#2729: Luke Skywalker

LUKE SKYWALKER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

Hey, remember yesterday, when I was talking about a mid-90s line’s use of light-up features in order to re-introduce some of the core characters into the market place again?  Well, as it turns out, Toy Biz’s X-Men wasn’t the only line to try that.  Kenner’s Power of the Force did it too!  Everything’s better with lights, right?  Well, Kenner certainly felt so.  While I’ve looked at the line’s one outlier, R2, already, they also covered the original trilogy’s four most action-oriented force users.  I’m kicking my dive into the line-up off with our hero, Luke Skywalker!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke was released in 1997 as part of Power of the Force‘s “Electronic Power F/X” sub-line.  Luke gets more to the actual point of the line-up than R2 did, actually focusing on one of the OT’s cool fight scenes, in his case the battle between Luke and Vader on the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi….well, sort of, anyway.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he’s got 5 points of articulation.  He loses the usual waist joint, and also gets severe limitations on the right shoulder, both due to the electric feature.  Beyond that, none of the other joints really give him much actual range, due to the somewhat pre-posed nature of the figure’s sculpt.  He’s…sort of, like, mid-lunge, I guess?  Like, for stabbing?  I don’t know.  The actual sculpt’s not exactly Kenner’s finest work.  The head’s distinctly different from the original PotF2 Luke head that looked nothing like Mark Hamill, but still looks nothing like Mark Hamill, so it’s a lateral move.  The light-up features have a direct impact on the quality of the sculpt on the right arm and the torso, since that’s how the feature works.  The torso’s rather bulked up, especially at the back, in order to house the batteries, which give him sort of a hump back.  Not the most flattering thing, which is why he also gets the cape, which Luke doesn’t actually wear in the scene this is replicating, in order to hide the hump a bit.  The arm has been designed with the lightsaber built into it, with his hand kind of folded around it.  It’s kind of crude, and not really hand shaped, and the hilt is really wide, short, and basic in its detailing.  It’s definitely goofy looking.  There’s also this sort of cap piece that goes over the the actual blade.  I think it’s really just meant to be part of the packaging, but it’s not coming off of mine.  The actual light-up feature’s okay, I guess.  Not terribly bright, and barely noticeable in the photos here.  It’s also a little hard to activate, due to it being behind the cape. The paint work is all pretty basic work.  It’s not bad, but the right arm’s definitely a bit fuzzy.  Otherwise, pretty standard for the line.  Luke’s packed with a large base piece, meant to look like one of the halls from the Death Star.  Like R2, there’s an arm for moving him around, though this one doesn’t do the whole magnet thing; it’s just a basic peg set-up instead.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As a kid, this was actually the only of the “Power F/X” figures I had, because I was all about Luke, and I was all about a good gimmick.  Unfortunately, these figures, more than others from the line, don’t really stand up to play so well.  As such, my original Luke is in pretty rough these days.  Fortunately for me, All Time had four of the five figures in the set right as I was ramping up on filling in my PotF collection, and that gave me the opportunity to pick up this guy again, alongside the rest of the set.  This guy’s hella gimmicky, and hella goofy, but I can get behind it.

#2680: Dark Trooper

DARK TROOPER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“It is a period of Civil War. The Rebel Alliance struggles to free the galaxy from the clutches of the evil Galactic Empire. Discovering that Imperial forces have begun developing a new type of stormtrooper, the Rebels call on mercenary Kyle Katarn. His mission: seek out and destroy the secret Imperial project called Dark Trooper. Known as phase III, this most powerful of the Dark Troopers is actually a figure known as General Mohc. Practically unstoppable, he represents the greatest threat to the success of the Rebel Alliance.”

