Marvel Gallery: Black Cat by Diamond Select

Welcome to another Marvel Monday, and as you can tell by the title, today I am giving Marvel Legends a rest in favor of one of Diamond Select’s new(ish) Marvel Gallery statues. No, it’s not going to help me get caught up with my stupidly huge Legends backlog, but truth be told, delivering three reviews last week didn’t give me enough time to prepare a Legends review today, and checking out these statues doesn’t take me nearly as long. But that’s not to say I don’t enjoy checking them out!

Just a couple of weeks ago, I reviewed DST’s Supergirl Gallery statue, so I won’t spend a whole lot of time on the packaging. Suffice it to say these come in attractive window boxes, with clear plastic on the front and top panels, as well as the sides. These offer plenty of light to see what you’re getting, and while I buy these online, I recommend picking them up at a local comic shop if you can. That allows you to check the paint, and make sure you aren’t getting a dud. With that having been said, I’ve had pretty good luck with mine. The box is collector friendly, and Felicia doesn’t require any assembly.

And here she is out of the box, on the shelf, and looking pretty fabulous. This is definitely one of the most unique entries to the Marvel Gallery line, as most of the releases tend to focus on the figure with the base seeming like an afterthought. But not here! Black Cat crouches on one knee atop a Spider-Man themed safe, presumably one that she just cracked open. Perhaps Web Head himself has entered the room, because she’s frozen in what could be a defensive stance and ready to pounce. Let’s have a look at Felicia first!

I definitely dig the pose here. It’s very dynamic and works extremely well for the character. She looks like she may have just jumped back atop the safe after opening it, and is ready to go a few rounds with a rival. This is definitely classic Black Cat, with the slick bodysuit, garnished with the tufts of white fur around the forearms, lower legs, collar, and plunging neckline. The suit itself doesn’t feature much detail, but it does have a very nice blueish-black sheen to it that mimics the coloring right out of the comic panels. The sculpt shows off all of her curves, and even a little bit of musculature under the suit.

My one real complaint here is something I’ve seen before, at least a few times in the line. If you haven’t guessed, it’s the seams that ring her shoulders and her right leg at the pelvis. Obviously, these are where the statue was assembled, but it’s disappointing that they aren’t able to apply some kind of sculpty to conceal these better. Is it a deal breaker for me? Meh, not really. Not in a budget line like this one. But it’s something that I’m probably always going to notice when I’m admiring her.

I think the sculptor did a nice job on the portrait. She’s pretty, easily recognizable, and the paint on her lips and eyes is all quite clean. Her domino mask is actually part of the sculpt and the paint lines around it are also very crisp. The silver tag hanging off of her collar is a nice touch too.

The safe represents nearly half this statue’s height and it really elevates the composition here. The door is partially opened showing the contents inside: Bundles of cash, gold bars, and scattered gems. There’s even few bundles of cash that look like they’ve spilled out onto the ground. The front of the safe is painted with a Spider-Man motif and features the dial and lever. You can even see the two locking bolts protruding from inside the door.

Even with the unfortunate seams from assembly, I’d still say this statue is quite a worthwhile piece. It’s one of the more compelling examples of creative composition this line has shown. And at about $40, the quality here is very good for a statue in this price range. Indeed, I’d dare say that if I didn’t know better, it could pass for something a bit more costly. I’ve been really trying to curtail my Gallery statue purchases lately, because I am running out of space for them, so it’s a testament to how good these are that I can’t seem to stay away.

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Marvel Gallery: Savage Land Rogue by Diamond Select

This week is one of those rare Marvel Mondays where I stray from Marvel Legends and look for some Marvel lovin’ elsewhere. And the only reason I’m doing that is because I’ve had this Marvel Gallery Rogue from Diamond Select sitting around and waiting to be opened for a couple of weeks now. So even though it’s going to put me further behind, we’ll set aside Legends for the day and have a look at this statue instead!

For the unfamiliar, Marvel (and DC!) Gallery grew out of Diamond’s Femme Fatale line of 9-inch scale PVC statues. The name may have changed but the packaging has stayed more or less the same. Rogue comes in a colorful box with windows on the front, side panels, and the top. And for some reason, DST persists on referring to these as Dioramas, which I suspect is some kind of licensing stipulation. Either way, everything is collector friendly and the statue comes nestled between two plastic trays. There’s no assembly required and she comes right out of the box all ready for your shelf.

And… WOW! Rogue stalks the wastes of The Savage Land with her spear at the ready and wearing the remnants of her X-Men costume, which happens to be torn away in all the right places. Yup, the bulk of the body sculpt here is just skin, but DST did a fine job not only with Rogue’s shapely form, but also with the subtle hints of musculature here and there. As for the costume, she features a dainty pair of green boots, a ragged green bikini bottom partially covered with leaves, and the top half of her yellow X-Men outfit with a green shredded undergarment peeking out beneath it. Short green gloves and some yellow wraps on her thigh and bicep beautifully round out this lovely make-shift costume.

They also put in some nice work on the crude dagger, which she wears on her belt. It’s got sculpted wrappings around the hilt and a makeshift brown sheath hooked onto her loose belt.

