Diamond Select Toys kind of surprised us recently with their announced Disney Store Exclusive Spider-Man Fearsome Foes 4 pack. In it includes two previously released figure (Spider-Man and Green Goblin) and two new figures (Lizard and Flash Thompson Venom). Today we'll be looking at the most fan anticipated figure out of the entire set, the Flash Thompson Venom. When Flash Thompson was turned into Venom in the comics, initially there was fan backlash, mostly over the design. However, he's quickly become a fan favorite character and has been demanded in action figure form for quite some time.
So join me as I take a closer look at the Flash Thompson Venom figure, and see if he's worth adding to your collection.
Check out hi-res images for this figure in our GALLERY
Venom comes in a giant window box with the other three figures included in the 4 pack. The Artwork on the box is fantastic, and is reminiscent of 90's Toybiz packaging, or even early Spider-Man Classics. The Spider-Man logo is very prominent on the front, with the "Fearsome Foes" monicker right next to it. We're treated to some great comic book style art of the characters on the edges of the front, and on the back we have full photos of each figure in the set, along with their own personalized logo and bio for each character.
Because of the sheer size this box needs to be to accommodate 4 Marvel Select figures, there's no fancy posing inside. Flash is very much in a standard "vanilla" pose, with his display base behind him. The packaging is very eye catching and should please any Spider-Man fan, and should definitely get the attention of kids and parents while walking through the Disney Store.
Venom stands at just under 7.5" tall, perfect for Marvel Select scale, but way out of range for Marvel Legends. Rather than do Flash Venom in his standard look, Marvel Select opted to recreate him in his "spiky form", and has been rendered beautifully. There's so much detail and texture on him, I'm not sure where to begin. The shoulder pads look great, and have lots of random looking spikes jutting out of them, and sit well on his shoulders. He has all the ribbing, piping, and buckles sculpted where they need to be. There are more spikes on his forearm and shin greaves that also look fantastic.
He has a gun holster attached to his right leg with the straps sculpted on all the way around. His belt is a separate piece that sits around his waist and holds another gun. The pouches have realistic wrinkles and looks to them. The Venom symbol is actually sculpted into his torso (no doubt to help guide the painters) and helps give it an extra bit of detail. There's wrinkles in various spots of his suit, and really great muscle definition sitting right under it. There's an amazing texture pretty much all over him, but is especially prevalent on his torso. It just looks cool and gives him this realistic gritty feel. Some may have preferred his smooth look, but given that this is his spiky form, it stands to reason that he won't be "perfect" all over. On the backs of his hands, he also has a raised part where the webbing is supposed to shoot out. This is great attention to detail here, as most Venom figures don't account for this at all.
His head sculpt is very accurate to the comics. Not too much detailing here, but there is a slight texture on it, and you can see his ears, nose, and chin just under the mask. His eyes are sculpted detail to the head, and you can even see the wrinkles of his brow giving him a definite angry expression underneath. I really think this is a fantastic sculpt. It's accurate to the comics, but you can tell has a bit of the sculptor's own personal flair. It reminds me of the good old days of Toybiz Marvel Legends.
Speaking of reminding me of Toybiz Marvel Legends, the paint job is top notch quality. That's not too surprising given that it's Marvel Select, but even with them I can find some errors or complaints, but here I can't seem to. The entire figure is coated in a flat black, and dry brushed head to toe in a smokey gray that helps bring out the sculpt quite amazingly. I photographed the figure against a black backdrop, and you have no problem making out every detail on him. Again, the dry brushing was a great call, as it not only brings out the sculpt, but is a great compromise to the comic book look. In the comics, characters with black costumes have to have some kind of separation of color, usually with "shine spots" or by making the areas of him where the light hits a gray color.
Parts of him are detailed in a glossy or semi-glossy black, such as the ribbing on his biceps and thighs, the soles of his boots, the lining of his shoulder pads, his sides, and his eyes. This is another great way to have separation, and really helps it pop. The eyes almost look like lenses, which I really like, and the white surrounding them is done very cleanly with no sloppy edges at all. There's also some tiny detailing done on his belt, such as making the belt buckle silver, and painting the clasps and buttons of his pouches silver too. He also has some clasps on his torso armor painted silver as well. The devil's in the details, and it's great that this wasn't overlooked.
The Venom symbol is painted to near perfection (thanks to the aforementioned sculpted in lines) and goes from his front and continues onto the back. The white is very stark and smooth, with no visible black or gray peeking out from underneath. There are some tiny spots where the white goes outside the lines, but it's not obvious and wouldn't be noticeable while posed on a shelf. The ribbing on his thighs is outlined with white as well, and he also has a square of white on the back of each hand, and it too looks great.
Venom has a socket and hinged neck, ball jointed shoulders, bicep swivels, single elbows, wrist rotators, a floating ab joint, waist swivel, ball jointed hips, thigh swivels, single knees, and pivot ankles. While he's not as poseable as several recent Marvel Select additions, he's still got a very good amount of articulation. There are some restrictions though. Because of his neck guard, he can't look down all the way, even though the articulation in his neck would allow it were that guard not in the way. The floating ab joint allows him to rock back and forth as well as side to side. There's a pretty good range too. It might not be to everybody's standards, but I'm ok with it. I did also notice that his arms can't sit perfectly at rest at his sides. This doesn't seem to be a restriction of the sculpt though, because there's still space between the arm and his sides, so as I push the arm down, it goes right back to being slightly raised. So there's definitely some kind of restriction there.