Kenner’s Expanded Universe sub-set covered a few different EU tales, giving them each at minimum a pair of figures.  Though previously unexplored in the toys, that included some video game coverage, in the form of two figures based on the video game Dark Forces.  The first of those was the game’s protagonist, Kyle Katarn.  The second was today’s focus, the Dark Trooper, a concept that’s certainly moving up in the world, thanks to a proper canon appearance in the second season of The Mandalorian.  But, let’s jump to those humble beginnings, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Dark Trooper is the final single carded figure in the Expanded Universe sub-line of Kenner’s Power of the Force II.  He’s the other of the two later release figures I mentioned in last week’s Spacetrooper review.  Also of note is the fact that the Dark Trooper was the only of the nine single release figures not to be shown off on the cross sell on any of the packaging, for whatever reason.  The figure stands 4 1/4 inches tall (the second tallest in the set) and he has 6 points of articulation.  He’s definitely one of the stiffer figures included in this line-up, only further highlighted after looking at the Spacetrooper last week, with his extra movement and all.  Given the bulked up design of this particular look, the slightly more restricted set-up isn’t totally shocking however.  This mold was new to this figure, but would later be re-used in its entirety for the Fan’s Choice rerelease in 2007, likely due to the combination of rarity and popularity of this particular release.  It’s an interesting sculpt, because it feels more dated than the rest of the assortment, but that’s actually because he’s going for a recreation of the game model, which means he really should be that bulked up and geometric.  Hard to take the ’90s out of a ’90s design,  I suppose.  There’s a fair deal of detail work going into this guy, which does a lot to make him a bit of a step up from a straight recreation of the game look.  I also appreciated that the jet pack is actually a separate piece, with full detailing on the figure beneath it.  In terms of paint work, the Dark Trooper’s actually got a bit more going on than it seems on the surface.  All of the silver is painted, rather than molded, and there are actually two distinct shades between the outer armor and the mechanics.  The Dark Trooper includes a rather goofy looking heavy blaster lifted straight from the game, as well as yet another fold out display.  This one’s definitely one of the most clever, being based on the game’s HUD, allowing you to simulate an in-game set up.  That’s pretty nifty!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Dark Trooper was a figure that was almost not mine, and was almost the cause of a real tussle between me and Max….okay, not really.  But, when we were pulling the figures out when they came in, he had called dibs on the Sentinel, and then also set this one to the side…only I didn’t realize he’d set this one to the side with the intent to buy it himself, so I grabbed it with the rest of my set and innocently sent him a shot of the whole set after I’d opened them and set them all up.  Then there was much discussion between the two of us, at which point Max very graciously let me keep the Trooper, because he’s nice like that.  It’s nice to have the whole set-up of these guys after all these years, and the Dark Trooper is certainly nifty, especially after their TV appearance!

 

#2673: Spacetrooper

SPACETROOPER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Five years after the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance has driven the evil Empire into a distant corner of the galaxy. But a new danger has arisen: the last of the Emperor’s warlords has devised a battle plan that could destroy the New Republic. The ability of spacetroopers to operate exclusively in space made them a valuable asset to the warlord, Grand Admiral Thrawn. These heavily armed stormtroopers wear full-body armor and have equipment that enables them to function as personal space-capable assault vehicles.”

In the history of Stormtrooper variants, today’s focus, the Spacetrooper, is actually one of the very earliest.  They first appear in A New Hope, one of them being seen when the Falcon gets pulled into the Death Star. Admittedly pretty easy to miss, being a) rather small and b) not actually very removed from the regular Stormtrooper design.  He was also portrayed by concept designer and future director Joe Johnson, which is a nifty little bit of trivia.  The idea has stuck around since, gaining some slight changes over the years.  When it came time to adapt Heir to Empire into comic form, they were granted a unique armored appearance, which served as the inspiration for their very first action figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Spacetrooper was part of Kenner’s Expanded Universe sub-line for Power of the Force.  He was one of two figures that shipped a little bit later than the rest, and were subsequently even harder to find at retail at the time.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has a whopping 8 points of articulation.  He’s notable for being the first use of a universal joint on the shoulders, in contrast to prior figures’ simple cut joints.  Why this particular figure was granted these is kind of a random guess, but I’d hazard it’s due to how the shoulders are designed.  It’s a little rudimentary in its implementation, but still quite cool, and certainly useful for a wider range of posing.  The sculpt was an all-new affair, reasonable given the all-new design.  He’s got the basic elements of a Stormtrooper, but a little more armored up, and a little more streamlined.  There are a few other movable elements worked in as well, with an adjustable jetpack, and a fold out blaster built into the left arm (but only the left, because two blasters is too many).  As with the articulation, it gives the figure a bit more variety for posing, and just gives him a better general feeling of value compared to some of the more basic troopers.  In terms of paint, the Spacetrooper is a little lax; mostly, he just relies on the molded white plastic.  It’s slightly pearlescent, which makes a touch hard to properly photograph when coupled with the lack of accenting.  Still, it’s not terribly far removed from the rest of the PotF stuff at the time, and it does hit all of the major elements.  The Spacetrooper doesn’t get any proper accessories, thanks to everything being built in.  He does still get the fold out back drop, though, which is still pretty darn cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the full set of EU figures came through All Time Toys back in 2019, we didn’t actually know it was a full set at first.  Max had pulled out his Imperial Sentry, and told me I was welcome to the only other one we knew was in the lot, which was this guy.  Honestly, I was pretty happy just to get him, because I’ve always thought he looked pretty nifty, and I’d not gotten the chance to pick him up at that point.  Compared to some of the others, he fades into the background a little bit, but he does a lot of cool, innovative stuff for the time, and honestly holds up pretty well.

