Spider-Man 2
Doctor Octopus

Otto Octavius, Doctor Octopus, or just plain Doc Ock as his old college buddies call him, is the villain in this summer's superhero blockbuster Spider-man 2. Played by Alfred Molina, who's had a unique movie history with roles in everything from Raiders of the Lost Ark to Chocolat, he's sure to be some serious competition for young Peter Parker.

As a card carrying member of the Mad Scientist Club, Otto has put his PhD to evil use. While he'll never get as many variations as Spidey, it looks like he'll get his fair share over the next couple months. Last week I reviewed the 12" rotocast version, and tonight I'll look at the first 6" counterpart.

Toybiz is making these of course, and stores like Target, Toys R Us and Wal-mart are stocking them. At a retail price of about seven bucks, they're one of the best values on the pegs right now.

Packaging - **1/2
As with most mass market lines, the packaging serves the basic purposes - it's a deterrent to theft, holds up okay (but not great) to shelf wear, and has the name clearly visible. Beyond that, it's lacking. It will be tough to store for MOCers, won't hold up well to long term shelf wear, and isn't overly attractive or appealing.

Sculpting - ***1/2
The head sculpt on this figure is great, capturing the appearance of the actor extremely well in this scale. The hairline is more complex than usual, and there's plenty of detail in the body sculpt as well. He's not quite as pudgy as I'd expect, but perhaps that's the vanity of action figures.

I'm assuming this likeness of Molina was scanned, and this is an example were it worked well - or the sculptor who cleaned it up did a great job. I am reminded of the old joke though - A horse walks into a bar, and the bartender says "why the long face?" Ba dah dum, tish.

Paint - **1/2
The paint ops are fairly good, at least in terms of quality of application. The face is very clean, especially the tough hairline, and the skin tone is consistent and appropriate.

The exterior of the coat is consistent, lacking the attempt at realism that the larger 12" figure had. However, the interior lining of the coat has that nasty heavy brush coat of brown, which is supposed to approximate material I suppose. It doesn't work at all, and is the worst aspect of the overall paint job.

To end on a high note, the tentacles are well done, with a nice, consistent silver and gold. They look mechanical and not plastic, right down to the clamps.

Articulation - ***1/2
The good doctor sports about 30 points of articulation, more than necessary...except for the tentacles. Some folks are going to be disappointed that this figure lacks articulated tentacles, but more about that in a minute.

Doc has a ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders and hips, double jointed knees and elbows, wrists, ankles, half foot, and hand. The hand articulation is all four fingers in one joint, rather than the individually jointed fingers on the super poseable version of Spidey.

All the joints work fine, although some of the lower body articulation is restricted by the heavy jacket. There's plenty of poses he can hold, especially if you take advantage of the tentacles.

Ah, yes, the tentacles. The top two are simple soft rubber, required as part of the action feature, and discussed below. The lower two are bendy, but only to a point - be careful, because you can pretty easily break the plastic cable that runs through both, also part of the action feature. The claws on each tentacle are jointed at two places, but these joints are too weak to hold a pose for long, and are also intended more for the action feature than anything else.

Accessories - **1/2
I'm going to count his shades as his only accessory, because I felt bad giving him a bupkis in this category. The glasses are a very soft rubber, but fit surprisingly well. They will be very prone to getting lost though, and I'm betting any kid who gets this figure will have them missing in under 30 seconds.

The sculpt on the sunglasses is quite good considering the scale, but they lack the paint ops of the larger version. The are cast in basic black, without the silver trim.

Action Feature - ***
Rarely is any action feature perfect. Collector's tend to hate them all, since they often get in the way of the sculpt or articulation, adding little of interest to an adult bent on displaying the figure. But Toybiz knows that kids are the target for these action figures, and kids enjoy well done action features.

Fortunately, the action feature here is well done. Not perfect by any means, but it does add a level of play to an otherwise static figure. There's a lever on Octavious' back, right between the tentacles. Press down on it, and the top arms reach forward, while the clamps on the bottom arms snap shut.

As I said, it's not perfect. The upper arms tend to flop around a bit, and the plastic mechanism for the lower claws is easy to get misaligned and not work. Still, considering the price point, the design is pretty damn ingenious, and shows what a little creativity can accomplish.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
What good is a super poseable Spider-man (or any Spider-man for that matter) without a villain to pound on? While collectors might want to wait for the version with the articulated tentacles, rumored to be coming soon, kids are more likely to enjoy the slightly silly action feature in this figure.

Value - ***1/2
How many action figures can you find these days for seven bucks or less? That's right, not many, and almost all of them are from Toybiz. Considering the level of detail, articulation, and overall fun, this is a great deal.

Overall - ***
If Toybiz was only to produce one 6" Doc Ock, I could live with this one. The sculpt and articulation is good enough, but I'd be a little disappointed that we didn't get better tentacles. With another one coming though, that disappointment is gone, and I can appreciate this figure all the more.

If you're only buying one Doc Ock in this scale, you might want to hold off til you see the version with articulated tentacles. This one is good, but I'm betting that one will be even better. But if you've got the cash and the room to give shelter to more than one Doctor, then be sure to grab this one. It's a great sculpt, with solid articulation and a pretty nifty action feature.

Where to Buy - 
I grabbed this one from my local Meijers, but I'm sure all the other major retailers like Toys R Us, Target and Wal-mart will carry them as well. I'm betting there's only one of him to every four or five of Spidey though, because Toybiz is smart enough to know who the real cash cow, er, bug is.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour