January 1st 2021 brings us a wave of new Marvel sets, heavily featuring your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, along with a cast of others!
In this review, we'll take a look at:
LEGO 76173 - Ghost Rider Car
LEGO 76172 - Sandman Showdown
LEGO 76174 - Monster Truck vs. Mysterio
Available from LEGO.com and LEGO Stores from January 1st, 2021
LEGO 76173 – Ghost Rider Car
2020 brings us a new version of Ghost Rider, who in all honestly is the star of this little set. I can see this little hot-rod will be very popular with kids, especially because of the fact you can swap between a standard hot-rod and setting it alight in a blaze of glory. There’s a lot of interior work that is used to get some of the right effects, such as the front grill-plate of the car, and some upside-down building which isn’t super evident until you look for it. Equipped with stud shooters disguised as a hood engine, and easily accessorised with the “Power-up Pack” in translucent orange, the instructions quickly show how a few quick part swaps bring about the mighty steed of Ghost Rider Robbie Reyes. It’s a decent 6-stud-wide build for the price point, and I’m sure the older fans with easily take this apart and make their own.
Robbie Reyes is the now the second form of Ghost Rider we get in LEGO form, which is fantastic because he is a separate entity to the original Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze. Showcasing the terrifying new metal-skull printing of the Spirit of Vengeance, with the fused flames atop it, this is a great figure to add to any collection. No leg printing on this figure, but that works fine here, as the target material doesn’t call for it. This figure alone will be the main reason this set gets bought, which is a much cheaper alternative to the original Ghost Rider figure.
Carnage once again makes an appearance in a low-cost Marvel set, which I know long-time Marvel collectors are disappointed by. Carnage has appeared in a roughly $20 set in 2015, $40 set in 2019, $50 set in 2020 and now a roughly $25-$30 set in 2021, with slight differences in between. This makes him unfortunately, a very common enemy to have, even amongst people with a not-so-large budget. As much as I love Carnage as a character, the fact he is unique and can’t be multiplied over multiple hosts for a battle scene (unlike Venom) makes him just another duplicate.
Spiderman, the titular hero, returns with a slightly different design for 2020, now coming with new arm-printing! Spiderman is a timeless hero, but I do wonder how many Spidermen people already have in their homes? This is a duplicate-double-up that can be forgiven, as Spiderman is the main hero here. It’s an improvement on 2020’s Spiderman, but all the difference is, as far as I can see, is the arm printing. What I can’t look past, however, is despite the gorgeous arm printing, there is no leg printing AT ALL. I plan to easily grab a Spiderman I already have and swap in some of the legs. Top half yay, bottom half, nay. Spiderman also comes with the hand-clip-shooter-things to convey his good ol’ web “thwip”, but without something more for Spiderman, he feels like a third wheel in his own LEGO line.
Overall, this is a neat little set, and I feel like even the average city collector might pick it up for no other reason than the hot-rod, vice versa, the Marvel collector will get it for Ghost Rider. It’s a win-win.
LEGO 76172 – Sandman Showdown
Probably our only entry-level LEGO set of the bunch, but it is alright to dabble, is it not? Taking a look at one of the Junior 4+ sets of 2021, we get a small “conflict in a box” scenario that all our Marvel sets usually have, one goodie and one baddie. Not only that, but all of our figures have some sort of supporting build to go with them, rather than just one build in favour of A or B.
Starting with the smaller build of the two, Sandman gets a small platform and a catapult, to lob our little 1x1 round bricks at our incoming hero. It’s a simple set up but engages play for the target audience. If I was 4, I’d dig it.
Spiderman’s vehicle of choice in this set is a quadbike, made up on new specific moulds to easily encourage children to engage with the LEGO system of play. The build is simple but almost impossible to get wrong. I’ve not see the parts used for the quad before and it is probably exclusive to this set, but the more experience AFOLS could easily take this part and use it for something amazing, I’m sure. Otherwise, our bike has some nice detailing on the front, and an albeit comedic little flame shooting out the back.
If you’ve read the previous review with Ghost Rider, you’ll know my outstanding thoughts on the new Spiderman figure. In short, top good, legs bad. It’s an improvement, but not by leaps and bounds. Spiderman is equipped with a large web-piece to violent smackdown on his enemies, which looks hilarious at this scale, but it’s a great piece to have, nonetheless. It’s too bad we can’t clip it down in any way to trap our baddie.
