#2206: Soranik Natu

SORANIK NATU

GREEN LANTERN (DC DIRECT)

Coming out of Green Lantern: Rebirth we saw not just the return of classic silver age Green Lantern Hal Jordan, but also the return of the Green Lantern Corps as a whole, for the first time following its destruction during “Emerald Twilight.”  While a number of the GL mainstays were brought out of retirement for the new Corps, a good number of the prior members were dead or missing, meaning there was a need to fill their spots with some new characters who fit the same basic archetypes.  In some cases, they were pretty much just the same characters with a new name (B’dg for C’hp, for instance), but not every new inductee was this way.  Soranik Natu, taking the role of purple-skinned love interest to an Earth Lantern over from Katma Tui, got a pretty decent arc of her own over the course of the Green Lantern Corps focus series, coming to terms with her own resentment of the Corps and of her father, former rogue GL Sinestro.  She also get herself an action figure in the process.  Yay!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Soranik Natu was released in Series 5 of DC Direct’s Green Lantern line, which would prove to be the final series of the line under their tenure.  It joined Series 4 as a bit of a wrap up the the GL stuff following the rather lengthy run of Blackest Night figures.  It was honestly a little surprising that it took Soranik quite as long to get a figure as it did, but at least she got one, I guess.  The figure stands just shy of 7 inches tall (the creeping DCD scale was on the verge of topping out at this particular point), and she has 15 points of articulation.  At this point, you can kind of sense that DCD was feeling the pressure from DCUC and trying to make their figures a little bit more than plastic statues.  Soranik has more articulation than the typical release to be sure, but ultimately there’s not a ton you can do with it beyond putting her into basic standing poses.  There’s some decent range on the arms, particularly the shoulders, but even areas that had previously been pretty easy for the to articulate, like the elbows, are rather restricted here.  Also showing the DCUC influence is the figure’s construction.  DCD was trying their hand at some base bodies around this time, so Soranik uses the same body as Dove and Jade from their Brightest Day line of figures.  To be fair, it’s not a bad sculpt, and it’s got fairly balanced proportions overall, which is more than can be said for a good number of DCD’s later run figures.  It’s also not horribly preposed, and doesn’t have lots of un-needed detailing, making it look rather clean.  Soranik got a new head and hands to complete her look.  They’re fairly basic pieces, but they get the job done.  The stern expression on the face works well for Natu’s usual demeanor.  Soranik’s paintwork is fairly crisp and clean.  She uses the metallic coloring that DCD liked so much for the Lanterns, which honestly looks pretty good here, and I still really dig how those pearlescent white gloves look on all of these guys.  Soranik was packed with her power batter and a display stand with the Green Lantern emblem on it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

At the time that Soranik was released, my brother Christian and I were working on our respective 6-inch Lantern collections (his was Yellow, mine was Green), so he was pretty adamant about having my parents take him out to get me Soranik as soon as she was released so that he could give her to me as birthday present.  While I don’t have a ton of attachment to the character, she was a fairly prominent piece of the Corps for a good while, and I was definitely happy to had her to the roster.  It helps that she’s a fairly decent looking figure, even if she’s not the most playable thing.

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#2159: Kyle Rayner – Green Lantern

KYLE RAYNER — GREEN LANTERN

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

Once a White Lantern and the bearer of seven rings, Kyle Rayner is back to basics under a new Corps as a Green Lantern.”

