#1608: Green Lantern – Kyle Rayner



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.


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.


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



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!


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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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



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?


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.


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.

#1459: Justice League Rebirth Set



It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another entry in my latest recurring feature…F-DC F-icons Fridays?  Yeah, there’s a name that’s catchy and rolls right off the tongue.  Not content to just review one DC Icons figure a week, I’ve decided to continue my descent into madness and review seven of them in one day.  And you all get to be here for that descent.  Don’t you just feel so special? Without further ado, let’s look at the Justice League!


Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Cyborg were released in March of this year in the “Justice League Rebirth” boxed set, as part of the DC Icons line.  The set’s actually been in progress since mid-2016, when it was initially shown as a New 52-themed set, before being updated to reflect the characters in their most recent looks (for the most part), and tying it into the DC Rebirth relaunch.


This figure’s my primary reason for grabbing this set, since Rebirth actually got me reading Superman and Action again.  This figure actually just saw a single release a few weeks ago, which looks to be identical, apart from the packaging.  The design of this figure comes from the initial Rebirth books, after the older Post-Crisis Clark took over the identity again.  It’s already been replaced by a tweaked design, but it’s not too far off.  I actually quite like this design; it’s not the classic look, but it’s way ahead of the other post-New 52 looks.  It’s still weird to see a Superman without the red shorts, but I think making his boots blue helps to alleviate some of the color imbalances caused by that.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  Superman follows the “new” scale for Icons, meaning he’ll fit in best with figures from later in the line’s run.  He’ll also fit with some Marvel Legends depending on how much of a stickler you are for inter-character scaling.  He’s a little smaller than a Legends figure built on the Reaper body (as seen in the comparison pic with Cap).  Since he’s so sized up, he can’t really use any pieces from the first Icons Superman, making this figure an all-new sculpt.  It’s not bad work at all.  The build of the figure seems about right for Supes, and the proportions are all pretty balanced.  Detailing is all pretty clean and bold as well.  The head is pretty solid too; it’s got a nice friendly expression that seems right for Clark.  It feels maybe a touch wide, and perhaps a bit young for the more experienced Clark Kent this figure is meant to represent, but by and large I find myself really liking it.  The cape is made from a soft plastic, and it’s very nicely done.  After years of Mattel capes that have to be attached with a huge brick that utterly ruins the flow, this is a very refreshing piece.  In terms of paint, Superman is decent, if perhaps not fantastic.  The basic colors are all good matches for the source (the blue is a touch dark for my taste, but that’s accurate) and he looks pretty slick overall.  My only real issue is with the face, which just seems a little bit lopsided.  It’s the sort of thing that looks totally fine from most angles, but really goofy if you catch it the wrong way. Still, good work overall.  Superman includes no accessories.  Of course, that’s true of the entire set.  At least Supes doesn’t feel too light without the extras.


This guy also saw a single release, at the same time as the Superman figure.  It’s hardly a shock, what with it being Batman and all.  Batman is also sporting his look from Rebirth, but he’s been fortunate enough not to have it already change on him.  It’s another decent design.  It doesn’t speak to me quite as much as the Superman design, but that’s less about any particular element pulling me out, and more about it not being too terribly different from all the other Batman designs in recent years.  I can point out what’s different between this and the New 52 design if put on the spot, but they’re fundamentally the same.  Well, this one has less tactical-tech lines, which is certainly a plus.  The figure is 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Batman’s maybe a smidge taller than Superman, depending on posing.  I generally like for Bruce to be a little shorter, but it’s easy enough to have Clark standing straight and Bruce slightly hunching.  The important thing is that this Batman is taller than the Icons Nightwing, which can’t be said of the first Icons Batman (which is absolutely dwarfed by this release).  The very first prototypes of this set showed Batman using quite a few pieces from the older figure, but this guy ended up as a totally new sculpt.  It has its pluses and minuses, to be sure.  As a whole, I think it’s a strong sculpt, and it does a good job of conveying a modern era Batman.  He’s got a good, solid build, and the details on the costume appear to be more or less accurate to his new design.  The mouth seems ridiculously pouty, but Batman is the king of brood, so I guess that just goes with the territory.  His head is set a little higher on the barbel than other Icons figures, which can look a little off in straight standing poses, but actually affords him a good deal more range on his neck joint, which is pretty nice for a guy who does a lot of hunching.  The figure’s topped off with another nicely rendered cape, which has a flow to it that is just as well-crafted as, but completely unique from, Superman’s.  Paint on Batman is very solid work.  Nothing seems out of place like on Superman, and everything’s very bold and clean.  Perhaps the purple could be a little more noticeably different from the black on the cape, but that’s a very minor complaint.  Batman feels a little more hurt by the lack of extras; at the very least a batarang or something would have been nice.


