Green Lantern Deluxe - Alan Scott
DC Direct

   "The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

Ryan Kelly checks in tonight with a terrific look at another of the many current Green Lantern figures, but this one from DCD - take it away, Ryan!

This has definitely been the year of Green Lantern. All year long it’s been “Green Lantern this, Green Lantern that,” and at least for me, it’s gotten a little old. I’ve never been a huge fan of the guy, but then again green is my favorite color, so I have mixed feelings. I finally went and saw the film awhile back, expecting it to thoroughly suck. However, I was surprised to find that—at least in my opinion—it was pretty entertaining and kept me interested. I didn’t doze off one time. Yeah, having the ring choose a very reckless and immature Hal Jordan was a bit of a stretch to say the least, and the 13-year-old girl-ish line “That’s so cool!” following the big romantic scene at the end made me cringe a little bit, but overall I was fairly impressed. It’s certainly no “Dark Knight,” but at least in my opinion people are being a little harsh on it. This wasn’t enough to make me a hardcore fan, but I came away with a little more interest in the character and will certainly be willing to go and see the sequel, which the post-credit scene with Sinestro implies there will certainly be.

There is one big name in the Green Lantern universe that has seemed to have been forgotten amongst the hype, however. As most GL fans probably know, before there was Hal Jordan, there was Alan Scott, the Green Lantern of the 1940’s. I have to admit that I’d be way more interested in a film about Scott than Jordan, even though Jordan is considered by most to be the Green Lantern. And while Jordan is indeed the most famous, Scott was the original Green Lantern, the very first to wear the ring and carry the lantern and title. In this case, Scott was a railroad engineer who found a mysterious lantern at the scene of a railway crash. This lantern spoke to him and led him to create a ring with magical powers that had to be charged every 24 hours by touching it to the lantern, just like Jordan does in the film. When comic book sales declined after WWII, Scott’s Green Lantern was eventually done away with, and the Green Lantern was revived in 1959 with the Hal Jordan story that most of us know.

With Alan Scott, there was no Green Lantern Intergalactic Corps, no “yellow fear” stuff, and no Sinestro; just a guy in a goofy Dracula-esque outfit fighting crime on Earth with a magical lantern’s power backing him up. Due to the look of the outfit, the time period, and the fact that Scott was the original GL, I find him the most interesting and finally decided to go after this figure from DC Direct’s 13” deluxe line. I previously owned—and later sold—their two previous Green Lantern figures, the regular Jordan and the CORPS version. Both were done extremely well, and I’d say the CORPS version probably still stands as the best overall figure in the line so far (though the DK Joker and Rorschach follow pretty closely).

As most of us know, DCD’s 13” line of “sixth scale” figures—for the most part—kinda sucks. The Alex Ross Batman that I reviewed a few months ago remains my personal favorite, but it nevertheless had several flaws that you don’t expect from an $80-ish figure. (I recently bought Kingdom Come Superman as well, and overall, I was not impressed.  I wound up selling him on ebay.) Most figures from this line have been somewhere in that price range, and were it not for that, we could be a bit more forgiving. I own several figures from it, only because I got most of them at less than half of retail price. At $30-$50 or so, many of these figures are definitely a lot of fun and well-worth having. However, many of their more recent offerings have been tough to acquire at a price like that, and while they seem to have made some improvement in paint and sculpts, we’re getting fewer and fewer accessories and no improvements to their big superhero body have been made at all. The future of this line, I’d say, is questionable at best.

Anyway, enough with the preliminaries; let’s see how they did with Alan Scott…

Packaging - **1/2
As usual, we get a 4-color window box with a fifth panel, held closed by Velcro. The appearance and graphics are good, and the inside of the flap gives us a little bit of background info on the character. The back has a large picture of the figure holding the lantern and—in case you never had any of their previous GL figures—it has instructions for turning the lantern on and off. The top of the box opens and the tray slides out, with the figure incarcerated inside of it. And that’s when the twisty battle begins. I think I had to undo six twisties on this figure, and pulling them loose after unwinding them made for a pretty aggravating process. Those of us who own any figures from this line shouldn’t be surprised. Yes, the box is collector friendly, allowing you (once the twisties are removed) to remove and replace the figure at your own convenience. As is usual with this line, the many unnecessary twisty ties and the large amount of unused space on the box hold the packaging back from being above average quality.

Sculpting - ****
As with the Ross Batman, I was pleasantly surprised. The face and hands have been sculpted with great care and detail, and considering that this is a comic book character and not a movie character, DCD could have gotten away with a lot less but chose to go that extra mile. With the strong jaw line and chin and the shape of the mouth and nose, this really does have some realism to it. Though they’ve started slipping in a lot of other areas on this line, sculpting is not one of them, as Mr. Scott, as well as the Ross Batman and Supes, all have great facial sculpts. This isn’t a likeness to any actual human being in particular, but anyone who’s ever seen cartoon pics of Alan Scott can see that the resemblance is strong, and this is likely pretty close to what he’d look like in real life.

The hands are sculpted well, too, and are in scale with the rest of the figure. Even the ring on the right hands is, in both cases, sculpted well and doesn’t appear oversized or undersized. The head may need to be just a tiny bit bigger, but with the caped outfit it’s kind of hard to tell. The sculpting on the hair is outstanding, and they’ve successfully given it a thick, wavy, “blowing in the wind” kind of look without overdoing it.

Paint - **1/2
As we know, paint can seriously help or hurt a good sculpt. Here, it helps more than hurts, but it could have helped a lot more. The right eye is just a bit off center—not enough to make him look like the retarded hyena from “The Lion King,” but it’s still noticeable. The Ross Batman had the same problem, but it’s actually less noticeable here. This could have easily been fixed by either having the left eye look slightly up or having the right eye look straight forward.

Another minor nit with the eyes is the amount of redness. It kind of looks to me like Scott may have just left the bar before going out crime-fighting. It could have been a lot worse, but it looks like they did overdo it just a tad bit.

Next is the hair, which is blonde with a little brown mixed in here and there. Overall it looks really good, but what you can’t really see in the pictures is the back of the head, where it starts to get just a little bit sloppy. The cape collar covers it up, though, so it’s not as big a deal as it would be otherwise.

Now, let’s talk about the good stuff.  The eyes and lips have just the right amount of moisture, enhancing the figure’s realism factor. Unlike the Kingdom Come Superman, where it looks like he’s wearing lipstick and getting ready to pucker up, the lips on this figure are given just the right amount of moisture, giving them a subtle yet significant appearance. The eyebrows are clean and neat, and have the blondish-brown color consistent with the hair. The mask has white for the eyes, black around the eyes, and dark purple around the edges. The paint here is very neatly done and looks fantastic.

Lastly, the ring on the right fist looks good and is nice and clean, not looking like it’s simply been painted on to the hand. The ring on the right bendy hand (*sigh* yeah, I’ll get to that in a minute), however, has a bit of slop on it, though nothing too major.

For a figure at this price, there are simply too many paint issues here. Yes, they’re all fairly minor, but all together, they do enough to hurt the score significantly. It’s pretty close to three stars in spite of these issues, though, and if I were feeling particularly generous, I’d give three stars in this category. But, I’m not feeling particularly generous, so I’ll leave it as is.

Articulation - ***
Here’s another category where I was pleasantly surprised. I’ll get all my nits out of the way first, though. We still have the oversized body that’s practically the same as what’s been used on most of their male figures with the cut biceps and thighs. The arms can’t come all the way to the sides (though they do come closer to making it than the Ross Batman and Superman), and the rear-end is once again sculpted in such a way that it keeps the legs from moving backward. And as usual, we have cut wrists, where a short stubby peg sticking out of the arm fits into hands with holes in them.  I really wish they would make some modifications to this body, at least giving us some ball-jointed wrists and doing something about those cut thighs and biceps, which are noticeable with many figures in this line since most of them are superheroes that wear tight outfits. You can see the thighs a little bit here, but the good news is that you can’t really see the cut biceps because the shirt is loose enough to hide them. But they’re there, trust me.  One would think that after four or five years of cranking out these figures, DCD would start making new bodies for these figures, especially at the rate that other companies like Hot Toys and Sideshow are progressing.

So, why the higher score? Well, the fact remains that this figure can assume many poses, having ball-jointed arms and legs, an abdominal joint and, since the boots are made of actual material and are not sculpted, working articulated ankles. In fact, I don’t know of any other figure in this line that stands on its own as well as this guy does. Whether standing up straight or taking on a fairly deep pose, you don’t have to work with him much to keep him standing up, and you certainly won’t need the display stand (though it’s good to have, I reckon).  But even with all that, he still wouldn’t have gotten better than two and a half stars for the very reasons described above (with the lack of temporal progression making it all the worse). No, the thing that pushed him up to three stars, at least for me, is the ball-jointed neck. The head can look any direction—up, down, around, tilted—without much restriction, and as far as I can think of, no other figure in this line on that big body can do that. The Ross Batman head can’t move at all because of the sculpted cowl, and the KC Superman has a cut neck joint—no ball joint at all (are you starting to see why I sold him on ebay??).  This is what pleasantly surprised me, though it shouldn’t come as a surprise, since you SHOULD expect decent articulation from a figure at this price level.  If not for the cut wrists or restrictive buttocks, I could have overlooked the other remaining issues and gave it three and a half in this category.

Outfit - ***1/2
Here’s an area where DCD hasn’t consistently screwed up. We get a great-looking outfit with this figure, with fabric that is very soft and silky. Though it doesn’t look like it at first, he’s wearing a one-piece jumpsuit, with red from the waist up and dark green from the waist down. The upper and lower parts are sewn together with a zipper on the back going from the neck to the waist. The upper part, as I mentioned before, is somewhat baggy and is loose enough at the arms that the goofy bicep joints are hidden when you rotate the arms.

Around the waist is a black pleather belt, which is rather thin and simplistic, but serves its purpose. My only nit with it is that it’s too loose, and even though it’s adjustable, the second notch is too far behind the first and won’t quite make it to the buckle because of the size of the waist. I suppose it’s nice to have a belt that’s really adjustable, but it doesn’t do much good if you can’t actually adjust it on the figure.

The cape is very soft and thick, with purple on the outside and neon green on the inside. A small golden rope appears to hold the collar in place, but the reality is that the cape is held on by a snap button at each corner, and there are two more holding it in place at the back. The cape unsnaps easily, though there’s not much point in removing it. The buttons not only do the job well and were a good idea, but they are also concealed well. I didn’t even know they were on there until after I shot the photos.

My only problem with the cape is that, because of the shortness and thickness of it, it doesn’t hang all that well. Mine was also pretty wrinkled, but that’s nothing a little ironing won’t fix. It’s still a really nice cape overall, though, so these are minor nits. The lantern symbol on his chest seemed to be a sticker at first, but after looking at it closely, it appears to be painted on, and it looks great. It contributes to the iconic goofiness of this 1940’s superhero outfit, and is thus pretty cool in its own way.

Lastly there’s the boots. They each have a zipper running up the back, of course, and are made of red pleather while laced with golden-colored ropes identical to what we see at the cape collar. One of the biggest issues for the KC Superman is that his boots were sculpted in hard plastic, and they were sculpted in such a way that he couldn’t stand up straight, since one foot pointed at sort of a downward angle and the other was level. Since they were sculpted, the ankles couldn’t move. I’m glad that’s not the case here; we get a pair of soft-yet-realistic boots that allow for plenty of ankle articulation.

Overall, the outfit is pretty fantastic, but the nits with the cape and the belt were, I felt, enough to hold the outfit back from a perfect score, despite the fact that it’s easily one of the better aspects of this figure.  The look of the outfit, as I believe I said in the intro, was one of the main things drawing me to this version of GL, and I’m glad to see that DCD executed it well.

Accessories - **
Again, I’m surprised—in a good way. From reading descriptions on this figure, I had reason to believe that all I’d be getting was extra hands and a display stand. After all, that’s all the KC Superman came with, and the Justice Batman only had a single batarang aside from those things.

The reason—and the only reason—I’m pleasantly surprised is because, like with the previous GL figures in this line, we get a light-up lantern. This one appears to be much the same, lighting up brightly by turning the top counter-clockwise with a green metallic look and a large handle. This is close to being a reuse of the previous lanterns, except that this one only has a light shining out on only one side. Also, the light on this lantern stays on easier than the older ones, and doesn’t flicker at all. The knob at the top is nice and tight.

And as I said, we get a pair of extra hands and a display stand (which, as I said earlier, is unnecessary but still good to have). The extra hands are, yes, the bendy hands we all know and love so much (note the sarcasm). I will say, however, that these seem to work better than the bendies on the older figures, and they don’t quite look as goofy. The Ross Batman and Superman have THREE sets of hands whereas Scott only gets two, and in the prior cases, all three sets are sculpted. But, this figure gets the cool light-up lantern. Yeah, it’s almost a reuse without a light on the backside, but I was really ready to tear this figure a new one in this review if it didn’t come with it. It’s nice when you expect to get pissed off and instead are pleasantly surprised. But again, at this price point, we have a right to have above moderate expectations, and the fact that we don’t says something about the general crappiness of this line.

Also, like with the Ross Batman, I have to gripe about the peg hole in one of the sculpted hands being two small. I had to pull that right fist so hard to get it off that I was afraid of breaking the peg, and when I finally got it off, I hollowed it out with a razor blade (a regular file won’t work here; the plastic is too hard) after which point it came off and on easily. I didn’t have this problem with the left fist, so I didn’t have to take any dangerous sharp objects to it, which is always a good thing. I suppose having hands that are difficult to get off are better than having hands that fall off when you breathe on them, which was the case with some of the earlier releases, but after all this time one would think that they would have made more progress than this. One would be wrong.

There was one more thing that saved this score from bupkisland: the face mask. I’m including it as an accessory because it isn’t merely painted on as I originally feared it would be, but actually goes on and off.  Unlike face masks with earlier releases like Robin and the Comedian, this mask fits *perfectly* on his face with absolutely no effort, almost as though it attaches magnetically (it doesn’t, but still…). The mask looks great (covering up the eye issues), and is neither too big nor too small. I can’t remember if the masks on the Jordan figures fit that easily or not. It seems like they did fit without too much trouble, but getting this one to fit was even easier.

Fun Factor - ***
A kid could have a blast with this guy, as he’s sturdy enough to handle some rough play. The only thing likely to get damaged in the process is the outfit, and you certainly wouldn’t want that to happen. Lack of accessories prevent it from being more fun than it could be, however. Oh, and there’s the fact that giving a $70+ figure to a kid below 10 would be insane.

Value for money - **
I lucked out and snagged this guy at $50, but finding him at that price was way more trouble than it should have been. Ebay? Nope. This time, it was a seller on Amazon. The next best price I’ve seen anywhere (and believe me, I’ve looked) is $65 from BigBadToyStore, who has it on both Amazon and their website. Most retailers that have him below $80 are sold out, and even on ebay you’ll be paying at least $70-range. The going price on this figure is about $80-$90, and that’s where I’m grading it, since finding it for less is fairly uncommon.

I’ll be honest; before getting this figure, I was ready to butcher it in this category, but after having it in my hands, I’ll tell you that at $80 or so, you’re not getting ripped off by much. $60-$65 would be about average, so if you get it at that price, you can add another half star here. Bearing in mind that the Green Lantern Corps figure was about $80-$90 as well, and had THREE extra heads besides Jordan’s head, you can see that, although this figure is far from being the worst in the line, the price point is a bit much and is far from being a deal. On the other hand, they’ve made figures at this price that weren’t nearly as good, so whether you’d be willing to spend that much or not is a judgment call.

Things to Watch Out For-
Be careful when removing and replacing the sculpted fists, as DCD has a tendency to not make the peg holes big enough. You may have to do with one or both fists what I did with the right one and hollow it out with a blade. The bendy hands don’t have this problem.

Overall- ***
Color me pleasantly surprised. The excellent sculpting, the amazing outfit, the decent enough paint job and less-sucky-than-usual articulation are, I believe, enough to justify a positive overall rating for this figure. Were it not for the reuse of the ancient body that should have been retired long ago, minor paint issues, lack of accessories, and high price, this figure would be another half star overall. I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that this figure is every bit as good as DCD’s first Jordan GL, though not as good as their GL Corps figure because of the notable difference in the number of accessories. Since there has previously been no existing review of this figure—in writing or video—anywhere on the web (at least not that I could find), I took a risk in getting it because even though the prototype looked nice enough, I had no idea what to expect.  Had I known how nice it would turn out to be, I probably wouldn’t have waited this long.

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Ryan Kelly.

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