What do you get when you put together two things that Ethan didn’t used to like?  That’s right, a Mattel Kyle Rayner figure.  My rocky history with Mattel is of course no secret around these parts, but then again most people’s rocky history isn’t much of a secret, I suppose.  What’s slightly more downplayed is my dislike of Kyle.  I mean, he’s a Green Lantern, and he was active during the ’90s; he’s even the star of my favorite episode of Superman: The Animated Series, which is my favorite DC animated property.  What’s not to like?  Well, admittedly, I got a little caught up in the “he replaced Hal Jordan” rage.  As a kid, my first exposure to GL was in Challenge of the Superfriends, where it was Hal, and I was quite confused by this Rayner guy running around in the comics.  Over the years, though, I’ve actually grown to like Kyle quite a bit, which means I’m actually quite excited to get his latest figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kyle Rayner is part of the Lobo Series of DC Comics Multiverse, which is the third assortment following the change to the blue packaging.  This marks the second Kyle we got during Mattel’s tenure.  The first was a fine figure, but fell victim to the late-line tendency for DCUC figures to be in their most recent costume, rather than their most-wanted.  This one goes for Kyle’s classic ’90s costume, or at least the Rebirth recreation of it, which is a solid choice.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Kyle uses the relaunched line’s equivalent of the old line’s mid-sized male body.  Like the Bizarro figure (who used the larger male body equivalent), this means the Kyle’s a little bit outdated when compared to the line’s more advanced figures.  That said, it’s still a marked improvement over what Mattel was doing a year ago, and makes for a serviceable base body.  Kyle gets a new head, forearms, hands, and knees.  The new parts are fairly decent; nothing amazing or anything, but they recreate his look pretty well, and he’ll fit in with DCUC stuff, as well as Multiverse stuff, so he’s a decent bridge figure.  The paintwork on Kyle is pretty basic, but gets all the important points down.  There’s a touch of fuzz on the edge of the white section on his chest, but aside from that it’s all pretty clean.  Kyle is packed with his power battery and a blast effect piece that goes over his hand.  Standard stuff for a GL, but honestly that’s a step-up from how Mattel’s been handling up to this point.  He also included a piece to the Lobo CnC, but I didn’t get that for reasons I’ll touch on in just a moment.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite the issues I may have had with Kyle as a character, in the ’90s a figure in this costume was the only way you were getting a Green Lantern figure, meaning I have quite a soft spot for this design.  Despite my general reservations about Mattel products, I was intrigued by this figure when he was shown off.  Of course, I’ve not once seen a single one of the figures from this assortment at retail, so I didn’t have a chance to buy one.  However, Max really wanted the Batman Beyond figure, as well as having a passing interest in the Lobo, so he and I decided to split a set of the figures from Big Bad Toy Store.  I got the one figure I really wanted, and I’m really quite happy.

#2023: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

DC: THE NEW 52 (DC COLLECTIBLES)

DC’s “New 52” relaunch sure does seem like a distant memory these days, doesn’t it?  Their big relaunch to end relaunches happened several relaunches ago, and, for the most part, it’s kind of old hat.  I mean, yeah, they aimed for big sweeping changes, but they kind of missed.  One of the books least affected by the changes was Green Lantern, which was still pretty big at the time.  Nevertheless, lead GL Hal Jordan got a minor redesign courtesy of Jim Lee, in order to better match the rest of the Justice League.  And, of course, that came with a new figure, which I’m looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern was one of the first seven figures in the New 52 line, when DC Collectibles was set on getting all of the main Justice League members out in their new uniforms.  He was subsequently re-released in the Justice League 7-pack that followed, and saw an evergreen release as part of the DC Essentials line…well, the first incarnation of it, anyway.  This figure is the original release, but the figures within the package are virtually identical between the three releases.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and has 11 points of articulation.  This was fairly standard for the launch figures, which were really just carrying forward the stylings of the later DC Direct figures.  Compared to more recent offerings, he’s a little archaic, and, honestly, compared to contemporary lines, they were archaic, too, but they were hardly a surprise given who was producing them.  The main focus was definitely on the sculpts, and GL’s sculpt is actually pretty decent.  He, and all of the early figures, really, was based on Jim Lee’s design for the character.  GL’s look was really just a slight tweaking of his post “Rebirth” design that he’d had for almost a decade by this point, with some extra armor plating here and there, because Jim Lee was all about that armor plating for this round of designs.  The sculpt actually does quite a respectable job of capturing Lee’s style in three dimensions.  While I was a little iffy about the tweaks to the design on the comics page, it actually translates pretty nicely into an action figure.  The details are crisp and sharp, and I especially like the seams on the gloves, even if perhaps a hardlight costume shouldn’t have such things.  Like a lot of DC Direct figures and early DCC figures, there’s a bit of pre-posing going on, but in this figure’s case, he’s just got the heroic stance that all of the League was sporting in the promo shots for the New 52.  It also impedes the articulation’s use a lot less than some of DCD’s figures, so that’s a plus in my book.  GL’s paintwork is pretty solid.  The metallic colors for the green and white are a nice look, and while there’s a little bit of bleedover on the face, for the most part, he’s pretty clean.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, The New 52 being the thing that kind of got me off of DC for a while, I wasn’t exactly breaking down the door to pick these guys up when they were coming out.  Even with my usually forgiving fandom for GL, I skipped this guy when he was released, as well as the few times he was re-released.  Why get him now?  It’s quite simple: Cosmic Comix had one in a package that was worse for wear, and he was marked down to $5.  For that price, he was worth it to me.  He’s actually not a bad figure, truth be told, though I can’t really say he stands out compared to the other GLs I’ve got in my collection.  Still, he was worth what I paid for him.

#1859: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

DC SUPER HEROES (MEGO)

Back in the day, Mego were the first company to really offer up substantial action figure product for either the Marvel or DC super heroes.  Sure, Ideal Toys had briefly touched on them for their Captain Action line, but that was more as an augment to an established thing, not their own thing outright.  Mego gave them the treatment they deserved, and because of that, they’ve both become tentpole properties within the toy market.  Of course, now that Mego is back around, DC and Marvel are both tied up with a multitude of other manufacturers.  DC in particular has been getting consistent Mego-style coverage from Figures Toy Company, but there was still some room in the market for the the over 12” and under 18” market.  It’s a pretty specific niche, but Mego was there, offering up a rather classic selection of DC characters, including, for the first time ever as an official Mego product, Green Lantern!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern is part of the second series of Mego’s DC Super Heroes line, alongside Superman, Batgirl, and Poison Ivy.  Hal is sporting his classic ‘70s appearance, which is the correct era for a genuine vintage GL, had Mego released one back in the day.  The figure stands 14 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation.  All of these figures appear to be patterned after the body of the Mego-designed and Denys Fisher-released “Power Action” Superman figure from the late ‘70s.  It’s a respectable starting point.  It’s similar to the standard Mego body, but with slightly tweaked proportions, giving it a generally more heroic stature, which works nicely for the likes of the DC Super Heroes.  It’s also got some extra articulation in the knees, which is fun.  GL gets an all-new head sculpt, which is actually quite nice and surprisingly detailed.  I’d love to see it shrunk down for an 8-inch body.  GL also gets a unique right hand, sporting his lantern ring, as has become the standard practice for such figures.  His costume is a three piece affair, made up a spandex jumpsuit and a pair of plastic boots.  The body suit is fairly well tailored to the body; I appreciate the use of different materials stitched together, rather than just silk-screening.  It makes it look a lot cleaner.  Hal’s paintwork is mostly confined to the head, which is nicely applied, sharp, and sporting some quite subtle accent work.  GL is packed with his power battery, which is another fairly standard thing for him.  He can’t really hold it, but it’s nicely sculpted, so there’s that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I passed on the first series of DC Super Heroes due to not really having an undying need for any of the characters offered.  Of course, Green Lantern’s my boy, so when he was shown off for Series 2, I knew I’d be tracking one down.  Okay…well, maybe not personally, because it was actually my dad that tracked him down for me.  He’s goofy, he’s really big, and he’s kinda awesome.  I don’t know if I’ll be really investing in this whole line, but I’m certainly very happy with GL.

#1736: Green Lantern – Superfriends

GREEN LANTERN — SUPERFRIENDS

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

DC doesn’t get quite as much play around here as other, Disney-owned properties.  It’s not a conspiracy, I swear!  And to prove that there is absolutely no anti-DC conspiracy around these parts, I’m gonna pick up the trend I started yesterday and do a whole week of DC reviews!  …Well, a business week…let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

