#1458: The Thing

THE THING

FANTASTIC FOUR (TOY BIZ)

“Ace test pilot Ben Grimm found his life was forever changed after a fateful trip on an untried spacecraft. Exposure to cosmic rays caused Grimm to evolve into a hulking, brutally strong creature, with a thick, orange, rock-like hide. Dubbing himself The Thing, Grimm, along with Mr. Fantastic, the Human Torch, and the Invisible Woman, decided to make the most of his transformation and aid humanity by becoming a valued member of the Fantastic Four. His unbelievable strength and endurance, combined with his bravery, loyalty and innate kindness make The Thing one of the most heroic humans ever to walk the Earth!”

Almost exactly four years ago, I spent several of my earliest reviews on this site looking at six of the seven figures in the first series of Toy Biz’s Fantastic Four line from the ’90s.  I didn’t review the seventh because he was the only one I didn’t own.  Now I own him, and so now, after four years, I’m completing my reviews of Fantastic Four Series 1.  Let’s look at Benjamin J Grimm, aka the ever-lovin’-blue-eyed-Thing!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

As touched on in the intro, the Thing is one of the seven figures in Series 1 of Toy Biz’s Fantastic Four line, based on the cartoon from the mid-90s.  Ben, like the rest of the titular team, is wearing a variant of his John Byrne-designed costume from the ’80s.  It’s a standard look, and was his main look in the cartoon, so it made sense here.  The figure stands about 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  This version of Ben was sporting an all-new sculpt, which was only ever used for this one figure (barring a few direct re-releases).  Unlike later Thing figures from this line, this guy wasn’t directly based on the cartoon, and as such presents a slightly more detailed take on the character.  I think this may be the best sculpted Thing figure that Toy Biz ever released, quite frankly.  It’s really very good.  There’s a ton of detailing on his rocky skin, he’s got just the right build, and they even managed to very nicely convey Ben’s attitude on the face.  What’s more, the belt on his shorts even has little wrinkles and some stretching, which is an awesome touch.  Comparing this figure to something like Mole Man, who is from the very same series as this figure mind you, is like night and day.  Whoever sculpted this guy had a fun time.  Now, I’m not going to say that the paint ruins this figure, because it certainly doesn’t, but there’s a definite step down from the sculpt to the paint.  There’s paint for the eyes, the belt, and the shorts.  That’s it.  The rest is all the same shade of molded orange plastic.  That was Toy Biz’s style at the time.  That was the style of action figures in general at the time.  And it doesn’t ruin the figure.  But this sculpt would look a ton better with even the tiniest bit of accent work.  The Thing included no accessories, but he does have a “Clobberin’ Time Punh” action feature: when you turn him at the waist, his arms swing up and down. Fairly standard for this era of figures, but I like that it adds a little something to the figure without risk of ruining the sculpt or posability.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Growing up, my main version of Ben was the trench coat-wearing variant from Series 3, so I never had this one.  I’ve been on the lookout for one for a few years now, but it was never a really a search I put a ton of effort into.  This year at Shore Leave, one of the vendors I buy from pretty regularly had gotten in a stock of new loose figures, and thrown some of the more beaten-up figures into the dollar bin.  I was mostly happy meal toys, knock-offs, and the like, but I did dig this guy out.  He was covered in god-knows-what, but I figured it was worth it to grab him and see what sort of condition he was in.  So, I got him home, and I sat down with my cleaning supplies, and after about a half an hour or so, I had a Thing figure that was in pretty great shape.  And now my Series 1 set is complete.  For a dollar.  Not bad.

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#1456: Annihilus

ANNIHILUS

MARVEL SUPER HEROES (TOY BIZ)

“Power mad is the only word that can describe the flying nightmare known as Annihilus. He’s not satisfied being the merciless ruler of his own dimension, the bizarre Negative Zone – he wants to be the tyrant of Earth’s universe too! And because he carries the near-limitless force of the awesome Cosmic Control Rod on his chest, he has the power to make his wicked dream a reality! Only the Fantastic Four have been able to block his nightmarish plans of conquest.”

