#3121: Venom & Doppleganger

VENOM & DOPPLEGANGER

MARVEL MINIMATES

In the ’90s, Marvel was big into anti-heroes, and in a lot of cases, that meant refitting older villains into a newer role.  The popularity of Venom outside of even his main hero pushed Marvel to take that slightly more heroic angle with him, with a prominent anti-heroic role during “Maximum Carnage,” where he and Spidey are forced to team up to face down a common foe.  Over on Carnage’s side, he was building his own team of villains, which included a remnant of a prior crossover, the Doppelganger, who’d been brought into existence during “Infinity War” and had a hole in his schedule, I guess.  Those two are the subject of today’s review!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Venom and Doppleganger were released as part of the 76th specialty series of Marvel Minimates, which was based on the “Maximum Carnage” cross-over.  They and the rest of the assortment hit shelves in October of 2018.

Also included in this set is a piece to the Build-A-Mate Shriek.  For this particular set, it’s the torso, belt, and pelvis.  Not quite as distinctive as the head and hair, but it’s something.

VENOM

“One of Spider-Man’s greatest foes, Venom must help his enemy stop Carnage, whose powers stem from Venom’s symbiotic costume.”

No stranger to Minimates, DST sometimes seems to struggle with how to make each subsequent Eddie Brock Venom feel unique from the last.  We gotten all manner of different mixes of bulking him up, and, well, here’s another one, I guess.  Structurally, this Venom is really a mix of prior ones.  He’s got a bulked up torso, upper arms, pelvis, and upper legs, and then a pair of clawed hands.  The end result is…well, it’s different.  DST was clearly looking to capture the artistic take in Venom at the time, which had his upper torso being rather large in comparison to his arms and legs, making him look like a bit V…you know, for Venom, I guess.  Using just some of the power-house pieces is actually an idea that was suggested on the boards a few times, so there was certainly some demand to see it done.  I’m not super sure how well it worked out ultimately, but this is far from the worst take on Venom.  The paint on this guy does a decent job of capturing the art from the story, as well as selling him as distinctive from his prior figures.  That said, it’s a shame that the highlights on the upper legs don’t continue to the lower, as this only further emphasizes the jump between the parts, making it look like he’s missing something.  I do really like the print on that head, though.  Venom’s only accessory is a clear display stand, which is kind of a shame.  It would have been nice to get another unmasked Eddie, or possibly another of the sonic gun they included with Spidey.  As it its, he’s very light, especially without all of the usual bulk-up parts.

DOPPLEGANGER

“A twisted copy of Spider-Man created during the Infinity War, Doppelganger is adopted by Carnage and Shriek during their deadly rampage.”

The Doppelganger is an interesting enough concept, though he admittedly gets a little lost in a story with so many dark reflections of Spider-Man.  It was at least nice that they didn’t totally forget about him.  This is his first time as a ‘mate, which isn’t a huge surprise for a character that hasn’t been relevant since the ’90s.  Of course, with the 6-arm tooling ready to go since Series 36, it’s perhaps a bit of a shock it took quite as long as it did.  Like the standard Spidey, Doppelganger starts with the core body, but adds in the harness from 6-Arm Spidey, as well as a new set of hands and feet for more of a clawed appearance.  I felt the harness bulked up Spidey a bit too much, but it ends up working out okay for the Doppelganger, who was typically depicted as a little larger anyway.  I also appreciate that this guy got new hands and feet, rather than just re-using similar pieces from the likes of Nightcrawler.  It makes him even more unique.  His paint is generally pretty close to Sonic Attack Spidey, though the application’s not quite as good on my Doppelganger, with the eyes not really matching up quite right with the lines on the mask and a bit of slop on the base level of the work.  It’s not terrible, but it’s definitely a slight step down.  Like Venom, Doppelganger’s only accessory is a clear display stand, but with the new hands and feet, it feels a little less frustrating here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like I mentioned in my Spidey and Black Cat review, I’ve got no notable attachment to this storyline, and I was starting to fall out of Minimates by this point.  I was grabbing the one set, and I felt compelled to get this one too.  None of the others, though.  As I said above, it’s hard to do a lot new and different with a Venom at this point.  This guy gets points for trying something new, I suppose, and he’s ultimately not a bad effort.  I’m even hard-pressed to say what DST could have done differently, but he still feels ever so slightly off.  Doppelganger’s a decent new addition to the line, held back ever so slightly by some wonky QC, which has been afflicting Spidey for a while now.  I guess it’s only fair it might hit his duplicate.

#2084: Spider-Man Doppleganger

SPIDER-MAN DOPPLEGANGER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Man, can you believe we’re still getting Infinity War tie-ins?  What’s that?  Wrong Infinity War?  Right.  Yes, believe it or not, the title “Infinity War” was not originally attached to Thanos’ quest to gain the Infinity Gauntlet (that was, wait for it, “Infinity Gauntlet”), but was instead a follow-up story centered on Magus, Adam Warlock’s evil alternate persona.  Over the course of the story, Magus created evil duplicates for most of Marvel’s major heroes, including good ol’ Spidey.  Spidey’s Doppleganger stuck around longer than the others (because they didn’t have enough evil Spider-Man equivalents) and actually found his way into a few other stories from around the time, including “Maximum Carnage.”  He’s not the most prevalent character to show up as a toy, but he’s got a few under his belt, and now he’s got a Marvel Legend.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Spider-Man Doppleganger is figure four in the Molten Man Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s the second comic figure, and Doppleganger’s third figure overall*.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 58 points of articulation.  He’s constructed pretty heavily out of re-used parts, primarily being made from the body of the Kingpin Series’ 6-Armed Spider-Man.  He inherits that figure’s articulation issues on the torso, since no changes have been made to the mold, but at this point I’ve made my piece with it.  He gets a new head, two sets of new hands, and new feet, as well as swapping out the bare secondary arms of the Spidey for the fully sleeved main arms.  The final creation is a decent offering, but definitely comes in a lot smaller and scrawnier than Doppleganger is usually depicted.  There’s a degree of artistic license I suppose, and obviously Hasbro wanted to quickly get a second use out of the new molds.  Also, a slight oddity is that the new head, hands, and feet all have raised weblines (like last year’s Spider-Ham), in contrast to the rest of the body.  It doesn’t stand out terribly in person, but the lighting for the photos really brings it out.  Doppleganger gets a noticeably darker colorscheme than Spidey did, which actually does him some favors when it comes to those unpainted weblines.  I’d still really prefer they were painted, but I’ve made my piece with it.  Everything else is pretty decent, and I particularly like the pearlescent finish on the eyes.  Doppleganger has no character-specific extras (I’m not really sure what he could have gotten), but he does include the right arm of the Molten Man Build-a-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

There was speculation of Doppleganger as soon as 6-Armed Spidey showed up, but I was really surprised by this guy’s presence just one assortment later.  For all of the prior figure’s flaws, I ultimately was quite happy with him, and marked him as a pleasant surprise in his assortment.  Doppleganger I’m not so sure about.  He’s not awful, but he’s really tiny, and still has all the issues from the last figure.  Ultimately, I think he may have been better served as a Build-A-Figure with a unique sculpt, but that’s not how it played out.  As it stands, he’s one of the two weakest entries in a generally pretty strong line-up, so he makes out alright.

I purchased Doppleganger from All Time Toys, who set me up with this whole set to review.  If your looking for other Legends or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

*Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time that Doppleganger and Hydro-Man have been part of the same assortment.  They both made their toy debuts in the “Spider Wars” series of Toy Biz’s ’90s Spider-Man line.