#2665: Dr. Fate

DR. FATE

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Doctor Fate is the master of an ancient type of magic first brought to Earth before the dawn of man. Fate uses this magic to cast spells which allow him to fly, walk through walls, make himself invulnerable, and many other things.”

The heavy Super Friends-inspiration of Kenner’s Super Powers line, coupled with it being released right around the end of the bronze age, meant that the line’s heroic component was largely focused on the Justice League of America.  The League’s predecessors, the Justice Society of America, weren’t quite so fortunate when it came to the line-up.  There were, of course, a few overlapping members between the two, but just one single proper JSA member, Kent Nelson, better known as Dr. Fate!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dr. Fate was released in 1985, as part of the second series of Super Powers.  He was the first and only JSA member added to the line, and would have remained so, even had the line continued past 1986.  Why exactly he was chosen for the line when there were no other plans for any other JSA-ers is anyone’s guess.  I guess they just thought he had a cool visual?  They weren’t wrong.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  His sculpt was all-new, and a pretty solid recreation of the classic Fate design.  He’s a touch stockier than Fate was usually depicted, but that was generally in keeping with the line’s style.  This is just Dr. Fate after a really good work-out, perhaps?  And he’s clearly not had time to let out his suit, which is why it’s so tight, clearly.  Whatever the case, the costume design is proper classic Fate through and through, and the helmet in particular is really cleanly rendered, and properly striking.  Like others in the line, the cape is a cloth piece.  It’s kinda hokey, but there’s a certain charm about it.  The paint work on the figure is clean, bright, and bold.  The paint on my particular figure has seen some slightly better days, but it’s not too bad overall, especially for a figure of its age.  Fate included no accessories, but he followed the line’s tradition of giving the figures “super powers,” in his case “Power Action Magic Spell Cast,” which raises the arms upward when his legs are squeezed.  A slightly weaker feature compared to others in the line, but generally not bad.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In my review of Hawkman last week, I noted that he was one of my earliest Super Powers.  Dr. Fate is right there beside him, because he came to me on that same Christmas morning in ’00.  As Hawkman’s *sort of* a JSA figure, they were a pretty decent pair, all things considered, and no doubt contributed to my early love of the JSA and their adventures (though, it’s worth noting that he wasn’t even my first Dr. Fate figure; that honor went to the DCD figure, released earlier that same year).  The figure’s another winner for the line, apart from his lack of compatriots, but I’d rather have just him than not at all.

#2658: Hawkman

HAWKMAN

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Hawkman’s wings enable him to fly and his belt enables him to defy gravity.  He uses weapons of the past from the museum he curates, matched with futuristic weapons, and criminology from his home planet, Thanagar.”

