So I’ve got this weird thing where I compulsively buy Spider-Man villains. I wouldn’t say I’m a big fan of Spider-Man’s Rogue’s Gallery – I’d be hard pressed to even tell you their real names or origins aside from a couple. But I like them as action figures. I know because I’ve bought them several times over. And, even now, with my mostly purged Toy Biz Marvel Legends collection slowly being salt & peppered with Hasbro figures, my Marvel shelves are still well populated with Spidey villains. It’s just strange.
A good chunk of those figs hail from the ML Sinister Six Box set. I loved that set. Great versions of Green Goblin & Doctor Octopus. A smilin’, thankfully tongueless Venom, a fun Kraven (I don’t like screaming heads, but the S6 version sure beat that jaundiced single release), and a so-so Electro. And then there was Black Cat. Black Cat was in no way a good figure. She had that awful early-ML female articulation (I still have Rogue, ugh – Hasbro, where’s a new 90s Rogue?), a bad head sculpt, and this giant chunk of immobile hair. And I think her neck paint stripped off the first time I move it too. It just wasn’t a good figure.
As toy collectors, we know that old trope about women action figures not selling. And, as collectors, typically counter back with “make the action figures of the women worthwhile.” (at least when we’re not fretting over cooties). I don’t always agree with the masses out there, but I think the idea that a lot of the ladies get subpar figures being a fair assessment. Action figure lines with great figures for the women are few & far between. It’s gotten better in recent years. While I don’t always like that many of their figures look like sisters, the 4H have produced some great figures with their Queens of the Seventh Kingdom line & MOTU Classics. That same success didn’t always transfer to DC Classics sadly, which kinda joins the ML line in putting out some hideous figures. That aforementioned Rogue. Scarlet Witch. Hasbro got in on action with Emma Frost, Madame Viper & Mystique too.
But things are hopefully getting better. Hasbro has finally righted that misstep Toy Biz took all those years ago with their S6 Box set. We now have a great Black Cat figure (well, great is overstating it, we’ll get to that in the articulation section), but the sculpt is fantastic. Felicia (look, I know one secret ID!) is actually pretty. Hey, her eyes are up here, fellas. I don’t have any shame in admitting I want the girl figures to look pretty either. I want my Batmen figures to look grim, my Grimlocks to be ferocious, and if I’m gonna buy a Black Cat, it better damn well have a pretty face (or, y’know, be included in a box set of other awesome figures… I guess, never mind).
With the smashing head sculpt aside, the rest of Black Cat features the newer, curvier buck used on some of the more recent figures. I don’t have any of those, so I can’t compare, but it’s a solid buck. In addition to the head, the upper torso, lower arms, and lower legs are all-new to get Cat’s details just right, but otherwise it’s a fairly standard figure. The only thing I’m not a fan of is that it’s a little bigger/taller than previous releases. The top of Black Widow’s head is about eye level for Black Cat. That may be comic accurate, I haven’t looked it up, but one funny thing is that even though Cat is taller and has, uh, just about everything bigger than Widow (arms & legs, people, yeesh) their waist is about the same size. That waist is the only real flaw I find with the sculpt, when viewed from the side Black Cat looks a little ridiculous. Like she fell out of a comic book or something. To solve this, I will pose her facing forward.
The paint work is mostly sharp, but it could be just a little better. I didn’t notice so much in person, but up-close in the pics you can see the paint for the lips, the mask, the eyes – they’re all slightly off. I love the level of detail in the sculpt, but it would’ve been even better if the paint could’ve kept up. I should also point out that there are a lot more blue highlights in the hair than what is showing up in the pictures. They’re done well, not nearly as distracting as some of the recent Blue Symbiote Spidey figures (& thankfully there’s none on the black areas of the costume) and I think, this time, it actually enhances the figure’s overall look. Yes, for once, I’m not complaining about blue highlights. I know, right? Continue to Page 2…