The foes of the Fantastic Four don’t ever seem to get much respect.  Beyond Doctor Doom and Galactus, it’s like they don’t exist.  And that’s a shame, because the FF have a lot of really fun villains.  One such villain is Annihilus, the ruler of the Phantom Zone.  Annihilus has had a few different figures over the years, but he got his very first in 1992, in what was effectively luck of the draw.  I’ll be looking at that figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Annihilus was released in Series 3 of Toy Biz’s Marvel Super Heroes line.  Series 3 included Toy Biz’s first versions of the Fantastic Four, and they needed a villain to go along with them.  However, Doctor Doom had already been released in Series 1, meaning TB needed another villain.  Why they chose Annihilus is anyone’s guess.  Perhaps they just thought he had the coolest design?  Who knows?  Annihilus is seen here sporting his classic design, which I believe was still the only one he had at the time of this figure’s release.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  Like most of the others from this line, Annihilus’s sculpt is rather dated, and looks a little out of place with more modern items, or even figures from just a few years later in TB’s run.  The details are a little more simplified, and, most noticeably, he’s really scrawny.  This was a recurring issue, after Toy Biz moved away from the slightly stockier figures of the first two series, where everyone went too far the other direction.  I don’t believe Annihilus has ever been quite this small.  It should be noted, though, that this is still not a bad sculpt.  There’s some nice work on some of the smaller details, especially on the head, which looks good for the time, if perhaps a little goofy in this day and age.  Though jiust how they’d be handled on later figures would vary, the wings on this Annihilus are permanently affixed to the figure, and much like the original Toy Biz Archangel, there’s a wing-flapping action feature that’s operated by the little lever on the back.  It doesn’t offer a ton of motion, and the wings are sort of small and silly, but it’s a mildly amusing little feature.  Paint on Annihilus is fairly simple.  Mostly, he’s just molded in the proper colors, with only a few actual painted details, which are all just straight colors.  It’s hardly inaccurate to his original design, though, so it’s hard to really complain.  Perhaps some metallics would have added some flair, but beyond that, this feels decent enough. Annihilus included no accessories, but he’s got the wings, so that’s at least something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have this figure growing up.  Instead, I had the later one from the main Fantastic Four line.  Unfortunately, that one had a removable head, and I lost mine, so I’ve been without a proper Annihilus for a little while.  I’m slowly working my way to getting a complete run of Toy Biz 5-inch figures, so I grabbed this guy at the Dave Hart Toy Show this past summer, in an effort to get one step closer to my goal. He’s sort of a goofy little figure. There’s no denying that.  But, he’s still entertaining, and that’s really all I look for in an action figure.

#1360: Invisible Woman

INVISIBLE WOMAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“With HERBIE by her side, Sue Storm uses psionic energy to suit up as the incredible hero, Invisible Woman!”

Fantastic Four Marvel Legends?  It’s a Christmas miracle!  Or something.

The poor FF has fallen out of fashion in recent years, in no small part due to the lackluster-to-atrocious quality of their live-action films and the fact that their film rights aren’t currently with Marvel proper (it also doesn’t help that creative teams who actually know what to do with the characters are a dying breed, meaning their comic hasn’t really been selling well either).  On the plus side, it looks like things are on the upturn for the Fab Four, with a triumphant return to the toy aisles, starting with Sue Richards, aka the Invisible Woman!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Invisible Woman is the latest Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Legends figure.  This marks only the second time that Sue’s been offered as a single figure in the Legends line. Unlike prior Walgreens exclusives, Sue’s not attached to any other particular series.  Instead, she’s the first of a sub-set of FF figures exclusive to Walgreens, and she’ll be joined by her brother Johnny later this year.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  She’s built on the new base female body (seen previously on the likes of Phoenix, Kitty Pryde, and Kate-Guy), which is, as always, a welcome choice.  It’s a pretty solid base overall, and serves as a good starting point for Sue.  She also gets a new head, which is just a, pardon the phrase, fantastic piece.  Easily one of my favorite head sculpts from Legends as of late.  Definitely Hasbro’s best female, and that’s saying something, given their recent track record.  Sue’s had a number of hair-dos over the years, and a lot of them have been really period-specific.  The one they’ve gone with is pretty timeless and true to the character.  I like that the face is calm and friendly, as Sue should be, rather than being too bland or intense.  The paint on Sue is pretty decent, but there are a few things that seem a little off.  The overall application is really sharp and bold.  The face is particularly clean, as is the emblem.  The emblem being all in grey is a little different than I was expecting, but I can’t say I dislike it.  The only real issue I have is how they’ve implemented her powers.  The actual work isn’t bad; her right arm starts full color and slowly fades out.  It’s a cool effect, and very well rendered.  The real issue is that there’s no option to swap the arm out, meaning she’s always stuck like that.  Still, that’s a pretty minor issue.  Sue *does* include an extra hand, that’s done up to match the right arm, so that’s cool.  And, since it’s going to be a little while before the rest of her teammates are released, Sue also includes a HERBIE pack-in figure to keep her company.  Believe it or not, this is actually HERBIE’s third time as an action figure, and second as a Marvel Legend.  He’s about 3 inches tall and has a joint as the neck, as well as a removable flight stand to let him hover.  His sculpt is pretty awesome, and his paint is nice and clean.  He’s just an all-around awesome inclusion.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Here’s a shock: I got this Walgreens exclusive figure at Walgreens.  I know.  Thrilling.  In all honestly, I’ve been patiently waiting for this figure ever since Toy Biz released Reed back in Series 5 of the original line.  14 years is a lot of waiting.  Ultimately, I’m glad I waited, because this is best Invisible Woman figure ever released.  I can’t wait to get the rest of the team to match!