It's not all restricted though. Thankfully, because his belt is a separate piece and not glued to the figure, it doesn't get in the way of his leg articulation. If you position the legs up, the belt just moves with it. This is good, because of that big holster on the front. Also, his ankle guards are separate pieces too, also not glued on, so they don't restrict the back and forward movement of the ankles in the slightest. I also wanted to mention his shoulder pads.
Each pad has a peg with a ball attached to it that plugs into the shoulders of his torso. They plug in great, and pop out if too much pressure is applied. This is fantastic, as it means the pegs won't break, and it allows you to still be able to move his arms freely. And it really does work. These things might as well not even be there, because I popped them off, and I can move his arms just as much with or without the shoulder pads. And because they're on a ball joint, they can rock back and forth slightly as well. Kudos to Marvel Select for doing that.
Venom comes with two accessories, and they're both his favorite kind: guns. He has a 6 shooter that holsters to the front of his belt, and a modern pistol (I'm not sure what kind, but it looks like a Glock), with a laser sight mounted underneath that holsters to his leg strap. Both guns fit perfectly in their respective holsters, though his leg holster's strap can't really close. There's a strap attached to it that folds over the butt of the gun and is supposed to clasp to the corresponding hold on the holster to help keep it in place, but it won't close. You would have to tuck it inside the holster against the gun to achieve the look, unfortunately. Both guns look great though, and can be held in either of his hands. The 6 shooter style gun looks similar to Dirty Harry's Magnum, but again I'm not an expert on guns so I could very well be wrong. At any rate, it looks awesome.
The older style pistol doesn't have a trigger sculpted on it so Venom's finger can actually fit in the trigger guard. The modern pistol makes it obvious that the guns were sculpted by hand, and not with computer precision. It's a little rounded in areas it shouldn't be, and not all the detail in it looks precise. The bottom mounted sight looks awesome though, and adds a military to look to it. In his hand it looks fantastic, so the discrepancies can really only be noticed upon close inspection. Both guns are painted flat black with dark gray dry brushing that matches his suit. They each have minor detailing, such as silver painted rivets and the lens of the laser sight being painted red.
He also includes a display stand that looks like some kind of factory or industrial rubble, with two spots smoothed out for his feet to stand in, with one peg to hold him in place. There's a LOT of detailing here, with dry brushes and washes, and even parts of the rubble painted differently, like the bronze thing attached to the hose in the front. Whatever that thing is in the back sticking up (I'm not even going to pretend I know exactly what I'm looking at) has some decals on it, that really helps sell this as a realistic setting. I never consider these display stands incredibly necessary, but they are awesome additions nonetheless, and this is no exception.
I'm personally not a Venom fan at all, but I am a Marvel and Spider-Man fan, and I do find this figure very fun. I'm an articulation junkie, and this figure has enough of it to make it very fun to pose and play with him. His design makes him visually striking and being a huge G.I. Joe fan, I really dig the para-military look and I imagine that even non Marvel fans would be hard pressed not to consider this a fun figure to mess with. Kids will no doubt think this is a very fun figure too, as will anyone anticipating getting this character in figure form.
QUALITY CONTROL/THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR -
No quality control issues whatsoever, though there are a couple of things to watch out for. I mentioned before that his shoulder pads pop off with too much pressure applied to keep them from breaking, so just make sure if that happens that you don't lose the shoulder pad, and be wary of the peg breaking regardless just in case. Also, be careful handling the figure, as the spikes on his armor are not pleasant to touch, especially when trying to pose him. You could get hurt, especially if you accidentally step on him, and kids could hurt themselves too.
Venom is a great figure. The sculpt is top notch, as is the paint quality. He's got a great amount of articulation (thought not as much as some may want), and character appropriate accessories that add to the display options. He's also just a very fun figure to pose and play with.
It's very likely that a lot of people wanting this figure want him to add to their Marvel Legends collection, but unfortunately he's just far too big. Look at the photos where I compare him to several MS and ML figures, and you'll see that he towers over him. He's not just taller, he's in an entirely larger scale overall. Of course it's ultimately up to you to decide just how much that bothers you, and if you have him posed in a dynamic display, the size discrepancy will likely not be as noticeable. If you just have him posed on a shelf standing next to your ML figures, he'll stick out like a very large, very sore thumb.
Speaking as just a figure by itself though, it's really great. He's definitely the reason to pick this box set up, but only if you're wanting the other figures to add to your Marvel Select collection too. If you're just wanting Flash, I'd wait for the single carded release coming soon. This figure should please Spider-Man fans, and will definitely please fans of the Flash Thompson Venom character. If you're looking for a gift for a friend or a kid, this box set should definitely put a smile on their face. You can find it right now at your local Disney Store, or on Disneystore.com
. At any rate, if you're a fan of Venom, Spider-Man, or Marvel in general, I recommend picking him up one way or another.
FINAL SCORE: 4 / 5