#2711: Toxin

TOXIN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“The 1,000th symbiote in a lineage that includes Carnage and Venom, Toxin is feared by many to be the strongest and most dangerous.”

After the craziest of the symbiote-overload in the ’90s died down, Marvel decided they wanted to try again.  So, Carnage once again had some spawn, but just the one this time.  The end result was Toxin, who, in contrast to Venom and Carnage, was not an inherently malicious creature.  Initially bonded with police officer Patrick Mulligan, Toxin served as an ally to Spider-Man, rather than either of his progenitors.  After Mulligan’s death, Toxin was then shifted over to usual Venom host Eddie Brock for a bit, as Eddie moved his way through a handful of symbiotes.  Toxin’s been privy to a few figures over the years, twice now getting a Legends release.  The first one wasn’t much to write home about, but maybe this new one will change things up a bit?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Toxin is the latest Deluxe-sized offering for Marvel Legends.  He follows the trend set by Apocalypse, being a new larger scale figure, as opposed to a reissue of a prior Build-A-Figure.  Toxin’s had a few somewhat divergent looks over the years, and this one grabs a few elements from each of them and merges them all together into one thing.  He’s definitely more monstrous than Mulligan usually was, and the face is definitely lifted from Brock’s time with the symbiote, but the general appearance is still definitely an earlier Toxin look.  The figure stands 7 3/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Toxin is built on Monster Venom body, which seems a little bit on the large side for Toxin’s usual depictions, but it’s honestly a little on the large side, even for the two Venom figures it was used for.  The symbiotes just tend to get sized up a bit, I guess, when it comes to toys.  The Monster Venom body remains a very impressive piece of work, and I can understand Hasbro wanting to get more mileage out of it.  To change things up, Toxin gets a new head, and a slightly tweaked back plate, as well as tendrils.  So many tendrils.  More tendrils than we have room for.  Elevendrils.  It’s really intense, and it really works.  Certainly continues the dynamic nature of the Monster Venom body.  The tendrils are popped on in stages, so you can kind of tweak just how tendril-y he is if you like.  It does mean they pop off on their own occasionally, but it’s overall not too bad.  Toxin’s paint work is generally decent.  The red’s very bright, which I rather like; it contrasts well with the black on the other portions of the figure, and makes him more eye catching than Hasbro’s last attempt.  The transition from red to black is also pretty nicely handled, managing to be pretty subtle, and to maintain a consistent look across multiple pieces.  The red sections could, I suppose, stand to have a little more accenting on them, but that’s about the only thing I can really knock.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My actual experience with Toxin is pretty limited.  I’m familiar with him as a character, and I know the toys, but I don’t believe I’ve actually read any of his comics appearances.  He’s got a halfway decent visual, though, and this figure using the Monster Venom body, which I really quite like, gave him some points in his favor.  The end product’s pretty nifty.  If you like Symbiotes, you’ll like this one, and he’s certainly a step-up from the last version.  Now, if we could get the slightly less monstered out Mulligan version at some point, that’d be pretty sweet too.

