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…


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.


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.


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.




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.


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.



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.



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.




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.

Ame-Comi Heroine-Series: Supergirl (v.2) by DC Direct

A couple of weeks ago I picked up my first Ame-Comi statue and I was pretty impressed, so when the opportunity to get a second one for really cheap availed itself I jumped right on board. Supergirl was an especially nice pick up because the Bishoujo Supergirl statue has become a bit too pricey for me to go back for and so the character has no representation on my “over sexualized anime statue shelf.” We can’t have that! This time I’ll spare you the long winded Bishoujo vs. Ame-Comi diatribe and get right to the goods. Let’s start with the packaging.



Here’s the packaging and it’s all kinds of beat up. The seller was looking to unload it cheap because the box took a hit to the top corner and messed up the plastic. The statue was unharmed and while I would probably not have picked up a Bishoujo with a box in this shape, I’m still testing the waters of this line, so I was more than willing to make the compromise in order to save a little cash. Anyway, the package is the same style of window box that we saw with Mera. It’s got some nice shots of the statue and an extended back with a J-hook so it can hang on a peg or sit on a shelf. Let’s bust her open.



The composition is pretty creative in that it has Supergirl admiring herself in a detached sideview mirror of a car. I’d like to think that she found it following in the wake of the  holocaust, but if we’re dealing with that universe, I suppose it’s just as likely she tore it off some poor citizen’s car to check her make up with.



Her pose is pure cheesecake. She’s got her hip tossed to the right with her hand resting on it and the other holding up the mirror. Her costume features a pleated skirt, which goes slightly transparent as you get to the bottom of it. You also get the iconic S-shield and a pretty cool yellow collar with what looks like Kryptonian writing on it. The top of the outfit has cut outs on the sides and some yellow piping along with a short cape that blows off to the left. The ensemble is finished off with a pair of red boots with more yellow piping. The designer actually put a lot more detail and love into the costume then I’m used to seeing and I applaud them for that.




And, because this is an anime-style statue, you get a heaping dose of cleavage in the front and a panty shot from behind, because… fan service!


It’s only in the portrait where this statue stumbles for me. What’s frustrating is that I can’t quite put my finger on why. It’s like someone described what anime style was to the artist and he did his best to reproduce it and the result is a sort of western-eastern hybrid. I don’t hate it, but something just looks off about it. Ironically, I get a similar feel off of the recent She-Hulk Bishoujo statue, which, even with twenty-something pieces in my collection, is the first comic-inspired statue in that line that I am passing on. The hair is a little chunky, but it has a decent wind-blown look to it. The yellow paint, however, is laid on a bit thick and the paint for the eyes could have been a lot neater.




The mirror is well done with a reflective adhesive on it so you can actually see her reflection in it. Unfortunately, she isn’t actually looking directly at it. There’s actually some articulation to be had here via cuts in the shoulders. They offer a little variety, but nothing too crazy.



The base is a simple, black plastic oval with the “Ame-Comi Heroine-Series” logo printed on it in blue. The figure attaches to the base using pegs. It’s a snug and serviceable fit, but I had no problems getting her attached.


Supergirl is a decent statue, but I didn’t fall head over heels for her like I did the Mera statue. I like what they did here and honestly from the neck down it’s a total winner. Had the portrait had that more traditional anime look to it, I could have bumped this piece from good to great, but as it is, I’m sure I can find a spot for her at the back of one of my shelves. Hey, at just under thirty bucks shipped, I can’t complain.

Ame-Comi Heroine-Series: Mera by DC Direct

I’m a Bishoujo guy. I say that in the way someone might say, I’m a Coca-Cola guy as opposed to Pepsi, because deep down inside I’d like to think that the same style of Coke vs. Pepsi rivalry is being fought among the comic book statue collecting market between the rabid and diametrically opposed supporters of Koto’s Bishoujo and DC Direct’s Ame-Comi. One day, I’d like to sit my grandson on me knee and tell him all about those glorious days when Kotobukiya and DC Direct slugged it out and scorched the Earth over dominating the statue market of overly-sexualized anime-style female comic book characters. Yeah, that’s probably not going to happen, but my point here is that I’ve rarely ever given DCD’s Ame-Comi line a second glance. Somehow it seemed suspicious. Koto’s Bishoujo statues are the real thing because they’re from Japan and designed from art by Shunya Yamashita, whereas Ame-Comi is like a Western imposter line. Then again, Ame-Comi is the one that actually has a comic book to justify its existence and DCD pulled in the big guns for some of these pieces, like the one I’m looking at today, which was sculpted by the great John St. John. And so, here I go, jumping in to see how the other half lives. Let’s check out Ame-Comi Mera! Also, apologies in advance to all you non-Bishoujo collectors because I’m going to probably be doing a lot of comparisons where they aren’t necessarily warrented. What can I say, I’m coming at this piece as a Bish collector and that’s the filter in which I’m seeing it.


The box is pretty typical of what we’ve been seeing in the later years of DC Direct and the current DC Collectibles branding. There isn’t a date on this one, but I’m sure it’s one of the most recent releases, probably from right before DCD changed over to DCC. You get a big window box that shows off the statue quite well, mainly because there isn’t any plastic wrap to obscure it like you get with the Bishoujo pieces. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a good thing, as that plastic is there to prevent paint rubbing, but in this case, its absense doesn’t seem to have hurt the statue. The box is collector friendly and the only thing holding the three pieces into the tray re some twisty-ties.


The back of the box extends to form a card with a J-cutout to hang this on a peg if need be, but it’s a pretty big and heavy box for that sort of thing. You get a mix of artwork and shots of the statue and a little blurb about Mera on the back. So why was it that Mera got me to break down and go to the Dark Side of Ame-Comi? Mainly because I saw this gal in the comic shop and she called out to me and because Koto hasn’t given Mera the Bishoujo treatment yet. Although with the way they’ve been cranking them out lady, I have to imagine she may not be far behind.




Straightaway, let me say that I adore this statue. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw her in the box on the comic shop counter, apparently waiting to be put away. I’m not sure whether it’s the composition or the coloring or just the style that I love the most, but maybe it’s just all three. The pose has her supported on a mermaid tail, or what actually looks like is the husk of a mermaid tail with her bare legs breaking out of it. Is it a real tail or just a wildly impractical costume? Who knows? I’m not trying to read too much into the logistics of what’s happening here, and that’s probably for the better. The tail on the base gives her a levitating effect with her legs off the ground and one kicking up more behind her, as if she’s bounding through water across the ocean floor. She’s got her trident in her right hand held down at her side and her left hand trailing behind her. It’s a superb pose, which straddles the line between action and just mugging for the camera, and it’s all the better because it works when displayed from multiple angles.




The outfit is really something special too, even taking into account for the possible body horror aspect that’s going on between her fish tail and real legs. The fish scales are intricately textured and the shimmery green paint is damn pleasing on the eyes. I really dig how elaborate her headdress is, along with the matching choker collar, and the way the transparent shell pieces rise up from her shoulders. The paint is overall excellent, particulalry on her eyes, lips, and even the green nail polish on her fingers and toes.



Mera shows a fair amount of skin, but I don’t get the same feeling of intentional and overt sexuality here as I do with the Bishoujo statues. Yeah, she’s got some killer legs and she’s showing off her midriff and a little cleavage, but what’s here feels slightly more innocent and natural. Maybe that’s just me. I think it may have a little something to do with the proportions, which strike me as more ‘toon than anime. I think a lot of that also comes off in the portrait. It’s more rounded and the eyes again, strike me as conveying more Disney Princess rather than anime tentacle bait.



In addition to the figure itself, you also get the trident and the base. The trident is a nicely sculpted piece that simply goes right into her hand. I was a little nervous getting it in there, since you have to pull the fingers apart a bit, but it went in with out any problems and she holds it quite well. You can even tweak it a little depending on where you want her to grasp it.




The stand is a simple black oval base with the tail portion pegging into it. It features a nicely engineered system of balance that makes it look like the statue shouldn’t be as stable as it is when standing on the shelf. The base is printed with “Ame-Comi Heroine Series” although the mermaid tail does obscure most of the lettering.


Based on a little research, the market on these Ame-Comis seem to be a lot more erratic than the Bishoujo pieces. A lot of Koto’s ladies shoot up in price, some hover around their original MSRP, but very few ever sink below that making them a fairly safe investment. While I’ve yet to see an Ame-Comi reach the heights of a Bishoujo Emma Frost or Rogue, some of these seem to have doubled in price, while a few others are available for deep discounts. This one was already sold at the comic shop I saw it at when I went back for her, but she later popped up on a clearance sale at on online retailer for $38, which is certainly not bad. She’s a fantastic piece and I do believe I’m smitten enough with her to pick up another statue and see if my new found admiration of this line can hold.

