#1792: Princess Leia Organa

PRINCESS LEIA ORGANA — HOTH

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (HASBRO)

With all of the stuff that’s been dropping in the last few months, it’s been more than a little difficult to keep up with all of the new releases, not only tracking them down in stores, but then also remembering to review them after I’ve gotten them.  In the spirit of clearing out my pile of new things to review, the next couple of days are going to be some figures I’ve had waiting in the wings for a couple of months now.  I’m kicking things off with another Star Wars offering, from the somewhat infrequently looked at basic line.  Let’s have a look at Princess Leia!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Princess Leia is from the second assortment of basic figures under the Solo product banner.  Obviously, Leia isn’t drawn from Solo; instead she’s based on her Hoth appearance from Empire.  She’s in good company, since her brother got a Hoth-based figure in the initial product wave.  Ironically, it’s only Han whose Hoth look is absent from the Solo line.  This figure stands 3 1/2 inches tall and she has 7 points of articulation.  Leia has, like an increasing number of figures in the basic line, some extra non-standard articulation.  Most figures have been getting wrist movement, but Leia instead gets cut joints at the tops of her boots.  I like having the extra movement there a lot; it helps make her more stable on her feet.  I do wish she’d also gotten the wrist movement, but perhaps that’s too much to ask for.  Leia is sporting an all-new scuplt.  It matches well with the previous Luke figure in terms of quality and detailing.  The head, though not the best Fisher likeness we’ve seen at this scale, is a respectable offering, and you can certainly see a lot of her in it.  Leia’s paintwork is mostly pretty reserved.  All of the important details are there, and application is clean and even.  Obviously, the face doesn’t possess the same lifelike quality we’ve been seeing in the 6-inch line, but it’s not a terrible offering at all, and is a step-up from the work we were seeing a few years ago.  Leia is packed with a standard issue rebel blaster rifle, which even has some painted detailing.  That’s always good to see.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When Leia was shown off towards the end of the Last Jedi branding-run, I was definitely interested in tracking her down.  This has always been my favorite Leia look, so I have a tendency to grab all the figures of it that I can.  I didn’t have much trouble at all finding this figure; when the second assortment started hitting stores, I was fortunate enough to find an untouched case of them at a Walmart.  I like this figure quite a bit.  I don’t know that she’s topped the Vintage Collection release as my favorite, but she’s certainly the best version at the lower articulation count.

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#1791: Norm Peterson

NORM PETERSON

CHEERS (MEGO)

NOOOOOOOOORM!!!”

—Everyone but Norm

And now it’s time for another sort of oddball appearance for this site: Cheers.  A show about a bunch of Boston-natives hanging out in a bar may not seem like the most natural fit for an action figure line, but “doesn’t seem like a natural fit for an action figure line” made up most of Mego’s business back in the day, and their relaunched selves seem to be dialing into a lot of those same philosophies.  In that respect, Cheers feels pretty well at home with Mego’s modern offerings.  They’ve decided to launch their little Cheers line not with Sam or Diane, but instead with the bar’s most frequent patron, announced by name every time he enters, Hillary Norman Peterson!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Norm is one of the 11 single-packed figures in the first wave of Mego’s TV Classics line-up.  He’s going to be followed by Cliff and Woody in subsequent waves.  As of right now, all of the new Mego offerings are available exclusively through Target.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 15 points of articulation.  He’s built on a slightly different body than the previously reviewed Fonzie.  This body features a different, more rounded piece for the torso, befitting Norm’s paunchier physique.  In vintage times, this body was used for the likes of Boss Hogg and the Penguin, and it’s a pretty decent fit for Norm.  While Fonzie was built on a tweaked body with a slightly studier built to it, Norm’s body seems to be closer to its vintage counterpart, meaning he’s a little looser on some of those joints.  I’m not 100% sure if he’s still using the band construction, but if he is, I’ll be curious to see how well he holds up over time.  Norm has a brand new head sculpt, which is sporting a pretty spot-on likeness of George Wendt.  I think this is one of the best likenesses in the first assortment, and it’s definitely a step-up from the classic figures.  The detail work, especially on the hair, is quite sharp, which is impressive on a rotocast item.  Additionally, the paint is quite cleanly applied and gives him quite a lifelike quality.  Norm is seen here in his standard post-work attire of a suit and tie.  It’s decently tailored for the style, and like Fonzie, he uses velcro in place of snaps, so they should hold up a bit better.  Under the jacket is a fully sleeved shirt, which is a nice change from the vintage Mego style.  The tie, rather than being a fully separate piece, like we saw on the DST Captain America and Daredevil, is actually affixed at the front of the shirt, and the band is just a part of the shirt, so it separates at the velcro just the same.  This is definitely a far better way of handling such a design.  Norm is packed with what is hands down the best possible accessory for the character, a mug of beer.  It’s actually quite a nicely handled piece, and the mug even has the Cheers logo engraved on one side, which is certainly a nifty touch.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After getting the review sample Fonzie from Mego, I was definitely been interested in looking at a few more of these figures.  I’ve just recently been on a binge watch of Cheers, so Norm was at the top of my want list from the first set.  I’m the slightest bit let down that his body doesn’t have the same level of improvements as the standard body, but apart from that, I really like this figure.  The likeness is awesome, and the beer is a really nice touch.  I very much look forward to the rest of the Cheers offerings from this line, and I’m hopeful we might even get to see Frasier or Wings figures as well down the line.

