Monday 14 June 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Marvel Legends Carnage (Venompool Wave)

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Release Date: September 2020
RRP: $19.99/£19.99

There are so many characters in the Marvel Comics universe that Hasbro could probably get away with brand new ones for each and every release and still not run out, but with new collectors joining all the time of course you’re going to keep all of the favourites in circulation. The psychotic symbiote and Spider-Man villain Carnage is one such character, having previously graced the line in 2018 as part of the Monster Venom build-a-figure wave and now having returned two years later in the Venompool build-a-figure assortment. A slightly different take on the classic character to the previous release, this Marvel Legends Carnage has also seen a re-release in 2021 - perfect for helping to generate hype in the lead up to Carnage’s cinematic debut in the forthcoming Venom: Let There Be Carnage.

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The Venompool wave of Marvel Legends figures have been done out in a simplistic white box with black borders/lettering, along with a nice lining of symbiote tendrils along the bottom. While the front of the box is mostly preoccupied with showing off the figure itself, the spines feature some gorgeous artwork showing off Carnage as he appears in the Absolute Carnage series. On the back of the box you’ll find an image of the figure itself alongside a short character bio. Just below there’s also a boxed off section of the figures in the wave, along with a picture of the Venompool build-a-figure and just which figure comes with exactly what part. Inside the figure and accessories are neatly laid out on a moulded plastic tray. The tendril piece at the back is removable, so it’s easier to pop it off and remove it via the hole in the back of the tray rather than try to pull it from the front whilst still attached to the figure.

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While there are some similarities between the previous 2018 release and this figure (they are the same character after all), there are some pretty significant differences between them when you compare them up close. Whereas the 2018 Carnage was a more generic version of the character, this is a more modern interpretation that specifically draws from the 2019 comic event Absolute Carnage. This Carnage has features thinner almost vein-like black running through the body, as well as clawed feet. Most significantly of all though this version also has a unique head sculpt, based on the third form “Dark Carnage” took whilst gathering the codexes from the various symbiotes. The eyes are much thinner than the traditional Carnage look, and his forehead sports the white spiral symbol of the symbiote god Knull. It’s a very slight divergence that probably won’t be for everyone, but I appreciate Hasbro’s efforts to produce a specific version of Carnage and hope it leads to other Dark Carnage forms in the future. Despite the relative simplicity of Carnage’s design this is a really great looking figure, the red body all sculpted with sinewy muscular texturing and then the black veins moulded and painted on top. Also protruding from the body on the arms, legs and back are various red tendrils, giving the figure a more Carnage-like silhouette and well as emphasising the fluid-like nature of the symbiote. Since there’s only a handful of colours at work here the paintwork from Hasbro really is top tier - not a single blemish or piece out of place.

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Articulation-wise this figure is hitting top marks as well, with Carnage able to pull off plenty of wild-limbed monstrous poses exactly as he should be. Altogether the figure features;
- Ball jointed head and hips
- Swivel hinge shoulders, wrists and ankles
- Butterfly joint shoulders
- Single hinge neck and ab crunch
- Double hinge elbows and knees
- Bicep, waist, thigh and shin swivels
There is a lot of great stuff going on with this figure - admittedly nothing really out of the ordinary for Hasbro but certainly everything that they usually pull out on their collector line figures. The ankles can be a little fiddly to work with because the feet are a bit on the softer side, but really that’s the only complaint to be had here. The combination of swivel hinge and butterfly joints in the shoulders give the arms a nice range of motion for Carnage to slash those giant claws, whilst the double jointed limbs provide plenty of bend for more extreme poses.

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This version of Carnage comes with only a single accessory - an alternate head of his more traditional look. While it looks somewhat similar to the 2018 Monster Venom wave Carnage, it’s actually a new (or at the very least modified) sculpt with a more closed mouth. The head looks pretty great and hits all of the right Carnage beats, so it’s a great alternative for anyone who missed that previous release and purchased this for a more traditional Carnage. The downside though is that it sadly doesn’t include any alternate hands or weapons, so as far as a traditional Carnage figure goes it is a little limited. Given the more bare bones nature of this release it’s fair to assume that Hasbro probably intended this as the army builder figure of the wave, which makes sense since Absolute Carnage seems him turning everyone into duplicate slaves. Still, with alternate hands being a fairly staple piece the line now and arm weapons being a staple piece of Carnage himself a few more accessories would have definitely been appreciated. A more stripped back release would have been perfect for those cheaper basic-package army builder releases Hasbro have been putting out on Hasbro Pulse.

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The final accessory is the build-a-figure part, which in this case is the head of Venompool. As expected from a larger scale Marvel Legends figure it’s a pretty impressive looking head sculpt, sporting both a textured mask and a variety of paint apps to really make it pop. Of course it’s not much good unless you’re planning to pick up the entire wave, which is not something the more casual collector will necessarily be willing to do.

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Although there are definitely better options out there for a standard version of the character, this version of Marvel Legends Carnage is a brilliant choice for anyone looking for a more modern/Absolute Carnage interpretation. The Dark Carnage head goes beautifully with the more veiny sculpted black accents of the blood red symbiote, and even if you’re more down with the classic version that head sculpt also works pretty well too. The lack of alternate hands and additional accessories is a bit of a let down, but for this specific interpretation of the character it is a bit easier to overlook. The 2018 Monster Venom wave version might still be the gold standard as far as a Marvel Legends Carnage figure goes, but this one certainly shouldn’t be overlooked.

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