#1344: The Thing

THE THING

FANTASTIC FOUR: DELUXE EDITION (TOY BIZ)

“Ben Grimm became the Thing after he was bombarded by cosmic rays in a space flight gone awry with scientist Reed Richards.  Since then he has dedicated his life to fighting crime as a founding member of the Fantastic Four, fending off many foes with the mere words — it’s clobberin’ time!”

It’s been 3 years since I reviewed a figure of Benjamin J. Grimm, better known as the ever-lovin’, blue-eyed Thing.  That’s quite a long time.  It’s a bit surprising, really, since he’s the FF member I own the most figures of, so you’d think he’d show up a little more frequently, but no.  Well, I’m fixing that today, and I’m also looking at yet another of the old Toy Biz 10-inch figures.  That’s always fun!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Thing was part of the second assortment of Toy Biz’s Fantastic Four: Deluxe Edition line.  I think.  It got a little hard to follow after the first three-figure assortment.  The main thing to note is that they only ever released Ben and Johnny in this scale (flip side, they only did Reed and Sue in the Famous Covers style.  So, it works out, I guess?)  The figure stands a little over 10 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation.  As I’ve noted a few times before, the 10-inch figures made use of the two-up prototypes used for the 5-inch line.  This is partly true for the Thing, but he also has a pretty healthy helping of new or tweaked parts, presumably to help with costs.  The only part that looks to be a straight re-use is the head, which is a pretty great Ben Grimm head, so that’s certainly a good thing.  The rest of the parts follow the general look of the smaller figure, but he’s been given a much straighter stance, thereby giving the figure less overall bulk.  He’s still quite a bit more sizable than the other figures in the line, so it’s not a really big change.  In general, he also seems a little more boxy than his smaller counterpart, which doesn’t look quite as good, but once again, it’s not a huge difference.  Regardless, the head sculpt is the real star here.  The paint on Ben is pretty basic; he’s molded mostly in orange, with a bit of blue and while for his shorts and eyes.  What’s there is pretty decent, though obviously the paint on my figure has seen better days.  This figure was originally packed with a protective helmet, emulating the helmet Ben wore in the comics when he had the robotic suit to replace his lost powers.  It was rare that a 10-inch figure got an extra not included with the smaller figure, but this was the one that got it.  If only mine still had his.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have this guy growing up.  He didn’t hang around stores long, and he also didn’t get any prominent re-releases like some of the other figures.  This guy’s actually the first item I’m reviewing from my pretty awesome haul I picked up from Bobakhan Toys, which is a super awesome toy store I found just outside of Seattle while I was there with Super Awesome Girlfriend’s family.  I was, admittedly, a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume of toys in the store, so I was trying to pick and chose a few things that most stood out to me.  Super Awesome Girlfriend picked this guy up and insisted I get him.  I can’t say that I really fought her.  I like this guy.  He’s not quite as cool as the 5-inch version, but he’s still pretty awesome.  And Ben’s my favorite FF member, so that probably helps with the cool factor as well.

