DC Direct Martian Manhunter and Red Tornado

Note - This review was originally posted at the Comic Book Galaxy.

It's been a few weeks since the last DC Direct release, and the fans have been growing restless.  But this week there was plenty to choose from, with both the Martian Manhunter and Red Tornado carded figures hitting, and the Darksied/Orion two pack.

I may get around to reviewing the two pack, but since I felt it was far inferior to these two releases, I didn't want to lump them all together and pull down these terrific action figures.

I picked mine up at a comic shop nearby, and I'm sure that's where you can find yours as well.  I've got some other on-line options at the bottom of the review.  You can expect to pay $13-$15 right now.

Packaging - ***
This was a tough one to score.  Why?  Well, the front of the card has some bizarre art.  Rather than having these two figures as some sort of 'wave', as most of the previous releases has been, this time they are theme-less.  The card art shows a volcanic island/beach scene that is a photo, but overlaid on that is either a picture of the Martian Manhunter figure or the Red Tornado - whichever isn't under the bubble of course.  It's an odd contrast, and doesn't work well at all.

It was tough to take off too much though, because I'm a huge fan of the back of the cards.  Here, DC Direct has listed all the figures they've released, and I really appreciate it when companies do that.  There are also decent photos of other current releases, and a short text blurb about the character.

Sculpting - ***1/2
When DC Direct is on, they're smokin'.  When their off, they're usually pretty decent too.  This time they are on, and both the Martian Manhunter and Red Tornado are almost perfect.

If I was basing this soley on J'onn J'onnz, it would be perfect.  The sculpt of both the head and body is excellent.  This is easily my favorite version of this character, blowing away the Super Powers, and Total Justice versions.

Red Tornado is *almost* as good.  Unfortunately, the body sculpt gives him the appearance of a bit of a paunch, as if he's just now hitting middle age.  He also has trouble standing on his own, something that Mister Manhunter has no problem doing.

The scale is on with these two as well - unlike some of the figures *coughDarksiedcough*, these two will look great with the previous DC Direct offerings.

Paint - ***1/2
Both figures have excellent paint ops.  The wash works well on Martian Manhunter, although the green was a bit of a surprise for me.  No, not that he's green, but that they used what I'd call more of a forest green than I expected.  Still, the overall look is great.

Red Tornado has that difficult combination of red and yellow.  Quite often, the red bleeds into the yellow easily, making it a tough combo.  But this time, at least on this figure, they've managed to get it just right.  I have heard some people complain though, so be as picky as you can when selecting your Tornado.

Articulation - ***1/2
The inconsistency in the articulation across this line is really something amazing.  Here we have them back at the top, with neck, ball jointed shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees.  Ankles would have been unnecessary here, but wrists would have been nice, and the elbows needed a greater range of motion.  But comparing this to some of the other, more static figures that DC Direct has put out, you realize just how great they can be when they put in that extra effort.

Accessories - **
Okay, I'm being really nice here, because technically there are NO accessories.  I'll admit though that coming up with accessories for these two might have been a little tough, so I'm calling their capes accessories, in the loosest way possible.  And both capes are excellent, with great sculpting, and hang off the figures just right.

Value - **
Sorry, but this price point is still too high for what you're getting.  At least with the Martian Manhunter they're close, but without accessories, these really aren't worth $15 or more each.  If you can, wait a month or so when you'll be able to get them at most shops and shows for ten bucks.

Overall - ***
If you can only afford to pick up one of this latest release, rush out and grab the Martian Manhunter now.  You will not be disappointed.  The Red Tornado isn't quite as nice, but I still liked him quite a bit.  And be glad I didn't review the awful Orion and Darksied along with these two, or it would have drug this score down quite a bit.

Where to Buy -
Your local comic shop should have these, and that's probably your best bet.  But there are some decent deals on-line as well:

- Comics Infinity, who I've bought from before without problems, has them for $13.50 plus shipping.
- New Force Comics has them in now.  If you pre-order DC Direct from them, they are only $11.99, and if you buy them from the website after they've arrived, they are just $12.99, best deal on the web!

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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