Friday, March 26, 2010

Retro-Action Dolls! Uh, I Mean Action Figures!

At last! The DC Retro-Action Superheroes are on store shelves!

For those of you who don't know, the DC Retro-Action Superheroes (...I just typoed that as "Superherpes") are new toys made to look and feel and... well, pretty much BE the old toy/dolls put out by the MEGO company back in the 70's. In fact, if I recall correctly, they were actually designed by some of the people who designed the original MEGOs. These new ones are manufactured by Mattel, and the first wave -- Superman, Lex Luthor, Green Lantern Hal, and Sinestro, are available right now at Toys-R-Us. There's also a Green Arrow, but he's only available as an exclusive through (and is currently sold out). I also saw some on the pegs at several of my local comic book stores this weekend, so if your Toys-R-Us fails as badly as mine usually does, you can check there instead.

Of course, I bought Hal and Sinestro -- Sinestro a couple of weeks ago, and Hal just today. Now that I have both, I thought I'd give a little review!

These guys are roughly 8-9" tall -- or about a head taller than the Blackest Night figures, which are supposed to be 7". This puts them out of scale with pretty much every single other thing on my shelves, but I find that I don't mind too much. They're something special! I haven't broken either of mine, but I wouldn't rate them very highly if I was rating for durability. The packaging says they're suitable for ages 6 and up, but a 6-year-old would absolutely DESTROY these things in less than a minute. They're constructed exactly like the MEGOS, which means that their bodies seem to be hard plastic, their heads are kind of rubbery, and their joints really shouldn't be forced much if they stick, because they'd probably break. Pose carefully!

Like the original MEGOs, their weak point is in their torso. I'm not entirely certain, but I'm pretty sure that the articulation there is supplied by a rubber band inside the torso. Their poseability is good, and they stand up just fine on their own, but trying to get them to stop slouching is frustrating. The rubber band almost always forces them to either slouch or bend a little backwards, and it takes quite a bit of fooling around to get them to find a happy, normal medium. They have good articulation considering that they're retro toys -- the head turns, shoulders, wrists, and legs have full (if occasionally a little sticky) range of motion, elbows and knees bend, torso tilts and swivels -- but honestly, I don't care what the fanboys say, these things are more like dolls than they are action figures. And, while I was definitely not a girly-girl as a child and hardly ever played with Barbies, I had friends who did, and you know what the first thing a child does when they get a Barbie doll is? That's right -- they undress it. I undressed Sinestro post-haste, and I was impressed by what I saw. ("That's what Arin said!") They didn't just stick a purple head and hands on a generic body. He's actually purple all over. And the musculature on these things is way beyond what you would expect from a toy that, at first glance, seems cheaply-made. Their muscles are accurate, and heroically-proportioned without looking like they've been shot up with steroids (yes, I'm looking at YOU, JLA Classified line!). In fact, the Sinestro is almost perfect in that he's fit but skinny... sort of what I'd expect him to look like in real life. Unfortunately, as Hal's body is exactly the same size, Hal looks a little bit too slender to fit my mental image of Hal, but it works very well for Sinestro.

But the best part is the COSTUMES! They're real cloth - sort of like bathing suits, actually -- and I am very impressed with both their details and construction. One of the Hals I saw at the store had a few loose threads, but neither of mine do, and I have played with them a LOT. Both of them have what feels like vinyl bracers, and Sinestro's neck ruffle and belt are of the same material. They fit the figures perfectly, showing off that nice musculature without looking ridiculous. Both costumes fasten in the back -- Hal's has two snaps, and Sinestro's has three. I try to be careful with the snaps, because its easy to imagine them tearing loose from the cloth. The boots are rubbery, and are by far the hardest costume piece to get off, and even harder to get back on. I don't recommend taking them off. I'm serious.

I did notice one interesting thing about the boots, though...
Yes, Hal appears to be wearing green cowboy boots. It's hard to tell from the pictures, but while Sinestro's boots are perfectly modelled after his Silver Age costume, and have flat heels, Hal's have a curious little... well, I don't know the word for it, but they definitely look like cowboy boots. And they have a rather thick heel on them. Maybe he borrowed them from Guy's closet and painted them green?

