STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)
“General Grievous was a brilliant Separatist military strategist and a feared Jedi hunter, known for his ruthlessness and hacking cough. His body itself was a weapon, allowing him lightning quick strikes and devastating blows. But he was also quick to run from a fight, a tactic that worked until one final meeting with Obi-Wan Kenobi.”
A decade removed from the Star Wars prequels, they don’t seem quite as bad as they once did. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are still major issues and my recent re-watch of Attack of the Clones certainly reminded me of why it’s the worst movie in the franchise, but even when we all thought they were universally trash, there were always some redeeming elements. For Revenge of the Sith, my favorite bit was always General Grievous, a character I had latched onto before the movie even opened, and whom I would continue to enjoy when he became a major player in the second Clone Wars cartoon. Though his characterization may have been a little two-dimensional, and his name is just silly (it’s just an adjective! That’s not a name), he certainly had one of the coolest designs to come out of the prequels. Even when I had my strict “no prequels” rule for The Black Series, I could always see myself possibly breaking that rule for a good Grievous figure. Here we are.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
General Grievous is the first figure in the Deluxe subdivision of The Black Series, numbered “D1.” So far, he’s the only deluxe size figure to be available through all retailers…well, all the ones that were willing to carry him, which didn’t end up including the likes of Walmart or Target. He started hitting around the second quarter of last year. Grievous only has one film appearance, so this figure rather sensibly draws from that. I want to state at the top of this review that this is a very good figure, but he, like every Grievous figure ever created, is also a flawed figure. It’s a design that has a degree of necessary cheating to work on the screen. In person, on a fixed item, that cheating isn’t possible, and concessions have to be made…but I’ll get to that. At full height, the figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation. He’s an all-new sculpt, as you might expect, and it’s a pretty darn good one at that. It manages to fairly accurately recreate his design as seen in the movie, and, in contrast to most Grievous figures, most of the joints in the design are joints on this figure. Not all, of course. Some concessions have to be made for the hands and feet, given the scale of the figure, and there are one or two other spots (notably the wrists), where there should be movement but isn’t. I do really like how tight all of the joints are on this figure; far too many Grievous figures wound up with really floppy joints. The design of the sculpt also allows this Grievous figure to have a feature that most forego: actual combining arms. We’ve seen them before but typically only on less articulated figures. More often then not, they’ll just release him with his arms one way or the other, or, in the case of the first 3D Clone Wars figure, they’ll give him extra arms. The combining arms end up being the feature that causes this figure the most trouble. The four separate arms are nicely articulated on their own. When you go to combine them, it’s a little tricky, because even a slight warp will make them not a perfect fit. And once they’re together? Well, you’re certainly not getting full movement out of the joints once the arms are combined, which proves rather restricting. As nifty an idea as the combining arms may be, I can’t help but feel that swappable arms might have worked a bit better in this regard. At the end of the day, I can’t really blame them for trying, and this is certainly the best go at it we’ve seen. The paintwork on Grievous is some of the most impressive work we’ve gotten from the line; the weathering alone really sells the figure, as it gives him a much more realistic appearance, which is rather amusing for a completely CGI creation. Grievous is a rather well accessorized figure, including his DT-57 blaster, his four stolen lightsabers (which, according to Star Wars Lightsabers: A Guide to Weapons of the Force formerly belonged to Pablo-Jill, Eeth Koth, Roron Corobb, and Shaak Ti), and a cape. The blaster and sabers are pretty standard fair. The cape is a bit of a let down, if I’m honest. The decision to use cloth is definitely understandable, and I do really dig the inclusion of the spot to store Grievous’ collection of sabers, but the cape’s totally wrong at the shoulders, with a big, obvious join, as opposed to the proper flowing under his collar plate look. The grey and red parts also aren’t hemmed together at the bottom, which looks a bit sloppy. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s bad enough that I don’t see myself using the cape.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I’ve been hoping for a Grievous Black Series figure for a while, and was happy to see him announced…but I was never happy about that cape, and it honestly held me back from picking him up, as silly as that may be. Fortunately, my in-laws had my back on this one, and got me Grievous for Christmas. After opening him up, the cape still frustrates me, but the rest of the figure is just so well-engineered that I really don’t care all that much. This is definitely the best Grievous figure out there.