#2648: Phage

PHAGE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“The Phage symbiote gives its host the ability to forge incredibly dangerous bladed weapons to attack its victims.”

Hey, do you guys remember Lasher?  Or perhaps Scream?  Because that saves me a lot of trouble and explaining if so.  Or, you could just follow the links I dropped in there.  That would also save me some explaining.  Look, the long and short of it is that Lasher and Scream, the spin-offs of a spin-off of a spin-off, were actually from a whole group of spin-offs, created in the comics by the Life Foundation.  It was five symbiote crew, and we’ve just gotten another member of said crew, my boy Phage here, who I’ll be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Phage is figure 3 in the “Venompool Series” of Marvel Legends.  He’s the third Life Foundation Symbiote, and definitely the most obscure of the characters included in this line-up.  Phage has had one prior figure, back in the Toy Biz days, but that one was…well, let’s be diplomatic and say it wasn’t very comic book faithful.  This one, on the other hand, aims for a slightly more faithful appearance.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Phage is built on the Bucky Cap body, which was just vacated by Carnage, thereby meaning it doesn’t suffer from any overuse in this assortment.  He’s also the first of the Life Foundation Symbiotes to use it, so again, there’s the diversity factor there.  He gets a new head, forearms, shins, and hands, and an add-on piece for his back piece.  It’s all pretty straight forward stuff, and matches with how they’ve handled the various symbiotes in this line previously, while still being different enough to stand out.  It fits pretty well with how Phage was depicted in the comics in the ’90s, and is just generally pretty decent looking.  In terms of coloring, Phage was somewhat similar to Scream in the comics, with them both being largely yellow.  Phage, however, was usually depicted as being slightly darker, and a touch redder in hue.  This figure replicates that pretty decently overall, and that, coupled with black accenting in contrast with the brown on Scream, means he’s not too similar to her in color scheme.  Phage is packed with an alternate arm piece, replicating the blade that Phage would usually use.  It’s a shame it’s just the one, but it’s cool never the less.  Phage also includes both legs to the Venompool Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve got a soft spot for the Life Foundation Symbiotes, and after getting Lasher and Scream, I was definitely looking forward to getting more of them.  Phage was definitely my most wanted figure from this assortment because of that.  Phage is a fairly by the numbers figure, but it works, and he definitely looks cool with the other two.  Now, can we get Riot and Agony?  And possibly a deluxe Hybrid?

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2647: Carnage

CARNAGE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Twisted criminal Cletus Kasady sows chaos in the streets as the bloodthirsty villain Carnage.”

Another film amongst the planned films for release this year is a sequel to 2018’s Venom, which will, in addition to bringing back the title character, be bringing in Venom’s best-known spin-off, Carnage.  In honor of the whole thing, much like we saw in 2018, we’re getting a whole assortment of Symbiote-themed Marvel Legends.  Headlining the assortment are both Venom and Carnage, and I’ll be taking a look at the latter figure today, because, hey, you can never have enough Carnages right?  I mean, I can’t.  Or can I?  Question for another time, I suppose, because here’s a new one right now!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Carnage is figure 2 in the Venompool Series of Marvel Legends. Carnage was one of two double-packs in this assortment, just like he was the last time there was a Venom assortment.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  While this Carnage is, in many ways, a classic Carnage, unlike the last release, he’s not actually mostly a re-issue of an older figure.  Instead, he’s head-to-toe an all-new sculpt.  It seems to be at least a little bit patterned on the 2099 body, at least in terms of build and articulation scheme.  How ever, in contrast the smooth and more or less featureless base body, this one is very Carnage-specific.  It goes back more to the Toy Biz style of handling the character, actually sculpting in the more flowy details of the symbiote as texture, rather than just leaving them as painted details the way the last few figures have.  It looks really nice, and adds a nice, visual pop to the appearance of the figure.  I don’t dislike the painted appearance of the earlier figure, and I think it has its own place in the collection, but there’s no denying that this looks really, really good.  The only part I’m not really up on is how the back tendrils turned out; they just feel a little too built up at the base for my taste, turning them into more of a backpack thing.  Fortunately, the piece can be removed, and you can even replace it with the tendril piece from the two earlier figures if you so choose.  The paint work on this guy goes hand-in-hand with the sculpt, and does a great job of making all that texturing really work.  The red’s back to the flatter shade used for the first figure, rather than the metallics of the last one.  I think I like the flatter shade just a bit more, so I’m really okay with that.  The one slight downside here is the accessory compliment.  He loses the Kassady head and extra hand attachments from the last one, and gets an alternate “Absolute Carnage” inspired head in their place. It’s a fine piece, but not one I see myself putting to much use.  He also includes the head for the Build-A-Figure Venompool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was quite happy with the first Hasbro Carnage and didn’t feel like I needed an upgrade.  I was then very happy with the upgrade to the figure that I didn’t feel I needed an upgrade for, and in fact felt that the upgrade himself was without need for upgrade.  I should honestly have expected Hasbro to prove me wrong again, I guess.  When this figure was shown, I wasn’t sure I *needed* him, but picked him up in-hand, because at this point, why not.  He’s awesome, and just the best Carnage out there, really.  I’m glad I picked him up, and he’s a highlight of this set for me.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2245: Damaged Spider-Man, Black Spider-Man & Venom

DAMAGED SPIDER-MAN, BLACK SPIDER-MAN, & VENOM

MARVEL MINIMATES

After a slightly more off-kilter theme for Series 1, Marvel Minimates went a little more straight-forward for their second assortment, centering it on Marvel’s #1 super hero, Spider-Man.  We got three prominent Spidey baddies, as well as a whole handful of Spidey variants.  In a world where Marvel Minimates wrapped with Series 3, this assortment would have made for a satisfying Spidey sub-set.  Today, I’ll be taking a look at a slightly worse for wear Spidey as he faces off against his dark reflection, Venom, as well as perhaps the most popular Spidey costume variant ever.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Damaged Spider-Man and Venom were released in Series 2 of Marvel Minimates as one of the standard sets, with the one-per-case Black Spider-Man swapping out for Damaged in each case.  Both Damaged Spidey and Venom would also see release as singles and in the TRU boxed sets as well, but this would remain the only way to get this specific Black Spidey.

DAMAGED SPIDER-MAN

A battle-damaged Spidey is a pretty long-standing tradition for toylines, and this particular figure would himself start the trend of battle-damaged figures within this particular line, particularly in the earlier days.  He’s just using the basic ‘mate body, albeit that wonky long-footed old style release.  Everything else is paint, and the paint was never really better than on these earliest Spider-Men.  This one uses the standard Spidey from this same assortment as a starting point, but adds in several tears to the costume, with a bit of exposed skin.  The coolest bit is definitely that little bit of Peter’s face we can see; that teeth-clenched expression really sells the severity of whatever situation he’s in.  His one accessory was a simple grey webline, which would be the go-to accessory for Spidey sets going forward.

BLACK SPIDER-MAN

Swapping out for Damaged Spidey is perhaps one of the most controversial choices for a limited variant release, Spidey in his black costume.  This figure, unlike his fellow Series 1 and Series 3 variants, showcases a “we’re not gonna get more than three series” mentality, because without that in place, it makes absolutely no sense to make the most popular costume variant for Spidey a supremely limited release.  It’s not a huge shock that DST would eventually release several additional versions of this costume, since he was going for mad money for a good long while.  This one uses the same layout as the Damaged, with just the standard body, no add-ons.  His painted details are sparser, befitting the costume’s simpler design, but it honestly ends up working seriously in the figure’s favor.  Straight black and white’s a very good look.

VENOM

After Peter ditched the alien symbiote, it moved onto Eddie Brock, and the two became Venom, one of Spidey’s definitive foes.  Venom has no shortage of ‘mates, but this is certainly the most basic.  The majority of it’s actually identical to the Black Spidey from above, but he does get a unique set of clawed hands, and a different head.  The head seen here is actually the one with the uniquely sculpted tongue, but there’s an important note on that.  Originally, Venom was meant to include two heads, one with tongue, and one without.  All of the standard US release Venoms from the first year were actually shipped out missing the second head with the tongue, so DST offered to send the piece out to customers who bought the earlier release.  LAter releases would add the missing piece back in.  In a turn of fate, my figure is actually missing the head without the tongue.  Of course, I see no situation where I would display that head, so I’m not worried about it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Unsurprisingly, given how popular the costume is, the Black Spidey was very hard to find when these hit.  I wanted that one, and didn’t really have much interest in the damaged version, so I ultimately ended up getting none of them when they were new.  When All Time got in a very large Minimate collection a few months ago, Black Spidey was at the top of my list of wants, and the other two just sort of came along with him.

