I wasn't crazy about Spider-Man in this line, but Venom wokrs. The 4-inch scale figure is a beefy, ape-like being with broad shoulders standing 4 1/4-inches high. If you're happy with the Venom toys in your toy box, you don't need more - but I found him to be an interesting midpoint between the 2022 Kenner Venom [FOTD #2,491] and the very, very good 2010 Toxic Blast Venom [FOTD #50].
The character has evolved from a black costume for Spider-Man to an increasingly goopy and more Shamu-like land orca beast, which I assume is intentional and pretty compelling for kids. If Marvel took this exact design and replaced the spider with a white belly and maybe added a dorsal fin, you'd go "oh I love your killer whale monster."
Is it good? If you can get it for its retail price, I'd say this 2023 Hasbro kid relaunch figure is worth the asking price. The Toxic Blast Venom is way more interesting, with some subtle blue and a more defined monster texture, plus a creepy hunched-over pose. Despite being from a kid line - and let me tell you, that 2010 Spider-Man line was a spectacularly good kid line that I preferred to the "collector" Marvel Universe line - it stood out as a superlative effort on Hasbro's part. "Kid" doesn't mean "bad, but standards tend to be lower with the kid stuff in some respects. For example, this new figure is pretty smooth and doesn't have any bonus spray to highlight the sculpted details, which are minimal.
This 2023 Venom is superior to previous releases in my toy box due to the articulation being good and the big feet helping him stand up when other figures are being carried and abused by him. He has even bigger hands which easily grip Spider-Man's arms or legs, and the sculpted toe feet give the figure a little more personality as opposed to the socks we usually get. There are some symbiote spaghetti bits twisting off his shoudlers, plus a big red tongue flying out of his mouth. He's quite literally oozing with personality.
His paint isn't bad - the white is very thick and evenly coats the necessary parts, with teeth and his mouth slathered in pigment as well. Everything looks pretty good but they left the black dot off the white patch on the backs of his hands again, and at this point I have to assume it was an intentional design choice. Perhaps I missed the memo - I'm not as current on my comic minutiae as I once was.
The plastic axe arm add-on snaps on the right arm better than the left arm, and the left is what Hasbro pictures on the box. Go figure. It feels weird, and I'm curious to know if it'll snap with use by the kiddos. But it's a sensible accessory, and given retro Venom cost as much without any gear it goes to show that Hasbro is capable of making a nice toy at a fair price, when they're inclined to do so.
For today's kids, this is a great Venom figure. Given the nature of inflation, especially when comparing this figure against the similar 2010 Toxic Blast Venom, Hasbro did an admirable job keeping the product good and at more-or-less the same price given inflation and the changes in accessories. There's no pretending there's a collector angle here - the packaging is pretty generic and the detail is on the happy side of good. It's weird to think Hasbro has a 12-inch Venom figure for $17 these days, so the question of value is probably in the eye of the beholder. Comparable DC/Batman figures from Spin Master are $7-$8, and comparable Jurassic World humans from Mattel are currently $15 for the collector Hammond figures and maybe $8 or so for the kid ones, which are more or less gone these days. Hasbro's own 3 3/4-inch offerings are around $10-$12 for the retro Star Wars and Marvel figures, and $17 for the collector super-articulated figures. Given all this nonsense, Venom and his assortment mates are probably smack dab in the middle of the value index for these licensed action figures. (Just don't go to Dollar Tree with their $1.25 Final Faction, it throws the average off.)
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