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The Thing

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

Ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod, they actually did it!! Four down, none to go!

An impressive, boulder-like exterior grants the Thing exceptional strength and durability in even the rockiest of battles.

In 2014, Walgreens began offering exclusive Marvel Legends. Yes, the drug store. Since then they've released 11 figures (including one just a month ago), giving them an average of three a year. Not bad, all things considered. Last year, they released an Invisible Woman, followed by a Human Torch and a Mr. Fantastic. And now, at last, they've completed the team, bringing us Benjamin Grimm: the ever-lovin', blue-eyed Thing!

Thing is 100% a new sculpt, because there's really no other way to do him. Well, Hasbro could have recycled their previous Thing, like they did when they were doing two-packs, but that figure was kind of crap, so I think everyone would have been pretty pissed off if that's what they had done. They couldn't get away with just painting rocks on a plain body, so short of going back to ToyBiz molds, a new sculpt was the only option.

And that mold is great! He's big and wide and covered in rocks, not just in cracks - ToyBiz Things tended to have a smooth, even surface with lines etched in, while Hasbro's opt for making the surface more three-dimensional. He's even got square buttocks! Seriously: if you look at his butt, you can see straight edges where his trunks are stretched over the rocks underneath. Hasbro doesn't credit their sculptors, but whoever did this deserves recognition.

One part we're not so crazy about? The head. Heads. The set includes two, one scowling and one merely frowning. They're just as detailed as the rest of the body, but there's something about them that just feels "off" to me. Maybe it's that his chin isn't wider than his cheeks? Maybe his brow ridge is too separate? Or not separate enough? Not sure. This is a very Gabriele Dell'Otto/Marko Djurdjevic kind of design, and I guess I just prefer my Thing like this. But it's important to remember the major difference between "this is bad" and "this isn't my favorite."

Thing stands 7¼" tall, and has very chunky proportions. His arms and legs are as big around as some other figures' entire torsos! And yet Hasbro didn't skimp on the articulation. Benji's got a balljointed head; hinged neck; swivel/hinged shoulders, elbows, and wrists; balljointed torso; swivel waist; balljointed hips; swivel thighs; double-hinged knees; and swivel/hinge ankles. That's everything you'd need for clobberin' time! The only addition we'd make would be lateral shoulder hinges, like ToyBiz's had, so that you could get his arms close enough together that he could pound his fist into his palm.

This is already an over-sized, exclusive toy with a fully unique mold, and yet we still get extra pieces? Is Walgreens really making any money on this release? Beyond the alternate head, you also get your choice of fists or open hands - he's wearing one of each in the package, but the matching opposites are in the tray beside him. The pegs are massive, and the rings in the joints have a sculpt to match the rock pattern, so he doesn't suddenly turn smooth. That's attention to detail!

Ben Grimm. The Thing. There was a lot of speculation on how - or even if - Walgreens would be able to make this figure, but almost no one guessed "all-new sculpt with complete articulation and bonus accessories for the same standard price." Because that's fricking daft! No doubt Hasbro will find some way to get more mileage out of these molds (Korg, maybe? A Fantastic Four box set in alternate costumes?), but for now, it's a standalone piece, and it's pretty damn awesome that it exists. Take a bow, Steven G. Anne; you and Walgreens have earned it.

-- 10/08/18

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