HUMAN TORCH & THE THING
Fun Fact: In both the Specialty and TRU line-ups, Series 8 was devoted to the Fantastic Four. No idea why, probably just crazy random happenstance, but there it is. There were four sets in Series 8, and Reed and Sue were both packed with a villain, so you might have thought that was how the whole assortment went: FF/Villain. Not the case. Since Namor and the Atlantean Soldier got their own pack, FF-members Human Torch and the Thing got packed together. Of course, as antagonistic as these two are known to get, there’s no reason this can’t still be a “versus” pack.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
As noted above, Human Torch and The Thing make up one of four two-packs in the eighth TRU-exclusive series of Marvel Minimates, which was released in the fall of 2010.
With only two ‘mates prior to this one, poor Johnny was sort of the runt of the family in terms of Minimate coverage. Well, at least this line didn’t replace him with Herbie, right? This particular Johnny opted for a fully “Flamed On” look, following the trend of his first ‘mate. He’s based on the standard post-C3 body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. Sculpturally, this Johnny was actually completely identical to his original release (and the Jim Hammond Torch from the Invaders set, for that matter). He’s got the same hair and fiery shoulder piece. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? After the completely opaque first figure, this Human Torch followed the example set by the Invaders Torch, going for a fully translucent look. Apart from being molded in an orangish hue and featuring sculpted flame bits, Johnny is otherwise without flame-related details, instead just depicting Johnny’s FF costume. It’s a more modern way of handling Johnny’s flamed on state, similar to the way artists like Mike Wieringo depicted him in the ‘00s, which generally follows with the general overall aesthetic of this particular set of FF. The detail work is all nice and sharp, and I quite like Johnny’s sly grinning expression; very true to the character. Johnny was packed with a pair of flame effects for his hands, as well as a blast-off stand.
Benjamin J Grimm is by far Minimates’ favorite member of the FF. At the time of this release, he already had twice the number of ‘mates that Johnny had, and he had another two right around the corner in Series 37. The Thing has had the most looks of all the FF members, so there are options to choose from. This one continues the Weiringo trend of the other team members, giving us a Thing with pants. Woo. I feel for the sake of full disclosure, I should begin this section by noting that my figure has been slightly modified (see the unmodified version here). The at-retail version of the figure made use of Ultimate Hulk’s bulked up torso piece and toros extender. From a build perspective, it was fine, but it left Ben with an abnormally long torso that just didn’t seem right for the character. Removing the extender piece alleviates some of the issue, but then his torso cap hangs over his belt. On my figure, I took an x-acto blade to the chest piece and trimmed about 1/8 of an inch off the bottom, thus keeping his torso from being so bafflingly tall. In addition to the torso extender and chest cap pieces, Ben also features add-ons for his brow, hands, boots, and pelvis. The brow and hands are just the standard pieces that have been in use since the first version of the character; they still work reasonably well here. The boots are re-used from the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and I’d be lying if I said they didn’t look super goofy. Points for effort, though. In terms of paint, Ben was decent enough, but not without some issues. The big problem is that the orange of his brow and hands really doesn’t match the rest of him, which looks kind of odd.
Beyond that, he’s reasonable. The blue matches with the rest of the Four, so he’ll fit in well with this set. Fortunately for those of us who didn’t like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man feet, Ben has the tops of his boots painted on his legs, as well as a pair of standard feet in black. Sure, his feet will be a little bit tiny, but he’ll look better overall. He also includes a pair of standard hands in orange, should you wish to remove the big Thing hands, but I don’t know who would.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I picked up this set brand new when it first hit, alongside the rest of the assortment. Having missed out on the original FF run, these were my first go at the team in ‘mate form. Though perhaps not my preferred take on the character, this Human Torch was a definite improvement on his original release, and fit in very well with his wave-mates. For a multitude of reasons, this version of the Thing very much feels like an afterthought. Though all of the figures in the wave are made with parts re-use, Thing is the one most negatively affected by it. With the Series 37 version released only a few months after this one, it really felt like this one was only included here as a place holder for that one. The modification helps the figure a little bit, but he hardly feels worth the trouble. Ultimately, this ended up being one of the weakest variants of the character in the line, and a slight slip-up in an otherwise very strong wave of figures.