#2997: High Evolutionary

HIGH EVOLUTIONARY

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“With a highly advanced intelligence and a cybernetic exoskeleton, the High Evolutionary challenges the Fantastic Four.”

First appearing in the pages of Thor, Herbert Edgar Wyndham, aka the Higher Evolutionary, is kind of one of those grander scope sort of villains.  He’s not really straight-forward evil, but more invested in a larger advancement of humanity and life as a whole.  Some times these goals put him at odds with our heroes, some times less so.  And, more often than not, he’s really just off on his own.  Interestingly, despite what the bio says outright and the presence of the figure in the assortment may suggest, he’s only had fleeting contact with the FF, and very rarely as an adversary for the team.  But, if it gets me a High Evolutionary, it gets me a High Evolutionary.  I won’t be picky.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The High Evolutionary is the final figure in the FF-themed Retro Collection assortment of Marvel Legends.  This marks his very first time in action figure form, which is pretty darn cool.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  High Evolutionary’s movement scheme is pretty standard for the line.  He’s a little bit on the restricted side, especially on the torso and hips, but given the character’s tendency to mostly just stand around menacingly, it honestly isn’t too bad.  He’s also got the pinless construction on the elbows and knees, which continues to be a nice upgrade for all of the figures that have it.  High Evolutionary’s sculpt is an all-new piece, and it’s honestly got a lot going on.  It’s clearly classically inspired at its base, but uses some of the more modern interpretations of the character to add a little bit more detailing, especially on the face.  It makes for a figure that’s a little more visually stimulating than he might be if he were just a straight classic look.  Generally, I quite like it.  The figure’s color work is almost entirely reliant on molded plastic, which is all metallic and swirly.  I’d prefer that the maroon sections were maybe a touch darker, but otherwise it looks pretty solid.  He’s got minor paint work for a few of the smaller accents, which works out pretty well.  They’re cleanly applied and they get the job done.  The High Evolutionary is packed with two sets of hands, one set in fists and the other in open gesture.  It’s not a ton, but he is a completely new sculpt, and I’m not really sure what else there is to give him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My primary knowledge of this guy came from his one episode of X-Men: The Animated Series.  He’s a weird guy, but he’s got a cool look, and it’s definitely been one I’ve wanted for a while in toy form.  His inclusion in this particular assortment may be a little weird, but I’m honestly just glad to have gotten him, and it’s especially nice that Hasbro really put the effort into making as much of a one-off as possible.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#2996: Psycho-Man

PSYCHO-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Highly intelligent, Psycho-Man uses advanced technology to manipulate emotions and threaten the Fantastic Four.”

And we’re back to the Marvel Legends.  We’re staying on the FF path for the next two days, resuming today with Psycho-Man, a Stan Lee and Jack Kirby creation the title’s fifth Annual.  He appeared only a few times in the ’60s, before his connection to the Microverse was used to tie the Micronauts into the mainstream Marvel universe in the ’80s.  His connection back to the FF was brought back around during John Byrne’s run on the book, who used the character to, amongst other things, get Sue to accept that she was a bit old to be going by “Invisible Girl” and that she was also the team’s strongest member.  Good story for her, though perhaps not an astounding showcase for Psycho-Man himself.  He does have a pretty killer look, though, and that always makes for a good figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Psycho-Man is part of the FF-themed Retro Collection assortment of Marvel Legends.  He fits in pretty perfectly, since his only other figure was during Toy Biz’s original FF line, which these figures are homaging.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and sports 28 points of articulation.  His articulation scheme is actually quite impressive given his overall bulk.  The use of ball joints at the neck and mid-torso really give him a nice range, as do the double joints at the elbows and knees.  He’s also using the pinless construction again, which looks nice and sleek.  Psycho-Man’s sculpt is a completely new offering, and it’s a pretty nice one at that.  It’s definitely going more for the Byrne take on Psycho-Man, which is fitting with the theme, and also just the better take on the character, I feel.  It’s a clean, sleek, and very technically impressive.  He’s only got the one set of hands, which has become a rarity these days.  They’re a decent combo as well, at least in terms of posing options and the like.  Psycho-Man’s paint work is pretty straight forward, with the colors being largely reliant on molded plastic.  It all works very well, and I really love the metallic green.  He’s packed with only one accessory: his Control Box, the thing that allows him to control other people’s emotions.  It’s a rather basic piece, but still a rather fun one.  At least he got something, and this does work quit well with his right hand pose, allowing it to be carried under his arm.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though Psycho-Man’s not really a prominent player in much of anything, I do rather fondly remember his one appearance on the FF cartoon, as well as the figure from the toy line that accompanied, which did get a good amount of use by me on the basis of him just being a pretty great chunky bad-guy toy.  I wasn’t really sure we’d ever see an update on that one, but I sure am glad we did.  This figure is just a pretty solid offering from start to finish, and I can’t imagine there being a better take on the character in figure form.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#2993: Human Torch

HUMAN TORCH

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Fiery and hot-headed, the Human Torch can burn through just about any adversity with a smile.”

What a shock!  Four days into–wait a second, I feel like I just did this.  This is the Retro Collection Human Torch review, right?  I mean, the name’s the same, and the bio’s the same…but the figure’s different?  I’m sure this won’t get confusing at all.  There’s always this sort of dilemma when it comes to Human Torch on how exactly to handle his figures.  He’s got the two rather distinct looks, but it’s tricky to justify doing an extra of just one member of the team every time you do them.  The last two times Hasbro tackled the FF, they took two different approaches, with a fully flamed-on for the classic suits, and a powered-down for the modern.  This latest round gets the fancy treatment, though, with both versions in play for the same line-up.  That’s crazy!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Human Torch is a Pulse-Exclusive Retro Collection release, timed to coincide with the FF-themed assortment of Marvel Legends.  Like the others, he’s patterned not only on Toy Biz’s ’90s toy line, but also on the Byrne-era design for the character, specifically his non-flamed-on look.  This marks the first time since the 10-inch Toy Biz line that this design’s gotten the fully powered-down treatment, and the only time there’s been one that matches with a full set of the other three.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  As with the flamed-on release, he’s on the ANAD 2099 body, and re-uses the head from the Super Skrull Series Johnny.  I’m iffy on the head, less for why I was the first time, when it looked a little malformed.  It looks better here, so I think there may have just been some mold issues the first time around.  What bugs me on this particular release is that the hair is just plainly wrong for any version of this costume.  This fits neither Byrne’s depiction, nor the animation model.  The face would have been fine with a new hair piece, I think, but re-using the whole thing comes off as a bit lazy.  Otherwise, the parts selection isn’t terrible.  The body has become the standard for Johnny, and I don’t mind that too much.  The paint work matches pretty closely to both Reed and Sue, so there’s some good consistency there.  The head is again a little better this time around than the Super Skrull release had been, so that’s a nice improvement.  The flame effect hands even actually paint the gloved parts white, which looks a little nicer than just the straight orange from last time.  Human Torch includes a spare set of hands in fists, as well as the swirly flame effects for the arms, and the shoulder flames from the other Torch release, which actually sit a little more securely this time.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I won’t lie, I was a little disappointed by this figure when he was first shown off.  The fact that he was exclusive was annoying enough, because I do really like having a flamed-of Johnny, but I was also really bummed about the re-used head.  I still ordered him, though, because these are my favorite FF costumes, and I wasn’t going to miss out on actually having a Johnny that matched.  In-hand, I gotta say, I’m pleasantly surprised by this figure.  I’d still have preferred a new head, but I can appreciate this one for what it is.  And boy, do they all look really good together.

#2992: Human Torch

HUMAN TORCH

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Fiery and hot-headed, the Human Torch can burn through just about any adversity with a smile.”