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

#2654: Venompool

VENOMPOOL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Alright, I guess I might as well get to reviewing the thing I’ve been literally building up to.  Yes, it’s the veritable merchandising gold mine that is “Venompool.”  A pretty straight forward mash up of Venom and Deadpool, Venompool’s not exactly an original concept, since we’ve been seeing variants on the basic idea since 2010.  Heck, we’ve even gotten another take on the concept in Marvel Legends previously, when they did the “Back in Black” design.  But, the particular version that’s been getting all the love in the last couple of years is not any of the plethora of comics-based designs, but rather the version that appeared in Marvel’s Contest of Champions mobile game, which is this hulking brute that I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Venompool is the eponymous Build-A-Figure for the “Venompool Series” of Marvel Legends, built from parts included with 5 of the 6 figures included.  As noted above, he comes from Contest of Champions, and is the first Legends figure to explicitly based on a design from that game.  He’s also the third figure based on this particular design, following the Pop and the Hot Toys.  Like with Miles last week, I’m not super big on this design as a whole.  It feels less symbiote-y and more like a monstrous version of Deadpool.  And boy is he monstrous.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  In terms of mobility, he’s pretty restricted, given his rather bulky build.  He can get some okay poses, of course, and covers pretty much everything you’d expect from a character of this size.  He’s also not too hard to keep standing. He’s an all-new sculpt, which gives me a frightening sort of feeling like Hasbro’s going to try and get some sort of a variant release out of him, just to double down on the mold.  It’s an accurate recreation of the game’s design, and there’s certainly a lot of detail going on there.  They’ve somewhat followed in the steps of the movie design and given him a lot of texturing on his costume, which does at least keep things somewhat visually interesting.  It was a touch disappointing that the chain links on his wrist and ankle bands were solid to the bands, and not separate, but I guess the line had to be drawn somewhere.  The paint work on this guy is pretty good.  It gets all the important details down, and application is all pretty clean.  Venompool is notably well accessorized for a Build-A-Figure, getting two sets of hands (open and gripping), two swords, and a removable pair of sheaths for his back.  The sheaths are a little tricky to get in place, and not the most secure.  I’m not sure why they didn’t just do a peg to connect them, but maybe there’s a very important reason that I’m missing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t big on the Venomized stuff, and I’ve been suffering from some serious Deadpool fatigue the last few months.  So, this guy, not really for me.  Still, I decided I may as well build him, just to see what all the fuss was about.  He’s a decently put together figure, but there’s just nothing that really grabs me.  The design is so-so, and I have no real spot for him in my collection.  Ultimately, this really isn’t one I see myself hanging onto.

This assortment is one that I was iffy on from the beginning.  Only Phage really jumped out at me from the start.  But, I went into it with an open mind, because the last Venom assortment wound up impressing me a lot more than I’d expected it to.  This one just really didn’t change my mind.  I like Phage, and Carnage is cool.  Even Ghost-Spider is at least a neat visual.  The rest of the assortment left me cold, and even the presentation didn’t really sell it.  It’s notably a small set, and ultimately feels more cobbled together from left-overs than other recent assortments.  Without so much connective tissue, the assortment relies more heavily on the individual figures, and they’re all fine from a technical stand point, but are largely “meh” from a design standpoint.  I’m probably the outlier on this one, though.

#2653: Venom

VENOM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Failed reporter Eddie Brock is hijacked by an alien entity that takes a liking to Earth and decides to protect it.”

There’s been a Venom solo film in the works since at least as far back as Spider-Man 3, back when it would have been starring Topher Grace, and then again during the Amazing Spider-Man era, but it finally came to fruition in 2018.  It was far from high art, and wasn’t much of a critical success, but it was enough of financial success to justify a sequel, which should be released this year.  The film was in a dubious spot in terms of merchandising in 2018, but at this point things are a little more comfortable between Marvel and Sony, and we’re finally getting a proper movie version of the character now.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Venom is technically part of the “Venompool Series” of Marvel Legends, in that he ships in the same case.  However, he has no number, doesn’t list “Venompool Series” at the top of his box, and shows none of the other figures in the set on the back.  Furthermore, none of the other figures in the set show him either.  One has to wonder if he was originally intended for some sort of solo release, ala the Fan Channel figures, and wound up slotted into an assortment at the last minute.  The figure stands 7 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  The articulation scheme on this figure is a heavy re-work for a Marvel figure, following the lead of other lines like Lightning Collection.  It’s a pretty good set-up, and works particularly well for a larger character like Venom.  His sculpt is an all-new offering, and not a bad one at that.  It gets the general proportions of the character down pretty nicely, making him tall and pretty bulked up, without quite going to the absurd cartoonish levels of some of the larger Venom figures out there.  There’s also quite a bit of detail work going into the figure; rather than just being smooth, he’s got texturing all throughout the body, helping him to look rather slimy and gross, which certainly feels appropriate.  It also sets him apart from the more comic-based figures in this assortment from a stylistic stand point.  He gets two different heads, one with tongue and one without.  He comes wearing the one with the tongue, and that one’s the stronger of the two.  Both of them are fairly accurate to the film design, which is the main aim.  My biggest issue is that it’s really hard, on my figure at least, to swap the heads; it required heating the joint, and even then it was a real chore.  The paint work on him is generally pretty basic, since the vast majority of it’s just molded black plastic.  He does get the painted elements on the heads, of course, as well as some white detailing on the shoulders and forearms, but as the movie Venom lacks the usual symbol, he’s otherwise unembellished.  In addition to the extra head, Venom also includes two sets of hands, one open, and one in fists.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t interested in Venom at all when it was released in theaters, so I skipped the theatrical run, and only caught it at home much later.  It didn’t really do much for me, and I wasn’t really missing getting toys.  When this guy was shown off, I was about as interested in him as I was the movie that spawned him.  In hand, I’ll admit he’s a lot better than I was expecting.  I’m not much for the film design overall, but I’ll certainly join in with all the other people that want to see this retooled into something more comic-inspired.  I’d definitely be down for that.