While Adventures of Superman, the ’60s Batman, and Wonder Woman got the main trio of DC heroes some solid public recognition, it was Hannah Barbera’s Superfriends and its subsequent spin-offs that introduced the DC Universe as a whole to a mainstream audience.  Because of its mainstream impact, it’s also a version of the characters that toy companies like to go back to.  Mattel was no exception.  I’ll be looking at one of their handful of Superfriends offerings today, namely my main man Green Lantern.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern is part of the four figure Superfriends sub-set of Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse.  The set was originally meant to be a Walmart-exclusive, but that was ultimately only half true.  For Mattel-ish sorts of reasons, the four figure assortment needed to be split in two, with GL and Batman hitting Walmarts back in September of last year.  By the time the second two figures were ready to go, Walmart backed out.  The long and short of it is that Green Lantern and Batman were exclusive to Walmart (at first, anyway), but Superman and Aquaman weren’t.  Of the four figures in the set, GL is admittedly the odd man out in terms of character selection.  He wasn’t in the original Superfriends roster, only appearing in the later Challenge of the Superfriends incarnation.  Even then, he was never super prominent in the series.  The choice of him instead of another founding member, like Wonder Woman or Robin, is somewhat baffling.  That said, the Green Lantern fan in me is insisting that I not complain too much.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  In terms of construction, there’s not a single thing new about this figure.  He’s a head-to-toe re-use of the DCUC GL from 2008.  That was a good sculpt at the time, and the original figure remains one of my absolute favorite GL figures.  With that being said, it’s a sculpt that’s a decade old, and it’s definitely showing its age, not just stylistically, but also in terms of the actual life of the mold.  While some parts, like the head, still look quite good, the limbs in particular are showing quite a bit of mold degradation.  It’s still in better shape than a lot of Mattel’s more recent output, but it’s time to let it die.  The main thing that’s new here is the paint.  I’m of two minds.  On the one hand, I really do like the bright, bold colorscheme.  It’s quite aestheitcally pleasing, at it looks nice on the mold.  That said, it’s not actually accurate to his Superfriends colors, which means there’s not anything about this figure that’s truly Superfriends-inspired.  They didn’t even get the slightly different Lantern insignia from the show.  His accessories, like the figure, are nothing new.  He gets one of the Batman ’66 stands, with a new iridescent cardstock backer featuring….the Jose Garcia-Lopez illustration of Hal from the style guide.  I love Garcia-Lopez’s work and all, but it’s an odd choice here, you know, instead of, say, something from, I don’t know, Superfriends?  Also, the stand has been designed with slightly smaller figures in mind, so the peg is actually too small for GL’s foot, so it’s not actually any help…standing him.  Yeesh.  I guess I can forgive the lack of power battery, since it never figured that prominently into the show, but he still feels a little light, especially since there are no new pieces in the box and he originally retailed for $8 more than the first release of this mold, which, it should be noted, included the battery *and* a Build-A-Figure Collect-N-Connect piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted above, these figures hit in September.  And I saw them in-store when they hit.  But you know what also hit in September?  All of the Last Jedi product.  Given the choice between that and a total rehash of a figure, I went with the Star Wars stuff.  However, I found this guy at the same Ollie’s where I got yesterday’s Batman, and he too was $3, which was the right price for me.  The thing about this figure is that, as just a Green Lantern figure, removed from the source material, he’s actually not a terrible figure.  Dated and light on extras, but decent nonetheless.  However, he’s just *not* a Superfriends Green Lantern, and he’s a really poorly-executed, rather disinterested attempt at replicating the design, which makes him feel a little bit like a bit of a cash-grab.

#1664: Green Lantern & Star Sapphire

GREEN LANTERN & STAR SAPPHIRE

DC MINIMATES

It’s been almost two years since I last looked at any proper DC Minimates.  Plenty of other Minimates in the mean time, but not DC.  It’s sort of sad, really.  At the time, they were a beacon of hope, combating fears that the brand might be dying out.  They came in, stepped things up, and then ended up dying out themselves just before Minimates as a brand really took off.  We got eight series, a decent enough run, with most major players covered.  The Green Lanterns did alright, starting from day one, in fact, with a Hal Jordan and Star Sapphire pairing.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Green Lantern and Star Sapphire were part of the first series of DC Minimates.  Initially, they were meant to hit at the same time as the second and third series, to jumpstart the line in a similar fashion to the Marvel line, but delays set in, and the first series ended up hitting on its lonesome.

