#1352: Power Ring

POWER RING

DC COMICS SUPER VILLAINS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

“Fearful, doubting, and self-destructive.  A coward at his core, Power Ring is able to negate any Green Lantern rings with his Lantern.”

Oh hey, it’s a DC thing.  That’s cool and different, I guess.

So, I don’t actually know if I’ve discussed the DC Multiverse here on the site just yet.  Back when DC was doing things other than being the worst at everything, they decided that they wanted to have multiple versions of their characters in play, and thus introduced the multiverse concept.  It started with Earth 2, which housed the Golden Age versions of DC heroes, but Earth 2 was quickly followed by Earth 3, a world that was the exact opposite of the primary Earth.  Columbus was an American explorer who discovered Europe, President John Wilkes Booth was assassinated by actor Abraham Lincoln, and instead of the heroic Justice League, the world was patrolled by the villainous Crime Syndicate.  Even after the destruction of the Multiverse, the Crime Syndicate have cropped up a few times over the years, most recently in the big crossover event Forever Evil.  Today, I’ll be looking at the evil Green Lantern-equivalent, Power Ring!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Power Ring was released as part of DC Collectibles’ post-New 52 DC Comics Super Villains line.  He was part of the first half of the two Crime Syndicate assortments, alongside Ultraman, Superwoman, and Owlman.  The figure stands about 6 3/4 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  All of the figures in the set were, of course, based on the versions of the characters from Forever Evil, and Power Ring was no exception.  That being said, Power Ring’s design was the one that was almost completely identical to his classic design, which is cool by me.  The sculpt was unique to this figure, and is a pretty solid recreation of David Finch’s depiction of Power Ring from the mini-series.  It’s largely pretty clean, it’s well proportioned, and the articulation is worked-in rather organically.  The head sculpt is a slight bit more heroic than Power Ring is usually depicted, but it’s still a little more sinister than the average Hal Jordan, and that’s what matters.  The one thing that really solidifies this as a modern Power Ring is the right arm, which is showing the weird spreading infection thing that he had in the mini-series.  It’s not my favorite concept, but the actual detail work on the figure is well-rendered, adds some extra oomph to the sculpt.  My one major issue with this figure is an issue of durability; he hails from the time before DCC stopped using clear plastic for all of the joints.  While taking the photos for the review, my Power Ring’s hand just sort of fell off.  I was able to fix it with some glue, and the mobility wasn’t lost, but it’s still not a very comforting thing to have happen to a figure, and it certainly made me more cautious when posing him.  The paintwork on this figure is solidly handled; the dark metallic green is quite clean, and sets him apart from other figures.  I also really dig the pearlescent white on the gloves and boots.  I do feel like the green on the raised veins of his right arm are a little too present; slightly more subtle would have been better, I think.  Still, pretty solid overall.  Power Ring was originally packaged with his power battery.  My figure, however, was picked up loose, so he came sans the battery.  I’m not much of a fan of the modern battery design, so I can’t say it’s a huge loss on my part.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is a figure I’ve almost picked up a ton of times, but always passed on for other things.  I ultimately ended up finding him at this place called Orbit DVD, just outside of Asheville, NC, just a few weeks ago.  Ultimately, despite his New 52-inspired origins, he’s probably the best version of Power Ring on the market.  He’s not perfect, but he’s pretty fun overall.  It’s a shame that he juuuuuust predates the switch to the new Icons scale, because it means he doesn’t fit with much in my collection.

#1304: Hal Jordan – Classic

HAL JORDAN — CLASSIC

GREEN LANTERN CORPS (DC DIRECT)

“Armed with the miraculous Power Ring that makes his every thought a reality, Hal Jordan left behind a heroic legacy that will never be forgotten.”

Every so often, I like to remind my faithful readers that I was, at least at one point in time, a really, really big Green Lantern fan.  It’s rare that you get to be a fan of something both before AND after it was cool, you know?  Amongst Green Lantern fans, everyone’s got their personal favorite Lantern, be they human or alien.  A lot of people rag on Hal Jordan, but he’s still my favorite, which is why I own 54 action figures of him.  Today, I’ll be looking at one of my earlier Jordan figures, who hails from DC Direct’s long run of DC figures!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Classic Hal Jordan was released in the third series of DC Direct’s Green Lantern Corps line, alongside Guy Gardner and…Effigy?  Yeah, okay.  This was the fourth Hal Jordan figure DCD offered, and the first not to just be a straight repaint of the “Hard Traveling Heroes” figure.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation. This figure hit just as DCD started experimenting with articulation.  It’s basic, but it works, and doesn’t impede the quality of the sculpt.  Hal sported an all-new sculpt, based on the artwork of Gil Kane, who designed Hal and drew his very first appearance in Showcase #22, as well as handling the art on 69 of the first 75 issues of Hal’s solo title.  Kane had a rather distinctive take on Hal, and I believe this is the only time we’ve gotten a figure based directly on Kane’s work, in general.  The sculpt does a decent enough job of translating Kane’s renditions of Hal into three dimensions; he’s definitely been cleaned up a little bit, but I like to think of this as a “cover” Hal, as opposed to an “interior” Hal.  The body’s a little stiff, but thankfully predates DCD’s move to odd pre-posing, so it’s pretty exceptible.  The head sports some really nice work, and I like that they really nailed the shape of Hal’s hair.  It’s all flippy in the front, just as it should be.  Hal’s paint is pretty decent.  It’s pretty simple, but that’s appropriate for this style of figure.  The application’s all pretty clean, and I particularly like that they got the appropriate version of his insignia, as it was a bit different when Kane was drawing him.  When Kane drew him, Hal was frequently shown with visible pupils, which aren’t seen here.  Admittedly, it’s hard to get the pupils to not look really goofy, and it was about 50/50 as to whether they’d be there or not, so it’s hardly like they’re inaccurate.  Maybe an extra head would have been cool, but that was hardly a common-place idea when this figure was released.  Hal was packed with his lantern-shaped Power Battery, which, like his insignia, replicates the more unique shaping seen in Kane’s illustrations.  Also, here’s a fun fact: Hal was released during the brief period of time that DCD was doing their resealable clamshell packaging idea.  I always really liked it, but I guess it wasn’t cost effective, since it was worked out by the end of 2003.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This Hal hit during a time when getting any Green Lantern at all was a pretty big deal, so I was pretty pumped for his release.  He’s I think my second or third proper Hal Jordan GL.  I got him from Phoenix Comics, which was a really neat little comic store that I’m not even sure is still around.  He was still a relatively new figure at the time and they were even selling him for a little below the going rate for DCD figures at the time.  He’s a pretty solid figure, even 14 years after his release, and a really great recreation of the early Hal Jordan appearances.

#1273: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

SUPER FRIENDS (FIGURES TOY COMPANY)

Okay, I just had eight solid days of Marvel, how about something else?  It seems only fair to give DC a shot at a review, right?  DC doesn’t really show up here as often as Marvel.  It’s not that I don’t like DC; in fact, I used to be more of a DC guy than a Marvel guy, largely due to DC’s far superior animation presence.  Back in the day, my very favorite super hero was Green Lantern—Hal Jordan, specifically.  And, if I wanted to see him in animation, my only real option was Challenge of the Superfriends.  Not exactly high art, but it still influenced everything that came after (and I’ll take it over the DCEU any day).  While Super Friends got no direct tie-in toys when the show was still on the air, the old Mego figures were a pretty good substitute.  More recently, someone had the absolutely brilliant idea of tying those two styles together officially, offering some of the show’s characters that never got official Mego figures.  A few months ago, I looked at show-original characters the Wonder Twins, and today I’ll be looking at my main man Hal today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern was released in Series 4 of Figures Toy Company’s Super Friends line, alongside the Super Friends versions of Cheetah, Bizarro, and Toyman.  As with the previously reviewed Wonder Twins, Hal is a merging of his Super Friends design and the ‘70s Mego aesthetic.  The figure stands about 8 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He’s built on the Type 2 male body, with modified arms to allow for the attachment of gloved hands.  The quality of this body is more or less the same as Zan’s, but with less issues on the shoulder movement, which is a plus.  Hal makes use of a unique head and hands.  The head isn’t quite as accurate as the ones on Zan and Jayna, but it’s still pretty good.  The face is actually pretty accurate; it’s mostly the hair that throws it off.  It seems a little too close to the head; Super Friends Hal’s hair was pretty bouncy.  That being said, it fits in quite nicely with the old Mego stuff, which is really the point.  The hands are very similar to the ones seen on Zan, albeit with the gestures swapped.  They’re not technically the right style of gloves, but they’re close enough to work.  And, they’re very nicely sculpted, and that’s the important thing.  They also stay on better than Zan’s did, a definite plus.  Hal’s costume is made up of a cloth jumpsuit and a pair of rubber boots.  The tailoring on the costume is quite nice, and the velcro is a lot better than it usually is at this scale.  The boots are a little clunky, but not horribly so; it’s mostly just at the tops.   The figure’s got some paintwork on the head, which is pretty decent overall.  There’s a bit of slight bleed over, especially on the edges of the mask, however it’s mostly pretty minor.  Also, it’s not exclusively paint, but the color scheme on this figure is a really good match for Hal’s colors on the show; one of the problems with DC Direct’s (otherwise pretty cool) Super Friends figures was that they largely just painted the figures like their normal comics counterparts.  FTC has given Hal the proper slightly greyed-out green he always had on the show.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As a kid, I used to play with my Dad’s old Mego figures when I would spend the day at my grandparents’ house.  It gave me an appreciation of the style that most collectors my age wouldn’t have.  However, the one big hole in the collection for me (and every other DC fan) was Green Lantern.  Back before the whole return of Mego craze, I actually assembled my own custom GL Mego using report parts.  I also picked up Mattel’s Retro Action figure when he was released.  I like both of them, but they’re sort of their own thing, removed from the actual Megos.  My parents picked this guy up for me from Midtown Comics while they were there for a trip a couple of months ago.  He feels a lot more like an authentic Mego than the prior figures, which I really dig.  He’s definitely aimed at a very particular demographic, but if that’s you, this is a pretty nifty figure!

#1251: Kilowog

KILOWOG

GREEN LANTERN: MOVIE (MATTEL)

You know how I rag on Mattel a lot, but sometimes they still do things right, and I can give them props?  This isn’t one of those times.

2011’s Green Lantern isn’t a particularly well-regarded film.  In a lot of ways, I don’t think it deserves a lot of the hate it gets.  It had the misfortune of being released in a summer already pretty jam-packed with super hero movies, three of which hailed from Marvel and were generally above expectations.  Marvel fans wanted another Iron Man (which, in their defense, is what DC was promoting the film as; not their smartest move) and DC fan’s wanted The Dark Knight.  The end result is really more in line with Tim Burton’s Batman movies.  It definitely could have been better, but it was far from awful.  One of the movie’s better aspects was its cast.  The late Michael Clarke Duncan made his second turn in super hero flick (his first being the similarly maligned Daredevil; I ain’t defending that one!), playing the GL drill sergeant Kilowog.  He got a few figures courtesy of Mattel’s tie-in line.  I’ll be looking at the standard version today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kilowog was released in the first series of Green Lantern figures, which hit about a month or so before the movie’s release.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  The articulation scheme on these figures was really strange; it’s not totally out of the ordinary to see lesser articulated figures in the 3 3/4-inch scale, but these figures randomly had extra shoulder joints, which tend to come after elbows and knees in the articulation hierarchy.  Also, while Hasbro’s started offering more lower POA figures as of late, their competing figures from 2011’s Thor and Captain America lines were fully articulated.  Heck, even Mattel’s own DC Infinite Heroes line was fairly decently articulation.  I’m not really sure why these figures were so out of sync with everything around them.  I’m getting distracted.  Sorry.  Kilowog had a unique sculpt initially, but it would eventually be reused for a number of variants as the line progressed.  It’s a reasonable translation of Kilowog’s movie design.  Of course, the problem with that is that his movie design wasn’t really their strongest.  I mean, it’s nice that he didn’t have the same muscle striation thing that Hal did, but he’s just for of lumpy looking.  Also, they seriously tweaked the shape of his head, which always bugged me; he looks more like Shrek than Kilowog.  Objectively speaking, the head on this figure was definitely the best part.  It’s actually so detailed that it looks rather out of place on the smooth and mostly featureless body.  They almost look like they belong to different figures.  Also, note that once again Mattel has made no attempt to work the articulation into the sculpt.  It’s especially bad at the waist, where there’s really no good reason to have a joint that obvious.  Like many of this line’s figures, Kilowog’s feet are bent back a little too far, which results in a lot of falling on his back.  Getting the two photos for this review was no small feat.  As far as paint, Kilowog was okay, but suffers from a very similar issue as with the sculpt.  The head has some very nice, very subtle work, which makes him look really lifelike.  Then the body seems to just let the paint go where it goes.  One thing that really frustrated me with this whole line was the inconsistency of the greens.  Pretty much ever lantern had their own shade, which was really odd, since that wasn’t true onscreen.  Was it really that hard to pick on pantone number and stick with it?  Each figure in the line included their own construct piece to slip over their ring hand.  Kilowog actually didn’t get a proper construct, but instead got the larger hand adapter piece, which allowed for him (and other larger figures) to make use of the constructs included with smaller figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up a handful of the GL movie figures when they were first released, during my pre-movie excitement, and Kilowog was one of those figures.  No figure in this line is particularly noteworthy, but Kilowog was probably the best the line had to offer.  He’s got his issues, but he’s also got some saving graces, which is more than can be said about a lot of the line.

#1156: Justice Guild

THE STREAK, TOM TURBINE, BLACK SIREN, & GREEN GUARDSMAN

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (MATTEL)