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.

#2650: Ghost Spider – Maximum Venom

GHOST-SPIDER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“When the Venom symbiote attaches to Gwen Stacy, she gains extreme new powers as Ghost-Spider.”

Remember everything I mentioned about Miles yesterday?  Yep, that pretty much all applies to today’s figure, except that now it’s about Ghost-Spider, aka Gwen Stacy going by her latest supranym.  Can we also, for a moment, bring up that Miles just gets his name on the box, but Gwen gets an up-to-the-minute super hero identity?  That seems unfair to at least one of them.  Not sure which, if I’m entirely honest, but it’s one of them.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ghost-Spider is figure 5 in the “Venompool Series” of Marvel Legends, and is the final figure in the set to contribute to the Build-A-Figure.  Like Miles, it’s our third Spider-Gwen, but the first not to be standard issue.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  As with Miles, Gwen uses the same body as prior version of the character, but with a few new parts to properly Venomize her.  In her case, it’s a new head, upper torso, forearms, hands, and feet, as well as a new jacket overlay piece.  While Miles’ new parts were all very texture heavy and didn’t really mesh well with the old parts, Gwen’s are actually a bit more sleek and clean, meaning they line-up a bit better.  Aside from the tongue being a bit clumsy and hard to pose around, it’s actually a pretty cool looking design.  It’s more cohesive, and less of a direct take-off from the standard Spider-Gwen design, making it feel a lot more in line with the classic symbiote Spider-Man design, while still respecting the more character-specific elements of Gwen’s appearance.  Even the tongue’s not a terrible idea, just one that’s a little harder to do in toy form.  If it was posable in some fashion, I feel like it would be a bit better, but there are of course drawbacks to that approach as well.  The paint work on Gwen is also a bit more intriguing than on Miles.  It’s certainly got a better visual contrast to it, making it pop a bit more.  Application is pretty clean for the most part, although there’s a bit of slop around the edges of the hood.  Nothing terrible, but it could be cleaner.  Gwen is without accessories of her own, which is again a shame.  Certainly there was some extra they could have thrown in here?  She does at least get the torso and swords for Venompool, which is by far the largest section of the Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted yesterday, I’m not big on the Venomized figures.  That being said, Gwen’s design is a little more appealing to me, so I was slightly more interested.  In hand, I do quite like the figure. The tongue’s still weird, but the design translates well, and generally feels less lazy than Miles.  I’m glad I got this figure, and I’ll make space for her with my other Symbiotes.

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.

#2649: Miles Morales – Maximum Venom

MILES MORALES — MAXIMUM VENOM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“When the Venom symbiote attaches to Miles Morales, he gains extreme new powers.”

