Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Toy Review New 52 Swamp Thing from DC Collectibles

Ol’ Swampy here represents the end of my coverage of the current crop of DC Collectibles releases. All of the figures and sets I’ve reviewed over the past couple of weeks should still be available at your local comic shop or online somewhere, so I hope some of you have gotten some good information out of these.

I wanted a figure of this crazy-ass, heavy metal album cover, Viking warrior, asparagus from Hell version of Swamp Thing since the first time I saw it in the pages of the New 52 comic. As a matter of fact, the second I saw that image I I commented on how much I wanted a figure depicting Battle Wings Swamp Thing. At the time I never imagined I would actually get one. Mattel had just released their strangely greasy, too-tall SwampThing for the DCUC line as a SDCC Exclusive and I doubted we’d see another any time soon, even from a different company. Swamp Things has never exactly been a merchandising success, so I doubted an action figure would be very high on DC Collectibles’ list. Luckily for all of us, somebody at DCC loved this design as much as I do.
The deal here is that Alec Holland (the New 52 Alec) figures out he can morph his swampy body into this warrior form with wings and a sword and that wild crown of antlers except that they’re not really antlers because those would be part of the Red. So these are branches. But in all honesty I don’t care what the story is behind this look because the story behind the story is obviously this:
Scott Snyder: “Hey, Yanick – can you draw Swamp Thing as though he were from a Manowar album cover?”
Yanick Paquette: “FUCK YES I CAN.”
Scott Snyder: “Rad.”
Even Mrs. Troublemaker – a long-time fan of Swamp Thing – had to admit that even though she didn’t like Swamp Thing looking like this, taken in the context of it just being a rad design it was pretty awesome.
First Glance: While I am typically pretty stoked about new action figures, I was more excited about this Swamp Thing than I’ve been about one in a long time. When the lady at the comic shop set it on the counter, I was exactly as blown away as I was hoping to be. This thing is impressive, both in size and sculpt.
Articulation: Wow. All I can say is, “Wow”. I did not expect this level of articulation from a DCC figure, especially not one this big.
Head – ball joint
Shoulders – ball joint
Biceps - swivel
Elbows –pivot
Wrists – swivel
Wings – swivel/pivot
Hips – ball joint
Thighs - swivel
Knees – double pivot
Foot – swivel/pivot
Swamp Thing’s head has as much motion as I could have wanted. I appreciate that New 52 Swamp Thing doesn’t have the shneck of his predecessor.
The arms have a great range of motion. The combination of the ball-jointed shoulders with the bicep swivels is great. The elbows have a deeper pivot than I would have expected from thick arms with this much sculpted detail. The wrists could have been ball joints, but I think the swivels probably look better.
The wing joints are about as subtle as such things can be. Organic wings are always a tough proposition in action figures. It’s extremely difficult to design a natural junction with any sort of articulation.
Swamp Thing’s hips are admittedly a bit unsightly, but if that’s the trade we have to make for the range of posability this figure has, I’m okay with it. Combined with the knees and feet, the legs are great.
And those feet require their own paragraph. It took me a second to figure out just what the heck was going on. There is a joint about mid-foot that pivots up and down and also swivels side to side. It works fairly well and does a lot to keep the figure balanced in more dynamic poses. It also looks a lot better than most ankle joints I see, but that has more to do with the surrounding sculpt than the design of the joint.
This is a fantastically articulated figure. It isn’t the best ever, but it is so much more than what I expected. All of the joints are tight and work well and you can achieve a ton of dynamic and interesting poses. The figure is also balanced well and can stand unassisted in a large variety of poses.
Sculpt: How so I even talk about the sculpt on this figure? There’s so much going on it’s ridiculous.
The head is a masterpiece. The horns are asymmetrical and yet balanced. They have tons of detail and all of the little offshoot branches have distinctive and random forms. These don’t look planned is my point. The face looks serious. The deep set eyes under the thick brow create a menacing look. And just to add to the metal theme, look at that Lemmy mustache.
