The Amazing Spider-Man
Venom with Symbiote Blast!
Finally, ToyBiz unleashes an all new Marvel Legends Style Venom figure in the new Amazing Spider-Man line! Could it really be? Is this the Venom figure we’ve all been waiting for?
It’s funny. For as popular a character as Venom is, we really haven’t had a good figure of him since the old days before the great articulation revolution. And even then, there was never really a Venom figure that had everything I wanted. Some were well sculpted, but were way too small in scale next to Spidey figures of the time. There were others that were better, but they failed to live up to their potential due to silly action features and poor sculpting that detracted from the figure overall. It wasn’t until the Spider-Man Classics line first debuted that Marvel fans were first introduced to the wonderful world of good sculpting and great articulation. This change in thinking led to the hugely successful Marvel Legends line which continues to be one of the premiere action figure toy lines to date. Still, even the 1st Spider-Man Classics line, which featured a Venom figure, failed to deliver a super articulated version of Mr. Brock and his Alien Symbiote creature. The closest thing to a fully articulated Venom was included in the Sinister Six gift set. Unfortunately, this figure was just a repaint of the Marvel Legends Sabertooth figure with a resculpted head. It seemed like ToyBiz would never get around to making a well sculpted, uber-articulated Venom figure… Until now.
The new Venom figure is very well sculpted. His overall body is textured with a rumpled skin tone, giving him a very gnarled and mean look. The first thing you notice when looking at this toy is that he is big. This Venom is massive and ripped. He features a soft rubber head which is both cool and a little troublesome. Venom seems to be based on an amalgam of Venom styles, most predominantly, the Erik Larsen design. The jaw hangs low and he has a long flowing tongue with green spittle here and there. This is where the action feature of the figure comes in. Venom is supposed to have “Jaw Snapping” action. What this means is that there is a large button on his back, that when pressed moves his jaw around slightly. I would have rather the figure not had an action feature at all, but at least this one isn’t too obtrusive. The only real potential problem I see is the soft rubber head itself. I am just not convinced that the materials used right now will prove to be durable in the long run. We’ve all seen the LOTR cave trolls left sitting on store shelves with torn faces. Not to say that anything bad will happen to Venom so long as he is taken care of, but this is an action figure, a play thing ultimately intended for children. It needs to be durable, and unfortunately I have already seen a crack or two right out of the package. Still, it is a well crafted figure, and the action feature works well enough, though I have to say it does seem a bit unnecessary.
This is the only category where this figure stumbles. The paint application on this toy is down right sloppy. It seems that this is one of the only real complaints for the ToyBiz Marvel offerings of late. I realize that it is a very intricate sculpt and that makes screening on paint more difficult, but this really should have been done better. Venom is molded in black plastic. He has a light gray wash applied over areas of his body to give it some variance and definition. Venom’s single most recognizable feature, other than his toothy grin and slithery tongue, is the white spider that wraps around his trunk. The edges of which, are not crisp and tend to look a little fuzzy. It gets down right blotchy on his back, and the black lines that separate the legs of the spider bleed into one another. The paint on his head and face are only marginally better. The red of his mouth bleeds over in places, and the teeth go from being adequate to looking just terrible. His front teeth look especially bad, since they are right smack dab in the middle of his face, and look like a big white blotch. I don’t know if this is a problem with applying paint to the soft rubber material or not, but this needs to be addressed. Hopefully, subsequent releases of this figure will have solved this problem. It’s possible that this figure is an anomaly, and simply suffers from a bad paint job, but he was the only one I could find so I could not compare the paint application to another figure. The tongue has a gloss clear coat applied that gives it a “wet look”. The body also seems to have a slightly glossy sheen making it also look wet and alive. The paint problems are somewhat glaring, but overall do not detract too heavily from the figure. Since Venom is a living swirling alien creature it kind of works... From far away. It’s not the worst ever, but it sure could have been a lot better.
Venom features a ton of useful articulation. He clocks in at a whopping 35 points of articulation. Most notable are the individual fingers and the hinge/twist in his wrists. For some reason they did not give Venom the dual hinged elbow system, opting instead for a standard 90 degree hinge. It’s not a big deal, just a little surprising at its absence, since this has almost become the standard for Marvel figures. Most likely the beefiness of the arms did not allow for more hinges to be added. It still allows for a good range of motion. One of the best improvements that Toybiz has made to their figures in recent times has to be to the joints themselves. All of the major load bearing joints have click points within them. This allows for snapping the figure into a specific position and holding it there. It basically eliminates the loose joint problem that figures get over time with constant use. It is a great and useful innovation. Because of the action feature in the head, there is no movement in the neck, so Venom can only look forward. That’s okay, without pupils who knows where he’s looking anyways? The only odd point in the articulation department is that he has a ball joint in the upper chest that does not seem to line up properly with the mid torso. Most likely there is a piece of flash from the mold attached somewhere in there that needs to be sanded down. It’s not a major gripe, but it does keep the bottom of the logo from lining up with the rest of the spider on his chest.
Venom comes with one accessory, a spring-loaded wrist gauntlet that fires a symbiote projectile. The projectile looks like a small venom head. While I can’t recall a time when Venom would shoot a small head of his likeness at his enemies, I really haven’t kept up with the comics lately so he might do that now. Anyways, he was known for shooting strands of himself at people, so it works, I guess. Heck, I can remember a time when he could turn himself invisible or blend in with the sky… Somehow, I don’t think he does those things anymore. The accessory works well enough, and I suppose its fun for kids, but it really doesn’t add much to the figure.
Seven bucks a pop seems to be the average price for a basic action figure these days. Considering specialty lines from the likes of Mezco, McFarlane, Diamond Select, and ToyBiz’ own Marvel Select line all run in the $15 to $20 range, this Venom figure is a bargain. He is well sculpted, and features great articulation. He also comes with some nifty features that appeal to kids, all for under the price of admission to a movie. Basically, for fans of the comics, Marvel, or Spider-Man in general, this figure is well worth seeking out. He is not without faults, but he is probably the best Venom figure produced so far.
Overall: 37 out of a possible 50
74% OAD Approved!
That’s a C- baby! The new Venom is not the end all, beat all Venom figure ever, but it is still a worthy addition to your collection! Look for Venom with Symbiote Blast! And the rest of the new Amazing Spider-Man line hitting store shelves now!