Your Home for Toy News and Action Figure Discussion!

Hasbro: Dungeons and Dragons 40th Anniversary Venger and Dungeon Master Review

Some weird choices, one terrible one, but overall kind of satisfying to have. Venger continues a trend set by the rest of his wavemates.

Dungeons and Dragons was one of my favorite cartoons when it was on. With a diverse array of personalities and some fairly hardcore themes, it felt “thicker” than many other Saturday Morning cartoons. These were just regular kids, separated from their families and thrust into a world that wanted to kill them at every turn. Watching it a few years ago it felt every bit as vibrant and timeless as it did when I first watched it way way too many years ago.  

Veebee and Matthew K have given us a look at the kids of the wave, so now we’re going to take a look at Venger, one of the coolest bad guys to hit Saturday mornings since Boris Badenov.

(And also I’ll be looking at the Dungeon Master, but Venger is the star of the show here.)

With Peter Cullen’s deep growls, satanic batwings, fangs and singular horn, Venger was hard to ignore. You could feel the tension ratchet up every time he popped up on screen jet-black horse. Horse not included.

Venger does a decent job at being a Venger action figure if you can be satisfied with him standing menacingly and looking evil. His articulation isn’t bad, but the nature of the design means that a lot of his motion is going to be inhibited. There’s plastic coming down over his shoulders that gets in the way of much of his shoulder motion, and his dangling skirt piece renders his leg articulation nigh-unusable.

Which is ironic, considering that the lack of a thigh swivel is one of my biggest issues with the kids in the line, while Venger has thigh swivels but they don’t really matter.

He also has double knees, but good luck getting his knees to knee their way out from under his ballgown.

The torso joint is a ball, and he gets some twist and crunch. His head moves very slightly, but there’s a lot of plastic there as well.

The elbows and swivel hinge “elbros,” which get about 90 degrees of bend.

I thought the single-piece bat wings were going to bug me, but they attach quite nicely to his back and stay on with no issue. I actually like them a lot. I thought I was going to want them to flap or something, but as it turns out I’m content with them to just jut from his back and look good, so that ended up being a non-issue.

Taking into account the nature of his design, for the most part I’m fairly satisfied with the overall nature of Venger. He actually looks great standing there and gesturing with casual menace, or looking like he’s about to hurl some deadly magic at someone.


Articulation aside, I do have two issues. One is minor, one is a “hit someone with a rolled up magazine and tell them no” type of deal.

Venger comes with an extra set of power-bolt firing hands. I don’t have a problem with power effects, but these are permanently attached to his hand. I would have loved to have these hands for him, but without the power effects. Being permanently attached as they are is a little limiting, and this is not a figure that can afford to have more limitations imposed upon him. Which brings me to my biggest problem:

What the hell is happening over to Venger’s left that he finds so interesting?

Yes, this figure does something that McFarlane figures were doing there for a while that ended up being extremely controversial: he’s got the side-eye. Which sounds like a serious medical condition, when it’s actually a serious toyical condition.

Essentially, I really don’t like the paint to dictate in such a bizarrely specific way where my action figure is looking. And considering it’s the only one in the line that is doing such a specific thing, it just feels like a singularly poor choice. The kids always have to be just over…there. Not here, not in front of him, but…over there. Just to his left. He has to kind of sideways his way into battle.

No sir, I do not like that.

I feel like I’m being hard on him, but there have been some decision on this line (Hank can’t hold his powered-up bow, which is an even bigger deal than side-eyes) that feel limiting.

I’m still looking forward to getting the rest of them and having a complete set, but I’m going into it a little more braced for issues than I’d like to be.

Dungeon Master is not the most dynamic of little guys, which is to be expected. He’s mostly solid, with articulation at the shoulders, wrists and head. The head doesn’t move much, but his arms can spread and point and so forth. Which, if I’m being honest, is fine. They could have gone with a completely immobile figure, so the fact that he does have some motion I’m considering a bonus.

Overall, I do have my issues with the line, but I’m also happy to have them, and will be getting the rest when they show up. What it boils down to is this: I’d love to be wowed by them, but I’m only okay with them.