What a shock!  Four days into Fantastic Four reviews, I’m reviewing, would you believe it, the fourth member of the team?  Crazy how that works.  I mean, nobody let Toy Biz know.  They don’t tend to go for that sort of thing.  Or, you know, that whole “still being in business” sort of thing, I suppose.  Since taking over the license, Hasbro has been pretty good about doing the FF in proper batches of all four team members, and this latest round is no exception.  So, let’s look at that fourth member, the Human Torch, in his all flame-on-y form!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Human Torch is another figure from the FF-themed Retro Collection assortment of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.  While the last three are definitively in their Byrne-era costumes, Torch is a little more multi-purpose, as he’s in fully flamed-on form.  Stylistically, he still follows how Byrne illustrated him, but he can also work with other variants of the FF, especially since there are no specific costume details visible.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Structurally, he follows the lead of the Super Skrull Series Torch, who moved Johnny over to the ANAD 2099 body, which does generally feel like a better fit for the character than the Bucky Cap had been.  He gets the head, hands, and forearms from the Walgreens release, which are certainly the best parts of that one.  He also gets the flames add-on for the shoulders, though it’s been tweaked to remove the back peg.  This unfortunately makes it a lot trickier to keep the piece in place, which is definitely the most frustrating thing about this figure.  In general, the sculpt’s not bad, but I will say he’s the one that feels the most far-removed from a proper classic illustration.  The paint work does at least do its part to help with that classic look.  He’s largely relying on the translucent plastic he cast in to sell the effect, but they’ve also painted on the scorch line effects commonly used in the comics to show that he’s fully ablaze.  It works surprisingly well in three dimensions.  He’s packed with a spare set of standard fists, as well as two flame effects.  The effects are a bit tricky to use, given there are already sculpted flames on the forearms, but I’m glad they at least threw in something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Johnny is always tricky to handle in toy form, going all the way back to Mego.  Of the Walgreens figures, he was definitely the weakest, and the Super Skrull release was better, but still not quite there.  I was a little iffy on this one going back to fully flamed-on, but it did work out better than I’d expected.  All things considered, this one is pretty good, and has the added benefit of being able to serve multiple purposes within the display.  It’s not a huge shock he’s usually the first to sell out.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#2991: The Thing

THE THING

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“With his nearly indestructible body and incredible strength and stamina, the Thing possesses the ability to crush evil.”

Benjamin J Grimm tends to get simplified down to just dumb muscle, but he’s actually quite a nuanced character, perhaps the most nuanced of the core team.  He’s quite literally the rock that grounds the team, as well as the most practically-minded member of the team, making him the perfect counterpoint to Reed’s lofty theoretical concepts.  And, in case you couldn’t tell, he’s also my favorite member of the team.  So, I’m always happy to see him get more proper appreciation.  I’m also happy to see him get solid toy coverage, which is, admittedly, rather frequent.  That works out, I guess!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Thing is part of the FF-themed assortment of the Retro Collection sub-line of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.  As with the rest of the team, he’s patterned on his old ’90s Toy Biz figure, in terms of both the packaging and the figure packed within it.  That means that, like the others, he’s wearing his Byrne-era costume, specifically the more classic speedo-wearing look.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  He’s largely the same as the last two Thing figures, which is understandable.  It’s a really good starting point, and I’m sure Hasbro would like to get as much traction out of it as possible.  Three years later, it still remains a very strong sculpt, and it’s still the best version of the Thing out there, so you’ll hear no notable complaints from me.  This time around, he gets two new head sculpts, as well as a new set of hips to actually give him the short-shorts look.  I didn’t hate the briefs look for the last two figures, but it would have definitely been out of place for this design in particular.  The two new heads cover two different expressions, one angry and teeth gritting, and one more calm.  Both sculpts take some rather clear inspiration from the character’s second season animation model from the ’90s cartoon, which I am totally on board with.  It’s a little sharper on the edges to fit with the pre-existing body sculpt, but it really works.  The angry expression is really great from every angle.  The calm one is a little dopey looking in some angles, but even so I kind of find myself a little more drawn to it, just do to my own want to always have a not as angry option for any given Ben Grimm figure.  Ben’s paint on this release more follows how the Super Skrull Series version did things, providing some highlights to a few areas of the sculpt.  I don’t know that it works out quite as well on this particular release.  In some spots, especially the feet, it feels a little bit slap dash.  It’s ultimately not terribly noticeable in person, but it stands out a bit more in the photos than I’d prefer.  It could certainly be worse, but I find myself almost wishing they’d foregone the accenting entirely, to really capture that ’90s figure feel a bit more.  In addition to the previously mentioned extra head, Ben gets two sets of hands, one in fists and the other in open gesture.  In contrast to the other figures, Ben and his accessories literally take up every available spot in the blister, so he definitely doesn’t feel like he’s lacking anything.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Any good FF set needs a good Ben Grimm for me, and I’m especially attached to that ’90s animated look.  The fact that this guy is not only in the Byrne costume, but also leans more heavily into the actual animation style is pretty much exactly what I need.  The accent paint’s a bit wonky, but certainly not enough to ruin the figure at all, and the sculpt still really shines.  I’d love to see a variant in the tank top gear, but I can wait on that.  This one is more than enough to hold me over until then.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#2990: Mr. Fantastic

MR. FANTASTIC

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“As Mr. Fantastic, Reed Richards utilizes his scientific brilliance and pliable form to make a difference in the world.”

