By Zod and Julius Marx Green Lantern Wave One is a figure wave that even DC Direct’s most ardent and vocal critics have to appreciate on some levels… We’re getting some key cosmic characters that have been around for 20+ years (the Guardians); a new sculpt of a popular and hulking alien Green Lantern that’s been around for well over 10 years (Kilowog); and an obscure villain from the Silver Age of DC Comics (Black Hand). Admittedly—these are the “modern” versions of these characters—but who ever thought they’d see a Kilowog figure??? And in a real coup for DC’s sculptors and marketing team—they managed to get the 5-character wave(technically 6 if you count both Guardians) out while the hot GREEN LANTERN REBIRTH Mini-Series is hovering around issue 4—with 2 issues yet to go! I can’t remember the last time DCD had the foresight to time a figure wave CONCURRENTLY with a book that’s being published. That’s GOT to maximize sales and interest. DCD takes a lot of flak for not “finishing” teams and the like—and in some cases rightfully so. But when they do something right—like giving fans a Hal, Kilowog, and Parallax with wrist articulation—they should get some praise too.
The first wave of DC Direct Green Lantern figures were sculpted by James Shoop.
The release of these figs is basically the Green Lantern fan boy equivalent of the Berlin Wall coming down. For years—Hal Jordan fans had to suffer through Hal becoming a mass murderer, the destruction of the Green Lantern Corps, and the controversial Kyle Rayner years. I don’t know that fans hated Kyle directly—just the character assassination of Hal and the destruction of the Green Lantern mythos. Ron Marz, the architect of the Parallax-Rayner years—stubbornly stuck to his guns that what made Green Lantern unique was that he controlled the most powerful weapon in the Universe. And that meant NO CORPS!!! Apparently—Marz never saw Star Wars or realized that there could be several Jedis patrolling the galaxy—but there could ALSO be one Jedi who was the greatest Jedi of all. Oh, Marz—stubbornly clinging to your ideas like some old Politburo Commie after the Cold War! But there WAS some upside to the Marz years. Hal Jordan was a character who had been sorely neglected by DC for some time—and the Rayner issues stoked the flames of interest in seeing Hal and the Green Lantern Corps return.
Speaking of the Corps—one final thought about the Marz era… It’s one thing when establishing Hal’s turn to the “dark side” to have him murder Kilowog for dramatic purposes. What’s more evil than killing of the well-liked alien that trained Hal in the first place to BE a Green Lantern? But when you kill off characters like the four-armed, ultra-logical Green Lantern SALAKK in the quasi-continuity GREEN LANTERN VS. ALIENS—it makes you think that Marz was ABSOLUTELY a Corps-hater! That senseless death of Salakk showed a general lack of respect for the characters that had been built up over the years—and just added further fuel to the fires of the lobbying group H.E.A.T. (Hal’s Emerald Attack Team—a group of diehard GL fans that would NOT be shouted down by DC editorial—would NOT accept Hal Jordan as the Spectre—and are to a good degree responsible for the return of Hal and the Corps.) Let me be clear—I’m not knocking Marz as a writer or dramatist—in fact he created controversy and heat on a book that had been languishing for years. But at the end of the day—his attention-getting “take” on the mythos definitely ran its course.
The current ongoing storyline in GREEN LANTERN REBIRTH by writer Geoff Johns and artist Ethan Van Sciver sees the return of the Guardians, the Green Lantern Corps, Sinestro, and establishes Hal Jordan as the pre-eminent and premier Green Lantern (free from the influence of the evil entity Parallax). This current wave of action figures is based on the interpretations and character designs from this limited series—which in a few months will lead into the ongoing GREEN LANTERN monthly.
The immortal little blue-skinned folks are billions of years old and are the custodians of the CENTRAL POWER BATTERY—the source of power for all Green Lanterns’ rings. Far from infallible—the Guardians first decided to police the galaxy with the robotic MANHUNTERS—until they realized that the robots had limited judgment and lacked a humanistic element. Enter the creation of the Green Lantern Corps—an intergalactic police force drawing the interplanetary best and brightest patrolling the known 3600 sectors of space. For many years—the greatest Green Lantern was Sinestro of Korugar—until arrogance and power corrupted him and made him the nemesis of the Guardians. The mantle of greatest Green Lantern was soon earned by Hal Jordan—who over time—began to question the judgment of the Guardians. Taking heed of Jordan’s protestations—the Guardians had one of their own– Ganthet—assume human form to further understand the problems and psychology of Earthers. Ganthet essentially spent a few months pounding brewskis and riding around in a pick-up truck with Hal and Oliver Queen—the Green Arrow.
Over the course of the GL book— the supposedly immortal Guardians have died (14 of them bought the farm in CRISIS); retired (they ran off with the statue-esque Zamarons in one arc); one of their ranks went crazy (in MOSAIC); and they even committed mass suicide (to regenerate/recharge the Central Power Battery on Oa). Geoff Johns seems to be bringing them back somehow… Meanwhile—the one Guardian who has yet to ever shuffle off the mortal coil is Ganthet—basically the Guardian they left behind to sweep up and do typing & filing on Oa.
It should also be mentioned that at one point the Guardians cast out all magical elements of the Central Power Battery—and that Green Magic was the power source that fueled the original Green Lantern of Earth—Alan Scott of the JSA.