#1790: Thor: Ragnarok Minimates

GLADIATOR THOR, HELA, BRUCE BANNER, & LOKI

MARVEL MINIMATES

Three Norse Gods and….Mark Ruffalo?  What could possibly go wrong?

The Thor movies have some slight trouble with getting proper toy representation.  The Minimates have done a fair bit of good, but in the case of both of the first two films, last minute cancellations of planned store exclusives resulted in incomplete cast lineups.  Fortunately, Ragnarok was a bit more fortunate.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These four were released in a specialty-exclusive four-pack, released at the same time as the Walgreens and TRU-exclusive two-pack assortments.  Thor and Hela were included in two-pack form in both of those assortments, but Loki and Banner are both exclusive to this particular set.

GLADIATOR THOR

Ragnarok delivered a rather changed-up look for our hero Thor, who had something of an evolving appearance as the film progressed.  This figure represents him from around the film’s mid-point, after he’s arrived on Sakaar and been thrown into the arena as a gladiator.  It’s definitely his most distinctive look from the film, so it’s a sensible inclusion.  Thor has three sculpted add-on pieces to aid in his look.  The first is his helmet.  Thor’s helmet has been frequently overlooked by the film’s and while he doesn’t wear it for long in Ragnarok, it does at least get some focus that it hadn’t previously.  It’s an all-new piece here, and a pretty decent one at that.  The general design of it’s very close to the one seen in the film, and the detail work is pretty solid.  It perhaps sits a little high on his head, but only ever so slightly.  He’s also got a brand new shoulder piece, featuring his shoulderpads and the remaining half of his cape.  It sits well on the body, and doesn’t bulk up the neck too much, so that’s a definite plus.  Finally, he’s got a generic skirt piece, standing in for the bottom portion of his tunic.  Thor’s paintwork is a good recreation of his film design.  The detail lines are nice and sharp, and while the face isn’t the spitting image of Hemsworth, it’s as close as any of the prior attempts have been, and at least this one’s got a good fighting expression.  The tunic features some rather ornate detailing, as do his wrist guards, but I think the little bit of Sakaaran armor on his right leg is my favorite bit.  It’s just so vibrant and genuine.  Since it depicts Thor following Mjolnir’s destruction, this figure doesn’t include that piece.  It does, however, include the two swords he tries to replace his hammer with during his time as a gladiator, as well as a spare hairpiece for a sans-helmet look and a clear display stand.

HELA

After sparring off with one of the franchise’s most forgettable villains for his second installment, Thor was granted a far more intriguing foe in the form of Hela, goddess of death.  She’s still not the Enchantress, but I guess I’ll take it.  Hela is built using two sculpted add-on pieces, for her cape and her distinctive headdress.  Both pieces are unique to this particular figure, though I’m sure they could easily work for a comic book Hela, should DST be so inclined.  They’re both very well crafted additions, capturing the designs from the movie very nicely.  The headdress is sufficiently ornate, and the slight swoop at the bottom of the cape is definitely a nice touch.  Hela’s paint work is suitably bold and striking, even a bit moreso than her onscreen design.  The slightly metallic nature of the green adds even more to the appearance, and I appreciate that the green detailing goes all the way around the legs and pelvis piece.  For accesroes, Hela’s packed with an extra head and hair, depicting her unmasked appearance from her more vulnerable portions of the movie, as well as the usual clear display stand.