justiceguild1

Some of the best characters are the ones that come about because creative teams aren’t allowed to use a pre-existing character.  One of the most famous examples of this is Watchmen, which was originally meant to make use of DC’s recently acquired Charlton characters.  DC seems to do this to their creators rather frequently, as this also cropped up a few times during the course of the DC Animated Universe.  My particular favorite of these was The Justice Guild of America, from the Justice League episode “Legends.”  The episode was originally drafted with the Justice Society in mind, but was ultimately changed when DC decided the direction of the story didn’t fit how they wanted the JSA portrayed.  Fortunately, this worked out pretty well, as it gave the creators more free reign with the characters, and resulted in one of the most entertaining entries in Justice League.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These four were released as one of Matty Collector-exclusive four-packs from Mattel’s Justice League Unlimited line.  Now, it’s a Mattel review, so you’re probably already expecting a bit of Mattel hate.  Well, here it is:  Who in their right mind releases a four-pack based on a five member team?  On top of that, one of the four members released here is Black Siren, who is part of a duo with the unreleased member Catman.  The back of her box even has Catman in both of the screen shots of her!  Were they just rubbing it in our faces?  Seeing as the four-packs were actually just four single-carded figures packed together, and thus there wasn’t an issue of needing to redo the packaging, couldn’t they just have made this a five-pack?  Or, if they really felt the need to go with arbitrary number schemes, couldn’t they have just made it a six-pack and just thrown in a Green Lantern figure to round the set out?  No, that would be sensible.  Can’t have that, especially not on a Matty Collector-exclusive.  It wouldn’t be right!  Okay, I vented, let’s actually look at the figures.

THE STREAK

justiceguild2The Streak possessed super speed and was the leader of the Justice Guild of America, a team of Super Heroes from a simpler time.  Things got complicated when a group of strange heroes calling themselves the Justice League visited their home town of Seaboard City.” The Streak is the Guild’s answer to Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash.  As such, he takes a lot of design cues from Garrick, but trades out Jay’s more unique helmet for an old-school racing helmet. The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  He’s built on the mid-sized body (patterned on Green Lantern’s sculpt), which is a good fit for him.  He has an all-new head, as well as new legs to add in his boot cuffs.  The new pieces do a pretty good job of capturing his look on the show, and the head in particular is a very good rendition of the Streak’s look.  The paint on the Streak is bright, clean, and bold, which are all good things.  The red is noticeably brighter than the JLU version of the Flash (as it should be).  As a whole, this is a design that looks really good as an action figure.

TOM TURBINE

justiceguild4A power belt allowed Tom Turbine to generate energy as needed.  He and The Justice Guild protected Seaboard City for years, though between missions he continued to work on his pet project: a gateway capable of piercing the dimensional barriers between multiple earths!” Tom Turbine actually has a couple of analogues in the JSA.  While he actually replaced Al Pratt’s the Atom in “Legends,” and borrows from the Atom in a few areas of design, as well as stature, he also has a similar power set and limitations to Hourman, as well as the general demeanor of Mr. Terrific.  This results in him being by far the most unique of the five Justice Guilders, as well as the most rounded.  He’s built on the same medium body as the Streak, but the only piece that’s actually shared is the torso.  The head, arms, and legs are all unique to this figure, and he’s also got an add-on for his belt.  These new pieces are alright, though I can’t say any of them are as spot-on as the Streak.  The legs make him a little shorter, but it’s not actually enough to be all that noticeable.  I do like that the arms have two fists, since that’s sort of key to the character, but I can’t help but sort of wish they’d just sculpted them into the hands on the hips pose he sported a few times in the episode, since it’s not like the articulation’s good for anything anyway.  The head’s really where the accuracy slips up a bit.  It’s close, but just too squared off for Tom, who was slightly rounder in the face.  Tom’s paintwork is pretty solid.  The colors match up with those seen on the show, and everything’s pretty clean.  The change between the neck and the yellow of his shirt isn’t quite as overt as I’d like, but it’s hard to say what they could have done to fix that.

BLACK SIREN

justiceguild5A nuclear blast destroyed the world Black Siren fought to protect, along with the other members of the Justice Guild.  Then the world and the Guild were back, returned to life by the mental powers of Ray Thompson.  When the truth was revealed, the Guild has to destroy everything again – including themselves.”  Okay, seriously?  That’s Black Siren’s bio?  It’s not even about Black Siren!  It’s just a synopsis of “Legends” (and not even a particularly good one, at that).  I’m guessing Siren got the short end of the stick on bios, since any actual bio for her would have to mention Catman, and we wouldn’t want to remind everyone we left him out.  Of course, this bio mentions Ray, who was also never released, so zero points there.  Second round of venting done.  Okay, so Black Siren was based on Black Canary, who would eventually be properly brought into the show when the roster was expanded.  Her partnership with Catman is patterned on Black Canary’s frequent partnering with Wildcat (another thing that would be properly brought into the show later down the line).  Ultimately, Black Siren is kind of the shallowest character introduced in “Legends,” with her main purpose being to showcase the casual sexism of a bygone era.  Anyway, her figure is built on the standard female body, which wasn’t really one of the stronger bases they had at their disposal.  The legs are oddly spaced, causing the arms to bash into them, and pretty much all of the articulation is useless.  For her part, Black Siren got a unique head sculpt, which is a reasonable enough piece, I suppose.  The jawline seems a bit solid for Siren, but it’s not the worst.  Now, she really should also have a unique set of legs to properly replicate the boots, since those bands should be three-dimensional, but she just get’s the normal legs.  It seems odd that everyone else got all the pieces they needed and she didn’t.  The paintwork on Siren is pretty good overall.  The application is pretty solid and crisp.  Most of the colors match, but the lavender sections should be a more straight grey to be totally show accurate.  Siren is the only figure in the set to get an accessory: a display stand.  It’s good, because she can’t stand without it.  Of course, this is really the sort of thing that should have been standard for all of the figures.

