Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Toy Review – DC Universe Classics - Green Lantern’s Light Box Set (Walmart Exclusive) By Mattel

I know I sound like a broken record, but here it is: I had no intention of buying this set.
I originally found this Green Lantern set when it showed up on Walmart’s site several months ago; right around the same time I had to pony up for something else pricey (I think it might have been the HOT TOYS WHISTLER figure) and I decided to pass on it. Guy Gardner was the only figure from the set I considered a must-have and I really didn’t want to shell out sixty (I think it was – might have been fifty-five) bucks for him. I sort of wanted the Tomar Re too, but he appeared to be 100% farmed parts (none of which were entirely appropriate) and not very exciting. As for the other three figures – Jordan, Stewart and Sinestro – I don’t need more of any of those guys. We’ll get into the specifics of the issues each figure has below.
So with all of that, you might wonder why I bought this set. Fair enough. The second series of Green Lantern Classics has a Green Lantern figure with additional heads and hands; like Low/Maash from the first series. It will cost between fifteen and twenty-three dollars to buy a second one of these. I found the Green Lantern’s Light box set on Amazon for 41.99 with free shipping. Once I applied this simple mathematical equation:
$42 - $15 (Guy) - $15 (Tomar) = $12 for three figures I don’t want
>
$15 + x (unknown quantity to represent the ridiculous markup on this guy) + hassle = Purchasing a second figure to get Medphyll/Nautkeloi.
Or something like that. I plan to use Hal’s body for Medphyll and sell Stewart and Sinestro on eBay. Or at least I did, until… we’ll get to that.

The set arrived the other day, and since the figures are all basically the same I’m going to review the set as a whole.

First Glance: The figures all look sharp. I dislike this John Stewart variant in person just as much as I did online (little did I know just how shitty he would turn out). I am VERY happy that they all have Lanterns. I don’t understand why every Green Lantern Mattel releases doesn’t come with one. Mattel has some kind of strange idea that 6” fifteen (or eighteen!) dollar action figures don’t need accessories.
Sculpt: Aside from their heads, Sinestro, Tomar Re, Old Hal and John Stewart share the exact same body. I don’t think this is okay any more than I think the Ghostbusters all sharing the same sculpt is okay. Tomar and Sinestro should be skinnier. I can’t really argue Mr. Haltastic and Stewart, though. Inaccuracies aside, the bodies are the standard DCUC buck with solid articulation. I’ve lucked out in that all of the figures in my set have good, tight joints with no paint issues.
I’ve also lucked out in that my John Stewart has two fucking left legs. Seriously. And some fucking asshole even had to turn his right (left) leg around to fit it in the package. Obviously this is totally unacceptable. Job one was to send an e-mail to Mattel. Kind of my little joke. I know they’re not going to do fucking shit about it, but I had to try. Job two was to take a picture and post it on Facebook, which got some attention