The composition is a nice mix of museum-style and cheesecake. She has one leg drawn up at the knee, with her left toes resting on the raised rock of the base and in her hands she holds a spear, ready for action. I like the pose a lot, it looks like someone just snapped a shot of her stalking the land in search of her prey. There’s a hint of imminent action, but overall this piece casts aside a strong sense of energy and just lets Rogue’s majestic and sexy form do all the talking.

And that brings me to the portrait, which is strong and overall quite well done. There’s no playful side glance here, Rogue’s gaze is straight on, maybe looking over toward the horizon, and her slightly narrowed eyes and tight lips dominate what is a confident and powerful likeness. Her coif of brown hair casts off to the side slightly, with the iconic white highlights and a green strip tied around her hairline. The sculpted bone necklace is a great touch too!

The paint here is overall pretty good, but it does show a few rough patches. The lines between skin and clothing are not all as crisp as they could be. There are a few areas around her mid-riff where the sculpted lines of the jagged top are flesh colored where they should be green. These are issues that would surely irk a perfectionist, but I think they’re well within the expectations of a budget statue line like this one. The skin tone is quite smooth and warm throughout, although it does have a bit of a glossy sheen to it, which is most noticeable to me on her face. Normally, this is something that bugs me, but hey, it’s pretty damn humid in The Savage Land, and Rogue is probably sweating buckets. On a QC note, my statue has a few scrapes in the flesh paint, the most notable of which is on her right shoulder and is clearly visible in the pictures. In the past, I’ve had some luck cleaning up these sorts of marks out with a magic eraser to smooth out the paint, but I probably won’t bother here and just write it off on dirt from the inhospitable environment.

The base is fairly simple, but it does the job of not only holding up Rogue, but also giving us a slice of her environment. It consists of a lump of pouris brown rock with a shock of vegetation growing out of the side. It looks good and it doesn’t take up too much real estate on the shelf, and those are two of the highest compliments that I can pay to any statue base.

Rogue here is exactly the reason I keep coming back to Diamond’s Gallery statues, despite the fact that I ran out of display room for these four or five statues back. Normally, I pick these up on Amazon after they’ve been released, but I actually pre-ordered this one back when it was first solicited. Sure, it means running the risk of paying more than I have to, but it only took one look at this figure to make me certain I wanted her in my collection. And with a retail of $40, Diamond’s Gallery statues continue to be some of the best values I’ve found in the collectible statue market. Or at least that’s the case now that Kotobukiya has been hiking up the prices on their Bishoujos. Sure, a few minor QC issues are bound to rear their ugly heads, and for that reason, I always recommend picking these up from a comic shop where you can inspect what you’re getting, but even though I got mine sight-unseen, I’m still perfectly pleased with the one I got.

Marvel Gallery: X-23 as Wolverine (SDCC Exclusive) by Diamond Select

It feels like forever since I reviewed a statue here. That’s probably because I’ve been cutting waaaay back on buying these things as my available display space becomes more and more tight. I don’t have a problem with putting action figures away, because I can always take them out and play around with them, but if you can’t display a statue, then what’s the point of buying it, eh? And since there’s a nice sense of balance to beginning and ending the week with Marvel content… let’s check out Diamond Select’s new Marvel Gallery release of X-23 as Wolverine.

I’ve been an avid fan of both the Marvel and DC Gallery lines, even way back when they were part of the Femme Fatale’s line. These are roughly 9-inch scale PVC budget pieces, which seldom disappoint. As always, the statue comes in a collector friendly window box, with windows on the front, top, and side panels to let in plenty of light. The figure itself comes suspended between two plastic trays and displays fairly well in the box.

Diamond produced two versions of this statue, the regular retail features Ms. Kinney wearing her mask, whereas this unmaksed PX Previews Exclusive was available at San Diego Comic Con and afterwards at select retailers. The box itself denotes that it is an exclusive along with the addition of the “Unmasked” call-out at the bottom. There’s also a piece of silver tape over the top flap stating this release is limited to 4,000. Not exactly a strict limitation, but I presume it’s at least less than the production quantity of the masked retail version. There’s no assembly required here, so let’s get her out and see how she turned out! And just to put cards on the table, I’m not a fan of this book, but I sure do love the way X-23 looks in the Wolverine costume!

Diamond has been all over the place with the poses for this series lately. Sometimes you get something exciting and dynamic, other times you get something more reserved. X-23 here certainly leans toward that later with what I would consider to be very museum-style composition. Ms. Kinney stands with her right hip thrust to the side, her right arm down by her side, her left arm held up at the elbow, and both hands balled into fists and popping her her claws. The skin-tight suit shows her shapely form from all angles beautifully, and every bit of detail in the suit is incorporated into the sculpt. That last bit is a big deal for me, as with the fairly low price point of this line, I would have expected them to squeak by with just paint lines to make up the bulk of the costume. Other details include the belt, complete with signature “X” belt buckle, and the flared tops to her boots.

