I consider myself a pretty hardcore Marvel zombie. I know more about the lives of the fictional characters that inhabit the Marvel Universe than I do many of the real people in my life. At one point or another I’d say that I’ve collected from every corner of the Marvel U. Sadly I cannot afford to collect all of the books all of the time and so there are some characters that I’m not as well versed on as say your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. The Fantastic Four is one of those pockets of Marvel that I’ve never spent a whole lot of time examining. I know all the characters quite well and could tell you about all the big events in their lives, births, deaths, weddings, line-up changes etc. but I’m not up to speed on all of the minutia that takes place in the panels of their monthly book. A big event that happened for the team a while back was the death of founding member Johnny Storm, the Human Torch. I’m not sure exactly how that event lead to a change in the team’s name but after Johnny’s passing the team was renamed the Future Foundation. They hung up their familiar blue outfits and put on white and black ones. And even though they were no longer the Fantastic Four they felt compelled to replace the Torch with a new fourth member anyway. It was Johnny’s dying wish that the team accept Spider-Man as his replacement since the two of them were old pals and so that’s what the team did. And so for a time the book was called FF and it starred Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Thing and Spider-Man (plus a bunch of kids and Dragon Man).
In order to fit in with his new team Spidey had to don a new costume as well which was primarily white with some black. The new costume seemed like overkill to me at the time because Spidey had gotten into the habit of putting on a new outfit every other issue over in his own book. Silly costumes worn only for an issue or two seem gimmicky to me. However if the toy stores are going to be flooded with Spider-Man figures I’d rather see him in costumes that he actually wore at one time instead of some of the silly garbage that gets produced by Hasbro. And sure enough, it didn’t take long for Hasbro to announce that they’d be releasing a figure of FF Spider-Man in an upcoming wave of Marvel Universe figures. I already had plenty of Spider-Men and I didn’t like the costume anyway so I knew that it was one figure that I would be passing on.
At least that’s what I thought until I actually saw the figure hanging on the peg at Strange Adventures. I was immediately impressed by it. I had not been happy with any of the previously released Spider-Man figures in the 4” scale. They all seemed to wiry and fragile. I know some people like to think of Spidey as a perpetual teenage everyman and not a muscle bound strong man but I didn’t grow up with puny Parker; I grew up reading about Spider-MAN. When I came on board in the mid-80s Spider-Man was months away from getting married, he was a published author (of a photography book but still), and he was in good shape. He wasn’t the nerd with the coke bottle glasses and the sweater vest from the 60s. I felt that this FF figure finally showed Spider-Man as I see him, as a tough guy, because this figure looks like it could kick the ass of any of my other Spider-Man toys.
I really like the way they added a gray wash of paint over top of the white to show off the detail in the sculpt. It gives this figure added realism by showing depth and shadows. The usual approach on a figure like this would have been to have a sharp contrast between the stark white and jet black. I like pretty much everything about this figure except for the fact that I’m not a big fan of this costume in general. I will add that some improved figures of Spider-Man in his classic red and blues have come out since but at the time this was probably the best version of Spidey in the 4” scale. 8 out of 10.