Legacy Series: Lady Death by Coffin Comics

Brian Pulido and Coffin Comics have done a bang up job bringing back Lady Death in a series of some of the most successful comic-based projects on Kickstarter. Not only does each new volume gets funded immediately, they all seem to set new records, showing that the Legions of Sworn are in no short supply. I look forward to each and every one of these, as the books are unbelievably high in quality, feature drop-dead gorgeous art and colors, and are just so damn fun to read. It’s great to see that Lady Death has come so far since being introduced as arm-candy for Evil Ernie back in the day. Meanwhile, Meanwhile, she’s seen a decent amount of merch and collectibles in recent years, including an amazing Sixth-Scale figure from TBLeague, and a damn fine Gallery Statue from Diamond Select Toys! And now, taking a cue from Hasbro’s Marvel Legends, Lady Death gets the 6-inch action figure treatment thanks to a pre-order campaign run by the folks at Coffin Comics themselves.

They certainly did a bang up job with the packaging! Lady Death comes in a collector-friendly window box with an illustrated inferno backdrop, the Coffin Comics logo at the bottom and her name up top. The figure itself is nestled in a clear plastic tray with a top cover over it, and she displays really well in the package. The flipside has a picture of the figure in a fantasy setting, along with a little blurb about the character and some highlighted features about the figure. On the bottom we have a tease of four future figures. I sincerely hope this isn’t just a mock up, and that Coffin is actually planning on releasing them, because I sure as hell am down for each one.

The side panels feature some beautiful character art with Lady Death sporting a couple different variants of her costume. I love this art, and I wish they had credited the artist on the box. I happen to collect quite a few art prints of of Pulido’s characters, and I wouldn’t mind picking up prints of these, particularly the one on the right. Lastly, the box does feature a J-hook, in case you want to hang the box on the wall, or maybe you have a wall of pegboard for displaying your packaged figures!

Here’s Lady Death out of the package and straightaway I am very impressed with the quality. With a first attempt figure like this one, you can never be quite sure what you’re going to get. Case in point, I had a Cassie action figure from Hack/Slash on pre-order, but wound up cancelling before it shipped, and after seeing the final product, I really dodged a bullet. Thankfully, this figure feels like a professional effort through and through, and I’ve got very few nitpicks. The sculpt is very nice, with the costume design taking the middle ground between her very simple style and the hyper-detailed one. I think it was a good choice. She sports a sculpted bra-top and G-string with golden skull fasteners in all the key places. Her thigh-high boots have sculpted belts connecting to the G-string, and she has a plastic cape, which hangs around her neck and stops just a bit below her knees.

The coloring on the figure is quite well done. Her skin consists of a chalky white plastic, which contrasts nicely with the black costume. The black also has some blue shading to give it that comic-panel style coloring, which makes for a very cool effect. The skull fixtures are hit with gold leaf paint, and her fingernails are painted bright crimson, as is the interior of her cape. The quality of the paint application is overall very solid. There are some examples of very minor overspray between her costume and skin, but you have to get in pretty close to see it, so it’s hardly worth mentioning.

The portrait is right on target, even if it is a rather soft sculpt, it still manages to capture Lady Death’s powerful beauty. Her lips are painted bright crimson and she has black eyebrows as well as black liner around her pupil-less eyes. All of these applications are razor sharp. Her flowing white hair is sculpted as part of the head and features some black wash and blue highlights. It’s also sculpted slightly above the shoulders so that her copious coif doesn’t curtail her neck articulation. Would I have liked an alternate head with a fierce expression? Sure! But given that we only had one, I’m very content with the more neutral tone.

Oh yes, the cape is removable, simply by popping off the head, which frees up the figure’s range of motion and allows you to better appreciate the view from behind.

Speaking of movement, I was very curious to see how this figure would articulate in hand, and I’m happy to report that the designers made some excellent decisions. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, single-hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps, and the hands are attached with hinged pegs to allow them to be swapped out. You get one pair of relaxed hands and one pair of accessory holding hands. The legs are ball jointed in the hips, have double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and hinges and rockers in the ankles. There’s a ball joint under the chest, and the head attaches to the body with a swiveling peg and a ball joint up top. The joints are a tad more loose than I’m used to seeing in Hasbro’s 6-inch figures, but it’s not an issue with her holding her poses. Indeed, all the joints feel sturdy. The balance on this figure is also exceptional, especially when the cape is removed. Even with her high heels, I didn’t have to resort to using a figure stand for a single shot. If pressed, my one gripe with the articulation would be a greater range of motion in the ball joint under the chest. It swivels fine, but there isn’t a lot of room for her to bend forward or back. Let’s have a look at her accessories!

First off, she comes with her trusty sword, Deathbringer, and it’s quite the beautiful weapon! The quality and attention to detail make this look like a sixth-scale weapon that’s been shrunken down. Besides the intricately sculpted hilt and guards, it has a two-tone paint job with the hilt painted in bronze, the blade in silver, and bronze again in the central channel that runs the length of the blade. It also has an extended grip for two-handed wielding, and the figure’s articulation certainly allows it.

And she also includes her Hell Scythe, which isn’t quite as ornate as the sword, but it’s a mighty impressive accessory due to its formidable size. The long shaft has some sculpted wraps for a grip and the head and blade are painted bright silver.

