#0978: Venom

VENOM

MARVEL SUPER HEROES (TOY BIZ)

VenomMSH1

Venom, Venom, Venom. For as many Venom figures as I’ve reviewed on this site, there’s not actually a whole lot to this guy. He’s a pretty simple concept, taking the main hero and creating a “dark reflection” of said hero to serve as a villain. Of course, it was the late ‘80s, so he was also super huge (and he got huger as time went on). In the early ‘90s, when Toy Biz started up with the Marvel license, Venom was, amazingly enough, not in their first assortment of figures. Clearly they felt bad about that, because they then turned around and released three of him in the space of a year. Today, I’ll be looking at the last of those.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

VenomMSH2Venom was released in Series 3 of Toy Biz’s Marvel Super Heroes line. He was the second version of the character released in the main line (after the one released in Series 2) and the third in the overall scheme of things (following the Talking Heroes version). The figure stands just shy of 5 ½ inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation. He has no neck movement due to his action feature, which is quite limiting, but he is otherwise decently posable. The prior Venom figures had focused on bulk over all else. This figure, on the other hand, focused on making Venom tall (he’s a good ¾ of an inch taller than the Spider-Man from the same line), but not quite as bulky. The end result is a figure that looks not unlike Venom in his earliest appearances, before he had become quite as monstrous. The sculpt us actually pretty decent. It’s somewhat stylized, but not incredibly so, and he has a nice, subdued look about him, which is refreshing to see in a Venom figure. Venom’s paint is rather simple: it’s exclusively white paint on black plastic. The detailing doesn’t look too bad, though, as you can see from my figure, the paint wasn’t the most durable. Still, the pure black and white has a nice stark contrast about it, something that a lot of later Venom figures would miss out on by adding unnecessary blue highlights. Venom originally included a clip on torso piece, simulating the symbiote wrapping around him. He also had the previously mentioned action feature, which allowed for Venom to stick his tongue out when the lever on his back was pulled. It’s rather a goofy feature, but it’s also really in keeping with the character, so I guess it made sense.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Venom is the 11th of the 15 figures I got at Balticon this year. Amazingly enough, prior to this figure I did not own a single 5-inch Venom figure. This one’s not bad, and the quality of his sculpt, especially when compared to last week’s Silver Surfer figure, shows how incredibly fast Toy Biz was taking steps forward in that department.

Also, not related to me, but worth noting: this figure has become one of Super Awesome Girlfriend’s favorites. She constantly picks it up so that she can make it stick its tongue out at me. I’ve ensnared another action figure geek!

VenomMSH3

#0958: Venom

VENOM

SPIDER-MAN: ORIGINS (HASBRO)

VenomSig1

When Hasbro took over the Marvel license, it was actually a little bit of time before they started producing their own molds. The first two series of Marvel Legends had already been designed and sculpted by Toy Biz, which eased the transition there. Since the beginning of Marvel Legends, there was a complementary Spider-Man line. Hasbro kept this tradition up, and launched Spider-Man: Origins, which was a line made up exclusively of repainted figures, offering collectors a second chance at some harder to find molds, and earning them a little bit of good will with the fans. Today, I’ll be looking at one of those repaints, which happens to be a figure of Venom. And awaaaaaay we go!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

VenomSig2Venom was released as part of a two-pack in the “Battle-Packs” assortment of Spider-Man: Origins. He was packed with a fairly basic classic Spider-Man. This Venom is just a repaint of the version from Series 4 of Toy Biz’s 6-inch Spider-Man line, a figure which itself made use of re-tooled pieces from the Planet of the Symbiotes Lasher figure. The figure stands 7 ½ inches tall and has 20 points of articulation. Though his articulation count’s fairly high, his actually movement is rather limited, so he’s not good for much besides a basic standing pose. I reviewed this sculpt rather favorably back when it was Lasher, but I’m not sure how well it made the transition into Venom. Some of the details specific to Lasher have been removed, which makes sense, but also robs the sculpt of some of its richness. The new pieces include the head, lower arms, and lower legs. The head’s not a bad piece, though to position of the neck coupled with the limited articulation means he’s stuck looking up forever. The arms and legs aren’t terrible, but they’re rather long and thin (presumably to make him a bit taller than Lasher), which means they don’t match up very well with the stockier pieces from Lasher. They also don’t have the same sort of musculature, which makes them stand out a bit. And that’s not even touching on the clown shoe feet this guy’s sporting. Yeesh. The original release’s paint was one of its weaker points. Toy Biz tried to do blue highlights, and ended up highlighting a bit too much. Hasbro opted to forego the highlights, instead just doing the black parts in a dark blue/grey. It’s not perfect, and it lacks the striking nature of the original design, but it looks better than the original, overall.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This Venom is another figure from the small lot of figures I got from Goodwill a few weeks ago (the same lot that included SM3 Venom and the 12-Inch Symbiote Spider-Man). Neither variation of this figure was ever at the top of my list, but he was in with other figures I was interested in, and the whole thing was only $10. He’s not a super exciting figure, but he’s not horrible either.

