Reader Review By: Shawn Dawson
from San Jose, CA
A note about my review style: This review is a bit different than others you might have seen, because I have a couple more categories than some other reviewers. I have seven categories, and three of them are weighted double. So four of them are worth up to 10 points, and three are worth up to 20 (sculpt, articulation, and paint), for a possible total of 100 points.
It might seem a bit nutty to have so many categories. Fodder is a bit strange to some people, because not everyone is a customizer. My attitude on this is that it's better to be overly detailed than it is to leave out subjects that do matter to some people. I care a great deal about a figure's suitability as fodder, but I don't care a bit for packaging. I review the packaging anyhow, because I know that there are many others who do care about that aspect.
Opening: Venom is one of my favorite Spidey villains, but I've never really been happy with any of the Venom figures. There have been several attempts, and none of them was really awful, but none of them were as cool as the best versions of Spiderman. Given the fact that I have not been a huge fan of most of the Hasbro Marvel Legends so far, I didn't hold out much hope that we'd ever see a really good Venom.
So, I was rather surprised to find that I like this new movie version of Venom quite a bit. He's not perfect, but he's easily my favorite version of the character so far.
Packaging: 10/10. This is the one thing that Hasbro does perfectly every time. It opens easily, and there are not a million tie-wraps to get through.
Sculpt: 10/10. I really can't find anything not to like about this sculpt. He's a good height, at about six and a half inches. His arms are long, unlike the last version of Venom, who had bizarrely short and thick arms. Most Legends don't feature tongues, but for this character, the tongue is key, and this version of Venom looks like he could do some serious damage with the tongue alone. The web patterns are irregular, as they should be. Nice job!
Articulation: 8/10. This is perhaps the most important category to me. A Marvel Legend needs to have lots of articulation, and it needs to be functional. If it's not, I can't put him in a million different poses, and I won't love him. He'd be doomed to spend eternity in a plastic tub under my bed, rather than being on my desk.
This new Venom again beats the heck out of the previous version in my book. The last one was so [buffed] out that he his arms were very limited. The single-jointed elbow on that figure had a pitiful range of motion. On this new one, the arm can be doubled back on itself, so that the wrist can almost touch the bicep. If that type of range is not there, the figure just isn't a real Marvel Legend to me. Far too often, the more buffed out characters get a single hinge elbow, but this time Venom is able to really move those arms. The ball-jointed wrists also have great range, so the arms are perfect to me.
So why did I take some points off? Three reasons. First, he has no chest hinge. I'd much rather he had a hinge and a waist swivel than just the mid-torso swivel. That makes for many more possible poses. Secondly, he can't really look up and down. He has a ball-jointed head. Again, that's far better than the last Venom, who couldn't move his head at all (stupid action feature!). But, this head joint is not ideal. And finally, the ankles are ball joints, which is annoying. Without the ability to move laterally, the figure is difficult to stand. There's a tendency for the bulk of the figure's sole to not touch the floor. Uncool.
Despite these quibbles, this Venom can do a large number of fearsome poses - enough to warrant an 8 in this category.
Paint: 7/10. This is another area where Hasbro has really let us down. This figure, like so many Hasbro Legends, could really use a wash in my opinion. The silver web lines are for the most part clean, and the paint on the head is fine, but the figure lacks the depth that a wash or dry brush would bring. It's hard to do a wash on a black figure that looks good. I think that most toy fans though that the purple wash on the Black Panther figure was pretty lame. But to me, this Venom could have used some dirty smudges. He just looks too clean. Venom is a slimey, dirty character, made of black ooze, but you'd never know it looking at this figure. Still, while the paint doesn't stand out as a strength of the figure, it's also not really bad either.
Accessories: 3/10. Venom comes with a piece of what I consider to be the worst BAF in BAF history - Sandman. I just don't get this figure. He has almost no articulation. If you like this BAF, that's cool by me. Knock yourself out. But I just don't see it. And what is perhaps worst of all is the fact that I have to buy 3 figures that I already have if I want to complete him. No thanks. This is going to be the first Marvel BAF that I don't complete.
Fodder: 8/10. The fact that this figure has great articulation and good proportions means that it could be made into lots of different things. For one thing, you could sand off the web lines, repaint, and presto - you've got a first appearance, McFarlane type Venom, which is a figure I've been wanting for ages. And beyond that, the Marvel Universe is full of menacing baddies that could be made from this figure.
Value: 7/10. This figure is a decent value, but the lack of a good BAF piece means that I can't give him a perfect score.
Overall: 78/100. That overall score is deceptively low. I like this figure a lot. The low overall score reflects my dislike for the BAF more than anything else. I predict that this one will remain fairly hard to find, and be coveted by collectors for years to come.
*Note: reader reviews do not reflect the opinions or feelings of Marvelous News or ENI staff and are strictly the opinions and feelings of the reviewer alone.
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