Marvel Super Hero Squad Review – Spider-Man & Venom

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It’s interesting how your first exposure of a character can drastically shape how you see them. Of all the characters I have a skewed view of, this one may be the oddest: Spider-Man. I started reading my cousin’s old comics in the late 80s. Random assorted back issues so when I was first introduced to Spider-Man he was in the black costume. It wasn’t for several years that I learned he was originally blue and red. But I also remember when Venom first showed up. Of course, over the years I quickly grew tired of the symbiotes after the events of Maximum Carnage. So when Venom was announced as being one of the bad guys in Spider-Man 3, I was equal parts reluctant and excited. Of course, once I saw the movie I was less than thrilled with the outcome.

First up is Spider-Man. It’s hard to tell if Spider-Man is in mid-pose of getting the symbiote or if he is trying to escape it. The figure is essentially one big hunk of plastic with only his neck and left arm articulated for movement. The rest of the figure is Spidey getting enveloped by some black goo that is almost definitely the symbiote.

The goo is wrapping around the figure, like some twisted chair of entrapment. It’s just plain, matte black while the Spidey is painted in his movie costume. The silver raised webbing is kind of a mess though. There’s weird overlap in some areas and some heavy bleeding though his head and left arm fair much better. It’s an interesting pose and certainly looks unique but the playability of it is very limited.

After falling on hard times, Eddie Brock ended up getting bonded with the symbiote. Together they became known as Venom. Venom is an interesting character and follows the Marvel movie theme of “Hero fights a villain who is just a stronger version of himself.” Iron Man took on Iron Monger, Hulk challenged Abomination and Spider-Man faced Venom.

One thing about Venom that’s interesting is how non-kid friendly the character is. He’s a psychopath that for a few years survived by eating people’s brains (or copious amounts of chocolate). Now, Venom is known for his distorted version of Spidey’s black costume but with a massive fanged mouth and giant tongue.

In Spider-Man 3, the black costume was redesigned since in the comics, Spider-Man was influenced by Spider-Woman’s costume (No, not that one). In the movie, Spider-Woman didn’t exist, so it was a different version of his existing red and blue costume. So Venom also got a slight redesign.

The figure has been painted a shiny, almost metallic navy blue instead of black. He’s still got the large white spider emblem on his chest and the white eyes with red tongue but for the most part, the figure is just blue. The paint is really unique since it reflects the light oddly and gives the figure more depth than you’d expect.

To help with that, Venom’s costume has minor raised elements reminiscent of Spider-Man’s own webbing on his costume. The whole figure is sculpted with it and it really helps bring some texture to what would otherwise be a bland costume.

Venom is a bigger figure than Spider-Man, probably close to twice the size. His hulking arms hang down with his fingers slightly clawed. From the neck down, he looks like Venom. Venom moves at the shoulders and the neck.

But the face is an odd point. Since this toyline was originally intended for little kids, many of the bad guys got cutesified. For Venom, this meant giving him a closed mouth with just a few teeth and his bright red tongue sticking out the left side. It doesn’t really work for the character who should be barring all his teeth in sadistic glee.

There’s also the big disconnect in this two-pack, Spider-Man is trapped by a black goo and Venom is… navy blue. The marketer in me understands you don’t want two characters that are a majority of the same color in the same pack but it just feels weird, like they don’t match. Spider-Man isn’t terribly exciting but is at least done well for what he is. Venom on the other hand just feels like he’s been too domesticated by the line with his goofy grin.

Spider-Man 3 Super Hero Squad Wave 1
Spider-Man (jumping) & Green GoblinSpider-Man (unmasked) & New Goblin
Spider-Man (oozed) & VenomBlack Costume Spider-Man & Sandman

Written by jestergoblin

April 27th, 2010 at 12:01 am

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