And before wrapping up, here’s a quick comparison shot of Lady Death with Hasbro’s Satana Hellstrom from their Marvel Legends line. They scale closely with one another, and I think Lady Death stacks up pretty damn well, although you could argue whether or not it’s a fair comparison. Marvel Legends are mass produced figures, which sell for about $20-22 at retail, whereas Lady Death is a collectible produced in a smaller quantity and sold for $50. Still, as I pointed out with the example of the Hack/Slash figure, these things don’t always work out. Hasbro’s figure may be less expensive, but they also have infinitely more experience under their belt. Either way, I think the comparison favors Lady Death!

If you can’t tell, I’m thrilled with how this figure turned out! Sure, fifty bucks is no small amount for a 6-inch figure, but in the end, I think it was well worth it. I’m not sure how the partnership works, but the box has Executive Replicas credited, and they are the same company that Phicen teamed up with to release their Sixth-Scale Lady Death. Whatever the case, somebody really knew what they were doing. The result was a top-notch action figure, that is doubly impressive for a first effort. And as I said, I really am all-in on whatever other characters they make, but I’m certainly rooting for Hellwitch being next!

Femme Fatales: Lady Death by Diamond Select

I am excited to say that Brian Pulido just completed another wildly successful project on Kickstarter. Blasphemy Anthem needed something like $25k to fund it, and it wound up with $323k (for a comic book, folks!!!), proving yet again that Lady Death still has a significant fan-base with deep pockets. To celebrate, I thought I’d dip into my unopened stack of Diamond Select statues and check out their latest version of Lady Death.

Femme Fatales is where it all started! Out of this unassuming line of independent comic statues grew the now high profile and highly prolific DC and Marvel Gallery series. So, it’s good to see DST bringing this line back to its roots now and again. This is actually the second version of Lady Death to be released in this line, with the original going for some pretty crazy money these days. As always, the packaging is collector friendly and has plenty of windows to let the light in and allow you to see your new acquisition, even before opening it. If you are unfamiliar with these, they are roughly 9-inch scale PVC statues perfect for collectors on a budget.

And, WOW, what a statue!!! Lady Death stands with her right hip thrust slightly out to the side, holding a ball of flame in her right hand and with her left hand resting on her sword. Fans of more museum-style poses will definitely dig this one, and with the magical ball of flame in her hand, it still offers a bit of energy and a hint of action. Above all, I think it really captures the regal look of the character.

The figure’s costume is definitely one of the more impressive sculpts I’ve seen in the line. Let’s face it, a lot of the Gallery Statues deal with fairly simple comic character costumes, and the ornate nature of Lady Death’s skimpy outfit gives the sculptor a little something more to sink his skills into. Her black chest piece, for example has a delicate golden skeletal structure to mimic the wings of a bat. Tiny golden skulls decorate it, as well as serve as fixtures on the clasps holding up her stocking-like boots. She even has a tiny golden skull serving as a clasp to secure her cape. The armor plates on the backs of her forearms are studded with spikes, and there are some subtle wrinkles in her boots. They also did a particularly nice job with all her hellacious curves.

The paint on this piece is applied well, with sharp lines and very little bleeding or flubs. There’s a tiny bit of uneven line along her bikini bottom, but nothing I’m going to get upset about. I dig the high gloss coat used on the gloves and boots, the gold has a somewhat antiqued look to it, and the inside liner of her cape is a deep crimson. It wasn’t until closer scrutiny that I realized her top has a bit of a purple sheen to it. Her skin is chalky white with a hint of blue, and while it looks fine, I think the blue applied around the bottom of her breasts is a wee bit overstated. Yeah, I’m really looking hard to find anything to nitpick here. And as I’m often fond of observing with this line, I’ve seen far worse paint on much more expensive statues.

The portrait is beautiful and features some sharp paint for Lady Death’s ruby lips and black eyebrows. Her pupil-less eyes are framed by some immaculate eyeliner. They also did a wonderful job sculpting her hair. It frames her face perfectly casting a little shadow over her left eye and brow, and then cascades down about her shoulders. The expression is slightly stern, but not overdone.

Her sword is a thing of nightmarish beauty and extends from the base all the way up to her neck. It’s permanently attached to her left hand, but the tip simply rests on the base. The ornate golden cross-guard features a tiny skull in the middle, and the segmented grip is painted brown. The blade has a bit of a pitted and antiqued finish to it. The ball of blue flame is the least effective thing about the statue. It’s not easy to sculpt something like that in plastic and make it look convincing. I do dig how the tip of it snakes down around the body. It’s semi-transparent with some darker paint used on the tips of the mystical flame. It’s perfectly fine, but I think it could have been done better.

The bases in DST’s Gallery and Femme Fatales line don’t tend to impress me, but they really did a great job on this one. Lady D stands on a circular stone pattern with skulls and roses strewn about it. There are also some blue crystalline structures protruding from the sides and a pair of braziers burning at her feet.

Never forget where you came from! That’s good advice and I’m glad to see that DST’s statue line is taking it to heart. As I pointed out earlier, long before they secured the lucrative Marvel and DC licenses and transformed Femme Fatales into Gallery, characters like Pulido’s Lady Death were their bread and butter. It’s nice to see them returning to their roots. And it’s a testament to how great this line is, that no matter how hard I try I can’t seem to stop collecting it. Lack of display space be damned, I just can’t resist these pieces! Lady D set me back only $40 and that’s a damn fine value for this kind of craftsmanship.