BRUCE BANNER

While the two-packs were host to his jade goliath alter-ego, this set gives us a completely un-transformed Bruce Banner.  This is the second such figure we’ve gotten of the Mark Ruffalo version of the character, following his TRU-exclusive release from Age of Ultron.  Banner uses two add-on pieces, for his hair and his jacket.  Both of them are re-used.  The hair is, appropriately, the old Zombie Hulk piece that was used for quite a few Hulks.  It’s a pretty decent match for Ruffalo’s look, especially his slightly shorter hair from Ragnarok.  His jacket is the Ghostbusters World of the Psychic Peter Venkman piece, which has similarly seen a number of uses.  It’s just a basic blazer, so it works well for the look they’re going for.  Bruce’s paint work is perhaps not the most thrilling work in the whole set, but it’s reasonable work never the less.  The face capture’s Ruffalo’s likeness pretty well, and while the shirt lacks the Duran Duran cover from the movie (which I’m certain is a licensing thing), it does at the very least include some wrinkles and folds, so that it’s not just a blank grey block.  Bruce includes a second head, with an angry expression and green pupils.  It’s not the first such piece we’ve seen with a Banner figure, but it’s a welcome addition all the same.  He also includes the usual clear display stand.

LOKI

Loki, particularly Tom Hiddleston’s version of the character, is no stranger to the world of Minimates.  He’s managed to get at least one ‘mate for each of the movies he’s been featured in (well, barring Infinity War).  Ragnarok proved even more generous in this regarding, giving us not one, not two, but three versions of the character.  The one seen here is based on his look from the movie’s final climactic battle.  It’s a look patterned somewhat after his “Agent of Asgard” look from the comics, which is certainly one of his cooler looks.  Loki makes use of three sculpted add-on pieces, for his hair/crown, his cape, and his belt piece.  The hairpiece is unique to this figure, and does a respectable job of capturing the design from the movie.  The crown in particular is quite sharply detailed.  The cape, which is shared with one of the other two Lokis from the movie, is one of my favorite capes, in part because of its rather straight forward nature.  His paint is perhaps the figure’s one real flaw.  For the most part, it’s not bad.  Like Hela, the color scheme is rather striking, and the details on the costume are quite sharp.  In addition, the face is my favorite of the Hiddleston Lokis we’ve gotten to date; that smile is fantastic.  The real trouble is with the hairpiece, where the application is rather sloppy, and in what appears to be an across the board error, his ears have been painted the same gold as his headpiece, rather than the proper peach-tone.  Loki is the lightest packed in this set, featuring only a clear display stand.  I wouldn’t have minded his knives or an extra hair piece or something, but the other three help keep the sting down a little bit.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed this set from the best Minimate retailer around, Luke’s Toy Store, a few months back.  I actually had fallen behind a bit on releases, so this was part of a catch-up I was doing at the time.  It’s a pretty strong set. Gladiator Thor is one of the coolest versions of the character we’ve gotten in the MCU, and this ‘mate does a great job of translating that.  Hela’s an important character in the context of the movie, and a brand-new character in the context of the line as a whole, plus she’s got a pretty killer look.  Though he’s just a basic civilian, Banner’s a very well-executed ‘mate, and another winning figure in this already quite strong set.  This Loki is really the star Loki figure from the movie, and issues with the paint aside, he’s a pretty darn solid addition to the line-up.