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.


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.



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.


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.


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!



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.


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.

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.


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.



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!


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.


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…



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.



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!

Watchmen Series 1: Modern Nite Owl by DC Direct

Ok, so I had originally planned on being back yesterday with a look at Modern Nite Owl, but I got a little tripped up for time, (surprisingly enough alcohol wasn’t involved) so Watchmen Week is spilling out into one more day. I was probably going to just take today off anyway, so everything worked out for the best. So let’s press on. The Doomsday Clock is just about up and I really want to put this week to bed…

Here’s our last look at DC Direct’s brilliant Watchmen packaging. Brilliant or not, after a week of the same packaging, I’ve got nothing else to say. Which is good, because I also completely forgot to take a picture of the boxed figure before taking out the trash (this time, alcohol was involved). Nonetheless, if you’re hankering to see one more boxed Watchmen figure, you’ll get your wish at the end of today’s feature.

In the film, Nite Owl’s character design went in a similar direction to Ozymandias. The costume favors some level of realism over dynamic design and in the end you get something pretty simple and serviceable not unlike a modern Batman motif only with owls (What? A guy can dress like a bat, but not an owl?).That’s not a criticism, mind you, the new outfit design worked really well on screen and as it turns out DC Direct crafted it into one great looking figure.

The tiny scale patterned texture on the suit really makes Nite Owl stand out and it’s rather reminiscent of chain mail armor. It’s also easily my favorite thing about this figure. The sculpted striping and reinforced portions of the suit’s design give him a decidedly Art Deco vibe. The cowl is layered on the figure as a separate piece of plastic and meshes with the pliable, soft plastic cape very nicely. The head sculpt is as solid as it gets, with excellent detailing on the hood and what you can see of the face offers an appropriately stoic expression. The impressive sculpt is rounded out with some exceptionally nice paintwork with a two-tone coppery finish that really ties the whole figure together. For a guy in an owl themed suit, this figure turned out pretty majestic looking and even downright artistic.

Nite Owl’s articulation offers the best we can expect from this line. The neck and shoulders are ball jointed, the arms feature hinged elbows and swivels in the wrists. The legs have a standard “T” at the hips and hinges in the knees. It’s also worth noting that his crescent boomerang is removable from the belt (it just pegs in) although DCD didn’t have the foresight to put a peg hole in his palm, so he really can’t hold it all that well. Bummer!

Had DC Direct decided to phone this guy in, Nite Owl could have turned out looking mighty bland. Instead they went above and beyond with some beautiful, detailed texturing in the sculpt, great looking paint, and solid articulation. I think I recall saying the same thing about Dr. Manhattan, but it rings true here as well. He’s certainly one of my favorite figures in the line and that’s saying a lot. If you discount the inconsistent articulation, DCD’s line of Watchmen figures is an all-around fantastic set. They display wonderfully on my shelf and the extra variant figures are a really nice bonus.

And yes, folks, I realize that I did leave one figure out this week: The exclusive variant of The Comedian. Since I already featured the regular version of Comedian a while back, in that incredibly lazy link at the beginning of the week, I didn’t really see the need to revisit the whole figure just for the sake of the younger, unmasked variant head, but just to be complete, I’ll leave you with a shot of that figure in package.

Phew… that was a long week and it’s time for me to hit snooze on the Doomsday Clock and go back to bed. I have a couple more themed weeks planned for December, but next week is just going to be a little bit of everything as I try to clear out some of the things still kicking around on my receivings pile.

I’ll see y’all tomorrow with a little Lego action…

Watchmen Series 2: Classic Nite Owl by DC Direct

One of the things I sometimes regret not collecting was that line of DC Origins two-packs by DC Direct. The idea of getting a classic and modern version of the same character in one package really appeals to the inner historian in me. That’s kind of like what we have here with the Classic and Modern versions of Nite Owl. Granted some of the appeal is lost by the fact that Classic Nite Owl was created for the very same funnybook as Modern Nite Owl, so there’s no real history there, but I still think having both as figures is kind of neat.