I originally thought Sandman in this set was nothing more than a duplicate/rehash of old parts, but I am mistaken, the torso print for this Sandman is exclusive to this set, featuring chiselled abs that are slowly disintegrating into goopy-sand. Have a quick look back on previous Sandmen, I do like this torso the most. The swirling vortex legs make a nice return, last seen in 76114 in 2019. Outside of the torso, Sandman is pretty generic otherwise; his hairpiece and expression can easily be found in other waves, the head is the “Angry Clone” expression found in almost every Star Wars set! I do wish he came with a hammer made of sand or something, otherwise, he just stares his enemies down!
We see what LEGO is doing with their product, and the way they focus it into a 4+ age group conveys well in the product. I do only wish that Sandman could have come with some normal legs and a weapon, to have a more dynamic baddie (“Oh no, Sandman stole the car” anyone?) but it’s still a good little set, nevertheless.
76174 Monster Truck vs. Mysterio
Okay, so… What. The. Heck. Spiderman owns a Monster Truck now. That’s pretty darn cool. This set immediately grabs the attention of me, a 26-year-old male, so god forbid what a 9-year-old would be like.
This set, as Dannii would put it, “Is simply, fun.”
Spiderman’s Monster Truck is a massive beast of a build for this set and even makes sure to have proper Monster-Truck Hydraulics to boot! The top half of the build on an exterior level does seem a little bland at first, but with one simple flick of a yellow latch on the side, it reveals a net-gun stashed away in the back! It fires a short distance and does its job, nothing more to say here. I do wish the top of the build would close over like other sets, such as Spiderman Homecoming’s 76083, but seeing as this is aimed more at a mid-level market rather than an AFOL-MCU market, I can forgive it. The number plate of “SP1D3R #1”, the hood decal and the side stickers all come together to really show off the ridiculousness of the whole thing. (Which is a plus here, not a negative!).
Mysterio of this set comes accompanied with small tactile drones to help him with his evil schemes, which is very reminiscent of a particular MCU film. The builds for the drones are nothing to write home about and are very akin to the MCU 76130 Stark Jet drones that were released alongside the movie. Would have been better if they had some sort of number of clips to be able to take all of the loot away to an evil lair, whilst the heroes are distracted with the villains.
Doctor Otto Octavious, or Doc-Ock, as it were, has been released five times before this article. Five times and honestly, this is hands down, the best one. He looks great! He’s menacing, the arm builds are much more flexible and the claws are huge and terrifying! They balance out the size of the Monster Truck in the set and the ability to build onto them and add stickers really helps draw an image. The headpiece with the goggles and more aged headpiece really shows him off a serious and seasoned villain, whereas previous iterations made him look dorky and immature. This is 100x better of an improvement and is my favourite part of the set.
Spider-Gwen, or just Spiderwoman, is slightly new in this set, sporting a new hood piece that is new for 2021. It’s a lot further back and shows much more of her face and torso printing, but if I’m being completely honest, it’s not my cup of tea. I did prefer the original hood version which was released in 76115 in 2019 and 76147 in 2020, but I would put this solely down to personal preference. Her hood in the comics is a lot looser, but you do lose a lot of the character with the bigger part. This figure is still nice to get nevertheless and is one of my favourite Marvel characters of all time. Can’t complain here!
Mysterio, despite being the titular enemy of the box (or at least, by the name of the set) is, unfortunately, a little lacklustre. Other than his new head-orb colour in trans-light blue, the titular villain has nothing else exclusive about him. 76147, a Juniors set released in 2020, had the exact same printing and cloth in this set. It’s a bit of a letdown regarding a set focused on him and it would have been better to see some more defining features to make him stand out. We now have the new magic-swirling-leg-stand-thing from the final wave of Hidden Side now in a lime-green/translucent-lime-green colour. It works well to draw attention to Mysterio, but I can’t help but think that it would have been better to be all translucently coloured and no solid colour. His two action-blast shooters also help this colour palette come together, but it’s a palette I think might have missed the mark.
And by this point, we should know how I feel about Spiderman.
The accessories included in this set are the web-accessories for our heroes, Spider-Gwen’s skateboard, some diamonds, gold bars, money and bags of money for our baddies to run away with. The real winner here is the new Doc-Ock, but the other figures are a bit of a let down; especially when I realised that the three other figures were recently all in another set together and almost identical. Big oof. I do wish there was a bank safe or an ATM for kids to make a story with, but that would inevitably increase the price point.
It’s a good set. It’s not a great set, but it’s good. I do really wish there was some more versatility to the Minifigures with these larger brick-built sets coming in 2021, as they have fantastic Minifigures in the upcoming Mech-Armour sets, but lacking a little here.
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All opinions are my own.