Venom may have only been introduced in the early 90s, but the symbiote has had a lot of hosts. In fact, the original idea was that Venom would just float around the Marvel Universe, bonding with anyone it thought could help it get revenge on Spider-Man. That didn’t take off, but lately the symbiote has been a bit more peripatetic. Not every host lasts long, but that doesn’t mean they don’t sometimes get action figures. A couple of years ago, Dr. Octopus finally won and beat Spider-Man by taking over his body. Dr. Octopus-in-Peter-Parker declared himself the Superior Spider-Man and Doc Ock’s arrogance led him to screw things up even worse than Peter ever had. At one point, he forced his old villain allies, the Sinister Six, to be his crimefighting partners, which ended about as badly as expected. However, Doc Ock’s dumbest move was thinking he could control the Venom symbiote. Storywise, it’s what led to Peter Parker’s consciousness being able to reassert itself over Doc Ock. While the Superior Venom may have only existed for at most three issues, he just got a Marvel Legends figure, and he’s pretty great.
Superior Venom was designed by Humberto Ramos and while I don’t generally love his art style, the guy knows how to make cool-looking monsters. Ramos’ design transfers surprisingly well to the three-dimensional world. Superior Venom uses the base Spider-Man body with a few new pieces. The feet are monstrous, with exposed toes and sharp claws on the end of each toe and clawed hands. On his back, Superior Venom has a permanent piece attached to the hole in the back. Into that piece, you can plug in Superior Venom’s four tentacles. When Doc Ock was masquerading as Spider-Man, he built in mechanical spider legs into the back of his suit, because of course he did. Why wouldn’t Doc Ock add some extra arms? When the symbiote took over, these became more monstrous. Since he’s using the new Spider-Man body, that means Superior Venom has great articulation. For a full run down of the articulation, check out the Black A.N.T. review. The other new part Superior Venom gets is a new head. I’ll admit, I wasn’t a huge fan of Ramos’ Superior Venom in the comic, but in action figure form, it actually looks really good. It’s still got a Spider-Man feel to it, but the jagged teeth are also present like Venom. Honestly, considering how close Doc Ock got to controlling the Venom symbiote it makes a lot of sense that there aren’t too many Venom references here. As he started losing control of the symbiote, the look got more monstrous, but at the beginning, it was a pretty tame look. This figure moves very well and the arms on the back, while static, do allow you to get it into some great poses that you might not be able to otherwise due to balance issues.
Once again, this is a Venom figure, so you can guess what the colors are going to be. Once again, Superior Venom is black and white. Like every iteration of Venom before him, Superior Venom has the large stylized spider on his chest. However, this time, it carries over to his shoulders and doesn’t tie into a large spider on his back. Above the spider, Superior Venom also keeps the Spidey-style weblines on his costume. I’ll admit, it does leave the head looking a bit too busy for my tastes. At a quick glance, the weblines are more eye catching and obscure the sinister eyes and, more problematically, obscure his teeth. Venom’s always been defined by a fanged maw. That should be the focal point of Venom’s face, but it doesn’t stand out as well here because of all the other white lines up there. Despite the upper body being a bit busy, the paint work is crisply done. The wobbly weblines on the face are true to the art so I understand why Hasbro did it that way. Unlike other Venoms, Superior Venom does have a little splash of color on the figure. The Superior Spider-Man costume had some gauntlets on his wrists and they remained visible after the symbiote took over. To show that, there are red spots on his forearms. They should be raised, sculpted elements rather than just paint, but it’s not a big enough detail that Hasbro should have invested tooling dollars to recreate it. The red spots work well enough.
I’ve already touched on Superior Venom’s accessories, but I still feel I should mention them again. The tentacles are designed very well. They look like a combination of organic and technological elements and that’s a good call to make here. They look jagged and scary and considering how out of control Superior Venom was when he started manifesting these in the comic, it’s a good look. The figure remains well balanced even with them on his back and they assist in getting him in some cool, menacing poses. It’s the best of both worlds.
Superior Venom may have been a thing for all of three issues, but it’s still an interesting take on Venom. It’s the most Spider-Man-like Venom out there and I like that for some reason. It’s a unique look and it’s something a little out of the box, and I have to applaud Hasbro for making that call. I may still hate Humberto Ramos as an artist, but it’s hard for me to deny that he can design and draw monsters very well. Considering how cool Superior Venom looks, it shocks me that it came from the same pencil as the guy who made the absolutely asstastic Green Goblin redesign in the mid-2000s.