#2589: Torch & Mr. Fantastic

TORCH & MR. FANTASTIC

MARVEL MINIMATES

First previewed in the line in 2004, in 2005 the Fantastic Four proper made their way into Marvel Minimates.  Marvel’s first family was on the rise that year, with a movie hitting theaters that summer, and all sorts of cool toy product to go along with everything.  Of course, then the movie actually came out and we all collectively went “meh” and the FF kind of got back-burnered, but hey, they were still full of all this cool potential at the beginning of the year, right?  Minimates got in on the pre-movie hype by devoting an entire assortment of figures (well, almost…more on that later) to the team, which was certainly a leg up from prior coverage.  Today, I’m kicking things off with a look at Reed and Johnny!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Torch and Mr. Fantastic were part of Series 8 of Marvel Minimates, which hit retail shelves in January of 2005.  The same pairing was also released through Target in both 2005 and 2006.  They’re kind of an odd pairing, thematically, since it would seem to me that Reed/Sue or Reed/Ben and Johnny/Ben or Johnny/Sue would have made way more thematic sense.  But, I guess they had good money on everyone going for the whole set anyway.

TORCH

Apparently, Johnny is no longer human, he’s purely torch, because that’s what he is on every instance of his name on the package.  No clue at all as to why they ditched the “Human” portion of his name for the Series 8 release, but it did fortunately reappear when the packs made their way to Target.  My guess is it was a mistake that no one caught until it was too late.  For his first ‘mate, Johnny went fully flamed-on.  It’s always an iffy prospect in three dimensions, but it’s certainly distinctive.  He’s on the standard ‘mate body (which now comes with the C3 feet standard in the main line, a first with this Series), so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Johnny has add-ons for his hair and the flames on his shoulders, both of which are new.  It’s interesting that the hair was new, rather than being a re-use of the Ghost Rider piece from the prior year, but it does look a bit better.  It’s also notable for introducing the pegged hair pieces to the line.  Up to this point, all of the heads had been without peg holes, and all of the hair pieces had purely been held in place via friction.  It worked for some designs, but not others, and the pegs really helped to keep the figures held together a bit better (though they would have other drawbacks that would surface later).  All in all, it’s a good set of parts, and works decently for the character, albeit a more modern take on his flamed-on appearance.  The paint work on this guy’s quite nice, with a very comics-esque and very dynamic facial expression, as well as musculature and the classic Torch heat lines on the torso, pelvis, and legs.  It works very well.  Johnny was packed with a fire blast effect piece and a small flight stand, both of which were new, and which helped to further sell his flame abilities.

MR. FANTASTIC

Reed actually got a preview release in the line in late 2004, as part of a TRU-exclusive 10-pack, where he and Ultimate Green Goblin were the exclusive pieces.  But, for those of us who didn’t want to buy 8 duplicate figures just to get two, there was this two-pack.  Yay!  This guy’s built on the standard C3-footed body, in contrast to the early release, which was long-footed.  He’s got add-ons for his hair and gloves.  Both were new.  The hair’s a little blocky and minimalistic for where the line was going by this point, and it’s worth noting that, due to being produced the year before, it doesn’t have the peg like Johnny’s.  This also means it has some trouble staying in place.  The gloves are decent enough pieces, though I do really have to wonder why they were included at all, since it’s not like the FF’s gloves have ever been depicted as anything other than just as skin tight as the rest of the suit.  They just end up looking oddly bulked up, especially with the lack of any corresponding parts for the boots.  Reed’s paint work is far more basic than Johnny’s, but also a lot more imbalanced.  There’s a lot of detailing on the face (which is actually a pretty solid Jack Kirby-style recreation of Reed), but the body gets only very simple detailing.  He doesn’t even have any musculature on his torso.  Additionally, for some odd reason his boots, belt, and collar are a dark blue, while his gloves are a straight black.  Why aren’t they just all black?  Isn’t that weird?  Reed gets a pair of extended arms, which swap out at the hands, and are actually pretty darn cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was really excited for this assortment when it was shown off and really wanted the whole set, and then inexplicably bought exactly none of them when they were actually released.  Couldn’t tell you why.  Just wasn’t feeling them right at that moment, I guess.  I waited on getting them for quite a while, actually, and only actually got around to picking them up when a whole slew of Minimates came through at All Time last year.  Johnny’s okay.  There have been better versions, but he’s not a bad offering on his own.  Reed was weak even when he was new, and just feels really imbalanced, like parts of him were designed way earlier than the rest.

#2305: Mr. Fantastic

MR. FANTASTIC

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Reed Richards is a brilliant scientist with the ability to stretch his body into any shape.”