#1240: Invisible Woman

FORCE FIELD INVISIBLE WOMAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

At one point, the Fantastic Four were the premier characters at Marvel.  They’re the whole reason for the modern Marvel universe’s existence, and were a central piece of said universe for almost 50 years.  Unfortunately, the fact that the film license for the characters lies with 20th Century Fox has made the characters very difficult to use in Marvel’s current structure, which is very reliant on movie momentum to keep things going.  This, plus a less than stellar relationship with Fox and the fact that the Four don’t have the same selling power as Spider-Man and the X-Men, has led to Marvel’s first family and all associated characters being absent from pretty much all Marvel merchandise for quite a few years, which is a real shame.  Before it all fell apart, the FF were the main source of one of my all-time favorite assortments of Marvel Minimates, which is where today’s version of the Invisible Woman hails from.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Force Field Invisible Woman was released alongside the Moloid (previously reviewed here) in Series 48 of Marvel Minimates.  Sue was the heavier-packed regular release to Alicia’s short-packed variant release.  She, like the rest of the team in this series, is based on her appearance during John Byrne’s lengthy run on the title in the ‘80s, which just so happens to be my favorite set of costumes for the team (in no small part due to the presence of the designs in the ‘90s cartoon, which served as my main introduction to the characters.)  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  She’s built on the standard body, with an add-on piece for her hair.  It’s a new piece, and it does a reasonable enough job of capturing Sue’s standard look, from early in Byrne’s run and any time an artist other than Byrne depicted this design.  Seems odd that they sculpted an all-new piece, since there were several that probably would have worked fine, but I’m not complaining.  She also has an alternate hairpiece, based on the mullet she was sporting for while during Byrne’s run.  Not my preferred look for her, but it was a look she had for a good long while in the costume, so it’s good DST didn’t leave it out.  The paint on Sue is about what you’d expect from a modern ‘mate.  The details are nice and clean, and the colors are a pretty decent match for the comics.  If we’re getting picky, the shadows should be black, not dark blue, since Byrne has stated many times that the costumes weren’t actually blue.  However, it’s dark enough that it’s still passable.  Sue is packed with two sets of arms and legs: solid colors and partially transparent, simulating her powers.  She also includes a stand made up to look like the beginnings of an invisible shield, which is a really fun piece. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This whole series was one of my most anticipated releases of Minimates at the time, so I made it a point of going to Cosmic Comix the day they were released to pick them up.  I’ve got other Invisible Woman ‘mates, but this one’s my favorite.  The costume choice is great, and the extras are, well, they’re just fantastic.  Which is very appropriate, is it not?

Flashback Friday Figure Addendum #0005: Terrax

0017

It’s Friday again, and you guys know what that means: another Flashback Friday Figure addendum!  This week, I’m moving away from the Batman Forever stuff, and jumping over to one of my earlier Toy Biz Marvel reviews, Terrax!

Today’s review is another Fantastic Four figure, this is the last of the wave one reviews: Terrax.  There was one other figure in the first wave, Benjamin J Grimm, aka the Thing, but I didn’t have that version.  I had the later wave 3 version.  And can I just address the fact that I’m reviewing Terrax, but I’ve yet to get to the Human Torch and the Invisible Woman? You know the other HALF of the title team!  How exactly did TERRAX get himself a spot in the line before two of the title characters?  He’s really not that great a character, nor has he ever really been all that important…ever.  Anyway…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

So like I said before, this is Terrax, the second herald of Galactus, part of the first wave of Toybiz’s FF line.  He’s depicted here in Terrax’s only look ever, which must have made the costume choice pretty easy for the guys at Toybiz.  At one point in time, Terrax had a rock stand and his trusty axe (which tears through stuff.  Clever name….).  Mine doesn’t have these items any more.  The figure’s actually a very good depiction of Terrax, which is nice because he’s not one of those characters who gets many chances at having an action figure made.  His hands are interesting, because they’re both molded to hold his axe, but due to their vertical placement and his limited articulation, he can only hold it in one hand at a time.  This leaves the other hand with this thumbs up position.  What is this guy, the Fonz? (AAAAAAAAY!)  Actually, that might make his character a bit more interesting.  You heard it here first Marvel! (Do they even realize that this character exists?)

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Terrax was another of the gift figures.  It’s fine because he’s a great, big, bad guy for your heroes to fight.  That was always good enough for me!

Okay, by this point I was starting to get into the swing of things.  Over 300 words and an actual intro.  Still doesn’t quite follow my modern structuring, but not terrible at all.  And of course, I was still doing full series reviews at this point, which is rather different than how I do things now.

