GIJCC Exclusive Adventure Team Enemy Dr. Venom

Who would have thought this review would ever be written? After over two and a half decades and countless requests to Hasbro for a Dr. Venom figure, would anyone have figured we'd finally get one? Of course, not from Hasbro themselves, but from the G.I. Joe Collectors' Club naturally. In the span of two months we've gotten Big Lob and Dr. all we need is Pythona, Billy, and Kwinn in his jungle fatigues and we'll have a lot of happy Joe fans.

Let's get on that Collectors' Club, eh?

In all seriousness, while fans have been clamoring for a character who has been deceased for twenty-five years, Hasbro has repeatedly denied our requests, and I suppose they have good reason for it. After all, they're trying to grow the brand and extend the fanbase, and in the general public, who the heck knows about Dr. Venom? Who would care? He's dead and buried and not nearly as visually interesting as Dr. Mindbender.

From a packaging standpoint, the Collectors' Club really went all out here. Using a cardboard box with a wooden crate deco and plentiful references to the old school Adventure Team, immediately you can tell there was some quality and thought put into the presentation. Both Dr. Venom and the Adventure Team Commander are carded on individual cards inside as well. The debate will go on endlessly about whether or not Joe fans want their exclusives packaged or not, but I can't argue the coolness of the vintage styled cards included in this package.

For us long time comic fans, there is a place in our heart for Dr. Venom, and I'm thrilled that the Collectors' Club is finally going in that direction, even though it seems clear they had somewhat limited selections of tooling to choose from.

Perhaps limited isn't the right word. By and large, the parts they used for Venom were fantastic. Plain jean pants, lab coat arms...the only hitch here is his torso, which is dependent on a painted on tie in order to retain the Venom aesthetic. Of course, this gives us very mixed results, especially when the torso is moved.

But really, what were the options? It would have been terrific if they could have used the SDCC Destro tooling, but perhaps that wasn't available? Who knows for sure. All I know is that aside from the painted tie, this figure is fantastic.

I especially love the head sculpt, though it's somewhat of a mystery where it comes from. Lanny Latham from the Collectors' Club has mentioned that it is tooled from an existing head sculpt, with the ball removed and articulation added for the 25th Anniversary styled neck post. For the life of me, though, I cannot track down who had the head originally (if it was even released at retail). Hopefully we can find out in a future GIJCC Q & A session.

Along with the great head sculpt, we get the Cobra Trooper parts that make for a good upper body, and what look like Shipwreck legs for the jeans. The Rise of Cobra Doctor "Rex Lewis" lab coat is a perfect finishing touch. It's nothing dramatic, nothing incredible, but just some great parts choices that add up to a very nice looking Dr. Venom that deserves a spot in any long time fan's collection.

As far as accessories go, we get some very straight forward ones, and a very not straight forward one.

Venom is equipped with a very cool pair of pistols and some test tubes, all of which came with the Valor vs. Venom Dr. Mindbender, and they are very appropriate accessories to choose. I would have loved to have seen a Luger there, just as an homage to Venom's fateful final confrontation with Kwinn, but that's a pretty minor complaint all told. One somewhat more major complaint is that because these pistols were initially pistols designed for a new sculpt figure, their handles are quite large and stretch out Venom's hands a bit more than I would like.

A nice touch, however, is that Venom does come with one of the new Cobra battle stands with two footpegs! This was something we'd asked for in the Anniversary line (since the Joe stand had two) but we had not yet seen it on the Cobra side.

The last accessory that comes with Venom is... a giant plant?

Certainly a somewhat strange choice, but fitting for Venom's outlandish scientific aspirations, and a good excuse to re-use an old 12" accessory. I actually really dig the vines, and the spring-loaded flytrap is a pretty cool touch, even if the connection to it and Dr. Venom is somewhat dubious.

Still, it's a neat addition to the set, and I find myself enjoying the interaction with the Adventure Team Commander and it's perfectly suited to the whacky nature of Cobra in general and Dr. Venom specifically.

After so many years, I never would have figured to be writing this review, but I'm thrilled that I am. Dr. Venom was a huge hole missing in the vintage lineup, and even from the grave, I'm very happy to see him added here. In fact, getting this one figure has really encouraged me to get my Anniversary figures back out of storage and to set up a cool '82 - '84 display showcasing them.

Dammit, I still need my Kwinn, though!

Order this figure right now through the G.I. Joe Collectors' Club!