#3183: Imperial Clone Shock Trooper

IMPERIAL CLONE SHOCK TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Originally founded during the Clone Wars as security police and bodyguards, the group of clones known as Shock Troopers now operate as elite forces of the Empire.”

The Shock Troopers first showed up very near the end of Revenge of the Sith, as re-decoed Clones whose red coloring served as sort of a precursor to the Imperial Guards.  The similarities were taken a bit further when they were further used in Clone Wars, which established as the Coruscant-based police force, far more directly loyal to Palpatine and his cronies.  Their loyalty gave them more to do during Clone Wars’ direct follow-up, The Bad Batch.  Though effectively replaced within the show by the Elite Squad, they’re still present as the Empire’s initial enforcers.  We got a Shock Trooper on the old style Clone body, but now we’re also getting one on the new body.  Whooooo!  New body!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Imperial Clone Shock Trooper is figure 7 in the Bad Batch sub-line of The Black Series Phase IV.  He started as a Walmart-exclusive, but he’s set to get a slightly wider release later in the year.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  This Shock Trooper is, as noted in the intro, built on the newest of the Clone base bodies.  Like, actually the whole thing.  No weird combo of parts, or anything.  So, I guess there’s that.  It’s a good sculpt, it poses well, and it just makes for a good figure.  This guy in particular is based on one of the officers, meaning he’s got the shoulder pauldron.  It’s a nice piece with a lot of great texture work.  It’s fixed in place on the shoulders which, if I’m honest, seems a bit short-sited, since it means he can’t just be the standard Shock Trooper.  But, I suppose they might have done that on purpose, since this was an exclusive release, and it’s possible they might be saving the standard trooper as a main line release.  Whatever the case, it’s at least not loose and flopping about as such pieces tend to do in these figures.  The paint work on this guy is pretty straight forward, but it does what it needs to and the application is all pretty clean.  It’s a striking color set-up.  The Shock Trooper is packed with both long and short versions of the standard clone rifle, which makes for a decent selection of options.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Much as I like a good Clone variant, I wasn’t exactly looking to rush out to Walmart for specifically this figure.  Thankfully, I didn’t have to, since we got a small stack of them traded into All Time.  Boom, easy way to get one.  He’s fun.  Not breaking ground or anything, but fun.  And sometimes, that’s all you need.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3182: Jet Trooper

JET TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Star Wars: Battlefront II lets players call in reinforcements from the most skilled soldiers and units in the galaxy, including the aerial specialist Jet troopers.”

First appearing in a very bit appearance in the background of one shot of the fifth season Clone Wars episode “Sabotage,” the 501st Jet Trooper’s rather unique design was set to get a mass release figure as part of Hasbro’s main Clone Wars line in 2013, as part of the wider Star Wars line re-launch that was to go along with the 3D re-release of Attack of the Clones.  When Phantom Menace’s 3D re-release went over worse than Phantom Menace‘s original release, the AotC re-release was scrapped, and the domestic release of the toys to accompany was cancelled.  The nine Clone Wars figures included wound up with only an international release, which was kind of a shame.  The design wound up brushed off for a few other projects, including Battlefront II, which finally got the Jet Trooper another chance at a figure…albeit an exclusive one.  Eh, you win some, you lose some.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Jet Trooper is a Gamestop-exclusive Star Wars: The Black Series release, as part of their larger “Gaming Greats” sub-line.  He’s #6 in the sub-line.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  In what is just a confusing sequence of parts creation and selection at this point, the Jet Trooper is largely *not* built from the updated Clone body we got at the start of Phase IV.  He gets the new head/helmet, but that’s it.  Below the neck, he’s using a variation on the Captain Rex tooling.  It’s not a bad selection of parts, and now it’s been almost completely reverse engineered into a standard Clone body.  The question just remains: why?  Why, after introducing the new body, are we still getting a combination of parts from three distinctly different Clone base bodies, interwoven with each other?  Like, maybe just pick one and stick with it?  Ultimately, it doesn’t impact this guy too badly, since, as I said, the Rex tooling is still pretty solid.  The leg movement is kind of stiff, but otherwise it works okay.  The torso’s been modified to add a port for the jetpack, so that works out well.  The Jet Trooper’s paint scheme is fun, bright, and fairly unique, and the application is nice and clean.  It’s definitely the best thing about the figure, and it really works out well.  The Jet Trooper is packed with his jetpack (borrowed from Jango Fett), and a small blaster pistol.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I quite like this design.  I quite like Clones in general, and this one just really works.  It’s a cool, nifty look, begging for good toy treatment.  It’s a shame that there are so many barriers to entry on the first figure, and I wasn’t thrilled about the Gamestop-exclusiveness on this one.  Fortunately for me, I was able to get one via a convenient trade-in at All Time.  That sure was easy.  He’s a really fun figure of a really fun design, and I’m glad to have added him to the collection.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3181: Obi-Wan Kenobi