Budget statues tend to succeed or fail based on the quality of the paint applications, and I’m happy to say that the paint work on this piece is overwhelmingly good. The yellow is bright and vibrant, and the blue is deep with a beautiful high-gloss metallic finish. The belt is painted matte brown with a gold frame for the belt buckle and a black “X” on a red field. The paint lines for the costume itself are all pretty sharp. There are just a few very minor areas where slight improvements could be made. Indeed, the biggest flaw on my statue’s costume is a little blue showing through on the yellow trim at the top of her left boot, and even that isn’t so bad.

The portrait here is solid, but maybe a bit unremarkable. Ms. Kinney is certainly pretty and she’s sporting a serene expression with just a hint of a smirk, like she’s about to dive into some action. I think the expression works OK with the very reserved nature of the figure’s pose, but I tend to expect a little more emotion out of X-23. The hair also looks pretty tame from the front, although it does fan out at the back, which is about as much energy as the composition here is putting out. The paint on the facial features is overall solid, but there’s an area on her top lip that could have been sharper.

I really dig the base they designed for her. It’s basically a sloping black oval with a raised “X.” The “X” features a gold border around translucent red plastic, which would look particularly nice when displayed on a light up platform. There are also a couple of scratches etched across the “X.” Oddly enough, Diamond continues to call these “PVC Dioramas” on the boxes, and while every now and then they do something that could be called a diorama base, most of the ones I’ve picked up lately are more stylized stands like this one. There’s nothing diorama-like about it, but I suspect the label is a way to get around licensing and what Diamond is allowed and not allowed to do. I can’t think of any other reason for it.

In the end, I really like how this piece turned out. Granted, it’s not the most exciting of poses, but then it wasn’t meant to be, so I think a lot of the appeal here will come down to personal taste in that regard. I do like some energy in my statues, but at the same time I find that more classic poses like this one are easier to display with other releases. They take up less space and usually look great together. I debated hard over whether to go for the masked or unmasked when I set about to pre-ordering and I ultimately went with the unmasked Exclusive, because I figured the regular release would be more readily available later on down the road should I decide to get both. Besides, at $45 the Exclusive was only five bucks more. Either way, it’s pretty cool to be able to get a statue like this for under $50, especially when they turn out this good.

Marvel Gallery: Gwenpool (Unmasked) by Diamond Select

Since I’m swimming in Marvel Legends, I didn’t want to take up Marvel Monday with a non-Legends item, so I thought I’d end the week by checking out my new Marvel Gallery statue. If you aren’t familiar with these pieces, the Gallery line grew out of DST’s Femme Fatales series. These are roughly 9-inch scale PVC statues, and DST has been pumping out a lot of characters from both the Marvel and DC Universes. A couple of Marvel Mondays back, I reviewed Marvel Legends Gwenpool and lamented the fact that they didn’t include an unmasked head, but when I found out that DST released an exclusive unmasked version of their Gallery statue, I decided to go ahead and add it to the collection. The unmasked version was a GameStop Exclusive, and to be honest, I don’t get why GameStop is getting exclusives on this comic book stuff. Although the last time I was in one, it looked like the toys and collectibles were beginning to overtake the games. Either way, I actually picked this one up online through Think Geek.

UH OH… This is the first time I bought anything from Think Geek’s website and that giant crunch to the corner of the box signifies that this will also be the last. They threw the statue in a box, dropped an airbag in it, and kicked it (possibly literally) out the door. The shipping box was perfect, but the statue box got crunched because there was insufficient packing. Can’t blame this one on the courier. I suppose it’s possible it was like that before they shipped it, but I’d consider that scenario even worse. Look, I’m not a real stickler about the condition of packaging. If I get a damaged Marvel Legends box from Amazon, I’m not going to cry about it. It’s a toy and it’s the cost of (usually) getting the item below retail cost. But when you’re a company that specializes in selling collectibles, like Think Geek is, you have to do better than this if you want me to do business with you.

Anywho, the packaging is exactly what you would expect from DST’s prolific Gallery series. The statue comes in a window box with windows on the front, top, and both sides to let in plenty of light, and Gwen is suspended inside between two clear plastic trays. As always everything is collector friendly. The box itself has a yellow and pink pokadot deco with a pink interior to tie it into the character. In the past, DST’s exclusive declarations have been pretty understated. Sometimes the retail exclusives have a sticker, while the convention exclusives just have a piece of foil tape with the limitation. In this case, the GameStop Exclusive is called out on the box itself, both front and back, and “Unmasked” has been under her name. Otherwise the deco and presentation is the same, and I’m still not sure why DST has started calling these “Dioramas” but it’s not really important. Let’s get Ms. Poole out of the box and check her out!

Gwenpool strikes a rather dynamic pose as she stands up on her toes, legs bent, as if she’s running towards a fight… and naturally, she stops to take a selfie, because that’s what all the young “hip” Marvel heroes (and anti-heroes) do these days. Most of the time it annoys me to no end, but here it just seems to fit the character well enough to not bother me. The pose does a wonderful job of accentuating Gwen’s curvy form, especially with the way her back is arched. What’s more, this is a pose that doesn’t rely on any specific “sweet spot” and looks great from a number of angles.