Terrax is a little over 5 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation.  Missing from my original review were his rock stand, removable skirt piece and his axe.  Of those pieces, the only one I found during The Find was his axe, but that’s okay, since the axe is definitely the most important piece!

Not a whole lot of extra thoughts on this guy, I gotta say.  That’s all for cosmic Fonzie here.

#1095: Adam Warlock

ADAM WARLOCK

MARVEL OVERPOWER CARD GAME

adamwarlocktb1

Around this time last year, I discussed the interesting case of the US Agent figure from Toy Biz’s ‘90s Iron Man line.  He was slotted for the third series of the line, but dropped at the last minute when Toy Biz cut all of their lines back to six figures per series.  US Agent’s mold would bounce around for a bit, and he was ultimately only available through a difficult to acquire, non-Toy Biz or Marvel sanctioned release. 

Running concurrently with the Iron Man line was a Fantastic Four line, which was also subject to the downsizing of assortments.  US Agent’s equivalent in this line was Adam Warlock, who was presumably dropped from the FF line-up because he, like US Agent, was the only character not to be featured on the cartoon the line was meant to tie-in with.  Adam would prove far more fortunate than poor US Agent in regards to his figure’s release, however, with Toy Biz actually finding a venue to put him out.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

adamwarlocktb2After being dropped from the third series of Toy Biz’s Fantastic Four line in 1995, Adam Warlock was ultimately released in 1996 as part of a small KB Toys-exclusive line of four figures designed to coincide with Fleer’s Marvel: Overpower Card Game. The other three figures were straight forward repaints of earlier figures, and much more popular characters to boot, making Adam seem like an odd choice.  I guess Toy Biz just really wanted to get him out there!  Adam is seen here sporting his early ‘90s design, which was kind of a merging of his two previous looks.  It’s my favorite of his looks, but it’s entirely possible that I like it because it’s the one I saw on all those card backs in the ‘90s.  The figure is just over 5 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  Because of the light-up feature integrated into his eyes and Infinity stone, Adam doesn’t get any neck articulation, which results in him feeling rather stiff, even when placed with this compatriots from the same time period.  Stiffness aside, Adam’s sculpt is pretty good.  It’s certainly on par with the rest of the ‘90s FF figures, which is good, overall.  The proportions are a little weird in some areas (especially the upper arms; those things are huge), and the head’s a little soft in terms of detail, but he generally looks pretty good.  Warlock has a removable cape, which actually a fair bit different from the cape his FF prototype was sporting.  This one is much more dynamic in pose, and fits more with the stuff Toy Biz was starting to put out in 1996.  I kind of prefer the prototype version, if I’m honest.  The flow of this one kind of clashes with the style of the figure proper, since he’s just sort of standing there, and it’s all crazy wind-blown.  It also has some trouble sitting right on his shoulders, which can get very annoying.  Another thing that was changed from Adam’s prototype to thee Overpower figure is the paint scheme.  It’s not terribly different, but the yellow was swapped out for gold, and the red has been made a little less vibrant.  Like the new cape, it’s more in keeping with the sort of work TB was doing in 1996, but it results in him not fitting in quite as well with the FF figures as he should.  The gold paint has also not stood the test of time, meaning some of the details get lost.  Adam included his signature staff, as well as an Adam Warlock  Overpower card.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like US Agent, Adam Warlock is a figure I always wanted, due to his presence on the back of the Iron Man and Fantastic Four card backs, but was never able to find, due to the lack of information on such things at the time (the internet was around, but we toy geeks hadn’t quite migrated to it yet).  I’ve known about the existence of this particular figure for several  years, and I’ve even seen him once or twice in person, but I never got around to picking him up.  I ended up finding Adam while exploring the new area I’m living in, at a very cool shop called Power Comics.  Adam’s not quite as fun as US Agent, mostly due to Toy Biz changing so much from ’95 to ’96, and this guy getting hit with some weird amalgamation of those two years’ styles.  If he’d been a straight recreation of the figure as originally intended (like US Agent was), I think he might have been a bit better.  As it stands, I think he’s still the best version of the guy out there.

adamwarlocktb3

#0964: Mr. Fantastic

MR. FANTASIC

FATASTIC FOUR (TOY BIZ)