Swamp Thing’s torso is a mixture of bark and moss and leafy stuff. I like the way that all of the bark looks like pieces of armor plating.
The shoulders work a lot better than the hips. The plating there does a good job of concealing the ball joints and blending them in. The textures of the arms match the torso and then blend down into the bark gauntlets. Swamp Thing’s hands both have great shapes and textures. The right hand is spread out and the left is a fist. Both are covered in detail and have bark fingernails.
The legs are similar to the arms in that a tremendous amount of sculpted moss and textures blend down into more bark armor. These greave-like shapes form the knee joints and house the foot articulation nicely. It’s worth noting that the trademark pink flower that has been present on many interpretations of Swamp Thing is sculpted onto the back of the right leg.
This figure is so varied and yet so uniform. There are so many different shapes and textures, but they all blend together in a very organic way. The articulation doesn’t blend in perfectly, but as good as it is I can forgive the little bit that it takes away from the profile.
Coloring: The whole figure is covered in a blend of greens and browns, with washes of different shades of both to bring out all of the detail of the sculpt. The armored bark portions are primarily brown with dark brown washes.
Swamp Thing’s red eyes are centered well. The pink flower on the back of his leg is precisely painted.
My one issue with the figure is the way his knees were done. This is really weird, too. The upper right knee joint has a clear piece and the upper left knee joint has a brown piece, while the lower joints are painted. The brown joint isn’t so bad, but the clear one is very noticeable. This isn’t a huge deal, but it’s just one of those odd toymaking decisions that I don’t get.
Flair: I kind of wish the wings were removable, but I really don’t care because I would never display this Swamp Thing without them. They look absolutely amazing. The “feathers” resemble a palm-like leaf and the moss that they sprout from looks fantastic. These are some of the best looking wings I have seen on an action figure and they’re made out of friggin’ plants.
The hinges may not be aesthetically pleasing, but they work well and are tight enough to hold the wings in a pose.
Accessories: Swamp Thing comes with a shield and a sword that plug into his left and right arms, respectively.
Each arm has a growth of branches sticking out of the forearm:
These branches are cleverly disguising plugs that pulls out of the arms to leave notches for Swamp Thing’s weapons to fit into:
The weapons (and branch plugs) fit snugly and don’t just fall out.
The shield looks like a giant knot from a tree. The paint job matches Swamp Thing and it looks very natural when it is attached. You’d never know it was a separate piece.
The sword looks like a sharpened piece of bark and looks just as good attached as the shield does.
These are a great couple of accessories that interact with the figure perfectly.
Packaging: Just a window box. I do like the uniformity of the DCC window boxes, though. They are all designed to look like the stupid new DC logo, with the logo itself peeling down to reveal whatever the product or franchise is.
Value: I’ve seen this figure listed between forty and fifty bucks, but I paid a bit less than that for mine. I would go so far as to say it’s easily worth the fifty. You can find it cheaper, though, and should.
Overall: This is one of those very special figures that I would recommend to any collector. This needs to be in your collection. It’s a fine example of what a specialty company can do with its own licenses when somebody that cares is on the project. I can’t imagine a better Swamp Thing happening. Yes, the knee joint thing bothered me, but the rest of the figure is so outstanding that I don’t care.
5 out of 5
You know the drill – local comic shop, then BigBad or EE, then maybe Amazon. Go buy this. It will make you happy.
-Phantom


2 comments:

  1. Great review & pictures! I almost succumbed to my inner evils and bought this one. Almost. Instead, I went ahead and bought the Bats-Bane 2-pack for my son. I wish I had extra moolah to get this one too. I never read any of the newer 52 stuff but the Swamp Thing here is really bad-a**!

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    1. I haven't even put him on the shelf yet. Every time I try to I end up messing around with him for a few minutes and then just put him back on the desk. He's such an excellent figure.

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