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Toy Biz Marvel Legends Man-Thing

Man-thing 9

I’ve been reading the Man-Thing omnibus lately, which contains a huge swath of his earlier stories written by Steve Gerber and others, and it put me in the mood to drag out my Man-Thing. OK, now we’ve gotten the extraordinarily transparent Man-Thing joke out of the way…
Man-thing 1
Man-Thing debuted in wave 8 of Toy Biz’s marvel Legends line way back in the early days of 2005. I wasn’t on the Fwoosh or any other toy website at that time, so I can only guess how the internet reacted to the revelation that he’d be getting a figure. I can only hope that it was universal excitement. While he received a figure at the tail end of the 5-inch line, this was Man-Thing done with respect.
Man-thing 2
Man-Thing is an oddity in the pantheon of Marvel characters. Existing somewhere in a hazy area between creature and vegetation, Man-Thing is a purely reactionary, empathic, mindless hunk of swamp-muck that plods and stumbles from adventure to adventure without knowing what’s going on. We’ve all known somebody like that.
Man thing 3
Sadly, a figure like Man-Thing probably wouldn’t happen today. Back then, unique sculpts that couldn’t be used anywhere else were tossed off randomly on a lot of different characters, but now every figure has to be carefully budgeted and rationed for maximum reuse. That makes Man-Thing one of the better figures of the Toy Biz years. Anytime you can look at a figure and be completely satisfied is a win.
Man-thing 5
Sculptor Phil Ramirez did a great job packing tons and tons of detail into this figure, giving him a dense, yet uncluttered, look full of vines and moss and randomness. His oddly tentacled face is a perfect translation of the source material: dead-eyed, haunting, and distinctive. He looks like he was tons of fun to sculpt because with a figure like this you can go nuts with detail and texture and all those little elements.
Man-thing 4
The paint is well done also, with plenty of various shades of green and subtle browns to bring out those sculpted details. He has a slimy look to him, like he just crawled out of a tepid pool of filth.

Man-thing 6
Man-Thing has great articulation for such a plodding, clumsy mass. Mine suffers from some very loose hip-balls, which I think is a common complaint from the heavier figures, so I have to be careful how I pose him so he doesn’t topple under his own weight, but, otherwise, the articulation is great and expressive, even if the character isn’t. Man-Thing has articulated fingers including thumbs, which have caused much debate over time, and he would probably not receive them were he to be made today, but, in his case, I think they’re completely necessary. Man-Thing is all about the reaching out the grabbing, the slow-witted gesturing and so forth, so to take away one of his main forms of expression would be criminal. I think not having articulated fingers would hamper his whole “Whatever knows fear burns at the Man-Thing’s touch” schtick. They may suck on other figures, but here they fit just fine.
Man-thing 7
Some characters are made at the completely wrong time, utilizing the wrong bodies, awkward articulation, or subpar toynology, and the end result is more regrettable than playable. But for Man-Thing, all the elements came together at just the right time to produce a figure that stands a little bit above his line-mates to be a shining example of what Toy Biz could do when they were at the top of their game.

Man-thing 8