#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.

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#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?

#1459: Justice League Rebirth Set

SUPERMAN, BATMAN, WONDER WOMAN, FLASH, GREEN LANTERN, AQUAMAN, & CYBORG

DC ICONS (DCC)

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!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

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.

SUPERMAN

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.

BATMAN

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.

WONDER WOMAN

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.

THE FLASH

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.

GREEN LANTERN

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.

AQUAMAN

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.

CYBORG

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.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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.

#1304: Hal Jordan – Classic

HAL JORDAN — CLASSIC

GREEN LANTERN CORPS (DC DIRECT)

“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!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

GREEN LANTERN

SUPER FRIENDS (FIGURES TOY COMPANY)

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!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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!

#1096: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

DC SUPER HEROES SILVER AGE COLLECTION (HASBRO)

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Hey guys!  In case you didn’t see earlier, The Figure In Question has made it through another year of reviews, which marks three years of me running this humble little site.  In honor of the occasion, I’ll be taking a look at a figure with some extra meaning to me.

I’ve discussed once or twice here how I’m a pretty big Green Lantern fan (or I was.  It’s complicated).  Well, back in the ‘90s, when I was just getting into the world of action figure collecting, Green Lantern was something of a rarity on toy shelves.  To make matters worse, what Green Lantern figures did exist were all based on Kyle Rayner, not Hal Jordan, who was the Green Lantern I was most familiar with (due to Cartoon Network’s Super Friends re-runs and a healthy diet of bronze-age DC comics provided to me by my Dad).  The first Hal Jordan Green Lantern to be released within my lifetime was part of the DC Super Heroes Silver Age Collection, which was Hasbro’s attempt at copying Toy Biz’s attempt at copying Mego with Famous Covers.  Confused?  You probably still will be after this review.  Sorry.  On to the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

gl9inch2Green Lantern was released as part of the first Series of the Silver Age Collection, alongside Aquaman and Green Arrow.  It was actually a pretty bold selection of characters for the time, since all three were at best second stringers, two of whom had been replaced in their respective roles and the third of whom had undergone a massive redesign a few years prior.  The figure stands 9 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation. He’s based on Hal’s initial Silver Age costume, defined by the lack of green on the shoulders.  As a throwback to the old Mego figures (which, incidentally, did not include poor GL here), this figure makes use of a cloth costume.  The costume is alright.  It’s a little baggy, and the stitching around the shoulders and hips is a touch bulky.  It’s worth noting that the costume looks far better on this figure in it’s packaged-fresh form; my figure has been beat to heck thanks to 10 years or so of steady play, which stretched his uniform out of shape.  The underlying body on this figure (which is the same one used for the other DC 9-inch figures, as well as the later Marvel-based Signature Series) is actually pretty decent, especially when compared to the ones used by Playmates and Toy Biz for their figures in this same scale.  It posed pretty well, and was actually fairly nicely proportioned.  In addition to the base body and the cloth suit, GL gets a sculpted head, hands, glove cuffs, feet, and boot cuffs.  The head is the standout piece on this figure.  I think this is, to date, the best Hal Jordan sculpt ever made, and it was perhaps the strongest sculpt the line produced.  The detail is sharp, and it’s a very good likeness of how Hal was portrayed in the comics.  The rest of the sculpted pieces are decent, if not quite as stand-out awesome as the head sculpt.  The right hand is cool, what with the power ring and all.  And check out Hasbro using that finger articulation a few years before Toy Biz popularized it with Spider-Man Classics.  That’s pretty cool.  As far as paint goes, Hal here is pretty basic, with the vast majority of it being on the head, and even then only being on the hair and the mask.  What’s there is clean, and, most impressively, the green of the mask actually matches the green of the tunic.  GL’s only accessory was a display stand with the DC logo on it.  Each figure included one, but with a variety of different colors, with GL’s being black (rather than the more obvious green…).  He’s one of the few GL figures not to include his power battery.  I actually had a small Coleman lantern keychain that I used with this figure, which I really wish I still had.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, since this was the first Green Lantern Hal Jordan to be released within my lifetime, you’ve probably gathered that this was, by extension, my first Hal Jordan figure.  Not my first Green Lantern, of course, but still.  I remember first seeing the prototype pictures of this figure and being very excited, and then being even more excited when my parents and I found him at the store (I believe it was Target).  This figure is extra important to me because I got him in 1999, which was the same year my younger brother Christian was born, and this guy came with me to at least a few of the hospital visits to see him, which gives him a whole other dimension of awesome for me (the figure, not my brother.  Though my brother’s awesome too, for what it’s worth).

#1068: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

MINI HYBRID METAL FIGURATION

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It hasn’t really come up a whole lot lately, but I am (or at least I was for a good long while) a pretty big Green Lantern fan.  Seeing as I’m also a pretty big action figure fan, this entails owning a whole lot of  Green Lantern figures, of all sorts of shapes and sizes.  This means occasionally branching out and discovering new lines that I don’t really collect, all for the sake of getting something GL-related.  Such is the case with Hybrid Metal Figuration, a line of super-deformed action figures based on various geeky properties.  The figures are made of a mix of metal and plastic pieces, and make use of magnets and light-up features.  Gimmicky?  Very much so, but GL looked cool, so I picked him up.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

glhybrid2Green Lantern is figure #05 in the Mini Hybrid Metal Figuration line from Hero Cross.  MHMF figures are all based on full-sized Hybrid Metal Figuration figures, but at about 2/3rds the scale and a fraction of the price.  The first five figures in the Mini line are all Justice League-themed.  This figure is about 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 21 points of articulation.  There are also a few mock joints (at the waist and the ankles) which are pretty much just there to keep him aesthetically as his larger counterpart.  Sculpturally, GL’s pretty cool, provided you’re alright with him looking more like Mickey Mouse than usual.  He’s pretty simple when it comes to detail, but that’s a very conscious choice, and there’s definitely a certain sleekness to him.  There’s also an abundance of cuteness to him.  Look at this little guy, he’s so adoreable—uhhh, I mean manly.  He’s very manly.  That’s the right descriptor, right?  Seriously, he’s a quite cutesy take on GL, but at the same time, he still seems to capture the essence of the character, which is more than can be said for some Hal Jordan figures.  as far as construction goes, the main body of the figure is metal, but the rest of him appears to just be the usual PVC.  The torso is a little hard on his joints, especially on the biceps and thighs.  The figure has a tendency to pop apart at those cut joints.  He goes right back together, of course, but it’s worth noting.  Also, the looseness of those joints means that the magnets in the figure’s feet aren’t as effective as you might hope.  He’ll stick to a horizontal surface just fine (provided he’s atop it.  No hanging upside down for him), but you can’t really stick him to the side of a fridge or something, lest he disconnects from his legs.  The figure also has a light-up feature in his eyes.  You need to remove his hair (which is a totally separate piece), and remove the back half of his head to turn it on.  It’s an interesting feature, I guess.  I’m not really sure why his eyes light up, but they’re cool.  GL’s paintwork is pretty decent.  Everything’s pretty clean (there’s some slight slop at the edge of the green, but it’s pretty minor), and I really dig the metallic green.  GL includes hands in fist and relaxed positions.  There’s also a gripping left hand, which on the larger GL was meant to hold his power battery, but since this guy doesn’t have that, is ultimately a little pointless.  Nice of the them to include it anyway, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Why do I have this guy?  Well, I had actually thought about buying the larger figure when it was announced, but it’s $80 price tag was enough to discourage me.  I ended up finding this guy in a Barnes & Noble.  Given that he was $15 and I had a gift card from a friend, I figured he was worth the purchase.  I’m not 100% sure who these are being marketed to, and some of the features included seem a bit off the wall, but he’s ultimately a pretty fun figure, very definitely worth the purchase!