Hopefully, I’ve established my love for the Watchmen packaging by now. Classic Nite Owl comes in the same peg-friendly window box that we’ve been seeing all week. His stand is not secured to the back insert, so that gives you one more undamaged backdrop display for your figures. Otherwise, there’s nothing new to be said.

So here’s my dilemma with Classic Nite Owl. On the one hand, I am not a big fan of his costume design. On the other hand, this figure represents an especially nicely sculpted and faithful reproduction of that design. So, let me get my personal feelings on the aesthetics out of the way. I get that this is supposed to be a vintage costume, but even with my love of retro Sci-Fi and Superheroes, this get-up just doesn’t work for me. It’s hard to take him seriously in those goofy yellow shorts, and his tunic just reminds me of a polo shirt. I do, however, like the owl-styled aviation cap, and the boots and gauntlets are fine. He even has one of his crescent boomerangs tucked into his belt. I get that the art designers were going for a certain cheese factor with the older characters, but so many of the other costumes look good, I just think Classic Nite Owl looks out of place.

Now, with all that having been said, the execution of the figure is top notch. The sculpted detail on his tunic is fantastic. You can see every last stitch, and I love the way the “fabric” bunches and pulls in all the right places. The head sculpt is also great, and again you can see all the little stitches in the flight helmet and the eye mask is sculpted, rather than just painted on. The figure sports a pretty basic color scheme, with the tunic, eye mask, and cap all grey and with yellow fringe and matching yellow shorts. The boots and gauntlets feature matte paint to give them a sweet, burnished leather look, and the flesh tone is all clean and free of splotches. From design to figure, there’s really nothing to complain about here at all.

Spinning DC Direct’s Wheel of Articulation, we find that Classic Nite Owl hit the jackpot. His neck isn’t ball jointed, but that’s because high belted collar. The head does, however, turn side to side. His arms feature ball joints in the shoulders, hinges in the shoulders, and swivels in both the biceps and the forearms. His legs feature a standard “T” in the hips and hinges in the knees. The sculpting on the tunic inhibits the shoulder articulation a bit, but still… not bad.

And that’s Classic Nite Owl. If you dig the costume, you’ll get a lot more mileage out of this figure than I do. But even with my lackluster feelings toward the character design, I still can’t deny this is one of the better efforts in the line, he’s close to the original Silk Spectre in terms of the amount of love DCD seemed to pour into him. You get a great sculpt, solid paint work, and decent articulation for the line.

I’ll check back later on tonight to wrap things up with Modern Nite Owl.

Watchmen Series 1: Ozymandias by DC Direct

Sorry if I popped a gasket yesterday. It was a long day and coming back later to be so disappointed by Silk Spectre II after being rather impressed by her mom… well, it really put a damper on my evening. I’m back, refreshed with a couple pre-emptive belts of Jameson to steady my nerves, and ready to tear open the next figure in DC Direct’s Watchmen line. Today I’m limiting myself to only one, and he doesn’t even have a variant, so hopefully things will go a little more smoothly as we take a look at Ozymandias. I don’t have a hell of a lot to say about this figure, so we should be able to get through today pretty quickly.

Once again, here is a look at the Watchmen packaging. Let’s take a moment together to bask in its beautiful deco, its collector friendly design, and its uncanny ability to stand on the shelf or hang on the peg. It is the alpha and omega of action figure packaging, and I’m about to shred it to pieces to get to my toy inside.

In terms of character design, the film version of Ozymandias, as wonderfully played by Matthew Goode, was quite a departure from the Ozymandias we saw in the panels of the Watchmen funnybooks. While the fanboy in me originally raged against many of these changes, I can certainly see why the designers went with this more modern look to assist with mass audience consumption, so I don’t begrudge them this change at all. What’s here isn’t the most exciting character design, but it’s more practical and probably far better suited to the action figure treatment than his comic garments.

Gone are the primary colors, replaced by a far more subdued, yet still snazzy looking coppery-bronze armor. I was pleasantly surprised the film designers didn’t go more overboard Egyptian on his motif. As it stands all we get is a very subtle Eye of Horus style emblem on his belt. The rest of Ozy’s costume features a basic muscle-sculpted body suit with armor reinforced around the shoulders, gauntlets and boots. He also sports a standard soft, pliable plastic cape. There’s a little shimmer to the paintwork, which helps keep the figure stride the line between being too gaudy.

