I honestly cannot think of a toy line that has stepped up in such a dramatic way as Diamond’s Marvel Select. Not since Toy Biz made their legendary jump into Spider-Man Classics (and eventually Marvel Legends) has a single company so drastically improved every facet of their products– from design, to sculpting, articulation and accessories… Marvel Select has seen some incredible releases, and this month’s Venom may be their crowning achievement to date.
The new Venom figure is an all new 7″ scale sculpt of Eddie Brock, in his classic black and white symbiote costume. The proportions on this guy are excellent– he towers over both the Select and Legends Spideys, while not appearing grossly off scale from either figure. The articulation on this figure, especially on his upper half, is phenomenal, with a great ball jointed neck, swivels at the abdomen and waist, double hinged hips (think Mattel’s DC Universe), half-ball elbows, hinged knees and ankles and swivel wrists. Not a point of articulation is unnecessary, and not one of them interrupts the gorgeous sculpt, which is loaded with creepy, sinewy detail that makes the costume appear as if it is a living thing.
If this Venom figure had been release bare bones with no extras, he’d be great, but Marvel Select really went the extra mile with this guy to make him an extra fun tribute to the entire history of Spider-Man’s arch nemesis. The figure includes a total of three swappable heads, two sets of hands, and snap-on extras to portray Venom as the multi-headed abomination seen in The Madness miniseries. All the pieces are wonderfully sculpted, and capture the villain’s look at a specific moment in time.
The best head, in my opinion, is the McFarlane look. Based on Venom’s early appearances, this headsculpt features a closed mouth with small, needle-like teeth. It’s always been a super-creepy design, and we’ve never really seen it captured in plastic, until now. The next head is the iconic Erik Larsen/ Mark Bagley design, with the larger mouth, shark-like teeth and craggy eyes. This sculpt totally nails Venom’s most famous look, with a jaw full of menacing teeth, just the right amount of slimy green drool, and a big, removable tongue to further customize your figure’s look. The final head features Eddie Brock in mid-transformation, and this piece is a sight to behold. Eddie’s human face looks great and the tendril parts wrapping over his human visage are creepily dimensional and wonderfully realized. This would be my favorite head of the bunch, except that it’s the only one that is off-scale… it’s about 10% too large for the figure, but even with this small slip, the sculpt is so fantastic it’s easy to forgive.
Like the heads, Venom’s alternate hands also match his different eras, with a human-sized set of fists to compliment his less monstrous McFarlane look, and a larger set of clawed hands for his later appearances. The hands are built on a nice, thick peg, and they switch on and off the arms very easily, with no fear of breakage. Rounding out the set, Venom includes a backpack piece that snaps on seamlessly, including multiple small heads (each with their own ball joint!), as well as two extra arms, to portray Venom in his Madness state. It’s remarkable how well this piece integrates… when he’s wearing it, Venom looks like a whole, new figure, not the same one wearing a new piece. The mutated look is enhanced with a third set of arms which plug onto his forearms, completing the horrific look.
Marvel Select has been releasing impressive figures for a while, such as the Unleashed and Barbarian Hulks and the recent classic Rhino, but this Venom tops them all. While some are disappointed he doesn’t include a base (a staple of the line, thus far), all the extra pieces– and the cool, fun playability these customizable parts offer– more than make up for it in my opinion. If Marvel Select continues to crank out toys of this level of quality, fun and overall coolness, they may become the go-to toy company for Marvel before long.