#0943: Venom

VENOM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

VenomSM3a

Spider-Man 3 is a movie that a lot of people don’t care for. I actually don’t mind it. In fact, I kinda liked it a lot. Is it a perfect movie? No. Honestly, it’s probably aged the worst of the three Raimi films, and even Sam Raimi’s said he feels it could have been better. It still entertains me, and that’s really all I can ask.

I actually don’t own a ton of toys from Spider-Man 3, though (apart from the Minimates), because of some general weirdness surrounding the tie-in figures. Spider-Man 3 came out in 2007, which was the year that Marvel toys switched from Toy Biz to Hasbro. Despite the prior two Spider-Man films (and pretty much everything else Marvel-related from the early 2000s on) having been pretty much exclusively 6-inch scale, Hasbro opted to release the Spider-Man 3 figures in 5-inch scale. It was a really odd move, and it wasn’t helped by the fact that the overall quality of the toys fell pretty steeply too. The end result was a large number of fans boycotting the smaller line (I didn’t boycott it; I just happened to not get many of the figures). Fortunately, Hasbro recognized the frustration, and put together a series of Marvel Legends based on the Spider-Man trilogy. Most of the heavy hitters from the films were covered, including the third film’s (somewhat maligned) version of Venom, whose figure I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

VenomSM3bVenom was released in the “Sandman Series” of Hasbro’s first go at Marvel Legends. The series was released at roughly the same time as the Fantastic Four-themed “Ronan Series,” which was between Series 2 and 3 of the main line (The SM3 and FF series served to discontinue attempts at referring to Hasbro Legends by numbered series from there on). Venom stands just over 7 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation. Of the eight figures in the series, Venom was one of the four to get a new sculpt. It’s a rather sizeable sculpt to be sure, though it’s more than a little off from the movie Venom. Topher Grace’s Venom wasn’t anywhere near as big as the comics version, but all the SM3 Venoms seemed to go with a more comics-inspired sizing. So, while this figure’s sculpt certainly has an impressive amount of detail, it’s far from movie accurate. The proportions seem a bit crazy even for a comic Venom. The arms, hands, and upper torso are huge, while the waist and legs are small to almost comedic levels; his fingers come down past his knees for Pete’s sake! The head is also quite exaggerated, far more so than it ever looked in the movie. The crazy open mouth isn’t terrible, but it’s the sort of thing that really should be accompanied by an alternate, less crazy head (similar to the most recent Legends Venom). On its own, it seems rather limiting. Venom’s paint is at least decent. He’s molded in a slightly metallic black, which looks pretty cool, and he sports a nice, subtle silver on all the webbing. The paint around the mouth is a little sloppy, but not horribly so. He could probably stand for a bit more color variety in the gums, but that’s minor. Venom’s only accessory was a piece of the Sandman Build-A-Figure, but mine was acquired loose, so he doesn’t have that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Venom came from the same random lot of Goodwill toys as the 12-inch Spider-Man I looked at last week. Because of the rarity of pretty much the entire Sandman Series, I never saw this figure at retail. Of course, I can’t really say I would have gotten him if I had seen him. As part of a bag of figures for $10, he’s kinda cool. For full price? Ehhhh. He’s an alright figure, but is definitely from a period when Hasbro were still finding their footing.

