#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.

#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.

#0934: Black Costume Spider-Man

SPIDER-MAN – BLACK COSTUME

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (TOY BIZ)

BlackCostumeSpidey1

EDIT: Sorry for the late post everyone!  For some reason, this post had its date set to February 13 instead of May 13. But it’s here now!

As much as it may seem that Hasbro is releasing Marvel’s most prominent characters in every possible format they can think of, the ‘Bro has nothing on their predecessor’s at Toy Biz. Over the course of their 15-year run with the license, Toy Biz offered the Marvel heroes in 12 distinct scales (to say nothing of having a wide variety of styles within those scales). Towards the end of their run making Marvel toys, they spun a few of their more successful 6-inch lines into 12-inch lines. This included their Amazing Spider-Man line. While the larger line was somewhat limited in scope (there were only 6 figures, and 3 of them were Spider-Man), it did manage to produce a few pretty cool figures, such as today’s focus, the Black Costume Spider-Man.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BlackCostumeSpidey2Black Costume Spider-Man was released as part of the 12-inch Amazing Spider-Man line in 2006. The line didn’t really have any proper series structure; figures were just sort of added as they went. This particular figure was one of the very last figures added to the line, alongside the House of M version of Spider-Man. The figure stands just over 12 inches tall and has 33 points of articulation (a fact his package proudly boasted. Toy Biz was big on that at the time). Marvel Legends Icons, the 12-inch counterpart to Marvel Legends, was constructed exactly like the smaller figures, just at a larger scale, which gave the figures a certain degree of heft. Amazing Spider-Man, on the other hand, made use of rotocast parts (i.e. hollow) to keep the cost of the figures lower. This results in the figure being surprisingly lightweight, and a bit less sturdy than other figures. However, this figure is hardly fragile, and it’s worth noting that only about half of this figure is actually rotocast. The sculpt of this figure was shared with the House of M figure as well. It was a noticeable improvement over the prior Spider-Man from the line in terms of movement and detailing. The whole thing has this kinda cool orange peel-style texturing to it, which is a nice change from all the totally smooth Spideys out there. The proportions are a bit out there, but it’s Spider-Man, so there’s some room for exaggeration, and he’s certainly no more out of whack than any other Toy Biz Spider-Man. His paint work is fairly basic. They’ve foregone any sort of accenting for the black, which is always a good choice in my book. The white’s a bit on the fuzzy side, presumably due to the texturing of the sculpt. It’s not terrible, but it definitely could be better.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember seeing just about every figure in this line when they were originally released. However, I never did get around to picking any of them up. This figure ended up being a rather random find: two weeks ago, I was out and about with my family and we stopped at a Goodwill. There was a bag of assorted action figures for $10, and I could make out this guy, so I bought it. Turns out he’s worth quite a bit more. Lucky me! The figure’s actually pretty cool, and it’s a shame he was one of the last in the line.

#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.

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