[If you're one of the few crazy people who've so far managed to avoid seeing The Avengers movie...SPOILER ALERT!]
Despite sold out screenings and hour-long queues, I finally made it to see The Avengers on my third attempt this week.
Having seen most of the individual character movies released in the run-up, I thought the ensemble effort was a great slice of entertaining, silly, comic book fun.
This seems to be the view of most moviegoers.
So when I passed a toy store today and saw a sign advertising new Avengers Lego, I thought I’d indulge myself some more silliness and take a look.
There, battling Loki in all their Lego glory were Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye, Hulk, Iron Man and…wait, what about Black Widow? A thorough examination of the whole shelf revealed not a single appearance from the only female Avenger.
There were even multi-character kits, featuring the team in assorted vehicles and poses, none of which included Black Widow. The ensemble pictures on the boxes seemed to ignore the fact she even existed, showing only the male Avengers.
I wasn’t impressed, but returned home thinking the store must have had only a limited selection of the toys available.
It seems this was not entirely the case. On searching for Avengers Lego, I found the Marvel page announcing the Lego range. This does feature a Black Widow character toy in the picture at the top, but she appears nowhere else in the article or in any of the ensemble kits.
So what gives? Despite the apparently universal appeal and huge success of the film, does Lego think no one is bothered about one of the key members of The Avengers team?
Does Lego not think Black Widow is impressive enough, despite the way she beats up and escapes three Russian bad guys, all while tied to a chair and talking on her cellphone?
Does Lego think no one noticed that she plays a crucial role in assembling The Avengers, fights, beats and saves Hawkeye, then spends the finale destroying the enemy before making the final leap to finish them off?
Or do they think that a female Avenger would only appeal to girls and that girls never play with Lego?
If so, they are breathtakingly wrong.
Admittedly, I don’t remember having much Lego as a kid myself – it’s pretty expensive stuff. But bizarrely, our dentist had a whole bucket of it in his waiting room.
Not many toys have the power to completely distract kids from the dentist’s chair, but Lego does, whether you’re a girl or a boy. To this day, one of my happiest childhood memories is playing with Lego in the dentist’s waiting room with my sisters.
We may have been girls, but we couldn’t get enough of the stuff.
I only recently got into comic books after being inspired to read the brilliant Watchmen, before seeing the hugely disappointing movie.
But I don’t see any reason why comic books should be considered a purely male artform or one that should only feature male characters.
Women are comic book authors and artists, women are comic book readers and fangirls, women are film directors and actors.
The Black Widow is one of the most popular female comic book characters around. And she kicks serious ass.
So what were Lego thinking?
UPDATE: Twitterer @batmancanseeyou got in touch to say he had found one ensemble set on the Lego.com website which did include Black Widow. I acknowledge this is an improvement but it’s not ideal. The box picture shows Black Widow flying the Quinjet, rather than actually taking part in the action. And there are several different sets available but still only one which features Black Widow, while the other characters get multiple appearances in various kits. Do better Lego please.