OBI-WAN KENOBI

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

Obi-Wan battles the enemies of the Republic as war expands across the galaxy. The Jedi General continues his hunt for General Grievous and leads diplomatic missions to far-flung worlds. Whether he is battling droids or negotiating with potential allies, Obi-Wan is resolute in his fight to save the Republic.”

The prequel films were, admittedly, not great when it came to character building. They were a bit like reading a Wikipedia article on the events. All the big stuff was covered, but there was ver little human element. The Clone Wars does a lot to salvage the films and the characters within by actually spending time with them, and even giving them some genuine emotional arcs, making you actually care about what happens to them. Though technically one of the main characters of the films, Obi-Wan had the misfortune of largely getting shoved to the side in favor of the plot. The Clone Wars gives him his own stories, and even a small glimpse into his history before the movies. And it also lets him just be cool, and that’s never a bad thing.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Obi-Wan Kenobi was released in 2011 as figure 40 in Hasbro’s Clone Wars Collection. He was the fifth version of the character in the line, and the first to be based on Obi-Wan’s improved design model from later in the show, as they slowly moved him closer to his RotS look.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 18 points of articulation.  As the line moved into its more show-design accurate era, the Clone figures notably took a slight hit to articulation, but, on the flip side, the Jedi characters made out a lot better, by virtue of, you know, actually getting knee joints.  That’s the case with Obi-Wan, and even with the harder plastic skirt piece and the t-hips, he still manages to be quite mobile.  His sculpt was an all-new one, and it’s a far more show accurate one than the four that preceded it, and for my money, more accurate than those that followed it as well.  There’s a really good flow to it, and I love all the sharp angles.  The style is really captured well here.  The color work on this guy is generally pretty good as well.  The paint work is cleanly applied, and the colors all match well with the show.  Obi-Wan’s only accessory was his lightsaber.  It was a step down from prior offerings, but it does at least cover the basics, so it’s got that going for it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The late run Clone Wars figures were much harder to keep up with at retail, so by this point I was really just making do with what I already had.  Since I already had the first Obi-Wan, I wasn’t actively searching for another, and this one slipped under my radar.  Back in the summer of 2019, All Time got a sizable collection of Clone Wars figures, and I wound up snagging a large swath of them.  Mostly, they were clones, but I also picked up this figure out of the bunch.  He’s probably the best Obi-Wan to come out of the line, and certainly my favorite.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3180: Sauron

SAURON

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Sauron is the most terrifying Evil Mutant. Sauron loves to silently swoop down and use his mutant power to hypnotize and drain the energy out of his victim! Then in the blink of an eye, he flies away ready to strike again! The more energy he drains, the more powerful he becomes. Because he can drain the energy from anyone, even another Evil Mutant, even Magneto, the leader of the Evil Mutants, fears him!”