MrFantastic1

The 2005 Fantastic Four movie is definitely far from a perfect film. Yesterday, I touched on the casting of Jessica Alba as the Invisible Woman, which is often cited as one of the film’s biggest negative factors. On the plus side, they didn’t botch all of the casting. Chris Evans as Johnny was quite good, as was Michael Chiklis’ take on Ben. Ioan Gruffudd’s Reed Richards doesn’t stand out quite as much as those two, and he was unfortunately hampered by a lack of chemistry with Alba’s Sue of Julian McMahon’s Von Doom. Still, Gruffudd turned in a decent, stand-up performance. As with the rest of the cast, he got a handful of action figures from the movie, one of which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

MrFantastic3This particular Mr. Fantastic was included as a pack-in with the Fantasticar* that Toy Biz put out in the first Fantastic Four movie line. The figure stands just over 6 inches tall (without the neck extension), and he has 28 points of articulation. His articulation is a little weird, since it’s not in keeping with the rest of the figures in the line. That’s because this figure is actually a scaled down version of the 12-inch rotocast Mr. Fantastic. That figure’s hollow construction necessitated the “v” hips, and the lack of waist movement is due to the larger figure’s inclusion of an extending neck feature. At the smaller scale, the extending neck wasn’t feasible, but he still loses the articulation. Oh well. Aside from the slightly off articulation, the sculpt actually isn’t bad. I think the head has the best Ioan Gruffudd likeness of any of the Reed figures Toy Biz put out, and the body sculpt avoids a lot of the wonkier proportions that plagued a lot of the Fantastic Four movie figures. The longer forearms and larger than normal hands are a pretty cool way of showing off Mr. Fantasic’s powers, and I like the inclusion of all the smaller details on the gloves. Unfortunately, though the sculpt is a step-up from the other figures, the paint is a definite step down. Moving past the annoying scrapes of missing paint on my figure (which probably weren’t there when he was new), the paint is much more straightforward on this figure. There’s no accent work on any of the costume pieces, and there are several spots of noticeable slop, especially on the figure’s right thigh. On the plus side, the hair does exhibit some halfway decent work, so it’s not a total loss. Reed’s only real accessory was the extendable neck piece. It would have been nice to get a set of normal sized hands as well, but given that this figure was essentially an accessory himself, the lack of extra pieces isn’t unforgivable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Reed at the same time as Sue, from a dealer at Balticon. I actually looked at the Fantasticar set a few times when it was on shelves but I never got one. In addition, I had the 12-inch version of this figure, which I liked quite a bit. The smaller version isn’t quite as impressive, but he’s still a pretty decent figure, and he might be my favorite version of the character that this line had to offer.

*The Fantasticar didn’t actually appear on-screen until the 2007 sequel. The one that this figure was included with was a Toy Biz-original creation, since the movie design had not yet been developed at the time of this toy’s release.

#0963: Power Blast Invisible Woman

POWER BLAST INVISIBLE WOMAN

FATASTIC FOUR (TOY BIZ)

SueAlba1

The Fantastic Four haven’t really had much luck when it comes to movies. The recent Fant4stic was a total box-office bomb, of, like, epic proportions. Before that travesty, there were two other theatrical Fantastic Four movies, which weren’t bad, but were far from great. One of the more present issues with both 2005’s Fantastic Four and its sequel Rise of the Silver Surfer was the questionable casting choice of Jessica Alba as Susan Storm, aka the Invisible Woman. As is the case with just about every Marvel movie, Fantastic Four got its own line of toys, which included a couple versions of Alba’s Invisible Woman.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