The insufferable genius archetype isn’t typically one that ends up on the super-team proper, especially when it comes to ’60s super teams.  Characters like Professor X, Niles Caulder, and Will Magnus typically serving to dispatch their teams from the side-lines.  Reed Richards, on the other hand, was a full-fledged member of his team, in contrast to the norms.  However, when said team got side-lined for a bit, he sort of found himself pushed into those sidelines for a bit.  At least he’s finally getting to return to the action!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mr. Fantastic is figure 2 in the Super Skrull Series of Marvel Legends.  Like Ben (and the rest of the team, for that matter), Reed is seen here in his current get-up from the comics.  Though not quite as evident on Ben, the main hook of these new costume designs is the reversed palette of the usual costume.  It’s a fairly striking look, recalling the Byrne-era costumes, which are a personal favorite of mine.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Just like with Ben, most of this figure’s parts are shared with the Walgreens release.  The core body from that figure is nice and balanced, and it’s honestly a little surprising that this is only our second time seeing it used.  It’s still a really good fit for Reed’s usual build from the comics.  In addition to the old parts, he also gets a new head and feet.  While I really liked the new parts on the Thing, I’m a little less immediately impressed by these.  I don’t hate the bearded look for Reed, and I definitely like that he’s got the same face beneath it as the clean shaven Walgreens figure, but something about the hair just doesn’t look right to me.  It’s accurate to the art, but it just feels like something was lost in translation.  I’m also not really big on the feet; they go for a more sculpted, almost sneaker-like appearance, which is again something that looks okay on the page, but seems off in three dimensions.  The paintwork on this figure is pretty much on par with his previous figure, albeit with the expected changes in the color scheme to match his all-new look.  This Reed doesn’t get the fully stretched arms of the prior figure (though the arms still pop out at the shoulders to facilitate swapping out, if you’re so inclined), but he does get a set of alternate stretched out hands, which are…well, they’re certainly something.  I don’t know, I guess I’d probably like them more if they had all of the glove detailing of the standard hands.  They’re something different, at least.  He also includes one of Super Skrull’s legs.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Mr. Fantastic is one of the more different releases of the main four from this set, and I was expecting to get a little bit more out of him because of that.  I really liked the Walgreens version, so I hoped he’d be up to the same quality.  Ultimately, I don’t like this figure quite as much as I’d expected to, and I think he’s my least favorite of the new four.  Still, he’s not a bad figure, just not quite as good as the previous one.

I got Reed courtesy my friends at All Time Toys. If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1886: Mr. Fantastic & Dr. Doom

MR. FANTASTIC & DR. DOOM

MARVEL MINIMATES

The Marvel Minimates Best Of assortments frequently paired off classic Marvel characters and their greatest foes, but what happens when the foe is actually the foe to a whole team?  You compromise, I guess.  At least in the case of the Fantastic Four, Reed Richards does have the slightly more personal connection to long-time foe (and greatest villain of all time) Dr. Doom, so he was the one who got the slot.  Good for him!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Mr. Fantastic and Dr. Doom were part of the second Best of Marvel Minimates series, which hit stores in early 2013.

MR. FANTASTIC

Second only to The Thing in terms of number of Minimates, this particular Mr. Fantastic was his sixth time in this particular style.  He’s sporting his classic black and blue gear, based on his look from earlier in his career. Curiously, there are, to date, no other members of the team with uniforms to match this one.  Not even the Ben from Series 1 of the Best Of line. This is something of an odd development.  In his most standard configuration, Reed is built on the basic Minimate body and uses just one add-on piece, for his hair.  It’s the Frank Wemple piece, which saw a lot of use right around this time.  It’s definitely well-chosen for Reed. Of course, since Reed’s powers make for a pretty versatile look, the figure has multiple other configurations.  DST experimented a bit with TRU Series 6’s Stretch-Attack Mr. Fantastic, which gave us a stretched out base piece to swap out for the lower legs.  This figure includes that extra, along with several new ones to match.  There’s an extended neck and stretched out arms, which can be mixed and matched into all sorts of different configurations.  Perhaps my favorite part is that the open hand on the right arm is perfectly sized to grip a standard Minimate torso.  Reed’s paintwork is fairly clean, and the color choices are bold.  He’s more colorful than his TRU Series 8 counterpart, but the blue isn’t quite as deep as the original Reed figure.  He’s somewhere between them.  I already chronicled the extra stretchy parts, but Reed also includes a standard display stand, if you want to be silly and not display him with that sweet stretched out base piece.