Oh man, I haven’t written a review about Hawkman since #0029.  Not only is that from the site’s first month, but it was also the review where I instituted my old randomized list I used to pull from.  Man, I used to talk about that thing all the time!  What a crazy trip down memory lane.  Well, it’s fitting that I’m doing this whole trip down memory lane, because I’m also doing that in a greater sense with the contents of today’s review.  Yes, I’m taking a look at another Super Powers figure today, specifically the aforementioned Hawkman.  Like last week’s GL, he was a character left out of Mego’s treatment for DC Superheroes, and was therefore making his debut in action figure form courtesy of this line.  And I’m looking at that figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hawkman was released in the first series of Super Powers in 1984.  As I touched on in my GL review, the line-up for that first series was very much inspired by Challenge of the Super Friends, and Hawkman’s inclusion here really goes along with that, given he was probably the most obscure character in the first assortment.  He’s the tallest figure in the original line-up, at 4 3/4 inches tall, and he’s got 8 workable points of articulation (the wings technically have two joints each, but on each of them one of those joints is explicitly tied into the action feature).  In addition to height, Katar also was just generally bigger in size than the rest of the Justice Leaguers from the first set.  It’s pretty fitting, since he tended to be drawn as a little bit bigger, and it helped to sell him as a little more alien.  It also gave a nice variety of height and build to the male members of the Justice League right out of the gate.  Super Powers‘ handling of uniqueness of build has always been one of my favorite aspects of the line, and it’s ultimately why I feel it holds up as the quintessential DC line, even in light of lines with deeper character selections.  The detail work on Hawkman is really pretty great, with the best work being on his mask and wings, both of which get some great texture work.  His wings are also large enough to not look too dinky, while also being small enough that he doesn’t have major issues with stability, which is something later Hawkman figures would struggle with.  The paint work on Hawkman was, like the rest of the line, very clean, very bold, and very bright, all of which are good things.  Mine’s taken a little bit of beating on the front of the nose, and has a little bit of discoloration on the torso, but has for the most part held up well.  Hawkman was packed with his mace, and also featured “Power Action Flight Wings.”  When you squeeze his legs, his wings flap.  Not a bad feature at all.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hawkman’s one of the earliest when it comes to my Super Powers collecting.  I got him for Christmas, I want to say in 2000, which would have made him I think my third or fourth Super Powers figure.  It was the year prior to GL and Manhunter, I know that for sure.  I had my Total Justice Hawkman at the time, and he wasn’t really doing it for me as a classic Hawkman, so my Dad found a small little lot of figures, which included him, and gave him to me that year.  He’s a good one.  Kind of an odd one for me to have so early on in retrospect, but a good one nevertheless, and certainly high on the list for the character’s figures.

#2651: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Green Lantern’s power ring that can create, temporarily, any object he desires with his willpower. The ring also is used as an offensive weapon. The ring protects him form mortal harm as well: he cannot be killed. The ring enables him to fly and survive in space, or even at the bottom of the ocean. The ring is powerless against the color yellow. The ring must be recharged every 24 hours at his power battery.”

Oh man, are you prepped to get psyched?  I sure hope so, because I certainly am.  Why is that?  Remember how Super Powers is my favorite DC toy line?  And how Green Lantern’s my favorite DC character?  Well, put those two things together, and, boom, you get the subject of today’s review.  Pretty slick, right?  No?  Admittedly, it may just be me.  But, hey, it’s my site, so we’re gonna just roll with it.  After being so cruelly overlooked by Mego when they were giving most of the DC heavy hitters their first action figures, Hal Jordan, aka the second Green Lantern, was finally given his toy due in 1984, when Kenner launched their own run on the DC brand, with the figure I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern was part of the first series of Kenner’s Super Powers line.  The line was certainly drawing from Challenge of the Super Friends, whose prominent use of GL I’m sure did him a lot of favors when it came to being included in this line-up.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  Hal’s design, like the rest of these early figures, was based on Jose Garcia-Lopez’s illustration of the character in the 1982 DC Style Guide.  This had Hal in his slightly updated GL uniform, which featured the additional green detailing on the shoulders.  It became something of a defining trait for the character’s design, helping to make this figure look rather timeless.  Hal’s sculpt is a very nice one, perhaps one of the nicest to come out of the line.  It’s very clean, and appropriately sleek for GL.  The build on the figure had him slightly more svelte than the likes of Superman or Batman, which definitely seems right for Hal, and I quite like how the various parts of the uniform are actually raised elements, rather than just being painted in place as most later figures would handle things.  I will say, in regards to the head sculpt, Hal’s chin does seem a bit more pronounced here than it usually is, but overall, the head does seem right for the character.  That mask is really spot on.  Hal’s paint work is pretty simple, but appropriately clean and striking.  Mine has a touch of wear on his nose, but is otherwise pretty good.  GL was packed with his lantern power battery, which my figure actually has.  Pretty sweet! He also gets an action feature, the “Power Action Ring Thrust.”  Gotta love that name.  Essentially, you squeeze his legs, and the right arm raises. Pretty appropriate for the character.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In the dark days of the ’90s, Hal Jordan had been replaced by Kyle Rayner, and was therefore not really getting much toy coverage.  This was at cross purposes with my desire to own a Hal Jordan figure, thanks to becoming familiar with the character through Super Friends re-runs on Cartoon Network.  After my dad introduced me to the wonderful Super Power Archives, Hal became the first Super Powers figure I actively wanted to own.  He wasn’t the first one I *got*, but was fairly early on.  I specifically requested him for Christmas one year, and came down Christmas morning to find both him and Martian Manhunter propped up on the Christmas Village waiting for me.  He didn’t have the Power Battery originally, but I was able to get him one of those too, eventually.  He’s definitely my favorite figure in this line, and probably my favorite Green Lantern figure period.