#1789: Monster Venom

MONSTER VENOM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Venom’s a character that’s had a number of divergent design styles over the years.  When he first appeared, he was a slightly bigger than average, but not particularly huge character.  Like with Peter Parker, the symbiote didn’t initially do much to alter Eddie Brock’s physique at all.  However, as art styles changed over the course of the ‘90s, Venom became more and more extreme.  His proportions relative to Spider-Man became much more exaggerated, as he became an imposing figure rivaling the likes of the Hulk (who had, admittedly, undergone a bulk-up of his own over the years).  Hasbro’s standard take on Venom does its best to be a moderate take on the character, but ultimately airs more on the smaller side.  We haven’t seen a truly monstrous Venom at his most absurd in quite some time, if ever.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Monster Venom is the Build-A-Figure for the new Venom-themed assortment of Marvel Legends.  He’s patterned not on an Eddie Brock version of Venom, but instead on Mac Gargan’s time in the symbiote from a few years back.  He looks to be based on Mike Deodato’s version from Thunderbolts, as he lacks the actual “eyes” that most artists gave Mac.  Of course, this allows him to keep the more classic Venom eyes, which I’m more of a fan of anyway.  The figure stands 7 3/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Monster Venom’s nature as a Build-A-Figure allows him to not only be a much more massive figure than a single release, but also, by virtue of having his cost spread out across an entire assortment, allows for him to a completely unique mold.  And what a mold it is!  If you felt that the standard Venom was a touch too simplistic, or basic, or just not dynamic enough, hoo boy is this the figure for you.  The head takes the tongue-flicking head from the last Venom release, and dials that up to 11, with a practically unhinged jaw, a wildly moving tongue, and everyone of his teeth out for the whole world to see.  The body is covered in veins, just all over the place, to insane levels.  On any other character, this would look ridiculous, but on Venom it’s nothing short of amazing.  He’s got tendrils coming from his back and shoulders, and thanks to the unique sculpt, they don’t have to be one piece that plugs into a single port like on the smaller figures, allowing them to be worked in much more smoothly.  And then there’s the general build of the figure.  He’s absolutely huge, easily living up to the “Monster” part of his name.  On top of that, though, his articulation’s not nearly as restricted as you’d expect it to be.  In fact, there are a number of deep poses he can get into that his smaller counterpart struggles with.  They definitely stepped up their articulation game here.  Even Monster Venom’s coloring is a step-up from the standard version; rather than the straight black and white of the basic Venom, Monster Venom is done up in this sick metallic purple.  It gives him a seriously alien vibe, and definitely is a good match for more recent depictions of the character.  He also gets the slightly tweaked logo that Gargan’s Venom sported, which gives him a more unique appearance from the main Venom, but is still close enough for the casual observer to recognize.  Monster Venom has no accessories, but given his size and status as a Build-A-Figure, that’s not a surprise, or a let-down.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the figures from this assortment were initially shown off, the name “Monster Venom” started floating around for the Build-A-Figure, but exactly what that name meant was a little unclear, so I had no idea if I’d be getting this one or not.  Of course, as soon as he was shown off, I was incredibly impressed, and knew right away I wanted one.  Thanks to my friends at All Time Toys (from whom you can still order 5 of the 6 figures in this series) I was able to get a full set put together and get myself a Monster Venom assembled.

This assortment is kind of an interesting experience.  Going in, I was only interested in the Build-A-Figure and two of the six figures required to build it.  I wasn’t even sure I’d be completing this figure, but All Time got them in, and I’m an easy mark.  Spider-Ham, the figure I most wanted, is the set’s biggest disappointment for me.  Scream, my other big want, is decent, but nothing to write home about.  Poison and Typhoid Mary, on the other hand, far exceeded my expectations, with Poison in particular being my favorite of the bunch.  And, above all, I just can’t help but enjoy this set as a whole.  They go well together.

#1788: Typhoid Mary

TYPHOID MARY

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“One of Mary Walker’s three distinct identities, Typhoid Mary is a brutal combatant with the disturbing ability to set things on fire with her mind.”

Okay, let’s be real up-front here:  that bio up there?  About everything I know about Typhoid Mary.  She’s a character that I’ve almost entirely managed to miss in my time as a Marvel fan…so, let’s go into this review kinda blind, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Typhoid Mary is figure 6 in the Monster Venom Series of Marvel Legends.  She’s definitely the figure in the assortment with the most tenuous ties to Venom…I think she’s met Spider-Man a few times, and certainly Daredevil, but I don’t know that she and Venom have ever interacted.  There’s a rumor floating around that Mary was originally supposed to be part of a proposed second series of Marvel Knights figures, which was ultimately scrapped, and the figures shifted elsewhere.  Given her appearance in Iron Fist Season 2, that would actually make a fair bit of sense.  Mary has had a number of looks over the years.  This one is a more recent, more reserved design, taken from her recent turn as part of the Sisterhood of Evil Mutants.  I might have been more interested in her ‘80s design, like the old Toy Biz figure used,  as this one’s a little generic, but it’s not a terrible design.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  She’s built on the Phoenix body technically, but the only parts from that she actually uses are the legs and feet.  The head, torso, jacket, arms, pelvis, and boot cuffs are all new.  I’m going to guess that we’ll be seeing a number of these parts crop up elsewhere down the line, but whether we do or not, they’re quite nicely sculpted pieces, and they make for a nicely put together figure.  In particular, the head is definitely one of Hasbro’s more unique offerings; the slight smile she’s got is a really nice touch.  The only real downside I feel is the posabilty in the arms, which are rather restricted at the elbows.  After the recent improvements on such designs, it’s a little bit of let-down.  The paintwork on Mary is pretty decent.  Like the rest of the assortment, she’s rather on the monochromatic side, with lots of black and white.  It’s a pretty striking look.  There’s a little bit of slop on the white side of her face, but it’s minor, and the hair mostly distracts from it.  Mary is packed with a katana with a fire effect; the whole thing is the exact same set of pieces used with the Psylocke figure, but I find myself liking it a lot more when in these colors.  The only downside is that Mary’s right hand’s grip is a little too loose to properly hold it.  Some heating and reshaping of the grip is probably in her future.  The figure also includes the left leg of Monster Venom, who I’ll finally be looking at tomorrow!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Mary was the last figure to be shown off from this assortment.  I don’t know the character, and I don’t find this look all that exciting, so I really wasn’t invested in getting this figure.  But, as with the rest of this assortment, I wanted Monster Venom, so I was at least grabbing her to get the piece.  I’d thought I might try to sell her off after the fact, but upon seeing her in person, I was actually quite pleasantly surprised by how well she’s turned out.

