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Psycho-Man

Fantastic Four Retro Collection
by yo go re

So you've got your A-list villains, like Doctor Doom, your B-list villains like Mole Man, your D-list villains like Dragon Man... and now, welcome to the, like, W-list or something.

Highly intelligent, Psycho-Man uses advanced technology to manipulate emotions and threaten the Fantastic Four.

Psycho-Man hails from the Microverse - same place as the Micronauts - and is only interested in conquering Earth as a way to solve his planetary system's overpopulation. And yet his only significant contribution to the FF comics is that he's the one who inspired Sue Storm, who was an adult and had been for years, to finally change her name from "Invisible Girl" to "Invisible Woman." That's right, his big moment is being a footnote in someone else's trivia item. Way to matter, Psycho-Man!

Sy Koman [that's not his real name and you know it --ed.] first appeared in Fantastic Four Annual #5, in 1967. And in the 50-years-plus since then, nobody's really been able to decide what color his face is. Sometimes it's yellow, sometimes it's orange, sometimes it's a human pink, sometimes it's even gold, like this toy has gone for.

Although Psycho-Man is a Jack Kirby creation, this figure is based on the art of John Byrne - specifically, an image created for The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. It's got circles on the long green gloves, a big collar, a few lines on the chest, ribbed panels around the waist, and a comical series of tubes running around his feet and legs! Seriously, what is up with those? It's like that Futurama joke. Are they supposed to be support braces, or decorative? They're probably why Psycho-Man had to be released in a series with no Build-A-Figure, too: he's 100% original molds, with not a ton of re-use potential, even with those rings being separate pieces that float above the body beneath.

Travelling between the normal world and the Microverse is usually a process of changing size - just like in Ant-Man, you get small enough, and you enter a new reality. But Psycho-Man is smart enough to know that messing with superheroes is likely to be a dangerous prospect, so he's never shown-up on Marvel Earth in person: whenever "he" seems to, he's actually just gotten a robot built and is piloting it remotely from the safety of Sub-Atomica. Robot or no, it still moves like a normal Marvel Legend, with joints at the head, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles. The leg rings do limit the motion somewhat, but not significantly - it's not like Psycho-Man is a physical fighter anyway, he's one to simply stand back and fire rays at people.

This toy is part of the Fantastic Four Retro Collection, which is ostensibly based on the mid-90s ToyBiz line; surprisingly, Psycho-Man did get a toy back then: it was part of Series 4 (same one that would have included Trapster), where all the figures came with large bases to stand on. Psycho-Man's was shaped like his Control Box, but he didn't actually come with that accessory - thankfully, this toy does. It's a light blue plastic, molded with generic Kirby tech lines all over it, and big yellow buttons labelled "FEAR," "DOUBT," and "HATE." Oddly enough, an exact replica of the way they produce Fox News! In the art that inspired this toy, Psycho-Man carried it tucked up against his side; on the toy, it's more secure if he holds it lengthwise and tucks it into his elbow like a football.

Psycho-Man was definitely an unlikely choice to get a Marvel Legend, but while the Retro Collection releases may be slightly less of a value than normal ML are, in his case the extra money is going to making the toy as good as it can possibly be. He's a longstanding villain of the Fantastic Four, even if not an important one, so he's a standout in this first series.

-- 11/22/21


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