As is always the case with DST’s Gallery statues, every detail of the costume is part of the sculpt, even the lines where the pink and white meet. A lot of companies would have been content with just using paint, and that’s something I really enjoy about DST’s work on this line. You also get some particularly fine sculpting for her muscles and cool little details like the treads on her sneakers. I do wish they had added some vertical cuts to show off her knitted socks and distinguish them from the smooth shin guards. Oddly enough that’s something Hasbro did on their 6-inch Legends figure, but was omitted on this statue.

The quality of the paint application is pretty solid. The pink is smooth, as are the flesh tones in her legs. The brown leather on her belts and pouches have a rich, brown leathery look to them and the tiny buttons and buckles are all neatly painted bronze. Rather than being pure white, the white is a bit more of an eggshell color and has a little gloss to the finish, whereas the pink is matte, making for a subtle, but attractive contrast. They did a particularly nice job painting the laces on her sneakers. Overall, some of the lines could have been sharper, but there’s certainly nothing here that’s unacceptable for a statue in this price range. Quite the contrary, I’ve seen worse paint on more expensive pieces.

The portrait is certainly on point and again, most of the paint here is sharp and clean, particularly on her open eye and lips. I like that they didn’t go overboard on the smile. Yeah, Gwenpool is often depicted grimacing like a psycho, but I think what they did here works better with the context. The sculpted hair is a little thick, but I think it looks OK, and the way it frames her face gives it a nice sense of depth. The pink highlights in her hair look good, but I think the blonde could have been more blonde. Aside from that, my only real nitpick here is the winking eye, which from certain angles looks like she got punched and it’s swollen shut. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to display the statue where it isn’t all that prominent.

The cell phone in her left hand is pretty simple, as it’s got a pink case and a black screen. It’s a shame that DST didn’t run off a sticker with Gwen’s face to put on the screen, but it’s no big deal, since the screen won’t be visible with the way I’m going to display her. Her right hand is clutching her katana, and while the statue does come holding it, the sword is a separate piece. The hilt sculpt and paint are both very well done. I should compare and see if this piece was reused from the Lady Deadpool Gallery statue.

For the base, DST went for a semi-transparent pink “G” done in a block letter style. This works fine, although I do prefer displaying the statue from an angle that has the “G” slightly askew. If memory serves, this isn’t the base that they were going with when they first solicited the statue, but I’m fine with it.

If you’ve been kicking around FFZ for a while, you probably already know that I absolutely adore DST’s Gallery series, and Gwenpool here is a perfect example of why. This line is all about quality work and good value, and after adding over two dozen of these to my collection, I’ve only been let down by a couple. Unfortunately, I’ve had to reel myself back in a bit, because my collection of these has been getting out of hand and quite frankly I ran out of space to display them a long time ago. Gwen here set me back $40 for the Exclusive, and about $10 of that was shipping, so I certainly can’t complain about the price. I would only recommend that if you’re in the market for her, you hit up some GameStops and try to find her on the shelf. Not only will you be able to check the paint, but you can avoid having Think Geek send you one with a crunched box. She is up on Amazon right now, but at around $55 she’s going for a premium.

Marvel Gallery: Phoenix by Diamond Select

It’s that magical time for Marvel Monday, when I’m between waves of Marvel Legends and I can take a brief moment to look at something else Marvel-related before diving into another Legends Wave and chipping away at my huge backlog. And as it so happens, I just got in one of the latest releases in Diamond Select’s Marvel Gallery series of 9-inch scale PCV statues. Let’s have a look at Jean Grey!

DST has done a great job streamlining the package for this line while still giving each one a bit of character. Jean comes in a collector-friendly window box with windows on the front, top, and side panels, allowing you to get a great look at the piece you’re buying. Provided, of course, that you aren’t picking them up online, like I have to. The box deco is blue with some green speckles of energy and the X-Men logo under the window and above her name. Diamond has been calling these “PVC Dioramas,” but they’re really just statues with specialized bases. I can’t help but wonder if that has something to do with licensing issues.

And with Jean out of her box, I find myself suitably impressed! Jean stands with her right toe suspended in the center of a fiery phoenix and her left leg bent up at the knee. She turns at the waist toward her beholder with her right arm out behind her and her left arm reaching forward. The composition here really resonates a lot of energy, while still retaining something of a cheesecake pose, which would have been right at home in Kotobukiya’s Bishoujo line.

All the details of Phoenix’s costume are incorporated as part of the sculpt. Her boots and gauntlets are thicker, making them actually look like they’re worn over the suit. Even the plunging black triangle on her chest with the phoenix emblem are separate sculpts. The belt also features the two tied off loose ends fluttering behind her. Beyond that, you get some lovely muscle definition sculpted into her skin tight suit.

The paint on the costume is damn near flawless. The suit features a striking metallic green finish, the triangular cut-out is in matte black, and the rest of the costume is kitted out in a yellowish-gold with a nice shimmer to it. Very nice!

The portrait is clean and beautiful, but like the pose, it leans toward the previously mentioned Bishoujo camp. It’s not that she’s had an anime makeover, but rather her smiling expression makes this look more like a glamour art commission one might get done at a comic convention. I actually love it, but some might have hoped for something a little more serious and in character. Either way, the paint applications for the eyes and lips are all crisp and fairly precise. The only issue I have is that the mascara under her left eye is a little lower than the right, but I’m really nitpicking here. The hair sculpt is absolutely extraordinary.