GREEN GUARDSMAN

justiceguild3Powerless against anything aluminum, the Green Guardsman used his power ring to protect Seaboard City as a member of the Justice Guild.  A young John Stewart, who would grow up to become Green Lantern, read comic books of his adventures!” That’s a better bio, I suppose, but the bit about John seems really tacked on.  John doesn’t really interact with Green Guardsman at all.  So, in case it wasn’t obvious, Green Guardsman takes the place of Alan Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern.  Like the other male figures in the set, Guardsman is built on the medium male body, with a unique head and an add-on piece for the cape.  The head’s okay, but probably the weakest of those included in the set.  It’s looks a little smooshed at the front.  The cape would actually go on to be shared with Alan Scott himself later on the line.  It’s a decent enough piece, but it makes him really difficult to keep standing.  The paintwork on Green Guardsman is about on par with the rest of the set.  It’s bright and bold, and the lifework is all pretty clean.  The only real nit is that the ring gets kind of lost on the hand.  Maybe an outline or something would have made it stand out?  Guardsman includes no accessories.  While that’s somewhat more forgivable with the others, this guy would have really benefited from some constructs or something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When this set hit Matty Collector, I had pretty much completely checked out of the JLU line, and Matty Collector too.  Turns out, a pretty large portion of the collector-base had done the same thing, which meant this, and a lot of the other sets from the same time period ended up being marked down on Matty Collector and later closed out and made available at a number of other retailers.  I ended up finding these four at Power Comics on small business Saturday, for a rather good price.  I’m still not happy about Catman being left out, especially since he’s never, ever going to get a figure at this point.  That being said, the rest if the figures are pretty cool, and I guess some are better then none.

#1146: Todd Rice

TODD RICE

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

obsidian1

It’s rare for something’s greatest strength to also be its greatest weakness, but that’s really the case with Mattel’s DC Universe Classics.  One of the most endearing and memorable things about the line was the sheer reach of character selection.  Not only did we get definitive versions of major characters, but we also got lots of characters that pretty much no one ever thought would get action figures.  Unfortunately, while is is great for hardcore fans, it doesn’t result in the greatest sales in a retail line.  Still, the line did give a lot of DC characters their very first action figures.  Interestingly enough, today’s focus Todd Rice, better known as Obsidian, is not an example of this.  Oh sure, he’s obscure, but he actually had already gotten a figure courtesy of the Justice League Unlimited toyline.  For those of you less familiar with Todd, he’s the son of the Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott.  He was a member of the JSA-spin-off team Infinity Inc in the ‘80s, and has been on-again-off-again affiliated with the Justice Society themselves.  Most recently, he was played by Lance Hendrickson in an episode of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, which is easily the most coverage Obsidian’s ever gotten!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

obsidian2Todd Rice was released in Series 14 of DC Universe Classics, which was the third (and final) Walmart-exclusive series from the line.  Given the presence of both his father and fellow JSAer Hourman in the line-up, as well as frequent JSA foe Ultra Humanite being the CnC for this particular series, Todd was right at home.  It’s worth noting that Todd’s official codename is Obsidian, and has always been Obsidian, but for whatever reason (more than likely it’s the fact that Obsidian, as a rock, can’t be trademarked), he’s called “Todd Rice” on the box.  Whatever gets us the figures, I suppose.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and has 23 points of articulation.  Todd was built on the mid-sized male buck, with unique head and hands, as well as add-ons for the cape and belt.  The base body is starting to show its age a bit more with every figure I review from this line, but it’s still a pretty solid piece.  The mid-sized body is actually a pretty perfect fit for Todd.  In fact, he’s the sort of character who really works in a line of this nature.  The new pieces all work pretty well with the established body.  The hands are nice and expressive, and certainly a nice change of pace compared to the basic gripping hands so many of the figures got stuck with.  The cape is one of the better capes from the line, and the belt does a decent job of capturing the design from the comics, as silly as it is.  The head is…well, I guess it’s okay, but I’m not sure it’s one of the better DCUC sculpts.  What’s weird is that is seems almost too detailed on the face.  Like, it’s as if no one told the Four Horsemen that Todd’s wearing a mask and that’s not just his face.  Usually, the black part of the mask was mostly featureless, with just the eyes and his open mouth showing, which makes him look pretty sleek.  Here, they clearly tried to replicate that, but they also tried to add this realistic touch to his face, which just seems…odd.  Also, he seems to have had his lips removed or something, because they appear to be absent.  Obsidian’s paintwork did a pretty decent job of replicating his color scheme from the comics.  It’s a good scheme, and it looks really nice on the figure.  Obsidian was packed with the left arm of Ultra Humanite.  Not really specific to him, but I guess it’s better than nothing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Obsidian was one of the last figures I found from this particular set (but not THE last; that was Gold).  I’m not insanely familiar with the character, but I’ve always liked his costume quite a bit, and I obviously have at least some appreciation for him due to being the son of a Green Lantern and all.  I was actually pretty excited to get this guy, and he’s really not a bad figure.  Sure, there are a few oddities, but the good definitely outweighs the bad.

