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.

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DC Icons: (#09) Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) by DC Collectibles

Today’s Feature is running a little late, because I just got back from seeing Captain America: Civil War. I want to talk about it, I want to review tons of Marvel figures and bask in all the Marvel greatness, but in a bitter turn of irony, it happens to be DC Friday. That means I’m going to do the right thing and open up another DC Icons figure, this time the Wave 2, Deluxe Green Lantern! Hey, Green Lantern had a movie, didn’t he? Oooooh. Riiiight…

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While the style of packaging is the same as the previous Icons releases, Green Lantern is a Deluxe, which means he costs a little more and comes in bigger box with a bunch more stuff. The larger tray has the figure to the right and all his construct parts spread out beside him. It’s an impressive set that boasts 26 pieces. The side panel notes that this version of Hal comes from the Dark Days story arc, which I found very adequate, but not as good as as the preceding stint by Geof Johns. Anyway, considering the number of pieces here, I may actually hold on to this box just to have somewhere to keep all this stuff.

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So, obviously Hal sports his New 52 design, which isn’t all that big a break from many of his previous looks. I dig it, but then I didn’t have much of a problem with any of the New 52 costumes. Just about every detail in the costume is actually part of the sculpt from the borders of his green “vest” to the tops of his boots and his Lantern Corps emblem is printed on the raised disk in his chest. And of course, his power ring is sculpted and painted on his finger.

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The paint here is overall quite good, with the only exception being an extra dollop of green on his chest to the right of his emblem. I’m not sure if that was added to correct a flaw or just a drip, but it’s worth noting all the same, especially since the paint on this line has been more or less flawless so far. The metallic green looks great and contrasts nicely with the black matte and white gloves.

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The portrait is sold enough and probably one of the better ones I’ve seen in this series. If you’ve been reading my Features on this line, you know I’m not overly enamored with the head sculpts. With that having been said, the hair looks good, I like the furled brow, and the mask is part of the sculpt as well as painted. Hal is wearing a rather determined face, which fits the book this figure is pulled from.

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Articulation is right in line with what we’ve been seeing in this series. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders and wrists. The elbows have double hinges, and there are swivels both in the biceps and in the forearms. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinged knees, and the ankles are hinged and feature lateral rockers. The torso sports a hinge, which is set down by the waist, and there’s a ball joint in the chest. Finally, the neck is ball jointed.

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While the base figure is quite good, the real draw here comes from all those extra goodies in the box. For starters, Hal comes with two pairs of hands: One set of fists and one set of grabby hands. He also comes with his Green Lantern battery.

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You get one stand-alone construct, which is a giant fist cast in beautiful translucent green plastic. This piece looks fantastic, but is a little problematic. It fits right over Hal’s right hand, but to accommodate his construct armor, his forearms can be un-pegged and the connection is a little weak. If you can’t see where this is going… putting the fist construct on all the way over the fist means that when you pull it off, the arm is going to un-peg and stay stuck in the fist. At this point, it’s frustrating to get it out, so I try not to put it all the way on.

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And then you have the full set of construct armor and it is absolutely amazing. It’s all cast in the same translucent green plastic and features boots, upper leg pieces, the arm weapons, shoulder pieces, the torso and helmet harness, and a removable backpack with removable wings. The boots and legs come apart to fully enclose around the legs, the front of the torso is hinged to open, the jetpack is hinged, and the wings on the jetpack are ball jointed.

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The fit of the pieces are designed so as not to interfere with the articulation, and that’s quite a clever feat of design. The only thing that’s really lost are the ankle rockers. It’s also impressive how most everything more or less stays put when he’s wearing it. Sometimes I have to re-position the torso piece and sometimes the shoulders will pop off, but otherwise, it fits and stays on really well. The translucent plastic with the figure visible inside creates a beautiful effect and is pretty damn convincing as a ring construct.