#0946: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

JUSTICE LEAGUE (2013)

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Batman: Brave & the Bold is a show that really doesn’t get enough credit. It’s one of DC’s better outputs in recent years, giving us four seasons of episodes built around showcasing some of the more sidelined members of the DCU. While the show was great, the corresponding toyline was more than a little disappointing. Rather than focusing on the obscure characters the show had been designed to highlight, Mattel offered a litany of senseless Batman variants, with only the occasional non-Bat character. What’s more, the figures were plagued with rather pointless accessories, and every one of them had large, distracting plugs on their arms, legs, and backs, ruining the streamlined nature of the show’s designs. What does all this have to do with today’s review? Well, in 2013, after running the B:BatB line into the ground, Mattel decided to reuse some of the molds to create a line of figures based on the New 52 incarnation of the Justice League. While they were sticking more with heavy hitters, the line offered a few new faces, and, more importantly, removed the silly, gimmicky plugs. Today, I’ll be looking at the Green Lantern figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

GLTarget2Green Lantern was released in the first assortment of the Target-exclusive Justice League line, which hit in 2013. He’s patterned after Hal Jordan’s New 52 appearance, which kinda seems a little counter to Brave and the Bold’s more classical influences. Granted, the New 52 GL design was a less glaring departure than some of the others, so he doesn’t look super out of place. The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation. That’s not a lot of movement. I mean, I get that the designs can be a little hard to articulate, but they didn’t even give him (or anyone else in the line) knee movement. That’s rather annoying. Structurally, he uses a slightly re-tooled version of the basic Brave and the Bold body, which removes the previously mentioned plugs. Brave and the Bold had a rather unique styling to it, which somewhat eschewed the proportions of the characters. It was one of those styles that looks pretty good in animation, but isn’t very easy to translate into three dimensions. This base body tries its best to make it work, but doesn’t really succeed. The biggest issue is that it’s just a lot more rigid and stiff than any of the characters on the show, which makes it look super off, and calls extra attention to the weird proportions. GL’s one new piece is his head. You would think they might base it on Hal’s Brave and the Bold appearance, so as to continue the styling started with the body, but instead, Mattel’s opted to go with their own, more realistic take on Hal. The more realistic styling only further pronounces the issues with the body, which is really unfortunate. Hal’s paint manages to be pretty decent. The colors are nice and vibrant, and the lines are all very clean. I wish the ring had a bit more to make it stand out, but at least it’s there. Hal included a construct accessory, which is nice in theory. In practice, it’s less nice, since it’s re-used from one of the JLU Lanterns, and therefore is nowhere near large enough to fit over tis figure’s hands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Being the GL geek that I am, I was a bit letdown by the lack of a Hal Jordan in the Brave and the Bold line. When I found out about this line, I quite excitedly went out and tracked down this figure. The final product isn’t quite what I wanted. He’s far from terrible, but there’s definitely some room for improvement, and the overall effort feels rather lackluster.

#0858: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

DC ICONS (DCC)

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After the success of Barry Allen as the second iteration of the Flash, DC got to work on re-imagining as many of their old superheroes as they could. In the years since super hero comics had faded away, the magic and mysticism had fallen out of favor. When the heroes returned, science fiction was all the rage, so, when the new Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, debuted in 1959, his origin was tailored to fit that new sci-fi mold. It was a pretty successful idea, so successful, in fact, that years later, the original Green Lantern’s powers were re-tooled to be more in line with his successor’s. Anyway, I’m a pretty big fan of the second incarnation of GL, and I was happy to see him added to DC Collectibles’ new DC Icons line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

