CARNOR JAX (AKA KIR KANOS)
STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)
NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.
“Training himself in the ways of the dark side of the Force, Carnor Jax became one of the most formidable members of the Imperial Guard. He betrayed this brotherhood by usurping the Imperial throne.”
Remember back on Sunday, when I was talking about how all the Royal Guards do in the movies is just stand around? Well, I wasn’t the only one who noticed that, which is good, what with it having been a rather obvious thing that was happening right there on the screen. In an effort to remedy things somewhat, the Expanded Universe came into play, with Crimson Empire, a six issue comic which explored the background of a few members of the Royal Guard, and then followed them through to just past Palpatine’s demise in Jedi. Central to the story are Carnor Jax and Kir Kanos, two guards who fall on opposite sides of a rather vicious power struggle. The two of them have been privy to a few figures over the years, but The Black Series is finally taking a real stab at some comics-based material, and one of them got to be the first one up to bat. But which one? Oh, I’ll get to that.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Carnor Jax is one of four figures in a special assortment of comics-inspired Black Series figures, each based off of a different story, and in nice, fancy boxes, patterned on the covers of the books they hail from. Or, at least, that’s what I’d be saying if there were actually a Carnor Jax Black Series figure. Trouble is, there’s actually not. Despite the name on the box and the bio that accompanies it, the figure in today’s review isn’t actually Carnor Jax; it’s Kir Kanos. Somewhere along the way, Hasbro mixed up the names for the two characters, and without any time to fix it after the reveal, they can pretty much only say “sorry” and move one. It does make more sense for Kir to be the debut figure, of course, since he’s kind of the story’s main character anyway. But it’s another amusing mix-up. The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation. Kir is structurally a re-use of the molds from the standard Royal Guard, which I suppose is fitting, since the armor under the robes was patterned on what we saw in Crimson Empire anyway, and therefore matches Kir’s design pretty well. It’s not a bad sculpt, though it does still have the slightly too long arms. It’s too bad they didn’t retool him to give him a removable helmet, like the 3 3/4 inch version. As it stands, there’s very little to actually differentiate him. He does swap the full cloak of the other one for a more straight-forward cape, which does at least make it easier to see the armor on this one. The cape’s also got a nice purple lining, which is again a bit more different. Other than that, the changes are all to do with paint. Again, not major changes, but the jumpsuit’s black now, some of the reds are shifted around a bit, and the visor’s more of a maroon. It’s mostly changes that you might not even notice if you didn’t have the two figures side by side. Kir gets the small pistol from the last release, as well as a new double-bladed axe thing. It’s a cool design, but he does have a little trouble holding it.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I’ve never read Crimson Empire, but I’m familiar with the concepts, and I do generally like the looks of the two main guys. I missed out on their smaller scale figures, so new ones aren’t a problem for me. What is a problem, though, is how phoned in this whole thing feels. Starting with getting the names mixed up, and ending with not actually investing in any new tooling beyond the one weapon, this figure’s a bit of a let-down. I wanted to like him a lot more, but I struggle to. Maybe if they do Carnor for real, and possibly throw in an unmasked head for Kir or something, my opinion might change, but this figure’s a bit lackluster, at least as a new offering. If you never got the Royal Guard, I imagine you might have a differing opinion, since he is, in a vacuum, at least, a decent toy.