Venomous Maximus (2004)
First off, spoiler alert if you haven’t seen the direct to DVD Valor vs. Venom special. Venomous Maximus is the DNA modified form of General Hawk. In the special, Dr. Mindbender combined the good General’s DNA with all sorts of animals. The result was a brutal, feral and ruthless leader who had instant aspirations to take over Cobra. Sort of like Serpentor minus the tendencies toward foppishness. Now that that’s out of the way, we can talk about the figure.
It’s one of the most unique small GI Joes ever made. Regardless of what you may think of the character and its design, Venomous Maximus deserves some credit simply based on the fact that it’s done something new with the usual GI Joe action figure buck. He’s a monstrously mutated mountain of a man, and one of the bulkiest o-ring figures in the line. Unlike the monsters introduced in the 90s,which sacrificed articulation for a larger body type, Maximus retains the usual points of movement.
To top it off, he’s dressed in a sort of ancient Rome meets Eternia number. The outfit is impressive, especially the cape/drape covering his mutated left arm. The fact that the man got this incredible villain getup right out of the gate amazes me more than the fact Cobra had a suit all ready for Serpentor back in the day. However, compared to the badass warrior groove Maximus puts out, Serpy looks like a goofy sports mascot.
It wasn’t the only versiof the toy, as the mold was cast in translucent plastic and included with the wonderfully fun Venomization Chamber in 2005. Unfortunately, Venomous Maximus as a concept was all too quickly dispensed. Hawk was cured by the end of the VvV special thanks to some serious DNA therapy and Dr. Link Talbot, and I guess the Cobra high command sent Maxie’s wardrobe to the Evil Goodwill. Maybe someday the concept will get a revisit. After all, even bits of Cobra La have made appearances in Joe media from time to time. I’d certainly like to see this figure interpreted in the modern, more detailed style.