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.