#2209: Agent Anti-Venom

AGENT ANTI-VENOM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“After exposure to the Anti-Venom Serum, Flash Thompson becomes the newest incarnation of the anti-hero.”

Back at the beginning of the Infinite Series relaunch of Legends, when Walgreens was dipping their foot in the waters of being a toy-buying destination, their first trial-run exclusive was Agent Venom, a figure that Hasbro had had rattling around their con displays for a little while.  He proved a successful venture, for Walgreens and Hasbro at least, but perhaps a little bit less so for fans, as he never really hit anywhere in truly huge numbers, and Walgreens was still not quite as numerous at the time as it is now.  This, coupled with the general fan-favorite nature of the character, made him slightly pricey on the after market.  Hasbro, ever in the game of trying to give collectors a fair shot at hard to find Legends took advantage of the re-branding of Flash Thompson under the Anti-Venom name from a few years ago, along with a need for some easy parts re-use figures, and has given us another Agent Venom, albeit of the inverted variety.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Agent Anti-Venom is another Fan Channel single Marvel Legends release, much like the Big Time Spider-Man I looked at a few weeks ago.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Structurally, this figure is identical to the standard Agent Venom from back in 2014.  From a design standpoint, this makes sense, since the looks are just color swaps of each other in the comics.  However, from a toy standpoint, there are some issues that come with this re-use, namely that the underlying body was outdated when the first Agent Venom came out.  The five years since then have only made that more apparent, as a handful of similarly built and far more up-to-date bodies have come into use.  Of course, that would have required some pretty substantial retooling of the Agent Venom-specific parts, which would have then defeated Hasbro’s whole purpose of releasing figures that don’t need any new parts.  I will say that this release has far less rubbery plastic than the first one, which does make him feel better overall.  Additionally, the new paint apps are a lot cleaner in terms of application than the last time around, making for a much slicker looking figure, and showcasing the great strides Hasbro has made in terms of paint since the Infinite Series days.  Agent Anti-Venom is packed with a pair of glocks and a pair of MP5s, as well as the back piece that can hold his weapons for him.  I still feel like he should have 6 guns instead of 4, but at least I was prepared for it this time.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was fortunate enough to get the original Agent Venom release, but a lot of people weren’t, so I wasn’t surprised when this guy was listed amongst the Fan Channel figures.  While I do wish they’d been able to change out the underlying body, I won’t deny that the changes in production quality on this figure do a lot to make him even better than his predecessor, and he’s still a lot of fun.

This guy was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys, and it’s currently available from their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

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#1366: Venom Space Knight

VENOM SPACE KNIGHT

MARVEL MINIMATES

Oh blind bags.  How I loathe thee.  There are certainly things that I hate more than blind bags, but they honestly aren’t coming to mind right now.  So, blind bags are number one right now.  I can sort of see the novelty of the concept to a certain degree, but beyond the first couple of figures, it just sort of wears out its welcome.  Which is really an issue when it comes to introducing blind bags to a pre-existing line.  DST started working the idea into their various Minimates properties to varying success.  It’s finally made its way into the main Marvel comic line, and I’m not super sure how I feel about that.  I’m giving it a try, though, and looking at one of them today.  Yes, it’s another Flash Thompson Venom, but this time, he’s a Space Knight.  And why not?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Venom Space Knight is part of the inaugural Blind Bag series of comic-based Marvel Minimates.  He’s one of the less common figures in the case; he’s not a one-per-case-r like Silk, but he’s not one of the heavier packed ones.  Which is sensible enough, since Venom’s moderately popular, but not quite as hugely popular as Iron Man and Spider-Man.  The figure’s a little over 2 1/2 inches tall and has 12 points of articulation, taking the boots into account.  He’s got 12 add-on pieces for his helmet, chest piece, upper arms, hands, pelvis cover, upper legs, boots, and torso extender.  Most of the parts are re-used from other bulked up characters (including a few other Venom ‘mates).  The helmet’s all-new, and does a really nice job of translating the comics design into the ‘mate form.  In general, this design translated quite nicely into the ‘mate aesthetic.  Definitely a well-chosen design for the line.  The paintwork on this guy is all pretty solid; the line work is nice and crisp, and the colors are well chosen for the character.  The dark blue chosen for the bulk of the character is pretty nifty, and the white stands out nicely against it.  Under the armor, there’s a fully detailed face and torso, showing Flash in his non-armored look.  There’s also a spare set of arms and legs, as well as a hairpiece, allowing for you to complete the dressed down look, which is essentially a whole second figure.  The paintwork is still solid on these extra pieces (especially the arms), and I really dig the artificial legs.  In addition to the alt pieces, he also includes the standard clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I held off on this set for a good long while.  I didn’t really want to buy a whole case, and nobody was really selling them individually.  Fortunately, Cosmic Comix got in a case of them, thus allowing me to just grab one of them.  As luck would have it, it was Venom, who was the ‘mate I wanted the most from the set.  He’s actually a really solid ‘mate, and I love all the extras he includes.  All-in-all, I think this is my first experience with blind bagged Minimates that didn’t leave me feeling dirty and used.  I guess that’s a good thing?

