Diamond Marvel Select Fantastic Four Figures Toy Review

This is a review of three Fantastic Four figures, since we already gave in-depth coverage to the other one, Invisible Woman. Since Diamond Seelct shipped us the other three samples at once, we teamed them up just like in the comics. The releases have been staggered, but Invisible Woman and Human Torch are still available through Diamond at $29.99 apiece as of this writing, while Entertainment Earth has Mr. Fantastic on backorder and The Thing on preorder for $27.99 each. It’s the sort of deal where one might hope they’d just put them all together in a boxed set, but the way Diamond rolls, that would probably be a convention exclusive if it were to happen.

Previous Fantastic Four figures in the ’90s and aughts often tried to include action features that duplicated the characters’ powers. Such bells and whistles aren’t in vogue much these days, but Diamond has cleverly tried to use swap-out parts and extras to simulate the powers. For Sue, The Invisible Woman, it was with swap-out clear parts and force field effects. For Mr. Fantastic, it’s swap-out stretchy parts.

Rubber Band Boy

Reed in the package looks like a completely normal superhero figure. He has ball-jointed hips, shoulders, mid-torso and neck, disc-and-pin elbows, knees, ankles, and wrists. For reasons that will soon become apparent, he also has extra cut joints at the mid forearm, waist, and neck. And regular cuts at the upper thigh and upper forearm.

His headsculpt is nicely detailed, as if attempting an accurate likeness of a real person, rather than a comic drawing. His hairline at the back goes a bit lower than ideal, as it keeps him from looking up. Still, Reed the genius often looks down on people, so the effect maybe works for that approach.

Pop his head off at the lower neck joint and you can add in a stretched, elongated neck. It can be disconcerting in a dark room, making his head appear to be floating.

Pop off his lower torso both at the waist (peg joint) and mid-torso (ball joint), and you can switch that out for stretched abs, making him taller.

Hands Across America

Though Reed’s hands are interchangeable at the wrist — he comes with a few extras — pop them off at the forearm cut to switch out the extended hands. The right is a fist; the left an open hand.

There’s one last bonus part, and it’s the biggie. Pop off his legs to replace them with a large coiled, stretched leg piece that can be used to capture adversaries, or just parts of them if they’re huge.

Also included is the Ultimate Nullifier, a small piece of tech that fits in most of his hands except for the closed karate chop. There are so many options for display here from fully stretched to totally normal proportions and everything in between. The upper part of the torso is slightly tougher to switch out than the other parts, but otherwise it’s pretty easy.

Hot Stuff

The same is not true of Human Torch’s switch-out parts. He comes with two heads and two chest logos for different looks he’s had throughout his existence on the page. He’s packaged with a humanoid face and circle logo, but you can switch them out for the featureless fire face and un-circled four. That smooth head does not want to go on easily, though, and takes some pushing. The un-circled four is the opposite — it fits loosely and doesn’t want to stay in. If you definitely prefer it, glue that sucker in. Or maybe it was just an issue with the one we got.

Technically, the Johnny Storm figure doesn’t duplicate his powers per se, as it doesn’t have switch out “flame on” parts. It does, however, mimic the powers of Human Torch as Human Torch. A flaming stand allows him to “fly,” plugging into his back with a ball joint and featuring a large disc-pin joint where it attaches to the base. It’s all translucent and looks best with light shining through.

Johnny has extra hands, including two which simulate fireball-throwing: a right with an individual fireball in it and a left firing off several from his fingertips. These are the best for display.

Flex Those Flames

His articulation is less than Reed’s as he lacks the bicep, forearm, and thigh cuts, as well as the waist. And his hips, rather than being true ball joints, are cut-and-hinge, which is more standard for Diamond figures. Other than that it’s the same, but watch out for sticky joints — this sample had to sit in hot water for a while to loosen the side hinge on his left hip.

Man Mountain Rock

The Thing figure duplicates his power set in one respect — it’s a heavy sucker. The blister actually has plastic rivets to reinforce it. But while past Thing figures have included accessories like a broken lamp post, this one only comes with what looks like a weird piece of tech. It’s actually a stand, and if you habitually toss out the Diamond catalogue included with each figure, you might miss the cardboard insert that goes into it. It’s double-sided: on one side it shows busy urban traffic.

The other shows artwork of his teammates. It’s a piece that’s pretty small to be a backdrop. Maybe it’s supposed to be a window, or a flatscreen TV? In any case, it looks unrelated to his powers, and he can’t hold it . . . or anything else, since his only hands are fists. His articulation is super-limited, too, with very little range at the knees and ankles.

Ben’s hips are very limited ball joints, and his neck and shoulders are disc-pin. His wrists and waist are cut joints, and his elbows simple, limited hinges. Considering how much articulation has improved on modern bulky figures, this feels like a step back. [UPDATE: I’m told this is actually a repackaged 2010 figure, which makes sense.] It’s not like it’s about saving the sculpt, either, as a straight ball joint on the neck would look better than the exposed disc. That said, with a guy made of rock, cut lines can work as part of the aesthetic. He’s a good-looking figure, so long as you don’t want him in too many poses. I’m partial to Thing in shorts, but if he’s going to have long pants, the airbrush-style muscle lines are a nice way to do it.

The right knee on the sample version is a bit loose, but that’s not a big problem for balancing.

Cool Quartet

All four figures look great together, even though it’s amusing how utterly, stylistically not uniform the backs of their cards are. We should also not that the package side panels show the toys for Reed and Johnny, but a drawing of Ben.

Will there ever be a way to get all four in one fell swoop? It’d be nice, and they’re worth it, too.

For display, this may be the best comic-based FF toy set to date. Take a look at more images below: