Crisis on Infinite Earths: Psycho Pirate by DC Direct

Pushing forward on my effort to fill in some of the missing characters from my DCUC shelves, I delve once again into the DCD offerings with Psycho Pirate. Seriously, how the hell is it possible that DC Universe Classics went twenty waves without giving us Psycho Pirate? Well, I guess you could say that about a lot of DC characters. This poor guy has been hanging on a peg at my local comic shop for ages, and since guilt over buying some comics online forced me to spend some money there, I decided to liberate him and give him a good home. It feels like a Pub Night, so let’s see if I can run through this pretty quickly.

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Before going to sealed clamshells, DCD delivered their figures on cards and bubbles. I like this better because I can just rip the bugger open, although I’ll concede that I miss the heady hit of plastic fumes from the clamshells. The package is utilitarian at best, although I enjoy the way many of the DCD series used to use the figure stand in lieu of putting the title of the series on the package. It’s an economy of cleverness… or a cleverness of economy… it’s one of those things. Anyway, the package gives you a good idea of what you’re getting. Sadly, there is no included effect part of Psycho Pirate’s head being caved in by the rage of Black Adam. Oh wait, that’s Infinite Crisis.

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DCD did a fine job with the sculpt. They really nailed the portrait. Roger looks pissed and his fingers are clutched in anger. He’s kind of lean and scrawny and the details in his costume are all part of the sculpt, rather than just paint. The cape looks great, complete with the high cowl.

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The paint on this guy is crap. The borders between the red and black are little sloppy. There’s also black smudging on the red and there’s a black gluey mess on his right shoulder that transferred from the cape lining. I do like that they bothered to use glossy paint for the boots and the interior of the cape and the mask tampos on his chest look good. It’s amazing how far DCD has come.

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Psycho Pirate’s articulation is competent enough. You get ball joints in the neck and shoulders. The arms feature hinged elbows and swivels in the wrists. There’s a T-crotch, hinges in the knees, and swivels at the top of the boots. There’s no torso articulation. It’s certainly not DCUC standards, but at least you can do a couple things with him. He can even sit down!

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The accessories include the Medusa Mask, which fits pretty nicely over the figure’s face and the figure stand. The features the Crisis on Infinite Earths logo. It’s a nice stand, but since he’s going on my DCUC shelf, I’ll probably make due without it.

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Psycho Pirate’s an ok figure. The sculpt is fine, the articulation is passable, but I’ve found the quality of the paintwork has been a problem with many of the Crisis on Infinite Earth figures and this guy is no exception. Nonetheless, he was only ten bucks and he makes for a decent place holder on my shelf until Mattel decides to do this guy better, possibly through Club Infinite Earths.

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DC Crisis on Infinite Earths: Harbinger by DC Direct

We might as well make it a DC weekend. One of the totes I recently grabbed from storage had a heap of DC Direct figures in it, and I pulled a bunch out to use for content in the weeks ahead. I don’t usually buy a lot of these, as I tend to prefer the DCUC stuff, but every now and again I come across them cheap and just can’t resist. With the DCUC style releases being a lot fewer than what they were, I’ve come to the realization that a lot of these characters aren’t going to be released in the DCUC style, and I’m more willing to turn to some of these DC Direct figures as stand ins for my display. Today we’re looking at a figure that really should have turned up in one of those 20 waves of DCUC… It’s Harbinger from a little something called Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Harbinger comes mounted on a rather bland card and basically lets the figure speak for itself. I do really dig the way DC Direct uses the stand as the series title for the package. It’s clever, but it doesn’t save the package from being bland and boring. There’s a little insert in the bottom of the bubble that identifies the figure. Other than that there’s really nothing here to write home about. The back panel of the card is only marginally better. It’s generic to the series, so it shows all the figures available and gives little blurbs about them. Bland packaging doesn’t really bother me, as I’m just going to rip it open anyway, but I’ve always expected better from a collector driven line like DC Direct. This is just cheap, quick and ugly.

I think the sculpting on the figure is ok. The face is good, and I like the way her hair flows out of the back of the helmet. The Monitor armor-inspired outfit is readily familiar and includes a few nice touches, like the sculpted muscles in her stomach. There isn’t a whole lot else to say here, other than overall, the sculpt just looks rather soft. It’s not up there among DC Direct’s best work, and I don’t think it’s any better than a DCUC version would have been, but it’s not particularly bad either. Maybe just a little dated?

At first glance, the paintwork looks pretty good, but it doesn’t really hold up to close inspection. I do like the glossy red used for the helmet and the metallic blue used for her outfit and it meshes well with the silver bits. The flesh tone paint is a bit spotty and there are some dirty spots on her skin that I’ll have to try to touch up with a magic eraser.  The face is a little better, as there’s no slop or bleeding there. The eyes are a little uneven, but nothing too bad. The paint used for her hair looks dirty and feels a little tacky. It’s not coming off, but it is noticeable to the touch. I may try giving it a go with a damp cloth to see if that helps. It may be from being stored in a humid environment for a while. Had I bought this figure on Ebay and not taken it out of the package myself, I would have doubted it was new.

Harbinger has the basic 9-points of articulation that I’ve come to expect from the DC Direct figures. You get ball joints in the neck and shoulders. The arms have hinged elbows and the legs have hinged knees. The hips have angled cuts. Overall, the poseability is not bad, but not great. There’s not a lot of point to the leg articulation, but at least the arms give you some options for posing her.

Harbinger comes with her figure stand, which is pretty necessary for getting her to stand for any period of time.

In the end, Harbinger is solidly average. There’s nothing so wrong with her that cripples the figure, but nothing about her really shines either. My understanding has always been that if you want articulation and a fun toy, you go with DCUC, if you want a superior sculpt for a display piece, you go with DC Direct. But, as I mentioned earlier, I don’t think a DCUC version of Harbinger would look any worse. That having been said, she is scaled appropriately enough with the DCUC line that I have no problem using her to fill this empty slot in that collection, and since they weren’t in the tote I pulled her out of, I’ll probably hunt down The Monitor and Psycho-Pirate for the same purposes. In the meantime, I have a whole pile of figures from Identity Crisis, which I’ll need to get to next month.