The fiery phoenix base is cast in a translucent orange and yellow plastic. and works beautifully. I love the balance of the piece and how it looks like Jean is almost defying gravity. I’ve really been warming up to statue designers using unconventional bases like this.

I have to give major props to DST for this beautiful statue. The quality on this piece is exceptional and I’m ever impressed that they can deliver something that looks this good in what is basically a budget line. I pre-ordered this one when it was first solicited at $45 and I couldn’t be happier with my purchase. Indeed, she’s so good, she can definitely hang with some of the more expensive statues in my collection. It’ll be back to Legends next week, and with the Blu-Ray release of Spider-Man: Homecoming coming in just a few weeks, I thought I might as well hit that wave next.

Marvel Gallery: Jessica Jones (as Jewel) by Diamond Select

As much as it pains me to take time away from the piles of backlogged Marvel Legends in my closet, I’m taking a brief hiatus this week (and next week) to look at some other things Marvel. I may even go ahead and do a Legends theme week soon, just so I can get a whole wave out of the way. We’ll see. But, today I’m returning to my favorite line of budget statues from Diamond Select. These started life as the Femme Fatales line of indie comic figures and have since been re-branded as the DC and Marvel Galleries. Let’s have a look at Jewel… aka Jessica Jones. See what I did there!

The style of boxes hasn’t changed much since the Femme Fatales days. You still get window panels on the front, top, and both sides. This lets plenty of light in and allows for a good look at the statue before opening it. It also helps, as right now I have these all displayed in their packages. The decos on the boxes are usually designed to suit the character, although in this case we just get a pleasing star-scape with a big Diamond Gallery logo and the character’s name on the front. The figure comes suspended between two clear plastic trays and there’s no assembly required. One of the things I love about this line is Diamond’s willingness to take some risks with the character selection now and then. Sure, Jessica Jones is a big name now what with her excellent Netflix series and all, but instead of doing something that newcomers would find familiar, they released her as Jewel. That’s awesome.

And this is pretty awesome statue! Jewel is depicted in her simple, but sexy, white body suit with some gorgeous metallic blue paint on her gloves, belt, and bordering around her chest. These areas are also part of the sculpt, as is the rather large jewel that hangs off her belt. The suit itself features a very pretty pearlescent white finish that catches the light beautifully. The blue and white just compliment each other so well! Jewel’s muscle tone is also sculpted around her abs, and you get some subtle little touches like the hints of flex wrinkles around the backs of her knees and her toes. It’s obviously meant to be a pretty snugly fit costume and it shows off all her curves perfectly. There’s no doubt about it, the sculpting wizards at Diamond know their way around the female form.

The pose is playful and a more than a little seductive. Jewel has one leg in front of the other, her left hand is resting on her hip, and she’s blowing a kiss with her right hand, which manifests in the form of translucent purple shooting stars. Now, I’m not entirely sure what they were going for with the star effect, as I’m not aware of that ever being even remotely expressed as one of her powers, but it’s cute and fun, and I think that’s certainly the vibe they were going for in this piece. I like it, because the noir nature of Jessica Jones’ character packs a lot more punch when seen in the context of what she was like before Zebediah Killgrave messed her up. At least, that certainly holds true for this comic version of the character.

The portrait works on the same level too, although you could argue that she’s even a little more reserved than some of her panel art. The purple paint work for her eyebrows, eyes, and lips, is all crisp and clean, and the skin tone is warm and smooth. The only issue I have here is that I wish they used a matte purple paint for her hair, instead of the gloss they went with. I think it would have looked a little less plastic and more convincing. But truth be told, I’m just looking for things to nitpick.

The base is the same transparent plastic used for her shooting star kiss, and it has something of a crystalline look to it. Like the kiss, I think the base is a bit of a reach in terms of tying it thematically in with the character, but in the end it looks good and it presents the figure well, so I’m not complaining.

Once again, these are budget statues, with an average retail of about $45. I picked up Jewel for a little less than that and as is usually the case with this series, I’m so very glad I did. At roughly 9-inch scale, you’re getting a decent sized display piece, and I have to say the quality of the paint here is quite remarkable. I can usually find something about the paint on these to pick at, be it an uneven line or rubbing on the finish, but that’s simply not the case here. I’d easily compare the paint work on this statue to any number of ones from DC Collectibles, or even Diamond’s own Premier Collection, at more than twice the price. And besides, in market flooded with Marvel’s A-listers, how cool is to see characters like Jewel get their own statue? It’s just another reason why I’m happy to support this line.

Marvel Gallery: Medusa by Diamond Select

What started as a humble line of indie comic statues, called Femme Fatales, has grown into quite the Marvel and DC branded juggernaut. Indeed, Diamond Select has been churning out these Marvel and DC Gallery statues at a remarkably brisk rate while expanding to include the dudes as well. At the same time, they seem to have a handle on balancing the compromise between budget and quality. I’ve amassed quite a few of the DC Animated Series and I’ve had few complaints. And if that wasn’t enough good news, DST is clearly willing to start taking risks with some character choices. And that brings us to one of the most recent Marvel Gallery releases: Medusa, matriarch of the Inhumans!