In contrast to what Reed’s bio may say above, when the Fantastic Four first debuted, Stan Lee intended for them to have no direct impact on the world around them.  In particular, Reed’s inventions and jumps forward would be mostly self-contained within the team’s own adventures, and not so much affecting the world around him.  This was the status quo for some time, but slowly it was shed, to the point that Reed became a major architect for advancement within the Marvel universe, as kind of a touch stone for the other heroes.  What’s all of this got to do with the toy?  Not a ton, but I was running out of ways to start FF reviews, so here you go.  Let’s look at this new Reed Richards figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mr. Fantastic is part of the FF-themed assortment of the Retro Collection sub-line of Marvel Legends.  Like Sue, he’s based on his ’90s figure, to match with the packaging style, which places him in his John Byrne-designed costume.  He’s also a separate throwback to his Toy Biz Legends boxed-set counterpart, making him a two-fer.  Nifty!  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Like Sue, Reed is making use of the same basic construction as his Walgreens counterpart.  This time around he keeps the same head sculpt, since it’s just a pretty solid classic Reed sculpt.  He swaps out the standard arms from the last figure for a pair of suit jacket arms, as well as an all-new lab coat piece, allowing him to do the lab look like the Toy Biz ML figure had, which is a fun touch.  And, thanks to the way the Mr. Fantastic body is constructed, they jacket is easily swapped around to the other Reed figures, so it’s got even more use to it.  Reed’s paint work is generally pretty solid.  He matches Sue in terms of coloration, and the application is generally pretty cleanly handled.  The streaks in his hair now use the printing technique, rather than straight paint, which makes them a little subtler, and generally just a bit nicer looking.  Reed is packed with a standard set of arms done up to match his uniform for that non-coated look, as well as the stretched out hands from the Super Skrull Series release, for just a little bit of stretch-y look.  Compared to Sue, this feels a little less light, and it’s a nice selection of extras.  I would have loved to get the fully stretched out arms too, but at this point it’s sort of a running gag that the Legends versions of this costume don’t ever get both normal and stretched out arms ever.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I have a definite soft spot for the Toy Biz Legends version of this guy, so it was a high bar to clear.  The inclusion of the lab coat certainly helped him on that front, as did not really changing too much from the Walgreens version, since that was also just a very good figure.  Reed’s a figure that maybe gets a little lost in the shuffle of this whole assortment, but he’s no less a cool figure, and he’s my favorite Legends Reed to date, as well as a worthy update to two of my favorite Reed figures in general.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#2989: Invisible Woman

INVISIBLE WOMAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“After receiving superpowers, Sue Storm Richards co-founds the Fantastic Four and emerges as the single-most powerful member of the group.”

