Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Doll Collector: Two Reeds

To the left, movie Reed, and to the right, comic book Reed.
For nearly thirty years(!), Reed "Mister Fantastic" Richards of Marvel Comics First Family, and "The World's Greatest Comic Magazine,", the Fantastic Four, has been one of my very favorite characters. Through deaths, turns, and attempts to fix Ben Grimm, I have stood by Reed as a hero who relies on his vast intellect as much as his elasticity.

It is only in recent years that I have soured slightly on the Marvel 616 (the main comic book "world") presentation of the character, finding solace in the reintroduction of him as a Dr. Doom type character in the newer Ultimate Universe. Comic book continuity can be very confusing for those who do not regularly read comic books, but nearly anyone can appreciate the excitement I felt when the first (not counting the unreleased 1994 Roger Corman B movie version) film came out and with it, a slew of toys, most of which I did not buy. But I couldn't resist at least one Reed figure, modeled after the actor who played him (rather well, I might add), Ioan Gruffudd.

It was soon after the release that I paired the Series 2 movie figure with a more traditional Marvel Legends Series version of Mister Fantastic. Despite being modeled, in essence, on the same character, the two figures I very different--especially when the details are considered:
The Fantastic 4 Movie Mr Fantastic Action Movie Series 2 Figure (2005), and mercifully, not the Series 1 figure which has the ridiculous elongated neck) complete with "buzz saw" and giant fist hands, as well as a flattened face. This figure is just as it says, a fairly accurate reflection of the nu-Marvel uniform present in the film, updated for mass media consumption.It's actually a "look" I liked in the film, as it looked far better on film than a thin body suit would.

The Marvel Legends Series 5 Mister Fantastic (2003) stands approximately 6" tall, includes character-specific accessories such as part of the old school Fantasti-car, multiple points of articulation and comes packaged in a colorful clam shell blister pack, which includes the a copy of the first issue of the Mark Waid run that served as a soft-reboot of sorts for new fans. This figure's face is odd in the color of his complexion and the weird "duck face" look that preceded the poses popularity on Facebook by a number of years.
Both versions make the common characterization error of presenting Reed as an overly muscular gentleman, downplaying the slenderish professor-like physique assigned the character in Jack "The King" Kirby's earliest renderings. For my money, the recently released Classic Marvel Characters: The Fantastic Four #1 Mr. Fantastic (priced at $49.99!) is the closest we're liable to come to that, that being the Mr. Fantastic figure I am still holding out for and (though highly unlikely) may get when the movie series is rebooted again in the next few years.

For now, I've got the two Reeds above safely packed away in my attic toy box for when I'm jonesing for FF action figures!

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