The Fantastic Four is too big for one standard Marvel Legends wave even under the Retro Vintage card presentation. While retail got the usual versions of the FF, Hasbro used this format to also roll out a depowered Johnny Storm and invisible Invisible Woman through Hasbro Pulse. It was a smart setup and while I ultimately decided against getting an Invisible Sue, I did need a depowered Human Torch for my collection.
Let’s see if this take on Johnny has me heated or ready to flame Hasbro for a lackluster execution.
Package: As a Hasbro Pulse exclusive, Hasbro added a mailer box, which allows us to see the full artwork of Johnny putting his powers in use.
It’s not the most environmentally friendly setup, but I love this vintage reproduction.
It features the logo from the original package with the team on the Fantasticar and a dark blue fading into a lighter blue. I really like the yellow with red drop shadow logo and the action shot of Johnny unleashing fireballs.
His bio is a sentence but shows how effective it can be in limited space. Another plus with this Retro wave is the picture of the other figures in the wave, which was the norm when I first started collecting. I like this so much more than renders or crammed shots of character portraits.
Likeness: This wasn’t a shocker since Hasbro didn’t exactly hide the head sculpt, but I’m not digging it. More specifically, I’m not digging the hair sculpt. The head sculpt has a hint of defiance and prankster nature Johnny is known for, but the hair is more modern than I’d want in this particular set up.
Both Jack Kirby and John Byrne drew Johnny’s hair sweeping down over one side of his forehead. It was styled somewhat like Superman’s S curl This carried through to the 1990s cartoon that’s the basis of the card art. And Johnny also had that look during the original Secret Wars.
I didn’t mind this head sculpt as much with the modern version Johnny Storm as the spiker hair works for current portrayals, but this was a great opportunity to sculpt a younger looking Torch. The Mezco Fantastic Four set (still available for pre-order at Entertainment Earth) actually has two great Johnny head sculpts so that might make for a nice (if expensive) alternative.
Like the modern figure, this one utilizes the Sunfire buck. Right down to the shin and feet. There’s a further powered down option, but Johnny’s default hands feature some flame rising up to simulate him about to Flame On. I don’t dislike this mold, but it’s too tall for a younger Johnny — a version of the Torch we still need.
This figure benefits from an improved paint job compared to the modern FF version, which had some weird eyebrows and a darker hue.
Scale: Johnny is listed at 5’11” (or 5’10” depending on the Marvel source) so he should always be shorter than his brother-in-law Reed Richards at 6’1″ and taller than his sister, Susan, at 5’5″.
Hasbro hasn’t really been too bothered with the heights for the FF to any regard though Johnny is a bit shorter than Reed.
Paint: The downside to Pulse exclusives is you can’t thoroughly examine the paint job.
With the Retro FF line that’s been necessary more than Hasbro would like. Johnny’s butterfly shoulders make the collar piece look uneven in some poses.
I think the collar is a bit too wide anyway, but its placement to the circle FF logo seems right. And this matches up closer with Reed and Sue’s outfit.
His logo is hampered from the musculature of this mold allowing for some sloppy areas. Johnny’s belt could use another touchup of white as well.
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Articulation: Johnny has more of the modern ML articulation thanks to the butterfly shoulders. That’s handy since Johnny found himself in plenty of odd positions even when he wasn’t flamed on.
Johnny Storm has:
- ball-jointed shoulders
- butterfly shoulders
- wrist hinge
Accessories: Although there’s no Build-A-Figure piece in this Retro set, like the others, Johnny has a worthwhile number of accessories.
He’s got swappable fists so you can have a completely flamed off look. This will likely be my default hand choice for Johnny and I’m glad Hasbro gave us that option.
To also convey him channeling a little of his power, Johnny has a flame base for his back. This is the same one used on the various Human Torch figures with a lighter hue.
Additionally, he’s got the flame trails that wrap around his wrists. I wish Hasbro also included a younger head sculpt to allow for more display options.
Worth it? Johnny clocks in at the new ML price point at $22.99. The lack of a BAF piece hurts here as well as the inability to take advantage of the numerous great Christmas/holiday sales that knocked the retail members of this wave as low as $15 apiece.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
I’m a big fan of the blue and white attire and a Johnny version of Torch is always welcome. It’s great to get some way to get Johnny flamed off. Still, I wish Hasbro went with a shorter body and did a different head sculpt.
Where to get it? Like I mentioned earlier, this is a Hasbro Pulse exclusive. The good news is he’s still available on the website.