Is it weird that it’s become so passé to review Fantastic Four Marvel Legends these days?  I mean, it was the astronomically huge deal back in 2017 when the Walgreens-exclusive Sue kicked off that line, and now they’re sort of a yearly thing.  I mean, I’m certainly not complaining.  I love the FF, and my truest love of them comes from the ’90s cartoon and its corresponding toy line, which served to really introduce me to the team.  I get very nostalgic, and Hasbro’s really gaming to tap into my era of nostalgia these days, I suppose.  They’ve been doing the retro-card thing for a bit, and the FF is finally getting in on it.  I’m thrilled you guys.  Thrilled.  So, let’s kick this off with our latest version of Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Invisible Woman is part of the FF-themed Retro Collection assortment of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.  They’re all patterned on the packaging for Toy Biz’s own Fantastic Four line from the ’90s, which makes them a little more removed from the other Retro Collection figures, apart from the Fan Channel Dr. Doom from last year, who officially debuted the packaging style.  To match the style of the package, Sue is wearing her John Byne-designed costume from the ’80s/’90s.  These are by far my favorite costumes for the team, so I’m pretty psyched to see them show up.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Like the last two Sue figures, she’s built on the Phoenix body.  It’s a good match for how Sue is usually depicted, and is just generally a pretty nice body, so it makes sense to use it again here.  The main change up is that she gets a new head sculpt.  It’s based on earlier in Byrne’s run/the cartoon run, which makes sense, since it’s a far less dated appearance than the mullet.  It’s…well, okay, it’s better than I’d expected.  I’ll say that from the start.  When the first pictures were shown off, it looked pretty bad.  In hand, it looks a lot less bad.  I don’t know that I’d venture into calling it good, but it’s less bad.  It’s not the hair; that actually works well.  It’s definitely the face, which just has to be viewed from exactly the right angle to really work, and it’s very hard to find that sweet spot.  There have been some pretty great customs that have swapped out one of the other two Sue faces under the hair, and it honestly looks pretty good, so I might be trying that myself.  Sue’s paint work is generally pretty good.  Rather basic, as you’d expect, but the application’s pretty clean.  As is usually the case with the Byrne costumes, they’ve gone for a darker blue, rather than an almost black like Byrne intended, but that’s just the name of the game at this point.  I actually quite like the color, so I’m really okay with it.  Sue is packed with two sets of hands, as well as the invisible shield effect we saw on the last release.  As with most Retro releases, it’s a little lighter than the standard, but it’s not terrible.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Did I mention that these costumes are my favorites for the team?  I don’t know if I’ve brought that up enough yet.  Well, they are, and I’ve been wanting a good set of them since the FF came back into modern Legends.  I was elated by the announcement of this set, and I’ve been eager to get them since.  Sue wound up being the first one I got, since she got traded into All Time loose a couple of weeks before the wholesale stock arrived.  I’m kind of glad it worked out that way, because it allowed me to appreciate her on her own before the rest of them arrived, which was to her benefit.  She’s the weakest figure in the set, there’s no doubt of that, but that’s less because she’s a bad figure, and more because she just doesn’t quite stick the landing the way the others do.  I’m still very happy to have her, and I still think she’s a good figure.  Sue’s certainly had worse.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#2614: Dr. Doom

DR DOOM

MARVEL LEGENDS RETRO COLLECTION (HASBRO)

“Victor Von Doom is bent on complete world domination. As Doctor Doom, he applies unlimited resources to square off against his arch nemeses, the Fantastic Four!”

A few times on this site, I’ve discussed Victor Von Doom, who under the monicker of Doctor Doom, is the truly the greatest villain in comics.  He’s well-rounded, intriguing, knows how to monologue, and is just thoroughly evil, through and through.  He’s also a fantastic choice for an action figure, but thanks to the wonkiness surrounding the rights on both he and his greatest foes the Fantastic Four, he was rather absent from such things for a few years.  He returned to Marvel Legends in style earlier this year with a really strong figure as part of a wider FF assortment this year.  But, that apparently wasn’t enough for Doom.  No, he needed to outdo the cursed FF in raw numbers, so he snuck in a second figure, as part of Hasbro’s ongoing Retro Collection initiative.  I’m taking a look at that figure today!

THE FIGRUE ITSELF

Dr. Doom is a standalone Retro Collection offering for Marvel Legends, no doubt as a pre-cursor to a proper FF assortment.  Like Deadpool and Grey Hulk last year, he comes in a white shipper that goes around the retro-style card, suggesting he was at one point intended for some sort of convention release.  Given how those two were dropped even without a global pandemic going on, though, it’s also possible that Hasbro just planned him as a Fan Channel offering from the start.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s pretty much identical to the standard release Doom from early this year.  It was a pretty spot-on sculpt, and my favorite by far from that assortment, so I’m certainly not complaining.  He ditches the more modern of the two head sculpts, sticking only with the more retro one (my favorite of the two anyway), and also adds a soft goods collar to the mix to change things up just a little bit.  Also aiding in changing things up a bit is the new paint scheme.  The standard release had a more subdued palette, more in keeping with modern appearances.  This one pumps up the saturation and makes him a much brighter figure, more in line with the old ‘90s figure, which this one is of course looking to emulate.  It really works, and while I certainly didn’t dislike the prior colors, I do really think that this scheme gives the figure an extra pop, and gives him some new life.  It really works for me.  The other change-up for this guy is the accessory selection.  Obviously, he drops the head and the Build-A-Figure piece, and keeps the alternate hands and the pistol.  He gains a pair of books (using the same mold as was included with the Retro Beast figure), the Ultimate Nullifier, two magic effects, and two blast effects (which can be used on the jets on his back).   It’s a pretty killer accessories set-up.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was really happy with the prior Doom figure, and I didn’t really see myself as being in the market for another one this quickly.  When this one was shown off, I wasn’t sure if I was going to go for him.  Upon seeing him in person, though, I really couldn’t turn him down.  The changes made to this figure are really strong, and make him a sufficiently unique variation of the character.  Now I’m going to have a really hard time choosing between the two variants…