GREEN LANTERN

Green Lantern was just at the beginning of his upswing in popularity when this line launched, so his place in the first assortment was definitely a sensible one.  They went with Hal to start, which was certainly the smart choice.  He’s got his Bronze Age design, which has always been my personal favorite.  The figure is based on the standard ‘mate body, so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  His only add-on piece is for his hair.  It was shared with this series’ Superman.  It’s an okay piece, but lacks the higher detailing of more recent offerings.  I myself have never been really big on the s-curl piece for Hal, since it just feels a bit too distinctly Superman, and doesn’t match Hal’s usual style.  I ended up replacing it with another piece, though he’s seen un-altered here.  The rest of the work is paint, which is actually pretty top-notch, apart from one or two small issues.  The detailing on the face is very clean, and very true to the character, and the torso detailing is spot-on.  There’s even a little bit of detailing on his right hand for his ring.  My only minor complaint is the epaulets on his shoulders, which here cover a much larger section of the arm, making them look more like t-shirt sleeves.  Far from terrible, but a minor annoyance.  GL includes his power batter, which is a fantastic piece, and expertly sculpted.

STAR SAPPHIRE

While Batman and Superman both got their primary villains in Series 1, GL’s main bad Sinestro had to wait for Series 8.  Instead, we got Star Sapphire, who’s still a pretty solid choice.  Like GL, she’s the classic incarnation of the character.  By far the best.  Presumably, this is Carol Danvers, but in a pinch there are probably others it could be.  She’s got two sculpted add-ons; one for her hair/mask, and one for her collar.  Neither’s as good as they could be.  The hair/mask combo was perhaps not the best way to handle it; sure, her mask sticks out in the comics, but I feel it would look better as a painted element.  It’s just a bit bulky as is.  The collar’s a good concept, but execution is once again just too bulky.  It ends up removing most of her neck.  I think just the collar, without the flesh bit attached, would have worked better, but this was at the time when a Marvel figure of an equivalent design would be using a whole bulked-up torso, so this was better.  At the very least, the collar is easily removed if you don’t like it.  Her paint’s not quite as good as GL’s; the actual detail lines are fine, but the base colors seem a little sloppy.  Overall, though, not bad.  Star Sapphire had no accessories.  I feel like an energy effect, or an extra hair piece would have been cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this set, like every other DC Minimates set, from Cosmic Comix, as soon as they were released.  Prior to their release, I was hugely excited to get them.  As a big GL fan, this is actually the set that got me back into Minimates after a bit of a break, and kept me in the game for a solid decade.  The ‘mates themselves aren’t anything amazing, but they were rather momentous for me, and I still really like them.

#1620: Kilowog

KILOWOG

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

The cool thing about the Green Lantern concept is that it allows for a whole lot of different Green Lanterns.  Don’t like Hal Jordan?  You don’t have to!  Don’t like *any* of the Earth-bound GLs?  Well, you’re in luck, because there’s a wonderful assortment of non-human Lanterns to choose from.  One of my personal favorites (and a lot of people’s personal favorite, truth be told), is Kilowog, who I’m looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kilowog was the build-a-figure Collect-N-Connect for Series 11 of DC Universe Classics.  The series was overall Green Lantern-themed, apart from one or two odds and ends, so Kilowog made sense.  It was only his third figure, and only his second in this scale.  The figure stands 9 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  His mobility is mostly the same as the standard DCUC figures, but he’s missing any sort of lateral motion on his legs, which makes him a little stiff.  Nevertheless, it was certainly an improvement on both of his prior figures.  Kilowog was built on the bruiser CnC body, which was technically introduced with Brimstone (from the Public Enemies tie-in assortment), but was designed with both of them in mind.  It’s a pretty solid fit for Kilowog, apart from some slightly long arms.  It’s actually held up a bit better than the standard bodies.  It’s a shame that some of the elements, such as the more worked-in joints, never found their way into the smaller base bodies.  But, I guess that’s Mattel for you.  The character-specific parts, especially the head, are really solid sculpts.  The head has a lot of character and really nails Kilowog’s distinctive design, while also including some fantastic texturing on the exposes sections of skin.  The paintwork on Kilowog is on par with the rest of the figures from this era of the line, which is to say pretty good.  The basic colors are pretty bold, the application is clean, and there’s even some pretty decent accent work.  I might have liked a little more accenting on the head and neck, but it’s certainly serviceable as it is.  Kilowog included no accessories, but as essentially an accessory himself, it’s not terrible, especially since there’s not a ton to give him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Assembling Kilowog was quite an endeavor.  DC Universe Classics were never particularly well distributed, and this series was no exception.  Katma Tui was the only figure I actually found at retail.  The others I pieced together slowly, over the course of almost a decade.  It was only last year that I actually finished him, with some help from both my brother Christian and my friends at Cosmic Comix, who found me the last two figures I needed to finally complete this guy.  I’m glad I did, because he’s perhaps the finest Collect-N-Connect this line offered, and just a favorite of mine in general.

