Hey, folks! It’s the first figure of the year from Matty’s Club Infinite Earths! Last year’s inaugural figure was the much coveted Jay Garrick Flash. Obviously, Matty realized he would be a tough act to top for 2013, so they didn’t even try. Yes, this year’s first figure is Saint Walker, and this guy wasn’t anywhere near my list of wanted characters. In fact, he actually set around here for a couple of days before I got around to opening him. Toss in the fact that I’m still reeling from all the Lantern Corps stuff Mattel has pushed down our throats over the past couple of years, and I honestly couldn’t be less excited about this figure. Let’s do it…
I’ve been pretty consistent in my praise for the Signature Collection packaging, so at least I can be excited about seeing another one of these pleasing boxes… oh, wait… Matty redesigned the packaging. Well, ain’t that a kick in the nuts! The redesign is more of a tweak than a total overhaul. The overall configuration of the box is mostly the same with a big window on the front, wrapping around to the side panel, and another window on the top. The deco is what’s changed. There’s now an illustrated leather-like pattern with a hexagonal grid trim. That f’ugly new DC Comics logo appears on one side panel. Seriously, guys? Your business is basically selling artwork and this logo is the best you could do?
The back panel of the box is mostly the same as the old style, complete with bio, and the character artwork is still great. It may take me a couple of releases before I decide whether or not I really dig this new look, but I can’t say as I hate it. I’m still at the point with these boxes where I’m fooling myself into thinking that I’m going to keep saving them all, when in truth I just don’t have the space. I can see the point coming soon where I’m going to clip the backs off and keep them like cardbacks and probably only keep the complete packages for the oversized figures.
My only experience with Saint Walker is based on his appearances in Final Crisis and Blackest Night. I haven’t read any of his appearances in the New 52, but then right now my sustained readings in the New 52 only amounts to about six books, and I’ve been shying away from most anything concerning the Lantern Corps. I dig his backstory, but as I already mentioned, he’s not a character that I was jonesing to have in figure form, other than the fact that he helps fill out my Lantern Corp leaders and I guess that’s a cool thing. I guess I also still dig the idea of having more alien Lanterns in the DCUC style and Saint Walker certainly fits that bill.
Ok, let me start out by saying that I don’t like the head sculpt very much. Saint Walker is usually drawn one of two ways: You’ve got him with the round “crash test dummy” dots for eyes or sometimes with more almond shaped eyes. DC Direct went with the almond eyes for their Saint Walker bust and I think it looks so much better. Hell, even the artwork on this box features that version and it looks so much better. Maybe, this is a matter of personal preference, but at the very least, Mattel should have had the styling of the box art and the figure agree with each other. Even the configuration of the sculpted lines on Bro’Dee’s face doesn’t really match the artwork. Am I being too hard on the likeness? I don’t hate it, but in light of the many excellent head sculpts we’ve been getting in the Signature Collection, I think it could have been so much better.
On the other hand, I love the body on this figure, and since a lot of what I love about it is the articulation, let’s start there. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, have swivels at the biceps, double-hinges at the elbows, and swivels and hinges at the wrists. The legs feature the usual DCUC style hip joints, swivel at the thighs, have double-hinged knees, and hinged ankles. The torso has an ab crunch hinge, swivels at the waist, and the head is ball jointed. You also get a swivel cut in his head-tail. This is really phenomenal articulation and all the joints are strong and sans warping. Honestly, the only thing I could possibly think to add would have been ankle rockers.
Saint Walker’s costume itself is comprised almost solely of paint apps and the paintwork is excellent. I do adore the rich, deep shade of blue Mattel uses for the Blue Lantern costumes and the overall deco when mixed with the black really looks striking on the figure. The white Lantern Corps emblem tampo on the chest really ties everything together. Bro’Dee’s left hand is obviously sculpted in a fist so he can wield his power ring and his right hand is sculpted so he can hold his lantern.
So, Saint Walker is a bit of a mixed bag. If he were a figure that ranked high on my want list, I would have probably taken further issue with the head sculpt, but as he’s just going to be another face in the crowd on my Lantern Corps shelf, I can live with it. Make no mistake, there’s a lot to love about this figure, particularly if you prefer this style of portrait and I hope to see this style of articulation in more figures this year. But I still cannot help but look at the figure next to the character art and say “No!” He’s one of only a select few figures that have appeared in CIE that I wouldn’t have purchased if I wasn’t a subscriber, especially when you consider the fact that he was $28 after shipping.