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Venom

Transformers Crossovers
by yo go re

One of the things that ToyBiz tried to wring more money out of Marvel fans was a line of Mega Morphs, which were basically unofficial Marvel Transformers. Well, the toys weren't exactly... terrible, by any means, but they weren't very good, either. But now Hasbro has the Marvel license, and bolstered by the success of their Star Wars Transformers, we're getting offical Transformers of Marvel characters, in the rebranded Transformers Crossovers line.

Obsessed with the destruction of Spider-Man, Venom welcomes any advantage. This powerful war suit allows him to cruise the city streets in secrecy, searching for his quarry. Itís got the speed to pursue any target, or outrun any hero that might give chase. When it comes time to fight, his mech mode spews out volleys of powerful missiles capable of blasting other war suits to pieces.

There's some sort of backstory to the Marvel half of the Crossovers line, which involves Reed Richards and Dr. Doom building transforming converting battlesuits for the heroes and villains, respectively, of the Marvel Universe. Why? Shut up, that's why.

Venom's battlesuit's altmode is a black muscle car of indeterminate type. It kind of looks like a Dodge Charger, though I'm sure real gearheads would find that comparison laughable. The car is 7" long, 3½" wide and just under 2½" tall. The four plastic wheels roll freely, but don't expect the doors, hood or trunk to open.

The hubcaps, bumpers, door handles and grill are silver, the tail lights are red and yellow, and there are purple flames running back the front half of the car. The windows are a silvery blue, and the license plate - molded with raised letters reading "VENOM" - is the same color. Venom's distorted spider symbol is duplicated on the car's air scoop. Overall, it's a nice look.

Changing Venom from a car to a robot is... not an easy process. It's not that it's terribly strange or overly involved, but there are lots of parts that need to line up precisely, and it's frustrating trying to make sure they do. Remove the missile from the underside of the car, and fold over the (surprisingly detailed) undercarriage. Pull down the rear end and extricate the feet. Then there's some kind of instruction relating to the doors that you'll never be able to figure out because it's illustrated so poorly (for the record, they're telling you to rotate the piece that will eventually be the robot's forearm, so that the upper edge of the car door pulls away from the roof).

Lift the rear window a little, so you can slide the back panels away from the body. Again, the instructions fail to mention that you'll need to push the rear wheels in toward each other in order to accomplish this. Swing the arms up, then out to the sides, and fold the waist over. Wrap the doors around the robot's arms, spin the torso 180° then raise it straight up. Pull the sides of the engine out and rotate them down. Fold down the front bumper, then raise the engie and grill up and over the entire assembly, to form the chest. Make sure it latches onto the throat, shoulders and waist properly (none of which is shown in the instructions), or else the robot will never hold together. Flip the forearms, fold under the back half of the roof and you're finally done. And if all that sounds complicated, just remember: going back to a car is even worse.

In robot-- or, I guess, "battlesuit" mode, Venom looks short. He stands a good 6½" tall, but his upper body and his shins are so bulky that they make him look too wide. His design also means he constantly looks as though he's leaning forward, even when his center of balance is right in the middle.

Other than that, though, the 'bot's not bad. There are some elements of the sculpt that look organic, like the tubes on his legs or the tendons on his hands, but overall this is unmistakably mechanical. Even Venom's familiar tongue looks like segmented metal. His teeth are silver and he has purple on his forehead and throat, but his big jagged eyes are white, just like the symbol that now graces his chest. Articulation is plentiful, with a swivel neck, hinged and swivel shoulders, a hinge for both the bicep and the elbow, swivel wrists, hinges that allow the index fingers and the rest of the fingers to move, balljointed hips, hinged knees, and ankles with both hinges and side-to-side movement. Venom can tip forward on those ankles if you're not careful about how you balance him, so beware.

Venom has two black missiles, which fire from his forearms, but come on, let's admit it: we know what those really are. Swirled blobs that come out of the backs of his hands? Those are his webs! The triggers can be found on the outsides of his arms, and the projectiles fire a good distance.

The Transformers Crossovers line is much better than the Mega Morphs ever were. In that line, Venom was a (predictable) repaint of Spider-Man, and we all know how Transfans feel about their black repaints. Actually, reversing the trend, Venom is a black character who will be getting a red repaint: the mold is being re-used as Carnage. And though Venom is the wrong size to fit in with most Transformers toys, if you're a fan of the excellent Alternators line, he's pretty much the same size in both vehicle and robot mode, meaning you've just landed yourself a nice little bonus. There has to be some TF in the width and breadth of G1 for whom Venom would make a good stand-in. Hell, with that tongue, he could almost be a "Kiss Play" Legion.


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