#2644: Martian Manhunter

MARTIAN MANHUNTER

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“The Martian Manhunter has a truly awesome array of powers. Beside being practically invulnerable, he has the power of super-breath, flight, invisibility, super-vision, and super-strength. He also has the ability to walk through walls, as well as the power to transform himself into any creature and acquire that creature’s powers and abilities.  The Martian Manhunter cannot survive in a vacuum, and cannot use any of his other powers when he is invisible. Most important, however is his vulnerability to fire, which can weaken and eventually destroy him.  On Mars, the Martian Manhunter’s real name is J’Onn J’Onzz. On Earth, he sometimes adopts the civilian identity of Detective John Jones.”

I’m quite a big fan of the Kenner’s Super Powers, and it’s no secret around these parts that it gets my vote for quintessential DC toy line.  Speaking of quintessential, if there’s a member of the Justice League who gets my vote for quintessential, it would be J’Onn J’Onzz, better known as the Martian Manhunter, who received his very first action figure as part of the Super Powers.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Martian Manhunter was released in 1985, the second year of Super Powers.  He was one of four members of the Justice League to be added to the line that year.  He’s based on Jose Garcia-Lopez’s illustration of the character from the DC Style Guide, just like the rest of the line, which means he depicts J’Onn just after they’d started adding in a few more of his more Martian aspects.  It means it wasn’t *quite* as classic a design as some of the others in the line-up, but it also made him slightly more distinctive, and ultimately became the more common design for the character.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  His sculpt was an entirely new affair, well-matched to the style of the rest of the line.  It gives Manhunter the proper presence for the character, with a build that’s not quite as bulked up as the line’s version of Superman, but which still casts an imposing silhouette.  His arms aren’t as preposed as the first year figures were, which looks a little better in the basic standing pose.  Manhunter’s head sculpt is the part that is the most modernized portion of the figure, with Manhunter’s much more prominent brow.   His expression has a nice, friendly, if still alien feel about it, which really feels perfect for the character.  Like other figures in the line, Manhunter’s cape is a separate cloth piece.  It’s got the extra bit of collar, which helps to hide the plastic clip a bit better than other figures, making it a slightly more convincing piece.  Martian Manhunter’s paint work is pretty simple, but it’s bright, colorful, and pretty clean, at least apart from the bit of wear and tear that my figure’s taken.  As with all Super Powers figures, Martian Manhunter got his own action feature, dubbed “Power Action Martian Punch”.  When you squeeze his legs, his arms swing back and forth.  Or at least they should, but they actually don’t on mine.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Martian Manhunter is on the earlier side of my Super Powers collecting, when I went through a string of getting them as Christmas presents from my parents.  I want to say he was the fourth or fifth figure I got from the line?  It would have been when I was around 7 or 8.  He was the same year as Green Lantern, so he did sort of pale in comparison just a touch at the time.  He didn’t have his cape originally, but I got one for him later down the line.  He’s a really cool figure, and definitely a fantastic starting point for the character.

#2637: Samurai

SAMURAI

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Japanese history professor Toshio Eto was teaching class one day when suddenly a mystical bolt of energy hit him. The bolt of energy had been sent from emissaries of the New Gods who were in need of super heroes. The strange energy enveloped Eto and released the latent energy in his body, transforming him into the Samurai. Using his newfound powers of the hurricane and wielding an energy sword, the Samurai mistakenly caused havoc until the transformation was explained to him and he decided to be a force for good.”

