Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Mix Of Frightening Detail And Mass Manufacturing, The 2016 Venom Ornament Is (Mostly) Cool!

The Good: Great sculpt of the character, Wonderful coloring detail.
The Bad: No special features, Assembled look, Seems expensive for the simplicity of the ornament.
The Basics: The 2016 Venom Hallmark ornament gets so much right, but it has some fairly obvious seams that make it more assembled-looking than it ought to.

When it comes to Hallmark ornaments, I find it hilarious that there is anyone left in the world who complains about Hallmark making genre ornaments that have nothing to do with Christmas. As one who easily understands the magnitude of various characters, the argument against genre characters was over the moment Hallmark made an ornament of Darth Vader and another of Emperor Palpatine. Star Wars fans might not love the comparison, but Palpatine is essentially a Nazi with Darth Vader being his religious zealot enforcer. So, now years into Hallmark producing holiday ornaments there is no substantive reason to complain about the horrific Spider-Man villain Venom being immortalized in ornament form!

Venom is an awesome villain and the symbiote-infected and the 2016 Venom ornament is flat-out cool. It is not, obviously, even remotely Christmas themed and that makes the ornament a great rendition of the usually scary character! In fact, the only things that truly bring down the Venom ornament are its comparative expense (not a huge detraction) and how assembled the ornament is upon closer inspection. To get the fine detailing on the Venom ornament, Hallmark clearly had to make it in smaller pieces and then assemble it, but the resulting seams make the ornament look less impressive than it ought to.


The Venom ornament recreates the frightening villain in solid plastic. The ornament, released in 2016, is a fair recreation of the popular character as he appears in the comic books, not the cinematic rendition of Venom from Spider-Man 3. That said, because the ornament features no fleshtones, the Venom ornament is colored basically, though precisely and well.

Venom is the fully-suited, symbiote-possessed villain, mid-leap, with his mouth open and his iconic tongue lashing out! The ornament, as is appropriate for the character, is dominated by black and white for the coloring, with a lot of red in his mouth and tongue. The Venom ornament features the white spider symbol on Venom's chest and masked eyes looks initially simple on the coloring front. The coloring detailing in the mouth and tongue for the coloring is impressive and looks far more realistic than the rest of the coloring.

The 2016 Venom ornament came with a $15.95 original issue price, which seemed a high for my tastes. For an ornament without any sound chip or light function, the size and assembled appearance undermine some of its inherent value. The Hallmark Venom ornament is made of a durable plastic and has him in an action pose, that looks like the villain is attacking. The 2016 Venom ornament measures out at 4 1/2" tall, 3 1/2" wide and deep. Venom's clawed hands look vicious and incredible. Hallmark did some impressive detailing, most notably the vein on the right leg that is creepy as anything Hallmark has ever added to an ornament!

The sculpted detailing is good, but the fact that the arms, torso and mouth all have noticeable seams where the ornament has been put together undermines the quality of the coloring and the sculpt.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, Venom could have a function like a sound chip or light effect, but does not. This is just an ornament for those who might not want to shell out for the more expensive Spider-Man ornament. This Venom simply hangs, though he looks pretty badass when he hangs!


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake Venom ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Marvel Universe Christmas Tree, a Venom ornament is pretty much essential, though we might hope there will be another one that looks less assembled, though it is hard to imagine one that would look more creepy. Venom has been around for decades and the Spider-Man and Sinister Six comic books remain some of Marvel Comics's popular. The ornament has a brass hook loop embedded in the back, right near the top of the shoulders. From that hook, the Venom ornament hangs in an appropriately angry-looking pose. The ornament is not intended to hang level, so this one cannot be judged for hanging appropriately like it is leaping properly.


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition original U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (click here for my review of that!). Since then, Hallmark has gotten into every major franchise from Disney to Twilight to the Marvel Comics universe. The Venom ornament was not at all limited and it is one of the ornaments I can still find surprisingly easily now that the holiday has passed. Given how the other Marvel ornaments have met demand without leaving a lot of people wanting, this is not likely to be an incredible investment piece, though this one was an October release, so many collectors seemed to have missed it.


The 2016 Venom ornament has some very cool fundamental aspects, even though it looks put-together in an unfortunate way upon closer inspection.

For other Spider-Man-themed Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2014 Web-Slinging Wonder ornament
2012 Spider-Man The Amazing Spider-Man ornament
2011 Spider-Man ornament


For other ornament and toy reviews, please check out my Ornament Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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