Ozy’s portrait is pretty solid, if not remarkable. The likeness to Goode is definitely there. The headband and eye mask are both sculpted as well as painted, and while there’s a wee bit of slop around the flesh paint, it’s nothing bad enough to bother me. All in all, this is a competent job on the head, DCD.

Oh, looky here… Ozymandias apparently hit the jackpot while spinning DC Direct’s Wheel of Articulation. He came away with ball joints in the neck and shoulders, hinges in the elbows and knees, swivel cuts in the wrists, and a standard “T” joint at the hips. You won’t get him into any crazy action poses, but there’s enough serviceable articulation here to work with.

Ozy’s redesign wasn’t the most exciting thing to work with, but what’s here is certainly well executed. He’s a good looking figure with decent articulation for this line. As always, the figure stand is a nice bonus even if he can stand fine on his own, but what’s really missing is a little Bubastis figure to put beside him. It wouldn’t have taken up much more plastic than Dr. Manhattan’s legs and a static piece would have been fine. On the other hand, Bubastis didn’t exactly play a large part in the film, so I guess I can understand leaving him out.

And that’s another Watchmen figure in the bag. I should be able to wrap up everything tomorrow with a look at both Classic and Modern Nite Owl.

Watchmen Series 1: Silk Spectre II by DC Direct

Here I am, back as promised, to take a gander at the second lady of The Watchmen: It’s Silk Spectre II (aka Laurie Juspeczyk). Wow, I am torn on this figure. Let’s dig right in and see why…

There’s the packaging. Laurie looks awesome displayed in this wonderful window box, but there’s nothing here different from the other Series 1 figure packaging, so there’s not a lot new to talk about. Moving on…

Silk Spectre represents a great combination of solid sculpt and excellent paintwork for the body, and some passable work for the head. The portrait isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot closer to the lovely Malin Akerman than the original Spectre figure was to Carla Gugino. Still, likeness aside, I don’t think the quality of the sculpt and paint live up to the previous figure. I think the big sticking point for me is that the paint on the eyes just looks rather cartoonish to me. Her long, straight hair is executed pretty well, but renders her head articulation almost useless. What’s here for the portrait certainly isn’t at all bad, but it’s just not amazing.

The body on the other hand is great, and I mean that in more ways than one! Yes, DC Direct captured Spectre’s feminine form quite well, but they also really knocked the outfit right out of the park. The mix of matte yellow and high-gloss black used for her costume is clean and spot-on to the source material. The fine silver paintwork on the zipper is impressive for a figure in this scale and price range, and really ties everything together. All the lines along the components of her outfit are actually sculpted to give the figure a nice layered look and add a lot of credibility to the appearance of her costume. Spectre is sculpted standing with her hands clenched into fists and her posture is ram-rod straight. And that, my friends, leads us to her articulation…

Let’s not mince words: Silk Spectre’s articulation sucks and there’s no reason for it. I could somewhat forgive Rorschach because he had the trench coat, but there’s no reason for Laurie here to have less articulation than her mother. Here’s what you get: A ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivel cuts in the thighs. That’s it! The head and arms are about on par with the rest of the figures, so I won’t complain much about them, but where’s the “T” joint in the hips? Where are the hinges in the knees? What the fuck is the point of the swivels in the thighs??? When you tweak them even one jot and she can’t stand and her feet don’t look natural in any other position. Besides, every other figure in this line is sporting some ability to adopt something of a trademark pose, while Laurie here just stands at attention. Why, DC Direct? What happened here? Did you just spin a giant wheel to randomly decide which figure gets blessed with articulation and which gets cheated? Oh, holy hell, I need a belt of Jameson.

If I had opened Silk Spectre II right after opening Rorschach, I think I would have been a lot less disappointed. But after finding decent enough articulation on Comedian, Dr. Manhattan, and the original Silk Spectre, I really got my hopes up that Rorschach was an exception that was hampered because of his trench coat. The truth is Laurie looks really good on the shelf, flanked by her fellow Watchmen, but there’s just no excuse for DC Direct limiting her articulation as much as they did and that makes her all the more frustrating a figure. Scratch that, she’s not a figure… she’s a semi-articulated statue, and if I’m going to display a statue on my shelf, I’d rather have something a lot more dynamic looking than the way she turned out. Damn you, DCD, you were doing so well and now this!