Typhoid Mary was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys, and is still available here.  If you’re interested in buying other Legends figures, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1787: Scream

SCREAM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A former security guard, Donna Diego is merged with components of the tendriled villain, Scream.”

Hey, do you guys remember Lasher?  Yeah?  Well, let’s continue down that path, huh?  Lasher was, of course, a spin-off of a spin-off of a spin-off, but it’s important to note that he was just one of *many* symbiotes to be spawned at that same time.  He wasn’t even the most prominent of the bunch!  That title goes to today’s main focus, Scream.  Scream made it big largely thanks to Universal Studios, who wanted to feature another female villain for their 3D Spider-Man ride, and happily added Scream, extending her shelf life far beyond the rest of the spin-offspring.  Throw in an appearance in the Venom movie, and you’ve got yourself a natural fit for a brand new Marvel Legends release.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Scream is figure 5 in the Monster Venom Series of Marvel Legends.  She’s the second of the Life Foundation Symbiotes to get the Legends treatment, following the previously mentioned Lasher figure.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 28 points of articulation.  Scream is built on the Moonstone body, which has been appearing rather infrequently.  It’s last use was for Lady Loki in the A-Force set.  For Scream, it does seem like a slightly odd choice, especially over one of the more posable bodies that have been introduced more recently.  It’s certainly not a bad body, but that lack of mobility on the neck is a bit of a bummer.  I’m hopeful this one’s on its way out.  Appearance-wise, it’s not terrible for Scream.  Being from the ‘90s, she does benefit from this body’s curvier figure, and the really thin waist doesn’t look quite so out of place. On top of the Moonstone body, Scream rather wisely re-uses Carnage’s hands, and also gets a brand-new head sculpt.  The head’s obviously the star piece of the figure, and it does a rather respectable job of capturing Scream’s distinctive noggin from the comics.  I do wish it sat a little higher on the neck, but it’s otherwise quite a nice piece.  Scream’s paintwork is fairly decent; in their original appearances, each of the five spin-offspring was done up in one main color, with a bunch of goopy, swirly black, in a similar fashion to Carnage.  As she continued to appear, Scream gained some more definition to those darker patches, which were now a reddish brown.  This figure draws from her later designs, making her a little smoother and sleeker than the Carnage from this same assortment.  The slightly metallic yellow plastic also means that she fits in pretty well with the similarly colored Carnage and Lasher figures, and helps give her symbiote that otherworldly appearance.  Scream gets no accessories specifically for her, but she does include the right arm of the Monster Venom Build-A-Figure, which is still pretty respectable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As noted in yesterday’s Spider-Ham review, there were two figures I knew I’d be getting when this assortment was first shown off.  Scream was the second of those.  After getting Lasher, I was pretty excited by the prospect of the other Life Foundation symbiotes showing up, and Scream was definitely high on the list.  She’s an okay figure.   I can’t say I was particularly wowed by her the way I was with Lasher.  That said, as soon as I knew she was on the Moonstone body, I knew what I was getting, and I certainly can’t say she disappointed me.  If nothing else, she looks pretty darn cool with Lasher, and I can’t wait to further build this subset.