Not to be confused with the evil ruler of Mordor, Sauron is one of the X-Men’s older foes, predating quite a few of the team’s more popular members–Wait a minute…didn’t I review this figure already?  well, hypothetical reader, the answer to that question is…not technically.  And, technically is what really matters here.  Why?  Because it’s my site, that’s why.  Okay, maybe I should actually explain what the heck I’m reviewing this guy again.  It’s quite simple:  early in the days of their X-Men line, Toy Biz liked to justify the re-releases of figures they’d already done by doing minor tweaks to their color schemes, in dedicated “Repaint” series, in order to not only keep those figures out, but also freshen up the shelves a bit, but without having to actually produce a whole new figure.  Generally, I like to bundle those repaints into the main review, but, well, I don’t always own them when I review a figure the first time, so I guess I just have to follow them up this way.  How about that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sauron (the repaint) was added to Toy Biz’s X-Men line in 1993-1994, right around the same time as Series 4 and 5 of the line, alongside a whole assortment of repainted figures.  Of all the figures present amongst the repaints, his was the oddest choice, given how minor the character was, but perhaps they were looking to tie in with the show’s second season, where he actually had a pretty important role to play.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  He’s 100% the same sculpt as the standard release of Sauron.  It was a decent sculpt for the time, and honestly holds up pretty alright.  Still not sure exactly what he’s wearing, but what are you gonna do?  The change to this one’s paint is honestly pretty subtle; instead of orange pants, his are gold with a little bit of black.  It’s super minor, but I actually quite like it.  It’s nice that they actually added, rather than just doing a straight palette swap.  Interestingly, the card back prototype showed him with red shorts, a figure that, to date, no one has any evidence actually existed.  As with his original release, Sauron was packed with a big ol’ club.  Yay big ol’ club.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wound up going back to the toy show where I’d gotten my standard Sauron the next year, in hopes of finding more Toy Biz stuff.  I discovered it was rather slim pickings that year, but managed to fish a handful of the repaint figures out of a loose figure bin.  Sauron was one of those figures.  He’s not a bad figure, but the two offerings do feel slightly redundant when in the same collection together, I suppose.

#3179: Ultra Magnus

ULTRA MAGNUS

TRANSFORMERS: R.E.D. (HASBRO)

Okay, the Transformers reviews have certainly slowed down around here, I suppose.  I was trying for a once-a-month thing, but I couldn’t even do that.  Admittedly, I wasn’t really trying.  Well, hey, would you guys like a Transformers review?  Okay, but slight caveat: this one does not transform.  I know.  First Transformers review in three months.  Doesn’t even transform.  There’s some sort of cruel irony there.  Well, if it makes it any better, it’s at least an Ultra Magnus.  So, you know, it’s at least mostly on brand.  Mostly.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultra Magnus is one of the two figures (the other being the Prime version of Knockout) that make up the fifth assortment of Transformers: R.E.D., which remains exclusive to Walmart.  The entire selling point of this line is that the transformations are sacrificed in the name of animation accuracy, a selling point that has been completely lost with this figure, because instead of being based on any animated appearance of Magnus, this figure is instead based on his G1 inner robot.  Why?  Re-use, that’s why.  I’ll get to that.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Magnus’s entire existence is reliant on one thing: he’s a 100% parts re-use.  Since he’s just the inner robot, rather than a proper armored Magnus, he’s just a complete repaint of the Series 1 Optimus Prime mold.  This is my first time messing with the mold.  It’s alright.  The movement is a little better than the Soundwave mold for the most part, and I found the angles to be a little sharper on this one.  It matches the Prime animation model, which is good for Prime.  For Magnus, it’s kind of neither here nor there whether it’s accurate to anything.  It’s generally a pretty fun sculpt removed from the source, and it plays pretty well, so I can’t really complain.  The mold still features Prime’s opening chest compartment, which on the first release allowed for storage of the included Matrix of Leadership.  The Matrix isn’t included here, so it’s kind of vestigial, but it’s still a cool feature.  The main change-up for this release is the paint scheme.  As with the G1 figure, he’s a largely white version of Prime, much like the inner bots for the Siege and Kingdom releases.  Not *actually* being an inner bot means he can follow the original color scheme a little bit more, specifically with the upper being silver, rather than just more white.  The application is clean, and he looks the part, so it all works out.  Magnus is packed with three sets of hands (fists, open gesture, and a grip/pointing combo), a rifle, and an alternate Energon axe hand (now in blue).  All of these are the same as those included with the standard Optimus, though, as noted above, this guy loses the Matrix.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this line’s Soundwave because he pretty much fell into my lap.  He was fine, but not really enough to make me jump into the line any further.  The announcement of a Magnus was exciting, but that was undercut by the reveal that he was just a Prime repaint.  Generally, I don’t tend to go for just inner-bot Magnuses, so I wasn’t really planning to get this one.  Ultimately, I got him because I needed to stop at Walmart for something else, he was there, and he was on sale.  He’s not a bad figure, but he’s also just sort of…lost?  Like, he’s not even true to the one thing the line had going for it, so, exactly what is his purpose?  I’d like to see a proper armored version later down the line, but honestly I feel like this figure’s existence is going to make getting another one more difficult.  I get Hasbro wanting to get extra mold re-uses, but for this specific line, I don’t feel like this is one that really works.  So, I’m glad to have another Magnus, as per usual, but I do wish he were better.