#0745: Spider-Man 2099 & Agent Venom

SPIDER-MAN 2099 & AGENT VENOM

MARVEL MINIMATES

Venom&2099a

So, on top of this whole bit with doing Minimates based on the various Marvel animated shows, DST is taking Minimates to another new place: Walgreens! Yep, Walgreens, our resident “out of left field” action figure distributor has picked up yet another line to carry, Marvel Minimates. That makes me happy, because hey, more Minimates to buy, but also sad because now I have to buy more Minimates. Oh well. I’ll get over it. The first set of Walgreens exclusive Minimates continue the animated Marvel trend, and while they haven’t yet gotten us any new characters (series 2 will change that) we have managed to get one very needed update, which I’ll be taking a look at today. Let’s see how Spider-Man 2099 and Agent Venom turned out, shall we?

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Spider-Man 2099 and Agent Venom were released in the first Walgreens-exclusive series of Marvel Minimates. Both figures are based upon the characters’ designs from Ultimate Spider-Man.

SPIDER-MAN 2099

Venom&2099cThis isn’t the first Spider-Man 2099 Minimate, but it is the first one in 11 years, so that’s pretty noteworthy. He definitely was high on a lot of lists for “most in need of an update.” And, 2099’s design in the cartoon is (mostly) the same as his comics design, so this one can work as either. The figure stands about 2 ¼ inches tall and has the standard 14 points of articulation. Structurally, he’s another “vanilla ‘mate,” so he’s just the base body. While that may work well for his regular time period counterpart, 2099 should really get a few extras. The last 2099 ‘mate was just the basic body too, and that was at least part of why so many people wanted an update. The animated 2099 ditches the cape of his comics counterpart, so its absence is excusable, and the arm spikes would have needed to be new pieces, so it’s possible they didn’t cost out, but he should have at least gotten a pair of clawed hands. Just to make him a little…different. On the plus side, the paintwork on this figure does its very best to make up for the lack of sculpted parts. The base blue is nice and dark, and the highlights add a nice bit of visual flare that was lacking from the previous 2099. Plus, the red details are also nice and sharp, and stand out nicely from the rest of the figure. Everything is really clean and very well handled, and he does a great job of balancing between animated and comic styles, so he’ll be right at home with either line. 2099 includes a web line (in blue) and a clear display stand.

