. 6 out of 10.
This next pic I’m putting up solely to increase traffic to my site. Shameless I know.