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Venom Legends
by yo go re

Well well well, would you look at this!

Twisted criminal Cletus Kasady sows chaos in the streets as the bloodthirsty villain Carnage.

Has anyone ever entertained the possibility that what initially turned Carnage into a serial killer was his goofy name? Forget the fact that his family spells their last name weird ("Kasady"? Who spells it "Kasady" and not "Cassidy"? Or even at the extreme outside, "Cassaday"?), can you imagine growing up in this day and age with the name "Cletus"? Forget trying to find any personalized items with your name on them, think of the teasing you'd suffer thanks to The Simpsons. Of course Cletus Kasady become violently unhinged! He'd probably be a fine, upstanding citizen if he had a better name. Something simple and plain, like Theodore. And a commonplace last name, like Bundy. Yes, "Theodore 'Ted' Bundy" would be... wait, no.

This is the third Canrage Hasbro has made - the last was just two years ago in the first series of Venom Marvel Legends (and it was functionally identical to the one before it). Well, consider this a worthy upgrade, because for the first time, Hasbro has molded on his gross symbiote tendril texture rather than merely painting them! He is, from (fanged) head to (bare, clawed) toe, 100% new sculpt.

You may recall ToyBiz's Carnage doing something similar with its excellent Phil Ramirez sculpt, but the "raised" parts were so large, the figure ended up looking mostly black instead of red until they reversed the colors. This one avoids that problem by making the black sections incredibly thin and dainty, like a netting of fungus growing over his body. You know that thing where slime mold can be used to design the most efficient railway and transportation routes? Yeah, think that. It not only looks perfect, it feels horrifying. The sculpting continues onto the head, hands, and feet, though the little tendrils of symbiote swirling off his limbs are left to their own devices.

We usualy don't consider alternate bodyparts to be "accessories," per se, but Canrage's walks the line. It's a little backpack (again sculpted with the same creepy texture) that has more blank red tendrils rising up off it. The toy looks great either with or without it, and while the previous Carnages had a similar thing, this one integrates into the overall sculpt more than they did. While they were molding a new body, Hasbro made sure to give it a little extra articulation in the form of pec hinges.

He's also got an alternate head. This one has solid black on its face and a white spiral on its forehead - this is a reference to the current comics, where there's a whole story about the evil god of symbiotes and... it's a whole thing. I don't want to crap on it just because I find it incredibly regressive and stupid. If you enjoy it, more power to ya. The spiral design was inspired by True Detective, as was Knull's "King in Black" moniker (cf. The King in Yellow).

Carnage has the head of Venompool, this series' Build-A-Figure.

A lot of the time when comparing ToyBiz and Hasbro figures, the winner comes down to what you prefer. Like, a Hasbro ML might have great proportions and better-integrated articulation, but a ToyBiz ML of the same character might have better accessories and detail in the sculpt, so it was a push. This Carnage, though? This Carnage is definitively better than ToyBiz's in every way. Congrats to Hasbro on finally surpassing their spiritual ancestor.

-- 11/13/20

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