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Marvel Legends
by yo go re

It's clobberin' time!

Once a skilled fighter-pilot, Ben Grimm is now the Thing, a member of the world-famous Fantastic Four. Bathed in cosmic radiation during a fateful trip into space with his three friends, Ben was transformed into a hideous creature of craggy, orange stone with superhuman strength. Many find him unsightly, but Ben has maintained his sense of humor and honor - because under that rocky exterior lies an ever-lovin' heart of gold! The Thing possesses superhuman strength, endurance and durability.

The Fantastic Four are Marvel Comics' first family - they're the oldest of the modern age of Marvel, first seeing the light of day in 1961. The product of Stan Lee's love of the noble scientist and the era's race for the moon, the Fantastic Four are more superfamily than superfriends.

I knew The Thing long before I actually got into comics - I think maybe he showed up a few times on that old Spider-Man cartoon, along with Iceman and Firestar. Beats me. I just recognized that hulking orange brute.

Like most of the Marvel Legends, this isn't the first time Thing's had an action figure. In fact, there've been several Things, but none as cool as this.

Standing 7¼" tall, Thing's big enough to go toe to toe with Series 1's Hulk, just like they have so many times in the comics. He's articulated at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, torso, waist, hips, thighs, knees, ankles and toes. He's got bendy fingers like Hulk, but this time ToyBiz remembered to spring for the wires inside, so they're actually useful.

Thanks to Phil Ramirez, every little rock on Ben's hide is sculpted, and a black wash brings them all out nicely. He's got a look of determination on his blue-eyed face, ready to take on whoever gets in his way, be it Galactus trying to destroy the world or Johnny taking the last doughnut. You will want to check the paint, however, to make sure that the wash doesn't get too sloppy.

The Fantastic Four's powers are based loosely around four ancient elements - Ben is earth, Johnny is obviously fire, the Invisible Woman could be air, and Mr. Fantastic is as malleable as water. We've gotten two of the quartet in this series, and I hope there are plans for the rest - I'm just not sure how well Reed and Sue's powers will translate to solid action figures.

Like the rest of the Marvel Legends, Thing comes with a detailed base. His is a section of wall that's bee spray-painted by the Yancy Street Gang, the banes of his existance. The center section is composed of four pieces, and breaks apart when Ben smashes it. Pretty cool. It does not, however, hang on the wall, but that's not a feature I miss.

Thing comes with a reproduction of Fantastic Four #263, part of John Byrne's legendary run, which focuses somewhat on The Thing searching for a kidnapped Human Torch. Kind of an odd choice, since there are definitely better standalone Thing stories.

-- 11/18/02

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