Venom's sculpt is a thing of beauty and extremely detailed when it comes to the muscles and sculpted-in spider symbol instead of just being painted on. The McFarlane grinning head is easily the winner among the three different heads and looks amazing. The toothy head looks menacing and the half-covered Eddie Brock head which was taken directly from cover art is just as awesome to behold. The clawed hands look sharp as do the open and closed fists. Yep, three sets of hands are included, more on that later. His web-shooters are raised on the back of his hand like little ports, a cool feature.
The first thing you need to do when you open up Venom is run his torso under hot water or a hair dryer and pop it apart. Take a hobby knife and widen the peg hole that's restricting the double ball jointed ab crunch. For some reason the factory added plastic in there that holds it still. You can also do this on the neck port that's attached to his main body. Suddenly Venom can lean, twist, and look around wonderfully. You can even glue his cut waist joint in place after this mod so you don't have to worry about a misaligned symbol.
Venom's articulation before the mentioned modification is a mixed bag. He has a ball jointed head and torso that's restricted but you can fix that. The range of his shoulders and knees is standard single pin but has good range. No, he does not have tilt-ankles and yes, this hurts the ability to pose him. Someone familiar with customizing can swap them out for a Marvel legends Venom feet with ankle rockers but that's up to you. His biceps turn, he has cut thighs, and the wrists being removable turn as well. You'll be able to get him into some decent poses.
Paint work is hit and miss. I saw some good ones on the shelf and I saw some terrible ones. Venom is primarily black plastic with great dark blue airbrushed highlights. The spider symbol in my case was nice and clean. But others were streaked, faded, and in some cases had brown dirt and hair clumps stuck in the paint it as if someone had dropped the freshly painted figure on the factory floor. There's also evidence of touch-up work in places with solid black paint which in some cases clashes with the blue highlights.I really like how his teeth are a bone color instead of bright white like his symbol.
Venom's accessory count will blow you away! He comes with three heads, one with a removable tongue, three sets of hands all of which can be swapped onto the madness backpack which features ball jointed mini-venom heads and jointed arms, and two smaller Madness arms that attach to his. This gives you a huge range of options as to what head with what hands and Maddness features you want. It's really impressive and will certainly be the selling point here.
Scale is seven and a half inch Marvel Select as mentioned but depending on how you like Venom appearing in the comic he can fit right along with your 6" Marvel Legends. There are a couple of things about the figure I need to mention. He has two large holes on his forearms where the madness arms plug in. Venom also suffers from the articulated-statue effect where the sculpt of his elbows is suddenly cut in a straight line to make the joint leaving you with a right-angled elbow. Same where they decided to add the thigh cut, there's flat edges showing when it turns.
So what's the verdict? Is this the end-all-definitive-perfect-Venom figure? It could be. Out of the package he's got issues but a skilled customizer can easily turn him into an awesome figure by modding the neck, torso, and replacing the feet. For $23 you get an excellently sculpted Venom with the most accessories I've ever seen a Marvel toy come with. Our sponsor Big Bad Toy Store has him for just $20 and with the way he's selling out at comic shops the day of release you want want to consider ordering him online to save the worry of seeing an empty shelf. I'm enjoying the figure and customizers will have fun finding use for the Maddness heads, some of which are Marvel legends and Marvel Universe scale.
CUSTOMIZER MODIFICATION SECTION
Here's the modifications I made to Venom. They're not hard to do and you'll want to review my Customizing Guides if you haven't already and familiarize yourself with the heat-n-pop method to disassemble him and the X-acto Knive used to trim away plastic. Foot swapping is a little advanced because it involved using a Dremel tool to widen the ankle holes, trimming down the new ankle hinge, and putting in a new pin. First things first, pop off Venom's head then heat the neck up and tug out the shaft. Trim the plastic around the hole's edge at an angle like shown.
Now heat up his ab crunch and pop it apart. Use pliers to remove the ball post same as you did the neck. Trim the plastic at an angle around the edge of both holes. Remember you're not widening the hole that much, you're allowing the post to lean further against the sides. That's where you'll get the range of motion from.
Finally the advanced step, the foot swap. I used the foot from a Spiderman Classics jaw-chomping rubber faced Venom. In order to get the larger ankle hing ring to fit I had to drill into the leg a bit, trim the ankle ring down, and drill a new hole for a larger peg. You might be able to find another foot with a smaller ankle ring and it would be a lot easier to swap. Venom doesn't have any blue highlights on his lower legs so I didn't even need to repaint the new foot. I filled the holes and painted over those but if your new foot doesn't require drilling into the leg you won't need to do this.