One of my favorite comics back in the 90’s was Excalibur. I had started comics with the dark and heavy stories in Uncanny X-Men, but Excalibur’s brand of light-hearted humor, rollicking action and curvedly-lined artwork really drew me in. I started the title right around the time when Alan Davis returned to pencil and write with issue #42, and finding myself in love with the stories, collected all the back issues that I could.
After the epic Anti-Phoenix story-arc that concluded in Excalibur #50, Davis took a break and there were a few issues with some filler material. One was #53 by Scott Lobdell and James Fry.It’s one of the issues that I remember from my collection, even if it didn’t have a lot of bearing on the overall history of the book or the team. Part of that was because of the fact that it sported a cover that broke the fourth wall, something that often seemed to happen in Excalibur, and another was that it starred everyone’s favorite wall crawler, Spider-Man.
Cover of Excalibur #50 with art by James Fry
The issue told the story of how Peter Parker taught college roommate Brian Braddock that “with great power, comes great responsibility.” I realize that story’s been done to death, but the kid I was loved it. They even fought the cheesiest bunch of criminals I’ve ever laid eyes on, The Litter: a group of were-dogs that named themselves by the breed that they turned into (i.e. Dane, Terrier, Poodle, Pitbull, Basenjii).
The story was a throwback to the time when Captain Britain was a Marvel UK character and he sported his awesome 70’s costume with the rampant lion on his chest. Though I loved the 80’s/90’s Union Jack costume with the red, white and blue, I found this costume just as awesome and it is amazing that they’ve actually released a toy that actually uses it.
One thing I like about the Marvel Universe Greatest Battles 2-Packs is that they include reprints of issues featuring the characters. Not all of these are great comics (the one from the Wolverine & Silver Samurai pack was an example), but they’re a welcome addition for me. With the singly packed figures of the line going for a retail price of Php 500.00 (about $11 US), it’s nice to get one of these special double features and get two great figures plus a comic for only Php 900.00.
Plus, it looks like Hasbro is even stepping it up with their product photography. That’s a welcome change. The back of the card also includes solicitation images for both the Power Man & Ironfist and Deadpool & Taskmaster sets, which are both great sets. It really is too bad that this batch of 2-packs didn’t include more stocks of both.
Since this is the original Marvel UK/ Marvel Team-Up Captain Britain, he’s a lot simpler than the other versions of the character. We’ve already got him in his Alan Davis costume, and we got two of him in the Captain America line, but this is a completely different look.
For the most part, the figure is cast in color. There’s a tampographed lion sigil on his torso, and his hair, mask and eyes are painted. The applications are simple, and the hues are closer to the bright colors of the Secret Wars series than some of the newer figures. It’s fitting since this suit hasn’t been worn by Braddock since the 70’s.
The figure is constructed with the Wreckers body, but the Bulldozer buck that had the legs without the pirate boots. It was the same one used for the other Marvel Universe Britain. It looks sufficiently super powered, but as I said in my Power Man & Ironfist review, the articulation is lacking and he’s not that easy to balance.
They still haven’t decided to replace the annoying hands, but at least this time he has something to hold in it: his scepter.
He's also got another accessory: his Amulet of Right.
The amulet is the symbol he chose over the sword when he first became Captain Britain. Hasbro has made it a separate piece here, but I don't really thing it's due to necessity but more because they didn't want to spring to re-tool the torso part. This way, they can just produce the smaller part and re-use the basic body with no real modification. In fact, the only thing new here is his head.
Spidey comes with an accessory as well, but it's one no one really wanted to see. Yet another clip on web shield/shot to throw into my big-box-of-forgotten-shit-that-I-will-never-miss-anyway. I really don't like the way this looks and it doesn't make him any more cool when you're trying to pose him. I wish they'd take the web line they gave the SDCC 2010 Movie Spider-Man. Now that was a piece worth having two of.
At first I thought that Hasbro was just going to re-release yet another Marvel Universe Spider-Man, of which there's been about 7 or 8 versions. I'd had my fill of that figure after I bought the Spider-Friends box set. I dreaded getting this 2-Pack because what am I gonna do with another Marvel Universe Spider-Man? I'm still trying to get rid of the first one.
Great thing though, this isn't that figure.
It's a kit-bashed, piecemeal, Frankensteinian hodge-podge of the upper body of the Black Costume Spider-Man from 2009's wave 3 and the legs from Wave 14's Scarlett Spider. What makes this an improvement is that Scarlett Spidey has thigh swivels, making this the best Spider-Man we've gotten in the 3.75" scale (despite having better articulation and more detailed sculpting, I consider this one better than the Marvel Legends Showdown figure because this one is much sturdier). I am biased to the SDCC Spidey, but that's a movie version, so I can't really count it.
I do hate that they didn't bother giving him new hands. All the other red and blue Spidey's have those rocking thwip hands, while this dude has to settle with the swollen looking fist at his right and the uselessly relaxed left.
All considered, I think this is a solid set. Despite being yet-another-Spider-Man, the 2-pack comes off as being good representations of a well considered pair of characters. Very play-able figures with decent paint applications and articulation, and accessories. That all counts for a lot in my book.
However, consider that Captain Britain has never really been mainstream, and that this costume is made even more obscure it's age. I does not really fit into any Avengers collections, or X-Men. It only works with the Marvel Team-Up with Spider-Man. Do you really like the character or costume enough to justify paying Php 900.00 for a tiny figure of him?
Then remind yourself just how many 3.75" Spider-Mans there have been, how many there yet will be, and ask yourself, do you really need another Spider-Man?.
If you've answered yes to either of those questions, then go out and get this set.