BLACK PANTHER (2009)
As I sit down to write this “toy review” it is 2:00pm on March 10, 2016. It is important to note when I’m writing it. I just watched the new Captain America: Civil War trailer that hit the internet about an hour ago. More accurately I should say I just watched it multiple times. I get excited about every Marvel movie release but this one has got me bouncing in my seat. I feel like I’ve just been told I won the lottery and I want to run around telling everyone the good news but I’m presently at work in a quiet office where no one cares about this stuff. I emailed my brother Doug so we could gush about it but he hasn’t responded. I texted my brother Brian who had just watched it himself but we didn’t really get to talk about it because I’m not supposed to be on my phone at work and I think he’s lounging on a beach somewhere.
My best pal Miguel and I have been emailing back and forth about it a little (he’s the one that told me it was up) and we both agree that we’re too excited to go back to our mundane duties for the rest of the afternoon. This is why I’ve opted to write this toy review instead but to be honest I’m not even sure what action figure I’ll be reviewing yet. I was just so excited to talk about the trailer I haven’t thought that far ahead.
If you haven’t seen the trailer yet you should go watch it before continuing on because I’m going to spoil the big reveal.
Ready? Spider-Man shows up at the end and he looks AMAZING! Spider-Man’s inclusion isn’t a surprise to fans in the know but I bet it will shock casual fans. It’s been public knowledge for months that Marvel Studios inked a deal with Sony to share the film rights to Spider-Man so that he could appear in their films starting with Civil War. What we didn’t know is how he would look. It had been said that Marvel didn’t want to give fans something they’d seen before and Sony pretty much nailed the classic red and blue Spidey costume in their last movie (that piece of crap Amazing Spider-Man 2). That led fans to believe we’d get something quite different in Civil War such as the black costume worn by the Miles Morales Spider-Man in the comics. Images of a Civil War merchandising tie-in Spider-Man hoodie leaked out a couple months back which featured a scrambled web pattern on the classic outfit and many people logically assumed that maybe that’s what we’d see on screen. There has been a whole lot of speculation but that can now end.
Marvel Studios has opted for a relatively classic looking red and blue costume with some minor adjustments. Tweaks aside, the shape of the eyes and the web pattern on the costume make it look to me like something John Romita Sr. might have drawn. It’s fantastic. The coolest thing about it was how the eyes squinted. It’s not realistic for a mask to move that way but the emoting mask has long existed in the comics and it worked for Deadpool on screen so I’m glad they went that route. It’s comic booky and it adds a fantastical and fun element to the character. I cannot wait to see more of him.
I had just decided that I’d review a Spider-Man figure here (seemed appropriate) but that would defeat the purpose of the spoiler warning mid-paragraph. Instead I’ll review a figure of another character that gets to shine in the new trailer, the Black Panther.
Black Panther is a longstanding hero of the Marvel Universe having first appeared in Fantastic Four issue 52 back in 1966. He’s had his own solo book many times over the years but none of them seem to last very long for some reason. I’ve collected his title in brief stints here and there but it’s usually the creative team (i.e. John Romita Jr. and Jason Aaron) that draws me in rather than a fondness for the character. I like the Black Panther, I just don’t love him. Perhaps it’s because he’s never been able to maintain a long running series that I find it difficult to get to attached to him. Anyway, he’s a cool character and a staple of big cross-over events. I’m very stoked to see more of him too.
The Panther’s path to the silver screen has been a long one. As I recall, they tried to make a Black Panther movie in the 90s but red tape wouldn’t allow it so they made Blade instead. Well it took nearly another 20 years but Black Panther will finally make his live-action debut in Civil War this May. There were plenty of cool scenes with him in the trailer, ripping Bucky off of his motorcycle and whatnot, but he doesn’t have me nearly as excited as Spidey does.
This figure is from the Marvel Universe line by Hasbro. It’s a good figure but it’s also a good example of why I hate paying $12 to $14 for these things. The sculpt is plain, (he’s just a dude in a full body leotard), there’s practically no paint apps to speak of (two dabs of white for his eyes), and he has one simple accessory (a redundant spear). All those things are appropriate for the character but Hasbro should give fans a break on the price considering how little work went into making this figure.
The Civil War trailer gets a solid 10 out of 10. Even if the movie doesn’t meet expectations there’s no denying that this trailer is effective at getting fans pumped up and ready to spend their money. Batman v Superman could learn a thing or two. The figure gets a 7 out of 10.