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Molecule Man

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

I forget, is his nemesis Triangle Man, or Size Of The Entire Universe Man?

Owen Reece aka Molecule Man possesses near-limitless power to re-order the world around him at the molecular level.

So, Molecule Man: what's he like? It's not important. Originally just a lowly lab tech at an atomic research lab, Owen was involved in a lab accident that gave him phenomenal lab powers. Okay, not really, we just kinda got stuck on one specific adjective there. But there really aren't a lot of synonyms for "laboratory," are there? Since the accident was his fault, he got fired, and angrily turned his new powers on his boss. Recognizing the threat posed, the Watcher broke his vow of non-interference to bring the Fantastic Four to the moon and warn them of what was going on (which would be a lot more impressive if "breaking his vow of non-interference" wasn't, like, the main thing the Watcher does). In fact, Molecule Man was so powerful, Reed's science, Ben's strength, Johnny's flames, and Sue's fainting were no match for him, and the only way they were able to defeat him was with psychological tricks.

Is he a dot, or is he a speck? Neither, but he should be. Right out of the box, there's a blatant problem with the figure, and that's its size. As soon as you open the box, you can tell he might be a giant. Owen is just an average dude, 5'7", but this toy is about 6¾" tall. You do that math, and that's Marvel Select scale, not Marvel Legends. We could argue that he's using his powers to make himself feel more confident, but you need to recognize that's just making excuses for something that's empirically done wrong because Hasbro wanted to reuse limbs and so was locked into a specific size even before assigning a sculptor to make the new parts.

"The new parts," of course, being the torso and the head. Having that big V-shaped pattern on his smock means nobody else's chest could be used, and heads are generally new anyway. This one is proportional to the gigantic body, which is the preferable choice, but it's still apparent that it's larger than it should be. The lightning-bolt scars on his face are slightly understated - the sculpt should be deeper, and they could use some more paint to bring them out.

Being a villain created in the '60s, Molecule Man wears green and purple. The hues chosen are both toward the blue ends of their respective spectra. And speaking of blue, that raises another good question about Molecule Man: when he's underwater does he get wet, or does the water get him instead? Nobody knows. Molecule Man has the same set of hands as this series' Wonder Man, but you don't have to worry about confusing whose is whose, because the skintone plastic used is different enough between them: Simon's are more pink, while Owen's are more blue.

Since he's made from existing parts, you already know what his articulation is going to be like: barbell head, balljointed neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, hinged torso, swivel waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel boots, and swivel/hinge ankles. The head pops off the neck exceedingly easily, almost like it was tooled slightly too large - it stays on well enough that you could lift the toy by the head and be fine, but you don't need to pop it off the ball like you do some others. The set includes two purple energy effects, but it would have been nice if we'd gotten an alternate bald head as well, since that's how he used to look.

The set includes the Build-A-Figure left leg for Puff Adder.

Is he depressed or is he a mess? Does he feel totally worthless? Yes, and that's why he's never really been as effective a villain as he has the potential to be. He holds himself back, because even though he was bitter at first, he's not evil - and in fact, the few times when he does lean into his powers, he's generally beyond human concerns at all. This could have been a great ML for him, but being the wrong size, having a slightly soft sculpt, and the pieces not really fitting right definitely drag him down.

-- 06/20/23

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