13" DC Direct Deluxe Green Arrow

Regular readers know that I have not been the biggest fan of the DC Direct 13" deluxe figures. However, with the release of the last couple (particularly Batgirl and Robin) there has been marked improvement in a number of areas, and I was getting quite hopeful that the line would show some real progress. Then, with the announcement of the re-release of Green Lantern, I decided to make the plunge and go outside the theme I had been buying (predominately Batman related) and focus on the Justice League. I preordered GL, preordered Green Arrow, and picked up the Flash and Aquaman cheap of da 'bay.

Green Arrow hit my doorstep at least a couple weeks ago, but with a trip to Florida for a week long vacation and a business trip to London for another week, I haven't even had time to open him, much less review him. I finally cracked the box this week though, and freed one of the more complex figures - and more expensive - in the series so far.

You can pick up GA from various online retailers for around $70. I called him one of the most expensive, not because his SRP is really that much higher than past releases, but because most past releases were able to be had at a much lower actual cost, more in the $55 - $60 range. Green Arrow is running more in the $65 - $75 range right now, much closer to SRP. 

Packaging - ***
Although these are 'collector' figures, DCD keeps missing the mark on the collector friendly packaging. This time they rely not only on several twisty ties, but a ton of tape as well to keep the figure and accessories in place. You'll need to replace some of that tape if you plan on putting him back in the box at some point, particularly for the tray of arrows.

Still, the package is attractive, and they skipped the completely impossible photos of the figure this time around.

Sculpting - ***1/2
In my opinion, this is easily the finest head sculpt DCD has had in this entire series. While they kept a 'comic book' look to him, they also gave enough fined detail to the hair, eyes and beard to make him look very lifelike. While the design is theoretically generic, it does capture GA perfectly, Some might find the head a bit too small, but I think that considering the comic book superhero style and pumped up body, the size is about right.

It's also been sculpted to work with the hat, and yet he doesn't have too obvious of hat hair. That's hard to pull off, and usually the only way to get a figure that looks good in a hat is to make the hat part of the permanent sculpt i.e. no hair sculpted under the glued on under the chapeau. They managed to make a sculpted head with removable hat that actually looks great either with or without it on, which is quite the feat.

In fact, if I were grading this merely on the head sculpt, it would have gotten another half star, going all the way to the coveted four stars. I like the head sculpt that much.  Unfortunately, I also include the hand sculpts. The fisted hands he comes wearing are good enough, but rather than give him sculpted hands to work with the bow and arrows, they went with those damn, surgical gloves filled with water, sausage fingered bendy hands. These things were a bad choice for every figure so far, but for Green Arrow, a character that begs to be posed with his bow, it's an atrocity. I'll be beating up on this particular issue more in the Articulation section, but it's the one feature of an otherwise outstanding figure that truly disappoints.

The other minor issue is around the mask. The head sculpt and mask sculpt don't work as well together as Nightwing's, where the mask popped into place perfectly and stayed there. Here, it doesn't quite match up as well, and therefore is harder to get into place and keep there once you do.

And before I forget, yes he's just as gargantuan as the others, standing at about 13 1/4 inches tall. That is an issue that was more critical back when there were only one or two figures - now, with a dozen figures for him to hang out with (and almost a full Justice League), it's not as big of a deal. It's still a little annoying, particularly if you'd like to mix and match with other supposedly sixth scale lines, but I'm not as perturbed about it as I once was.

Paint - ***
To top off that terrific sculpt, there's a nice, clean, well executed paint job. The hair color is blonde without being too white or yellow, and the skin tone is appropriate and even. The lips are really the only issue, and they pull down the score a bit.  They've got to learn to lose the lipstick look.

The eyes are clean and sharp, both pointing in the same direction, and the paint work emotes the same serious but not constipated expression on the face. This was another solid category, if not for the shiny lips.

Articulation - **1/2
The body is pretty much exactly what you expect if you've been buying any of the previous releases. Poor ball jointed neck, good ball jointed hips and shoulders, single pin knees and double pin elbows, obvious cut joints at the thigh and hip, pin/disc ankles with cut joint just above, and crunch chest joint with cut waist. Oh, and who can forget the cut wrists.

In fact, without the craptacular wrist joints, this articulation score would have been higher. But these damn hands are such a huge disappointment on a figure with this much potential that they don't just hurt this score, they hurt almost every category.  Not only do they simply not pose well, the damn things fell off every time I touched them.  Aaaggghh!

If you're particularly observant, you'll notice that the pinky finger on his left hand was already splitting at the base from my attempts at getting it to pose.  Gee, I wonder why I hate these things.

Accessories - ***
Another category hurt by the damn bendy hands. Had they gone with sculpted extra hands, this could have been a potential four star category.

I already briefly mentioned one of the accessories, his hat. It fits on his head nicely, and looks great once there. He also has a large hard plastic quiver, designed to hold both his bow and arrows, and this fits on his back with the use of a double strap contraption.

Now, be careful when attaching the quiver. I've heard lots of horror stories with broken straps, so take your time. I found that it was a good idea to unsnap the shoulder strap from the belt first (there's a small snap that holds the two together to your right of the buckle), to allow you to adjust the belt first. Get that connected around his waist, and then reattach the shoulder strap to the belt. You may have to shift the whole harness to the left and up on the quiver, and this is possible. The paint might be sticking the belts in the loops, but you can get them free with some care, and then slide the belts freely. Take your time, and once the quiver is in place, leave it there - this is not the kind of accessory you'll want to take on and off repeatedly.

The quiver is a bit large and odd looking (since it's hard plastic), but it does hold both the bow and arrows quite well. And there's plenty of arrows too, thirty one of them by my count, in 11 different designs. GA does love his funky, odd arrows, and there's a whole bunch of different types here for any battle situation - even a boxing glove! I don't know how they managed to get all the arrows perfectly lined up in the quiver in that early pre-production photo, but they at least do all fit inside, albeit a bit haphazardly.

The bow folds up to store neatly, and expands to pop into place. The elastic bow string could actually be used to pose with an arrow loaded, if not for those damn bendy hands.

I also already mentioned his hard plastic mask, which doesn't work quite as well as some of the past masks. I was able to get it into position with some effort, and it stayed there for the shoot, so it isn't terrible. Still, nothing comes close to the perfection they had with the Nightwing mask.

Finally, there's those hands. The extra set are the bendy style, and I hate them even more with this figure than I've hated them with past figures. GA needs to be able to hold his bow and arrow - while you can manage to do it with these monstrosities, it simply looks bad in any pose.

Oh, there's also a display stand, like the past figures. You won't really need it - he stands great on his own in any number of leg poses - but it's there just in case.

Outfit - ***1/2
Finally, a category not hurt by those bendy hands! The outfit is excellent, perhaps the best overall that DCD has done in this line. There's only one minor issue holding it back from four stars, which is saying quite a bit.

The body suit is the usual form fitting lycra, but there are actually three pieces.  The leggings, the tunic, and the inner lighter green shirt.  All are very well done, with high quality materials and great stitching.  Small details are perfect, like the tiny eyelets and string front, and with the long 'sleeves' for the gloves, the whole outfit looks terrific.  This costume gets my top marks for the line so far. 

Perhaps the best part of this costume, but the one that actually has an issue, is the boots. Regular readers know that I disliked the vinyl boots on Batgirl and Robin, because the material was too thick and goofy looking. With GL, they've fixed that issue beautifully, using a very, very soft vinyl material that form fits, feels quite sturdy, and looks absolutely perfect. The only issue is that this softer, stretchy material allows the heel to sit back too far over the hard plastic sole. This looks odd from the side, but not the front. All they need to do in the future to correct this is provide a hard plastic backing to the heel, curving up from the sole. Otherwise, this material and style of boot is dead on perfect. Even the dorky zipper seems smaller and less of an issue!

Fun Factor - **1/2
This is similar to other high end sixth scale collectibles - fun to pose here and there, but not something designed to handle real play. I won't be docking the figure for that in my personal Overall, since that's what I expected, but it's worth nothing in case you're a parent looking for a good GA toy for your kids. This one isn't designed for that.

Value - **
SRP on this figure is $80, part of a general price rise for this line in 2008. I'm betting most LCS' will be charging at least $70 for this guy, and at that price he's still too much. Fix the bendy hands, and I'd be happier, but this is really a figure that should be going for $60 - $65. There are online shops selling him in that price range too (see below), and if you pay around that you can add another half star. There's no doubt that this figure is the first (at least since GL) to be worth the high price tag I paid, but he's still not worth the SRP.

Things to Watch Out For - 
The boards have been alive with complaints about breakage with this figure, everything from the quiver straps to the bow string. I didn't have issues with either one, but that might be because I was forewarned by all the other unlucky collectors out there, and knew to take extra care. Do the same and you might avoid some of the issues.

And of course, try not to have the fingers begin splitting on yours - I wasn't so fortunate.

Overall - ***
*sigh* This could have been such a fantastic figure, In fact, had the ONE issue not existed, this figure would have been the shining star of this line for me, getting higher marks in Sculpt, Articulation and Accessories, and getting three and a half overall.

Normally the bendy hands are merely an annoyance, one thing in a list of four or five that hurts one of the Deluxe figures. It's rare that I dock a figure in the Overall this much for a single issue, but because of who this character is and the importance of holding his accessories, the single issue takes on more criticality than usual. Green Arrow is meant to be posed with his bow and arrows in some fashion. DCD gave us an excellent bow and some fantastic arrows...and then gave us hands that fight us for any good poses. If they had gone with a second set of sculpted hands, they would have hit a home run. Instead, he ended up a tremendous disappointment for me, because he was so close to being perfect.

If they'd just give it up and go with sculpted second hands (which they did with both Robin and Batgirl), they could finally turn the corner with this line and start producing top notch figures with every release. I have my hopes up for the Dark Knight Joker - could this be the one to get top honors?

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt - ***1/2
Paint - ***
Articulation - **1/2
Accessories - ***
Outfit - ***1/2
Fun Factor - **1/2
Value - **
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
Online retailers are your best bet if your LCS didn't pick any up:

- Amazing Toyz has him listed at $64.

- CornerStoreComics has him in stock for $64.

- Alter Ego Comics has him for $68.

- Things From Another World has him for $72.

- YouBuyNow has him for $75.

- for the UK collectors, Forbidden Planet has him listed at 47 GBP.

- or you can search ebay using the sponsor MyAuctionLinks.

- Related Links -
I've done quite a few 13" Deluxe reviews, although most of them have related to Batman:

- There's Robin, two versions of Batgirl, before that was Batman himself, in the old school 70's outfit, Nightwing, a guest review of Catwoman, and my reviews of the Martian Manhunter, Two Face, Batman Begins and classic Batman.

- When it comes to Green Arrow, I haven't had much...surprisingly. The only one I coudl find is a guest review that includes a number of Justice League figures along with Green Arrow

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Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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