PRINCE XIZOR VS DARTH VADER
STAR WARS: SHADOWS OF THE EMPIRE (KENNER)
In the time between Han Solo’s capture by the Empire and his delivery to Jabba the Hutt, a secret struggle for power took place within the shadows of the Empire. A clash between power hungry crimelord Prince Xizor and the dreaded Darth Vader meant certain death for Luke Skywalker. As the Rebel Alliance’s only hope, a band of heroes led by Princess Leia, Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, and Dash Rendar set out to rescue Solo while protecting the young Jedi from a horde of bounty hunters and assassins.”
Oh, I bet you thought I was done with Shadows of the Empire, didn’t you? Well…I wasn’t…so, you know…here we are? Yeah, I know, I’m not thrilled about it either, but think of it this way: after today, the Shadows figures can’t hurt you anymore. See? Doesn’t a little but of optimism go a long way? Okay, let’s get through this together guys.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Xizor and Vader are the second of the two Shadows of the Empire comic packs, the other being the Boba Fett and IG-88 set. That one is, admittedly, a little more of an exciting prospect than this one, what with our only PotF2-style IG and all, but this one has value, too….there’s, um…a comic? And the figures, too, I guess. While the Xizor was technically distinct from his single-card release, this Vader would also end up single-carded in a Power of the Force assortment later down the line.
“Xizor is the head of Black Sun, an intergalactic criminal empire that supports literally millions of outlaw organizations and activities. Since entering the service of the Emperor, the Dark Prince is widely considered one of the powerful individuals in the galaxy. He controls his operations with cold, deadly accuracy assuring that those who dare challenge Xizor meet with swift death, often by his own hand. His hunger for power has put him at direct odds with Lord Vader, But Xizor is afraid of no one; his hunger for power has driven him to dispatch an onslaught of assassins with orders to eliminate Luke Skywalker. Xizor plots to spoil Darth Vader’s promise to deliver Skywalker to the Emperor alive — a maneuver that would undermine Vader’s reliability and secure Xizor as the Emperor’s most favored ally.”
Prince Xizor was Shadows‘ primary antagonist, and that netted him not one, but two figures in Kenner’s tie-in line. I’ve already looked at his single-carded release here on the site, but the two-pack was *slightly* different. He’s only *mostly* the same. That’s not quite as bad as *all* the same, right? Well, actually, that’s probably up for debate, because if they were all the same, I’d only need to own and review one of them, rather than two. Damn you Kenner and your making me right about Prince Xizor twice as many times as I needed to! Like the single card, this figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation. Also like that release, his movement’s incredibly limited by the braids on his head and the thick plastic robe, and even further hindered by the tweaked posing of the arms, which prevents them from being quite as useful. As far as parts, this guy and the other Xizor use the same head, torso, and pelvis, and he’s got ever so slightly tweaked arms and legs, which now are more pre-posed than the prior ones. The robe also remains the same as the other release, despite this figure’s more dynamic pose. In my review of the single Xizor, I remarked that I didn’t feel his color scheme was very Star Wars-y, and I stand by that here. Application of the paint is at least still pretty good, so I guess he’s got that going for him. This Xizor trades out the last release’s weird fan blade things for a battle staff, which works a bit better with the pose, I suppose.
“Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, has instilled terror throughout the galaxy since the beginning of the Empire. His devotion to the Emperor and mastery of the dark side gives him more power than any single individual in the galaxy except for the Emperor himself. Draped completely in black and wielding the ability to take a life with a mere gesture, Darth Vader stands as the incarnation of evil. His dislike of Prince Xizor is intense and his distrust well-founded. Though Vader would gladly eliminate Xizor, Emperor Palpatine has need of Black Sun’s shipping operations to speed construction of the new Death Star. Xizor had best watch his back however, as Vader’s control of the dark side of the Force makes him a most formidable foe”
Though a notable player in Shadows, Vader faced the problem of not actually having his appearance change at all from his normal look for the purposes of the story. That’s a little hard to sell as a separate figure, so Kenner had to figure that out. Enter the pre-posing. Effectively, this guy takes the initial PotF2 Vader and sort of bends and contorts him a bit. Now he’s different! Yay! Honestly, it’s not terrible in terms of design, and he balances on those mid-walk legs better than you might expect. His cape gets a little more flair to it as well, which works out pretty well. He gets the same saber as his standard counterpart, as you’d expect.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I have trouble fully articulating how little I care about this particular release. I literally only own it because a) I’m collecting the whole line, and b) it was bundled with the IG-88 and Boba set, which I actually wanted. Neither of these figures exactly has much new to offer, and furthermore, I just don’t care about Xizor in the slightest. So, here’s this set. Cool. I’m done now.
Thanks to my friends at All Time Toys for setting me up with these guys. They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.