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Doctor Doom

Fantastic Four Legends
by yo go re

Okay, the mask and gloves are good, but you also need to protect your eyes. Even Latveria needs to practice social distancing.

Victor Von Doom uses his incredible intelligence and mystical abilities to oppose the Fantastic Four.

My first thought upon seeing this figure announced was that we don't need it. There's already a really great Marvel Legends Dr. Doom. But that one was A) based on a mold that was already five years old by that point, and B) was itself released seven years ago! So for us to say this is unnecessary betrays a pretty healthy dose of privilege on our part, assuming that everyone who might buy this one has been collecting as long as we have.

This figure is entirely a new sculpt, and you may be surprised that something made in the year of our plague 2020 is better than something made in 2007. The cloth sections (the hood, cape, and tunic) have a texture like roughly woven material, and the armor is covered in tiny little natural details like rivets, hinges, and even buckles holding the sections together! You can make out chainmail worn under the armor, just like real medieval plate would have been worn. He wears a double-belt with a massive, ornate golden buckle, and the flap of the holser that hangs from said belt is marked with a gothic capital D - and since these things are supposed to be leather, they have a leather texture, different from the cloth. The two jet boosters are once again sculpted on his shoulderblades, if you look under his cape.

For even further small details, consider the little cord tying the neck of the tunic closed, or the fact that the shape of the sculpted wrinkles on the chest make it visually apparent that Victor is wearing this shirt over angular metal beneath. How about the pattern in the edges of the shield cross cape clasps, or even the tiny links in the chain joining them? Whoever sculpted this (Hasbro doesn't credit their workers, so no one knows their names unless they happen to post their work in a portfolio a few years down the line) sculpted it with a level of detail and obvious love - either for the character or just for the idea of the work itself - that we don't get to see very often in these days of genericized bodies. Whoever you are, sculptor, take a damn bow; you deserve it.

And all this is before we've even talked about the heads. You get your choice of classic or modern looks for Doom. What are the differences? Well, the first thing you'll notice is the size of the hood: modern Doom (the one the toy has on in the packaging) has a large hood that drapes all the way down to his collarbones, while classic Doom's is smaller and tighter (and also falls to the left, rather than the right). As for the masks, the vintage look is fairly smooth, with square eye holes and a rectangular mouth, and rivets all over the surface, while the modern is more angular, with stylized brows, a strongly delineated chin, and oddly flared cheeks (like Doom was trying to exaggerate typically "handsome" features). One of them looks like a face made of metal, while the other one looks like a metal face. Does that make sense? They've both got the distinctive "speaker" look inside the mouth, though. The skin around the eyes on the new head is painted pink, but the old head gets added depth thanks to the multi-part molding that we've discussed before.

Dr. Doom has a balljointed head (to make swapping them easier, of course), a hinged neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a balljointed waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, and swivel/hinge ankles. Plus, it turns out there's a second balljoint at the base of the neck, for even more fine-tuning of his expressions! His knee-length skirt does limit the legs to an extent, but that just means you'll never get him sitting down, not that he can't run around or look dynamic in your display. The edge of the shirt is designed to bump right up against the belt, yet the waist isn't blocked at all. His knee- and elbow-pads are sculpted directly onto the joint, with the rondels on the sides floating freely next to the figure's body. If you really want him to get crazy, though, you'll probably need to take the cape off.

We've already talked about the alternate head and the cape, so his only other extras are a black gun to fit in his holster, and a pair of fists to replace his open hands. Maybe you'd like to let him borrow Infamous Iron Man's bonus head? Or some energy effects? The jet boosters on his back are hollow, like you could plug some flaming exhausts in there, but he certainly doesn't have any.

There is the Build-A-Figure part, still: the left leg of Super-Skrull.

Like we said at the start, the 2012 ML figure was great. And yet this one is better. It's the best Dr. Doom toy anyone has ever made. There's still a little room for improvement, mainly in the accessories, but this manages to out-"definitive" the previous definitive version.

-- 04/13/20

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