Marvel Comics: Domino (Exclusive) Premium Format by Sideshow

Yeah, another week of abbreviated content. I didn’t make it back on Wednesday because of real life craziness, but at least I did double up for Marvel Monday. And to make up for it a bit more, I’m tackling a big one to end off the week!¬†Sideshow’s delectable quarter-scale Premium Format figures are the bane of my existence. They’re so big and expensive, and yet they’re so damn pretty. I shouldn’t buy them, but I always want to. I’ve only reviewed one of these beauties before, and that was the Batman Returns Catwoman I won from one of Sideshow’s contests about three years ago. Yup, people actually win those! Free is great, but as any good drug dealer knows, it’s that first free hit that hooks you. Since then I’ve picked up a few more but haven’t gotten around to reviewing them, mainly because it takes a lot of effort to gerry-rig my little photo stage to handle them. Anyway, I’d like to remedy that by starting to review some of these, and what better place to start than the one I got in this week! I’m like a kid on Christmas morning!

It’s Domino! A character that I’ve been in love with ever since lucky Neena Thurman first graced the pages of Marvel Comics. Hell, X-Force #11 from 1992 was one of the first comics I ever got CGC graded. When Sideshow solicited this one, I knew I had to have it, but not just because it’s Domino, but because the composition is so amazing. But I’m getting ahead of myself. As always the statue comes in a box massive enough to house the 20-inch tall statue and plenty of Styrofoam to protect it. The box is made up to look like a giant slot machine and has some cool touches, like X-Men stickers ripped off one side and the machine’s marquee branded after Domino herself. There’s a silver foil sticker on the bottom left corner of the front panel to denote that this one is a Sideshow Exclusive, limited to 1,000 pieces.

Inside the Styrofoam, it looks like something that’s been cocooned by spiders. As expected, there is some unwrapping and assembly required here, and this phase tends to be the most stressful of the un-boxing. Are all the parts going to be OK? Is everything going to fit together properly? In this case I’m happy to say, Yes and Yes. Assembly includes attaching the figure to the base with a key tab that protrudes from her butt. Next up, the hands (each holding a gun) gets attached and held by magnets. The slot machine arm keys into the side and attaches to the toe of Domino’s boot with a magnet, and finally the head attaches by magnet as well. When all is said and done, this is a very solid and pretty heavy piece all ready for display. I’ll also note here that there is no mixed-media in this figure, so the entire costume is part of the sculpt.

And what a display it is! Domino sits playfully on top of a leaning X-Men-themed slot machine with her legs crossed and one foot resting on the arm. She leans back to support herself with her right hand, still holding a pistol, while she draws the pistol in her left hand up near her neck and points it to the ceiling. I don’t think Sideshow has ever managed to have the base upstage the figure itself in one of these Premium Formats, this might be pretty close. In truth, they both just complicate each other tremendously well. I tend to waffle between preferring classic museum style poses and something more dynamic and action-y, but this one introduces a whole new ballgame. It’s wildly creative, it’s deliciously meta, and it understands the character so well.

Of course, this is a pretty modern look for Domino, which really just means that her traditional black cat suit is enhanced with a lot more detail and a more tactical look to it. And while we already have a Domino for the films and I wouldn’t take any of that away from the glorious Zazie Beetz, I do think that this version of Domino has a realistic quality to her, which would have worked fine for the big screen. The bulk of the suit is a delightful mix of black and blue, which comes out beautifully under the studio lights, and is enhanced with patches of exposed ribbed blue “material,” presumably to add a little flexibility. Again, it’s all sculpted, but I have no quarrel with the decision because the end results are quite spectacular. Everything from the zipper track to the stitch lines, and the subtle wrinkles here and there make for a very convincing garment, even if it is all polyresin.

The suit is covered with tactical gear, all held on by sculpted segmented belts. Her inventory includes all sorts of pouches, slots for extra magazines, empty shoulder holsters under each arm, and a futuristic looking gun strapped to her right thigh. The gun is a great example of all the detail that went into the sculpt. The hard-molded style holster is textured and features sculpted rivets that simulate holding it together. There’s a sculpted retaining strap locking the weapon into place and the weapon itself is just brimming with detail. The twin pistols in her hands enjoy all that same great attention to detail. The X-branded belt buckle breaks up the blues and blacks with a bright red glossy background.