#1608: Green Lantern – Kyle Rayner

GREEN LANTERN – KYLE RAYNER

JLA: CLASSIFIED (DC DIRECT)

Despite getting into comics and such in the ‘90s, my first and favorite Green Lantern was *not* the then current holder of the role, Kyle Rayner.  I was aware of Kyle.  I had figures of Kyle (although, my small child brain hadn’t initially processed that he and Hal were not one and the same).  But I didn’t like him much.  At least not originally.  I’ve acquired an appreciation for him in more recent years, and also acquired a few more figures as well.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kyle was released in Series 2 of DC Direct’s JLA: Classified line.  The whole assortment was ‘90s-themed, so Kyle in his classic costume was a perfect fit.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  Mobility was never at the forefront on these particular figures, and Kyle’s not really much of an exception.  He’s good for standing there and maybe some slight adjustments to the arms, but not much beyond that.  As with all of the figures in this line, Kyle’s sculpt is based on the style of Ed McGuinness.  I’m not actually sure McGuinness ever drew Kyle in this costume, or even at all, but he does seem to fit MgGuinness’s bolder illustration sensibilities.  I mean, he’s definitely a bit more of a beefcake than Kyle tends to be, but isn’t everyone when illustrated by Ed McGuinness.  He ends up using a lot of the same pieces as the Superman Blue/Red, but does get some unique parts for his head, gloves, and boots.  The head is actually one of my favorites from this subset of figures.  Apart from being perhaps slightly serious in expression for Kyle, it does a solid job of capturing the character, right down to his floppy ‘90s hair, and that goofy crab-mask thing.  Kyle’s paintwork is very clean, and very sharp.  The metallic green is actually a lot better than the sorts of metallic greens that you usually see, being much brighter and thus truer to the comics.  I also dig the slightly pearlescent finish to the white, which contrasts well with the flat black paint on the base body.  Kyle’s only accessory was a JLA: Classified-branded display stand.  A power battery might have been cool, but with the hands both being fists, I guess he couldn’t hold it anyway.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

At the time of this figure’s release, I was pretty well invested in DC Universe Classics, so I wasn’t really picking up any DCD figures.  As such, this guy went under my radar.  I’ve not really seen the figure since, but always was interesting in tracking him down at some point.  I ended up finding him loose at House of Fun this past November.  He’s a rather stylized figure, and certainly requires you to like this particular group of figures.  For me, I quite like him, and I’m happy to add another Kyle figure to my collection.

#1599: New Frontier Boxed Set

SUPERMAN, BATMAN, WONDER WOMAN, & GREEN LANTERN

DC’s NEW FRONTIER (DC DIRECT)

One of my favorite DC stories is Darwyn Cooke’s New Frontier.  It’s a great period piece, with amazing artwork, and a great focus on a few of DC’s lesser followed characters.  It was fortunate enough to get a a whole line of figures focused on it back in the day, which remains one of my favorite products from DC Direct to this day.  I’ll be looking at a few of those figures today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These four figures were released as a special boxed set to coincide with the release of the Justice League: New Frontier animated film in 2008.  All four figures had originally seen release in DCD’s New Frontier toyline from 2006, before being re-released (with minor tweaks) here.