This set’s Wonder Woman was actually the first in the line, though her single release wasn’t far behind. Unlike the last two, Wonder Woman’s single release was quite a bit different, leaving this one still exclusive to the larger set.  Wonder Woman was another big motivator for me buying this set since, like Superman, Rebirth got me reading her title again.  She’s sporting her first Rebirth look, which was sort of an update on her classic look, with a dash of the movie design thrown in.  She’s switched to something even more movie inspired since, but as with Superman, I sort of prefer this one.  The figure stands almost 6 3/4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  Yes, you read that height correctly; Wonder Woman really is almost a half an inch taller than Superman and Batman.  I’m not inherently opposed to her being taller than the other two (my favorite take on Diana is most certainly Darwyn Cooke’s, and he drew her as an inch or so taller than Clark), but this feels like a little much.  I think my issues ultimately stem from how the height is distributed; her proportions are a little out of whack, so her legs, specifically her thighs, end up taking most of the height and looking a bit longer than they should.  There’s a similar issue with the arms, where the forearms and biceps look really long relative to the shoulders and torso.  If you look at the comparison between her and the other two, you can see that despite her pelvis being a good half-inch higher than the other two, the hands all end in the same spot.  It’s not awful, but it does look a little off, at least in comparison to the other figures in the set.  On the plus side, it does make her the one figure in this set that fits in with Legends without any fudging.  Regarding the quality of the sculpt on its own, this figure’s a bit tricky.  Based on photos online and my initial reaction right out of the box, I was all ready to hate on the sculpt.  But then I took her out, and was messing with her for the photos and such and I realized it’s actually not a bad sculpt at all; it’s just an exceptionally hard to photograph one.  This figure looks very different based on the angle you catch her from, and she really doesn’t look great viewed from above.  But, head-on, she actually looks rather nice.  Yes, the proportions are still a little off, there’s no denying that, but I like more about this sculpt than I dislike.  Given the right pose, she actually looks pretty great, and given just how bad a lot of prior Wonder Woman figures have been, that’s very much a compliment. Wonder Woman’s paint work is definitely on the better end of things.  From what I’ve seen, there’s a bit of variance on the face, but mine seems to have turned out alright, and I really dig how bright all the colors are.  I didn’t know colors were allowed to go that bright on a DC figure.  Wonder Woman gets hit pretty hard by this set’s lack of accessories, because it means she loses her defining weapon: a big ol’ sword!  I jest, of course.  Who would ever think her defining weapon was a sword?  That’s just silly.  She’s actually missing her lasso, which is a real staple of the character, and a rather glaring omission.  It would have been nice to at the very least have it coiled up hanging from her belt.


Flash is one of the two figures in this set who I’ve looked at an Icons figure of before.  I was overall impressed by the Series 2 figure, so I wasn’t really in the market for another, especially not one based on his super line-y New 52/Rebirth design.  And yet, here we are.  Flash’s design was essentially unchanged for Rebirth; the only noticeable difference here is the lack of chin strap, but a quick Google search shows that totally varies from artist to artist.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  Flash’s sculpt is all-new to this figure, but looks to have used the prior figure as a starting point at the very least; the musculature and sizing are all about the same, but the specifics of the costume have changed.  All of the yellow lines are etched into place, and there’s added details on the boots.  The head is a completely original piece, totally different from the Series 2 figure.  Since the head was the only part of that figure I had an issue with, I was intrigued by this one.  I’m happy to say, I find this one to be a serious improvement over the original.  The yellow lines aren’t etched into the head, so there’s a part of me that’s tempted to try and remove them so I can put this head on the old body, because I like it that much.  The paint work on Flash is mostly good, aside from one glaring issue:  he’s got a big spot of missing paint on the right side of his chin.  It’s a pretty noticeable flaw, and I’m definitely going to have to break out my paints to fix it.  Not the sort of thing I like having to do right out of the box, but I feel confident this is a one-off.  The lack of accessories for Flash is a bit less of an issue, but I do wish his default hands were flat running hands instead of fists.