#1096: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

DC SUPER HEROES SILVER AGE COLLECTION (HASBRO)

gl9inch1

Hey guys!  In case you didn’t see earlier, The Figure In Question has made it through another year of reviews, which marks three years of me running this humble little site.  In honor of the occasion, I’ll be taking a look at a figure with some extra meaning to me.

I’ve discussed once or twice here how I’m a pretty big Green Lantern fan (or I was.  It’s complicated).  Well, back in the ‘90s, when I was just getting into the world of action figure collecting, Green Lantern was something of a rarity on toy shelves.  To make matters worse, what Green Lantern figures did exist were all based on Kyle Rayner, not Hal Jordan, who was the Green Lantern I was most familiar with (due to Cartoon Network’s Super Friends re-runs and a healthy diet of bronze-age DC comics provided to me by my Dad).  The first Hal Jordan Green Lantern to be released within my lifetime was part of the DC Super Heroes Silver Age Collection, which was Hasbro’s attempt at copying Toy Biz’s attempt at copying Mego with Famous Covers.  Confused?  You probably still will be after this review.  Sorry.  On to the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

gl9inch2Green Lantern was released as part of the first Series of the Silver Age Collection, alongside Aquaman and Green Arrow.  It was actually a pretty bold selection of characters for the time, since all three were at best second stringers, two of whom had been replaced in their respective roles and the third of whom had undergone a massive redesign a few years prior.  The figure stands 9 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation. He’s based on Hal’s initial Silver Age costume, defined by the lack of green on the shoulders.  As a throwback to the old Mego figures (which, incidentally, did not include poor GL here), this figure makes use of a cloth costume.  The costume is alright.  It’s a little baggy, and the stitching around the shoulders and hips is a touch bulky.  It’s worth noting that the costume looks far better on this figure in it’s packaged-fresh form; my figure has been beat to heck thanks to 10 years or so of steady play, which stretched his uniform out of shape.  The underlying body on this figure (which is the same one used for the other DC 9-inch figures, as well as the later Marvel-based Signature Series) is actually pretty decent, especially when compared to the ones used by Playmates and Toy Biz for their figures in this same scale.  It posed pretty well, and was actually fairly nicely proportioned.  In addition to the base body and the cloth suit, GL gets a sculpted head, hands, glove cuffs, feet, and boot cuffs.  The head is the standout piece on this figure.  I think this is, to date, the best Hal Jordan sculpt ever made, and it was perhaps the strongest sculpt the line produced.  The detail is sharp, and it’s a very good likeness of how Hal was portrayed in the comics.  The rest of the sculpted pieces are decent, if not quite as stand-out awesome as the head sculpt.  The right hand is cool, what with the power ring and all.  And check out Hasbro using that finger articulation a few years before Toy Biz popularized it with Spider-Man Classics.  That’s pretty cool.  As far as paint goes, Hal here is pretty basic, with the vast majority of it being on the head, and even then only being on the hair and the mask.  What’s there is clean, and, most impressively, the green of the mask actually matches the green of the tunic.  GL’s only accessory was a display stand with the DC logo on it.  Each figure included one, but with a variety of different colors, with GL’s being black (rather than the more obvious green…).  He’s one of the few GL figures not to include his power battery.  I actually had a small Coleman lantern keychain that I used with this figure, which I really wish I still had.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, since this was the first Green Lantern Hal Jordan to be released within my lifetime, you’ve probably gathered that this was, by extension, my first Hal Jordan figure.  Not my first Green Lantern, of course, but still.  I remember first seeing the prototype pictures of this figure and being very excited, and then being even more excited when my parents and I found him at the store (I believe it was Target).  This figure is extra important to me because I got him in 1999, which was the same year my younger brother Christian was born, and this guy came with me to at least a few of the hospital visits to see him, which gives him a whole other dimension of awesome for me (the figure, not my brother.  Though my brother’s awesome too, for what it’s worth).

