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Venom

Spider-Man Classic
by yo go re

Though the current Spider-Man Classic line can't even hold a candle to Spider-Man Classics (three Spider-Men and one villain per series? UGH!), there's still a bit of redemption to be found in those blisters.

Eddie Brock bonded with the alien symbiote costume that Spider-Man once wore to form the evil entity known only as Venom. The symbiote and Eddie Brock are united in their hatred of Spider-Man. The alien costume hates Peter Parker for rejecting it, while Brock blames Spider-Man for ruining his career as a journalist. Together, they are Spider-Man's deadliest foe. Venom has all of Spider-Man's powers plus abilities he doesn't possess. Venom always has the element of surprise because it doesn't trigger Spider-Man's "spider sense" and can blend into backgrounds to virtually disappear like a chameleon. Its only weaknesses are to sonics and fire. After forming a temporary truce with his archenemy, Venom became a self-styled lethal protector of the innocent.

Venom really is one of Spider-Man's great enemies. Though he's not the oldest, or even the strongest, he's consistantly proven himself to be the most threatening. And while he's been a part of some really terrible stories (there's no excuse for the creation of Carnage), he's seen some of the best, too.

Looking much like his comic counterpart, Venom flexing his mighty muscles, covered head to toe by the alien suit. The majority of the body is reused from the Art Asylum-designed Planet of the Symbiotes "Lasher" figure, with only the hands, forearms, shins, feet and head being new work by Phil Ramirez. Kinda telling that a sculpt Digger handed off in 1996 can still run with ToyBiz's best six years later.

Venom's new head is really good, and looks more like Eric Larsen's version than Todd McFarlane's. Larsen was never really a fan of Venom, and so made him uglier and uglier with every pass. His teeth poke out at odd angles, the skin around his eyes is rough and wrinkled, and his tongue is huge. And that's what Venom looks like, too.

Venom comes with a cracked section of wall and sidewalk. Tendrils of the symbiote are bursting around the wall, and a giant head looms above. Pour some of the included green goop into the top of the head, and it drips down through the mouth onto whatever figure is unlucky enough to be trapped beneath. Way to utilize that '80s He-Man technology, guys. Anyway, the wall is nice enough, and it doesn't look like it'll be too hard to strip the slime-vomiting head away.

Venom is articulated at the neck, shoulders, elbows, mid-hand, waist, hips, knees, ankles and toes. Unfortunately, the lack of wrists severely limits the figure's poseability, putting him even further behind his super-poseable competition.

The pictures in this review are of a customized figure, because the out-of-the-box paintjob is halfassed at best - while the legs have a nice subtle blue wash, making them look slick and oily, the effect just gets worse the higher it goes. His shoulders are almost solid blue, and it looks terrible. So I repainted the upper body, but left the legs they way they were. While the toy is exceedingly easy to repaint (plain black is plain black), we shouldn't have to do that.

The sculpt is good, though the paint job is spotty and the accessory is superfluous. Venom has potential, but would have been better served with more articulation. While he'll be great fodder for those who want to customize him, he's not so good right out of the box, and that's not good enough any more.

-- 01/23/03


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