Review – Marvel Universe Black Costume Spider-Man

Line: Marvel * Manufacturer: Hasbro * Year: 2009 * Ages: 4+

“Fed up with being hunted and hounded by every criminal and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in New York, Spider-Man goes on the offensive. Putting on his old, black costume is a signal that he’s through messing around. Any crook that wants to mess with his family is going to get put down, and put down hard.”
— from the back of the card

I reviewed the basic Spider-Man back in March (review here), and passed over the Black Costume Spider-Man several times, figuring that one Spider-Man in my 3.75-inch Marvel Universe action figure collection was enough. And it was, up until ToysRUs held a 2 for $10 sale on this series (mentioned here), at which point I broke down and grabbed this guy. He’s almost a good figure, but a few issues prevent him from breaking out of the “okay” category.

Click to enlarge the image.
Click to enlarge the image.


I first looked at this sculpt in my review of the Marvel Universe Secret Wars #1, Captain America & Klaw comic pack (review here), where the body was reused for the villain, Klaw. Where the sculpt worked very well for Klaw, it’s only partially good for Spider-Man, primarily because this action figure is significantly taller than the basic Spider-Man Marvel Universe action figure. As in the Black Costume Spider-Man is a good 1/4-inch taller.

This series has had problems with scale, with “normal” figures all over the map, but this is one of the worst scale problems I’ve encountered so far. For all of their experience with G.I. Joe and Star Wars action figures I expect more out of Hasbro. This height issue is unforgivable and easily my biggest complaint with the Black Costume Spider-Man.

Click to enlarge the image.
Click to enlarge the image.


Even though other reviews of this action figure disliked the paint apps (both the Articulated Discussion review and the review at Figure Realm point to the paint apps as a negative) I’ve gotta say that I like the black and blue paint on the toy.

Click to enlarge the image.
Click to enlarge the image.

The figure is primarily a dull, near-black in color (which appears to be the plastic, and not paint) with near-random sprays of a blue/grey color splattered across the figure’s front and back. White paint, for the eyes and spider symbols on the chest and back, was then applied over the black/blue base body; the effect is remarkable, with the blue/black mix creating a near-shadow effect on Spider-Man’s entire body. The white detailing is crisp and, overall, I’m pretty happy with the paint apps. I appear to be in the minority, though, so I understand if you disagree with me when it comes to Spider-Man’s paint quality.

Click to enlarge the image.
Click to enlarge the image.


Black Costume Spider-Man comes with the same web accessory as the basic Spider-Man, though this time it’s a black and gray color instead of a clear piece. I still dislike this webbing accessory; it just looks stupid and I’d happily trade it for a stand.

Other than that, the only other accessories are the pieces of paper packed inside the “top secret” envelope, including the Fury Files password. I’m telling you guys, this Fury Files site is great, but it really makes it tough to ignore holes in my collection; just what does the Bullseye entry on the website say? I have no idea.

Click to enlarge the image.
Click to enlarge the image.


The entire Marvel Universe series has pretty good articulation, but Black Costume Spider-Man has one major articulation flaw that (along with the scale problem) firmly keeps this toy in the “okay” slot. He can’t put his arms down to his sides. At all. The first photo of the figure (scroll back up) shows Black Costume Spider-Man with his arms as far down as they’ll go. This is ridiculous, Hasbro, because I know you guys can do a better job than this.

Not quite as fatal a flaw, but a flaw all the same, is the ball-jointed head. The range of movement side-to-side works fine, but the up-and-down motion is so minimal that it may as well not exist. Overall, between the height and these articulation problems, it almost feels as if Black Costume Spider-Man was rushed. I’m hoping the version of this character in the Secret Wars comic pack doesn’t have these same problems . . .

Click to enlarge the image.
Click to enlarge the image.

Closing Thoughts

I’ve really been loving this series, and still rank is as the best new 3.75-inch scale series of 2009, but Black Costume Spider-Man is one of the weaker entries in the line. Which is sad, since I really love the paint apps on the figure and the Secret Wars version doesn’t have the blue spray effects on the body.

Unless you’re trying to collect a complete set of figures in this line I say pass on this guy. I see him on pegs everywhere, so there’s a good chance these will wind up on clearance after Christmas. At the $5 I paid for him he was an okay deal, but he’s definitely not worth the $8 or $9 that these usually sell for.

For another look at the Black Costume Spider-Man action figure see this post at the Past Generation Toys blog and this Photo Archive at Cool Toy Review.

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Philip Reed feels sorry for this action figure. Poor thing, someone really didn’t give you the love that you deserved.

3 thoughts on “Review – Marvel Universe Black Costume Spider-Man

  1. I bought this one and now I’m really wishing I’d known about then upcoming Secret Wars version coming out. Now I have to suck it up and get one if I want a Magneto, or wait for the inevitable re-release.

  2. I just realized that you had reviewed this figure. It’s interesting to me that you and I both came away with the impression that overall this figure is only okay, but we had completely different reasons for that. I liked the sculpt where you didn’t, I hated the paint where you liked it. I didn’t like the articulation but I faulted it in the legs, where you don’t like the arms.

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