Now, granted, Medusa is far from an unknown in the Marvel Universe, but this line has mostly been about A-Listers, so including her is a welcome and unexpected treat. The statue comes in the same style window box we’ve been seeing ever since the first Femme Fatale statue hit the comic shops, although the decos are now branded to match the characters inside. You get windows on the front, side and top panels to let in plenty of light. Medusa’s box also has the added bonus of being crazy heavy. For what are roughly nine-inch scale PVC statues, these don’t tend to have a lot of heft to them, but as we’ll soon see, Medusa’s hair adds a lot of weight to this piece. The statue comes secured between two clear plastic trays, the box is totally collector friendly, and there’s no assembly required.

Out of her box, the Inhuman goddess is a remarkably striking piece.  She dons her black costume, which features a high gloss finish and a very low cut front that runs all the way down to her belt. The skin revealed by her exposed front is tinted black to suggest she’s got some kind of body stocking to protect her Inhuman goodies. She has a pair of matte black, ribbed boots, which come up past her knees and feature some rather interesting heel designs. The costume also features hold arched fixtures on her shoulders, gold wrist bracelets, a red jewel just below her naval, and a pearl belt and necklace. I just love what they did with this costume, and the little contrasts from matte to gloss and bits of gold, white, and red offer some nice diversity to what could have been a bit of a boring outfit. It also helps that the quality of paint and its application on this piece are top notch, right down to the red nail polish on her finger tips.

Of course, I can’t go far in this review without talking about her legendary copious coif. Medusa’s red hair cascades down her back and pools up below her feet to form a very creative base. The hair features sculpted texture and some subtle variations in color. I really dig how they designed this piece and the way the hair suspends her with her feet in mid air. There’s so much to love with this statue!

And I’m happy to report that the portrait is every bit as good as everything from the neck down. She’s got a beautiful portrait and the paint used for her lips, pupil-less eyes, and vibrant eye shadow is crisp and perfect.

Normally I wait for a deal when picking up these statues, because they tend to get deeply discounted by retailers after they’ve been on the market for a couple of weeks. In this case, however, I really wanted to show my support for Diamond’s willingness to go with some less obvious character selection. To that end, I pre-ordered both Medusa and Jewel (aka Jessica Jones) at full price, which amounted to about $45 each. I’ll get around to reviewing Jewel eventually, but as far as Medusa goes, I couldn’t be happier with this purchase. Everything about this statue makes it feel like something far more premium than a budget statue and I could confidently place her among some of my $100 DC Cover Girls or Marvel Premier pieces and she could easily hold her own in terms of paint and overall quality.

Marvel Gallery: Lady Deadpool by Diamond Select

I’ve been really digging DST’s budget line of comic statues lately, and while most of my attention has been on their DC pieces, they’re Marvel line is starting to pick up some steam. I’ve already checked out their Captain Marvel and Spider-Gwen and today I’m having a looksee at Lady Deadpool from Deadpool Corps!

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This fairer sex Deadpool comes in a window box that lets you get a good look at the piece from almost all angles. And let’s face it, being able to inspect the paint is no small thing when picking one out at the comic shop. But, as we’ll soon see, it doesn’t help me. There aren’t any local comic shops where I live and I have to buy online and sight unseen. Had this statue been released a little earlier it would have probably fallen under DST’s Femme Fatales line, but they’re branching out to include the dudes, hence the new name, Marvel Gallery. But fear not, these statues look right at home when displayed with DST’s Femme Fatales. 

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Getting Ms. Pool set up is as easy as putting the katana sword into her left hand. Starting out with the first of three ingredients that make up a statue, the composition here is excellent. Lady-D stands ready for action with swords in hands, one held out in front of her, and the other drawn up behind her. Her body language, the flexing muscles in her arms, her bent knees, and the snaking stream of hair all conspire to make this a highly kinetic piece. I think it’s a beautiful compromise between action and vanity pose. The other wonderful thing about this pose is that it doesn’t rely on that one and only “sweet spot” for display options. This piece is designed to look great from almost any angle.

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With Lady Deadpool getting high marks for composition, it’s time to look at the sculpt and here too, DST did a very solid job. It’s a beautiful rendition of the female form with some excellent attention to detail in the musculature. The costume itself is pretty simple, but every aspect of it is part of the sculpt, which not only includes the straps, but the less obvious things like the border lines between the red and black sections of the outfit.

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Still, I do get a general animated feel out of this piece, which is fine. And there’s still plenty of lovely little details to appreciate. No matter the universe, the ‘Pools love their pouches, and Lady-D has a generous throng of them running around her belt. The trademark Deadpool belt buckle is fully sculpted and the detail on the sword hilts is excellent. I don’t remember Lady Deadpool having the abbreviated scabbards, but they look OK. And yes… she’s got a great bum too!

