Finishing off my symbiote kick, I figured I’d talk about someone that’s not technically a symbiote anymore but is still Eddie Brock aka the original Venom. I mentioned in the Marvel Select Venom review that once Eddie lost the symbiote, he learned he had terminal cancer. The cancer went into remission for a while and Eddie turned over a new leaf and began working at a mission called The F.E.A.S.T. in New York City. F.E.A.S.T. was run by Martin Li, who was also the new crime boss Mr. Negative. As Martin Li, he had healing hands and, as a publicity stunt, secretly used his powers on Eddie Brock to cure him of his cancer. However, the remnants of the symbiote in Venom’s body reacted with Li’s healing touch and manifested itself as a symbiote-like creature and turned Eddie Brock into Anti-Venom. Anti-Venom was obsessed with ridding the world of the scourge of the symbiotes and while he’s technically dead (Short Version: Eddie Brock is still alive but was purged of the Anti-Venom entity to cure a spider-plague in New York City), he’s still a cool looking character and has been translated to action figure form excellently by Diamond Select Toys.
Anti-Venom is a stoutly built figure. Seriously, I think he’s one of the heaviest action figures I own. Since he’s a Marvel Select figure, that means he uses all new, well-detailed molds and that really makes him look impressive. Anti-Venom has hinged ankles, hinged knees, swivels at the top of his hips and balljoints at the hips, a waist swivel, balljointed shoulders, hinged elbows, wrist swivels and a balljointed neck. I’ve had this figure out of his package for over a year now and have noticed one complication with his weight, though. The weight has begun to affect his joints and gives Anti-Venom a pretty substantial lean if I don’t tweak his pose every couple of weeks. I’ve found out that I’ve forgotten to do that before because he’s gotten so leaned he actually fell off the display shelf. That’s some bad engineering. I don’t know if it’s just a problem my Anti-Venom has because I like to have him in a slightly more dynamic pose or if it’s universal, but it’s something to watch out for after you’ve bought the figure. The sculpt itself is quite impressive. I mentioned in my reviews of Venom that the symbiote has been traditionally depicted and sleek and smooth. Anti-Venom takes his “opposite of Venom” motif far enough that even the symbiote-like creature isn’t smooth. When John Romita Jr. first started drawing the character, it looked very desiccated and that continues to the sculpting done on this figure. Anti-Venom had gotten smoother by the time the character ceased to be, but Romita Jr.’s art is just so striking that I love seeing it referenced here. Anti-Venom is also a decidedly adult-oriented collectable because he’s very pointy. All those spikes jutting off the figure are surprisingly sharp. I’m not saying you could hurt yourself with them, but if this had been a toy for children, those definitely would have been blunted. Even Anti-Venom’s big claws are quite pointy. The head sculpt is spot on with Romita’s take and like Marvel Legends Carnage, they went with the mouth being an open element rather than just black over red. It looks much better that way and again adds to the overall pointy-ness of the figure. The teeth look sharp and his spike goatee is surprisingly pointy. What I love about the Marvel Select line is that the figures are often based by a certain artists’ particular version of a character. I grew up on the work of John Romita Jr., and while he may not be everyone’s cup of tea, he’s probably my favorite Spider-Man artist so considering he created Anti-Venom, it’s a great call to make him the artist that this figure’s design is based on.
I’ll admit, the name and design of Anti-Venom is a bit cliché, but it still works. Venom is all black with a large white spider on his chest. Since Anti-Venom is the opposite of Venom, he’s mostly white with a large black spider on his chest. A black and white figure can be kind of boring, but Marvel Select wisely decided to accentuate the dryness of the figure with a light black wash. It’s enough to bring out those details but it doesn’t overwhelm the figure like some less talented paint teams do. Remember, folks, when using washes, less is more. The spider is well painted and there’s no slop on the black paint. Anti-Venom’s face is also black. The face is where Anti-Venom really steps away from Venom. The black takes the place of the white on the eyes, but it also extends down to his mouth. That’s more of a Carnage detail than a Venom detail. Anti-Venom also has some yellow for his eyes and some dark red in his mouth. It’s not a fancy paint job but it’s effectively done and looks sharp.
Marvel Select figures often eschew accessories for elaborate bases. Oddly, this is the first Marvel Select figure I’ve reviewed to actually come with a base. Anti-Venom first appeared after the Thunderbolts attacked The F.E.A.S.T. while hunting Spider-Man. Anti-Venom manifested to protect Eddie Brock and the innocent people from the attack. To reference that, Anti-Venom’s base is a bunch of rubble with Anti-Venom’s creature coming up through the ground like it just protected him from the falling rubble. The base is painted very well, though the wash used on the Anti-Venom pseudopodia is applied a bit too heavily, meaning they look a lot darker than the creature they’re supposedly an extension of. The rubble on the ground looks appropriate weathered and what little of the actual ground we can see is not pristine, so it looks like a building was just severely damaged. It’s a nice piece for Anti-Venom to have and since the figure is so heavily influenced by his first appearance, it’s great that his base is, too.
For a while, Anti-Venom was a bit hard to find. Marvel Select apparently periodically re-releases popular recent figures, so I think this was easily a third-run Anti-Venom, but that’s fine. There were no changes in the different runs of Anti-Venom. The only reason that would matter is for a mint-in-box collector. However, as someone who like to open their toys and pose and play with them, it’s fine if my Anti-Venom isn’t one of the original hard to find ones. It’s a solid figure and as a bit of a symbiote freak, I kind of like seeing Anti-Venom on my shelf. I was surprised it only took a couple years for him to get a figure, especially since the character didn’t last that long. Eddie Brock is currently kicking around the Marvel Universe with another symbiote. I think he might be Toxin’s current host after the government used the same techniques they developed to control the Venom symbiote to control that one, but I’m not totally sure. There are a lot more symbiotes than there used to be and it’s sometimes hard to keep track of them. However, I really enjoyed when Eddie Brock was his own man and became Anti-Venom. Yes, in story, he became Anti-Venom totally by accident, but it was still a fun ride. Plus, Eddie Brock finally got to be the hero as Anti-Venom because he sacrificed his powers to undo the spider-plague. Anti-Venom may have only existed for a couple of years (though he did show up recently during the Axis crossover in a couple of crowd scenes, so I’m thinking it was just a continuity oversight), but it was a cool addition to the Spider-Man universe. Plus, I really liked the idea that Eddie Brock became so anti-symbiote that he used Anti-Venom to help hunt them down and cure the hosts of their sickness. It was an interesting motivation for Eddie Brock and that’s something that’s been lacking with that character for a long time.