Scream was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re interested in buying other Legends figures, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1786: Spider-Ham

SPIDER-HAM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Part pig, part scientific mishap, Peter Porker becomes the web-shooting swine, Spider-Ham”

Spider-Ham?  It’s come to this?  I’m reviewing a Spider-Ham figure?  Yeah, I know, I’m as shocked as the rest of you.  Even with his elevated status as a variant of Spider-Man, I don’t really know that I ever expected to review a Spider-Ham figure.  Of course, I say this as a guy who just reviewed Poison, a character with far, far less comic book appearances than the esteemed Mr. Porker here, so maybe I’m just overreacting.

Spider-Ham is a 1983 creation, parodying Spider-Man through the lens of an anthropomorphic cartoon animal.  He began his life as a spider, before being bitten by a radioactive pig, causing him to turn into a pig, while still retaining many of his spider abilities.  He’s actually been a pretty recurring staple at Marvel since his creation, and in 2016 met up with his main universe counterpart during the Spider-Verse cross over.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Ham is figure 4 in the Monster Venom Series of Marvel Legends, and perhaps the one figure in the series who feels more like a straight Spider-Man character than a Venom one.  I guess they just really wanted a counter for all of the ‘90s X-treme-ness that was oozing from the rest of the assortment.  The figure stands 3 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Okay, so let’s just rip the band-aid right off, shall we?  Spider-Ham’s biggest failing, by a country mile, is his articulation, or rather his lack thereof.  While his upper body is fairly decently articulated (though it’s not as smoothly integrated as I’d like; his arms end up with quite a segmented look), the legs only have simple cut-joints at the calves, and nothing more.  That splayed leg position is all you’re getting out of him.  This is a sincere let-down, especially after Hasbro had just last year addressed a similar problem with their original Rocket Raccoon, and released a fully articulated version for Vol. 2.  There are some characters for whom I could forgive the missing articulation, and I could even forgive it on Ham if he were a pack-in figure or something, but as a single-release figure, this is ridiculous, and quite a step backwards.  In addition, Hasbro seems to be aware of the potential problems with releasing such a small-statured figure on his own, and has subsequently upscaled him a bit, making him too large to properly scale with other figures.  It’s a minor thing, given how infrequently Ham interacts with other characters, but it’s still annoying.  Beyond that, his sculpt’s okay.  The internal proportions are fine, and he certainly looks like Spider-Ham.  The choice to go with sculpted webbing, something that all of the recent Spider-Men have forgone, is sort of an odd one.  It looks fine, but it’s anyone’s guess as to why Hasbro chose this of all figures to give that treatment to, especially since it removes their option to do any black-costumed variant down the line.  I think the oddity of the choice is further highlighted by the decision to leave the webs unpainted, making them easy to miss at first glance.  Also, they’ve used painted red for exactly one part of the figure, his belt, and it’s so obviously a different tone from the rest.  Why not just paint the legs instead? Another mystery.  Spider-Ham includes two accessories, neither of which is actually for him.  The first is the head of Pork Grind, the Venom to Ham’s Spider-Man.  It’s a really nice piece of work, and has been designed to be compatible with the standard Venom from this same assortment.  It’s a nice bonus for those of us who had the Absorbing Man release, and by far my favorite thing about this figure.  Secondly, Ham includes the largest piece of Monster Venom, the torso.  Hasbro used this same pack-out style for both versions of Rocket, so it’s not a huge surprise here.  While I certainly appreciate the two pieces included, given the smaller size of Spider-Ham, I’d have loved to see some extra heads and hands and maybe even a webline thrown in to sweeten the pot.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was so excited when Spider-Ham was announced.  He was one of the two figures in this set I was certain I’d be getting.  The prototype shots made me slightly apprehensive, but I’ve learned not to judge a Legends release by the prototype.  And then I got him in hand, and, well, most of my my problems were still there.  I really, really wanted to like this figure, but the simple fact is that Hasbro dropped the ball pretty hard on this guy.  I wish that weren’t the case.  I wish I could say this was another win for Hasbro, but this figure honestly showcases a number of problems that we haven’t seen from Hasbro in years, and I wouldn’t mistake someone for thinking he was a pre-Return of Marvel Legends release.  I don’t hate him, because I genuinely can’t bring myself to hate a Spider-Ham figure.  I’d rather have this than nothing at all, and I can enjoy him for what he is, but I’m sad that he doesn’t live up to Hasbro’s current standards, and I’m sad that he’s not this Series’ logical star like he should be.

