Blackest Night (Series 2): Indigo by DC Direct

It’s another DC Friday and today I’m digging all the way back to DC Direct’s Blackest Night series with a look at Indigo. I bought this one a few months back when I was re-reading the collected trades of Green Lantern to get all caught up for ReBirth and realized that Inroque was a character that I didn’t have in my collection. Like a lot of Lanterns, she didn’t get a DC Universe Classics release and so I had to make do with DC Direct. These DC Direct figures tend to be hit or miss for me, so let’s see what we’ve got…

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Ahh, the bad old days of the sealed clamshell. They’re OK if you want to cover your walls in MOC figures, but they don’t do me any favors. In this case, the packaging is also pretty wasteful, but I think they did that to accommodate some of the larger characters. Anyway, it’s attractive enough and shows the other figures on the back of the insert. Using a sticker on the outside of the bubble wasn’t a great call, as it tends to peel at the edges. Try to drum up a little empathy for me as I go find my razor and hack my way into this package.

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Generally speaking, I felt the sculpts were the high points of most of the later DC Direct figures and Indigo here reflects that. This figure captures her unnaturally lithe alien form quite nicely. Every part of her costume is part of the sculpt, from her soft plastic loin cloth to her short top. The arm wrappings even have some loose strands coming off to make them a little more convincing. It’s all very nice and very faithful to the character.

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If there’s one place that DC Direct has often let me down, it’s the paint, but that’s not really the case with Indigo. The whites and flesh tones, which have a habit of looking dirty and rubbed actually look quite good here. Her skin looks nice and even and the white paint used on the wrappings is clean and evenly applied. The metallic blue and silver used for her outfit makes for a striking contrast against the matte of her skin. Lastly, her blue tattoos are crisp and straight. I really don’t have a lot of complaints here.

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And yes, I’m even very fond of the portrait. The alien shape of the face looks spot on, and I dig the way they did her tendril-like hair cascading neatly down the back and spilling onto her shoulders. Her narrow black eyes look characteristically creepy under those sweeping eyebrows, the little touch of makeup over the eyes is a great touch, and the small pursed mouth is perfect.

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Articulation has never been DC Direct’s strong point and so I don’t expect much in that area. What we get here includes ball joints in the shoulders and neck, hinges in the knees and ankles, and a “V” crotch in the hips, which allows for limited forward movement, but a fair deal of backward movement. At this late point in DC Direct’s game, I can’t imagine anyone was buying these figures and expecting a great deal of pose-ability. You can do some different things with her arms, but the legs are pretty limited.

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Indigo comes with two accessories: Her staff and a figure stand. The staff is nicely done and includes a transparent blue crystal in the head. She can hold it very firmly in her left hand.

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The stand is a blue transparent disk with the Indigo Tribe emblem outlined in white. And that brings me to one weird thing about Indigo and that’s the fact that her left leg is so notably shorter than her right. You may have noticed that all my pictures have her standing with one leg in front of the other. That’s because if I peg her into the base with her feet together, her left foot just levitates above the stand. I’m not sure if that’s just an issue with my figure or all of them, but it’s an odd oversight.

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DC Direct’s Indigo turned out to be a pleasant surprise. And that’s a good thing because the character hasn’t been made available in any of the other DC lines. While these are generally not intended to scale with Mattel’s DC Universe Classics figures, I find that the alien Lanterns will display well enough with the DCUC figures. I was able to pick her up for $20 shipped, which was about what the original MSRP would have been. The Blackest Night series tends to be all over the place, with some selling well below the original retail, and others quite a lot more, so I’ll consider myself lucky.

Blackest Night: Red Lantern Mera by DC Direct

I warned y’all that I was backfilling my DCUC shelves and would have a number of older DC figures to feature, but not all of them are going to actually be DCUC figures. I’m at the point where I’m willing to concede that it’ll be a while before Mattel gets around to doing certain characters (if ever) and so I’m willing to incorporate some more of the DC Direct figures onto my DCUC shelves. Today we’re looking at Red Lantern Mera from the Blackest Night, Series Seven. I’ll confess, I didn’t have a burning need to have her on my shelves, but I picked up my last bunch of comic TPBs from Amazon and I’ve been feeling a little guilty about not supporting the local comic shop. So, I took a trip the day before yesterday and picked up a couple of the DCD figures he’s had on the shelves for a long while. Today, we’ll check out Mera and tomorrow we’ll look at the other one.

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There’s the packaged shot… mine is pretty bent, but I care not! Soon, it will be ravaged by scissors! The package is the usual DCD affair with a sealed clamshell and a printed insert. The presentation is nice enough and the back panel shows the other figures in the series and little bio blurbs for all of them. Obviously, this isn’t collector friendly packaging, but it does give you a nice hit of plastic fumes when you open it.

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Wow, she’s gorgeous. I mean, I’m no newcomer to DCD’s sculpts. I have a bunch of their figures, but still… Wow! Of course, I don’t mean gorgeous in the traditional sense. She’s got demon eyes and she’s clearly preparing to barf napalm right into my face, but this is really nice sculpting for a figure in this scale. Where to begin? Let’s start with the portrait: A masterful blend of beauty and evil. Beavil? Whatever you call it, I love what they did with her. Beside the great expression and free tickets to the boob show, the wild, blown hair looks fantastic and I really dig the way her briny shoulder armor frames her face. The tiara appears to be sculpted from a separate piece and sports a gorgeous metallic red paint job. Spendid!

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Mera is clad in skintight red scale armor, with every tiny little scale lovingly recreated. It not only looks amazing, but it gives the figure a wonderful texture when you handle it. She has red withered fins on her calves and more briny armor bits protruding from her arms and her cuffs. The outfit is topped off with a Red Lantern disc attached just under her chest. It’s a simple enough costume design, but the sculpted scales and the gorgeous red metallic finish make it appear to be so much more.

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Articulation? Uh oh… here’s where the barnacle crumbles. It’s DC Direct, so you know things are going to be limited. In this case, you get ball joints in the shoulders, swivels in the hips, and hinges in the knees and elbows. Is the neck ball jointed? It seems to be, but my figure’s head won’t move, and I’m not forcing it. It seems like there isn’t much room to move with the sculpted hair anyway.  Swivels in the biceps and/or wrists would have helped a lot, especially for posing her with her trident. And speaking of her trident…

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Accessories! Mera comes with a cool assortment of goodies. The trident is a nice and simple piece, and she also comes with her Red Lantern battery. And Dex-Starr! She comes with the most hate-filled cat in the universe. He’s a completely static piece and smaller than the one that came in the Green Lantern Classics 3-pack and he’s sculpted specifically to be propped up against a figure’s leg. On the other hand, the sculpt is superb. From his crazy ass expression to the little pads on his feet, the guys at DCD went all out on him, and It’s much appreciated. Mera also comes with a Red Lantern disc stand.

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Compromise! Why does everything have to be a compromise? If only we could get this level of sculpting and paintwork on a figure with the DCUC level of articulation, it would start raining puppies and lollipops, and all would be right with the world. Sadly, that’s not likely to happen. So, she may not be well articulated… Mera is still a fantastic display piece, and while she’s just a smidge too tall (she’s a wee bit taller than my Signature Series Atrocitus), she still makes a nice compliment to my Red Lantern ranks. Tomorrow we’ll check out a character that is long overdue for the Mattel lines…  Psycho Pirate!