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Phage

Venom Legends
by yo go re

It's not often we can say we've never heard of a character, yet know absolutely everything there is about him just by looking.

The Phage symbiote gives its host the ability to forge incredibly dangerous bladed weapons to attack its victims.

So just like Carnage does, then? Phage was one of the symbiotes created by the Life Foundation, alongside Scream and Lasher (meaning we only need two more - Riot and Agony - to complete the set). The man inside the suit was originally Carl Mach, but he was eventually killed. None of the Life Foundation symbiotes were ever named in the stories; the two we've already had got their name from the Planet of the Symbiotes toyline, then fans somehow started referring to the others by names taken from other figures, regardless of whether they had anything to do with them or not. For example: the 1997 "Phage" toy was a name-truncated version of the Xenophage, an alien that hunted and ate symbiotes; the Xenophage had fur, tentacles instead of legs, and a head that looks like insect bones - how did that ever get conflated with this?

The five symbiotes were, like Carnage, the immediate descendants of Venom. So the five symbiotes, like Carnage, were swirly messes with sharp teeth. While the Lasher figure was very skinny, Phage goes up a size, using that one body that's used for everything. He does get some new pieces, though: to suggest his ability to create blades out of his space-goo, his forearms and shins have jagged black hooks attached to the sides. He also has a little backpack piece to put some more spikes on his shoulders. Technically, if you look at the art, the saws on his legs should sprout from his thighs, not his shins, but he should also only have two large toes and spikes coming off the back of his heels, too.

Each of the symbiotes got their own look - that's why Lasher could use the plain Scarlet Spider head, rather than one with ragged eyes. Phage's unique feature was that his eyes were so large they merged into one in the center, like Sonic the Hedgehog. The toy adds a new feature that was never seen in comics, yet makes perfect sense for someone with his name: a wide, almost skeletal mouth, ready to bite anyone who comes near.

Like Scream, Phage doesn't get full paint apps on his back - he's not as bare as she was back there, but it's still not as complete as the paint on the front. At least they got the color of the splotches right this time, huh? In his earliest appearances, Phage was definitely this sort of goldenrod color, but apparently Marvel decided that was too close to Scream's yellow, because he became more orange in later appearances. Shame Hasbro didn't go with that look for him; it would have been better/more distinct.

Phage gets an accessory. Well, an alternate hand; you can pull either of his claws out at the wrist, and replace it with a symbiote blade that's as long as the full arm. It's a neat idea, and looks good on either hand. Between that, the backpack, and the limbs, he's very pointy!

We also get a part of the Venompool BAF - both legs.

Carl Mach, the guy bonded with Phage, thought he was the leader of their little group - but really, Scream took the role more naturally, so he was reduced to being the team's knife nut. This figure still has some corners cut, but the new pieces are cool and his release means we're now more than halfway through the members of the Life Foundation Symbiotes.

-- 11/15/20


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