Spider-Man is credited with having the best rogues gallery in all of comic-dom, rivalled only by Batman. Batman does have a bunch of very well-known villains like Joker, Catwoman and Mr. Freeze. Unfortunately a lot of his well-known villains are just silly silver-age relics that seem kinda silly by today’s standards like the Riddler, the Mad-Hatter and the Penguin. This is where Spidey wins out. Spider-Man has his fair share of ridiculous villains too (White-Rabbit, Type-Face, The Kangaroo) but the sheer number of cool and recognizable villains that he has blows Batman out of the water. Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Electro, Mysterio, the Lizard, Venom, the Vulture, Sandman, Carnage, the Scorpion, Rhino, Kraven the Hunter, Hobgoblin, the Shocker, the Kingpin and more. Now you could argue that the Vulture is no cooler than the Penguin but I think that while the Vulture isn’t necessarily cool he can at least be a threat, Penguin not so much. Besides all of these A-list villains Spidey also has an impressive roster of lesser known baddies whom I am also fond of: Beetle, Speed Demon, Kaine, Tarantula, Black Tarantula, Hydro-Man, Anti-Venom, and so many more. Some of these guys are super cool and I wish they showed up more often. One of the most under used yet super cool villains in all of the Marvel Universe has to be Swarm. Swarm used to be a Nazi scientist who was experimenting with radioactive killer bees. The bees turned on him and devoured him. However his subconcious was absorbed into the bees and he was able to control them. He had the swarm of bees form around his skeleton to create the shape of a man. Then the man-shaped swarm donned a cloak and set out to destroy mankind. The thousands of bees have a hive mind that thinks and acts as a single entity. How cool is that?! It’s such an off-the-wall idea that’s it’s absolutely brilliant. Swarm has only battled Spider-Man a handful of times, the last time being in Sensational Spider-Man issue 9 way back in 1996 (wow. that was the year I graduated High School..it has been a while)
I can’t believe a figure ever got made of this guy but it did. Toy Biz released this figure in the 90s in their Spider-Man line which was based on the cartoon airing at the time. When these figures were being released I was in my early-teens and Doug was in his mid-teens. He was kind of over toy collecting and had shifted his focus to hockey cards. Collecting/playing wasn’t much fun by myself so this was the point in my life that I started spending more time with my little brother Brian. He and I collected the Toy Biz Marvel figures together. He wasn’t much of a comic fan but he did enjoy the cartoons. Personally I love all Marvel characters. Even the crappy ones I have some attachment to, every character brings something to the table. Brian didn’t have that connection with the characters so it truly pained me when he would get a figure for his birthday of a character he barely knew but who I LOVED. The worst case being the Shocker (yeah, yeah, it’s a funny name) The Shocker is one of my absolute favourite villains and Brian got him. The second most painful was Swarm. I don’t recall if Swarm actually appeared in the animated series (it seems unlikely but since there was a figure made it’s quite possible) but if he had that’s all Brian knew about him. I on the other hand owned comics featuring Swarm from before I was even born. From the first time I saw this character I thought he was just plain awesome. Luckily Brian grew up and became more interested in Brittany Spears than action figures so I eventually inherited this Swarm figure. I never did get the Shocker of the awesome Jurassic Park T-Rex which I think he held onto for a few years before eventually losing or throwing out.
This figure isn’t perfect but it’s likely the only Swarm figure to ever exist so I’ll take what I can get. Sculpting a man whose body is made up of thousands of bees cannot be an easy undertaking. The sculptors here didn’t even attempt to make Swarm appear as bees but they did the best they could I think. When Swarm appears in the comics he’s often depicted as a kind of yellow mass as no artist wants to draw 1000 bees either. This figure takes that shortcut and runs with it. The entire figure is made up of bumpy yellow translucent plastic. The texture combined with the translucency give the impression that this guy is not a solid mass. He’s got a great toothy scowl on his face but his eyes are a little bigger than they should be. It gives him a kind of buggy look which may have been the intention. The purple cape and hood match the look and color from his comic appearances just fine. My gripe with this figure is the posed stance. I prefer my toys to be able to stand in a neutral position and this guys doesn’t look right when you try to stand him up straight. His head leans forward and it cannot be adjusted because of the cape. Minor flaws though on an otherwise pretty cool figure. 7 out of 10.