Mez-itz Army of Darkness!


Sean Teeter is back with the first of two Mez-itz reviews - Army of Darkness!  Take it away, Sean!

Good. Bad. I’m the guy with the gun. 
Nobody else can make that line sound as good as the legendary Bruce Campbell. And nobody can direct him better than the great Sam Raimi. Look at the recent Bubba Ho-tep for example. The direction wasn’t the greatest –pretty simplistic in fact—but Campbell was so damn good you barely noticed it. Now look at something like Army of Darkness, or even better, Evil Dead II, and you’ll notice something. Campbell knows what to do as the screen’s centerpiece, but Raimi knows just how to frame him and how to exploit his talents just right. After all, no one can direct reverse acting like Raimi, and there’s no better reverse actor than Bruce Campbell. (Watch Evil Dead II with the audio commentary if you’re stuck on the meaning of reverse acting boys and girls. Hell, watch it for any reason.)

Even though part two is mostly regarded as the best of the Evil Dead trilogy, Army of Darkness seems to have the stronger public following. McFarlane and Sideshow have produced their own versions of good and bad Ash, and Palisades is coming out with a line of action figures later this year. Unfortunately there’s still no sign of any figure based off of Embeth Davidtz’s character yet. We can all dream, can’t we?

In the meantime Mezco has produced a set of Mez-Itz based on Army of Darkness. What can I say? Mezco is getting hotter by the minute folks. They’ve got a whole ton of other Mez-Itz lined up this year, including Robocop and various monsters. Do I even need to mention their huge success with the Hellboy license?

So without further ado, lets check out the Evil Dead trio: Ash, Bad Ash, and the Pit Witch.

Packaging - ***
I was slightly disappointed that these guys didn’t come in a boxed set like the Cinema of Fear or Predator figures. However, this blister card is a heck of a lot better than the huge ones found with the Alien sets. The card is cut with a chainsaw shape at the top and has some nice graphic art on the front and back. Like the boxed sets, the back photo art features the figures as opposed to pictures of the actual characters.

Sculpting - Bad Ash: *** ½; Ash, Pit Witch: ***
Sculpting isn’t usually the strongest point of a most mini figures, but that’s not the case in the Mez-Itz line. While all the bodies are simplistic to begin with, Mezco always adds some nicely detailed head sculpts and extras to make up for it. 
The Pit Witch’s sculpted outfit is pretty simplistic, but the head captures the Evil Dead look perfectly. The expression is excellent and the detailing around the eyes and mouth are very well done.

Ash is a pretty good caricature of Bruce Campbell from his hair to his chin. I would have liked an expression closer to the one feature on the Army of Darkness poster, but this one works out okay. His shirt sculpt is nicely done, but the shotgun sling is kind of bulky. Then again, any smaller and the gun wouldn’t have fit. For some reason his left hand is sculpted at some weird angle with his watch. I don’t know why it was done that way, but it looks slightly out of place.  (Editor - the watch is actually movable, and can be turned to any position.)

Bad Ash is the best of the three, hands down. The armor pieces, tattered cape, and skull helmet are all perfectly rendered. His face has an appropriate glare to it with some really striking cheekbones and eyes. Even the extreme lower jawbone is present. 

Paint - ***
All three figures are decently done, but have some hit and miss. 
The Pit Witch has some splotchy areas on her outfit, but the facial details are perfect.

Ash has a nice wash to the front of his shirt, but there’s some light bleeding on his pants.

Bad Ash has a nice gray wash to his helmet, some silver to his armor, and a nice bloody jaw. I don’t know why he has those three white lines painted on his lower jaw, but they look strange –like war paint or something. His chest armor also bleeds a bit.

Articulation - **1/2
As usual, in comparison to other figures like the Art Asylum Minimates, these guys are a little lacking in the movement department.

All three figures have eight points: ball joint neck, ball shoulders, ball hips, cut wrists, and a waist cut. The ball-joints are limited by the sculpt, but work okay. There’s nothing to really write the farm about here. 

Accessories - Ash, Pit Witch: ***; Bad Ash: **
Just like most other mini figure sets out there, the accessories are uneven on these guys. Mezco takes the cheap way out this time in regards to the figures’ display stands, ala McFarlane. Each figure has a generic base with two skulls and a cardboard background with photo art. This is pretty tacky when compared to the nice work on the recent Cinema of Fear set.

Ash comes with his chainsaw, metal hand, and shotgun. The shotgun is pretty crudely sculpted and has a lot of spotty paint. It practically screams bootleg. At least it fits well in the holster. The chainsaw is sculpted somewhat cartoony with big uneven spiked blades. The design might not go over well with everyone, but looks okay. Just like the Movie Maniacs’ figure, this one can swap his right metal hand with the chainsaw.

Bad Ash is the loser of this section. His sword is pretty flimsy and rubbery, and looks too kiddy for such a little monster. The Pit Witch also comes with only one accessory, the Book of the Dead. The sculpting on this piece is so good though, that I had to bump it up to three stars. 

Durability/Quality - **1/2
These guys pull apart at the waist quite easily. All the limbs are removable, but a few of them are overly loose.

Value - ***
Most of these are going for around $12.99, which is not a bad price. If you hunt around a little, you can get them for ten or lower though. You’ll probably find them at Tower Records, Spencer’s and Hot Topic. I got mine at Tower Records for $9.99, an excellent price. They also have several other Mez-Itz sets at low prices. Spend a total of $20 or more and you get free shipping! Entertainment Earth is a little higher at $14.99. 

Overall - ***
The figures in this set are pretty good, but the turn towards cheapness on the display stands hurts them a bit in the end. I have these guys on the same shelf as all my other Mez-Itz, and they look a little out of place with those cardboard photo backers as opposed to sculpted display stands.

Most fans would have picked this set up if it were just the two Ashes, so I have to congratulate Mezco for adding a third figure. The Pit Witch isn’t anything special, but looks good on display next to the other two. I would have liked to see Mezco try their hand at a Mez-Itz style skeletal warrior or two to go alongside these guys, but I’m pretty happy with what I got.

Besides, these guys are far cheaper than any of the other Army of Darkness figure out there . . . 

Figure from the collection of Sean Teeter.

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