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With great composition and a solid sculpt, the only thing left is the paintwork, and I’m sorry to say that’s where this statue stumbles and falls right in front of the finish line. A casual glance at Lady-D and all looks fairly good. There is some general rubbing on both the black and red areas of the suit, but I can live with that. The paint looks serviceable with the statue tucked into one of my display shelves. Alas, when you power up the lights and get in to really have a good look, everything starts to fall apart. For starters, the statue looks dirty and I’m not talking about intentional weathering. If I bought this piece second hand, advertised as new in the box, I’d probably think I got swindled. The black paint on her right bicep band is all scratched up, and the paint on her hair just looks atrocious. It’s all splotchy and again it just looks careless and dirty. The overall finish is also pretty inconsistent. In some places it looks glossy in others it looks matte.

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The base is decent enough. It’s a section of concrete with a little bit of wall and some pipes. It’s nothing outrageous, but it serves its purpose and gives the statue a little bit of context too.

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Between the Femme Fatales, the DC Animated Series and now Marvel Gallery, I own quite a few of DST’s statues in this price range and this is easily the most disappointing one of the bunch. The biggest shame is that there’s a fantastic statue here that is just begging to be painted well. Granted, I picked this statue up for around $30, but even as a budget piece I expect better than what I got here. I’ll concede that it’s certainly possible that I just got a really bad one, but I’m not willing to roll the dice and try again. In fact, I’m about as poorly skilled a customizer as you’re likely to find, but one day I may just try my hand at repainting this thing. Whatever the outcome, it would make for an entertaining follow up Feature.

Next week on Marvel Monday, I’ll be cranking up the time machine and going back to the Rhino Wave of Marvel Legends. Because those things are still sitting in the corner waiting to be opened.

Marvel Gallery: Spider-Gwen (SDCC Exclusive) by Diamond Select

What’s this? Marvel Monday without Marvel Legends? Yeah, since I’m between waves of Legends, I’m taking the opportunity to look at something different before engaging on a month-and-a-half long expedition into the Civil War Giant Man Wave. Marvel Gallery is DST’s extension of the Femme Fatales line of PVC statues and while all of the Marvel editions so far have been ladies, they will be including some dudes in both this line and their DC Animated series, hence the change in name. Today I’m checking out the SDCC Exclusive Edition of Spider-Gwen, which features an unmasked head.

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I really like the packaging for these statues. The boxes are fairly small and feature windows on the front, sides, and top to allow you to get a good look at the piece before you buy it. That is assuming, you’re lucky enough to have a comic shop in your area that sells them! And despite all the windows, the boxes are still quite sturdy. The Femme Fatale boxes have mostly been rather dark and bland, but these Marvel ones are bright and colorful. I especially like the printed insert. Everything is collector friendly, although Gwen here requires one bit of assembly. With over a dozen of these statues in my collection, this is the first time I’ve come across that, but all you have to do is attach her left arm, which is quick and easy to do.

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There is an SDCC Exclusive logo printed on the front of the box as well as “Unmasked Edition” lettered under the main window. Previous exclusives in this line have only been denoted by a piece of tape on the flap. You still get that here, with the limitation number printed on it. Mine is 2,847 of 3,000. Here’s where I point out that putting a number limitation on the tape that secures the flap of the box is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of, even if there is a flap on the bottom to go in through. Also, not putting a limitation on the statue itself sucks. Just saying, DST. If you’re going to limit your runs of these at least have someone write it on the bottom of the statue with a Sharpie.

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Once you get Ms. Stacey’s arm plugged in she’s all set to go and looking pretty damn nice. The pose features Gwen sticking to a wall via her right hand and the soles of her feet with her left arm stretched out and her hand getting ready to thwip out a web. I like this pose a lot and the paint and sculpted detail on the wall itself is very well done. You get a lot of texturing in the bricks and a goblin-style gargoyle head that looks to be glaring specifically at Gwen. A little bit of ivy here and there adds to the character of the setting. It’s nice to see DST learned their lesson. A little while back, they solicited a Star Trek statue of Seven of Nine in the Femme Fatales series with a sculpted plastic wall behind her and in the final release that was changed to cardboard. Even now, if you go to order that statue through most e-tailers, they’ll show the deceptive picture of the plastic backdrop.

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Gwen’s costume is recreated here mostly with paint, but all the paint lines are part of the sculpt as well, which is always nice to see. Some of the paint lines could have been sharper, but the black and white areas are clean. I was worried about the consistency of the white on this piece, but with the exception of a few visible brush strokes, the white is bright and vibrant. The black has a scuff mark here and there, but nothing major. The red web patterned areas under her arms and inside her hood look great, and her ballet-style slippers are painted blue. The designer even made sure that the left arm connects where there was a seam in the costume, so as to match it to the other arm.

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That brings us to the portrait, which is the only difference between this exclusive and the regular retail release. Here we get Gwen unmasked and I have to say they did a nice job on the sculpt and the paint. As much as I enjoy the Captain Marvel statue they did a few months back, there was something a little off about Carol’s face. Here, I think they nailed Gwen Stacey quite nicely. The skin tone is clean and the paint for the green eyes and red lipstick is precise. Even her familiar hair style and headband are recreated wonderfully here. I do wish they had sculpted the exclusive with the hood down, but I still like what we got.

