#3105: Human Torch

HUMAN TORCH

FANTASTIC FOUR (TOY BIZ)

“Bombarded by cosmic rays while on an experimental space flight, teenager Johnny Storm gained an ability to match his fiery disposition. With but a thought, his body would ignite and burst into flame! Realizing that he must use his powers in the service of mankind, Johnny became the Human Torch, and fights to protect the world as a member of the Fantastic Four!”

Remember at the beginning of the month, when I was talking about all the weirdness surrounding getting Invisible Woman and Human Torch added to the first series of Toy Biz’s Fantastic Four line?  Since I started the month with the weird place holder Sue, it would make a lot of logical sense to end the month with the weird place holder Johnny, right?  It sure would.  Shame that I don’t actually own that figure.  That would have been convenient.  Guess you guys will just have to settle for the not-weird-place-holder Johnny, who is, in this sense, ironically a placeholder for the placeholder.  So, you know, still kinda weird.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Human Torch was initially released in the second series of Toy Biz’s Fantastic Four line, and was then re-released as part of their KB Toys-exclusive Marvel Universe line in 1996.  The two figures are identical, but for the sake of clarity, it’s worth noting that mine is the Universe release.  Torch is seen here in his fully flamed on appearance, and is at least loosely inspired by how he looked on the cartoon.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  His sculpt was an all-new one, and remained unique to this figure (though an up-scaled version of it was used for the 10 inch line).  Generally, it’s not bad.  Fully flamed on Torches are always an iffy prospect, but this one does at least do a fair bit to keep him quite visually interesting.  His scorch lines are a sculpted element on this one, which actually works surprisingly well, and he’s got enough small flame effects to sell the “man on fire” thing.  I like that the head has a more playful expression than flamed on Torches tend to; it just feels more true to the character.  The main down side of this sculpt is the torso, which, due to the nature of his action feature, winds up a bit oversized.  It’s not awful, but it’s not great either.  Said action feature is a “Flame On Sparking Action.”  When you pull the string on his back, the torso sparks.  Or it used to, anyway.  The feature’s worn itself on mine.  Human Torch’s paint work is alright; fairly basic, really.  He’s molded in a bright red, and there’s some yellow for the flames, eyes, and mouth.  It works well enough, though the fact that everything is opaque is a little bit of a bummer.  Torch is packed with a catapult launcher stand, similar to the one included with Phoenix.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Human Torch is a figure I got brand new, albeit when he was re-issued under the Universe heading.  I had come into the collecting game too late for FF release, so I got the Series 4 version first.  This one was procured during a trip to my local mall’s KB Toys, on a trip with my Grandmother.  I think I just really wanted a fully flamed-on version of the character, since that’s what I was used to seeing on the show.  He’s not the best version of the character Toy Biz produced, but he’s also not the worst, and I kind of appreciate the goofier aspects of the figure.

#3100: Firelord

FIRELORD

FANTASTIC FOUR (TOY BIZ)

“Once a herald of the world-devouring Galactus, Firelord was granted absolute control over all flames by his former master. Now freed from servitude, he wanders the spaceways, using his cosmic power to take what he desires! Unprincipled and mercenary, Firelord conceals his true demeanor beneath a facade of nobility and culture, but always displays his blazing abilities for all to marvel at…and fear!”

After Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced the concept of Galactus, and in turn his herald Silver Surfer, and then almost immediately dismantling it by having the Surfer removed from the role of herald at the end of that very story, it seemed Galactus was in need of a new herald to keep things running.  The first replacement for Surfer was Air-Walker, a Xandarian who’s first appearance was not even the man himself, but a robotic duplicate, created by Galactus after the original died.  The next herald after Air-Walker was another Xandarian (who was actually a friend of Air-Walker pre-herald transformation), Firelord.  Firelord would follow in the path set by Silver Surfer, eventually asking to be released from his duties as herald, and forging out on his own.  He’s remained a minor recurring character on the cosmic side of things at Marvel.  As a herald of Galactus, he got himself a spot in Toy Biz’s FF line in the ’90s.  I’m taking a look at that figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Firelord was released in Series 2 of the Fantastic Four line.  Unlike Thanos, who was notably never in the cartoon that the line was tying into, Firelord actually got a brief appearance on the show.  Not that it really amounted to much, since it was little more than a cameo, but hey, there it was.  Of note, he was actually voiced by Alan Oppenheimer, better known as the voice of Skeletor.  Fun times.  Until his Minimate release, this was Firelord’s only action figure.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  He sports a sculpt that remained unique to this release.  It’s a pretty decent one.  Nothing overly showy or anything.  Generally it just sticks to the basics, but it’s good at that.  He’s got some minor detailing for the flame effects, which are a little on the soft side, but get the point across.  The strongest portion of the sculpt is definitely the head, which sticks closer to the comics interpretation of the character, with his rather other-worldly cheek bones and all.  Firelord’s paint work is alright.  It’s not quite as bold and differentiated as some of his colors tended to be in the comics, but the general look again works pretty well, apart from some slight muddying of the colors without any real clear outlines.  That said, it’s not terrible.  Not terrible at all.  Firelord was packed with his flaming staff, dubbed “Cosmic Flame Launcher” on the package.  It’s in two parts, and one part launched like a missile out of the other.  I’ve only actually got the missile part anymore, which is the half that looks more convincingly like his staff anyway.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve mentioned before on the site about Ageless Heroes, a comic store nearby that had a rather huge going out of business sale when I was between six and seven.  It served as a pretty sizable boon to my 5 inch Marvel collection as a kid.  Firelord here was one of the figures from that boon.  He wasn’t actually bought as Firelord, since I didn’t really know the character, but instead got initial use as a Jim Hammond Human Torch.  I did eventually learn who Firelord was, courtesy of a copy of his appearance in Uncanny Origins, which I got from Ageless Heroes’ back-issues, in fact.  He’s not a perfect figure, or anything, but he’s certainly one I got a lot of use out of as a kid.

#3095: Thanos

THANOS

FANTASTIC FOUR (TOY BIZ)

“The mad titan called Thanos worships death, and seeks to destroy all life in the universe! Possessing awesome cosmic power, tremendous physical strength, and impervious to all but the most potent forces, he is truly a foe to be feared and respected. While often stymied by such heroes as the Fantastic Four and the Silver Surfer, Thanos has never been truly defeated!”

My first Thanos-related review here on the site was back in March of 2014, when all we had to go on for his cinematic side was a brief cameo in Avengers‘ mid-credits scene.  I cited him as “likely to be a pretty big character in the coming years,” which was accurate.  Not that it took too much guessing to see the writing on that particular wall.  Eight years later, Thanos is a much bigger name, a pivotal player in two of the highest grossing films of all time, as well as the center of so, so many memes.  And I’m gonna go back to his relative beginning, at least in the toy world, with a look at his very first action figure.  Let’s see how that one holds up, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thanos was released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s Fantastic Four toy line.  While the line was meant to tie-in with the cartoon that had just started airing at the time, and a great many of the included figures were characters who would appear on the show, that wasn’t true for Thanos, who was absent from the two season run of the show, and wouldn’t actually show up in animation until 1999’s Silver Surfer (which gave him his second action figure in its corresponding toy line).  Thanos himself isn’t really tied to the FF all that often, but I suppose they were the best fitting line for him at the time.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  He gets elbows and knees, but not a neck joint.  Not entirely sure as to why the neck joint wasn’t there, but it was kind of a crapshoot on such things with the Toy Biz stuff.  Thanos’s sculpt was an all-new offering, based on the character’s classic, and at the time current, appearance.  It’s a pretty decent offering, and one that remained unique to this particular release.  He’s larger and bulked up relative to the other figures, without being too extreme, and generally matches well with his comic depictions.  The details are perhaps a little soft, but not terribly so, and I love the folds on the gloves and boots; peak Thanos design there, really.  The paint work on Thanos is alright for the era.  It’s definitely got some slop, especially at the edges of the orange areas, but it’s not the worst.  Interestingly, they’ve gone to the trouble of molding his eyes as separate pieces from the rest of the head, for the purpose of vac metalizing them.  It’s certainly a cool effect, but I’m not entirely sure *why* they did it.  Ah, who am I to complain about more chrome?  Thanos was packed with a rope with some skulls on it.  Why?  No clue.  It was a re-use from X-Force‘s Krule figure, and it mostly is there to take up space in the box.  Thanos also featured a “Pulverizing Gauntlet Action” which had his left arm do a swinging bit.  It’s an unobtrusive feature, so that’s honestly not too bad.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have this figure as a kid, but I *did* cut up the back of one of my Series 3 figure’s boxes so that I could have small paper figures of all the figures on the back, meaning I *sort of* had a Thanos figure.  It was a good few years before I actually encountered one of these in person.  The one here I picked up from an antique store a couple of years ago, at the same time as the Invisible Woman figure I reviewed last week.  This guy’s pretty nifty.  Not a lot of frills or anything, but he does what he needs to, and he does it alright.  And, he’s the first Thanos, which is itself pretty nifty.

