Johnny are you clear, boy? Are you here for real, boy? We are lucky it seems, thanks to our pal Walgreens. But Johnny what’s the deal, boy? Are you really clear, boy? You’ve been gone so long, but now you can Flame On! But I got you today, boy, and I have to say, boy, you turned out well to me, even though you are, Johnny you are clear.
Well, if you don’t find my butchering of a Josie Cotton song enough to turn back now, you can join me to talk about the second addition to our modern Marvel Legends take on the Fantastic Four. I made it clear that I was very happy with the Invisible Woman figure, and I was going to trust the Hasbro/Walgreens process, and having this figure, coupled with the reveal of Mr. Fantastic at SDCC, makes me feel even more assured. The F4 are gonna happen, and, like his sister, Johnny is a nice addition to the group.
Also like his sister, he is not perfect (what figure is), and there will be plenty of discussion about the overall design and production decisions, but I will get to that in a minute. But first, since the F4 is my favorite Marvel team, I am still really happy to have this figure. When Sue was released, the look of the figure was ambiguous enough in terms era, it was difficult to lock down how the team would be presented. Now that we have some additional figure reveals, the style is executed in a way that feels respectful of the classic iconography of the team, but with some modern sensibilities, which I am totally good with.
Now, before you start rushing out to your 10 closest Walgreens stores, please note that, as a huge F4 mark, I bought this figure early from an overseas eBay seller. So, while the figure is currently not at your local drugstore, hopefully the offshore availability is indicative that we won’t have to wait much longer for Johnny. So yes, I paid over retail for this, but that does not mean I won’t be buying more of this figure once it does hit Walgreens.
As I said, I dig this figure. The build (Bucky Cap base) works for Johnny, and though the translucent effect would not be my first choice, there is no denying that it is striking in its final form. Hasbro actually has some history with translucent Johnny Storms, and I find this iteration to be mostly successful, too. The red-orange color of most of his body is appropriate for, you know, being on fire, and the base color is offset by some orange and yellow flame accents on the head, hands, and boots. It is almost as you move further out from his core, the lighter the colors become.
Aside from the main base, Johnny has some reused fists and “Flame On!” effects, but he also has new “boots,” forearms, hands, head, and “Flame On!” collar effect. While his sister did come with a giant accessory in the form of HERBIE, Johnny still has more new pieces overall than Sue, but the construction is still smart. I am especially appreciative of the fact that the flame effects on the boots and arms are actually sculpted into the new pieces, and are not just glued on overlays. The new likeness in the head sculpt is fine for a powered-up Johnny too, and while it could have been easy to make it nondescript, the different colored eyes and painted brows go a long way in adding personality.
Of course, not everyone is going like all of the design choices. Heck, my favorite ML Human Torch deco goes all the way back to the original ToyBiz ML series 2 Torch, so you can bet I will be getting an extra one to be repainted like that. However, while I like the translucent deco, I didn’t at first, but it has definitely grown on me. Some people will not care for it, and that fine, and I understand the want to not have the “4” present on the chest either, so again, I get it. The color cast of the head is going to be another point of contention because the more orange color is slightly different from the rest of base body, and, I have to admit, early packaged pictures had me worried. However, in hand, it actually works nicely now that it has grown on me, and I like the effect it creates. Sure, it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but since that is the case with EVERYTHING, I will enjoy it, and this figure overall.
I am, ahem, already warming up to this figure, and I am thrilled to have a new Human Torch in my ML collection, as I thought the day might never come. As I mentioned, this is probably not how I personally would have designed him, but the sculpt is nice and the effect is impressive and eye-catching, so I am totally good. Like Sue, there will be a lot of discussion, but also like Sue, I will be buying several of these for different versions, and displays. My only wish is that we would have gotten a regular Flame-Off Johnny head, but maybe there will be time for that in the future. Walgreens continues to be my bestest friend for Legends, and while I think Medusa is up next there (which is GREAT), Reed Richards will follow. Then we just need my favorite, The Thing (in shorts!), and we will be home free. More Fantastic Four and their amazing foes and allies, please! I need that compute leak about Skrulls and the Silver Surfer to be true, too.