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The base consists of a plain black disk, which supports the wall. With all the weight of the figure on the wall, I am a little concerned that over the course of time the statue may begin to lean forward a bit. Then again, I could be worrying about nothing. I may rig up a hook on the back of my shelf or wall where I display her to take up some of that weight just to be sure.

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Spider-Gwen seems to be the new go-to girl when it comes to marketing and as a fan of the comic and character, I’m glad to see it. I’m really happy with the way this piece turned out and I’m glad I went for this exclusive version. Gwen set me back about $45 shipped, which isn’t that much more than these statues usually cost. In fact, it can still be snapped up at a number of online retailers for around that price. Whether or not I’m going to double dip and pick up the regular masked release remains to be seen. I’ve actually already got Spider-Gwen from DST’s Marvel Premier Collection on pre-order, so I may just stick with one version of this release.

Marvel Gallery: Captain Marvel Statue by Diamond Select

I know, Marvel Monday was yesterday, but Mondays are going to be tied up with Legends figures for a long while now, so the Marvel goodness will be spilling out into other days now and then. Today I’m looking at Diamond’s first Marvel Gallery statue, which is, for all intents and purposes, a Femme Fatales statue by another name as she fits in at the exact same 9-inch scale and sits at the same price point. It’s my understanding that DST changed the name of the Marvel series because they will be incorporating dudes into this line. Fair enough!

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Despite the name change, the box is right in line with what we’ve been seeing out of DST’s Femme Fatales statues. You get the same four panels of windows to show off the statue inside and a deco that is personalized for the character. If anything this box feels just ever so slightly more premium with some nicer coloring and a spiffy satin finish to the art. The statue comes between two clear plastic trays and there’s no assembly required. She’s ready to go right out of the box.

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This statue looked amazing in the promo pics and I’m happy to say all that goodness transferred to the final product. In hand, the statue looks quite striking for such a relatively low end piece. I’m especially fond of the pose they went with here that has Carol levitating, one knee bent and her arms gently out to her sides. It’s a very graceful look and while far from an action pose, it still manages to convey a little bit of energy and majesty to a gal who has become one of my favorite modern Marvel characters.

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There’s a fair amount of sculpting involved in the costume. In fact, none of the detail is conveyed by paint alone. Instead, you get some great details like the brass buttons running up the sides of her boots and gloves, the sash tied around her waist and secured with a medallion, and especially the starburst symbol on her chest. Even her gloves have subtle stitching lines running throughout. Add all those little flourishes to her beautiful curves, and you’ve got quite an eye catching display piece. Carol proves that you don’t have to show a lot of skin to be a drop-dead sexy superhero. She’s class!

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The paint quality in the Femme Fatales line has been overall solid, but I’ve seen it falter every now and then, mostly on a couple of the DC Animated pieces. I’m happy to say, the paint is quite good on Carol’s costume. The shades of red and blue are vivid and smooth and contrast beautifully with the bright gold paint. There’s really no slop to speak of and the lines are clean thanks in part to the way they are integrated into the sculpt.

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Did I mention she has a nice bum? She has a very nice bum. The figure does feature some seaming from where it was assembled. You can see these in the shoulders and again around the right leg where it meets the aforementioned very nice bum. We don’t tend to see these in a lot of higher end pieces, so they may prove to be distracting for some. Considering the low price point here, I don’t mind them much here, especially since it mainly looks like the sort of cuts you would get in action figure articulation.

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The portrait sculpt is excellent. I’m particularly pleased with the way the hair came out. It’s wonderfully detailed and has a little bit of glitter in the paint that makes for a rather interesting effect. That having been said, the eye makeup is a bit much for me. The look to the eyes leans a little more toward the Dexter Soy art than it does the David Lopez run, but it doesn’t quite match either exactly. That having been said, I think what I’m seeing is more an artistic choice than a comment about the quality of the paint. I think she looks absolutely fantastic when viewed from straight on, but there’s something a little off when she’s in profile.

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The base is a jagged burst of energy with a gradient orange and red paint that gives it a rather brilliant and almost luminescent effect. In the right lighting it almost looks like it’s glowing. It does a nice job supporting the figure and I like that her lower foot is still suspended just slightly above it to give her that levitating effect.

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I’ve been a champion and collector of DST’s Femme Fatales line long before it started dipping into the mainstream comics, and I’ll happily categorize Captain Marvel as another win for this line. Or, if you want to get technical, a very nice debut for the Marvel Gallery line. I was looking forward to getting this one ever since she was first solicited and so I had her pre-ordered at the MSRP of $40, which is actually just a wee bit less expensive than what the DC Animated statues are being released at. On the other hand, if Marvel Gallery is anything like Femme Fatales, e-tailers seem to be rather competitive when pricing these statues, so shopping around for a deal may be worthwhile. Captain Marvel has already been follwed by Jane Foster Thor, which I’m still on the fence over because I’m not enamored with the sculpt. On the other hand, Spider-Gwen should be out next month, and I’ve already got both the regular and SDCC versions of her on pre-order!