Spider-Man is facing off against his arch nemesis Venom, and this time he has the help of his cool new Spider-Cycle and Nick Fury in a flying car. If that's not an interesting premise for a set, then I don't know what is. But the real question is: How good of a set is it? BZPower Reporter xccj reviews this set to see if this is one you should web sling to the store to get.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
We are yet again treated to a red LEGO Marvel box, and the front shows Spider-Man and Nick Fury teaming up to take down Venom, all while flying in the air above the city streets. Pretty standard stuff. The back shows off some of the features in the vehicles, accompanied by the sound effects that should be made while using them. Not bad, and it does a nice job of previewing the set for potential buyers.
One thing that is also on the front that's worth mentioning is the advertisement for the Ultimate Spider-Man television series. You see, the latest wave of Spider-Man sets is based off this new television show. Spider-Man, instead of being a solo web-slinging crime fighter, has actually joined up with a team of teenage super heroes that train with SHEILD under Nick Fury's guidance. Two of the other team members, Iron Fist and Nova, have been made into minifig form, and I'm still waiting for White Tiger and Power Man figs in future Spider-Man sets. The show is certainly different from other Spider-Man universes that I'm familiar with, but love it or hate it, it's what these sets are based off of. And I feel that I needed to mention it to explain why the set has Spider-Man teaming up with Fury in a flying car.
In addition to the pieces and instruction booklet, you also get a comic book, which follows the characters from the two Spider-Man sets being released this winter. The first half of it is really the villains fighting each other before Spider-Man and friends swing in, and even then it's hard to figure out who is on who's side. But for what it lacks as a gripping narrative, it makes up for by showcasing all the characters and vehicles well. It's not a Bionicle 2001 comic, but I liked it better than some of the ones that came with last summer's Marvel sets.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The build is fairly simple, which is great for younger audiences. The flying car does have a few nice SNOT (studs not on top) techniques used on it, particularly with the windshield, and it's well done. However, one thing I noticed while building was the use of so many colored plates on the inside of the vehicle. Most of the blue, yellow, and orange pieces are supposed to be hidden on the green car, but some of them are still partially visible, which can throw off the color scheme. I don't understand why LEGO had to be so varied on the interior greeble. Why not just make it all grey or something? Did they really have to use the entire color pallet? And if you're going to throw in random colors, why not also include purple, because that would've completed the rainbow? I'm sure LEGO did this as a way to help younger builders differentiate between the types of plates visually, but I think they took it a step too far.Set Design
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
There are lots of pieces here. 237, plus a handful of extras, which is a decent price per parts ratio for this $20 USD set. As I mentioned in my rant above, there are a lot of different colors in this set, although most of them are in the forms of plates. The main colors used here are black and green, with some grays and reds to highlight the outside, and then blue, yellow, orange, tan, and white to build the car.
There are two parts that really stand out. The first is a 1x2 plate with a pin hole on one side. It's a new piece for 2013, and while it shows up in a fair amount of sets, it's still a great way to help integrate Technic and System building styles. The next piece is a new liftarm design, and only appears in one other winter set this year, and offers plenty of new design opportunities for MOCers. Some other interesting pieces are the green wedges, green car hood, new bracket pieces, and the silver 1x1 round tiles, which are all either fairly new or fairly rare. Not a bad set for the parts!
But you aren't interested in the individual pieces, are you? The minifigures for this set are the real stars. You get the Ultimate Spider-Man, his arch nemesis Venom, and Mace Windu with an eye patch. . . er, sorry, I mean Nick Fury. Three amazing figs to be sure.
Despite being the namesake of the set, Spider-Man is also the most underwhelming of the figs, primarily because he has comes in a couple of other sets too, and not to mention that he also came out in sets ten years ago. (Wow, has it been that long since those Spider-Man sets? Back then licensed minifig characters still came with yellow skin!) Still, he's a descent design, as he has his traditional uniform print on both the front and back of his torso. Even the back of his head has a pattern printed on it, although it doesn't extend around the sides. The figure clearly represents our hero, and it's great to be able to snag him in a relatively inexpensive set.
Venom is also an amazing addition. His is one of the classic Spider-Man villains to appear in the series, the torso and face design really capture the character. However, for whatever reason, Venom has black vines attached to his back. I get that this is supposed to represent the tentacles of the Symbiote, but they are connected loosely by a rod and spin far too freely. It also hides his back printing. Overall, the fig is great, but the back tentacles are unnecessary.