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Hal is the first Deluxe in the line and as such, he set me back an extra ten bucks, which isn’t a bad deal considering how much is in the box. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that this is my favorite Hal Jordan figure in my collection, and that’s saying something because he’s represented in a fair number of different lines. As a normal release, Hal would have been a perfectly solid and worthwhile figure, but when DC Collectibles threw in that lovely set of armor, they really went above and beyond with this one. I’ve got only one more Icons figure to check out before I’m all up to date and waiting on Wave 3, so next Friday I’ll take a look at Black Adam!

DC Unlimited: Injustice Green Lantern by Mattel

It’s Friday, it’s been a long week and I have a long working weekend ahead of me. Next week is going to be something of a themed week so I was hoping to squeeze in MOTUC’s Battle Lion today and that didn’t happen. I haven’t even gotten around to opening him yet and I needed something quicker and easier for today so I could start drinking earlier than usual. Oh, hello Injustice Green Lantern! You’ve been sitting in the corner of the closet since before Christmas. Let’s open you up and check you out. This shouldn’t take long.

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Ah, it’s refreshing to see this packaging again! I really do miss my 6-inch DC figure fix. Sure I’m planning on buying a lot of DC Collectibles figures this year, but on some level it just isn’t quite the same. As far as I’m concerned, the Unlimited off-shoot of DC Universe Classics had the best package design. That added panel of character art on the front really ties the whole thing together beautifully. I’ll note here that I still have not played Injustice, but I do have it and it is sitting on my rather copious pile of games. Maybe when I get tired of Dark Souls kicking my ass, I’ll finally unwrap it and pop it in. Anyway, I absolutely loved the Injustice Batman figure so I’ve got some high expectations for Green Lantern…

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Oh… Ok. Obviously these figures are beholden to their character designs in the game and while Batman’s new digs were downright awesome, Green Lantern’s are a lot less exciting. No, scratch that. Injustice Green Lantern is just downright boring to me and that’s certainly going to color my reception of this figure. The redesign of his Lantern costume is kind of lazy. His shirt has been turned into a tunic with shoulder pads and side straps to hold it on, while the arms and legs are covered with exaggerated ribbed muscles. I just don’t find the redesign in any way creative or cool looking. Maybe the outfit doesn’t lend itself to the bad boy treatment as well as the others. Of course, even if you do like the design, this figure still isn’t all that great.

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The portrait, for example, is another big stumbling block for me. The face sculpt is very soft for a DCUC figure. None of the detailing in the nose or mouth is very well defined at all. The paint around the mask and hairline is also pretty sloppy for a 6-inch figure. But beyond that the entire portrait just doesn’t work for me. This doesn’t look like Hal Jordan, it looks like the guy with the receding hairline that comes up from IT to fix the copier.

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Aside from some sloppiness on the head, the paint on the figure is pretty solid overall. I’ll definitely give props to the way they painted his tunic around the Lantern emblem. The way the green gets darker as it moves away from the emblem does create a cool effect that the Lantern is actually illuminated. You also get some sharp emblems on his arm bracers and the power ring is painted.

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The articulation is in line with Injustice Batman, which means it’s missing some key points from the DCUC style. There’s no ab crunch, but more importantly there are no swivel cuts in the biceps. Those bicep swivels are pretty much non-negotiable for me and my 6-inch figures and it really pisses me off that Mattel nixed them from these figures. Hal comes off as feeling rather stiff and while you can certainly get him into some different poses, none of them are all that exciting.

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So, considering I only dropped about six bucks on this figure, I’m not too bummed out about it. He’s not terrible. Oh, we’ve seen some real shitty Green Lantern figures out of Mattel back when that movie was out and this figure doesn’t come close to being as bad as any of them. But it isn’t a figure that grabs me in any way. The real kicker is that Mattel only produced a handful of figures based on the Injustice video game and with all the cool character designs in that game, Green Lantern is one of the few they decided to produce. I would have much rather seen figures of Aquaman or Wonder Woman. But for figures of those characters, I’ll have to turn to those tiny DC Collectibles sets.

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!