when i was getting off work late last night i hit a wally before heading home, and found two whole cases of ML Fan 4 ripe for picking. i'll post a little review here, but i'll have to wait till i get home in a few hours to put up pics (i'll compare them with other F4 figs).
at a glance:
most of the figures in this set have the universal joint for elbows and knees (like the elbows She Hulk has, for example), so they're not as poseable as previous MLs we've had but i think in most cases it helps out the sculpt not to have all these hinges everywhere. overall the sculpting's actually pretty nice, if in need of washes most of the time.
i was actually surprised by how much i liked this guy. yeah, he's only got stretched-out limbs, but even at that he looks pretty good. i really wish that they were all option parts and he'd have an un-stretched body and limbs to go with it, but he still does look good this way. where he really shines though is the head sculpt. this is REALLY what Mr. F looks like in my mind. he has the whole "distinguished good looks" thing going and for once the gray temples don't look out of place (read: he looks just old enough to have them). his arms and abdomen are bendy, but his chest, hips, and legs are hard plastic, the latter meaning he can actually stand up. his feet are a bit big too, which helps him stand. overall i give this one a 7/10, he'd have scored higher if he had "option" parts and a wash for his face, but his face is detailed enough that he ALMOST doesn't need it.
i like Sue a lot as well. it's certainly not my favorite costume choice, and for that reason alone she looks a BIT out of place next to Jonny and Reed. however, the colors match, so at least she has that going for uniformity's sake. she's overall one of the better sculpts in this wave to be honest, she's plenty poseable with ball hips, universal joint knees and elbows, ball-style shoulders and ankles and wrists, and the kind of ab joint that Psylocke/Witchblade has but improved, so you can actually get a lot of mobility out of her torso. her face is actually really nice, one of the better IW's (and i THINK my favorite so far, but i'm not sure, i'd definitely say it's better than the TB box set one). she's another 7/10, i could have used a bit more articulation and it wouldn't have been difficult to get her costume to match the others', but she still looks nice and stands and poses well.
Johnny is one of the weaker ones in this set, possibly the weakest i think. the texture on his costume is great, but he's got these weird, isolated flame bits that i think take away from the whole thing. i think i'd rather have had snap-on/wrap-around flame bits that could come off so that he could be totally flamed-off. also, i noticed that he has kind of a long torso and shortish legs... it's not DREADFUL but if he's standing next to a figure with better proportions you do notice his legs are oddly short. along with Silver Surfer, he's the only other one in this set to have double-elbows and knees, overall articulated like a traditional ML. where this figure REALLY loses is the head: he doesn't have that "heating up for a flame-on" look that we saw in the con pics, rather his face is normal but his hair looks like orange "troll doll" hair. it's just this orange afro that points straight up and doesn't really look like flames at all, lol. but it's particularly out of place because of how sparse the flames are on his body, and then POOF there's the hair. i give HT a 5.5/10; the funny proportions, flame bits, and troll-fro really don't do it for me.
i was also pleasantly surprised by ol' Ben. the detail on him is GREAT, he looks all craggy and shingled. he has the traditional ball-joint shoulders and hips with bicep and thigh swivel, like we're used to. he has single-jointed hinge elbows and knees, which is fine with me. his wrists don't swivel, but his three fingers are individually articulated on each hand, which is pretty cool, he can make convincing fists as well as point well. his head is pretty cool, he has the really pronounced forehead and underbite that i usually like seeing on him, and his head is a little small compared to his body, making him look pretty bulky and imposing... however, this guy is SHORT. he's only a little taller than Sue and Johnny, and Doom actually is taller than he is. some like Ben being big and hulking, but this captures his look from the 90's cartoon and older comics where he's more human-sized. i don't particularly mind, but for his proportions i'd have liked to see him bigger (his bio on the back, however, says he's 6 feet tall, so take that how you will). his paint job is kinda a bright orange whihc i also like, for the first time he doesn't look "dirty". he gets a 7.5/10, the great sculpt and good articulation wins for him, but his odd size keeps him from being perfect.
the Fab 4 as a whole:
overall they look pretty uniform, i like having a First Family that looks like they belong together for once, lol. like i said before, they really capture the look of the 90's cartoon, with the uniform colors and size relationship between them. even with their individual flaws, when they're all together they look pretty nice.
i was also surprised by the ol' Avenging son here. on the one hand, the universal knees and elbows really hinder his mobility, but i think it's something of a plus for the figure also because now there aren't ugly little joints everywhere, making his flesh look a bit more natural. the ab joint isn't my favorite, but it still moves really well and gets the job done. his weapon is pretty nice, i like it better than the one that came with ML2 namor. where this guy really loses some points, though, is with his paint job. he's pretty pale, and the use of wash really backfired a little. instead of bringing out detail on his face, it just made it look like he had a bad hat tan, lol. the top of his face is really fair while the bottom is darker, and on his body it's only a LITTLE better. i'm also not a fan of the face sculpt, he looks a bit too young and "pretty" for my taste and keeps him from looking like the macho jerk he is. i give him a 6.5/10, he'd be miles better if the wash were evened out, and aside from the body sculpt looking pretty smooth, i feel like something's missing.