The standard portrait is superb. Domino sports her trademark pixie cut and offers a sideways glance and a knowing smirk. It’s like she’s thinking, “My luck is going to hold out, but yours is about to change.” I love the pale coloring they used for her rather unusual skin tone and the iconic spot around her left eye is crisp. For that matter all the paint work on the face is sharp and crisp. The sculpt for her hair is intricate and almost looks like it’s layered. The hair color follows the same pattern as her suit, being black with some blue-purple highlights. The only thing that sucks about this portrait is that the Sideshow Exclusive comes with a second, and that’s going to make for some tough decisions…

The Exclusive head features longer hair, the left side of which is blowing off to the side a bit. The head is turned to face her gun and her lips are pursed. It looks fine just like this, but it’s intended to be displayed with the addition of one extra piece.

 

Add the smoke effect to the gun barrel and now she looks like she’s blowing the barrel of her pistol after having fired it. I love the way this turned out and it’s creating quite the conundrum on which look to go for. The pixie cut from the standard head is more Domino to me, but the Exclusive looks so good. Luckily they are easy to swap, so I may just wind up doing that every couple of weeks.

And that brings us to the base, which is usually not something I need to spend a lot of time on when discussing statues, but here’s the exception to that rule. This is just amazing from both a composition standpoint as well as execution. It offers an on the nose nod to Domino’s mutant power, but it has a lot of fun with it too.

Sideshow went above and beyond with the detail in the bullet-ridden one-armed bandit. It has a steel sheen to the sides and back and the sculpted bullet holes look quite realistic. The back of the unit has all the vents and bits that you would expect to find on something like this. The coloring on the upper and lower marquee are beautifully illustrated. It would have been cool if SIdeshow added some lights to this base, but I don’t think that’s something they ever do in the Premium Formats. I particularly love the bullet holes in the plastic screens that cover the top marquee and the rollers. The later of which look convincing enough that I’d swear I could pull the lever and watch them spin.

Finally, the Days of Future Cash slot-machine rests on top a pile of Deadpool-branded tokens with spent bullet casings peppered generously throughout. Under this pile of loot is a simple black circular base. Lift it up and you get a little Domino artwork along with the limitation of the statue. Mine is hand-numbered 208/1000.

It’s s funny thing buying these Premium Formats. I always go into the purchase with sweaty, nervous palms and yet I’ve yet to be disappointed with one of these pieces when they arrive. And that’s saying a lot because they sure ain’t cheap. At $585 ($570 for the regular edition), I fear these statues are creeping past my budget right when I’m starting to get into them. But it’s easy to see where the money went, as Domino makes for an impressive presence on the shelf, and I can’t find anything on the piece to even nitpick about. The sculpt, paint, and overall design came together so beautifully. I’m certainly glad I didn’t pass this one oup.

Batman Returns: Premium Format Catwoman by Sideshow

For years now I’ve been ogling Sideshow’s Premium Format statues, but it wasn’t until Power Girl that I came close (oh, so close!) to pulling the trigger on one. I’ve managed to tell myself I didn’t have the space to collect these quarter-scaled behemoths and the fact that they run in the $400-500 price range also helped keep me away. Nonetheless, when Sideshow was running a Giveaway for the Power Girl I entered. I also entered a few more. I didn’t win Power Girl, but I sure as shit won the Batman Returns Catwoman! So, it just goes to show you, people do win these things! There was about a six month lead time before it shipped, and I was responsible to pay the shipping, which came to about $45, but eventually a mammoth box showed up at my door and I was pretty damn excited to check it out!

The statue ships in a standard Sideshow mailer and is without a doubt the largest box I have ever received containing a single collectible. My neighbors probably thought it was a new dishwasher. People who collect these things regularly probably think I’m just adorable at how impressed I was, but that’s OK, because I’m not ashamed to admit it. Inside the mailer, you get a colorful, fully enclosed box, that basically houses a massive brick of Styrofoam. Sorry for the crappy flash picture, but there was no way I could get this thing onto my photo area. It was difficult enough to get it rigged to handle the statue, let alone the box it came in.