#2202: Spider-Man Symbiote

SPIDER-MAN — SYMBIOTE

MARVEL MIGHTY MUGGS (HASBRO)

It’s been almost a year since I last reviewed one, but I want to remain on the record about not having forgotten Mighty Muggs.  Everyone else may have, but I’ll be damned if I will.  Launching in 2007, Muggs pre-dated the Funko’s Pop! craze by a few years, and really just missed the earlier designer vinyl push from the early ’00s, making them sort of an odd duck in terms of success.  They definitely had their supporters, and the licensed properties in particular did well for Hasbro.  Though not quite the smash success that Star Wars was, the Marvel line got a decent run, with six main series plus a bunch of exclusives.  There was enough space for a few variants of the heavy hitters, and who’s a heavier hitter than Spider-Man?  Not only did he get his basic costume, but he also got that suite symbiote treatment…wait, that sounds wrong….

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Man in his Symbiote Costume was released in the third series of Marvel Mighty Muggs, alongside Ghost Rider, Doc Ock, and Thor, hitting shelves at the end of 2007.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has movement at the neck and shoulders (the legs are separate pieces, but do not move).  From a sculptural standpoint, there’s not a thing that’s unique about this figure.  He’s just the basic classic Mugg body, with no add-ons or alternations.  To be totally fair, that’s really the best way to handle this particular design, and works for that whole sleekness angle.  The heavy lifting is handled by the paint, which in this case is itself pretty basic and straight forward.  The base coat is black, and there’s white accenting.  That’s it, and what more would you want.  Sure, there’s all sorts of highlighting or creative shading you could try, and Muggs were known for being somewhat experimental with simulating lighting styles, but I’ve always found that such tactics just really muddy up the clean look of the Symbiote’s design.  I also appreciate that the design on the logo has been changed from Series 1’s Venom, who was lopsided and monstrous looking.  This one is much more symmetrical, and makes sense for the comparatively far more balanced Peter.  Spidey included no accessories, which wasn’t very out of the ordinary for this incarnation of the line.  I suppose he could have gotten a webline or something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Mighty Muggs were sort of tricky to judge when they first hit, and so there was a lot of speculation.  That made getting a hold of a figure like Symbiote Spidey a little difficult when the line was still new, and I myself never did get one at the time.  Fortunately for me (but unfortunately for the line as a whole), as people forget about Muggs, whole collections appear and pretty much go for next to nothing.  I got Spidey over the summer, courtesy of Yesterday’s Fun, and I was pretty happy to find him.  There’s not a ton to say about him, but it’s worth noting that he’s an example of a design that worked great for this style, and one that wouldn’t have really worked for the updated Muggs, which I guess is why they didn’t make one.

#2036: Spider-Man & Kraven

SPIDER-MAN & KRAVEN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Unwittingly bonded with an alien symbiote, Spider-Man has the enhanced strength and abilities he needs to take on his deadly enemy, Kraven the Hunter.”

The last time I reviewed a Kraven figure, I remarked that long-running lines require a somewhat cyclical nature.  Well, uhh, I’m now reviewing a re-release of Kraven from that very line…so, hey, here we are.  Guess we’ve already come back around to him, haven’t we?  I, of course, already had the previous Kraven, but one more certainly couldn’t hurt too much.  Nor could one more of the Spider-Man he’s packed with!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Spider-Man and Kraven are a Target-exclusive Marvel Legends two-pack, clearly patterned after the much-loved “Kraven’s Last Hunt” storyline.  The set started hitting shelves just a few weeks ago, and will hopefully be showing up in plentiful quantities throughout the summer.  Both figures are tweaks of prior figures that have packed up a sizable aftermarket price.

SPIDER-MAN

Spider-Man’s black costume (or at least a cloth copy of it) was central to “Last Hunt,” and is enough of a fan favorite that a re-release of his Sandman Series figure definitely makes sense.  The basic figure is essentially identical.  Same base body and head, and for the most part, the same paint scheme.  The symbol is ever so slightly different, with the head being a little wider.  It’s minor enough that you’d only notice the change with both releases side by side.  The main change-up is the accessories.  They were kind of the let-down of the original release, but this one amends that.  He loses the open gesture hands of the original, but exchanges them for the missing web-pose hands that were sorely missing the last time.  He also gains an alternate unmasked head, which is a re-paint of the unmasked head from the Spidey/MJ pack, now featuring some battle-damage.  Of course, since I still don’t have that, I’m just building a continuing collection of non-standard Parker heads.

