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Agent Venom

Amazing Spider-Man 2
by yo go re

Todd McFarlane was the first to realize that Walgreens drug stores were a good place to offer exclusive toys. Now everybody is getting in on the game, including Hasbro!

The US Military bonded the alien symbiote Venom to wounded army veteran Flash Thompson in an attempt to create a new Super-Soldier: Agent Venom!

Two years ago, when the Marvel Select Flash Thompson Venom came out as a Disney Store exclusive, the only reason I decided in favor of buying him was the utter unlikelihood that he'd be made into a Marvel Legend. One year ago, at SDCC, a Marvel Legends version of him was shown off in the case alongside lots of other yet-to-be-released figures, with a promise that he'd be part of Series 6. Three months ago, word came that Venom would be put into a late wave of the ASM2 Legends. Two months ago, he was changed to a Walgreens exclusive. A month ago he was available for preorder. Two weeks ago solid cases of eight Venoms started showing up in scalpers' auctions. And now here we are.

It's a bit surprising that Agent Venom has a new head, especially after they used the same awful sculpt for three previous Spideys. It has raised edges around the eyes like the Superior Spider-Man suit, but the head is chunkier and the mask fits tighter - it's why you can see his ears, and the nose sticks out more.

There are a ton of new sculptural elements on this figure, all in the name of duplicating Flash's ornate, Tony Moore-designed armor: we already mentioned the head, but there's also a large PVC vest that has the spiky shoulder armor built in, a utility belt that originally came with the ML4 Ultimate Captain America that nobody in their right mind bought (because it didn't have a BAF piece), a holster with sculpted gun on his right leg, plus new gloves and boots. The armor has all the appropriate rough texture and lots of little spikes. His belt has a canteen, a satchel, a non-removable knife, two grenades and nine pouches. He even appears to have a small claw on both middle fingers. Overall, this is a very nice presentation.

The body under all those new bits and bobs is reused (not that it's very easy to tell): it originally belonged to Face Off Punisher, which means it's also shared with Steve Rogers and the male SHIELD Agents. Can you think of any possible group that would be better suited for Flash Thompson? He's an ex-soldier, he's a special agent... this is a perfect choice, and one that's not terribly overused.

With all those new pieces, some corners had to be cut somewhere, but none of them are too disappointing. First is the articulation: he has no wrist hinges, just swivels at the top of the gloves; similarly, there are no swivels in the shins, just double-hinges in the knees and swivel/hinge rockers in the ankles; and the chest armor keeps the torso hinge from moving very well. Secondly, the faux-holster on the right leg is annoying, because Punisher had a working holster there, and that was seven years ago! Finally, the stripe of white paint on his left hip is missing - but it's not a problem, because its absence is entirely concealed by his belt.

Despite ostensibly being part of the Ultimate Green Goblin series, Agent Venom doesn't come with any BAF parts. He does, however, get some really fun accessories. For instance, four guns: an HK MP5K and two Glock 19s (both seen previously with Hit-Monkey), and a pistol with a laser sight under the barrel (on loan from Steve Rogers). All very nice. Too bad he can't hold four guns at once, eh?

Oh wait, he can! He also comes with a mass of four tendrils that plugs into his Doop hole, a backpack of symbiote suit that terminates in four claws, each perfect for clutching a gun. In fact, they hold the guns better than his hands do! This is not even remotely something that needed to be included, but it's a terrific extra.

Agent Venom is not a perfect Marvel Legend, but he is very good. Really, the only downside to him is that he's a Walgreens exclusive, and with solid cases of him shipping, even that's not too bad.

-- 09/15/14

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