Thursday, March 21, 2013

Toy Review DC Signature Collection Saint Walker By Mattel

I’ll go right ahead and say that I am just not as enthusiastic about Lanterns as I once would have been.
After hearing about Geoff Johns’ work on the Green Lantern books for a couple of years – and Flash before that – I dove into that stuff to prepare for Blackest Night before it happened. And I absolutely loved it all. Johns’ retelling of Hal Jordan’s origin was especially engaging for me. While I knew Hal’s origin, I had never actually read a comic about it. As a matter of fact, I hadn’t read much in the way of Green Lantern comics at all.
            I think the runs of Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps are excellent from the time Johns became the guiding hand up until Flashpoint. I’d recommend them to anybody. During that time the DC readers were introduced to a whole spectrum of different Lantern Corps. The explanation behind each of the Corps is a bit dodgy, but if you just go along with it it’s a fun concept that led to some great stories.
While there are plenty of other characters I might have preferred to Saint Walker, I do appreciate the fact that Mattel is putting out a representative of each of the Corps. And I certainly don’t have anything against the leader of the Blue Lanterns. I like his whole vibe and while I’m not sure that “Hope” is an emotion, it’s definitely a cool concept to be powering a group of intergalactic superheroes with magical wishing rings.
First Glance: Despite my unbridled hatred for the standard grey aliens, I like Saint Walker’s design a lot. It is definitely based on the appearance of the Greys, but varies enough that I don’t want to scream and stab it with a machete every time I see it.
Articulation: Saint Walker has possibly the best articulation of the DCUC-style line so far. Everything but the old rocker ankles is here.
Head – Ball joint
Shoulders – Swivel/pivot
Biceps - Swivel
Elbows – Double Pivot
Wrists – Swivel/pivot
Abdomen - Pivot
Waist – Swivel
Hips – Swivel/pivot
Thigh – Swivel
Knees – Double Pivot
Ankles - Pivot
I thought Walker’s head tail would interfere with movement, but it doesn’t. You can get plenty of different positions out of the head. Also, he has one of the better head ball joints so the range of motion is that much more.
I love that the Horsemen gave this figure the extra wrist articulation. Obviously every DC figure should have that, but it’s especially nice for somebody with a ring on their finger. It allows so much more expression with that device.
All of the joints on my figure move very well and hold poses.
Sculpt: Saint Walker has a generic male super-articulated body. It’s tall and slender and the proportions work for the character.
The head, forearms, and hands are new. The upper torso might be new – I’m not sure. If it isn’t the only other thing it could have been used for is a Lantern. Maybe Sinestro. Now that I think about it, the same might go for the forearms.
Walker’s head has a ton of detail. All of the lines are sculpted and give the figure a lot of character. That’s one of the great/disappointing things about every DCUC-style figure – you get a head like this with a fantastic amount of detail that is precise and good and just looks like such a high quality figure. But it’s on top of a generic body with a painted-on Blue Lantern emblem.
The forearms and chest have raised trim that looks nice but unfortunately contrasts with the lack of trim on the rest of the uniform. The surface that the Blue Lantern Corps emblem is painted on is raised, but is not sculpted in the shape of the emblem. The hands are unique to Walker. They are slender and slightly spatulate. The right hand is an appropriate “ring-slinging” closed fist and the left is an open, sort of floating gesture that can hold the included Lantern. The Blue Ring on his right hand is finely detailed with the Corps emblem and looks great.
I’m not very impressed with the level of sculpted detail on the body. Trim around the color variations would be nice, particularly since it is present on other parts of the figure. I think if a poor design decision is going to be made, it needs to be uniformly poor throughout the figure. Don’t tease your customers with how awesome a figure could have been if you could have produced a finished figure. I think the best – or worst, maybe – example of this is Metron with his beautifully sculpted head and paint deco that attempted to match the sculpt but just ended up looking dumb. Like somebody stuck a DC Direct head on a Dollar Tree toy’s body. His chair was nice, though.
Coloring: Walker’s head and hands are pretty basic, but what are you gonna do with an albino alien? His facial features look nice and are accurately placed, and so is his ring.
The upper portion of the figure’s uniform looks quite nice. The Corps emblem is painted well and no darker colors are showing through the white. I love the metallic blue used to highlight the sculpted trim and how it matches the included Lantern accessory.
The black and blue portions of the figure have a clean separation, with no bleeding or blotching. The shade of blue is nice and the colors are consistent across the different plastics used.
Accessories: Saint Walker comes with his Blue Lantern. I can’t remember off the top of my head if the Blues had different shaped Lanterns than the Greens like Red and Orange, but I’ll give Matty the benefit of the doubt and assume they didn’t.
The Lantern is sized properly and a nice metallic blue that matches the trim on Saint Walker’s uniform.
And here I come to the disappointing fact that the Lanterns in this line are not coming with Ring Constructs. I find it utterly unacceptable, particularly when Mattel already has tooling for a ton of constructs.
Packaging: It’s the standard DC Signature Collection window box. However I feel about the figures, I do like the packaging very much. Granted. I’d be just fine with these coming in a plastic bag, but I think I’m in the minority there. The artwork is quite nice and there’s a bio on the back:
Bro'Dee Walker?
Value: Is this figure worth $25.70 ($17 + $8.70 shipping)? Fuck and no. I’m not hating the DC Signature series, but I wish I had not subscribed. These figures simply are not worth the price. I have nobody to blame but myself, but what Mattel has done is hold the remainder of a line that people were ten years deep into collecting hostage and extorted unreasonable amounts of money to release those figures. But we all did it willingly. Two years in a row.
Overall: I am glad to have a DCUC Saint Walker, but this is definitely not the best Saint Walker Mattel could have made. Between the discrepancies in the uniform and the lack of constructs I just don’t feel like the figure cuts it for an exclusive line aimed at adult collectors.

3 out of 5

If you have to have a Saint Walker, try eBay. I bet there are plenty of folks who have lost interest in the various Lantern Corps entirely.

-Phantom

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