Finally, we have Nick Fury. It was a huge disappointment that Fury wasn't made for the Avenger's line last summer, but luckily he was able to pop up in this set, so the Avenger completists will still be able to collect him. His torso is rather simple compared to the details on Spider-Man and Venom (and the other Avengers figs from last summer.) But his head print does an excellent job of showing off the character with his eye patch, facial hair, and no nonsense expression. It's great to be able to get him in such an inexpensive set.
When I first heard that there would be a Spider-Cycle set, I was afraid Spider-Man would be given the same bulky motorcycle that appeared in the Cat Woman and Captain America sets last year. But luckily, this bike is actually brick built. It's not a slim bike at all, but when folded together it looks like a smooth ride for Spidey. A cool feature is that the wheels can rotate out to turn it into more of an angled four-wheeler. It's a fun design.
The green car, however, is the best build of the set. The use of SNOT techniques allows for a pretty good flow, although it doesn't quite hide the various colored pieces hidden on the inside. The coolest design is the windshield, which is placed on its side and connects to the car via clips. This uncommon building style works amazingly with the vehicle's flow, and I applaud the design. One thing to mention though is that the seat of the car is very deep. Even standing up, Nick Fury just barely clear's the top of the windshield. I can't decide if I like this or not, so I'll leave that up to you.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
As far as role playing goes, this set is great. You have three classic characters to battle against each other, and two of them have vehicles too. Venom is a bit outmatched, but he's been given two slime bombs, which I guess he can throw at his opponents. Besides, Venom's strong enough to throw cars around with ease, so he's probably not too worried about the extra vehicles against him.
As mentioned earlier, Spider-Man's Spider-Cycle does have a neat feature that allows the wheels to move. So he can transform his cycle into an angled four-wheeler, or even what I presume to be some odd sort of hovercraft. The new liftarm piece really works well for this function. And if Spider-Man gets tired of his bike, he also has a strand of white webbing that he could use to swing from building to building or wrap up his foes with.
Nick Fury comes in a flashy green SHIELD car. (Why is it green? I thought SHIELD's colors were blue? Oh well, I like green, so it works for me.) I don't remember seeing this particular car in the series yet, but flying SHIELD cars have appeared in plenty of other places, so it's not that far fetched. How does this car turn into a flying vehicle? Well, first, you take the wheels and turn them downward. And then. . . well, that's it. There's no secret engine or hidden wings or anything to transform it further. The movable wheels are a nice touch, but a little underwhelming.
Of course, there is the hidden missile launcher. Fury doesn't come in a ride that doesn't have a hidden missile launcher! The back pops up to reveal the deadly. . . flick fire missile. And thanks to the wedge brick on the top, it's also rather difficult to flick it. Sorry, flick fire fans, but this is yet another gimmick design that just doesn't work well. Still, it is nicely hidden.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Amazing figures all around
- Neat Spider-Cycle
- Very smooth car build
- Windshield design is particularly well done
- Good amount of pieces, with some cool new ones added to the mix
- Price is relatively inexpensive
What's not to like?
- What's up with Venom's back tentacles?
- Too many colors were used to build the interior of the car
- And said colors were not always hidden well
- Flick fire feature not found to be favorable
Should you get this set? Yes. It's good for Spider-Man fans; even if you're not into the new television show, Spidey and Venom are both iconic enough to be desirable. It's good for Avenger fans too; where else are you going to get Nick Fury? Are you looking for some good role playing action? This set has two vehicles and three characters; that's enough for anybody to stage a good fight scene. More interested in the pieces? This set has lots of them, some in cool colors and some in new molds. Looking for a set that won't break the bank? This one is only $19.99 USD, which is a step above impulse sets but not outrageously priced either. Yes, this set has some flaws to it, but I think they can easily be overlooked and the set can still be fully enjoyed?
Reasons why you wouldn't want to get this set: You're arachnophobic and deathly afraid of spiders. Or a spider-like Symbiote. (If this is the case, then I really wouldn't recommend the LotR Shelob set either.)
Thanks for reading, and keep checking back to BZPower for more Hero Factory and LEGO set reviews!