Friday 4 February 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic

Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 01

Release Date: November 2021
RRP: $22.99/£21.99

On an outer space adventure, they got hit by cosmic rays! Though often under-appreciated, the 1994-96 Fantastic Four animated series was a significant piece of Marvel Comics animation for fans growing up during that time. Though it may not have been on the same level as the Spider-Man or X-Men cartoons, Fantastic Four was my generation's main introduction to the world of Marvel's first family - and its (SIGNIFICANTLY better) second season the likes of Black Panther, Thor and Ghost Rider too. So imagine my excitement when Hasbro announced a whole wave of retro carded Fantastic Four Marvel Legends figures, following on from the retro carded Doctor Doom released in 2020. So in celebration of these figures and my love for the cartoon, I'm kicking off a little set of reviews I like to call Fantastic February - starting off with the genius scientist who can stretch like elastic, Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic

Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic Box 01

Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic Box 02Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic Box 03Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic Box 04Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic Box 05

"As Mr. Fantastic, Reed Richards utilises his scientific brilliance and pliable form to make a difference I the world."

Like Hasbro's numerous other retro-carded assortments across their entire catalogue of properties, the latest Marvel Legends Mr. Fantastic comes in special packaging matching the 90s Fantastic Four animated series figures from Toy Biz. While the card does sadly lack the holographic print around the logo in the top corner (Hasbro may have tried to print the pattern but it's just not the same) and there are a few slightly differences here and there (notably the Hasbro logo in the place of the "As seen on the Marvel Action Hour"), but overall it's a fantastic replica of those original toys and a huge nostalgia draw for anyone who grew up with that cartoon. The packaging looks so good that it was a difficult choice to open it, but alas that plastic bubble just needed to be torn open. The back of the card however is equally appealing, complete with character artwork, a small bio and images of all the figures available in this retro Fantastic Four wave. Once you've made the hard decision to tear that sucker open you'll find the figure and accessories neatly laid out on a moulded plastic tray.

Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 02

Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 03Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 04Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 05Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 06

Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 07Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 08Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 09Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 10

Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 11Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 12Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 13Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 14

This rendition of Mr. Fantastic is primarily based on his appearance in the animated series, which is in turn the costume Marvel's first family had in the comics around the mid-80s. This variation of their iconic jumpsuit is dark blue with white boots, gloves and collar area. The figure itself is the same body that was used on both the 2018 Walgreens-exclusive and 2020 Super Skrull wave Mr. Fantastic figures, with the (clean shaven) head of the Walgreens figure. But with how similar the Fantastic Four's costumes have remained over the years (other than colour that is) it makes sense to just reuse the existing parts as said parts were already pretty much perfect. The head sculpt on the figure is great too, with that raised eyebrow really conveying Reed's (sometimes overly) inquisitive nature. It's a simple suit with a simple charm, and one that would have been very difficult for Hasbro to mess up. Whether it be from the comic or cartoon, this is undeniably Mr. Fantastic.

What does set this version apart from the others though is the inclusion of a soft plastic lab coat piece, as well as new arms with the coat's white sleeves. The jumpsuit arms have been included in package for the default look, and swapping over is as simple as unplugging the arms (extremely easy to do) and slipping off the coat piece. While wearing the coat Reed's articulation is rather hindered around the waist and hip area, but for more neutral posing it does add a little more flair to what's otherwise admittedly a relatively basic design. If you've got some kind of laboratory display or diorama, this version of Reed will be right at home there.

Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 15

Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 16Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 17Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 18Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 19

Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 20Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 21Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 22Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 23

Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 24Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 25Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 26

Mr. Fantastic may be a man who can stretch like rubber but in plastic form he isn't all that different to any other Marvel Legends release. Altogether this rendition of Reed features;
- Ball jointed head and hips
- Swivel hinge shoulders, wrists and ankles
- Double hinge elbows and knees
- Single hinge ab crunch
- Bicep, waist and thigh swivels
Though sadly the figure itself isn't able to stretch or contort like the character himself, at the very least Mr. Fantastic is one of the few characters that can get away with using all those joints to completely unrealistic effect. For example, turning that head too far on its ball joint would usually make it look strange and disjointed, but with Reed some carefully angling can just make it look as though it's just contorting and/or Reed is about to launch into a big stretch. Even though the parts used on this figure are a few years old now it isn't really any different to what's being used on the more recent Marvel Legends, so you can get a great range of poses out of the figure even if they aren't ones that can properly show off his powers. The only thing that feels really outdated on this (and many other Marvel Legends) is that basic swivel joint for the waist. With most collector figures under the Hasbro banner using ball joints better proportions and articulation, that swivel joint and how it completely breaks the sculpt isn't the most attractive of things. Again it's something Reed can pass off a little better than most, but it still stands out as the one area that isn't standing the test of time.

Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 27

Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 28Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 29Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 30Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 31

Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 32Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 33Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 34Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 35

Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 36Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 37Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 38

In addition to the lab coat and swappable jumpsuit arms, Mr. Fantastic also includes a pair of alternate hands with stretched out fingers. These are the same ones that were included with the 2020 release, albeit now in white rather than black. While it's nice to have SOMETHING included here to show off Reed's abilities, arguably a somewhat creepy pair of hands with long slender fingers might not have been the best way to convey it. Compare these to the incredible bendable arms that came with the 2018 figure and it's no surprise why they continue to be many collectors' preferred version for the Fantastic Four. The idea of getting those arms (or something similar at least) and the lab coat with this release might be wishful thinking (especially with the limited space inside the bubble), but I'm sure Hasbro could have managed it somehow – especially with just how much the retro-carded Thing fills that space up. 

Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 39

Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 40Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 41Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic 42

While admittedly the Marvel Legends Retro Mr. Fantastic doesn't do a great job of showing off his stretching abilities, this is still an extremely good version of Reed Richards. It's also the costume many will immediately think of when they think of the Fantastic Four thanks to both the cartoon and the 80s run of comics (and if not, it's significantly cheaper and easier to obtain than the 2018 one), so one they may consider the "default" look for the character too. If those extended arms included with the 2018 version had been reworked for this figure then it really would have been the perfect release, but I guess that lab coat is still better than just being lumped with those creepy alternate hands. Whether it's to open up or display MISB with that gorgeous cardback, these Fantastic Four figures are pretty special.

1 comment:

alex shawn said...

Amazing blog, Thanks for sharing this blog.