You know, I really haven’t reviewed enough Super Powers figures on this site.  I mean, at this point, I’m essentially only reviewing them once a year, which means it would take me almost 40 years to actually get through them all.  That’s not a great metric for me.  I should probably work on that.  Fortunately, I’m getting some help on that front, with a new one to kick-start things a little bit.  Super Powers started with a focus on DC’s core characters, but as the line continued it shifted its focus, and by its final year, it was largely made up of rather minor characters, and in fact a good number of characters not even from the comics originally.  Though not a total fabrication for the line, Samurai began his life outside of the comics medium, as one of four heroes created for Challenge of the Super Friends in order to diversify the Justice League’s line-up.  Ultimately, he and the rest of these new heroes fell into some pretty heavy stereotyping, but hey, it was the ’70s.  Samurai was the only of these characters to be carried over into Super Powers, but it’s worth noting that both El Dorado and Black Vulcan would have joined him had the line continued (El Dorado even made it to the prototype stage).

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Samurai was released in 1987, as part of the third and final assortment of Kenner’s Super Powers.  He was Samurai’s first figure, and would remain his only figure for a good three decades.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  Samurai had one more joint than most figures in the line, with movement at his waist.  It’s largely just there to facilitate the figure’s action feature, but it’s still possible to use it as a point of articulation as well, so hey, extra movement.  Samurai’s sculpt is actually not bad.  He had the benefit of only really having one source to draw from in terms of design, and he ultimately does an okay job of capturing that design in three dimensions.  It’s not the greatest design, admittedly, but I guess it could have been worse.  It’s also worth noting that they didn’t feel the need to redesign him the way they did a handful of characters from later in the line, so, again, this works out pretty well.  Samurai’s design relies on some cloth goods for his vest piece.  It’s a piece very commonly missing from the figure, and it’s worth noting that the one sported by my figure is, in fact, a reproduction.  It’s not a bad repro, though, all things considered, and regardless of repro or original, the cloth piece works well for this part of the figure.  Makes him very difficult to get complete, but cool nevertheless.  Samurai’s paint work is pretty basic stuff.  Not a ton of crazy work going on, but the face is pretty sharp, and the colors are bright.  I can definitely get behind it.  Samurai was originally packed with a small sword, which, like the vest, is very commonly missing from the figure.  As you can see, my figure does not have it.  Some day.  In addition to the sword, he also had an action feature, “Gale Force Spin.”  When you squeezed his right arm, his lower torso would spin.  And mine still works, even.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Of the four added characters from Super Friends, Samurai has always kind of been my least favorite, which makes the fact that he was the only one to get a figure here a little sad.  That, coupled with his rarity, has meant I’ve never really rushed out to get this guy.  However, my dad, who has been getting me Super Powers figures as Christmas gifts since I was 7, got me this guy as a Christmas gift this year, albeit an ever so slightly late one, thanks to the mess that is the current state of the United States Postal Service.  Hey, at least I managed to get him before the new year.  That was a miracle in and of itself.  Samurai isn’t the most impressive character, but the figure is kind of fun, and is a major step forward with my Super Powers collection.  Just 7 more to go!

#2631: Grand Admiral Thrawn

GRAND ADMIRAL THRAWN

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Five years after the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance has driven the evil Empire into a distant corner of the galaxy. But a new danger has arisen: the last of the Emperor’s warlords has devised a battle plan that could destroy the New Republic. A tactical and military genius, Grand Admiral Thrawn rallied the remnants of the Imperial fleet and set in motion a plan to destroy the New Republic. Using Force-inhibiting ysalamiri, he became vitally close to achieving his evil plans.”

