In the early 1990s, Venom was a pretty big deal for Marvel. Everybody loved the guy and his wacky symbiote. Marvel did their best to cash in on this, creating another symbiote wearing villain, Carnage. And, what do you know, Carnage ended up pretty darn popular himself. So, Marvel decided to try catching lightning in a bottle for the third time, but this time, they created a couple of different symbiotes, presumably hoping that one of them would have an easier time of sticking. It didn’t really work out so well for them (though one of the symbiotes, Scream, did end up getting to be a part of Universal Studios’ 3D animated Spider-Man ride, so that’s cool), but seeing as it was 90s Marvel, they still got action figures. Granted, those figures ended up being on the rare side, so they aren’t very cheap on the aftermarket. Who’d have thought the unsuccessful symbiotes would be the ones going for the big bucks? I managed to get a couple of the figures, so today I’ll be looking at my personal favorite of the symbiotes, Lasher!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Lasher was released as part of the “Venom: Planet of the Symbiotes” sub-set of Toy Biz’s 90s Spider-Man line. He was available in two different color schemes. The green/grey combo I’m looking at today is the more common of the two schemes, and is also the one closer to Lasher’s in-comic appearance. The Planet of the Symbiotes figures were pretty sizeable for Toy Biz figures from the day (when their figures were based around a 5” scale), and Lasher’s no exception. He stands 6 ½ inches tall and has 12 points of articulation. Lasher has a sculpt that was unique to him. It’s admittedly heavy on the late ‘90s stylization. His muscles are all bulging and ripped, and presumably all mid-flex. His hands and feet are huge, and his head is tiny. To be fair, this all makes perfect sense for Lasher. He’s supposed to be super 90s. That’s part of what the character is. With the exception of the hands, which seem a bit too cartoony and devoid of texturing, Lasher’s sculpt is actually pretty well handled. Everything is nice and sharp, and there’s plenty of detail work. The breaks between the colors are actually all etched into the sculpt, which adds a nice bit of pop to the figure. The tendrils on his back and forearms are made from a softer plastic, so they flop around a bit, as tendrils do. The ones on the back are removable, if you so choose, but they stay in place well if you want them to. Lasher has an action feature of sorts: when his legs are squeezed together, the top half of the figure spins, flailing his arms and tendrils about. To facilitate this, his shoulders are a little on the loose side. That can be a bit frustrating when trying to pose him, but the action feature is overall not too invasive. Lasher’s paintwork is pretty well handled. The base grey is actually this cool speckled plastic, which adds a more alien touch. The mint green color off the accents is a nice, unique look in superhero figures, and it’s got a bit of paint sprayed over it to help it match up with the grey plastic. Lasher is packed with a weird wrist-mounted shield thing, which looks like an extension of the symbiote, as well as a clear yellow Venom head which houses a small symbiote. The symbiote is cool, because it’s made from this tacky gooey substance, which sells the idea of what it is pretty well.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I never had any of the Planet of the Symbiotes figures growing up. I don’t recall ever seeing them in the stores or anything. I do remember them from the backs of various Marvel toy packaging, and I definitely thought they looked pretty cool, but I never saw them. When I was filling some holes in my 90s Marvel collection a few years ago, I was always on the lookout for them, but they were prohibitively costly. But, it seems luck was on my side at this year’s Baltimore Comic-Con. The booth where I acquired US Agent (another personal grail) also had about a dozen bins just full of 90s Marvel figures. After digging through them for a few minutes, I managed to find a bunch of the Planet of the Symbiotes figures. Lasher was the one I knew I wanted the most, so I was thrilled to pull him from the bin, and even more thrilled to find out he wouldn’t cost me an arm and a leg. He’s definitely a goofy figure, but I’m really happy to have found one, and I really love this figure.