DR. DOOM

Victor Von Doom actually has his nemesis beaten in number of Minimates available, with eight releases under his belt.  This one was the seventh, and actually came out in rather close proximity to the Marvel vs. Capcom version, which it is quite similar to.  Most of the similarity between the two Dooms is in their sculpted parts.  Doom uses add-ons for his cloak, belt/skirt, gloves, and boots, as well as non-standard upper-arm pieces.  All of these were used on the prior figure.  They work decently, though the cloak runs into the same problem that prior Dooms have run into, with limitations being placed on his mobility.  It also makes him quite top heavy. And, in conjunction with all of the other sculpted parts, it generally creates a figure that’s not great for much other than standing.  The main change-up between the two Dooms is paint.  While the MvC release was in more game accurate colors and featured metallic armor, this one goes for a more print-styled flat color scheme.  It works well enough, and it’s definitely a more unique take on the character, compared to what we tend to see.  I think it helps the detailing on his faceplate stand out better, but leaves the arms and legs looking slightly bland.  Doom is packed with three accessories: a pistol, and alternate head with Doombot detailing, and a clear display stand.  I really like the Doombot head.  It’s a quite fun touch, and seems to especially work well without the cloak over top, thereby making the figure a good deal more playable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed these two back when they were new, from my regular Minimate haunt, Cosmic Comix.  Reed is a solid figure, marred not by anything about this figure himself, but rather by the lack of any other members to match him.  Ben’s an easy enough fix if you just want to swap out the pelvis, and Johnny’s just really a head swap, but there’s no matching Sue, and that’s a little sad.  So soon after the MvC version, this Dr. Doom felt a little redundant, and ultimately inherits all of that figure’s flaws without any time to have fixed them.  That said, the Doombot head does quite a bit to salvage this guy.  Overall, he’s a decent offering.

#1619: Mr. Fantastic

MR FANTASTIC

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A master inventor and impressive shape-shifter, Reed Richards uses intelligence and flexibility to protect the universe as Mr. Fantastic.”

Where would Marvel Legends be without Walgreens?  The humble drugstore chain started offering exclusive figures back in 2014, but only at a pace of about one per year.  However, they’ve really stepped things up in the last year, with a whole sub-set of Fantastic Four-inspired figures.  We’ve already gotten two members of the team (Invisible Woman and Human Torch), as well as a pair of frequent guest stars (Sub Mariner and Medusa).  The third member, Mr. Fantastic, just started hitting stores in the last month.  I’ll be looking at him today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mr. Fantastic is the first Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Legends figure of 2018.   The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Believe it or not, this guy’s on a mostly new body.  I’d really been expecting a Bucky Cap re-use here, especially after Johnny cropped up on in, but Hasbro had other ideas.  This new base looks to use the legs from the Pizza Spidey body with a new torso, pelvis, and arms.  It’s a good build for someone like Reed, who shouldn’t exactly have Captain America proportions.  I look forward to seeing the other applications of this particular base body.  Reed also gets an new head sculpt, which isn’t inspired by any one artist, but fits quite well with the other two FF members and definitely captures Reed’s essence very well.  The arched eyebrow and slight self-assured grin are just spot-on for the character.  Reed’s paintwork is pretty solid stuff.  His uniform is a pretty close match to Sue’s, which is definitely a good thing, and helps with selling that whole “team” thing.  The work on the face and hair is nice and clean.  I might have liked maybe a bit more subtlety on the greying temples, but it’s not awful, and I prefer this to the too slight greying we saw on most of the Toy Biz figures.  Reed is packed with a spare set of elongated arms (re-used from the first Hasbro Mr. Fantastic) which swap out at the shoulders.  They’re rubber with a wire armature, and make for a solid recreation of Reed’s abilities.  Reed is also packed with the Ultimate Nullifier, the weapon given to him by the Watcher in order to defeat Galactus.  It’s a fun little piece, and shows that Hasbro is willing to go the extra mile on these figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had pretty much no trouble finding Reed.  I found him at a Walgreens I’d stopped at on my way home from work and was quite happy to find him. I loved the Sue figure, but Johnny was a slight letdown for me, so I wasn’t sure about how Reed would turn out.  I’m happy to report that he’s by far my favorite Mr. Fantastic figure, and is my favorite member of the team in this little sub-set (so far; Ben still has the chance to top him).  I now anxiously await the arrival of the last team member.

#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.

#0011: Mr Fantastic

MR FANTASTIC

FANTASTIC FOUR (TOYBIZ)

Today’s post is from Toybiz’s Fantastic Four line from the 90s.  The line was released to coincide with the cartoon from the same time.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The figure in question is the leader of the FF, Dr Reed Richards, aka Mr Fantastic (Mr. F!).  He’s from the first wave of the line.  Reed is depicted in his costume from the cartoon, which was based on the John Byrne design.  He stands 5 inches tall, with 5 points of articulation.  He features stretchy arms and a neat Negative Zone harness, for all that negative Zone exploring he’s prone to do.  The harness fits well, and goes on and off pretty easily.  The stretchy arms were an inspired choice, but I feel they may have been the wrong way to go.  As you can see from the photo, the rubber is very prone to yellowing, kind of ruining the figure.  Plus, there’s no way to pose his arms any other way than straight down at his sides.  Overall, a decent depiction of Mr Fantastic, but there’s some room for improvement.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Reed was my second figure of the character, bought to replace my fragile Marvel Super heroes figure.  He’s definitely an improvement in sturdiness and in overall quality, though I’m not sure it’s a spot on Mr Fantastic.