AGENT VENOM

Venom&2099bIt hasn’t been nearly as long since Agent Venom’s last ‘mate (from the Venom Through the Ages set, for those curious), but he’s a popular enough character that it’s not much of a surprise to see him turn up again. Plus, given last year’s Marvel Legends exclusive, it would seem Walgreens is pretty fond of the guy. Agent Venom is built on the usual body, with add-ons for his chest piece, belt, boots, and gloves. The chest piece, boots and gloves are all the same pieces used on the previous Agent Venom. The belt was presumably deemed too textured for the animated design, so it was replaced with the belt from the Series 55 Classic Captain America. The pieces match up pretty well with the animated version of Flash Venom, so no issues there. This figure loses the extra mask piece and the leg holster of the last one; the mask was likely cut to streamline the design a bit, and the animated Agent Venom does not have the guns of his comics counterpart, and therefore doesn’t need the holster. The paintwork on Agent Venom is a bit different this time around. The animated design is just a bit different from the mainstream look, specifically on the mask. The eyes ditch the inverted Spider-Man design for something a bit more basic. It’s not as distinctive, but it’s accurate to the show. The figure has some pretty stylized shading, which is cleanly handled, and makes it more clear that this is an animated figure. Agent Venom’s one accessory is a clear display stand, which is a pretty big step down from the extra hairpiece and two weapons included with the boxed set version. I know the cartoon Agent Venom isn’t armed, but an extra unmasked head would have been nice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Take a guess where I got this set. If you guessed Walgreens, you were correct. Good for you. 2099 was definitely the main draw for me. I have a bit of nostalgia for the original, but he was very, very dated, so an update is much appreciated. Yes, it would have been nice to get a few extra sculpted parts, but the paintwork does a lot to save this guy. Agent Venom isn’t really exciting to me, but I have the boxed set version. While that’s the superior of the two, this one isn’t bad at all, and I’m sure he’s awesome to someone who wasn’t able to get the last one.

#0618: Agent Venom

AGENT VENOM

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINTE SERIES

AgentVenom1

Retail has become an odd place for action figures. Lots of stores are condensing their action figure section, and Toys R Us is really the only toy store game in town. But, in a time where lots of places are cutting back, Walgreens of all places has stepped up to the plate, not only carrying an increasingly wide variety of action figure lines, but also carrying their own exclusive items. Some are just simple repaints, but some are all-new, fan-demanded figures, such as Agent Venom, the subject of today’s review.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

AgentVenom2Agent Venom is a Walgreens exclusive figure, released to coincide with Series 1 of Amazing Spider-Man 2 Marvel Legends Infinite Series. The figure had previously been shown in various con displays, with no real mention of where he’d be showing up. The figure stands about 6 ¼ inches tall and sports 32 points of articulation. He is, of course, based on the initial Agent Venom design, from right after Flash Thompson took over as host to the alien symbiote. It’s admittedly one of the more unique variants of the Venom design, and it makes for a rather striking figure, so it’s a good choice for a toy. The figure uses the Face-Off Punisher body as a starting point, with a unique head, hands, knees, shins, and feet and add-ons for the body armor and belt. The body is a little outdated, in terms of both proportions and articulation. However, the Bucky Cap body would be too small and the Hyperion body would be too large, making this the best fit of the existing bodies. On the plus side, the armor covers the torso, thereby hiding some of the wonky proportions. The movement still kinda sucks, but it’s not terrible. The pieces that are new are all very well sculpted. The head is nice and simple, and the armored pieces are loaded with tons of texture. When fully assembled, the figure is the spitting image of his comicbook incarnation. The paintwork on the figure isn’t quite as impressive as the sculpt. Some of that’s to be expected; the character’s design doesn’t really equate to a lot of painted detail. He’s really just got the white accent lines running throughout. They aren’t atrocious, but they could certainly stand to be a little cleaner. Agent Venom includes two Glocks, an MP5, and a USP handgun, as well as a cool four armed symbiote attachment piece to help him hold them all.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I actually found this figure quite a while before I got one. He was amongst the large selection of figures I found at the Walgreens near Super Awesome Girlfriend’s school while I was visiting some months back. But, there were a lot of things I wanted, and I only had so much money (and space in my bag for the plane ride home) so he got put back. Then I didn’t see one again, so I figured I’d missed my shot. A couple of weeks ago, I stopped by a somewhat out of the way Walgreens while killing time during my brother’s karate lesson. I found this guy back behind several other ML Infinite figures. Venom’s not exactly one of my favorite comicbook characters, but the Agent Venom design is actually pretty cool, and it translates incredibly well to action figure form.

AgentVenom3

#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.