KRAVEN

Kraven’s been absent from Legends longer than Spidey’s black costume.  His Rhino Series release was four years ago now, and just predates a lot of collectors getting into the re-launched line, meaning he still goes for a bit of a premium.  His re-release is definitely the main driving force of this set.  Where Spider-Man was a fairly straight re-issue, Kraven is actually quite different from his prior release.  Where that one was his most recent appearance, this one is a classic Kraven.  He gets a new head, right hand, and belt, and swaps out the boots of the last release for more streamlined parts.  The head is by far the best piece; the crazed expression is a perfect recreation of Mike Zeck’s Kraven from “Last Hunt,” and it’s a marked improvement over the more generic sculpt of the last release.  Another marked improvement?  The paint.  It’s sharper, bolder, and just generally better detailed than the last release.  Hasbro’s definitely gotten a lot better at this part of the figures.  Kraven includes the same spear as the prior release, and also adds in a hunting rifle, which is a pretty classic Kraven sort of piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I have both of the original releases, when this set was originally announced I didn’t know if I’d be picking it up.  The images of the new Kraven head definitely did a lot to sell me on him, but the Spider-Man didn’t look to have much new to offer.  I was out looking for the Endgame Hawkeye and Widow (who I still haven’t found), and came across this set, and upon seeing the unmasked head and webshooter hands was definitely sold.  Both figures included are improvements over their original releases, and I don’t regret grabbing this one at all.

#1924: Symbiote Spider-Man

SYMBIOTE SPIDER-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“The Venom symbiote gives Peter Parker a black suit with special, enhanced powers.”

After a long hiatus from the line, Spider-Man’s distinctive symbiotic black costume re-appeared in Legends back in early 2017.  That figure was a pretty straight forward “classic” symbiote Spidey, which I guess left the door open for a *less* classic symbiote Spidey?  And wouldn’t you know it?  Dan Slott and Staurt Immomen were kind enough to provide Hasbro with a variant of the symbiote right in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man.  In one of the fastest turnarounds from page to plastic, here’s the newest Symbiote Spider-Man!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Symbiote Spider-Man is figure 3 in the Kingpin Series of Marvel Legends, as the second Spidey variant in the assortment.  This one’s just got the normal number of arms.  He’s based on SPider-Man’s appearance from the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #800, where Peter is forced to re-bond with the Venom symbiote in order to defeat the Red Goblin (more on him later in the week).  It takes the classic black costume, and adds a bunch of minor tweaks.  Some work, some don’t.  I like the re-worked version of the logo, and I don’t hate the claw hands, but I’m still not sold on the monster feet, and especially not sold on the eyes.  He looks like he’s wearing some form of funky eye-wear, and it feels like it’s needlessly breaking up an otherwise streamlined design.  All that said, I’ve certainly seen worse designs, and there’s good reason to include him in this line-up (again, more on that later in the week).  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation. Unlike the other Spidey in this set, Symbiote Spider-Man sticks to the formula of the last few years, and is built on the Pizza Spidey body.  He gets the clawed 2099 hands and the monster feet from Superior Venom, with a brand-new head to top the whole thing off.  If nothing else, the whole thing is faithful to the comics design.  The new head is a fairly nice sculpt.  The eyes still bug me, and the fact that they stick out the way they do means that there’s some potential for them to be bent in the package.  Fortunately, they’re a soft enough plastic that you can reshape them with a bit of heat if its an issue.  Beyond the eyes, though, I really like the shaping of this head, especially how you can see Peter’s nose beneath the mask.  I wouldn’t mind seeing a version of this sculpt without the eyes; it would make for a cool basic Spidey head, I think.  Symbiote Spidey’s paintwork is pretty simple, molded black plastic with white detailing.  It’s the usual for this design.  The white for his symbol is a little sloppy in some spots, but he’s overall a solid effort. Spidey’s packed with a spare set of hands in fists, as well as both heads to the Kingpin Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: I wasn’t really that interested in getting this guy initially.  Yeah, with the standard Symbiote look covered, I wasn’t hurting for another version of it, so I wasn’t sure about this guy, especially with some of those weird design elements.  The desire to get that Kingpin figure really drove this one.  I didn’t expect much, but I was actually quite surprised, and I find myself really liking this figure.  Yes, those eyes still bug me, but he’s a fun toy nonetheless.

I bought Spidey from my friends at All Time Toys, who were kind enough to set me up with this whole set to review.  He’s currently in-stock at their webstore.  If your looking for other Legends or other toys both old and new, please check out All Time’s website and their eBay storefront.

#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.

#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!