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Mr. Fantastic

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

Really, who is cocky enough to call themselves 'Mr. Fantastic?'

I am a fucking GENIUS! Brilliant scientist Reed Richards came upon his powers during an experimental space flight where he was exposed to cosmic rays. Upon returning to earth he discovered that he was capable of converting his body into a highly malleable state at will. As such, he can stretch, deform, expand or compress himself into any contiguous shape he can imagine. Celebrated around the world as much for his brilliant mind as his stretching abilities, Reed Richards commands the respect of his peers and family as leader of the fabulous Fantastic Four!

The Fantastic Four are some of Marvel Comics' oldest characters, so they have a tendency to get rather staid and boring as the years go by. Every so often, however, a writer comes along who manages to inject new life into the old conventions, making Marvel's First Family worthwhile again.

Mr. Fantastic has had a few figures over the years, but none has ever really captured Reed's powers: whether it was extending limbs or "Stretch Armstrong"-style rubber arms, nothing ever really worked out for the man with the big brain. So ToyBiz is trying again, trying something new.

Reed is 6 1/8" tall to the top of his swept-back hair, and is articulated at the toes, ankles, boot tops, knees, hips, waist, abs, biceps, elbows, forearms, wrists and hands. He shares his body with the new Parachute Spider-Man, so he has the same Spawn-inspired "sliding" shoulders, though his are much easier to move.

The "4" on Reed's chest is painted on, rather than sculpted. While Spider-Man had red hips painted blue, Reed's hips are molded from the proper color, so they won't be showing any paint wear any time soon; conversely, the up-and-down neck joint is molded from light blue, then painted darker, and the paint came off pretty quickly.

Reed Richards Reed's facial sculpt is quite good, looking the part of the cerebral scientist. Phil Ramirez captured Mr. Fantastic's look perfectly, and even created a realistic hairstyle. The paint job sees Reed graying at the temples, as he should be, though it's more naturalistic here than the "two big stripes" of the comicbook.

Reed's only accessories are replacement arms: he comes packaged with the elongated forearms attached to the figure and the two normal arms next to him. The stretched arms - a large open hand on the right, a big hammer-shaped fist on the left - are not only outsized, but also bendy.

Mr. Fantastic: master of forced perspective

It may not be the best way to convey Reed's abilities, but it's the best we've seen yet. The hand has five bendy fingers, while the fist is a simple hollow ABS. The arms a bit heavy for the joints, which makes these arms more of a "play" feature than a "pose" feature, which will probably have some folks upset.

The Fantastic Four's powers are based loosely around four ancient elements - we already got earth and fire in earlier series, and now water. With a bit of imagination, you can call your Marvel Legends Fantastic Four team complete.

Not pictured, Mrs. Richards

Rather than a base, like the other Marvel Legends have, Mr. Fantastic comes with the front section of the Fantasti-Car, the hovercraft that the team uses to violate airspace all over the city. Hey, it's the pilot episode of Star Trek! It's a nice piece, detailed in and out, though it might have been better had the car been started long ago with the other members of the FF - the Fantasti-Car was a four-seater, not a solo tub. The control panel is sculpted with various instruments and switches, and the seat folds up. The car measures 3 1/2" wide, 3 3/4" deep and 3" tall and is wall-mountable.

Mr. Fantastic comes with a reproduction of Fantastic Four #489 (or 60, depending on how you're counting), part of the recent, all-too-brief run by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo. Waid does a, well, fantastic job recapping the Four's origins for new readers, and even gives Reed a dose of humanity that's quite welcome. A very good issue all around, with Wieringo's art bringing a lot of fun and personality to the staid scientists.


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