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Mr. Fantastic

Fantastic Four
by yo go re

You ever realize what a total dick Reed Richards is? He forces the only three people who can stand to spend any time with him into a poorly planned space mission, turning them all into circus freaks. He treated his foreign exchange student college roommate so poorly that the guy retreated to his homeland for years and planned a series of terrorist attacks against the guy. He opened the door to a dimension full of monsters, and merrily shoved his hostages friends through.

Mr. Fantastic Oh, he's fantastic, all right: a fantastic jerkwad.

Mathematician and physicist Reed Richards would do anything to fund his lifelong dream of an experimental space mission - including cutting a last-ditch, no-win deal with his old college rival. But one tiny miscalculation turned into tragedy when a brutal cosmic storm battered the space ship and its crew. The cosmic rays left Reed with the ability to bend, stretch, and expand his body in any imaginable way. Now as the super-flexible Mr. Fantastic, Reed leads the Fantastic Four in pursuit of a new dream - one that ensures a better quality of life for every human on Earth.

Mr. Fantastic has received a surprisingly large number of action figures over the years. Unfortunately, most of them have been crap: when you've got a guy whose power is ultimate maleability, a solid action figure will never do him justice. That's never stopped ToyBiz from trying, though: telescoping limbs, rubber arms, replacement hands... all in an effort to duplicate the unduplicatable.

It's this last approach that they're trying for the Fantastic Four movie figures. Reed has replacement parts, but they're better than ever before. They are, no pun intended, more extensive. But we'll get to that in a moment.

Reed is looking good in his FF uniform - the space suit designed to help protect him and his crew from the dangers of cosmic radiation. Since Sue's half invisible and Johnny's flaming, this is our only chance to see what the unembellished suit looks like. The main body of the suit is blue, with gray panels down the sides. The boots, gloves and the area around the neck are black, and there's a subtle V motif on the front and back. The 4 logo is on the left breast, and also appears as the clasps on the boots. It's not quite the color scheme seen in the movie, but it's close enough.

The sculpt is nice, if a bit too detailed - just because you can cover your figure in hundreds of tiny wrinkles doesn't mean you should. Reed is 6 1/4" tall, and moves at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, gloves, wrists, fingers, torso, waist, hips, thighs, knees, boots, ankles and toes, making him the most poseable FF movie figure, which makes sense. He's got those lateral sliding shoulders that give him a bit of realistic forward and back motion, but also make it look like his collar is lifting.

Make your own Lancelot! The likeness, while not as good as the Series 2 Shape-Changing Mr. Fantastic, is still a decent representation of Ioan Gruffudd; he's a bit crosseyed, though. Fortunately, the proportions seem normal all the way round - he doesn't have the same disorder as the Storm siblings.

If I make a joke about the pink one, the editors will fire me Mr. Fantastic either has 10 accessories or none, depending on how you're counting. Taking the replacement body part idea to new extremes, the figure has two extra segments for each arm, two for each leg, one for his torso and one for his neck. Reed pulls apart at the joints, and the new pieces pop in easily.

he gets larger The pieces are all made from soft rubber, and most of them are bendy. The design is really cool, making the bodyparts look stretched and twisted. The colors don't always match up with the main body of the figure, and getting Reed to stand with the extra-long legs is nearly impossible, but the idea is executed well and really makes the figure fun to play with. The pieces don't impede any of the articulation, and with everything in place Reed now stands 11 5/8" tall (and is really rather creepy).

This is the first time a Mr. Fantastic figure has even come close to properly duplicating the guy's powers. Regardless of what you think of the movie, ToyBiz is giving us some terrific Marvel Legends-quality figures of the characters. If you didn't feel like springing for one of the official ML Fantastic Four box sets, then you can fill out your plastic Marvel universe with the movie figs.

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