I’m at the halfway point in my series of Venom Legends reviews, so I think it’s time I spotlighted the character more people requested a review of than any other in the wave: the Marvel Legends Monster Venom Build-A-Figure! The Monster Venom BAF is burning up the aftermarket and selling for about 75 bucks alone right now–is Hasbro’s bulkiest symbiote action figure ever worth the big money that collectors are paying for it?
For those whose experience with Venom ends with the classic comic book, you may be wondering what the heck is up with this massive, Hulk-like bodybuilder Venom action figure.
Basically, in the modern Venom comic books, sometimes the host will lose control of the symbiote and it will freak the eff out go into this monstrous, crazed form. It’s not an every day (or every issue) event, but when it does happen, it’s pretty dang blood-curdling. And hey—what better impetus for a Marvel Legends figure than that, right…?
At a glance, it’s instantly apparent that this is the bulkiest, most ripped Venom action figure that Hasbro has ever produced. With muscles and veins bulging everywhere, this is the stuff that nightmares are made of. Being easily the scariest Venom Legends figure ever definitely works in this toy’s favor.
You have to purchase all six figures in the Marvel Legends Venom Series to get the parts to build this Monster Venom Build-A-Figure—which I think is totally fair, given the weight and size of this beast. His upper body is so think that it has to be broken in half just to fit inside Spider-Ham’s package!
While the BAF is only about 7” tall, he’s still heavy and incredibly thick (although I think the younger generation has changed the spelling to “thicc”). I don’t think that anybody will argue that this should have been a single-packed figure—that’s blatantly impossible when you look at this monster’s size.
The Marvel Legends Venom Build-A-Figure features one of the most extreme head sculpts we’ve seen on a ML figure in quite some time, which works both for and against it. I love the insane, wide-mouthed portrait with protruding tongue—but a hinged jaw or even an interchangeable head would have improved the options for this figure by leaps and bounds.
As straight-up cool as the roaring head on this Build-A-Figure may be, it just does not seem suitable for every situation you might want to pose him into.
Along with having just one head, Monster Venom also comes with just one pair of non-changeable hands. Thank god Hasbro gave us flexed hands with humongous claws on them, as these hands are a lot more appropriate and intimidating than plain old fists (and believe me, I’ll be complaining about that a-plenty when I review the single-packed Eddie Brock).
The clawed hands not only look terrifyingly deadly, but they’re also capable of grasping other figures tightly by the head, arm or leg. Because of the Venom BAF’s large feet and heft, this mean the figure can stably hoist up other figures and dangle them around—almost certainly the most fun thing you can do with it!
Monster Venom also has four total tendrils emanating from his back and arms. They’re a subtle detail that I think really adds to the visual appeal of the toy.
While the articulation on this figure isn’t quite as extensive as what we expect from a typical ML action figure, it’s still decent considering how hard it is to articulate a bulky behemoth like this. The toy’s flexibility is impressive, but I think Hasbro could have gone a bit farther with it.
The complete articulation scheme consists of:
- Ball-Hinge Head and Shoulders
- Upper Torso Ab Crunch
- Swivel Biceps, Waist, Thighs and Shins
- Hinged Elbows
- Double-Hinged Knees
- Swivel-Hinge Wrists
- Hinged Ankles with Rockers
Butterfly swivels are obviously impossible for a body mold shaped like this one, but I would have really liked to have seen double-hinged elbows implemented. Without them, it can be a bit tough to dynamically pose his enormous arms in just the manner that you’d like.
The last thing I need to mention may be the most controversial about: the colors. All of the white paintwork on my BAF Venom is superb—but it’s also indisputably painted on top of purple. There’s no bones about it—when you’re in natural lighting or a well-lit room, this toy is unquestionably purple and not black. I would wager that that coloration is really going to bug some collectors, as Venom action figures are traditionally, well… black.
Personally, I think the metallic dark purple used for Venom’s body looks amazing contrasted to the white paint on him—but it can also be a little distracting just because he’s so purple in bright lights. I don’t have a huge issue with the color (as Venom has been colored purple on occasion in the comics), but I don’t blame those who are disgruntled with the palette choice.
Overall: While I think the Monster Venom Marvel Legends Build-A-Figure is a pretty neat figure overall, it’s definitely not perfect. The very purple paint is going to bother a lot of fans, the single-hinge elbows really hurt the arms’ range of motion, and the head and hands don’t leave a lot of options for diverse posing.
That said, this is a very different symbiote action figure than any that Hasbro has done before, and it’s a startling contrast when posed against “normal”-sized figures like Carnage, Poison and Scream. The Monster Venom BAF absolutely looks amazing (albeit purple)—it just has limited value as far as putting it into a variety of poses goes.
This whole series is strong enough that I’d rather buy the set (and I did) than pay 75 smackers just for the Monster Venom Build-A-Figure, but if you absolutely don’t want the other figures, I still give this figure a recommendation–just do your best to find one for a decent price on the aftermarket.
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