Season 3 of Marvel’s latest Spider-Man cartoon was dedicated to an overarching theme: “Maximum Vemom.”  Essentially, the symbiotes got proper Oprah treatment and were just handed out to everyone in the studio audience super hero community.  While Peter Parker is classically the Spider-Man with symbiote experience, this time around Miles got in on the action, getting his own Venomized appearance in the process.  Marvel Legends doesn’t tend to cover the cartoons, but they’ve made a little bit of an exception here, with a few Venomized figures to help fill out this Venom assortment, and Miles is included among them.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Miles Morales is figure 4 in the “Venompool Series” of Marvel Legends.  He marks our third variant of Miles under the modern banner, though this one’s certainly less all-purpose than the last two.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Miles is largely built out of the same parts as the prior, more standard Miles, using the smaller male base body.  He does get a new head, arms, hands, and feet to grant him that more venomous appearance.  They add a fair bit more detail and texturing, which is cool on its own, but does make him feel generally less cohesive when compared to the pre-existing parts.  Honestly, the way the jaw ends up looking more beak-like and the feet end up looking a touch on the large side, the whole figure kind of screams “chicken” to my eyes, but maybe that’s just me.  Whatever the case, he’s not a very imposing looking figure by my count, nor do I feel he really does all that great a job of translating Miles into a more symbiote-inspired appearance.  He winds up looking like someone got Miles’ regular design a bit wet.  He’s just…droopy.  At the very least, the core body’s a good one, so he’s at least a solid figure from a just playing around with him sense.  In terms of paint work, he follows the general Miles color scheme, albeit with some more metallic finish on the black sections. It’s not terrible, but the whole thing does sort of contribute to the overall runny feeling of the design.  Miles includes no accessories of his own, which is a real shame.  He does include the left arm and alternate hand to the Venompool Build-A-Figure, however.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The venomized designs aren’t really my thing, so I had no interest to speak of in this figure.  In hand, I still don’t have much interest in it.  The base body is good, so he’s at least some fun to mess with, but otherwise he really does nothing for me, other than give me an opportunity to reflect on how good the standard Miles figure still is.  I guess that’s not the worst thing, but it doesn’t speak well to a figure if the best thing it does is remind you of how much you like a figure you already owned previously.

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.

#2209: Agent Anti-Venom

AGENT ANTI-VENOM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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

#1789: Monster Venom

MONSTER VENOM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Venom’s a character that’s had a number of divergent design styles over the years.  When he first appeared, he was a slightly bigger than average, but not particularly huge character.  Like with Peter Parker, the symbiote didn’t initially do much to alter Eddie Brock’s physique at all.  However, as art styles changed over the course of the ‘90s, Venom became more and more extreme.  His proportions relative to Spider-Man became much more exaggerated, as he became an imposing figure rivaling the likes of the Hulk (who had, admittedly, undergone a bulk-up of his own over the years).  Hasbro’s standard take on Venom does its best to be a moderate take on the character, but ultimately airs more on the smaller side.  We haven’t seen a truly monstrous Venom at his most absurd in quite some time, if ever.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Monster Venom is the Build-A-Figure for the new Venom-themed assortment of Marvel Legends.  He’s patterned not on an Eddie Brock version of Venom, but instead on Mac Gargan’s time in the symbiote from a few years back.  He looks to be based on Mike Deodato’s version from Thunderbolts, as he lacks the actual “eyes” that most artists gave Mac.  Of course, this allows him to keep the more classic Venom eyes, which I’m more of a fan of anyway.  The figure stands 7 3/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Monster Venom’s nature as a Build-A-Figure allows him to not only be a much more massive figure than a single release, but also, by virtue of having his cost spread out across an entire assortment, allows for him to a completely unique mold.  And what a mold it is!  If you felt that the standard Venom was a touch too simplistic, or basic, or just not dynamic enough, hoo boy is this the figure for you.  The head takes the tongue-flicking head from the last Venom release, and dials that up to 11, with a practically unhinged jaw, a wildly moving tongue, and everyone of his teeth out for the whole world to see.  The body is covered in veins, just all over the place, to insane levels.  On any other character, this would look ridiculous, but on Venom it’s nothing short of amazing.  He’s got tendrils coming from his back and shoulders, and thanks to the unique sculpt, they don’t have to be one piece that plugs into a single port like on the smaller figures, allowing them to be worked in much more smoothly.  And then there’s the general build of the figure.  He’s absolutely huge, easily living up to the “Monster” part of his name.  On top of that, though, his articulation’s not nearly as restricted as you’d expect it to be.  In fact, there are a number of deep poses he can get into that his smaller counterpart struggles with.  They definitely stepped up their articulation game here.  Even Monster Venom’s coloring is a step-up from the standard version; rather than the straight black and white of the basic Venom, Monster Venom is done up in this sick metallic purple.  It gives him a seriously alien vibe, and definitely is a good match for more recent depictions of the character.  He also gets the slightly tweaked logo that Gargan’s Venom sported, which gives him a more unique appearance from the main Venom, but is still close enough for the casual observer to recognize.  Monster Venom has no accessories, but given his size and status as a Build-A-Figure, that’s not a surprise, or a let-down.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the figures from this assortment were initially shown off, the name “Monster Venom” started floating around for the Build-A-Figure, but exactly what that name meant was a little unclear, so I had no idea if I’d be getting this one or not.  Of course, as soon as he was shown off, I was incredibly impressed, and knew right away I wanted one.  Thanks to my friends at All Time Toys (from whom you can still order 5 of the 6 figures in this series) I was able to get a full set put together and get myself a Monster Venom assembled.

