DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE TOYS)
“J’onn J’onzz, the mysterious Martian Manhunter, is one of the last survivors of the planet Mars, and was accidentally transported to Earth not long after the majority of his people were wiped out. Martian Manhunter is thought to be as strong as, or possibly stronger than, Superman, and has a variety of powers including super-strength, super-speed, flight, telepathy, telekinesis, shape-shifting, phase-shifting, regenerative abilities, and near-invulnerability. Manhunter also has genius-level intellect and strong leadership skills. Using his vast powers and skills, Martian Manhunter strives to protect the citizens of his new home, Earth.”
Three years into their run with the license, McFarlane Toys’ handling of DC can still largely boiled down to “wow, Todd sure does like Batman, doesn’t he?” And when it’s not that, it can often be boiled down to “wow, Todd sure does like squeezing extra uses out of a mold in often frustrating ways, doesn’t he?” Today’s the second thing. But I’ll get to that in a bit. For the big super hero teams, I like to discuss the term “quintessential,” for those characters that may not be the heavy hitters, but whom the team kind of feels lacking without. For the Avengers, I long maintained that character is Hawkeye. For their equivalent team over at the Distinguished Competition, my vote goes to Martian Manhunter. He’s just very important to the line-up, and it never feels quite right without him. J’onn can be hit or miss when it comes to toy coverage, but he generally does alright with his figures when he actually manages to get them. And hey, by virtue of being not a girl, and therefore unlikely to drive any boys to become serial killers, he gets two whole figures from McFarlane!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Martian Manhunter is one of McFarlane’s “Platinum Edition” figures for DC Multiverse. As usual with McFarlane, the branding of “Platinum Edition” is one that has a confusing meaning, since he doesn’t seem to be very consistent in how he’s using it. In the case of Manhunter, it means he’s a Target-exclusive. So, I guess there’s that. This Manhunter is the second figure under McFarlane’s tenure, with the first one, based on J’onn’s New 52-era design, hitting mass retail just about the same time that this one was announced. You know, just to really split that market on the poor guy. This one, on the flip side, is a “classic” Manhunter, or at the very least a mid-to-late ’80s Manhunter, given he’s still got the heavy brow and red eyes. The figure stands a little over 7 inches tall and he has 39 points of articulation. The articulation scheme on this figure is pretty much the same one on every McFarlane figure, and as with other releases, it’s clearly been inserted into a finished sculpt, which has its ups and downs. Much like the Peacemaker figure, getting the full range out of some of the joints, especially on the elbows and knees, requires breaking the flow of the sculpt entirely. Not exactly a great look. Additionally, there are a few instances of the sculpt getting in the way of movement, most notably on the hips. As far as the quality of the actual sculpt, it’s honestly not a bad one. The upper half of the figure, is mostly shared with the other Martian Manhunter. He gets a new lower half, as well as new chest harness, and a slightly tweaked cape. The head is more on the alien side for J’onn, but not out of character. I like the inhuman and stoic, but still slightly friendly expression of the face, and the angling of the brow is a cool look. The body sculpt does a respectable job of capturing J’onn’s stockier build, with a fairly realistic set of proportions, that still retain that somewhat heroic look. There’s some pretty decent texturing at play, especially on his skin. The cape is generally okay looking, but the collar, which wasn’t on the other release, feels a little haphazardly added; it doesn’t actually connect all the way around, so certain posing will have it clearly disconnected from the rest of the cape, which definitely looks odd. The color work on Manhunter is nice and bright, which is honestly a refreshing change of pace for the Multiverse figures. It’s largely molded colors, which keeps it fairly clean. The greens of the elbows and knees are a slightly different shade from the rest of the body, but beyond that, the plastic coloring works out okay. The paint work is kept to a minimum, but it looks pretty clean, and there’s not slop or bleed over. Martian Manhunter is supposed to come with a collector card and a display stand, but mine doesn’t have the stand, and didn’t even have the spot for it in the package. I mean, it’s just a black disk, and I have a bunch of them, but still.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I’ve got a soft spot for a decent Martian Manhunter figure, so when McFarlane showed off their original, more modern Manhunter, I was very tempted to pick him up, and was *this* close to doing so. Like, he had arrived at All Time, and I was planning to take a look at him in person to make my final call. And literally that exact day, McFarlane announced this guy, which kind of took all of the wind out of my sails on the other one. The timing on that announcement was pretty darn rotten. Also, with a character that’s not a heavy hitter, it feels like splitting an already niche audience isn’t the smartest call. This was clearly the look that most everyone wanted, so why not just make this the main release. Was Target really clamoring that much for a Martian Manhunter variant? Whatever the case, while I’m not one for really hunting anymore, Max was kind enough to give me an assist on this one, so I was able to get him without much trouble, at the very least. Stupid decisions about his release aside, the figure’s actually pretty darn good. There’s still some weirdness, but it’s minor, and I really do like how this figure turned out.