#3178: Nova

NOVA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Chosen by the last surviving member of an elite intergalactic defense force, Richard Rider ascends from humble origins to continue the battle as Nova.”

Remember all that stuff yesterday’s intro had to say about Nova and his background both in the comics and in the real world?  Cool, that’s super handy, because it makes this intro way easier.  I mean, apart from me not really having much unique or exciting to say.  Oh no.  I’ve become my own worst enemy.  I’ve…I’ve written myself out of a job.  Well, a hobby, I guess.  And I can just go meta for a few sentences until I make it to the review proper.  So, in the end, it doesn’t even matter.  Or perhaps something less emo than that.  I mean, we’re talking about Nova here; let’s try to be at least a little bit cheery, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nova is a Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Legends release, who dropped last year…theoretically.  He was the second in Walgreens’ 2021 line-up of cosmically-themed characters, following on the tails of their “The Fallen One” Silver Surfer variant.  This marked Richard Rider’s third time in Legends form, after the figure I looked at yesterday, and the one from the first Guardians tie-in assortment in 2014.  While the 2014 release brought him up to more modern standards in figure-making, it also did so in his modern costume.  This figure instead updates the classic costume from the first release to the current level.  I like that.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Nova is built on the Bucky Cap body at his core, though he winds up with a lot of new parts.  The head and upper torso are the obviously new parts, but the pelvis and shins are also new.  The new parts are pretty nicely handled.  The head is two pieces, with the helmet and underlying head being two separate pieces, which adds some extra depth to the design.  The new upper torso adds his shoulder pads, which are separate from the core torso, allowing for them to move with the arms for more optimal posing.  The new pelvis and shins don’t really do a lot different, but they add a little bit of variety to the mold just before it got dropped.  So, there’s that.  The color work on Nova is a pretty straight updating of the first Legend.  This time around, the gold’s a bit brighter and the blue’s a bit deeper, which makes for a far better contrast.  The paint work is all pretty crisp, which I certainly like.  Not so big on the molded gold plastic with all the swirls, though, especially since it means there’s quite a line right on the front of his helmet.  Nova is packed with two sets of hands, in fists and flat poses, plus fellow Nova Corps member Qubit, who’s really just a helmet with a flight stand.  It’s accurate to the comics, of course, where he’s “a synthorganic being of the Manufactured Harmonites.”  That’s a totally normal sentence, I suppose.  He’s a cool extra, and follows the trend started by The Phlish’s inclusion with Sam Nova.  I like it, and I’d like to see more of it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I like Nova a fair bit, especially his classic look.  His first Legend was kind of weak, but he tided me over.  The modern version was better, but not my preferred version.  This one was the one I was waiting for.  And boy was there a lot of waiting, because I never found one at Walgreens.  When Quasaar got offered up to Fan Channels, I was hoping Nova would follow, but no such luck yet.  Thankfully, one was traded into All Time, so I still got my shot at him.  He’s a solid update, and pretty much exactly what I wanted.  Calling this one a win.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3177: Nova

NOVA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“It was pure chance that granted Richard Rider his fragment of the cosmic power known as the Nova Force. He was just some smart-​aleck kid from Queens, dreaming the same other big dreams as everyone else. The closest he’d ever been to being a superhero was seeing the Avengers’ Quinjet once in a while. Since the day he felt that first rush of power, he’s traveled the universe and battled against and alongside some of the most powerful creatures in the known universe. He has turned back the aggression of entire star empires, and become the last survivor of an annihilated culture. His power enhanced by the absorption of the entire Nova Force and the Xandorian Worldmind, he serves now as a final bulwark against perhaps the greatest threat our universe has ever faced.”

