MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)
“An impressive, boulder-like exterior grants the Thing exceptional strength and durability in even the rockiest of battles”
They did it! Look at that, they totally did it! They finished the FF! It’s a Christmas Miracle! …but it’s only just now November, so it’s, like, a pre-Thanksgiving Miracle? That just doesn’t seem to have quite the same ring to it.
The Fantastic Four and Marvel Legends have a rather storied history. The team was rather infamously incomplete in the main line for the entirety of Toy Biz’s run, and even with the aid of boxed sets and other such things, over the years, getting the whole team in one cohesive style hasn’t been all that easy. So, when Hasbro announced they’d be releasing the latest versions of the team, one at a time, at Walgreens, I was excited, but decidedly skeptical. I also had to go in more or less blind, since at the time of Sue’s release, we’d only seen a prototype for Johnny, who is easily the least impressive of the set. Reed came along and was awesome, which reignited hopes, but there was a lot riding on this final piece of the set, Benjamin J. Grimm, the ever-lovin’-blue-eyed Thing! Does he deliver? Well, to paraphrase the man himself, it’s reviewin’ time!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The Thing is the tenth Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Legends release, and the sixth in their Fantastic Four sub-set. He started arriving on store shelves last month, and will hopefully be arriving in serious numbers over the next few months. The figure stands 7 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation. As we’d all pretty much expected (especially when he was slotted at the very end of the release schedule), Ben is sporting an entirely new sculpt. His rather unique build and the rocky structure of said build means Ben’s usually the one with the all-new sculpt. In the past, it’s also tended to translate to him being the figure with the most behind the times construction. This time, however, it seems Hasbro has been taking note of what does and doesn’t work when it comes to Legends–izing larger scaled characters. Ben’s mobility is surprisingly good for a figure of his size. His elbows end up rather limited, which is a bit of a bummer, but on the flipside, the knees have a ton more movement than I’d expected from this figure. This figure manages to do a pretty solid job of walking the fine line of articulation vs. aesthetic. Speaking of aesthetic, there was much discussion before this figure was unveiled as to which version of the character we’d be seeing. There was definitely a campaign to get a more Kirby-inspired version of the character, but the final release opts for something that’s more an amalgamation of his more recent appearances. While I would love a more Kirby-faithful figure at some point down the line, the amalgamated, less artist specific nature of this one means he fits right in with the rest of the team, and consistency of style in FF line-ups has long been one of the biggest issues I’ve had with them. It helps that the design they’ve gone for works really really well, and that the sculpt is just filled to the brim with sweet, rock monster goodness. There are two different heads included. They aren’t much different from each other, but give Ben some slight variety in expression. The head he comes wearing has an angrier, teeth-baring appearance, while the second head is decidedly more reserved. While both are solid sculpts, I definitely find myself more drawn to the calmer head, because for some reason Ben having regular teeth just really weirds me out. Maybe it’s just flashing me back to the old Roger Corman flick. The paintwork on Ben could have been really basic. They could have just molded him in orange plastic, and left it at that. Instead, Hasbro actually put in the effort to do the accent work on Ben’s rocky hide, and the figure is all the better for it, with the intricacies of his craggly being deftly highlighted. In addition to the second head, Ben is also sporting two sets of hands in both fists and open gesture. They allow for a nice variety of additional poses. With two heads, four hands, and one of the largest single-release sculpts we’ve gotten since the Legends re-branding, Ben’s packaging ends up pretty darn jam-packed, and pretty darn hefty. It’s honestly a little bit astounding that he’s the same retail as the other three.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Ben’s my favorite member of the FF, so I was a little bummed out that I’d have to wait to the very end to get him. He’s had an okay stock of figures in the past, but none of them ever seemed to quite stand-up to the test of time, or even the figures from the very same assortments. I will admit, I was a little worried about how this guy would turn out. Prototype shots of him surfaced at Toy Fair, and I didn’t hate them, but he wasn’t wowing me as much as I’d hoped. Then the in-package shots hit, and the whole story changed. In-hand? I love this figure. I love, love, love this figure. Have I mentioned that I love this figure? Because I do. I really, really do. I love this figure, and I love my whole FF line-up that goes with him. This is just the best, and I sincerely doubt this FF display is ever going to be topped. Now, can I please have a new Dr. Doom to go with them?