#1651: Big Barda

BIG BARDA

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

“Born on the evil, warlike planet Apokolips, Barda was specially trained in all forms of combat by Granny Goodness. However, she fell in love with Scott Free, a child of peaceful New Genesis raised on Apokolips, and used her warrior skills to help him escape to Earth. Barda accompanied Scott, and they married after he assumed the name of Mister Miracle, world’s greatest escape artist. Since then, she has fought evil alongside her husband, both of them serving in the Justice League of America.”

When it came to DC Universe Classics‘ line-up, there was definitely a penchant for leaning heavily on Jack Kirby’s Fourth World creations.  This is something of a carry over from Kenner’s Super Powers, a line that inspired much of the DCUC line.  One prominent Fourth World member that was absent from Super Powers was Big Barda, who made her debut rather early into DCUC‘s run.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Big Barda was released in Series 7 of DC Universe Classics.  There were two versions of the character available: with helmet and without.  As you may have pieced together from the photo at the top of the review, this one’s the un-helmeted release, which, despite not being a standard look for the character at all, ended up as the easiest of the two versions to find.  Why the decision was made to make it two separate figures, rather than just tossing in the alternate look as an accessory is anyone’s guess, but it’s just the first of the problems that plague this figure.  The figure stands 6 inches tall.  I’m gonna say that again: 6 inches tall.  So, for those of you playing the FiQ home game, double-checking the stats up against prior players reviews, you’ll note that Barda is shorter than the DCUC Mr. Miracle, despite Barda being consistently depicted as a good half foot taller than Scott, and having, you know, “Big” in her name. Kind of an issue.  What’s especially odd about this is the fact that Barda has a completely unique sculpt…so, there’s really no reason for her to be the same size as all of the other female figures.  There’s legitimately no good reason for Mattel to have so badly underscaled Barda.  Apart, of course, from the looming “they’re Mattel and thereby must suck at everything” bit they’ve got going on.  And even from an internal standpoint, she’s still really off, because her arms and legs are really quite scrawny, again, in sharp contrast to that “big” descriptor.  How did nobody along the whole process stop and go “wait, something’s not right here.”  Or maybe they just thought it was an ironic nickname?  Like “Einstein” or “tiny”?  That seems like an appropriately Mattel thing to do, I guess.  If there’s one redeeming aspect to the figure, it’s the paint.  It’s from a time when Mattel was still kind of trying at such things, so she actually has some pretty solid accenting work, especially on things like the chainmail on the arms and legs, where it really helps bring out what few strengths the sculpt actually has.  In terms of accessories, Barda was rather light.  She has her staff and one of Atom Smasher’s arms, and she can’t even hold her staff all that well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

No super exciting story about acquiring this figure.  A friend of mine bought this figure thinking there was a helmet included, and upon discovering no helmet was included, she handed it off to me.  The sans-helmet figure wasn’t my first choice, and I mostly just kept her because I wanted to finish my Atom Smasher.  She’s a flawed figure.  I can’t really get past that.  On the plus side, with the introduction of DC Icons and its rather diminutive nature, I at least have somewhere to put her.  Yay?

Advertisements

#0164: Mister Miracle, Oberon, & Big Barda

MISTER MIRACLE, OBERON, & BIG BARDA

DC DIRECT BOXED SETS

MrMiracle&BigBarda

Hey, I’m back after a brief intermission! Hope everybody liked Tim’s guest review. I personally was really glad to get a day off, and I thought the review was pretty great too! Back to business…

Jack Kirby is a name that most casual comics/super hero fans tend to be familiar with. Along with Stan Lee, he helped to create the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Incredible Hulk, the Avengers, Marvel’s Thor, and Iron Man. Before that, he and Joe Simon were responsible not only for the creation of Captain America, but also the entire genre of romance comics! That’s quite a list of accomplishments! Anyway, in the 70s, Jack left Marvel and went to DC, where he created The Fourth World, which included New Gods, The Forever People, and Mister Miracle.

Today, I’ll be looking at the titular Mister Miracle, as well as his assistant Oberon and his partner Big Barda. Mister Miracle was Scott Free, who escaped from the prisons of Apokolips as a child and ventured to Earth where he became an escape artist/super hero. Barda was once part of Apokolips’s deadly Female Furies, but was freed by Scott. Oberon was… a short guy.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These three were released as a boxed set by DC Direct in the early 2000s. At the time, DCD was big on the boxed sets, so they released these guys all in one swoop.

MISTER MIRACLE

This is, interestingly enough, not Scott’s first foray into the world of action figures. He was previously part of Kenner’s Super Powers line in the 80s. This figure stands about 6 ½ inches tall and features 13 points of articulation. Scott’s sculpt was all new to him. It’s pretty good, though the proportions aren’t the greatest. The don’t look bad, they just seem off in some places. Mister Miracle comes from a time when DCD’s sculpts were more simplistic, so he doesn’t have much texturing. That’s the style of the line of the time, so that works fine. Scott’s cape is sculpted in a similar style and it looks pretty cool and dynamic. The paint lines up nicely with the sculpt. There’s a decent amount of detail around the eyes, so you can actually see the skin around his eyes, which is a very nice touch. The reset of the paint is basic, with mostly large solid blocks of color, but it looks right for the character, and there’s no slop or bleed over. Scott included a set of hover discs which could plug into his feet, which are a cool item.

OBERON

Contrasting Mister Miracle, this is the only figure of Oberon ever made. He stands about 3 ½ inches tall and has a whopping 3, count ‘em 3, points of articulation. The sculpt isn’t bad. It’s a bit more detailed than Mister Miracle. Unfortunately, the legs are in some kind of an odd running pose, which makes him really hard to stand. As far as proportions, his shoulders are a bit too broad, his neck is too short and his head is a bit on the small side. None of the figures in the set are really styled after Kirby’s drawings, and this hurts Oberon the most. The paint is cleanly applied on Oberon, but it’s also really sparse. This figure really could have used some kind of a wash or something to bring out some of the details.

BIG BARDA

Barda got her first toy release with this figure, which was kinda a big deal at the time. The figure stands about 7 inches tall, and has 9 points of articulation. 3 of these points are effectively useless, thanks to her hair limiting the neck, and the cut joints on the hips being useless. The height is an interesting point, as I do believe this is the only figure of Barda to tower appropriately over Scott. Barda’s sculpt is more detailed than Scott’s, but not really any less simplistic. The proportions are also on the strange side. She had very broad shoulders and big hands. I’m not sure what shape her hips are supposed to be, but it’s not the right one, that’s for sure. The removable helmet is good in theory, but not so great in implementation. It ends up being really bulky, and it sits up too high on the head, which makes the whole thing look a bit goofy. Like the other two figures in the set, she has basic paint apps, but they’re still cleanly applied. Barda includes a set of hover discs, and a staff (which I lost. Sorry!)

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I received this set as a birthday present from my friends Renfield and June. I had mentioned to them that I had seen it marked down at their local comicbook store, and if it was still there, I’d like to have it. I later found out that the store didn’t have the set and Renfield had spent a fair bit of time calling around to various comic stores asking if they had the set. I certainly appreciate it. While they may not be the greatest figures, or even the best versions of the characters available, it was a good set for the time, and it’s still a pretty great set over all.