SUPERMAN

This figure is essentially unchanged from his single-packed release.  Of course, I never got that one, so he’s new to me.  Cooke’s take on Superman is a nice merging of styles.  He’s the character I think best encapsulates the ‘50s feel of the story, and a lot of that comes from his slightly tweaked version of the classic Superman.  He’s got a definite Fleisher flair to him, which I definitely dig.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  Hardly a super-posable figure, but he can get into some decent standing poses.  His sculpt is definitely one of the best in the line.  The details are sharp, and the line work is very clean.  Cooke’s style has been translated very well here, and Clark looks like he’s been lifted right off the page.  The shaping of things like the hair and the cape, and even the wrinkles where his costume has bunched up in a few places, are just perfect matches for the way Cooke drew his take on Superman.  The figure is slightly preposed in nature, but it’s not super awkward or anything.  It is, instead, a slight off-shifted balance of his weight to one side, which provides quite a naturalistic stance.  The paint work on Superman is pretty solid work.  It’s cleanly applied, and the palette nicely matches the more subtle hues of the book’s colors.  The original Superman included a camera and a rather elaborate display stand.  This release only gets a more simple black display stand.

BATMAN

Batman is another figure that was essentially unchanged for this second release.  He is notably distinct from the Designer Series Batman.  That one was based on the ‘40s styled Batman from the first half of the story.  This one goes for the ‘50s styled Batman as he appears in the back half of the book.  I always found this an interesting choice, since a lot of Batman’s role is in that first half, thus making this figure the less prominent design.  The figure is, somewhat frustratingly, taller than Superman.  He’s also a bit bulkier overall, which just looks…strange.  Cooke certainly didn’t draw Batman as the larger of the two, so why DCD went this way is anyone’s guess.  In general, Batman’s sculpt is a bit of a mess.  I mean, there are certainly nice qualities to it.  The head’s pretty strong, and the whole figure still manages to get the style down pretty decently.  The big flaw of this figure is his pre-posed nature.  More specifically, it’s the fact that I’ve never been able to figure out exactly what pose he’s *supposed* to be in.  Absolutely nothing looks natural.  He’s got this sort of a chest-thrust thing going on, but nothing else about him seems to match up with that.  The end result is…less than appealing.  On the plus side, the paint’s pretty decent.  Application is clean, the colors match the comic, and it just generally looks pretty good.  Guess something had to.  As with Superman, Batman’s only accessory is a display stand.

WONDER WOMAN

Darwyn Cooke’s Wonder Woman is my very favorite take on the character, especially in terms of design.  He very deftly merged her classic design with a more battle-ready amazonian look, creating a rather unique design for the character.  All of the important elements remained, of course, and it’s actually a pretty great send-up to the early Wonder Woman illustrations.  This figure marks this set’s first real deviation from the single releases, and it’s perhaps one of the first times that DC Direct ever directly addressed a problem with an initial release.  Wonder Woman gets a new head, which is a slightly more generalized expression, replacing the more intense (and not quite as well implemented) expression of the original figure.  I definitely prefer this one to the original release, though it’s a shame DCD didn’t give another stab at a more intense look.  The rest of the sculpt is straight from the original figure, and it’s actually pretty good.  Like Batman, Wonder Woman goes far more preposed than Superman, but unlike Batman, it doesn’t totally suck.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  The stance is very befitting the battle-happy Wonder Woman of the story.  The details of the sculpt are pretty fantastic, and I especially like the nicks and gashes taken out of her bracelets and shin guards.  Wonder Woman’s paint work is once again pretty decent.  It’s clean, and actually pretty bright, and slightly less subdued than the others in this set, which is appropriate for the character.  The original Wonder Woman release included an extra head, as well as a sword, lasso, and display stand.  This one doesn’t have the extra head, but does still get the sword and lasso, as well as the smaller display stand.

