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Venom, Agony, and Riot

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

This is how we're finishing the team? Really?

Captured by the Life Foundation and subjected to excruciating experiments, Eddie Brock finds himself forcibly separated from Venom as his captors seek to harvest the symbiote's offspring.

We start with Venom not because he's first in the box or first in the copy on the back, but because he is boring. Nobody needed another Venom. We already had enough Venoms. This set would still have sold without Venom. In order to matter at all, this Venom would really need to be something special and surprising.

Surprisingly, this Venom gets a special new body. The previous Venom (and Pork Grind) used the big body, but I guess the persistent size-creep means that's not good enough anymore, so this one uses the Omega Red/​Warpath body. Cleverly, the holes in the shoulders where pads previously plugged in have been used here to create two tiny tendrils of symbiote (permanently and firmly glued in place), and the new forearms have Snickers-veins running all over them to sort of tie in similarly. You can either give him fists, or new, clawed hands. The hips have a little wobble to them, and the knees are unusually soft.

Hasbro has realized the secret to making Venoms fun is alternate heads. Granted, it works better when all the Venoms are made on the same body, so they can all swap however you like, but who knows, maybe the balljoint on this body is the same size as the one on the previous? [It's not: putting these heads on that body is possible, and they end up only minorly loose; conversely, those heads won't fit on this body --ed.] Oddly, the "fully covered" head appears to be Movie Venom: not the same mold, but the same sort of design: long, narrow eyes, the way the teeth line the mouth, etc. That's an odd chice; I wonder why they did it? In true Venom fashion, this head has its tongue lolling out, and it's so long it manages to curl around far enough to stick out behind Venom's head like a ponytail. Wow!

The other head, the one he's wearing when you unpack him, is a classic Mark Bagley "symbiote wrapping around Eddie Brock's face" look. In fact, it's one we've had before! Just not on a Marvel Legend. If this looks familiar in plastic, it's because the same piece of art was used for the Marvel Select Venom a few years ago: human mouth right side of the face uncovered, symbiote goo running over the left side and forming Venom's jaw as it comes, tendrils reach over his hair, all that. This face looks more like Bagley's art than that one did, but the Select did at least have the Venom eye aligned over Brock's own eye.

Unique among her symbiote siblings, Agony possesses all the same abilities as her siblings, with the added power to spit deadly acid.

We were going to have a little running joke about over-using the word "sibling" in this part of the review, but it got annoying, fast. You're welcome. Unlike her sister, Scream, who just had splotches of color all over her body at random, Agony's symbiote manages to more closely resemble a normal superhero bathing suit costume: light pink for her boots, opera gloves, and body, magenta for her limbs, and then a darker patch covering the upper chest and throat. Maybe it speaks to the two women's different mentalities? Maybe the original comic artists just ran out of time. All the edges between the areas of color are jagged and uneven, reminding us that this is a living creature, not just cloth.

Agony uses an existing body, but has clawed hands and feet. The hands can be swapped for fists if you want, but those look less distinct. The dark magenta from her neck continues onto her face, rather than accidentally making it black like Scream's. You'd think since her ability is (apparently?) to spit acid, she might be sculpted in some way reflecting that? Nope, same ragged inset line as Scream.

Also like Scream, Agony has long hair. Because it's important that alien symbiotes perform meaningless gender norms. You know Eddie was running around with a mullet for the first part of the '90s? Venom never had anything but a smooth head at that time, we're just sayin'. Again, the "hair" turns into barbed tendrils at the tip, though in her case, it's swinging as one large mass rather than bushy curls. Still, her hair is so wild, she doesn't even come fully assembled in the box: the head is in a separate bag with her hands, and you have to pop it on yourself! Which does leave the balljoint feeling a bit stiff. But speaking of being disassembled...

One of five sibling symbiotes harvested from Venom by the Life Foundation, the Riot symbiote shows a predilection for hammers and other bludgeoning weapons.

Oh, does it? Hammers and bludgeoning weapons, you say? I'm sure that won't be important again later. Like Toxin, Riot uses the Monster Venom BAF mold, so he already had to be contorted to fit in the box, and they also took off his backplate and bagged it by itself over in Agony's part of the tray.

With his dark coloration (he was initially grey in the comics, then misinterpreted as brown, but they eventually decided he should be blue instead), tendrils, and lack of any logo on his chest, Riot looks quite a bit like the orinal Ultimate Venom - coincidence, since this character was created a good decade earlier. He wasn't quite this lare in the comics, but if you're going to keep inflating Venom, he needs to be bigger to continue looking intimidating. The effact is somewhat undercut by the sculpt of his mouth, which makes him look like he's got his lips curled not in a threat, but like disgust/worry. Like he just stepped on a wet spot with socks on.

Like the bio says, Riot prefers blunt weapons, so naturally his accessory is an alternate hand that's morphed into a giant... blade. Way to go guys, you had one metric to hit - "not sharp" - and you totally whiffed it. We're all proud of you. Now yes, his symbiote does have the ability to form blades, just like they all do, but maybe don't call out the fact that he defaults to flat items in the bio if you're not going to give him a flat item in the box. The hand, which is based directly on the comics, can fit on either wrist, though there's a definite inside and outside to it: so if you want him to carry it up, like a sword, put it on the left; and if you want him to carry it down, like a scythe, put it on the right. It's fully the same blue as the rest of his symbiote, but it doesn't get any of the rust-colored spots we can see on his body.

No one was buying this set because of Venom; we were buying it to finish the Life Foundation Symbiotes: Lasher, Scream, and Phage were all released individually, but apparently that wasn't good enough for Agony and Riot. Venom turned out better than expected, though, so while I'm still glad I waited for a sale on this set, it doesn't feel like ⅓ of it is a waste.


Agony | Phage | Riot | Lasher | Scream

-- 03/13/23


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