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Spider-Man Legends
by yo go re

In the immortal words of Monkey Boy, "WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG TO GET A GOOD MARVEL LEGENDS VENOM?"

A sinister symbiote, Venom mimics the powers of Spider-Man and plots to take down the web-slinging hero once and for all.

In this case, clearly, "Marvel Legends" means more than just the actual line of that name, but rather, the way most of us toy fans use it: as a catch-all for all 6" Marvel figures. Whether under-articulated or hampered by action features or just poorly chosen repaints, it was hard out there for a pimp murderous space symbiote. Hasbro made the best one so far, but that was the wrong guy. Now they're finally trying their hand at the classic.

Whether or not you like this Venom will depend on how you like the character. He uses Hasbro's "big" body, so he's definitely got the size, but he's also got human proportions and perfectly smooth skin. Is that your idea of Venom? It may well be, and if so, there's nothing wrong with that. But if you're the type of fan who wants the Venom suit to have any sort of texture to it (warts, ripples, fibrous musculature, wild tendrils, whatever) or to be monstrously bulky, then you're out of luck. His spider logo is painted nicely, though it does end up with two black holes in it, thanks to the gaps left over from Hyperion's cape attachment points.

You do get your choice of hands for the figure. No, sadly, not the big Toxin/Anti-Venom claws - in the package, he's wearing hands that are open (they're very much like the hands that Tiger Shark and Sabretooth had, but the fingers seem to be in slightly different positions), and you can replace those with balled fists. Both sets are painted with a white square and a black dot on the back of the hand.

One area in which the totally smooth body does suit the figure is when you get to the head. Yes, that sentence is confusing, but bear with me, here: the figure's head has big white eyes and a giant smile with lots and lots of tiny, sharp teeth - in other words, the way Todd McFarlane drew him; Todd also drew the body as a smooth black surface with a minimum of detail, making this whole thing just about a perfect McFarlane Venom.

But honestly, that's not the way most people think of Venom. It's no secret that Erik Larsen hated the character, so he kept drawing him looking grosser and grosser, just so he wouldn't get bored while pencilling. Since then, the fangs, drool and long tongue have been a pretty standard part of the character, which is why this figure includes a second head that has all those things. The eyes are smoother, but the skin between them has more wrinkles; his teeth are yellowy; and his drool is painted on in bright green.

This release must be setting some kind of record for "most heads" - in addition to the two Venom noggins, we also get two heads for this series' Build-A-Figure, Absorbing Man. Not even Chameleon had this many heads, and changing heads is his whole gimmick!

For our money, the best Venom figure ever released is still the Marvel Select one - the only thing this figure has over that one is its more agreeable size. But you can't build a BAF without the proper head [editor's note: save this space for a link to Red Onslaught when it comes out], so you're going to be getting this Venom. And heck, if super-smooth McFarlane Venom is your jam, you're going to be thrilled!

-- 01/11/16

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