TB League, formerly known as Phicen, continues to pump out a number of fantastic boxed figure sets based on the ladies of indie comics. I’ve already looked at their Zenescope gals, as well as Vampirella and Red Sonja, and now it’s time to give Brian Pulido’s Lady Death from Chaos! Comics a go. The character has had a troubled history of being passed along to different comic companies as each previous one folded. There was a less-than-stellar anime released by ADV Films, and now she lives on through Kickstarter-funded stories. Like Red Sonja, the first version of this figure was released a little while back and I missed out, because she sold out quickly. But TB League recently issued a brand new version and this time I was quick to pre-order the Deluxe Edition. As “Death’s Warrior” this release comes with some pretty cool armor and a brand new helmet and the Deluxe Edition includes a gigantic throne display diorama. Let’s take a look…
The Deluxe Edition comes in a massive cardboard mailer box, which houses the figure’s box and a large styrofoam brick with the extra display environment. I’m fond of pointing out just how premium the packaging on Phicen’s figures look, especially when compared to some of the more expensive big name Sixth-Scale producers out there. Lady Death’s heavy duty box consists of a lift off tri-fold front, which secures to the sides via magnets. You get some great shots of the figure itself and a little blurb on the back. Inside, the figure resides in a foam tray with some of her accessories laid out around her. There’s another tray beneath it with more goodies, and as always the head comes off the figure and wrapped in plastic. And speaking of plastic, nearly the entire figure comes wrapped in plastic with the armor placed over it. This is great for protecting the silicone skin, but getting it off is a daunting task that involves some precise cutting near and around the soft skin, right where you do not want to be putting a sharp edge. But, a little patience and care is all it takes.
And here she is all set up and ready for display and boy is she beautiful! The most distinctive thing about this particular body is her is her pure white skin, and I have to say that it looks quite stunning. I say, pure white, but it actually has a bit of a ghostly blue hue to it that comes out rather striking under certain light. Of course, this body consists of Phicen’s usual silicone skin and muscle covering a fully articulated stainless steel skeleton, and thanks to Lady Death’s predilection for skimpy costumes, the character design allows a lot of that seamless body to show through. The only joints visible on the figure are her wrists and neck, and the only ones concealed by the costume would be in the ankles. Phicen has produced a wide collection of these bodies in different types to use on different boxed figures, but because of her distinctive skin tone, Lady Death is probably the first time they had to fully customize one to work with the character. I really dig that. And while they were a little restrained when choosing the bust size for Red Sonja and Vampirella, they kind of went all out for Lady Death. I really dig that too!
The costume consists of an armored top that just about manages to contain her ample bosom. It’s sculpted in plastic with a texturing that makes it look like leather and with bronze scroll-work decorations sculpted in. There are painted rivets running along the bottom edge and a very lucky skull placed betwixt her undead orbs. The bracers on her arms are sculpted with a similar motif, here with some smooth black and textured brown panels and more of the bronze scroll-work sculpted in. Moving down, she has a rather small sculpted plastic plate with a skull to shield her Netherworld regions, front and back. Finally, she has a pair of fairly plain leather high-heeled boots with a pair of ornate bronze skulls at the tops just above her knees. These are actually separate rings and not part of the boots. They stay on purely from friction and they do stay put fairly well, but every now and then they need an adjustment to make them sit flush with the tops of the boots. There may not be much of it, but I think Phicen did a beautiful job with the sculpt and paint on this outfit. It’s a lot more ornate than the simpler leather bikini that came with the first release. Admittedly, that first outfit is more iconic for the character, but I’ll happily take this one as a consolation prize.
The portrait is absolutely stunning, and I really appreciate how far Phicen has come in this area. They’ve managed to up there game a little bit with each release, both in terms of sculpt and paint quality, and getting a bit closer to that uncanny level of realism slowly but surely. Granted, Lady Death isn’t a great example for judging realism, since she’s an undead demon warrior, but there’s so much to love here. The paint on on the eyebrows and around the eyes is very sharp and clean, and there’s a nice glossy coat over her pupiless eyes. Her lips are slightly parted, feature some nice texturing, and are painted with a bright and glossy red that really stands out among all the white of her skin. And speaking of skin, the skin tone on her head matches the silicone skin on the body very closely. The hair has that same slightly blue tinge to it, and there’s a lot of it, so some rudimentary styling skills will come in handy. Personally, I think this is a character where the hair looks best just left to run wild.
Before getting into the accessories, it’s worth mentioning that Lady Death comes with three pairs of hands. These include a relaxed pair, a pair that looks like she’s about to claw your eyes out, and a pair designed for holding her weapons. Surprise! No fists! Each of these include red painted fingernails and swapping these out is pretty easy, and this is another area where I commend Phicen for improving. Swapping hands on some of their earlier boxed figures was an absolute chore, but I found that these come off and go on without any problems.