Spider-Ham was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys, and is still available here.  If you’re interested in buying other Legends figures, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1785: Poison

POISON

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Believing himself to be a living miracle after seemingly coming back from the dead, symbiote-possessed Peter Parker rejects the Venom identity and calls himself Poison.”

Guys….I’m gonna critique the bio for a sec here.  I know, I keep promising I won’t, but it’s sort of important.  So, the “living miracle” “back from the dead” “gave up the Venom identity” Peter Parker, aka Poison, mentioned in the bio appeared in What If? Spider-Man: The Other in 2007.  He is *not* the character this figure is based on.  This figure is instead based on the Peter Parker Poison from last year’s Venomverse, where a symbiote-wearing Peter Parker was one of the first victims of the host-devouring symbiote hunters known as the Poison.  In Hasbro’s defense, neither character is anything bordering on major, so they can be forgiven for some slight confusion.  Now, let’s get onto the figure, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Poison is figure 3 in the Monster Venom Series of Marvel Legends.  After the pretty obvious choices of Venom and Carnage, Poison is undoubtedly out of left field, given he’s got, what, three appearances?  If that?  But, I guess if Hasbro’s content to give us every single Spider-Man from Spider-Verse, it shouldn’t be a huge shock to see them dipping into Venomverse as well.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Poison is built on the Spider-UK body, which is a favorite of mine.  That said, he actually gets a surprising number of new pieces.  He only actually shares his upper arms and lower legs with the standard body; everything else is brand new.  This allows for the figure to properly replicate Poison’s inorganic, exoskeleton-like appearance.  It serves as quite a nice counterpoint two Venom and Carnage from the last two days.  I definitely dig all of the etched detailing work on his torso, head, and upper legs as well; its something that could have easily been overlooked.  The tendrils mounted on the front of his torso showcase the last traces of the symbiote Poison assimilated, and while they can be a little odd to work with at first, they certainly do add a unique flair to him.  Poison’s color work is more involved than you might think; he appears just straight white and black at first, but the white is actually a slightly pearlescent plastic, and there’s some light silver accent work running along yhr engravings, giving them a nice extra bit of pop.  It’s a small touch that really adds a lot to the figure.   Poison includes no character specific accessories, but he does still get the left arm of the Monster Venom Build-A-Figure, which is certainly a sizable piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had no clue who Poison was prior to this figure being shown off, and therefore didn’t really think much of his announcement or really plan on picking him up.  Like the last two days, it was really that Monster Venom piece that was pulling me in.  That said, after getting all of the figures in hand, Poison is undoubtedly my favorite of the set.  There’s just so much coolness going on with the design, the sculpt, and the paint.  Who would have ever thought a character like this would get this sort of treatment from Hasbro?

Poison was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys, and is still available here.  If you’re interested in buying other Legends figures, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1784: Carnage

CARNAGE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Merged with the toxic Venom symbiote, Cletus Kasady hones his psychopathic tendencies as the merciless villain, Carnage.”

When a single dark reflection of Spider-Man wasn’t edgy enough, Marvel responded by giving us Carnage, a spin-off of a spin-off.  But he’s way more violent, way more dark, and way more in line with the “not your daddy’s comics” sensibilities of the ‘90s.  Yay?  Like Venom before him, Carnage has, pretty much since inception, been a marketing success.  So, it’s no surprise that he’s co-headlining the new Venom-themed assortment of Marvel Legends!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Carnage is figure 2 in the Monster Venom Series of Marvel Legends.  Like yesterday’s Venom, Carnage is largely a re-release of a prior figure, in this case the Ultimate Goblin Series Carnage from back when the Infinite Series was first launched.  He uses the same basic assortment of pieces, with minimal changes.  I did notice that the joints are less floppy on this release, which is a notable improvement.  Beyond that, he’s the same, and that’s honestly okay, because that original release was quite a strong offering.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  There are also some rather minor changes to the paint work.  In addition to generally being a little cleaner than the original release, the red has also been given a very slight metallic hue.  Not a huge change, and it honestly comes down to personal preference.  The main difference between this figure and the last is the selection of included accessories.  Where the last Carnage only had his Build-A-Figure part, this one gets a spare head and hands.  The head is an unmasked Cletus Kasady head, which does quite a nice job of capturing Cletus’ unhinged psychopathy.  The paint on mine has the eyes ever so slightly askew, but other than that, he looks pretty good.  The spare hands showcase the fluid nature of the symbiote; the left is just a more intense claw, but the right goes for a wholly different shaping, giving him an axe-hand, which is kind of a classic look for Carnage.  The hands definitely inject an extra bit of character to the figure, and are a very strong addition.  Lastly, Carnage gets the head to the Build-A-Figure Monster Venom.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve got mixed feelings about this Carnage figure.  As with Venom, I have the original release, so I don’t need a re-issue.  But, unlike Venom, who does actually do some things to make him different, Carnage’s changes are all external, which sort of makes this figure a somewhat expensive accessory pack.  Were it not for the included BaF piece, I would have most certainly passed this one up.  On the flip side, I can completely see Hasbro’s reasoning on this figure, since the original Carnage release was hard to track down even when it was new, and has carried one of the heftier after market values of the modern Legends run.  Had I not been fortunate enough to find the original, I would undoubtedly be thrilled by this one.  And at least Hasbro was nice enough to give us long-term collectors *something* to warrant the second purchase.