GL is the other character for whom I’ve already reviewed an Icons release, and this figure’s even less different than Flash.  At first glance, this is a straight re-release of the deluxe Hal Jordan figure from Series 2.  However, that’s not quite the case.  You see, that figure was 6 inches tall, but this one is 6 1/4.  He’s also got tweaked hips to add the drop-hips that the rest of the set feature, so my first thought was that they’d simply sculpted new thighs with added height. Upon closer examination, I found that the entire figure has actually been ever so slightly enlarged, in order to bring him into scale with the rest of the set.  What’s more, the details of this figure’s sculpt are a lot crisper than those of the earlier figure, and the green has been changed to a more metallic sheen.  I loved this figure the first time I got it, and I still love it here.  Of course, I’m also frustrated by it, because it’s just different enough that it’s not a straight duplicate, so now I have to keep it.


You know the old saying: “if an Aquaman figure is released without a trident, does he make a sound?”  …Maybe that’s not quite it.  Regardless, here’s this Aquaman figure.  He’s based on the Rebirth design, which isn’t that much different from his classic look, apart from the gold around the collar and the lack of black shorts.  This figure stands about the same height as all of the other figures in the set, and has 29 points of articulation.  He’s really just a reworking of the single-release Aquaman, though, like with GL, he seems to have been scaled up ever so slightly.  The real difference between the two Aquamen is the head.  I can’t say I’m much of a fan of this one.  It looks fine on the prototype and all, but something was definitely lost in translation, leaving him looking rather goony.  It’s possible it’s just the paint making it look that way, though.  The rest of the sculpt is pretty top-notch.  The build is appropriate for him, and I really like the detailing on the scales of his shirt.  His paint is fairly decent; the colors are bright, and, apart from the odd placement of his eyes and a little bit of bleed over from his belt, it’s fairly well applied.  Aquaman’s lack of accessories here means that he doesn’t include his trident.  And I’m okay with that, because despite what pretty much every Aquaman figure ever would have you believe, he doesn’t really use a trident all that often.


This figure’s presence in this set frustrates me, because it sort of continues a persistent problem I’ve had with DC for several years now.  They keep shoving Cyborg into the Justice League, and it just upsets me.  I like Cyborg.  I like the Justice League.  I don’t really like Cyborg in the Justice League.  Especially when it’s at the cost of Martian Manhunter as a member, which it almost always is.  And that’s what the case is here.  In a seven figure Justice League set, I kind of expect a Martian Manhunter.  But noooooo.  No, in this set, we got Cyborg.  Cyborg who also got a single release with accessories.  Instead of Martian Manhunter, who was completely left out of the line, leaving my Icons Justice League sadly incomplete.  And of course, now I have a Cyborg, but not Titans to go with him, meaning that’s another incomplete team.  Bleh.  I’m sorry, all that ranting is largely to do with the fact that I *actually like* this figure.  Quite a bit, in fact.  His sculpt, even though it’s based on a more modern Cyborg than I tend to go for, is top-notch.  It’s sleek, well put together, and just plain cool looking.  He’s got 31 points of articulation, and it all works really, really well.  The joints are smooth, and the mobility is pretty sound.  He’s probably one of the best in the set, posability-wise.  Perhaps the only drawback to the figure proper is his lack of extras, since his forearms have clearly been designed to swap out for other arm attachments.  Just one of those would have been really cool.


After picking up Nightwing and Supergirl, and finding out that just about everything I wanted from Icons was cancelled, I was admittedly a little bummed.  That being said, I recalled that this set had been released, and I had checked it out a few times, before ultimately deciding it was a little bit on the pricey side for me.  I still really wanted that Superman, though, so I was excited to hear he was getting a single release.  I was less excited to hear that he was going to run me almost $30 and feature no additional accessories.  It was around this time that I discovered that Barnes & Noble’s website had marked this set down to half of it’s original value, and were also offering free shipping and $5 off orders over $25.  The final cost was $45, which is $6.43 a figure.  And that’s an amazing deal.  Superman’s awesome, as is Batman.  Wonder Woman’s better than I expected, if not perfect.  Flash isn’t my ideal costume choice, and has that one annoying paint flaw, but is a very good figure.  Green Lantern’s not the total repeat I expected, and fixes a few minor issues with the original.  Aquaman’s head sucks, but the single release has a spare head I can toss on the otherwise solid figure.  And I ranted a bit about Cyborg’s spot in the set, but he’s still a very, very well crafted figure.  If you want to give Icons a chance, I heartily recommend this set, and feel obligated to inform all of my readers that it’s still available at the discounted price on barnesandnoble.com.

#1352: Power Ring



“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!


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.


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



“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!


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.


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



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!


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.


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



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.


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.


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




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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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




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!


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.


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.