And because the butt is the most important part of a Green Lantern (their brain is #3), I had to be strict in my butt review: neither of them has a very good one. This might be forgiven on Sinestro, who has not had his hiney ogled in many years and has perhaps given up on his daily glute workouts, but it definitely detracts points from Hal's score.

Shake 'em, boys!

Hal is one with the least amount of detail. As pretty as he normally is, he's still a rather generic-looking guy, so it's hard to capture his proper likeness in cheap plastic/rubber. He does have his trademark hair wave, but it's pretty flat. We can't see his eyes because of his creepy mask, and his expression is ALMOST, but not quite, a smile. It's like a Mona Lisa smile. Yet somehow, it fits. I guess because it looks like a smirk when you look at it in a certain light. The paint is applied pretty cleanly -- not perfectly, but you won't see the flaws unless you look really, really hard. His ears stick out juuust a little. I actually think he sort of looks like a young Sean Connery as James Bond, in a weird sort of way.Sinestro is a much more distinctive-looking character, so his details are easier to appreciate. Receding hairline? Check. Slicked-back hair? Check. Truly dapper moustache? Check. Evil-looking thin brows that he CLEARLY tweezes and waxes to make perfect? Check. He even has little wrinkles in his forehead that the pictures don't quite capture. He's not quite frowning in the same way that Hal is not quite smiling. His ring is properly placed on his left hand (details count!) and it's not just a molded copy of Hal's GL ring -- it's his classic yellow ring that looks sort of like a dome. His ears are pointy, his skin is not red, but PURPLE, and his eyes are quite a lovely blue (and they're painted very nicely, which the pictures don't really capture properly). In short, this is Silver Age Sinestro, just as he used to be portrayed back when he had silly Silver Age schemes like trapping Hal and Ollie inside a gemstone, going back to medieval times and wreaking havoc, and pretending to be his own dad. His old look works perfectly on a retro toy like this -- he looks like something a kid could have happily bought back in say, 1972, and then exploded with firecrackers. Contrast that with his modern look -- red skin, scary wrinkles, black eyes with yellow pupils, NO pointy ears, and half-shaved head.

My final verdict? I LOVE these toys. There's something about them that just screams "Play with me!" (and not in the Chuckie way, either). My other figures feel less like toys and more like little statues. These feel like something I want to play with until they absolutely wear out., though I'm trying hard not to do that. They just feel... fun when you hold them in your hand. My other toys are on my shelves, but these two sit on my computer desk, and I put them in all sorts of poses, and smile when I look at them.

And I make them hold my cookies while I surf the net.


SallyP said...

TOYS!!! Er...ummm...I mean ACTION FIGURES!!!

Boy those are certainly nice. I hav a Mego Hal, but not this one. But Sinestro is gorgeous. And you've got the TALL Sinestro with the cloth costume? I haven't been able to find one yet, although I do again, have the Hal one, that came with three additional heads.

As if I'd ever change the heads!

I sure do wish that they'd make a John, Guy and Kyle.

Duskdog said...

I want the other GLs in cloth costumes, too. They're actually going to release an Alan Scott in that 1:6 scale soon... September, I think. I'll probably get him to go with the Jay Garrick that I keep meaning to buy from the local shop.

The big Sinestro is awesome, if a little scary. His battery lights up and everything, and he came with three different sets of hands that you can interchange. The shops around here don't seem to be able to GIVE him away, oddly enough. Recently one of my local comic stores was selling him for $29.99, and he doesn't go for much more than that on Ebay these days, either. You could probably pick one up pretty cheap.

We like to joke that I'm the only person who actually bought one. Everyone else just desperately passes them around like the Christmas fruitcake that no one wants. :)

Tsuzuki-kun said...

Utter brilliance. Why DC has not offered you a writing job yet is beyond my rather impressive deductive skills.

Sea-of-Green said...

Awesome! I used to love Megos! I had a bunch of them when I was a kid. Never had Hal, but I had an Ollie!

That, and my brother and I found out VERY quickly that Mego Superman was NOT invulnerable. :-(

Duskdog said...

Ollie is actually the only one of the originals that I own. Someone sold him, Captain Marvel, Batman, and Robin to our local comic book/used awesomeness shop, and I could only afford one, so Ollie it was. :)