This assortment is kind of an interesting experience.  Going in, I was only interested in the Build-A-Figure and two of the six figures required to build it.  I wasn’t even sure I’d be completing this figure, but All Time got them in, and I’m an easy mark.  Spider-Ham, the figure I most wanted, is the set’s biggest disappointment for me.  Scream, my other big want, is decent, but nothing to write home about.  Poison and Typhoid Mary, on the other hand, far exceeded my expectations, with Poison in particular being my favorite of the bunch.  And, above all, I just can’t help but enjoy this set as a whole.  They go well together.

The Blaster In Question #0066: Venom Blaster

BlasterInQuestion1VENOM BLASTER

DART TAG (SPIDER-MAN)

venom1I was wondering what would break first: your spirit, OR YOUR BO- what? Oh sorry, wrong Tom Hardy role.  Why Tom Hardy, you ask.  That’s because he will be playing Eddie Brock in the upcoming Venom movie.  So in the spirit of that film, I thought I’d showcase something that only exists for its context to Spider-Man, but without any mention of Spider-Man on my part.  I give you the Dart Tag Venom Blaster.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

venom2The Venom blaster was actually part of the Spider-Man vs. Venom set in the Dart Tag line, released as a tie-in with the film Spider-Man 3 back in 2007.  It uses a pretty unique mechanism as far as I’m aware, featuring an air pump and 3-tier staged trigger.  This allows you to fire each of the 3 barrels one after the other in semi-auto fashion, or just mash the trigger down to launch all 3 simultaneously.  The shells of both the Venom blaster and the matching Spider-Man blaster in the set are the same aside from the colors, but beyond that, they are unique.  Being Spider-Man themed, the ergonomics are a little strange, but perfectly functional. You secure the blaster to your inner forearm using the Velcro strap, with the trigger in reach of your middle and ring fingers.  While on your arm, the most awkward part of the operation is by far pumping up the air tank as it takes a decent amount of force to actuate the pump handle, particularly when you get close to maximum pressure.  That being said, they do stay pretty secure on your arm, and the cloth Velcro strap doesn’t cut into your arm the way the plastic venom3watch strap things on more recent arm blasters do.  The performance isn’t the best, but keep in mind these came out well before N-Strike Elite was even a thing, and they’re licensed blasters, so it’s pretty easy to forgive.  While it won’t hit very hard, you do effectively have a 3-round burst strapped to your arm which can be somewhat concealed fairly easily, especially if you’re already holding a blaster in your hand.  That way, when your younger siblings think its safe because you’re out of ammo, you can blast them with an extra 3 shots they didn’t know existed.  That’s how you know you’re the cool older sibling: subterfuge and treachery.  The Spider-Man vs. Venom set originally came with the 2 blasters, 1 in each color scheme, a Dart Tag vest for each, a set of Vision Gear goggles that also matched, and a total of 12 Dart Tag darts, 6 for Spider-Man, and 6 for Venom.  I, however, picked mine up second hand, and as a result, only have the Venom blaster.  No Spider-Man anywhere.  But if Marvel wants to use any of my review in their current Tom Holland Spider-Man movies, I’d be more than willing to license it out to them. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

Movie politics aside, I was actually one of those kids growing up who didn’t really care about Spider-Man, the character, but I thought Venom was awesome.  Pair that with Nerf and it was fairly inevitable that I would pick one of these up sooner or later.  And to be fair, the movies I’ve seen that had Tom Hardy in them, for the most part, I thought he did a good job.  Overall, my opinion on the blaster is it’s a bit dated but still fairly fun and I’m glad to have it.  Do I think the movie will be any good?  I think Mad Max said it best when he said “Hgrmngr rgn rgmrn mrgrnm…”

#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.