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Invisible Woman

Fantastic Four Retro Collection
by yo go re

Keep your fan-casting hot takes, everybody knows there's only one correct choice for MCU Susan Storm.

After receiving superpowers, Sue Storm Richards co-founds the Fantastic Four and emerges as the single most powerful member of the group.

Yeah she did! But it took a while to get there, because both Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were both born circa 1920, so we're probably lucky Sue, Jean Grey, and the Wasp were even allowed to leave home with the boys - asking for them to be full, useful members of the team would probably be too much. Like, Stan and Jack were both obviously progressive and respected women (for their ye-olde-timey Greatest Generation definition of "respect"), but it definitely took the attention of later creators to let Marvel's female characters become as strong as they could be. In Sue's case, that meant it taking 24 years for anyone to realize "Invisible Girl" wasn't exactly a bold supranym.

There is a normal Sue in the Fantastic Four Retro Collection, and she wasn't even the hardest figure to find (that honor goes to Ben), but this is the exclusive variant. Available only directly from Hasbro's website, this one shows her fully invisible - it's molded entirely from translucent plastic, with nary a drop of paint to be found anywhere. Below the neck, this is the the same badonk body used for the last two Invisibile Women, which makes sense. It is a good opportunity to appreciate the sculpt as a standalone work, undistracted by costume elements.

The reason we're reviewing the variant and not the normal figure is the one new piece: the head. When the first photos of these figures were released, Sue looked awful. Like, on par with the figures Hasbro was releasing a decade-plus ago. The face seemed small on the head to begin with, and then there was a giant head of hair that bulked the entire thing up even more. It did not look good. This one's got the same sculpt, but being clear means we don't have to really see it.

What's really weird is that the source material for the head is so good. It's quite apparent the sculpt is based on Adam Hughes' cover for Invisible Woman #1 (and the cover of the TPB), which was awesome and dynamic and powerful. And also apparently difficult to adapt to three dimensions. As great as Hughes' art is, you have to wonder; why, in a series so obviously based on the work of John Byrne, would they try to do another artist's version of her? Surely Byrne has to have drawn her with a decent haircut at least once in his career, yes?

Clear or visible, the figure has a balljointed head, hinged neck, swhivel/hinge shoulders, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a balljointed chest, balljoint hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, and swivel/hinge ankles. You get your choice of swappable fists or splayed hands, and she's got the small swirly force field that can fit onto the fingers of the right hand. Being able to turn herself invisible is actually the least of Sue's abilities, but it still took nearly two years for her to do anything else in the book (issue #22; for comparison, her first scene in issue #21 was "trying on wigs, because she's a girl"). And then two more decades to get a good name.

I was perfectly happy just getting the villains from this Retro Collection line, because I've got enough figures of the actual team already. Plus, even if the other three looked nice, the standard Sue was not appealing. Wouldn't the reused body mean that I could have put a good head on the neck, in place of the one she came with? Well, yes, but I keep telling you I'm stupid, I didn't think of that until just now. Anyway, once I found a Thing, this exclusive allowed me to have a full four-member team, not just 75% of them.

Human Torch | Invisible Woman | Thing | Mr. Fantastic

-- 06/27/22

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