I am very aware of the Fantastic Four as a super team, but I've never read their comics. I know all about Mr. Fantastic and his family from toys, cartoons to some extent, movies that I haven't seen, and copious amounts of writing on how their friends, foes, and offspring are basically the core of much of the modern Marvel universe. Except when Disney swept them under the rug for a while. For whatever reason, this team has been largely doomed to be confined to a lower tier of status despite a bunch of potentially cool stories to tell. But at least Disney and Marvel aren't denying Hasbro the ability to make toys.
I sometimes see Mr. Fantastic around. Richards vexed some stores by hanging around in big numbers, and this once $10-$12 figure is now easily had for under $7. At that price I'd recommend you run out and get him. While Hasbro's Kenner-style figures capture much of the vocabulary of the old toys, the syntax is a little off. The limited articulation and mold reuse are here, because he's got Spider-Man's ridiculously ripped torso - and his pose. These figures are mostly all the same blank body with little flourishes like a unique head or distinctive hands, but by and large they're the same toy with new head and a new paint job. And it works! Thanks to some pretty stunning package artwork this is a figure you'll see and go "Wow, maybe I should buy these!" I know it worked on me - I kept looking at them at the store before going "Well, maybe I need Spider-Man" and then "Well, maybe Iceman and Firestar" and then "Oh heck just give me them all" after seeing Ghost Rider was coming. As onesies and twosies they're not compelling, but now that the line has passed 40 pretty good figures? It's hard to not love.
This figure is typical of the line. The head has a better-than-Kenner-would-do paint job with gray temples, whites around his eyes, and pretty good eyebrows. The face is crisper than most old figures, and is more lively. I love that they molded the head in flesh color, but I also appreciate that the gloves and boots were too. He will most likely hold up better to play and aging, as long as they don't start to yellow with time. The painted-on gray sideburns make me think that it's entirely possible this was meant to resemble the Roger Corman Fantastic Four movie costume, which doesn't bother me in the slightest.
One of the dangers of doing figures for collectors is they surgically remove the "fun" part. Mr. Fantastic would probably have stretchy limbs or exaggerated hands if he were an actual kid's toy, instead of a decent-looking straightforward recreation of the Richards patriarch on an existing, profitable figure buck. He's a perfectly good middle-age man hero in a blue catsuit, and he has his age rating right on his chest if you want to give him to your kids to play with. The packaging illustration is so much more fun to look at, you may find it disappointing that he's just a decent looking figure with seven points of articulation.
I consider this - and honestly, every - figure a must-have at clearance prices. For the discriminating fanatic, you'll probably find Marvel's line to have the very best packaging with figures that are merely very good. Hasbro did a good job making a generic body they can reuse for dozens of figures - hundreds, had they the stomach for it - but with figures like this you can really appreciate things like some of Kenner's weird open and useless hands. There's no reason to do it, but by changing up the hands you can alter the figure's personality. Both are designed to grip accessories and you don't get any gear in here. If one hand had wide spread-out fingers or was making some sort of gesture like he's reaching out or stretching, he's be a pretty exciting figure. The sculpt is sharp and the figure hits all the marks pretty well, but unlike some of the other offerings I don't know if you need it at full retail price (or higher.) But I'm goofy, I enjoy these things, and I'm happy Hasbro gave Kenner another lap at my wallet as an adult who can afford these things.
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