Thursday, May 7, 2009

Puppet Master

Season: 1
Episode Number: 8
Season Episode Number: 8
Production Number: 105
Airdate: June 16, 2007

Writer: Rob Loos and George Taweel
Director: Franck Michel

Voices: Hiro Kanagawa (Mr. Fantastic), Lara Gilchrist (Invisible Woman), Brian Dobson (The Thing), Christopher Jacot (Human Torch), Sam Vincent (H.E.R.B.I.E.), Sunita Prasad (Alicia Masters), Alvin Sanders (Puppet Master), Unknown (Ricky Carter), Unknown (Artist).

Plot: After discovering that he can control the bodies of those he sculpts due to some cosmic irradiated clay, Phillip Masters sets out to take revenge on the art world that scoffed at his lifelong sculpting career! How will he do that? By taking control of the Fantastic Four!

Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Puppet Master introduces us to another long-time Fantastic Four villain that happens to take up the same moniker as the episode's title.

While the colour of Puppet Master's skin has changed to be more inline with the Fantastic Four movie, which had an African-American Alicia Masters (Puppet Master's step-daughter), his origin story is pretty similar.

As in the comics, Phillip Masters longs for a life with the high society of artists, but they only scoff at his work. This drives him crazy. Not long after he goes nuts, Masters discovers radioactive clay that allows him to control the bodies of those he sculpts.

The main difference in this origin story is that the clay is irradiated by cosmic energy from a fragment of the Fantastic Four's space station that has fallen to Earth. Just like any use of radiation in a superhero origin, this modern retelling has taken this element out of the story. I guess radiation is just too 1960s for today's audience.

I wasn't too keen on the Puppet Master's design. Don't get me wrong, it looks really cool, but the Puppet Master from the comics, and past animated incarnations, has a face that is so distinct that is could be considered to be part of his "costume". It would be like removing the Joker's green hair or taking away Cyclops' visor.

This episode's story is fair, however, there is one big issue that I would like to address. Why did the Puppet Master create a life-size statue of the Human Torch instead of little sculpts of all four of the Four, immobilizing them all at once? It doesn't make much sense to me.

Other than that, the episode's animation is on par with the rest of the series, except that I found the lip sync to be absolutely atrocious during the final battle with the Puppet Master.

DVD Releases:
  • Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes - The Complete First Season

  • Back to Episode Guide

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