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Knull and Venom

Spider-Man: 60 Amazing Years
by yo go re

For decades, nobody cared about the origins of Spider-Man's symbiote costume; it was just space goo that fell out of a mystery machine. But in the past few years there's been a rush of inventing backstory for it. First came the idea that it was part of the benevolent Klyntar species, corrupted by bonding with an unstable being that made it violent. But apparently that wasn't good enough, so almost immediately (in comicbook terms), we got Knull, the god of symbiotes, aka "the King in Black."

Knull was the first being to exist in the universe. He was the first anything to exist in the universe. He was quite content there, which is why, when the first light was created, he was fairly unhappy and wanted to kill it. Speaking as someone who dislikes December 22nd because that's when the days start getting longer, I feel ya bro!

Knull is a surprisingly tall figure. Yes, he's an ancient god, but I still wasn't expecting this toy to be 8⅛"! He'd be tall for Marvel Select, let alone Marvel Legends. He wears dark clothes, appropriately, with smooth armor up to the knee and covering the chest and shoulders. His legs have a striated texture, like muscle texture, and while the arms have the same, they're also covered by sculpted cloth wrapped all the way up. A tattered skirt hangs from his simple golden belt. The pattern on his chest is raised above the surface of the armor; while it looks like the white spider symbol Venom inherited from Spider-Man, who ganked it from Spider-Woman, one of the mental hoops this storyline had to jump through to justify its existence was that this actually represents a dragon: Knull's dragon, the Grendel. That's why this one is red and has a tail (a specific feature which honestly just makes us think of nothing so much as Mac Gargan).

Knull has pale gray skin. He lives in darkness and shuns the light, we're lucky it's not translucent! He kind of looks like a vampire, with angular features and red eyes. The figure includes two heads: one with the mouth closed, the other displaying a full grimace of hideous fangs, like he's one of the Gentlemen or something. Both have his long white hair billowing out behind him - one more billowy than the other.

The figure has a barbell jointed head and neck, swivel/hinge shoulders with the pauldrons held in place to move with them, swivel biceps, double elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a hinged torso, swivel waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double knees, and swivel/hinge ankles. Because he's so tall and skinny, you'll want to make sure he's stable in his pose so he doesn't tip over. The skirt gets in the way of the legs, but at least it's PVC so there's a little flex.

So in Love and Thunder, that diety Gorr found in the desert? The one wearing all black? That was Knull, in the aftermath of his battle against the Uni-Power. And thus the sword Gorr took was Knull's sword, which obviously looks a bit different in the comics: its crossguard is a giant pair of wings, there's brown leather wrapped around the handle, and the entire thing is covered in red tendrils like Carnage. All-Black the Necrosword was the first symbiote ever, forged from Knull's own shadow and capable of decapitating Celestials, which is pretty daunting.

Knull kept spawning symbiotes and throwing them out at the universe, but a fight between the Grendel and Thor caused the entire hivemind to be cut off. Craving direction, the symbiotes started bonding with beings, which caused them to develop morality and turn against Knull. They swarmed him, covering and dogpiling him until there were so many that they basically formed the planet Klyntar around him - it truly is the Planet OF the Symbiotes! Anyway, a human cult that somehow knew about Knull resurrected the dead Cletus Kasady, and he started harvesting symbiote remnants from everyone who'd ever had one, reasoning that if he collected a critical mass of the stuff it would wake Knull up. It did. When Eddie Brock met an avatar of Knull, it unlocked forgotten abilities in the Venom symbiote.

This is the movie Venom mold with a redone back and the big spider painted on it. It looks really nice this way! It's 7⅜" tall and has lots of detail... if not for the two big holes in the shoulderblades, it would be a top-tier Venom! And even those get their own paint so they're as unobtrusive as possible. Like, we mentioned "Venoripion" up above: if you removed that figure's tail, you were left with a big black square in the middle of his back; here, the sockets are much easier to ignore.

Like before, the mold includes your choice of fists or clawing hands, and also two heads. Though they're not the same molds, the head have the same options: one grinning, one with the outh open and the tongue lolling about. Again, they're both terrific molds - the tongue head is a vintage Venom look, while the smiling head couldn't be based more on Ryan Stegman's art if it tried.

The holes in the back are for Venom's wings. Yes, wings: like we said, dragons are now a part of this for some reason. The set includes two two-part 11" wings with black fingers and red webbing in between like a bat. They plug into his shoulders with a swivel/hinge joint, and a joint in the middle that honestly doesn't do much. It's definitely an impressive look and not one Venom's sported before, so maybe you'll be excited about that.

The whole "King in Black" saga was a major change for Venom, the sort of thing that forever alters a character's trajectory. Like, the way "House of M" did for Scarlet Witch, "Born Again" for Daredevil, "Death in the Family" for Batman, or "Emerald Twilight" for Green Lantern. Sure, someday some Geoff Johns-level hack could come along and ruin everything that's been done, but it will take a lot of awkward work to undo. Knull may be a giant doofus character, but this is a superb Venom - even the wing-holes aren't too distracting to keep it from being enjoyable.

-- 11/18/22


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