Carnage was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys, and is still available here.  If you’re interested in buying other Legends figures, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

The Blaster In Question #0066: Venom Blaster

BlasterInQuestion1VENOM BLASTER

DART TAG (SPIDER-MAN)

venom1I was wondering what would break first: your spirit, OR YOUR BO- what? Oh sorry, wrong Tom Hardy role.  Why Tom Hardy, you ask.  That’s because he will be playing Eddie Brock in the upcoming Venom movie.  So in the spirit of that film, I thought I’d showcase something that only exists for its context to Spider-Man, but without any mention of Spider-Man on my part.  I give you the Dart Tag Venom Blaster.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

venom2The Venom blaster was actually part of the Spider-Man vs. Venom set in the Dart Tag line, released as a tie-in with the film Spider-Man 3 back in 2007.  It uses a pretty unique mechanism as far as I’m aware, featuring an air pump and 3-tier staged trigger.  This allows you to fire each of the 3 barrels one after the other in semi-auto fashion, or just mash the trigger down to launch all 3 simultaneously.  The shells of both the Venom blaster and the matching Spider-Man blaster in the set are the same aside from the colors, but beyond that, they are unique.  Being Spider-Man themed, the ergonomics are a little strange, but perfectly functional. You secure the blaster to your inner forearm using the Velcro strap, with the trigger in reach of your middle and ring fingers.  While on your arm, the most awkward part of the operation is by far pumping up the air tank as it takes a decent amount of force to actuate the pump handle, particularly when you get close to maximum pressure.  That being said, they do stay pretty secure on your arm, and the cloth Velcro strap doesn’t cut into your arm the way the plastic venom3watch strap things on more recent arm blasters do.  The performance isn’t the best, but keep in mind these came out well before N-Strike Elite was even a thing, and they’re licensed blasters, so it’s pretty easy to forgive.  While it won’t hit very hard, you do effectively have a 3-round burst strapped to your arm which can be somewhat concealed fairly easily, especially if you’re already holding a blaster in your hand.  That way, when your younger siblings think its safe because you’re out of ammo, you can blast them with an extra 3 shots they didn’t know existed.  That’s how you know you’re the cool older sibling: subterfuge and treachery.  The Spider-Man vs. Venom set originally came with the 2 blasters, 1 in each color scheme, a Dart Tag vest for each, a set of Vision Gear goggles that also matched, and a total of 12 Dart Tag darts, 6 for Spider-Man, and 6 for Venom.  I, however, picked mine up second hand, and as a result, only have the Venom blaster.  No Spider-Man anywhere.  But if Marvel wants to use any of my review in their current Tom Holland Spider-Man movies, I’d be more than willing to license it out to them. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

Movie politics aside, I was actually one of those kids growing up who didn’t really care about Spider-Man, the character, but I thought Venom was awesome.  Pair that with Nerf and it was fairly inevitable that I would pick one of these up sooner or later.  And to be fair, the movies I’ve seen that had Tom Hardy in them, for the most part, I thought he did a good job.  Overall, my opinion on the blaster is it’s a bit dated but still fairly fun and I’m glad to have it.  Do I think the movie will be any good?  I think Mad Max said it best when he said “Hgrmngr rgn rgmrn mrgrnm…”