Last week, I was discussing EU characters who really ran away from their expanded universe origins and became lasting pieces of the franchise in their own right.  While last week’s focus, Mara Jade, was prominent, she never made the jump to official canon proper.  Today’s subject, Grand Admiral Thrawn, actually did.  First introduced by author Timothy Zahn in 1991’s Heir to the Empire, Thrawn has also been confirmed to exist in the post-Disney-acquisition world of the franchise, having served as the primary antagonist for the second half of their Rebels series.  And, perhaps his future in the franchise is unexplored, if The Mandalorian‘s quick reference is anything to go by.  Well, in the mean time, let’s look at a little bit of toy coverage!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Grand Admiral Thrawn was released in the Expanded Universe sub-line of Power of the Force in 1998.  Like many of the characters included, this was his first figure, though thanks to actually becoming proper canon, he’s had a few more of them in recent years.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  Thrawn is an all-new sculpt, but not exactly an unfamiliar or unique one.  He takes a lot of cues from how Kenner handled other Imperial Officer figures, which makes a bit of sense, from a consistency stand point.  Like Mara Jade, he’s clearly not a direct lift from the comics illustrations of Thrawn, in order to help him look a bit more in line with the rest of Power of the Force.  His head seems a touch large in my eyes, but otherwise it’s not a bad looking sculpt, and is consistent with how Thrawn generally looked.  It’s basic, but appropriately so.  The paint work is also pretty basic and straight forward, but again consistent with the character’s depiction.  It’s definitely a more unique color scheme, so he stands out nicely in a group of Imperials.  Thrawn is packed with a ysalamiri, the weird thing he’s got on his shoulders there, as well as a small blaster pistol, and the fold out diorama.  This time, it’s the bridge of ship, presumably the Katana.  It’s pretty sweet.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

All of these were rare when released, and Thrawn’s quite a fan favorite, so he was also always pretty rare.  Fortunately, that whole set came through All Time last year, so I was finally able to snag one then.  He’s not the most technically impressive figure or anything, but he’s still pretty nifty, and I’m glad I have one.

#2624: Mara Jade

MARA JADE

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Five years after the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance has driven the evil Empire into a distant corner of the galaxy. But a new danger has arisen: the last of the Emperor’s warlords has devised a battle plan that could destroy the New Republic. Before the death of Palpatine, Mara Jade was the Emperor’s right hand assassin. Five years later and now a successful smuggler, the last thing Mara expected was to stumble upon her former arch-enemy – Luke Skywalker.”

The Star Wars Expanded Universe had a whole host of new characters to add to the mythos, coming from all sorts of different mediums, and doing all sorts of, some times, contradictory things.  A few of those EU characters because rather pervasive, but few were quite as recurrent as Mara Jade, a character who appeared about just every medium other than the movies.  Destined to become Luke Skywalker’s eventual wife, Mara was revealed to be just on the outskirts of plenty of prior events, just waiting to peer into the shot, I suppose.  She’s become rather downplayed since Disney took over, of course, but she was pretty big with the fanbase, and did get a few action figures, the first of which I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mara Jade was released alongside the rest of the initial Expanded Universe line-up of Power of the Force figures in 1998.  As such a popular character, she was a rarer figure from an already scarce assortment, at least at the time.  She was one of the three figures in the line-up to be based on the Heir to Empire story, fittingly Mara’s first appearance.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and she has 6 points of articulation.  Mara’s sculpt was unique to her, and based at least somewhat on her appearance in the Heir to Empire comics adaptation, though it’s mostly in regards to her attire, since her features don’t match the rather stylized depiction of the character from the comics.  Neither was she really based on Shannon McRandle, the model who portrayed Mara on the covers of the novels she appeared in.  Instead, she’s just sort of an averaged appearance, I suppose.  It works fine for the character, and it’s not like she’s any further from her usual appearances than any of the characters who actually appeared in the movies were.  Mara’s paint work is rather eye catching, especially the bright red hair, and the application is all pretty clean.  They did actually differentiate between the black of her body suit and her boots, so that looks pretty nice.  Mara is packed with Luke’s lightsaber, a blaster pistol, and another 3D backdrop like the rest of the series.  This one shows off a downed ship, and is definitely one of the cooler backdrops.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t know anything about Mara when these figures were new, and I certainly didn’t really see her in person to push me to find out.  As I’ve become more versed with Star Wars over the years, I’ve of course come to know a bit more about her, and I’ve been subsequently more invested in these figures.  I picked her up at the same time as most of the rest of the set, when they all came in through All Time.  Mara’s a pretty cool little figure.  Perhaps not the flashiest of this line up, but a fun and unique figure nevertheless.