Well, that’s quite a thorough selection of bio-text up there.  I guess…I guess I don’t really need to get into it too much, then.  Well, I suppose I could discuss the out-of-universe stuff, then.  The success of Spider-Man in 1962 was somewhat unexpected.  For the decades that followed, Marvel was kind of always trying to craft that next Spider-Man.  Admittedly, it’s kind of hard to purposefully create an equivalent for a character that didn’t really originate with that purpose in mind.  A decade after Spider-Man’s creation, they tried this with Nova, an admittedly noble attempt at aping Spidey’s success, right down to him being a reimagining of a pet character that Marv Wolfman had made up for a fanzine, mirroring Stan Lee’s own fostering of Spidey before he actually made it to publish.  Though they gave it an honest try, but he ultimately didn’t take off, and he fell into obscurity until the early ’90s when he was added to the cast of the New Warriors.  Nova got his first Legends release, which was his second figure overall, early in Hasbro’s run, and I’m taking a look at that figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nova was released in 2009 as part of the Nemesis Series of Marvel Legends.  The Nemesis Series, which wound up being the last assortment of Hasbro’s first run of Marvel Legends, had a turbulent path to release.  Originally, it was supposed to be a mass-release assortment, slated to hit in 2008, but there were production issues associated with it, and a bunch of planned exclusive assortments got pushed up first.  The line-up got tweaked and shifted around several times, and then it looked like it was cancelled entirely, but then, at the end of 2009, the set just started showing up at Walmarts, apparently as an exclusive, effectively pushed out to wrap up the line before the full switch to Marvel Universe occurred.  It was a mess.  Nova was based on his classic design, which was amusing at the time, since he’d just gotten a new look in the comics.  This is still my preferred, so I never really minded.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 40 points of articulation.  Nova was built on the modified base-body version of the Bullseye body, first seen with Havok.  It was a good piece when it first dropped, and even in 2009 it was still holding up okay.  I mean, it was still in use for another 6 years after this, so clearly it still had a little bit of mileage left.  It’s a little goofy by today’s standards, especially given how the articulation has been worked into the overall sculpt.  His only new piece on this release was his head sculpt.  It matches well with the style of the base body, and doesn’t do a bad job of adapting the helmet design from the comics.  For proper accuracy, he probably should have a few other unique pieces, but it was the best we could hope for at the time.  The figure’s paint work isn’t great, really.  The big issue is the “gold,” which is really dull, far too dark, and just generally doesn’t pop the way it should.  In general, it’s just a super drab figure, just across the board.  Nova’s only extra was the leg to the Nemesis Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This assortment wound up hitting at the same time as the Walmart-exclusive 10th Series of DC Universe Classics.  At the time, my Dad was scouting out the DCUC figures for me and my brother, and he happened upon a few of the figures from this set, so he started scouting out those as well.  He and I wound up finding this one together, while on a run for some Christmas decorations.  He’s not a great figure, but I was happy to have him at the time, and I appreciate the story behind it.

#3176: Clone Trooper Hardcase

CLONE TROOPER HARDCASE

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

 

“Clone Troopers train for combat on the planet Kamino. Kamino is not only the place where the clone troopers are engineered, it is also where they are trained in battle tactics, fighting techniques and explosives. Seasoned clone troopers push the cadets hard to turn them into the toughest and most skilled soldiers in the galaxy.”

The success of Star Wars: The Clone Wars comes from how well they humanized the clone forces of the Republic.  Previous, just a sea of identical cannon fodder, the show went out of its way to name them and give them each a unique personality.  It also gave them plenty of stock for all sorts of Clone Trooper figure variants of all those cool named Clones.  Today, I’m looking at one of those clones, who specifically has a penchant for blasting.  Without further ado, let’s look at Hardcase!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Clone Trooper Hardcase was part of the 2012 “Republic Troopers” Movie Heroes boxed set, under the overall Star Wars: The Clone Wars banner.  The other two clones in the set, were Cutup and the Bomb Squad Trooper.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  Hardcase made use of the second major Clone Trooper base body for the line.  This one placed priority on capturing the animation style, rather than full articulation like the earlier base body.  Both bases have the pluses and minuses.  I do quite like how this one looks, but it’s certainly not going to be pulling off the same level of posing as the earlier mold.  Still, there’s plenty of posing to be had with it, more than the early non-Clone figures, even, and it definitely captures the look of the clones in the show very nicely.  Hardcase’s main change-up is the paint scheme.  He’s largely white, but he’s got some nifty blue detailing, matching up with his design in the show.  The application is nicely handled, and there’s even a little bit of simulated weathering to really make it look worn-in.  Hardase is packed with a large blaster rifle, which itself was on its second main sculpt by this time in the line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

