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!