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy for review.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2603: Battle Damaged Thing & Gajin Wolverine II

BATTLE-SCARRED THING & GAJIN WOLVERINE II

MARVEL MINIMATES

The trouble with a four member team, at least when it came to Minimates and their early three two-pack per assortment structure, is that you end up with extra slots.  In the case of the Fantastic Four, there have been a number of different approaches to filling those extra slots.  In the case of their first entry into the line, the approach was hard-lining the heavy hitter mash-ups.  More Thing!  More Wolverine!  Yes!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Battle-Scarred Thing and Gajin Wolverine II are the last set from the Fantastic Four-themed eighth series of Marvel Minimates.  Battle-Scarred Thing remained exclusive to this assortment (for his own good, really), while Wolverine was re-packed with a standard Spider-Man for Target.

THING

Battle-Scarred Thing is actually interesting, in that he’s Minimates’ first real stab at a figure based on a specific comics appearance.  He was patterned on the Thing’s torn up appearance following a run-in with Wolverine in Fantastic Four #374, which I guess is meant to really give Wolverine an excuse to be in this set.  It doesn’t really work out quite so well.  This was the fourth version of Thing we’d gotten, and he follows the “Clobberin’ Time” model of putting Ben in one of his actual uniforms.  He’s built on the standard C3 body, so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s the same as the more basic Thing from this assortment, with the same head piece, chest block, and bulked up hands.  The powerhouse piece is still fine, but I really don’t like that head piece.  Fortunately, this would mark its last use.  The paint work changes things up here, obviously to give Ben his costume change.  I do find it interesting how he has a standard looking musculature on the uniform, despite the standard one from this set not getting any musculature at all.  Also, thanks to this costume being a post-Byrne one, it’s got white boots, so it doesn’t really match the rest of the team from this same assortment.  And that’s not even getting started on the blue sections being actually blue, rather than the black they should properly be.  Thing’s face gets adjusted detailing to include the scarring he got from Wolverine.  It doesn’t help the already less than stellar Thing head from the regular version in this set.  What does help that face, however, is the full helmet that this guy includes as an accessory, replicating the one he wore in the comics after getting injured.  It’s actually a pretty cool piece, and it’s nice that they gave him an accessory, and even a unique one at that.

WOLVERINE

This Wolverine’s official name is “Gajin Wolverine II”, which is quite the monicker.  “What happened to Gajin Wolverine I?” you might ask?  He was a summer con exclusive in 2004, and he’s honestly only very minorly different from this guy.  “Why Gajin?” you may follow up?  I guess it’s in reference to his first solo series, where he was in Japan, and referred to as “Gajin” fairly regularly.  It’s a very specific reference for something that would far more simply be summed up with the name “Brown Costume Wolverine”, but here we are.  Also, it’s worth noting that, while the Thing in this set is very specifically patterned on an issue where he has a run-in with Wolverine, in said issue, Wolverine was sporting his tiger stripe costume, not the brown one presented here.  Oh well.  Structurally, this guy’s *mostly* the same as the GSXM Wolvie.  The only change up is that instead of having the long feet under his boot pieces, he’s got the C3 feet, which means there’s a gap between the two of them at the front.  He doesn’t have the peg hole in his head, because they weren’t quite standard yet, and the older mask piece meant it wasn’t required.   The paint work on this guy’s overall not bad.  There’s one small gaffe with the secondary color on his mask being brown instead of orange, but beyond that the colors work well, and the detailing on both the face and the torso is pretty much straight out of Miller’s illustrations from the miniseries.  He was certainly one of the most detailed ‘mates at the time, and rather starkly contrasts with his assortment mates.  Wolverine had no accessories, as neither extra hands nor hair pieces had become standard quite yet.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This whole series got passed on by me, but even before that, this one wasn’t really high on my radar.  The appeal of such an extraneous re-pops of heavy hitters was kind of low for me.  When I finally got around to picking up this series from All Time last year, I still hesitated on these two, but they were there, and I figured “why not?”  Wolverine’s actually pretty solid, even by later standards.  The Thing, on the other hand, was iffy when he was new, and has not been helped by time.

