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Future Foundation

Minimates
by yo go re

When it was announced that Fantastic Four would be ending, to be replaced by FF, my first thought was "man, those costumes would make for some cool figures. Maybe Minimates, since the lines are so blocky." Called it!

After becoming descouraged by how Earth's scientists view science and its applications, Mister Fantastic forms a new group to create a better future for all humanity. Gathering some young, great minds, Mister Fantastic plans to mold them into a team that will come up with solutions to the world's problems.

This is another SDCC exclusive, but the circumstances surrounding it are interesting. As Rustin reported, the set wasn't sold at the con: rather, you had to go out to a mall about four miles away from the convention center and purchase it at the Disney Store. You know, when Toys Я Us has con exclusives, they partner with someone who's actually at the show - Disney couldn't have squated in a corner of Marvel's booth, like ToyBiz always did?

Considered by many to be one of the brightest scientific minds in the Marvel Universe, though some of his theories have been considered radical. After the death of young Johnny Storm Mr. Fantastic decides a new world view is needed and he views much of the world as black and white.

That's a good kayfabe excuse for the new uniforms, but in the real world it was Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort who suggested "white outfits" and artist Marko Djurjevic is the one who did everything else. Unfortunately, the details of his costume are only painted on the fronts of his bodyparts, rather than wrapping around the way they should. Since the costume is so sparse to begin with, this cost-cutting measure really sticks out. Oh, and his belt buckle is painted upside down.

Reed gets a new face, because that's not a corner Art Asylum cuts. Even when a reused face would be perfectly acceptible for a new figure, they still give it at least minor tweaks. The cheekbones and chin are similar to the last Mr. Fantastic figure, but the expression has much more anger. His hair is a new mold as well, with white painted on the temples.

The set includes an accessory for Mr. Fantastic, and it's one we've seen before: a 1½" tall base that represents his legs and waist gone all rubbery! It was first seen in a TRU-exclusive two-pack, then seen in a different TRU two-pack, and now it's in this exclusive pack. It's also being used for the upcoming Super Skrull in one of the Marvel vs. Capcom series. The gap in the coil is just large enough to fit another Minimate inside, so he can wrap them up tightly. It's easiest if you take the other figure's feet off: no matter which way you turn them, it's a tight fit to just slide them down in through the base; alternately you can take the other figure apart at the waist and go up from the bottom, like a human Push Pop.

Though he is still considered a young man Spider-Man is also one of the most powerful heroes of the Marvel Universe. What is forgotten many times is that he is gifted in the sciences as well. His areas of expertise differ from those of Reed Richards, and it remains to be seen if that will provide for conflict or a once in a generation synergy.

Spidey gets a killer new costume as a member of the FF, and apparently he sucked up all the paint budget that Mr. Fantastic had to let go. There are dark panels running up the outsides of his legs, over his ribs, and down the insides of his arms. If we were being picky, we'd complain about the lack of black on the sides of the waist, and point out that it should stop below the armpits, but the rest of him looks too good for that to be an issue.

With his all-white mask and solid black eyes, Spider-Man looks like a negative image of his symbiote costume. Kudos to the Minimate designers for putting little dots of light in the eyes to make them look like lenses. Spidey doesn't have the same pattern on his chest as the rest of the FF, but the shape is carried over in his spider symbol - it's hexagonal, not round. He comes with the same hooked webline Spideys have ben coming with since the start of the line.

Since the beginning of the Fantastic Four Ben Grimm the Thing has been not just the strong man of the team but also the heart and soul. Ben's view of the world has always served as a counter balance to Reed's detached scientific method. That anchor will surely prove even more valuable now in this time of change for the team.

Art Asylum has always tried to find ways to make Ben Grimm bigger than other Minimates, and in Series 37 they developed several new pieces to make that happen. Future Foundation Thing uses some of those parts, but gets a lot of new ones, as well: the hands have been around since Series 5, and he uses the Series 37 upper arms, but the boots, torso and hip pieces are new.

Ben has the same head cap he's always had. Okay, "almost" always. There are at least three versions that don't use that heavy-browed mold. The figure could really use a wash on the rocky add-ons, because while his face is detailed with black lines, the scalp and arms end up looking rather flat by comparison. But hey, his belt is right side up, so he's got that going for him. The notch in the front of his shirt should be orange, rather than white, but the only reason you'd ever know that is if you're looking at the costume designs at the same time you're looking at the toy, so it's nothing to worry about.

Sue has been with Reed going back to their days in college and she has always been there for him in times of need. Right now with changes going on with the superhero team how will she deal with the loss of her younger brother that has been such a large part of her life. Will Reed be the distracted genius or the support she needs?

This is only the second time there's been a fully transparent Invisible Woman - there have also been two half-faded, and only one completely solid. This is the first time she's been cast entirely with a blue tint, so she still stands out from the crowd. Her costume details are painted in a slightly lighter blue than her body is molded from, but they're also completely opaque, so they catch the light differently.

On the other hand, her anatomical details - her face, the curve of her waist, etc - are painted in a darker blue, but are still translucent. It makes for a really nice look. None of her costume details continue onto her back, but in this case, would you even be able to tell? She uses the same hair piece as TЯU Sue, done in the same blue as the rest of her.

Invisible Woman has the most accessories of anyone in the set: she includes her usual convex disc shield, a flight stand shared with several Ghostbusters ghosts, and a clear blue version of the stand that Stilt-Man and Professor X have used. Why does she come with a base like that? No clue, but it's there in the package. It's not like she would fall over without it.

The FF costumes make for some nice-looking Minimates. The white and black costumes are very unusual in the world of comics, and though we pointed out multiple mistakes with the paint, none of them are really "problems," all things considered. The hardest thing about this set will be finding it: though it was available off-site during SDCC, it will be available at all Disney Stores soon enough. But Disney Stores aren't very plentiful these days, so you may be out of luck on that front - luckily, you should be able to order the box set through the Disney Store website once it's available. So yeah, it'll take some work to get this one, but it's fairly well done.

-- 08/22/11


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