A total of 25 BrickHeadz figures have been released so far and it has quickly become clear that those sporting an elaborate hairstyle or an unusual costume are often the most impressive. I have therefore been somewhat sceptical about 41497 Spider-Man & Venom as the web-slinging hero wears a simple skintight suit and Venom is similarly attired but for some black tendrils.
However, this set includes an impressive array of printed elements which are packed with detail and I love the bright colour scheme, contrasting with the somewhat muted shades of 41496 Supergirl & Martian Manhunter. Hopefully these aspects of the figures will make up for the perceived unsuitability of the source material.
The Completed Model
All four figures released at San Diego Comic-Con this year stand on a 6x6 display base which is an improvement over the previous 4x6 base in my opinion. This larger footprint ensures that the model will not tip backwards and the base is decorated with a printed 2x4 tile denoting the figure as a Comic-Con exclusive.
Spider-Man is well known for his athleticism and flexibility so I have been concerned that the blocky style of the BrickHeadz would be inappropriate for such a character. However, I am very pleasantly surprised! The simple colour scheme of the hero has been translated perfectly onto the figure and printed designs cover almost every surface across the entire model which looks marvellous.
The mask is decorated with a webbed design on all four sides and the front features a pair of white eyes. I like the black 1x1 plates set behind the round tiles, representing the black lines around Spider-Man's eyes in most versions of the character. The seam between the printed 2x2 and 2x4 tiles looks a bit odd as the webbing does not seem to line up correctly, although this is probably attributable to the position of the seam and the eyes.
A black spider insignia adorns the chest and is backed by even more webbing, printed on 1x4 and 1x2 bricks. Some blue elements are interspersed among the red and the printed designs continue onto the upper arms as well as the back of the figure. The shape of the model is very simple but the contrast between large colour blocks and more intricate printing is excellent so it looks great on display from any angle.
Another spider symbol is printed on the back along with two more 2x4 tiles, seven of which are included in total. Not all of them line up perfectly, as shown in the image below. This is unfortunate but will vary between figures and having so many tiles allows you to match them up fairly well. A white web strand completes the figure and the instructions suggest attaching one end to the base while the other is held in right hand.
The Venom Symbiote bonds with Spider-Man after arriving on Earth and accordingly resembles the web-slinger even after finding alternative hosts in the comics. This BrickHeadz figure follows the same pattern but includes a few distinctive features which differentiate it from Spider-Man and really make the model stand out among the figures released so far!
The large eyes are particularly notable and I love how they have been constructed using two of the new curved tiles introduced within the last couple of years. Venom's mouth is represented using a printed 1x4 tile showing rows of pointed teeth and his flickering tongue protrudes from the side. This looks somewhat unnatural but I think it fits with the BrickHeadz style and the use of the red horn attached via a clip is clever.
Venom's white emblem covers both the front and back of the torso. The head and legs run across a 1x4 brick while the abdomen is printed on a 1x2 brick underneath. The figure therefore looks superb from the front but the sides are very plain. The Symbiote features some subtle grey webbing in the comics and it would have been great to see that here, although I suspect the existing shades of dark and light bluish grey might have been a little too vivid in relation to the black base colour.
Four tendrils extend from Venom's back, giving this figure a large footprint in relation to the rest of the BrickHeadz range. Each tendril is attached to a brick with a stud on the side so you can rotate them and the angle of the barbs at the end can be adjusted too, albeit only very slightly. The width of the model exceeds all those which have been released before and it looks great on display, especially with the tendrils posed organically.
The design of Spider-Man's attire is ill-suited to the BrickHeadz style but I think it has been rendered remarkably well, not least because of the numerous printed pieces included. Some have expressed concern that official BrickHeadz models are overly reliant upon printed designs but I love the webbed decoration and cannot envisage any alternative method by which Spider-Man could have been built. Venom is superb too, looking as terrifying as one would expect and including an interesting tongue protruding from the side of his mouth.
Impressive though these figures are, it seems very likely that another version of Spider-Man, perhaps based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe interpretation, will be released in a standard BrickHeadz set at some point. I would therefore be somewhat hesitant about purchasing this exclusive pack if you are simply looking to add a Spider-Man figure to your collection, although I think these versions of both Spider-Man and Venom are excellent.
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