I think it should go without saying that I don't collect this Spider-Man line from Hasbro, but when I did my grocery shopping at the Wally World this morning, the toy pickings were pretty slim. They finally finished their toy reset, and guess what? They're still not carrying Marvel Universe or DC Universe Classics. But, hey who needs those when you have 12 pegs of Iron Man 2 figures from a year ago and this sub-par kiddie orientated line of Spidey figures, eh? Anyway, I saw Venom here on the pegs and decided it would make a nice place-holder in my Marvel Universe line until the real thing comes along.
The Spider-Man cards have a very animated look to them, which makes me wonder if there isn't an animated Spider-Man cartoon going on right now that I am unaware of. Anyone? Either way, as I already pointed out, this line is clearly designed for kids over collectors, which seems pretty suspicious since everyone knows that kids just play video games these days. Of course, it could just be one of those "use it or lose it" things that Disney has going on with their newly acquired Marvel licenses making this line just Hasbro's stop gap until they inevitably start producing figures based off the upcoming reboot movie. Whatever the case, the packaging is bright and spends a lot of real estate advertising some battle card game included in the package.
Venom comes with a lot of crap. And I do mean crap. Besides the cards and instruction sheet for the battle game, which I didn't photograph because they got tossed with the packaging where they belong, he also comes with a really soft web axe and a missile launcher that clips onto his arm so that it looks like it's morphing out of the suit. It doesn't have a firing button, you just hold back the missile and let it go. I really don't get the axe. It's got two holes in the handle and a peg at the end. I think it has something to do with clipping on to other web constructs from other figures, but I don't know. He can sort of hold it, but not very well.
The figure itself, however, is not bad at all. The sculpt is very detailed with a ton of sinew and veins running through the body, and the headsculpt is just, well... wow. He's got his huge rictus grin, bearing his fangs and a tentacle like tongue lashing out. The paintwork is pretty solid, with the bulk of the figure being black with some blue highlights, the mouth, tongue and teeth are all nicely painted and while there is some slop and bleeding on the white deco of the suit, it's nothing that we haven't seen worse in the Marvel Universe line from time to time.
The only place where this figure comes up short is in the articulation. The head is on a ball joint and the arms have ball jointed shoulders and elbows, so no problems there. The legs, however are only ball jointed in the hips and have no knee or ankle articulation and there's no articulation in the torso whatsoever. Things could certainly be worse, but it's worth pointing out that Venom's articulation falls well below the Marvel Universe standards.
So, I picked up Venom here as a place holder for Marvel Universe and I think he fits the bill really well. He's just a bit bigger than the MU Spider-Man and they look great together locked in combat. Maybe we'll get a better Venom if Hasbro does a comic series subline to the new movie figures when they come out. If not, I'll just wait patiently for a proper MU Venom to take his place, but for now I'm pretty satisfied with him.