#3090: Invisible Woman

INVISIBLE WOMAN

FANTASTIC FOUR (TOY BIZ)

“Caught in a bombardment of intense cosmic radiation while on an experimental space flight, Susan Richards found herself endowed with the power to become transparent at will, and the ability to form invisible force-fields of incredible durability. Now, as a member of the Fantastic Four, Sue battles to defend humanity as the elusive Invisible Woman!”

Very early in my reviewing days (we’re talking low teens here), I made my way through most of the first series of Toy Biz’s ’90s Fantastic Four line.  I neglected to review the standard version of the Thing at that time, mainly because I didn’t actually, you know, own one.  I fixed that back in 2017, and officially rounded out my reviews of Fantastic Four Series 1.  Of note, that means there are still no basic Invisible Woman and Human Torch reviews for the line, and that’s for a very specific reason: Toy Biz didn’t put them in Series 1.  For some reason, they felt that the best call for a line based on a team of four was to split the team between the first two assortments, meaning that the team was to be incomplete for the entirety of the gap between the two assortments.  With the line launching to tie-in with the cartoon, retailers weren’t particularly keen on Toy Biz’s plan to split the main team, and wanted them added to the first assortment.  With the molds not ready to go, Toy Biz had to hastily throw together stand-in versions of the other two members from molds already in production, making two figures that are *technically* part of Series 1, but also not advertised as such in any way what so ever.  I’m looking at the stand-in Invisible Woman today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Invisible Woman was, as noted above, technically released in Series 1 of Toy Biz’s Fantastic Four line, or at the very least adjacent to it.  Whatever the case, that means she hit shelves in 1994.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and she has 6 points of articulation.  She doesn’t get neck or elbow movement, which put her a bit behind other figures of the same era, and generally makes her a little bit stiff.  In order to get Sue to the market, she was a complete re-use of the Iron Man line’s Julia Carpenter version of Spider-Woman.  All things considered, it’s actually not a bad option.  Julia’s costume details weren’t sculpted in, and the build and hairstyles of the two characters were similar enough to make it work.  The only real oddity to the re-use s the lack of sculpted eyes.  I mean, it’s not totally smooth there; there’s a slight indent and all.  However, Spider-Woman’s mask has Spidey-style eyes, not actual eyes, so Sue’s were just painted on.  It does look ever so slightly odd.  There’s an action feature worked it, which has a rather visible lever on the back.  It flips her arms upward, in a sort of a “flipping the table” fashion, which is kinda comedic, really.  Otherwise, it’s a decent sculpt, no matter who it was being used for.  The paint work does the heavy lifting on making this a convincing Sue Richards figure, and it does that alright.  Some of the edges are a bit on the fuzzy side, but the colors line up well with the other two team members from Series 1, and those eyes really don’t look as bad as they could.  Sue was packed with a stand and a small shield piece, both of which are molded in clear plastic.  Not a bad little display of her powers, and I do believe these were both actually unique parts, albeit much more simplistic than the actual figures, so thereby much more cheaply produced.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure was a filler figure at best when it arrived at retail, and wasn’t designed to linger, so when I got into collecting figures (which was about around the time of Series 3 of the line), there weren’t any of this one still hanging around.  My first Sue was an old stock Marvel Super Heroes version, followed closely by the proper Series 2 release.  This one is a much more recent addition, picked up from an antique mall a few years ago.  Given how slap dash of a release this figure was, she’s surprisingly not a bad figure.  You could be forgiven for even thinking she was supposed to be this way.  She’s a good example of a solid quick-save from Toy Biz.  Her brother…well, he was a different story.  But Sue’s good, and that’s what matters here.

#3066: Human Torch & The Thing

HUMAN TORCH & THE THING

MARVEL MINIMATES


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.

HUMAN TORCH

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.

THE THING

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.

#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.