GREEN LANTERN

Hal Jordan is really the closest New Frontier comes to a main character.  You’ll note I said Hal Jordan, and not Green Lantern, since Hal isn’t really GL until the last chapter of the story.  Of course, the costumed look is a bit easier to sell than just Hal in a flight suit, I’d suspect.  This figure is about 6 1/2 inches tall and has 15 points of articulation, the most of any of the figures in the set.  He has my second favorite sculpt in the set, second only to the Superman figure in that regard.  Once again, the line work is simple and clean, and Cooke’s style is expertly recreated here.  The posing to this figure is very subtle, but adds a lot of life to the figure.  I like the friendlier expression seen here, as it definitely fits with Hal’s depiction in the book.  The paint work on GL is the one notable change from the original figure.  The biggest change is giving him the green on his shoulders, meaning this is actually a Hal from later on in his career, presumably sometime after the story.  Technically, this change doesn’t quite match the sculpt, but it’s subtle enough not to really matter too much.  In addition, the green used on this figure has a bit less yellow in it, which makes him look a little cleaner to me.  The original GL figure included an extra unmasked head, as well as his power battery, and the display stand.  This figure only gets a smaller display stand.  It’s a shame his extras got cut.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up a good number of the New Frontier figures when they were originally released, but somehow I managed to miss both Superman and Wonder Woman from the first series.  I remember this set being released, but I passed on it because I already had Batman and GL.  By the time I’d become willing to accept the pair of duplicates, the boxed set and the original releases had both picked up a fairly heft after market value.  As I’ve mentioned a few times in the last few months, Cosmic Comix purchased a rather sizable action figure collection last year.  This set was amongst that purchase, and the guys at CCX were nice enough to sell it to me for quite a markdown from its usual going rate.  I’m happy to finally have Superman and Wonder Woman, and I quite like this variant of GL.  Batman still sucks, but what can you do?

#1587: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

JUSTICE LEAGUE (MATTEL)

When assembling the final line-up for the Justice League animated series, the creators were faced with two slight issues.  First, the traditional roster of seven members was, apart from one woman and one alien, all white guys, which isn’t particularly diverse.  Second, the traditional roster was made up of characters with very set roles in the public eye, which doesn’t necessarily allow for lots of creative freedom in storytelling.  They solved both of these problems with a minor line-up tweak.  Founding member Aquaman was replaced with the lesser known Hawkgirl, and Green Lantern Hal Jordan was replaced with his less explored successor John Stewart.  It proved a success not just for the creators, but also for the two characters chosen.  For John Stewart in particular, it took him from being probably the least known of the Earth-based Lanterns to being THE Green Lantern for an generation of DC fans.  Sadly, he’s somewhat fallen out of fashion again, but let’s remember back to the times when he was at the top, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern was part of the first series of Mattel’s Justice League line.  Alongside Superman and Batman, he and Flash were definitely the lesser knowns, and as such was the short packs of the lot, which made GL a little hard to track down at first.  Fortunately, the popularity of both the show and the character saw this particular figure getting more than a few re-releases over the years.  The figure stands just shy of 4 1/2 inches tall (GL was the shortest of the founding 7 members, so this was accurately depicted here), and he has 5 points of articulation.  His sculpt was, like all of the Series 1 and 2 figures, done by DC Direct, and then handed over to Mattel when they won the DC license.  It’s really just a shrinking down of DCD’s GL Maquette from the time of the show’s premier, but that was a solid rendition of the character, and it still is on this figure.  The articulation’s not really good for a whole lot, and was certainly a low count, even at the time.  Nevertheless, it was consistent with the prior Kenner/Hasbro animated offerings, and it was really the best that could be hoped for in terms of preserving the aesthetics of the animated design.  As far as paintwork went, GL was pretty straightforward.  I always felt the main green could have stood to be a little lighter (and, going by its shading on the show, it probably should have been metallic), but it’s ultimately a decent offering.  One minor flaw?  His eyes have black pupils.  In the show, they were green, showing the effects of the power ring.  Future figures had this corrected, but this guy just has green irises instead.  Green Lantern was packed with a blue stand, which connected with those of the other main League-ers, to spell out the team’s name.  Lantern gets “JU” so he’s meant to go at the front.  It’s a decent piece, but a bit cumbersome for display purposes.  Sadly, that was all he had; no power battery or constructs for this release.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I was able to score a Flash figure pretty quickly when these figures first hit, GL proved to be slightly more difficult to find.  Fortunately, I was able to get some assistance from my friend Cindy Woods, who tracked down a GL for me in fairly short order.  He’s not the greatest John Stewart figure (though he’s certainly a large improvement over the last one I looked at on this site), but he was good for the time, and has remained a favorite of mine.