#1068: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

MINI HYBRID METAL FIGURATION

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It hasn’t really come up a whole lot lately, but I am (or at least I was for a good long while) a pretty big Green Lantern fan.  Seeing as I’m also a pretty big action figure fan, this entails owning a whole lot of  Green Lantern figures, of all sorts of shapes and sizes.  This means occasionally branching out and discovering new lines that I don’t really collect, all for the sake of getting something GL-related.  Such is the case with Hybrid Metal Figuration, a line of super-deformed action figures based on various geeky properties.  The figures are made of a mix of metal and plastic pieces, and make use of magnets and light-up features.  Gimmicky?  Very much so, but GL looked cool, so I picked him up.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

glhybrid2Green Lantern is figure #05 in the Mini Hybrid Metal Figuration line from Hero Cross.  MHMF figures are all based on full-sized Hybrid Metal Figuration figures, but at about 2/3rds the scale and a fraction of the price.  The first five figures in the Mini line are all Justice League-themed.  This figure is about 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 21 points of articulation.  There are also a few mock joints (at the waist and the ankles) which are pretty much just there to keep him aesthetically as his larger counterpart.  Sculpturally, GL’s pretty cool, provided you’re alright with him looking more like Mickey Mouse than usual.  He’s pretty simple when it comes to detail, but that’s a very conscious choice, and there’s definitely a certain sleekness to him.  There’s also an abundance of cuteness to him.  Look at this little guy, he’s so adoreable—uhhh, I mean manly.  He’s very manly.  That’s the right descriptor, right?  Seriously, he’s a quite cutesy take on GL, but at the same time, he still seems to capture the essence of the character, which is more than can be said for some Hal Jordan figures.  as far as construction goes, the main body of the figure is metal, but the rest of him appears to just be the usual PVC.  The torso is a little hard on his joints, especially on the biceps and thighs.  The figure has a tendency to pop apart at those cut joints.  He goes right back together, of course, but it’s worth noting.  Also, the looseness of those joints means that the magnets in the figure’s feet aren’t as effective as you might hope.  He’ll stick to a horizontal surface just fine (provided he’s atop it.  No hanging upside down for him), but you can’t really stick him to the side of a fridge or something, lest he disconnects from his legs.  The figure also has a light-up feature in his eyes.  You need to remove his hair (which is a totally separate piece), and remove the back half of his head to turn it on.  It’s an interesting feature, I guess.  I’m not really sure why his eyes light up, but they’re cool.  GL’s paintwork is pretty decent.  Everything’s pretty clean (there’s some slight slop at the edge of the green, but it’s pretty minor), and I really dig the metallic green.  GL includes hands in fist and relaxed positions.  There’s also a gripping left hand, which on the larger GL was meant to hold his power battery, but since this guy doesn’t have that, is ultimately a little pointless.  Nice of the them to include it anyway, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Why do I have this guy?  Well, I had actually thought about buying the larger figure when it was announced, but it’s $80 price tag was enough to discourage me.  I ended up finding this guy in a Barnes & Noble.  Given that he was $15 and I had a gift card from a friend, I figured he was worth the purchase.  I’m not 100% sure who these are being marketed to, and some of the features included seem a bit off the wall, but he’s ultimately a pretty fun figure, very definitely worth the purchase!

#0959: Guy Gardner & Kilowog

GUY GARDNER & KILOWOG

DC MINIMATES

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Today, I’ll be taking another look at the somewhat sad tale of DC Minimates. The line was amazing when it was new, and showed a ton of promise. And then, after eight series, it ended, and despite lots and lots (I mean LOTS) of requests, there’s been no return in the eight years since its demise. As amazing as it seemed at the time, the failure of DC Minimates seems pretty obvious looking back. In a desperate attempt to play catch-up with Marvel (who had a 15 series lead at this point), DC Direct frontloaded the line, by putting just about every heavy hitter in the first three series. This presented a bit of a problem for later series, as finding anchor figures was no simple task. As such, Series 4 and 5 went more or less anchor-less, instead relying on characters who were stand-ins for the heavy hitters. One such example is today’s set, which features the original stand-in Green Lantern, Guy Gardner, along with everyone’s favorite Poozer trainer, Kilowog!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Guy and Kilowog were released in Series 5 of DC Minimates. Due to the prominence of the Green Lantern books at the time, they were probably the best known pair in Series 5. That’s probably a first for either of them.

GUY GARDNER

Guy&Kilowog2Guy Gardner was originally introduced as the “back-up” Green Lantern of sector 2814, who was supposed to take over for Hal Jordan, should anything bad happen to him. Presumably, this was only if Hal was incapacitated in some way other than death, though, since the comics have established that there’s a different process in place for replacing a dead Lantern. When he first appeared, Guy really wasn’t much different than Hal. Which kinda makes sense when you think about it. However, when they decided to have Guy be more than a one-shot wonder, his personality was changed, to make him a bit more unique. Also a bit more surly, cocky, and all-around less friendly. It was at this point that Guy got a new, more ‘80s vintage design, which is the basis of this Minimate. The figure is a little shy of 2 ½ inches tall and has 12 points of articulation. He has 7 add-on pieces for is hair, vest, belt, boots, and the edges of his gloves. The wristbands, belt, and boots were re-used from a number of earlier figures, but the hair and vest are unique to Guy. They’re a pretty good approximation of Guy’s look in the comics, though the hair feels like it could use a touch more detail work. Guy’s paintwork is fairly straight forward. His colors are pretty well chosen, and the details are all nice and sharp. His face does seem just a touch high on the head, causing the eyebrows to be covered by the hair. Guy was packed with a smaller lantern power battery, the same as Hal’s.

