I am always amazed at what turns up when I search internationally for my favorite toy lines. Not long ago, this involved contacting folks around the globe or traveling and perusing toy shops. Thanks to the internet and international eBay, we all have a shot at finding items that our home countries didn’t offer.
I was not aware of theToy Biz Spider-Man 2000 line. I’m still not clear as to whether it was available in the US or only internationally, as I’ve seen items from Europe and Canada. Packaging is multi-lingual, which makes me think it wasn’t around the US at the time. If anyone knows, please educate me.
While some of the Spideys in the series closely resembled the main line figures from the mid-90s, there was a swath of uniquely decorated characters as well. Labeled Air Strike Spider-Man, he’s an interesting take that eschews blue for black, which initially had me thinking the figure might have had a night gimmick. A quick search turned up his air specialty, and revealed his accessory was a repainted flight pack that originally came with the Vampire Wars series’ similarly-named Air Attack Spider-Man. And whaddaya know–his costume is red and black too!
I really dig this design, and think it could easily be adapted as a night version of his Iron Spider getup. He just needs a few extra spider legs coming out of his back.
Looking at this figure’s design, I have to wonder if it was based/inspired by the costume Spidey wore in the short lived Fox Kids produced Spider-man Unlimited cartoon series, since there are similar design cues and what not. It’s not of course a 100% representation, since it’s missing the webcape, the parts that are black are suppose to be blue(Though due to animation having shadowing effect, which to me looks like a moving comic book from the 1990’s, it could come across as black sometimes), and missing the spider designs on his arms, but it still seems like a close approximation and stand in for it.
Giving that this line did come out in 2000-around 2001 or 2002(Just as the 6″ Spider-man Classics line was starting up), and Spider-man Unlimited did premiere in the Fall of 1999 with the intention of going 2 seasons before it was pulled(Partly due to low ratings and the popularity of Pokémon and Digamon), it further makes me think that this figure might have been meant to be Spider-man Unlimited. Well, either that, or a variant of the Unlimited suit(Cause by the late 1990’s, you know ToyBiz was starting to do some crazy made up toy only variants for Spidey).
For the record, the series was pulled in 1999 after 3 episodes aired, as Fox Kids did bring it back around Early-Spring 2001 and finished off airing all the 1st Season Produced episodes(13 in total). Production for the 2nd Season had haulted and was consider cancelled when Fox Kids pulled it off the air in 1999. Add in Marvel was in Chapter 11 Bankrupcy, and Fox was starting to look ending their Fox Kids Block around early 2001(It ended in Summer of 2002), and any chances of Unlimited being brought back were, well, “Limited”.
Anyways, here’s a link from CBR.com on the changes the series did, as it does include some photos of Spidey in his Unlimited costume to see the similarities: