#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.

Advertisements

#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.

#1783: Venom

VENOM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Eddie Brock takes vengeance on his skeptics as the all-consuming, spine-chilling symbiotic, Venom.”

Though roughly 20 years newer than the rest of Spider-Man’s most popular foes, Venom has undoubtedly made a home for himself in the mythos, and in fact made something of his own mythos.  How else can you explain the guy getting a whole series of Marvel Legends devoted to him.  Oh, right, movie.  Well, he’s also got the movie, I guess.  Look, the point is, there’s a new series of Venom-themed Marvel Legends, and I’m totally reviewing them, starting with the main man himself.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Venom is figure 1 in the Monster Venom Series of Marvel Legends.  This assortment is the Spider-Man equivalent to how the loosely-Deadpool-themed Sasquatch Series was kind of an excuse to get more X-Men characters.  Anyway, this particular figure doesn’t do a whole lot of new stuff.  He’s really just a slight re-working of the Absorbing Man Series Venom.  That was a pretty solid take on the character, and he didn’t need a hard re-do, but given slightly higher aftermarket values, a re-release isn’t unwarranted, especially if the movie further elevates his profile.  The primary difference between these two figures is the head, or rather heads.  There are two of them: an unmasked Eddie Brock, and proper masked head.  The Eddie head is the most outwardly different, and does an alright job of capturing the spirit of McFarlane’s take on the character without getting too overly stylized.  My big complaint is that it’s a little bit on the large side, especially when compared to other figures.  I’m not sure I really buy that Eddie’s head should be almost twice the size of Peter Parker’s.  The masked head is kind of a halfway point between the two included with the last figure, so he’s got an open mouth, but doesn’t have the crazy tongue.  Of the three masked Venom heads we’ve gotten, this is definitely my favorite.  He also gets a new add-on piece; a set of tendrils that slips over his neck.  It works best with the unmasked head, but doesn’t look too bad with the masked head either.  His paint is also ever so slightly different from the prior release; the finish on the black sections is shinier and a little bluer than the first release, though it’s not really different enough to prevent reasonable swapping of pieces between the two figures.  Outside of the extra head, Venom is also packed with the right leg of the Monster Venom Build-A-Figure.  He lacks the extra set of hands like the prior figure, which is slightly disappointing, though I guess the larger BaF piece somewhat makes up for it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I got the original release of this guy, I really wasn’t sure I’d be grabbing this one, especially since he was originally rumored not to even be including a BaF piece.  That of course didn’t prove to be the case, and since I wanted Monster Venom, this guy had to come along.  I’m actually not too unhappy about the extra of him.  The new pieces offer a lot of value to the original, and the Pork Grind head included with Spider-Ham means having a spare body isn’t the worst thing.  Plus, now he’s much easier for fans joining in a bit later to get ahold of, which is the most important thing.

Venom 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.

#1714: Lasher

LASHER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A sinister mercenary of evil, Lasher thrives off of the power of the malevolent Venom symbiote.”

Oh man, Symbiotes are big again.  What is this, the mid-90s?  No, it can’t be. Not enough pouches and leather jackets.  But Symbiotes. Definitely Symbiotes.  With a Venom movie hitting theatres this year, I suppose there was a desire to capitalize on that, so the fine folks at Hasbro are working in some more Venom-related characters into their Marvel Legends line.  There’s a whole Venom-dedicated assortment hitting very soon, but we got a little bit of a teaser earlier this year, in the form of Lasher!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lasher is part of the Lizard Series of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.  It’s our first Spider-Man assortment of 2018, and it started hitting a few months ago…in theory.  It’s shown up some places, but still doesn’t seem to have hit in full force.  Anyway, Lasher is the resident Symbiote in the line-up.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Lasher is made up entirely of re-used pieces, which is mostly not an issue, apart from one thing I’ll touch on in a moment.  He’s built on the Pizza Spidey body, which caused a bit of a stir when he was first unveiled.  A lot of people felt he should be on a larger body, in part, no doubt, due to the larger build of Lasher’s old Toy Biz figure.  However, if you look at Lasher’s comic appearances, he’s typically a little skinnier than the other Symbiotes.  Perhaps the 2099 body would have been a better compromise, but I don’t mind this.  Lasher also uses the head from Scarlet Spider, and the hands, feet, and tendrils from Superior Venom.  The head’s a pretty basic piece, and works well here.  The hands and feet are a bit more specific, but still work very well for the character, and it’s nice to see them pop up again.  The tendrils are perhaps my one complaint about the figure.  I’ve never been a huge fan of this particular piece, even in it’s initial use, but for Lasher to not have tendrils that can actually do anything just seems wrong.  I’d have much preferred to see him use the Agent Venom tendril piece.  On the plus side of things, Lasher’s paint work is very striking.  Application is very clean, and the two shades of green chosen really complement each other well.  As always, that metallic plastic looks pretty awesome. Lasher’s only accessory (if we’re not counting the fact that the tendrils remove, which I kind of don’t) is the head to the Lizard Build-A-Figure.  While it perhaps doesn’t add any value to Lasher himself, it’s an impressive enough piece that he doesn’t feel too light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Lasher is hands down my favorite Symbiote.  The old figure was a bit of a grail, and he’s been standing with my Legends collection since I got him.  When this guy was shown off, I was definitely excited.  I was even more excited when he and the rest of the series showed up at All Time Toys back in April, thus signifying that All Time would be carrying Legends going forward.  I’m very happy I have this figure, even if he has a few flaws.

Speaking of All Time, this is my first review from them since they were hit by the recent flood on Main Street in Ellicott City.  They’re been steadfastly working in the weeks since, and they’ve just gotten their website and eBay store back up and running.  Please give them a quick visit.  While they don’t have this particular figure in stock, they do have a couple of his series-mates, as well as a whole bunch of other cool stuff!

#1598: Spider-Man – Black Costume

SPIDER-MAN — BLACK COSTUME

MARVEL LEGENDS — 12-INCH (HASBRO)

Wasn’t I just talking about wanting to get more of this line?  Have I already run out and done that, just in the last day?  No, dear reader, not quite.  This is just as symptom of the somewhat anachronistic order to how I review my toys.  What does that mean for you guys?  Not a whole lot, really.  It means you get to read my review of a Spider-Man figure.  Woop woooop.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Costume Spider-Man is a summer 2017 release for the larger-scale Marvel Legends line.  He’s the second version of the webhead to grace the line, following the expected standard variant from the first series.  He’s actually the first 12-inch-scale Symbiote Spider-Man to be released under the Legends banner, although Toy Biz did do a pretty fantastic rotocast version back in ’06.  The figure stands 12 inches tall and has 36 points of articulation, matching pretty well with Black Panther in that respect.  For the most part, this figure is a pretty straight repaint on the standard Spidey, which is a rather sensible choice.  The body is effectively and up-scaling of the Pizza Spidey body, but with slightly more nuanced proportions and a bit more range on some of the articulation.  Compared to the last two figures I looked at from this line, he’s rather devoid of texturing and small detail work, but I kind of expect that on a Spider-Man, especially one using this costume.  They still do some nice work with placing a few key wrinkles in the costume here and there, showing that it’s not just painted on his skin.  One small nit I had, however, was the presence of web shooters on the undersides of his wrists.  It’s a remnant from when this sculpt was used for the standard Spidey, but it’s not technically accurate to this particular design.  Very small thing, though.  This version of Spidey gets a new head sculpt, which is quite impressive.  I like that you can clearly make out that there’s a whole face under that mask, not just some amorphous blob.  It’s the nose that really sells it for me.  When it comes to paint, Symbiote Spider-Men can have a tendency to go very simple, or far too detailed.  Very rare is any actual balanced approach.  The question that always arises with this design is “to highlight or not to highlight?”  This figure opts to highlight, a tricky endeavor to be sure.  I’m happy to say it actually paid off pretty well this time around.  The metallic blue they’ve chosen is only subtly different from the black plastic, and it’s thankfully not overused.  Spider-Man is packed with an alternate unmasked head (which is the same as the one included with the standard version, apart from some slight paint variations), as well as three pairs of hands.  It’s a decent selection, but given the standard Spidey came with another head in addition to all of this, it does feel a little light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been eyeing this guy up since he was released, but kept having other things that took precedence over him.  Last month, Target had him marked down to $23.99, which was enough of a discount to get me on-board.  He’s another strong figure, and a definite improvement over the Toy Biz figure I looked at.  He’s not without some slight issues, but I’m overall very happy with him.

#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?

#1279: Spider-Man

SPIDER-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Stealthily dressed in black, Spider-Man possesses incredible web-slinging, wall-crawling powers.”

Hey guys!  Guess what I’m reviewing for the next week!  Something new and exciting and…yeah, okay, it’s more Marvel Legends.  Look, I picked up three series of these suckers last month.  There’s a lot of them sitting here waiting to be reviewed.  So, let’s jump on into Sandman Week, shall we?

The first figure I’m looking at is none other than Marvel’s biggest cash-cow pretty much ever, the Amazing, the Sensational, the Spectacular, the Peter Parker, yes it’s Spider-Man!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Man is figure 5 in the Sandman Series of Marvel Legends.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  As you’ve no doubt deduced from the images and the bio, this figure is based on Spider-Man’s symbiotic black costume.  Believe it or not, this costume hasn’t been released in Legends form since 2008’s Red Hulk Series.  That figure was built on the Bullseye mold (and not even the slightly updated version that Iron Fist got!), so an update was more than warranted.  More importantly, he’s really the last major Spidey design to be moved to the Pizza Spidey body.  This figure not only makes use of the now standard Spider-Man bod, he also re-uses the head of the Rhino Series’ Scarlet Spider figure, making him 100% recycled parts.  Of course, this is a figure that kind of warrants being recycled parts, doesn’t he?  Pizza Spidey’s not a perfect body, but it’s a solid build for Spider-Man, and it even looks like Hasbro’s tweaked it ever so slightly to offer a little more motion in the hips.  The Scarlet Spider head is a good choice; the change of color is enough to make it look sufficiently different.  The paint on this guy is pretty standard fare for this design.  They’ve gone for the simple black and white, no accenting, which is, in my opinion, always the way to go with this design.  Blue highlights and the like always end up messing the whole thing up.  The logo on my figure is pretty clean, but it’s worth noting that I’ve seen a number of figures where that wasn’t the case, so be careful when grabbing this guy.  Oh, and a cool, minor, almost nonexistent thing I noticed?  The black plastic used for this figure is a cooler black, rather than the usual warmer black used on most figures.  This means if the light catches the figure juuuuust right, he’s got the slightest bit of a blue sheen.  It’s so minor, I’m not even certain it was intentional, but I think it’s cool regardless.  Okay, I love this figure, but there’s one area where it’s a letdown, and that’s the accessories.  He comes with two sets of hands: fists and open gesture.  Yes, just those two.  Not the web pose ones.  Now, it’s true that when Spidey had the symbiote, he didn’t need to do the usual pose to fire his webs.  The thing is, after ditching the symbiote, Peter actual sported a cloth version of this design for a little while, and used his usual web shooters, so the hands would still be accurate.  Plus, he’s already a total re-use, the very least you can do is throw in one more set of hands, especially when they’re already tooled.  Not to mention, the last two Spider-Men on this body both came with all of the extra hands *and* a spare head. There was some hope that this figure might at the very least have that unmasked Peter had we’ve all been waiting for, but no such luck.  It just feels a bit weak.  He does at least include a pair of swap out hands for the Sandman BAF, but he really should have had more.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After the previously reviewed Ms. Marvel figure, this guy was probably my next most wanted from the Sandman Series.  I actually saw him at the same time as Kamala, but I just couldn’t bring myself to pay a premium price for a figure that didn’t actually offer anything new.  It seems that was the right call, as I found this guy at a slightly out of the way Walgreens while they were running their $12.99 sale on all Marvel Legends.  Score!  The accessories are super annoying, and all, but honestly, I was just happy to finally find this guy, and for a price I haven’t paid for a Legends figure in like a decade.  The actual figure is exactly what I’ve been hoping for ever since the Pizza Spidey body was introduced.  I’m glad we finally got him!