KILOWOG

Guy&Kilowog3Kilowog is a surprisingly recent addition to the Green Lantern mythos, first showing up in the late ‘80s. He was around for less than a decade, before being killed by Hal Jordan during the horribly written Emerald Twilight. He then spent another decade or so being dead, but was brought back to life a few years before Green Lantern: Rebirth restored the GL Corps to its former glory. Despite being out of the game for quite a while, Kilowog is still one of the most prominent Green Lanterns. Kilowog uses his post-Rebirth design, which was mostly based on his DCAU look. The figure is built on the larger 2 ½ inch base body, since he was a pretty sizeable guy. It’s a little odd to see this body nowadays, but it’s not too bad for Kilowog. He has a unique head, which, aside from seeming a little squat, is a pretty good fit. He also has a bulkier add-on piece for his torso, which makes him a bit more imposing than some of the others to use the larger body. Though it has no character specific details, Kilowog was the only figure to use it. Kilowog’s paint isn’t too far removed from what Guy has. He uses all the same shades and such, which is good for consistency’s sake. His logo is slightly different than the ones seen on Guy and Hal, which is nice, since Kilowog sports his modern design. Kilowog was packed with a larger power battery (re-used from DCD’s Pocket Heroes line).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like every set in the DC Minimates line, I picked these two up from Cosmic Comix the week they were released. As both a Green Lantern geek and a Minimates geek, I was pretty excited for these two. That being said, neither of them is super stand out. I mean, they’re solid ‘mates, especially for the time, but they don’t do anything particularly noteworthy…which is probably why the pegwarmed pretty hard. Not bad little figures, though.

#0946: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

JUSTICE LEAGUE (2013)

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Batman: Brave & the Bold is a show that really doesn’t get enough credit. It’s one of DC’s better outputs in recent years, giving us four seasons of episodes built around showcasing some of the more sidelined members of the DCU. While the show was great, the corresponding toyline was more than a little disappointing. Rather than focusing on the obscure characters the show had been designed to highlight, Mattel offered a litany of senseless Batman variants, with only the occasional non-Bat character. What’s more, the figures were plagued with rather pointless accessories, and every one of them had large, distracting plugs on their arms, legs, and backs, ruining the streamlined nature of the show’s designs. What does all this have to do with today’s review? Well, in 2013, after running the B:BatB line into the ground, Mattel decided to reuse some of the molds to create a line of figures based on the New 52 incarnation of the Justice League. While they were sticking more with heavy hitters, the line offered a few new faces, and, more importantly, removed the silly, gimmicky plugs. Today, I’ll be looking at the Green Lantern figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

GLTarget2Green Lantern was released in the first assortment of the Target-exclusive Justice League line, which hit in 2013. He’s patterned after Hal Jordan’s New 52 appearance, which kinda seems a little counter to Brave and the Bold’s more classical influences. Granted, the New 52 GL design was a less glaring departure than some of the others, so he doesn’t look super out of place. The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation. That’s not a lot of movement. I mean, I get that the designs can be a little hard to articulate, but they didn’t even give him (or anyone else in the line) knee movement. That’s rather annoying. Structurally, he uses a slightly re-tooled version of the basic Brave and the Bold body, which removes the previously mentioned plugs. Brave and the Bold had a rather unique styling to it, which somewhat eschewed the proportions of the characters. It was one of those styles that looks pretty good in animation, but isn’t very easy to translate into three dimensions. This base body tries its best to make it work, but doesn’t really succeed. The biggest issue is that it’s just a lot more rigid and stiff than any of the characters on the show, which makes it look super off, and calls extra attention to the weird proportions. GL’s one new piece is his head. You would think they might base it on Hal’s Brave and the Bold appearance, so as to continue the styling started with the body, but instead, Mattel’s opted to go with their own, more realistic take on Hal. The more realistic styling only further pronounces the issues with the body, which is really unfortunate. Hal’s paint manages to be pretty decent. The colors are nice and vibrant, and the lines are all very clean. I wish the ring had a bit more to make it stand out, but at least it’s there. Hal included a construct accessory, which is nice in theory. In practice, it’s less nice, since it’s re-used from one of the JLU Lanterns, and therefore is nowhere near large enough to fit over tis figure’s hands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Being the GL geek that I am, I was a bit letdown by the lack of a Hal Jordan in the Brave and the Bold line. When I found out about this line, I quite excitedly went out and tracked down this figure. The final product isn’t quite what I wanted. He’s far from terrible, but there’s definitely some room for improvement, and the overall effort feels rather lackluster.