I’m going to go off and drink heavily collect my thoughts and tomorrow, we’re going to move on to the smarty-pants villain of the piece… Ozymandias.

Watchmen Series 2: Silk Spectre by DC Direct

Wow, it’s Thursday already! The Doomsday Clock is still counting down and I’ve still got a lot of figures to look at this week, so I better get my ass in gear. Today I’m cramming two figures into one day because I really want to get through all of the Watchmen figures by Saturday, so we can move on to other things. Let’s start out with the original Silk Spectre, aka Sally Jupiter, and later today we’ll move on to Silk Spectre II, aka Laurie Juspeczyk. I can’t say as I’ve ever looked at figures based off mom and daughter superheroes before, and I blame that solely on the fact that nobody made decent Incredibles figures. Yeah, I’m still bitter about that. But I digress… let’s go!

Since we’ve already seen DC Direct’s Watchmen packaging and I’ve got to cover two different figures today, let’s not spend a lot of time on the boxes. Suffice it to say, I love everything about the in-package presentation. DC Direct didn’t stand on chronological ceremony and so the original Silk Spectre wasn’t released until Series 2. On the other hand, DC Direct was kind enough to give us Sally Jupiter in her prime and in her superhero garb, as opposed to a figure of her older self in a bathrobe quaffing down tumblers of gin. Good call, DCD! I have a weird affinity for 50’s style superhero and science fiction designs, toss in a pretty lady and this figure really scratches my itch. But before we get into the costume, let’s talk portraits…

The original Silk Spectre was played by Carla Gugino. I honestly don’t see a lot of her in this head sculpt. The mouth is too small and the face isn’t rounded enough. Now, setting likeness aside, this figure still sports a drop dead gorgeous head sculpt. The face is beautiful and it features immaculate, potentially perfect, paint apps, all capped off with a really great vintage style hairdo. I suppose if you have a real attachment to the actress, the lack of likeness may be a sticking point, but I’m just so pleased with how great the head looks, I’m willing to be all sorts of forgiving on this point. Seriously, DCD, bravo on this one, as far as head sculpts go, this one is an absolute homerun and quite possibly one of your best efforts.

The rest of the figure is spot-on right down to her glorious example of 50’s cheesecake costuming. The dress is sculpted with realistic pleating and the skirt bellows up in the back to give a nice glimpse of her tushie. The yellow paint apps on the dress are darkened to make it look like her black undergarments are showing through. It’s a nice effort, but I don’t think it works quite as well as the designers’ hoped. The rest of the figure’s paint looks great. Painted skin tone often shoes up as dirty and smudged when it isn’t executed right, but that clearly isn’t a problem here. They also used a beautiful high-gloss black for the glove over her right arm.

Sally’s stockings and high heeled boots are a mix of sculpting, more high-gloss black paint, and the old mixed-media fishnets that DCD and Mattel like to use on some of their DC ladies. While the fishnets still have the problem of unsightly bunching on the back, the limited use of them here make them work a lot better than on previous efforts like Zatanna or Black Canary. In fact, this is easily the best execution of this stockings approach I’ve seen on a figure yet.

Silky-1 sports solid, albeit not super, articulation. Her neck is ball jointed, which allows for a decent amount of movement for her pretty head. Her arms rotate at the shoulders and are hinged at the elbows. She has a swivel cut in her left wrist, but oddly enough not in the right. Her legs feature a standard “T” in the hips and hinges in the knees. The sculpted skirt inhibits her forward leg movement at the hips pretty badly, but there’s just enough poseability here to give you a limited  variety of display options, but the figure really screams for some swivel cuts in the biceps and thighs. Close… oh, so close. Her articulation allows her to stand perfectly fine on her own, although she does come with the same gantry-style figure stand as the other figures.

In case you haven’t guessed, I am totally digging on this figure. She’s a beautifully crafted effort on DCD’s part, especially since she’s based on a character that doesn’t have a huge amount of screen time compared to the others in the line. One might not expect her vintage looks to hold up in action figure form, but the end result is one sexy piece of pin-up style plastic. Sure, the likeness isn’t there, and I understand that’s going to put off some collectors, but I’m still so very  enamored with the end result, I just don’t care.

I’ll be back later tonight to see how well Sally’s daughter fares with Silk Spectre II.