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Mr. Fantastic

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

Three down, one to go.

A master inventor and impressive shape-shifter, Reed Richards uses intelligence and flexibility to protect the universe as Mr. Fantastic.

Hooray! At last, we get one of these Fantastic Four Marvel Legends bios that doesn't vaguely imply that his costume has something to do with his powers. And yes, although Reed is the one who created (or discovered, depending on the story) the unstable molecules that prevent Fantastic Four wardrobe malfunctions, that happened prior to the team getting powers from outer space, so it's not like him becoming a super-stretchy man of living rubber had any influence on the process - it was pure coincidence! But here's an interesting fact for you: Fantastic Four #6, the first issue to mention unstable molecules, came out on June 12, 1962; but one week earlier, an Ant-Man story in Tales to Astonish #35 also used the term, making that the official debut.

Obviously Reed is going to have a new head. You can repaint and ruse bodies all you want, but when you've got a character with an exposed face and uncovered hair, that kind of requires a distinct sculpt. The chin is a little narrow for my tastes (I'm all about that '90s Paul Ryan artstyle), but he's molded with a few locks of hair falling onto his forehead, and has one eyebrow cocked, as if he's staring at some problem curiously.

Surprsingly, a lot of the body appears to be new. The legs are definitely Spider-Man's (there's no mistaking those big pigeon-toed flappers), and the arms might be, but the torso is emphatically not. I mean, we've all seen the Spider-body more than a dozen times now, we know what it looks like: it's thin and muscular and has extra joints in the shoulders for poseability. Right off the bat, this one is missing those joints, but the shape of the pelvis is different, and instead of being skin-tight spandex, this shirt is slightly baggier, with more wrinkles than muscles. In short, it looks more like Reed Richards' "adult scientist" body than some generic superhero's body, and that's nice in this day and age. Unexpected, but welcome.

If you find this figure in stores, you'll want to compare the paint before heading up to the registers - like Sue, the 4 logo on his chest can get some minor flecks on it, and the little bits of loose hair on his forehead vary from figure to figure. Neither of those problems is so bad that you should feel it's not safe to order him online, they're just things to keep in mind if you want to see the absolute best one you possibly can.

Like we said, Mr. Fantastic doesn't have the lateral shoulder hinges Spider-Man does, but there's a reason for that: in order to depict Reed's powers, the figure comes with an extra pair of swappable arms, and they needed to be able to pull out of the shoulder sockets easily. The arms are bendy, and end in oversized hands. These are not a new mold - they come from Hasbro's 2007 Mr. Fantastic figure, just painted new colors. I still say the best way of showing his abilities is what the movie figure did, but that was probably beyond the scope of a Walgreens exclusive.

But hey, they did throw in something new for us: the second-ever toy of the Ultimate Nullifier! The hand on the normal-sized right arm is open, but it's not really shaped to hold the weapon; remember, the two little pointy bits are supposed to point forward, toward whatever you want ultimately nullified, but you won't be able to do that here.

It's only been a few months since Medusa came out, but now that we're losing Toys Я Us as an outlet for Marvel Legends exclusives, it's a good thing Walgreens is already in on the action.

-- 03/26/18

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