#2596: Susan Richards, Invisible Woman, & Powerhouse Thing

SUSAN RICHARDS, INVISIBLE WOMAN & POWERHOUSE THING

MARVEL MINIMATES

You can’t just do *half* of the Fantastic Four…well, I mean, if you’re Toy Biz, I guess you can.  In fact, you can do it way more times than you ever fairly should be able to.  Just constantly stringing people along forever…Sorry, I was having flashbacks.  Look, we’re not talking about Toy Biz here, we’re talking about Diamond Select.  And they would never leave us high and dry like that, with an incomplete team, just two members shy of completion…apart from that one time that they did exactly that with their Aliens line…look, this isn’t about Aliens, it’s about the Fantastic Four, and finishing up that line-up, which we’re totally doing right here, right now, with no further distractions!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Susan Richards and Powerhouse Thing were released in Series 8 of the main Marvel Minimates line, and then again at Target in 2005 and 2006.  Standard Sue was the heavy packed version, with a full Invisible Woman swapping in for her in the variant set.

SUSAN RICHARDS/INVISIBLE WOMAN

Sue made her Minimates debut in style.  While her brother Johnny was stuck being flamed on all the time, she gets to be regular most of the time.  Lucky her.  Like her assortment-mates, Sue is built on the standard C3-style ‘mate body, peg hole on the head and all, so she’s 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  She uses the same glove pieces as Reed, as well as a new hair piece, clearly based on a ’60s Sue ‘do.  It’s a rather basic piece, but it gets the job done, and thanks to the peg it stays in place better than Reed’s.  I’m still iffy on the bulked up glove pieces, and exactly what their purpose is, but I’ll try to move on.  In terms of paint, the standard version fairs a bit better than Reed, thanks to having consistent coloring for the all of the costume details, as well as getting some actual torso detailing.  The variant is molded in all clear plastic, keeping the detail lines, and going for a slightly translucent blue for the black sections of the costume.  It’s a cool look, and you can easily mix and match the two for a powering up effect.  Both versions are packed with a shield piece, similar to Captain America’s.  And, thanks to those bulked up gloves, the shield has to sit over her elbow joint, which is a bit annoying.

THING

Thing gets his third go at a Minimate here, thanks to being the only team member available for a while, and yet still kind of needing to be included in the assortment proper.  So, here he is.  2005 marked a notable change-up for the line’s construction, adding in a few more bulked up parts for slightly larger characters, hence the “powerhouse” title for this version of Thing.  He uses the same bulked up hands as before, as well as making the first use of the original powerhouse chest piece, and an all-new head piece.  The powerhouse piece is pretty basic, and not nearly as involved as later bulk up parts.  This kind of helps to keep him more on the basic side, in keeping with the rest of the assortment.  The only part I don’t really care for his the head piece.  It’s really just different from the prior piece for the sake of being different, and that’s not really a good reason to change it.  It’s just not as good as the older piece, and even DST knew it, since this piece didn’t get used beyond this series.  In terms of paint, he’s not terribly far removed from the Series 5 version.  He’s got the proper team shorts this time, which is good, but I don’t like the the new face. It just doesn’t match that classic Thing feel.  Fortunately, the oranges match, so a re-work is possible.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted in the last set of these I looked at, despite being very excited for this set of ‘mates, I didn’t buy them new, and I didn’t really jump too quickly into tracking them down after the fact either.  I blame the Thing; he’s just so ugly.  I snagged these guys at the same time as Reed and Johnny, just to round out the team.  They’re not bad, but they’re definitely dated, and kind of from a weird middle spot for the line.