#1125: Spider-Man – Black Costume

SPIDER-MAN – BLACK COSTUME

MARVEL SUPER HEROES: SECRET WARS (MATTEL)

symbiotespideysw1

It’s a rare occasion for a character to have not one, but two of the best known looks in comics under his belt, but that’s the case with everyone’s favorite web-head, Spider-Man.  His original design is clearly his best known, and the one that most people will associate with him.  But, in 1984, Marvel decided to give him a new design.  Coming out of their (toyline tie-in) Secret Wars maxi-series, they introduced a new, black and white costume.*  Obviously, it was never going to replace the original, but it did stick around for a surprising amount of time.  It’s also made quite a few reappearances in comics and other media adaptations, and even gotten spun off into a totally new character, because, let’s face it, it’s a badass design.  Due to the aforementioned badassery of the design, it’s also shown up more than a few times in action figure form.  Today, I’ll be looking at the very first one ever released.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

symbiotespideysw2Spider-Man was released as part of the second series of Mattel’s Marvel Super Heroes: Secret Wars line.  He was the second version of Spider-Man in the line (following Series 1’s standard Spidey), and it should be noted, he’s the only repeat character that the line produced.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  Structurally speaking, he’s the exact same figure as his Series 1 counterpart, which in turn means he’s very similar to just about every other figure in the line, for good or for bad.  This means the general quality of the sculpt is rather on the soft side.  In their defense on this particular figure (oh my gosh, I’m defending Mattel.  Kill me now), it’s not like the are a lot of really sharp details that should be present.  A generally smooth sculpt is the way to go.  Why Spider-Man is sporting the same build as Captain America and Iron Man is a different question entirely, though.  Spidey gets his own set of legs. You can tell because there’s sort of a pre-posed nature to them. He’s doing some sort of brisk walk or maybe a lunge.  I’m not really sure.  Also, his right arm seems a bit longer than the left.  It’s weird.  All that being said, the overall appearance of the figure’s not bad.  Even his paint’s not awful, although that’s mostly by virtue of the design being rather simple.  It’s worth noting that he’s missing the white blocks on the backs of his hands, admittedly a minor detail, but missing nonetheless.  Also, his logo rather abruptly stops for about 1/4 of an inch on his sides before starting on the back, which is a little weird looking.  And, as with so many Secret Wars figures, the paint is incredibly prone to wear.  Spidey’s only accessory was the big, goofy lenticular shield that every figure included.  His was bright red, because why bother to match the figure, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, you know how I kick off this section of every Secret Wars review by swearing up and down that I’m not trying to collect this line?  Yeah, you can scratch that on this guy.  He’s a figure I’ve been eying up for some time, mostly due to the coolness factor of the costume.  He ended up being purchased for me by my Super Awesome Girlfriend, who picked him up this summer from Yesterday’s Fun.  I know I’m down on Mattel, and I’ve never been particularly kind to their Secret Wars figures, but this guy is very possibly the strongest entry from the line.  Yeah, he still showcases many of the same problems that plagued pretty much every single figure in the line, but if you view him as his own, standalone figure, he’s not awful.  He’s almost kind of charming.

#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.