Now I have to decide what to do. I don’t want to box the whole thing up and return it, because I think that would be a hassle. I didn’t even want this stupid-looking Mosaic John Stewart in the first place. I feel that I have two options at this point:
  1. Put him up on eBay as “Walmart Exclusive ‘Two Left Feet Green Lantern John Stewart’” and write some ridiculous fan fiction in the description and hope somebody finds it funny enough to buy.
  2. Find an extra alien head laying around somewhere and put it on the body to create a Green Lantern whose species is notorious for being bad dancers. With all the insane-looking Lanterns we’ve seen over the years, I can’t imagine there aren’t ones with two left legs out there.
So anyway, aside from the ridiculous and unacceptable leg issue, the four figures that aren’t Guy look solid. 
They all have farmed heads – Old Hal’s is the same as every other Hal (I think this head sculpt looks exactly like Dennis Quaid, which is fine - he would have made a great Hal back in the day), 
Sinestro’s is the same as the single-carded releases 
and Tomar Re is the same as Romat Ru; but with a mask sculpted on. Sinestro and Hal are fine, but Tomar should have gotten his own head.
Guy Gardner has some new stuff to offer. Obviously he has a new head – which looks fantastic – as well as new forearms, calves and feet. The head is really just… it’s Guy. It’s so good, maybe one of the best Mattel has produced. The other new parts also look very nice, much nicer than I expected. I think I tend to have very low expectations for Mattel’s figures and that might be why sometimes my scores seem a bit higher than they otherwise should be. Guy also has a unique vest that Mattel was very clever about. It is made of a flexible material so that it doesn’t restrict his torso or shoulder articulation. The vest looks great, much more satisfying than a new torso sculpt would have. It’s fuller and just gives the figure so much more personality.
Design: I wrote about the Kyle Rayner armpit problems, and these figures all have it too. As a matter of fact, all of the Lantern figures share the issue. It’s ugly, but I really don’t know the answer.
Other than that, the figures all sport tight paint jobs. They are all clean and error-free. I like Old Hal more than I thought I would. Something about those white patches just looks… fantastic. Ahem. John Stewart, on the other hand, I dislike exactly as much as I expected. I just don’t like the Mosaic costume design.
Guy looks very nice. His whites are bright and his greens are green. The awesome head sculpt would have been a waste with an amateurish paint app, but he looks great. I really love this figure. I want to make it punch stuff.
Accessories: Each Corps member includes a Power Battery/Green Lantern. Again, my low standards for Mattel come into play here. I was absolutely thrilled that there were five Lanterns in this set, but now that I’m writing about it, I realize that we kind of got short-changed. Where are some constructs? Mattel has absolutely, positively dropped the ball on most of its Lantern-related releases.
The whole basis of the various colored-ring-oriented galactic corps is the concept of them making stuff with their minds. Hammers, guns, fly-swatters, monsters – whatever. So far, not even half of Mattel’s Lanterns have constructs. Lame. So very lame. Every ring-bearer they release should come with at least one ring construct.
Packaging: A big ol’ window box. It does the job. Everybody gets a brief bio on the back and the interior has a nice green burst of light behind the figures.
Note: I’ll make this point again – if you keep your stuff mint-in-box you’re going to want to avoid ordering from Amazon. The DC Universe Classics logo was bent up on mine. I don’t care, but you might.
Overall: If you absolutely must have a Guy Gardner right now and don’t believe Mattel will ever, ever release another one you should buy this set (I think Mattel will release another Guy in some form, some day). The Guy figure is very nice. Probably couldn’t be better. But for me, everything else in this set is a pass. I’m keeping Tomar Re just because, but I have zero need for the other three beyond as custom fodder or to make a buck or two on eBay.
Guy Gardner – 4 out of 5 – Awesome. I don’t know what could be done to make him better (other than including a bunch of constructs - he lost a point for not having at least one).
Old Man Jordan – 4 out of 5 – Just because I don’t need the figure doesn’t mean it isn’t just fine. I don’t know how you’d fix the armpit issue, but he needs constructs.
Tomar Re – 2 out of 5 – Should have had an original head. Should have had a skinny body. Should have had – guess what? – ring constructs.
Sinestro – 3 out of 5 – Unless I missed the portion of the narrative where the Yellow Power Battery made Sinestro skinny, this figure should have had a smaller body. The head is fine and the detailing is good. No constructs.
John Stewart – 1 out of 5 - Ugh. I just hate this figure. The design is ugly and – oh, yeah – he has two left legs. While the leg is an assembly issue and not the fault of the designers, this figure is simply a cheap way to fill out what is already a lazy box set. I wouldn’t be so harsh if the one I got was assembled correctly because the figure is essentially acceptable. But fuck this figure. It only got that one point for giving me something to talk about. As a matter of fact, it looks so shitty that a guy on Facebook was positive it was a bootleg from China or something.
1 out of 5
Honestly? Skip this crap set. I can almost guarantee we’ll get another Guy someday, so unless it’s no problem for you to spend fifty bucks for one figure you shouldn’t bother. Guy is a major win, but everything else is recycled, inaccurate or worse. I almost gave it another point out of pity since I do plan to use one body for Medphyll, but then I realized that I’m not even sure that’s going to work yet. They might well have changed the wrist/head connection points and my plan could be moot.

Until next time, stay creepy
-Phantom

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