As usual for the Marvel Minimates line, the summer season heralds several different exclusives. The biggest of which is this 4-pack set of the Fantastic Four. This set was available from the San Diego Comic Convention and Wizard World Chicago, for $19.99. Many thanks to ThatBlokeTimbo for picking me up this exclusive. As this is a long review, covering the packaging and 4 figures, you can use the links below to jump to a character.
The packaging is the same as the current Marvel Minimates 4-pack boxes. The Marvel Universe logo appears on the left of the set – won’t waste time moaning about that missed opportunity once again. The side panels feature headshots of each Minimate.
The imagery used is interesting because the Thing is pictured in both the front and side shots with the head and expression of the original Thing Minimate from wave 5, which isn’t the case with the figure inside.
The back of the box has the picture used on the wave 8 and 9 2-pack sets. The only reason to show these months-old figures rather than the new waves 10 and 11 must be because wave 8 was pretty Fantastic Four-specific. The figures are packed in a tray, and have no twist-ties holding them in.
The first Minimate in this set is Ben Grimm, the Thing. Of all the Fantastic Four he has had the most representations in Minimate form, the original Thing in wave 5,Powerhouse Thing and Battle Scarred Thing in wave 8, as well as the exclusiveClobberin’ Time Thing.
This Thing is unique in that there has been no attempt to recreate the Thing’s rocky brow, there is no headpiece to this figure. This makes him look a lot smaller than previous Things. but it’s an appearance I quite like. The expression on the face, whilst not identical to wave 5 Thing as shown on the packaging, is still very suitable for the character.
The torso of this version of the Thing is very similar to the wave 5 Thing. It forgoes any of the bulky chest pieces that were unsuccessful on the wave 8 figures and maintains the flowing, rocky patterns on the torso itself. These patterns are the same apps that the wave 5 one had. The same purple trunks also appear, but it would have been really nice to get some Fantastic Four outfit pieces just so he would gel with the other 3 in the set a bit better. The overall colouration is a lot more orangey than previous versions, it is very noticible. Perhaps a nod to the movie version?
Thing comes with no accessories, but does have C3 feet. None of the newer Minimate construction processes have been utilised – No head hole or new Minimate body.
Overall, this is a slightly different Thing, nowhere near the best of those available. Clobberin’ Time Thing is still the definitive Thing for me. As part of this 4-pack, it’s not a bad figure, but the clunker in the set, for sure.
MMC Score – 6 out of 10
The second figure in the set is the Invisible Woman, Sue Richards. Previously she has been available in wave 8, both as a regular figure and as an invisible chase figure. This “transition” version holds the middle ground, in that she is starting to go invisible but isn’t quite there yet.
Sue has a very similar head to her previous version, but the mouth is closed this time. She looks more confident, more in control. The style is consistent with her last appearance which is a good touch. The hairpiece is identical, and because it’s a reuse, this version also has the peg hole in the head and the peg on the hairpiece itself.
The costume has been tweaked slightly to better match the black and blue Fantastic Four outfits. You can see the slight differences between the two, the “4” logo has been amended, and the black “belt line” has moved from the torso to the pelvis piece. The right hand side of the pelvis piece on my figure doesn’t have any black detailing on it but I think that’s a missing paint app. The parts on this Minimate have been made from clear plastic and the colours have been painted on. This allows the torso piece to appear slightly lighter and almost see-through near the pelvis which helps maintain the illusion of the invisibility effect happening to her. It’s a small thing but it really does help.
The legs are translucent, and fade from blue at the top to clear on her feet. These look great, and they are different to the clear legs on the chase figure because there has been no attempt to show the boots in a different translucent colour.
Like her previous versions, Sue has a clear shield for an accessory. This shield fits over her arm and portrays her ability to produce forcefields. Still doesn’t use the new Minimate body though.
Overall, this is truly a fantastic figure. Improves in every way on an already top-notch Sue. One of my favourite figures in the entire line.
MMC Score – 9 out of 10
The third Minimate in the set is Johnny Storm, Sue’s brother. In wave 8 he was in his full-on fiery Human Torch mode, but here we get him in Fantastic Four costume, just beginning to “flame on”.
A non-Torch Johnny Storm has been a much-customised figure, but this official one really stands out because of the expression on his face. The red eyes, combined with the arrogant, self-centred smirk really shows off Johnny’s character perfectly. The hairpiece is the same bright yellow as his sister’s. This is a re-use from Iron Man (which was a re-use itself from Juggernaut) so no peg holes.
The costume is consistent with the others in this set. Something people have been annoyed with in the past has been the differences in costumes between the various Fantastic Four Minimates, but Johnny here fits right in. The lower part of the torso is dark, muddy red, indicating the flame on is about to engulf Johnny entirely.
Like Sue, the legs are translucent, but this time they fade from red to clear. Again, this effect works very well, but the artwork on the front of the box shows a more yellowy tinge rather than clear, and I think that would have looked even better.
For accessories, Johnny comes with a flame base much like his wave 8 counterpart. This one is a much lighter translucent colour, more orange than the red of the previous one, to better match the colours of this figure. It’s still a great accessory, allowing Johnny to soar above his team-mates. Like the others in this set, Johnny has C3 feet but does not utilise the newest Minimate body type.
Overall, Johnny Storm has superb detailing and is the absolute star of this set.
MMC Score – 10 out of 10
The last figure in the set is Reed Richards, the stretchy-limbed Mr Fantastic. There have been two previous versions of Mr Fantastic, one available in the Toys R Us 10-Pack set, and a near-identical one to that was released in wave 8.
Like the other figures in this set, Reed has a new face. I don’t like this younger, open-mouthed version as much as the previous one, which I felt showed a lot of character in it. However, I think the design is trying to echo the younger-looking Reed from the recent movie. The hairpiece is identical to previous versions, but the brown might be slightly darker compared to the others. Again, no peg on the hairpiece or hole in the head.
Reed is portrayed here in his lab coat, a very logical (in comic terms) way to distinguish this one from previous versions. Not to mention cheap – the labcoat is a re-use from the one worn by Bruce Banner all the way back in the first wave, with a prominent 2003 copyright to match! However it does the job fine. The Fantastic 4 costume underneath matches the others in this set, and the boots/belt are black, which is the most noticible difference between the previous Mr Fantastic costumes.
As with the previous versions of Reed, this figure comes with the stretchy arm attachments. Their re-use here does not diminish the sheer fun that can be achieved with them. The only downside is that you could argue that the arms should be white to match the labcoat. Reed has the C3 feet but not the latest Minimate body style.
Overall, Reed is a solid comic-accurate addition and rounds the boxset off nicely.
MMC Score – 7 out of 10
With this set containing all four members of Marvel’s first family, with great variants of Sue and Johnny, I’d say this exclusive is well worth getting hold of.