Lady Death also comes with a cape, which is a beautiful little garment with a black leather-like outer material and a softer red cloth for the interior lining. The neck includes sculpted skulls as a clasp and a high collar, but it does not open, so you do need to pop her head to put it on and take it off. The edges include some flexible wire so that you can pose it. I love the way this looks on the figure, but I don’t think I’m going to use it a lot. I don’t think it works well with the throne, and I also get a little nervous about having all that red dye in the cape’s liner in constant contact with Lady Death’s pearly white skin. Still, it’s a great option to have and just adds more value to the set as a whole.
As “Death’s Warrior,” naturally she’s got to have a helmet and this is quite a nice piece of work. The entire thing appears to be cast in single piece of plastic and includes a black and bronze deco to match her armor. There’s a row of tiny painted rivets running along the brow and a skull front and center, because Lady Death sure loves her skulls. The cheek guards on the sides extend upward to form some jagged looking wings, and there’s a silver bar that runs under her eyes and meet just above her nose. The helmet was a bit of a bear to get on the first time, as it really is a very snug fit and there isn’t a whole lot of flexibility in the plastic. I was mostly worried about scraping the paint on her face. When I did finally get it on, I found that her hair was trapped in front of her eyes, so I had to give it a second try, this time with her hair pulled tightly back. As much as I love the way this looks on the figure, I’m not going to be putting it on and taking it off a lot.
As for weapons, for starters Lady Death comes with her sword. I should point out that the character has wielded three swords (that I know about), named Apocalypse, Darkness, and Nightmare. Apocalypse is the one I most closely associate with her, but this one is Nightmare and it’s no slouch. The blade is made of diecast metal, a technique that I first saw Phicen using with Red Sonja and I wholeheartedly approve. The figure’s joints can handle the weight and it gives the accessory a premium feel. The rather ornate hilt features a bronze guard and pommel with a brown painted grip to simulate leather wrap. The silver blade has a generous amount of blood spattering on it. The accessory holding hands make for a tight grip, allowing her to hold it perfectly in either hand or both. On the downside, she doesn’t have a scabbard that allows her to wear it on her person, but as we’ll soon see, that doesn’t bother me so much.
Her other weapon is this giant sickle. I think this is the same one that came with the previous release, but whatever the case, it’s an impressive piece of hell-spawned cutlery! Even with the curved handle, the sickle is taller than Lady Death herself. The handle is sculpted and painted to look like wood, complete with a natural wood-grain finish and sculpted wrap on the handle and shaft. The blade itself is plastic, but painted in metallic silver to look like real metal. There’s also a really cool looking skull mounted at the top of the shaft and painted to look like part of the blade. And just when I thought this figure can’t get any better, I opened up the huge chunk of sytrofoam to find this…
Holy SHIT! Lady Death’s throne is the mother of all accessories, if you can even call it that. It’s really a massive display environment. I know, I gassed on and on about how cool the dragon base that came with Red Sonja was, but I think this might one-up it. It’s made of three pieces: The base, the chair itself, and the skull that connects to the top of the throne with a magnet. I guess you can say it’s four pieces if you count the velvet pillow that goes into the chair. Yes, it actually has a real pillow! The base is sculpted to look like old stone and rock and there’s a pile of skulls in the back left corner as well as a single skull and some bones on the front right corner. The chair doesn’t actually attach to the base, so you can position it where you like on the platform, or even just use the platform and stand Lady Death on it. The chair itself features some exceptionally nice sculpting and paintwork. I love the skulls on the armrests and the bones that connect them to a third skull on the bottom front of the piece.
There are lots of fun ways to place Lady Death on the throne, and while I had to clear plenty of space on my shelf to fit it, I can’t imagine displaying this figure without the throne. I also like that it gives me a place to display her helmet and sword. The one caveat is that if I’m going to have her sitting on it regularly, I worry about the red dye on the pillow transferring to the white skin of her demon derriere. In the end, I took some non-acidic archival plastic and cut a square to put between the pillow and her tushie. Hey, you can never be too careful!
The more of TB League’s boxed figure sets I pick up, the more impressed I am with what this company is putting out. The seamless bodies keep getting better and better, and they’ve been upping their game on the quality of the costumes and accessories. But it’s the Deluxe Editions that are adding that extra little (actually not so little) something that has been launching these releases to the top of my Sixth-Scale want lists. This Deluxe Edition of Lady Death set me back $179, and I’m actually a little curious how they’re able to pack in something as impressive as the throne and still keep these figures under $200. I was motivated to finish this review, because I have another of TB League’s ladies arriving this week, and I actually have two more on pre-order that are due to hit in the next month or so. And if that’s not bad enough, they just revealed a few more that look pretty damn good. The releases are coming so fast that this line is getting hard to budget for, but I’m going to try to make it work any which way I can! And if that means cutting into my Hot Toys and Sideshow budget, then so be it.