i do like that we got this guy in ML form finally. however, because of his thick body and stunty little limbs, he's not really that poseable. the universal joints for his elbows and knees don't bend too severely because his limbs are so thick, and his thighs don't move much because the joints are tucked into the hips pretty deep. i like that his suit is textured and looks a little threadbare because it'd be really boring and featureless otherwise, but i don't like that it looks completely flat... there's no bunching or wrinkling anywhere, like at his belt line. it kinda makes him look like a turtle, really (Turle Man?). the skin on his head and hands looks kinda warty and cratery, which is good, it bumps up the ugly factor, and it sorta looks like he's splattered with dirt in some places. however, the face could really use a wash: it's got all this great detail, but without good light not a lot of it comes out. his staff is a little featureless, and the space where you put it into his hand has the whole Transformers/Megaman thing going... it looks like a normal hand with a perfect cylinder cored out of it, which looks a little weird even when he IS holding the staff. also, his bio on the card says he's like 4 foot something, but he's almost as tall as Sue and Johnny, making him look more like a rotund man rather than a girthy little midget. overall i give him a 6.5/10; he's a neat figure, but his limited poseability takes a lot away from him.
Norrin looks COOOOOOOOOOL. the only thing i don't really like about him is his hands... his right hand looks like it should be holding a basketball while his left hand has this karate-chop thing going on, and on both his wrists look a little weird. the rest of him, however, is dynamite. he's shinier still than the Hasbro reissue of the TB Surfer, with better muscle definition. aside from his hands and feet, he has traditional ML articulation, which is a real plus. although his head is a touch small, his face looks really striking and imposing, something i missed on the old "alien head" Surfer. while i wish we had the magnet-feet back, his board still looks cool. it's actually reflective! so it doesn't look quite uniform with the duller shine of SS himself, he still looks great standing on it. There's only one peg on it, so he can either be standing sort of to one side of it, or he can have a wider stance on it; the unplugged foot can go anywhere and there won't be an extra peg just hanging out there to take away from the look of the board. overall an 8.5/10, they really weren't kidding when they said that this Surfer would phase out the old one... Norrin is (prepare for lame joke...) RADD.
Ronan the Accuser
ME LIKEY. the Kree judge is plenty tall and tough-looking. while in the interest of having a more classic look to things i'd rather have seen him in his old green armor design, i still like this sculpt on him a LOT. he's got the ball hips still, but universal joints for pretty much everything else. as a result he's not got as much poseability as i'd like, so action poses are a little tough, but he's definitely good at standing there looking imposing, lol. SPOILER: RONAN IS SILVER SURFER'S FATHER. Ronan's helm is removeable and seriously, under the helmet he looks like Surfer. he's got the whole "bald with no ears" thing going. he really is meant to be seen with the helmet ON, but due to how smooth his head is, it slips around easily when you move his head around. sometimes to pose his head i've had to remove the helm, turn his head, and THEN put it back on to get the eye holes to line up with his eyes. Ronan gets a 7.5/10, because while his sculpt is beautiful, his limited poseability is to his detriment. but still very much worth getting, i think.
i saved my homeboy Doom for last. his articulation is very similar to the TB ML Doom, same range of motion with different kinds of joints. his fingers are unarticulated, however, so while his left hand has this great "evil claw gesture" thing going, his right hand is always a little awkwardly posed to hold his gun (which stows nicely in the holster, by the way). i miss the clothy texture on his tunic that we had on the old Doom, but his sculpt is quite a bit taller and bulkier, making for a more imposing Doc. HIS CLOAK IS GREEN, thank god. i think it's a lot nicer than the old one in that it's green and the buttons and chain look better; that, and it covers his face more, so he looks really wicked from the sides and from the front it really highlights his eyes. Doom has an ab joint which doesn't do much, which i think is the biggest thing that takes away from this figure. however, where this figure shines is in the armor design. while i'd have liked it to have a more metallic finish on it, the dull iron look has its perks too. it has that awesome riveted, medieval look to it, the legs in particular are a REAL step up from the old ML Doom. and where the armor really wins is in the mask. Doom doesn't have a little pinhead like before, his head actually looks thick as if it's encased in thick metal armor. his mask is removeable, and his eyes show through it really well. the mask also has the wider mouth that i like, making Doom all the scarier and awesome. under the mask is a Victor von Doom that's not as terribly disfigured as the "box set" Doom... still plenty ugly, but it's more like uniform burn damage all over his face rather than his skin looking like it's melting. the scar is notably missing. so what damages the figure is mostly his right hand, his ab joint, and the lack of a metallic look to the armor. but really, almost all of that is forgiven for just how COOL the overall sculpt is. Doom is tall and tough, and in my opinion is the best Doom we've seen so far. Doom gets an 8.5/10, bordering on a 9, and he's by far my favorite figure in this set.
the line as a whole:
pretty cool. if i were to go by raw averages, the line would have about a 7.2/10, which is about right for the set as a whole. no one figure is perfect, but i'd say that SS and Doom are easily the best, and HT is easily the worst. still, it's a very nice, traditional-looking F4 and pretty darn good takes on most of their villains/peripheral cast, making this a really good set overall. with all their shortcomings, i still think it's worth getting them all to build Ronan. all in all i'm pretty pleased with the line and i'm glad i got it.
pics coming later.