If you’re a reader of Marvel comics like I am then you know that Marvel has suspended the publication of all of its regular titles for the summer. The reason for this is they have a massive company-wide crossover in the works called Secret Wars. To support the main Secret Wars title Marvel is publishing a bunch of tie-in mini-series’ in place of their regular monthly books. When the smoke clears we’re being promised an “All-New, All-Different” Marvel Universe and all the titles will relaunch with new #1 issues. As a stubborn old-school fan this s**t annoys the hell out of me but I try not to get too hung up on the wacky numbering and the gaps in continuity. As long as the stories are good I can grin and bear all the nonsense. God knows I’ve been through this before.
One of my least favourite status-quo shake ups came in 2008 with a storyline titled “Brand New Day”. For as long as I’d been reading comics at that point, which was over 20 years, Peter Parker had been with Mary Jane Watson. They got married just a few months into my collecting hobby so a 30-something married Spider-Man is all I ever really knew. I liked the mature married Spider-Man but apparently a lot of people didn’t. For years writers attempted to undo the marriage they thought kept Spidey from being the down on his luck everyman that people wanted to see. Marvel tried and failed to sweep married Spider-Man under the rug with their clone saga storyline that introduced Ben Reilly as a new Spider-Man but they finally did it with Brand New Day.
The gist of Brand New Day is that Aunt May was dying (again) and to save her Peter made a deal with the devil. The cost of doing business? His marriage. Groan.
Along with Aunt May getting better and the marriage being wiped from existence there were a few other side effects to the deal such as the whole world forgetting about Spider-Man revealing his secret identity during the super hero Civil War and Pete’s old buddy Harry Osbourne was alive again. Gotta love comics.
To drive home the point that Brand New Day wasn’t just the same old Spider-Man stories we’d seen a dozen times before an editorial decision was made to not have any of Spidey’s famous villains show up for the first year. Instead we got all new villains. The problem with that was the new villains either sucked (Paper Doll? Screwball? Overdrive?) or they were completely derivative of established villains (Menace = Green Goblin, New Vulture = Old Vulture). One of the wholly unoriginal new characters introduced in 2008 was Anti-Venom who was a complete knock-off of, you guessed it…Venom.
Venom is black with a white spider on his chest while Anti-Venom is white with a black spider on his chest. Beyond that their powers and abilities are pretty much the same (except Anti-Venom can cure diseases). I should hate this character but I don’t. There are a couple reasons for that. First off, as I said earlier, I’m an old school fan who is often resistant to change. Venom was first introduced in 1986, right around the same time Peter and MJ got married and just a few months after my introduction into comic collecting. Back then Eddie Brock was Venom and I liked him in the role. In 2004 Eddie was dying of cancer so he sold his alien costume and it passed from the Scorpion for a few years and more recently to Flash Thompson.
It didn’t sit well with me that Eddie Brock got pushed to the sidelines. Which is partly why I like Anti-Venom because it was a persona better suited to Eddie who had long been portrayed as an anti-hero. Eddie became Anti-Venom through some convoluted plot involving alien DNA in his white blood cells being triggered by Mr. Negative curing him of cancer or some such nonsense. The other reason I liked Anti-Venom right off the bat is because he was drawn by John Romita Jr., one of my favourite artists.
Unfortunately, Anti-Venom was relatively short lived. Eddie had to sacrifice his alien symbiote to save New York in the 2011 story line Spider Island. However, I didn’t waste any time mourning the character as I have an inkling that we’ll see him again one day.
This figure is part of the latest wave of Marvel Legends consisting of all Spider-Man characters. I saw the whole wave while shopping at Walmart tonight and there were a few decent figures to be had but money was tight so I went with the one I thought was the best of the bunch.
The body appears to be the exact same as the one used last year for another symbiote character, Toxin. However Anti-Venom is a much nicer looking figure because his paint job is way more interesting than Toxin’s solid red. It’s a solid bulky body with well sculpted muscles and loads of articulation including doubled-jointed knees and elbows.
The only new pieces here are the head and the back attachment. Toxin had tendrils that plugged into his back but Anti-Venom has spikes. The head looks great and exactly as it appeared in the comics. The only thing that could have been improved on the head would be a hinged jaw. This is a cool figure and it comes with a piece (a leg) of this wave’s awesome build-a-figure, Phil Urich: Hobgoblin. For Spidey fans who missed out on the Marvel Select figure from a couple of years ago this is a must-get. 9 out of 10.