GLIcon2Green Lantern is a deluxe figure in the DC Icons line, released to coincide with the release of Series 2. He’s #09 in the line, placing him just after Series 2 chronologically. He was designed by Ivan Reis and sculpted by Sam Greenwell and Erick Sosa. GL’s based on his appearance during the “Dark Days” storyline, which is a fancy way of saying he’s a New 52 figure. The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation. Like Barry, he’s a bit taller than Mr. Miracle, but I find he doesn’t scale as well with other lines (such as ML) due to his head being slightly smaller than Barry’s. Also like Barry, he has lateral movement on his shins, which is much appreciated. He’s also got cut joints at the tops of his gloves, which are a bit redundant, but serve a purpose I’ll get to in a sec. Structurally, Hal is fairly similar to Barry (and by extension, the rest of the line). Despite being a New 52 design, this sculpt doesn’t feel over burdened with unnecessary details. The extra lines that are there feel well placed, and make the figure as a whole very appealing to look at. The head is a pretty sharp piece of work too, though perhaps not as sharp as the rest of the sculpt. Like the Flash, I feel the face is lacking a bit in expression, but it’s not quite as bad here. Hal’s paint is very nicely done; the greens are all a nice metallic shade, and the whites of the gloves have a nice white finish. The application is a little thick on the face, but not terribly so, and there’s a bit of chipping at the wrist joints. Aside from those issues, it’s pretty solid, though. Now, so far I haven’t outlined anything that’s all that different from a normal release. Why’s this guy a deluxe figure? Accessories, that’s why. He comes with hands in fists and gripping positions, a power batter, a giant green construct fist, and a full set of construct armor, made up of a helmet/wingpack, shoulder pads, two big gun hands, thigh armor, and big stompy boots. This is how you adequately showcase Green Lantern’s powers! The extra joints on the figure’s forearms are there to allow for them to be swapped for the construct gun-hands, which is a pretty good way of handling things. However, the giant fist is still a slip over piece, which is a bit of an issue, since Hal’s right forearm has some trouble staying in place. Had the fist been handled the same way as the gun-hands this wouldn’t have been a problem.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I’ve gotten away from it in recent years (in no small part due to DC doing a whole lot of sucking), at my core, I’m a huge Green Lantern geek. So, I was pretty thrilled to hear he’d be in this line. I was a little less thrilled when I found out he was a New 52 figure, but, I gotta be honest, in hand, I don’t care all that much. This is a really awesome Green Lantern, regardless of which incarnation he is. Undoubtedly the coolest figure I’ve picked up from this line. I am content to have this as my default GL. Of course, if they wanted to do a Neal Adams version of Hal later on, I certainly wouldn’t say no…

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#0345: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

DC SUPER HEROES (TOYBIZ)

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The now defunct toy company Toybiz is a name that is most commonly associated with making Marvel toys. This isn’t surprising, of course. They ended up bailing Marvel out of bankruptcy in the mid-90s, leading to them becoming a part of Marvel proper and thereby passing the name onto Marvel’s in-house toy making branch. However, their first major property was not Marvel. No, it was actually Marvel’s main competition, DC. See, when Super Powers ended, DC was looking to move the DC license elsewhere. They turned to a small upstart company by the name of Toybiz, who launched a line simply titled DC Superheroes. The line was pretty much the same scale as Kenner’s Super Powers, mostly because it was pretty much just a slightly lower budget version of Super Powers. The sculpts were just slightly tweaked and made out of inferior plastic. Needless to say, DC wasn’t thrilled by this offering, and after just two series, the rights reverted back to Kenner. Today, I’ll be taking a look at that line’s version of Green Lantern!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

GLToyBizWilsonGreen Lantern was released in the second series of Toybiz’s DC Super Heroes line. The figure is just shy of 5 inches tall and he features 7 points of articulation. The second series is a little different from the first in that they actually featured new sculpts, rather than just retooled SP ones. So, for better or for worse, GL got a brand new sculpt, wholly unique from his SP counterpart. I suppose it’s not fair to compare the work of Kenner at their prime to that of Toybiz in their infancy, but the sculpt of the TB Green Lantern is not up to the quality of his predecessor. The sculpt is wide and oddly proportioned. He’s got these bent arms, which are honestly impressive, because I’m surprised he could bend arms that thick. The torso is huge and ill defined, and the legs lack any real detail. The head looks not unlike a papier-mâché head sculpted over a balloon, which is not a compliment. To top it all off, the joints are horrendously obvious, to the point where you have to question if they did that on purpose. I suppose if I were really trying to find something nice to say, I’d say he bears a passing resemblance to the Filmation version of the character, which isn’t a terrible thing. The paint is…well it’s there. It’s mostly cleanly applied, but other than that, there’s not much to be said of it. The figure is incredibly shiny, which really plays up the whole obvious toy angle. The figure came with an array to let him squirt water from his ring or something. I don’t know, I bought mine loose.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure is another from the haul I picked up during the summer from the super cool Yesterday’s Fun. As an avid Green Lantern collector, it’s a figure I’d been looking to pick up for some time now, I’d just never gotten around to it. They had one for a reasonable price, so I went for it. Now I’m reminded of why I put off buying it. It’s not a terrible figure, it’s just overwhelmingly mediocre. It feels like one of those incredibly obvious toys they’d use on a TV show to more easily convey that it’s a toy. I just don’t quite know what they were thinking with this one, especially since it followed up figures that re-used the far superior Super Powers sculpts.