#0886: Venom

VENOM

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES

Venom1

They say a hero’s greatest foe is in some way a dark reflection of themselves. Generally, this is meant to be more of a metaphorical sort of reflection, but sometimes, it’s taken a bit more literally, resulting in a pretty straight evil counterpart of the main hero. This is the case with the original Venom; his powers were all variations of Spider-Man’s, and Eddie Brock, host of the Venom symbiote, was even a freelance photographer like Peter Parker. However, where Peter gave up the symbiote when it started to lead him down a darker path, Eddie embraced the darkness (at least initially). Venom’s gone on to become one of Spidey’s most popular foes, with all the toys that such a role entails, and amusingly enough has gotten a few “dark reflections” of his own.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Venom2Venom is the third figure in the fourth series of Spider-Man Marvel Legends. After three series of sort of teasing at this guy, Hasbro’s finally gotten around to giving us a proper Eddie Brock Venom. The figure stands about 7 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation. Like Toxin and Anti-Venom before him, Venom is based on the Hyperion body. It’s not a bad base, though it still has a few minor issues (the neck being so far set back is the most major of them). The body’s pretty well-sized for Venom, and that’s really the important thing here. Venom gets not one, but two new head sculpts for this body: with and without the tongue. This way, you can choose between early (no tongue) and late (tongue) appearance Venom. He comes packaged wearing the tongue-less head sculpt, which is a pretty spot-on recreation of his early McFarlane-drawn appearances. It’s a lot smoother and geometric. It sits a bit high on the neck, but in the right pose, that negligible. The second head isn’t just the first one with an added tongue, it’s actually a totally different sculpt. It’s based on Venom’s mid-90s appearances, after his appearance Venom3started to get a bit exaggerated, but before it went too off the rails. This head is much more organic in design, and has a lot more fine detail work. It also sits a bit lower on the neck, and just feels like the stronger of the two sculpts. As far as paint goes, the vast majority of Venom is just molded in black. However, there’s more than a little white detailing. The application’s okay, but not super great. The chest logo in particular has really rough edges. The two heads are both very nicely done, though, to the point of almost seeming like they belong to another figure. In addition to the extra head, Venom is also packed with two sets of hands: fists and clawed. The claws are far more subdued than those of Anti-Venom and Toxin, which suits this figure very well. Venom also includes two different heads for the Build-A-Figure Absorbing Man. There are a lot of heads in the box.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Man, if you’d told me I would be anxiously awaiting an Eddie Brock Venom, I wouldn’t have believed you. But, after getting all the Venom spin-offs over the last year, this guy was a key missing player. In a series of more modern characters and short-lived variants, Venom kinda feels like the natural star of this set, and is a clear, definitive take in the character. His figure isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty darn good, and certainly a long time coming.

Venom4

#0537: Anti-Venom

ANTI-VENOM

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

AntiVenom1

In the 70s and 80s, the mark of a successful comics character was getting a female counterpart. When comics moved into the 90s, the money was all in spinning off a grittier version of your character. Case in point: Venom. Of course, Venom’s kind of an insane example of this, because he ended up getting a spin-off, Carnage, who ended up getting several spin-off characters of his own. And pretty much none of them made it out of the 90s. Eventually, Marvel ended up going back to Venom for spin-offs, and came up with the brilliant idea of Anti-Venom. Can you guess what character I’m looking at today?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

AntiVenom2Anti-Venom is a part of Series 2 of the Amazing Spider-Man Marvel Legends Infinite Series. Fun fact: in the 5 years the character has been around, Anti-Venom has managed to get a Minimate, a Marvel Select figure, and this here Marvel Legend. Lucky guy. Anti-Venom is about 6 ½ inches tall and has 32 points of articulation. The figure is built on the large male buck, first put to use on Hyperion. It’s a pretty decent body, however the neck sits just a tad too far back. It’s a minor nit, and it isn’t too apparent on this particular figure, but it’s still there, waiting. In addition to the base body pieces, Anti-Venom uses the forearms and hands from last series’ Toxin figure, which themselves are just resized versions of Carnage’s hands. He also has a brand-new head and… uhh… back spikes? I really don’t know what those are. But, they’re well sculpted, I guess, and easily removable, if back spikes aren’t your thing. The head is a rather nice piece, and there’s some rather nice detail work, especially on the face. Anti-Venom is, for the most part, just white plastic with black paint for detail. The black is generally pretty evenly applied, and the edges are all nice and sharp. It’s also pretty shiny, which works well for the whole symbiote look. There’s a little bit of misplacement on the black parts of the head; there are some etched lines that it seems like the black is supposed to go inside of, but in ends up just being in the same general area. Given the various sculpted texture in the surrounding areas, it’s not immediately noticeable, but it’s there. The head also has some orange for the eyes and mouth, and that’s all pretty decently applied as well, although the eyes do have a little bit of bleed through from the black underneath.  Anti-Venom is a little on the light side as far as accessories go, only coming with the left leg of the series’ Build-A-Figure, Hobgoblin. The lack of extras is forgivable, though, since he’s a larger figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Yeah, I picked up Anti-Venom as part of the full set of Spider-Man Legends I ordered through Big Bad Toy Store. I really wanted Hobgoblin, so I bit the bullet and just bought the whole series. I’m not a huge fan of the Anti-Venom concept, so I didn’t really have high expectations for the figure, but he’s actually not bad. Sure, he’s not as amazing as some of the other Legends we’ve gotten recently, but he’s pretty solid, and he does have a clean, bold look to him. I do find it interesting that in the last year of Legends, we’ve gotten the Flash Thompson version of Venom and both of Eddie Brock’s post-Venom identities, and we’re even getting the “Superior Venom” later this year, but we’ve yet to get an update on the classic Brock Venom. This figure shows that they can certainly do him justice, so maybe he’ll show up soon.

