Spider-Man Man Wolf and Venom

Coheteboy is back tonight with another terrific review, and his usual hilarious photos!  Take it away, CB!

Today, I'll be taking a step back to review two Spider-Man figures that have been released for some time. In other words, you SHOULD be able to have found them by now. Manwolf (or is it Man-Wolf?) and Venom are the non-Spider-Man figures of series 16. This has been one long running line for Toy Biz.

Manwolf was an odd choice I thought because I really didn't know much about him, but after finding out that he's J. Jonah Jameson's son, I went "oh.. ok". Venom is the fourth version of the character since the beginning of the "Spider-Man Classics" series and is probably my favorite hands down. Let's find out why!

Packaging - ***
ToyBiz opted out of the hideous red packaging to go with a cool blue. I like it a lot better as it stands out a whole lot more on the toy aisle. The packaging is the standard card and bubble which works for the a line aimed at the kiddies. The back of the card explains the unnecessary action gimmick but leaves out the geek-out info I love: bios and background. I wish that ToyBiz would at least go halfway on the non-marvel legends product and give us a blurb about the character. Anything at all would be welcome. 

Sculpting - Venom ***1/2; Manwolf ***
Sculpting is usually pretty good with these Toy Biz Marvel lines and I believe Venom is one of the best they've given us. This bad boy is 100% new and is far bulkier than we've seen in the past. The last version of Venom was released from Marvel Legends Sinister Six box set where he resembled a whale that was happy to see you. Here, we go back to the roots of the character with a slobbering tongue. 

The detail on Venom's face is exceptional, especially around the mouth and teeth. Even the tongue is quite detailed. The rest of the body captures the hideous and slimy texture that the symbiote might have given.

Manwolf has a strong sculpt as well and the detail on the fur is superb, but there's still something a bit lacking. For one thing, the neck is arched in such a way that Manwolf is looking downwards at all times. Only when his jaw is open does he look straight ahead. That's a pretty big flaw in my eyes as none of us is going to want to display Manwolf with his head looking down. 

The head sculpt of Manwolf is ferocious and looks good, but I personally would prefer a larger head on this figure. It just looks a tad too small. That may be a personal preference, however, as I don't have pictures of the source material in front of me. 

The rest of Manwolf is solid all around.

Paint - ***
Paint work on both figures are pretty good overall as I don't see any spillage or any mistakes anywhere. There is one small drip on the back of Manwolf's leg but I'm pretty sure that isn't on every figure, so you might want to examine before you purchase (of course if it's on the back, there's nothing you can do). 

Venom is essentially black and white so it's always great to see the white as clean as it is here. 

Manwolf has a shade of green on top of his yellow shirt which makes it a bit more dynamic than having a plain yellow jumpsuit. The wash over the fur, giving it a nice light & dark gray texture is also nicely done. Also impressive is the use of a brownish orange for his teeth. 

Articulation - ***1/2
Articulation, like most of the Marvel figures is superb. Manwolf has the usual double jointed knees, elbows, and plenty more in the ankles and wrists. The jaw is also hinged but isn't quite poseable. There are a few faults in the articulation thanks to the action feature so I'll detail that below.

Venom has the usual high amount of articulation but just like Manwolf, the action gimmick limits the neck and head area. 

Action Feature - *
Yup, just one star in this category because they are absolutely unnecessary and make very little sense. 

Let's start with Manwolf. When pushing the button on his backpack, Manwolf's jaw opens, he lets out a roar, and the jewel on his throat lights up. That's three action features with the press of one button! So that's kinda cool but you can only do all this with the backpack plugged into his back. The jaw snapping action also makes it so Manwolf's head is permanently facing forward. No neck articulation here, which would have made for a far better figure. 

Venom also has the jaw snapping action using a button on his back, but it works rather poorly. As in... barely works at all. This wimpy action feature also hinders any type of articulation in the neck making him look straight forward at all times also. That's just boring and flat out wrong. 

Accessories - Manwolf **; Venom *
Venom comes with a Symbiote Blast launcher weapon that attaches to his arm. Press the button and the projectile launches out. Weeee. Not fun. Also looks real goofy. 

I also heard that Venom's tongue is removable but I had no such luck. 

Manwolf comes with one accessory: the rocket pack. The rocket pack is where the roaring sound comes from and it's also essential to activate the light up jewel and jaw snapping action... so it at least serves some purpose. But in the end, it's really not necessary.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
Foes of Spider-Man are always fun! Venom and Manwolf are pretty decent in that category but could be a lot better if they had articulation in the neck. 

Value -  ***
For about $7.99 each, these are a pretty good deal for the amount of articulation you get.

Things to watch out for - 
Paint would be the only thing to watch out for but they're generally pretty clean.

Overall - ***
I really wanted to give these toys 3 1/2 stars but realized that the action feature really took away from the overall aesthetic of the toy. It's one thing to toss aside a useless accessory but it's another if the action feature takes away possible points of articulation that would make the figure that much better. 

Still, this is by far my favorite Venom figure to date and it's the first (and probably only) Manwolf we'll be getting for some time so take it or leave it!

Packaging - ***
Sculpt - Venom ***1/2; Manwolf ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - Manwolf **; Venom *
Action Feature - *
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - ***
Overall - ***

Where to buy
Target is where I see these figures the most at $7.99. Also check your Wal-Mart and Toys'R'Us stores.


Figure from the collection of Coheteboy.

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