WATCHMEN (DC DIRECT)
Hey, remember back when Zack Snyder wasn’t totally divisive, especially in regards to comic book fans? Yeah, me neither. It’s worth noting, though, that there was actually a time when I was on the opposite side of the divided fans (that is, those siding with Zack). Back in 2009, when he directed the film adaptation of Watchmen, I was actually pretty happy. I went through a phase of being super, super into Watchmen, and the movie hit sort of at the crux of all that. In retrospect, I can still enjoy the movie, but I certainly see it’s flaws, as well as the early warning signs of what he’d end up doing with the rest of the DC movies he’s directed. One of the definite plusses about the movie (and one of the few things everyone can agree was a positive) was that it meant we finally got Watchmen action figures, after having them cruelly snatched away from us just a few years before. Today, I’ll be looking at perhaps the most popular character to be spawned by the franchise,
the Question Rorschach!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The Watchmen figures from DC Direct were divided into two series of four figures each. Rorschach was released in the first series, alongside Nite Owl, Silk Spectre II, and Ozymandias. The figures were all based on their movie designs, but fortunately in the case of Rorschach, his movie design was a pretty direct lift from the comics. The figure stands about 6 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation. At this point in their run, DCD was mostly producing plastic statues, so the articulation doesn’t really amount to much. You can sort of move his arms up and down a little, his head can rotate maybe 45 degrees (and even then, it really only looks good in the one pose), and there are swivels at the tops of his legs to aid a bit in keeping him standing. There’s really one pose for this figure, and that’s all you’re gonna get. At the very least, it’s not an awful pose, so there’s that. In addition, the sculpt on the body is actually pretty solid. The coat in particular is really nice, and looks appropriately broken in. Rorschach was available with three different heads: masked, unmasked, and unmasked prisoner. Masked was the standard figure, available pretty much everywhere. Specialty stores with qualifying orders of Series 1 got the unmasked figure, and the prisoner version was a TRU exclusive. The masked head was clearly the best way to go. It’s pretty straightforward. The actually head lacks any real details, but that’s pretty accurate, and the hat definitely makes up for it. Both exclusives had the same head sculpt, with slight tweaks in paint (the prisoner version has taken a bit of a beating). It’s a decent head, and captures Jackie Earl Haley’s likeness pretty well. In a perfect world, the normal version probably would have just included the extras from the other two. I myself skipped the basic unmasked version. The paintwork on Rorschach is pretty decent. The base work is clean, and he matches up with the source material. The jacket makes out the best again with some nice weathering. The masked head seems a bit too clean. In the movie, the mask was never really pure black and white, but rather grey around the edges, since the black was always in motion. Also, that one face was all we got. He was originally solicited to include different face plates with different “expressions” but those never materialized. The prisoner head is alright. It’s clean, but really too clean when you get down to it. He also looks a bit too friendly, if I’m honest. He’s not awful, though, certainly on par with the rest of DCD’s output from the time. All of the Rorschach figures included his grappling hook gun, a hand to hold it, and one of the interlocking display stands all of the figures had. The TRU version also included a plate with his name and prisoner ID, which hung from a chain around his neck, but the chain broke on mine, and I’ve since lost it.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Believe it or not, I was ecstatic beyond belief to buy the basic Rorschach when he was released. He was the very first Watchmen figure I got (picked up from Cosmic Comix, of course), on the very first day they were released. I picked up the TRU version about a month later, and figured I didn’t really need the basic unmasked version (since he’s never actually seen unmasked in costume without the injuries in either the movie or the comics, and I’d already bought two figures). As an action figure, Rorschach kinda sucks. I mean, the sculpt’s great, and the paint’s not bad, but all he’s good for is just standing there. He’s certainly not a bad investment, and I don’t regret getting him at all, but if you want something you can actually play with, there’s far better options out there.