By the time this set was released, I was pretty much out of Clone Wars figures in their first run.  But, over the years, I’ve been keeping my eye out for cool Clones as I’ve been able to get ahold of them.  Hardcase wound up getting traded into All Time loose shortly after I started working their full-time, and he wound up being one of my earliest grabs as I was processing the collection.  He’s just the basic clone with some new painted details, but you know what, it’s a good formula, and it made for a lot of really cool figures.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3175: The Thing

THE THING

FANTASTIC FOUR (TOY BIZ)

“The powerhouse of the fabulous Fantastic Four, Benjamin J. Grimm may look like a ‘Thing’, but he’s a rock-solid Super Hero through and through! Fiercely loyal, unflinching in the face of danger, The Thing brings his ‘Clobberin’ Time’ strength to bear against the likes of the wicked Wizard and the sinister Psycho-Man.”

Okay, hear me out: what if The Thing got actual clothes?  Would that be a crazy, novel idea?  Maybe.  Just maybe.  But a man can dream.  Or, you know, just look into the years and years of Fantastic Four history, where there’s plenty of instances of just that thing happening.  I mean, there’s just, like, Ben Grimm, running around in an almost full FF uniform, instead of just an overly large speedo.  Usually, it has something to do with him getting depowered, and then starting to wear a different uniform, and then inevitably being repowered, and, book, the Thing’s in a tank top.  Oh yeah.  Dig it.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Thing was released in Series 4 of Toy Biz’s Fantastic Four line, which wound up as the line’s final assortment.  He was the third version of Ben within the line, and was clearly designed to tie-in with Ben’s stretch of episodes in the cartoon’s second season where he had the tank top look.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  For whatever reason, he lost the elbow and knee joints for this release, despite the other two figures getting them.  He does get a waist joint, though.  Additionally, he’s the largest of the cartoon-inspired Thing figures, making him feel more true to the character as he appears in the show, and having him look a little more cohesive with the rest of his team.  The figure’s sculpt was all-new, and followed the character’s season 2 design pretty closely.  It’s especially evident in the face, which really feels spot-on, but even the general shaping of the body seems to line-up pretty well.  The only real deviation is the torso, especially around the waist, where he winds up with far more toning and definition than he ever had on the show.  The figure is also sculpted with just a touch of pre-posing; he appears to be in mid-stride.  It’s nothing too crazy, and it winds up making him very stable on his feet, which makes it really feel like a win.  The figure’s color work is pretty basic; the majority of it is molded.  What paint is there is generally pretty clean, though there is a touch of fuzziness on the edges of the white parts of the outfit.  To their credit, the portions of the exposed skin that are on the torso, and are therefore painted, actually match pretty closely with the molded tones on the arms and head, which is quite an accomplishment.  Series 4 of the line was all about platforms with action features.  For Ben, that translates to a vaguely rock-looking thing, which he can “break” apart.  It’s not a terrible gimmick, but it’s also not a great one.  Just sort of there.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always really liked this particular design for Ben, largely due to its presence in the cartoon’s second season.  That said, I already had the trench coat version of Ben from the prior assortment when this one hit, so I didn’t really *need* this one, and I wasn’t really into doubling up at that point.  So, this one remained absent from my collection for a surprisingly long time, finally making its way into the set back in 2017, when I wound up snagging it out of a case at an antique mall.  He’s actually a pretty solid version of the character, and has the notoriety of being a version that doesn’t get covered much, so that’s pretty cool.

#3174: Parallax

PARALLAX

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE TOYS)

“As a Green Lantern, Hal Jordan served the Guardians of the Universe and saved all of existence from great peril countless times. But, when Hal was unable to save him hometown, Coast City, from obliteration because he was off-world, he was shattered. He flew straight to Oa, the Guardian’s home planet, and asked for their help to resurrect Coast City. When the Guardians refused, Hal absorbed the energy of Oa’s Central Power Battery, along with Parallax, a yellow entity made of living fear that was imprisoned within the battery for millennia. Parallax then drove Hal mad and fueled him to decimate the entire Green Lantern Corps!”