AntiVenom3

#0065: Venom Through the Ages Minimates

VENOM, VENOM, VENOM & VENOM!

MARVEL MINIMATES

So, yeah, it’s…uhh…Venom.  And Venom.  And Venom and Venom.  That’s 4 Venoms.  What is it?  1995?  Anyway, it’s more Marvel Minimates.  This time around, it’s a boxed set commemorating all the different incarnations of Venom from over the years.  Because Venom’s such a diverse character.  Regardless, that’s the set I’m looking at today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These guys were released last year, as the “Venom Through the Ages” boxed set.

VENOM UNLEASHED

First up, it’s the real star of the show.  This is the version of Venom that most people think of when they think of the character.  It’s the big, bulky, long-tongued, slobbering version of the character.  If you read my review of the recent TRU Venom, you’ve pretty much seen this figure before.  This one’s got most of the same pieces, only this time, cast in black instead of the dark blue from that figure.  To counteract this, they’ve done the muscle detailing in a light blue instead of black.  It’s all nice and cleanly done.  This one doesn’t have a Spider-Man under all the pieces, instead showing a crazed Eddie Brock.  He also includes a spare mask that is partly pulled back to reveal Eddies face, and an alternate hairpiece to show Eddie totally revealed.

VENOM – EDDIE BROCK

Next, it’s another version of Eddie Brock.  This time around, it’s based on his more svelte look from his earlier appearances.  He’s built on the basic Minimate body, with all the usual articulation.  In place of regular hands, he’s got a pair of clawed hands, which have been used for Venom a few times before.  He’s also got a torso cover that’s been used a few times in the past for some of the more bulky characters.  It’s not my favorite piece, due to its blockage of the figures shoulders and neck articulation, and its overall odd shape, but it works okay, I guess.  Instead of a sculpted head, Venom’s face is all paint on this one.  It looks pretty accurate to the material, and fits the minimate aesthetic a bit better.  The rest of his detailing is similar, though not identical, to that on the Venom Unleashed figure.  Venom also includes an alternate Eddie brock head, this time with a more calm expression than the last one.

VENOM – ANN WEYING

Next, it’s Ann Weying, one of the attempts to make a “She-Venom” back in the 90s, when everything Venom sold millions.  She was Eddie Brock’s ex-wife, or something, and had the symbiote for a little while, during one of Eddie’s many breaks from the role.  Quality story telling there.  She’s on the typical Minimate body, though with the same clawed hands that the Eddie Venom used.  Like Eddie, she has a painted face instead of a sculpted one.  The only other sculpted piece she has is a tendril piece that goes over her neck.  She’s detailed similarly to the Eddie Venom, though a bit more simplistic, and of course, more feminine.  She includes an unmasked head with hair.

VENOM – FLASH THOMPSON

Lastly, it’s Flash Thompson’s Venom.  This one’s kind of the outlier of the set, being form the last few years.  He’s also the only one that’s not a variation on the same basic look.  And he’s heroic to boot.  Flash’s design is of course based on his look from his series that’s been running the last few years.  For him, the symbiote is used more as a tool, and not a controlling force.  It’s an interesting take, and that’s actually not sarcasm.  Anyway, he’s on the usual body, but he’s got a whole bunch of add-ons.  He’s got a mask, vest, gloves, a belt, a holster, and boots.  With the exception of the mask, which has been used several times before, all the pieces are new to this figure.  They all look accurate to the source material, which is good.  Flash has minimal detailing, but it’s all well done.  The eyes and logo stand out nicely, and there’s a nice pattern representing the texturing on his arms.  Flash also includes an assault rifle, a handgun, and a hair piece to display him unmasked.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m honestly not the world’s biggest Venom fan, but my usual online store had this set marked down during their Black Friday Sale, so I picked it up.  Eddie and Ann aren’t gonna win any awards, but Unleashed and Flash are both really cool, so I’m glad to have picked it up.