The statue requires a bit of assembly and there are no instructions included. You can always visit Sideshow’s site if you need to download a PDF or watch a video showing the assembly. In this case it was pretty easy. The base is one solid piece, and makes up most of the whopping 12 pounds that this statue weighs. The figure itself pegs into the base via a metal rod. I’ve heard tons of horror stories about the rods on Premium Formats not going in smoothly, but this one went in fine. The arms and head attach via powerful magnets, and the whip just needs to be coiled around the body.

When all set up, Catwoman stands a respectable 22-inches tall, which puts the figure at about a quarter scale and includes around 4 or 5 inches for the impressive slab of a base. I absolutely love the pose, which has Selina leaning seductively on a corner of brickwork, one foot in front of the other, and her whip coiled around her body. I think the stance here really nails Michelle Pfeiffer’s body language in the film, while also perfectly accentuating the beautiful curves of the figure in that ever-so-tight suit.

I was a bit surprised that this figure features no mixed-media, unless you count the whip. It’s not uncommon for these PFs to feature completely stitched costumes, but Catwoman is done entirely with sculpted polystone and paintwork. I’m fine with that, especially when the outcome looks this good. The high gloss paint used on her latex outfit certainly gets the job done, creating a mirror finish like a brand new car. The individual stitches are each sculpted and painted white with the seams splitting here and there to show her skin. Even the laced strings for her corset are sculpted up and down her back. The matte finish on the boots offers a nice contrast to the rest of the gloss black.

I really dig the portrait. Her eyes are gorgeous and the paint used on her lips is shiny and crisp. Despite the high prices, it’s not unheard of to experience paint issues on PF statues, or at least that’s what I gather from years of living vicariously through reviews and message boards. I’ll confess that even though I didn’t pay for her, I was plenty nervous unwrapping the head, as well as the rest of the body, for fear of some glaring paint problem. In the end, I needn’t have worried because the paint on this lady holds up to the sticker price of the piece. There aren’t any blemishes on the finish or any askew brush strokes. I know a few people have had issues with the head not seating properly in the neck, but mine doesn’t have any play in it at all.

Another great little touch are her nails, which are patterned after their haphazard look in the film. They also happen to be pretty damn sharp! I’d also imagine that they’re probably the most delicate parts of this entire piece.

The diorama section is a piece of Gotham rooftop set upon a beveled circular base. It’s a great choice for the figure and the brickwork is extremely convincing both in appearance and even to the touch. You also get a little chimney pipe in the corner. Selina’s boots stand flush with the rooftop surface keeping her steady and sure. The bottom of the base actually features a full color illustration along with the numbering and limitation. I usually post pictures of these when reviewing statues, but with how large and heavy this thing is, there’s no way I was going to risk it. However, I will say that mine is #616 of 2,500. Ironically, that’s one of the lowest numbers I’ve ever received on one of these limited pieces. Even most of my DC Collectibles statues are in the 2,000’s.

Getting this Catwoman statue into my collection was a pretty exciting event for me. It’s my first Premium Format and it’s the first time I ever won something as amazing and valuable as this statue. Unfortunately, it’s really turned me on to these pieces and the temptation to get another is burning inside me. On the other hand, I was lucky enough to find somewhere to display this one, as I happened to have an accent table in the corner of my Den that’s perfect for her, but I can’t imagine where I would go with another. Not to mention the huge box is sitting in one of my storage closets and taking up almost half the floor space! With a retail of $450, she’s probably the most expensive single collectible I own, and I have to say I think she’s certainly worth the money. I’ll confess that I have a hell of a lot of Catwoman items in my collection, and while this isn’t the Premium Format I would have chosen to sink that much money into, I’m still very pleased to own it. Plus, she seems to have been a pretty popular piece, as Sideshow’s site is already flashing the Low Stock warning on her page.