SueAlba2Power Blast Invisible Woman was released as part of the first series of Toy Biz’s Fantastic Four movie tie-in. There were actually three different variations of this figure released. The figure I’m looking at today is the fully visible version, but there were also fully invisible and “half-and-half” versions available. She stands about 6 inches tall and has 38 points of articulation. Sue comes from around the point when Toy Biz was focusing on articulation above all else, and it kind of shows. Sure, she’s got a lot of movement, but she looks more like a drawing mannequin than an actual person. The joints are really obvious and she’s painfully skinny, to a degree that no living person should be. The waist is the absolute worst, though; it’s actually a bit smaller than her thigh in diameter, which is beyond off. These are proportions that would look strange even on a comicbook character, but on a figure that’s supposed to be based on a real person, they’re downright laughable. At the very least, the figure’s head is a pretty spot-on likeness of Jessica Alba, right down to that slightly condescending sneer she was sporting for about 99% of her screen time in the movies. The hair is a separate piece and whole it’s a little on the thick side, it’s not atrocious, and there’s at least some nice detailing. Sue’s paintwork is probably the figure’s strongest point. Everything’s pretty clean overall, and there’s even some nice accent work on the uniform of the blue, which helps keep it from getting too monotonous. Her face is also surprisingly well-done, especially at this scale. Invisible Woman included a disc-firing base, which I think was supposed to represent here powers somewhat, but it just ends up being weird.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Sue was one of the more difficult to find figures in the line at the time of release, so I didn’t have this figure when she was new. She ended up being one of the 15 figures I picked up at this past Balticon. The figure’s definitely wonky, especially in terms of proportions, and Alba’s Sue is far from one of my favorite characters, so I can’t say this is one of my favorite figures. But hey, she was $2. I can’t really complain.

#0956: Doctor Doom

DOCTOR DOOM

MARVEL SUPER HEROES SECRET WARS (MATTEL)

DoomSW1

If you asked me who I though the greatest super hero in comics was, I probably wouldn’t be able to give you a single answer. Maybe I could give like a list of five or so, but that’s the best I can do. The best super VILLAIN in comics, though? That’s easy. It’s Doctor Doom. No question. He’s as good as it gets, mostly because he doesn’t shy away from being an absurd comicbook caricature. He’s ridiculous, his plans are over the top and needlessly complicated, and he likes to speak in the third person a lot. He’s just a very fun character. Of course, movie makers decided that they could “improve” on that, resulting in two rather terrible live-action takes on the character, but I digress. Despite being the number one foe of the Fantasic Four, who were all represented in Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes line, Victor Von Doom wouldn’t get his first action figure for another decade. I’ll be looking at that figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

DoomSW2Doctor Doom was released in the first series of Mattel’s Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars line. Doctor Doom has an interesting place in the line. He had a rather prominent role in the tie-in comic series produced by Marvel, but it’s worth noting that three of the four members of the Fantastic Four were also prominent in the series, yet Doom is the only FF-related character that the line released. Slightly odd if you ask me, but given how much of this line relied on using the same basic pieces for every figure, I guess Mattel just didn’t want to justify the costs of new molds for the likes of Sue or Ben.  Anyway, this figure stands 4 ½ inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation. Rather than going with the classic Doctor Doom design (because, hey, it had only been around for 20 years. Nobody was attached to it or anything), this figure gets a Mattel original design. It keeps a lot of the same basic cues as the usual Doom look, but gives him a more generic battle armor sort of look. To be fair, the design did appear in the comic tie-in towards the end, but I feel that was more to tie-in with the toy than working the other way around. Despite the line being mostly built on the same basic body, Doom actually uses none of the standard parts. That’s not to say he’s totally unique; he shares his arms and legs with Iron Man. Though Doom’s armor is usually not as sleek as Iron Man’s, but they’re close enough that it works alright. The right leg has been slightly tweaked to add a leg strap (apparently Doom was ahead of the ‘90s pouch craze), which works well enough. Doom has a unique head and torso, which are…decent? They don’t suck. There are even some fun little details, such as the jetpack on the back of the torso and the little rivets on the faceplate. Individually, they really aren’t bad, but they don’t work very together. The weirdest thing is the head, which has Doom’s signature hood, which ends rather abruptly. It’s almost as if it was sculpted to rest on top of some sort of cape piece, but no such piece was included. At one time, Doctor Doom had a rather complicated paint scheme on the torso, but Secret Wars figures are notorious for their paint wear, and this figure was no exception. As it stands, my figure’s only paint is on the head, for the eyes and mask, which are basic, but pretty well handled. Doctor Doom originally included two blasters and one of the wonky lenticular shields that all of the line’s figures had.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Doctor Doom last weekend at Balticon. I got him from the same vendor’s table where I got Bane, so he was another $2 figure. Secret Wars really isn’t a line I saw myself getting very invested in, but I keep finding them for pretty good deals. Doom is probably the weakest figure I’ve looked at so far. He really shows off a lot of the line’s flaws, especially with the toy-original design. Still, he’s not the worst figure I’ve ever owned, and I like having him for the novelty.