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Review : Marvel Select Black Widow - Avengers, Age of Ultron (Diamond Select)

Updated: Nov 25, 2018

It has taken a little over 4-years, but Diamond have lived up their commitment to bring us a Black Widow figure and allow fans to finally Assemble the original 6 Avengers, albeit in varying outfits from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Widow arrives alongside two tweaked figures in Thor and Hulk, and one might speculate that Diamond had to go with re-use figures in order to support a Black Widow figure - particularly when other companies never go much further than what they class as the Big 4 Avengers (Iron Man, Cap, Hulk and Thor). Widow arrives in the standard Select packaging and in the matching grey colouring they have used in 2015 for the Age of Ultron figures, and for the 2015 Ant-Man. The Avengers Initiative logo sits in the bottom left of the front panel and the character artwork panel is as striking as any I have seen so far. On the rear of the packaging is a small bio of Black Widow along with an action shot. What is interesting is that unlike other releases, the main action shot on the reverse is of Scarlet Johansson as Black Widow and not a shot of the figure - this was also found to be the case on the back of the Hulk & Thor packages. We can speculate as to why, but the simplest answer is probably the packaging went to print before the figure was signed off. Once out of the box Widow stands 7" high and when lined up to fellow Avengers she fits, albeit I would have expected her to be shorter than Hawkeye... Widow comes packed with the other half of the Age of Ultron themed base that we saw in the Thor pack (see above) more on this at the end of the review. Also packed in are a set of alternative hands, a pair of batons and a hand gun. Even though sculpted in the main by Gentle Giant, face sculpts have never been really strong with Diamond figures (Wolverine aside) but in this case it is a good likeness for Johannson and the hair in particular is really well sculpted. They have used a slightly too pale skin tone for Widow which does throw the face off a little, but the eyes and mouth are neatly done and the temptation to go with a ridiculous red lip gloss has been avoided unlike other female characters we have seen in other lines. The eyes on mine are looking to her right which you can see in many of the images below. I am not sure if this is intentional, but I think it adds character for my display. The hair is a good colour match and has both darker wash and brushed highlights to give it real depth. Onto the body and the proportions are pretty much right - so Widow doesn't look like a Barbie. The jumpsuit itself is very plain and painted a flat black, and the sculpted has "unzipped" the top a little further down than maybe Scarlett would have liked. When you start looking the jumpsuit is brought to life with varying panels and gadgets around the wrists and an electric blue stripe down the sides of the torso and down the arm. A separate belt piece sits neatly at the waist and provides a holster for the hand gun. Down into the legs and there are sculpted knee panels and a thigh strap which I think is meant to look like part of the holster. Instead of leaving these black they have been painted a different shade which is a nice touch. The boots are the most complex element of the costume and finish the costume nicely. Well done so far Diamond. The batons that are supplied are a representation of the ones Widow uses in Age of Ultron. Sadly the blue paint doesn't work. It is too light and in no way represents the electric batons we see in the movie. The gun therefore is my preferred weapon of choice, but there is only one. I would have loved to see two of them and allow fans to have a go at that famous two handed weapon pose from the first Avengers movie. Articulation starts with a ball jointed head that can rotate a full 360 degrees. Shoulders are ball jointed, and with Widow being in a tight fitting jumpsuit there is a massive range of motion both out to the side and up over the head. The elbows are jointed and the hands on both a swivel and a pivot. I am not 100% clear why a 2nd pair of hands has been provided as there isn't much difference between the two. They swap out easily enough, but I have found the set fitted in the packaging is sufficient to hold both the batons and the gun. Widow has a torso joint with another good range of movement allowing her to lean forward and lean backwards and to swivel her top torso to either side vs her waist. The waist itself is fixed as are most Select's nowadays. The hips are ball jointed and can move to the side to a splits position and also forward to an almost seated position. There is a thigh swivel which helps if you are going for an action pose - but sadly once turned the blue line of the costume doesn't line up and the thigh starts to look a peculiar shape. The knees bend on a double joint, as do the ankles. The cleverest part is a pivot half way between the ankle and the heel of the shoe which lets you get the leg out to the side while having the foot still planted flat to the floor. This allows for some nice crouching positions. The base that comes along with Widow is "OK". It's nothing special and doesn't scream Age of Ultron too me. Perhaps with some smashed Ultron drones in place it would have been elevated, but as it stands it is pretty average. There is no complexity in connected it to the Thor base, they simply but up against each other with no fixings. My only key issue as I write this review is quality, something I haven't really ever had a problem with on Marvel Select figures until this year. The Widow I received came out of the box with a removable left leg. It is not snapped, but rather the joint is mis-formed which means the leg pops on and off at will, mostly off when am trying to get her posed. As a one off I would put this down to factory error, but I had a similar factory mould issue on Ant-Man a month or so ago and have heard similar stories from other collectors. At this point I am awaiting a response from the store as to what to do with this problem - hopefully it will be resolved and is not inherent on all the Widow figures out there. Putting the fault to the side (it is a watch out for you though if you are going to pick this figure up) then Widow comes in with a 4 out of 5 score. Good sculpt, paint a little flat and too pale, very good articulation but the base is a bit "meh" and the accessories feel lacking - would it have cost too much for another hand gun? So that pretty much ends the Marvel Select offerings for 2015 in terms of the Movie figures. Our eyes now turn to 2016 and Civil War and the hope that the repacks & repaints were a one off this year, and 2016 will see a strong line up of figures to bolster our collections.

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