Hey, did you guys like seeing me tear into McFarlane for a bit yesterday?  Well, I guess I’m gonna do it again.  I swear, I keep meaning to be done with McFarlane DC, but, you know, then I keep not being…done…with..McFarlane DC.  Look, I just get weak sometimes.  Anyway, recently, McFarlane has been slightly breaking away from the heavy Batman-focus, and there’s been some Green Lantern stuff coming through, which certainly appeals to me.  Amongst those GL-related releases is today’s focus, Parallax, a character of whom my opinions are almost as conflicted as those of McFarlane’s handling of the DC license.  Let’s see how this goes.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Parallax is another “Platinum Edition” figure in McFarlane’s DC Multiverse line.  As I noted yesterday, exactly what “Platinum Edition” means varies from figure to figure, but in the case of Parallax, it means that he’s a Walmart-exclusive, alongside fellow ’90s-themed “Platinum Edition” release Azrael Batman.  This is Parallax’s first figure under McFarlane, and in fact the first Hal Jordan Parallax figure we’ve gotten since DCD’s old Rebirth release.  That’s quite a gap in figures there.  Sure is fun that it’s a Walmart exclusive.  That certainly won’t be a frustrating turn of events for most people.  The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation.  On the topic of sizing, McFarlane’s difficulties with consistent scaling across their figures kicks in here, as Hal stands 1/4 inch taller than yesterday’s Martian Manhunter, which is definitely off, as J’onn has consistently been depicted as one of the tallest DC heroes, and Hal is usually middle of the pack.  The sculpt for Parallax is an all-new one, and…well, it’s got its ups and its downs.  First and foremost, the box specifically cites this figure as being from “Emerald Twilight,” and it’s just not.  Heck, not even the illustration on the back of the box is from “Emerald Twilight.”  It’s actually from the Convergence crossover series, some two decades later.  The figure proper is a decent enough sculpt from a technical stand point, aside from some slight oddities this the back of the head having a slightly odd shape.  Beyond that, the issues largely stem from a multitude of inaccuracies.  The hair’s short and spiky, rather than the more classically parted hair that Hal usually has.  The arms don’t have the stripes running down the sides, instead having the shoulders come to a point, the way they do on Hal’s classic costume.  The torso, specifically the circle on the chest, is three dimensional, and the surrounding elements are totally different in their shaping than what’s shown on the page.  The tops of the boots are also totally different in their shaping, and there are a ton of extra details on the boots that aren’t there either.  Why all the differences?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Todd’s gotta Todd, maybe?  It’s been a recurring issue with the DC line, but on this one in particular, it sticks out because he’s specifically called out as being based on a specific story.  Parallax’s color work is also notably off.  The most glaring issue is the total lack of the white steaks on his temples, but his hair is also generally too dark, with almost no brown at all.  There’s a slight hint of grey, but it’s far too subtle, and also almost entirely at the back of the head.  The greens are also rather drab, and generally too light.  Beyond that, the application is at least clean, and I do quite like how the clear green hands look.  Parallax is packed with a collector card, two energy effects for the hands, a power battery, and a display stand.  The accessories are at least pretty cool, so he’s got that going for him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I’ve always had my issues with the story that spawned him, I also have this odd soft spot for Parallax, going back to the Total Justice figure being my only way to get a Hal Jordan figure back when I was a kid.  I loved that figure, and it’s resulted in me really growing to like the Parallax design.  I had the DCD figure back when it was new, but it was always a rather fragile figure, which isn’t very fun.  I had hoped Mattel might get to him during DC Universe Classics, but they never did.  Then the pictures of this guy surfaced, and I realized he was really my best bet at getting a halfway decent Parallax.  I wasn’t looking forward to the difficulties of getting a Walmart-exclusive, but as luck would have it, someone traded one into All Time, making getting one super easy.  Ultimately, my feelings on this figure, much like the actual character, and the overall toyline he’s part of, are very conflicted.  He’s not a bad figure from a technical standpoint, but there’s a lot of issues in terms of accuracy, with lots of changes seemingly being made purely for the sake of change.  It’s an issue I’ve run into before with the line, and I’m sure it’ll crop up again, but you just keep getting this sense that Todd thinks his designs are just better, and, well, he’s wrong, and it gets in the way of figures being as good as they could be, which is a real shame.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.