Marvel Legends Fantastic Four boxset

Coheteboy is back with another terrific Marvel Legends review - the Fantastic Four boxed set!  Take it away, CB!

In the style of the X-Men box set from last year, Toy Biz puts out a new set for fans of the Fantastic Four. The set has been hitting toy stores for the past month so it should be spotted shortly if you haven't seen them yet. Like many other box sets, this one is filled with rehash figures. While it may be annoying for many, this is a good set for newcomers to the Marvel Legends collection.

The set comes with Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch, The Thing, and Dr. Doom. Invisible Woman is the only figure that hasn't been made available anywhere else but there's enough changes to the other figures to make this set worth while. Not only does Doc Doom have a better scarred face, but the Human Torch and The Thing also sport new head sculpts. And let's not forget the first figures of Franklin Richards and H.E.R.B.I.E., the little robot that made its appearance in the comics after his introduction in the cartoon series. So while you get five true figures, you also get a pack in of two other characters that really make the Fantastic Four box set that much more colorful.

Packaging - ***1/2
All "five" figures are packed into a sturdy box that resembles your standard Marvel Legends artwork. The Fantastic Four title art graces the top left corner and the contents of the set are labeled on the front with their points of articulation. The back of the box provides character statistics for the main team and Dr. Doom as well as showing several pages of the included Poster Book. Getting into the box will take patience as always, as you'll come face to face to twist-ties, so get that nail clipper handy (that's at least what I prefer to use). Overall, the packaging works well and you get a good look at the toys inside. 

The only thing I'd like is for there to be some sort of description or identification on the pack-in characters of Franklin and H.E.R.B.I.E. since there is no mention to them at all anywhere. It would also be nice if there were some explanation to the accessories enclosed, which I will get more into later. 

Sculpting - Mister Fantastic: ** 1/2
Reed Richards, known as Mister Fantastic makes use of the same wimpy body that was part of Series V but has a new head sculpt. I never liked this body because I felt that it was way too skinny or scrawny to work with any character. But it's also a body with the loosest joints out of any Marvel Legend. But thin-build aside, the head sculpt is what's new here and well... I wish I can say that it's an improvement over the previous head, and I actually do prefer it over the "George Bush" facial expression of the first, but the face still comes off pretty goofy looking. He's given this smug look that just doesn't work for me. So, Toy Biz, if you're listening, we need a better Reed Richards still.

Sculpting - Dr. Doom: *** 1/2
Victor Von Doom is exactly the same as the previous version but with a brand spankin' new face. Instead of the "John Norris of MTV" face sculpt, he is given the "sick controlling father from Braveheart" sculpt, which is a lot BETTER LOOKING! At any rate, it's a better face for a villain. The rest of the body is well sculpted, just like the original release. It would have been nice had Toy Biz provided a new cloth cape for the set but that might have been too much to ask for. 

Sculpting - Invisible Woman: ***
The Invisible Woman aka Sue Richards, makes use of the old Elektra torso but is given a brand new lower half which is definitely a good thing. The upper half of Sue seems a tad awkward because of the fat neck and the scrawny arms. The lower half is better sculpted and is an improvement over the previous female sculpts. The result is a more supportive and proportionate lower half that looks good and it actually does look like she's wearing pants rather than just body paint. The head is an interesting choice going with a short haired Sue, since we've seen both versions in the comics. Sue's head isn't bad but it also still feels slightly off. It's not too bad though and definitely is acceptable. 

Sculpting - Human Torch: ***
While the original Human Torch body hasn't been used for any other Marvel Legends figure, the same body returns again for this updated Human Torch. Again, all that is new here is the head, and it's a fairly good change, giving collectors a "Johnny" version of the Human Torch. The rest is the same as Series II torch as far as sculpt goes, and i think it looks pretty good still. 

Sculpting - The Thing: ****
Even the first time I saw The Thing in Series II, I thought it was one of the best sculpted figures and I still feel the same way. All the rocks and cracks are just perfectly done and the new head sculpt is also captured very nicely. No complaints at all with The Thing. 

Paint - ***
The paint I found was pretty consistent through the entire box. Everything was fairly clean and nicely applied, but with the exceptions of a few miscellaneous marks and misses here and there. 

But since the paint is generally solid, let's talk about the changes made to the figures. Mr. Fantastic has an updated costume along with Invisible Woman's. The blue is a darker shade and I find it more visually interesting. The Thing now has a darker shade of rock and shorts to match the blue of Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman. Human Torch also has an updated....uh... flame suit that matches up with the rest of his teammates. And lastly Dr. Doom is just a lighter shade all around. 

Franklin and the robot also have decently applied paint. There are less slip-ups here than the X-Men set I picked up, so I'm pretty satisfied with the end result. 

Articulation - ****
With the majority of the figures having over thirty points of articulation, I'm going to have to give this set four stars. Unless they completely redid some of the figures, there's no possible way that they could have had more points of articulation in this set. 

Invisible Woman leads the pack with 40 points of articulation. Mr. Fantastic comes in second with 38 points, Human Torch with 34, The Thing with 30, and Dr. Doom in last with 24 points. The Thing's bendie fingers have been updated to have articulated fingers. I actually really like it this way but I can see why people prefer the bendie fingers.

Franklin has 8 points of articulation and H.E.R.B.I.E.has 1 point in the neck.

Accessories - ****
The box set comes with a few accessories. The most basic is the full color poster book and five display stands. Four stands show the Fantastic Four logo while the remaining stand is designed with a "D" for Doom. 

Franklin and the robot elevate the score to full four stars basically, but the set also comes with a few other things. There's a ball that apparently is Mr. Fantastic when stretched into ball-form. Reed also comes with a cloth lab coat. 

Dr. Doom comes with removable plastic hood and cape, removable mask, and a pistol that fits in his side holster. 
The last accessory is a mystery to me. It's a clear, wall-mountable, display stand but doesn't say exactly who it's for. Is it for Human Torch to help him fly? Nope. There's nothing to attach him to. Is it for HERBIE? Well.. he does have a hole on the bottom but the stand doesn't quite fit in there properly. There's a hole on the back of Invisible Woman, but that was there when the body belonged to Elektra. This is another reason why Toy Biz should include instructions and descriptions! I'm pretty sure it's for the robot but do we really need a wall mountable display for the little robot?!

Value - ***
Depending on how much you pay, the value might be exactly what you deserve, but I paid $39.99 which comes to about $8 a figure. I think as a box set we should be saving a few bucks considering that we're paying for mostly rehashes. If you can find this set for $34.99, that would earn this set at least half a star more, if not perfect score.

Overall - ***1/2
Being a set with Invisible Woman, new Human Torch, Franklin, and H.E.R.B.I.E., this was going to be a no brainer. But you also get a Dr. Doom and Thing which are great figures. What would have made this set perfect would have been a better Mr. Fantastic. The body is pretty lackign when compared to the other figures and also missing are his extra appendages. 

But overall, I think this is a great set that gives you the full team with enough changes to make this worth while. Also available is a variant set with a clear Sue Storm, so keep an eye out for that if that's more what you want. 

Where to Buy -
Toys'R'Us has been the only place I've seen it for retail, but it's not an exclusive as far as I know, so expect to find this at Wal-Mart possibly.


Figure from the collection of Coheteboy.

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