Even though they are small and a two-pack DC Direct did not skimp on the articulation. Both Guardians have flexible rubber sleeves and gowns. the breakdown on their articulation is: semi-ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips and knees.
The History of the Guardians in plastic
The Guardians have been adapted in plastic twice before—As PVCs in the DCD Green Lantern boxed set, and as a Pocket Hero.
Kilowog has had a storied history. The last survivor of the planet Bolovak Vik—Kilowog found purpose in being the head Drill Instructor for new Green Lantern recruits. And while the “chosen one” Sinestro (who had yet to fully turn to evil) was held in awe and esteem by a young Hal Jordan—it was Kilowog who did the whole Lou Gossett Jr./Richard Gere “Officer and a Gentleman” thing with Hal. KILOWOG: “Why don’t you just give up, ya poozer???” JORDAN: “”Cause I got no place else to go!!!”
Kilowog fought valiantly during CRISIS—and afterwards hung out on Earth with fellow Green Lanterns Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Katma Tui, Arisia, Ch’p, and Salaak. Ultimately when Hal was possessed by the Parallax entity living in the Oan Power Battery—and had a mad desire to recreate the Universe and remake the destroyed Coast City—he was confronted by his fellow Green Lanterns. In a horrifying moment—memorable to this day–—Hal/Parallax KILLED Kilowog by basically FRYING HIM DOWN TO HIS BONES!!! Ouch! The current GREEN LANTERN REBIRTH storyline has revived Kilowog to life—in a manner that’s not quite clear yet… We’ll have to wait for issues five and six to get the full scoop—but make no mistake—Kilowog is back!
When I saw the finished product of Kilowog at the Toy Fair DC Direct showroom I couldn’t be live the size and weigh of him. He is a BIG solid figure. In talking with Shawn Knapp of DC Direct he said after working on Kilowog DCD has a much better idea on how to engineer larger figures and there is a good chance we will see more. Personally I’m hoping for a new BIG Darkseid (Psss… DC Direct- Darkseid would fit in great if you did another wave of Superman/Batman figures)
Kilowog is articulated at the neck, semi-ball-jointed shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles. He comes with a stand and a BIG lantern. I like the fact that DCD did not skimp on this detail because he would look ridiculous with a small lantern and it wouldn’t be right for him not to have one.
The (almost) Complete History of Kilowog
There have been 3 incarnations of Kilowog in plastic;the DCD PVC (pictured here) the Unique Heroclix (not pictured) and of course the massive new figure from DC Direct. A request from this GL fan though- Could either Toy Fare (as an exclusive) or DC Direct issue a redeco-ed Kilowog in his classic 80s/90s uniform? It’s a simple repaint, is his more classic look– and would take advantage of a kick ass existing mold.
A few mysteries remain unsolved about old Parallax—whom most people know as the Gray-templed, mass murdering Hal Jordan. It seems that Parallax was a powerful entity composed of “living fear” if you will—a yellow entity whom the Guardians imprisoned inside the Central Power Battery. It was Parallax that gave the Lanterns’ rings their impurity (they’re vulnerable to “yellow,” a cowardly color if ever there was one!).
Well, Parallax seems to have bided his time until the Guardians EXECUTED mass-murderer Sinestro—thus breaking some centuries old treaty to never kill a man from Korugar (What lame-brain signed THAT pact???). The Central Power Battery broke down as a result—and the vulnerability to yellow was seemingly removed…but it seems Parallax simply took up residence in Hal Jordan’s power ring. Slowly he began to influence Hal’s thoughts—the early effects of which turned Hal’s hair prematurely gray. When Coast City was destroyed—Parallax sensed its opportunity to take over Jordan completely—filling him with fear and murderous thoughts… Under Parallax’s influence—Hal murdered a revived Sinestro and Kilowog.
Parallax also tried to re-shape the Universe to restore Coast City, but was ultimately defeated. When the Sun-Eater came and tried to extinguish the sun, Hal struggled against Parallax’s influence and saved the solar system in the FINAL NIGHT limited series… Hal was seemingly dead—until somebody had too much tequila one night and decided that a science fiction hero like Hal Jordan would also make a good supernatural hero. What a combo—the comic book equivalent of peanut butter and barbecue sauce!
Enter Hal assuming the mantle of the Spectre—the living manifestation of the Wrath of God—and an attempt by Hal to achieve redemption for his sins. As if things couldn’t get any darker for Hal—his brother and sister-in-law were KILLED during his Spectre years—leaving his niece an orphan! Hal meanwhile—was haunted by the ghost of Abin Sur (the purple faced dude whose ring Hal inherited) who basically was a backseat driver for Hal during the run of the series: “You should have taken the 95 expressway! Slow down—you’re exit’s coming up!!! Sigh.” But it turns out that the evil Parallax was somehow STILL grafted to Hal and the Spectre—and may have become more powerful than both!
It remains to be seen the extent of the Sinestro-Parallax connection (Sinestro has a yellow power ring and was also connected to the central Power Battery on Oa) or how an entity SO powerful had to lie dormant in Hal’s ring for so long…
The History of Parallax Hal Jordan as Parallax had been adapted twice prior to the latest version… There was the 5” version from the HASBRO “Total Justice” line of figs, and a Pocket Heroes version.
GREEN LANTERN-Hal Jordan
What can you say about Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern of Sector 2814, that people don’t already know? Let’s see—for one thing, he and Tony Stark have much in common… The Emerald Dawn Mini-Series postulated that like Tony Stark—young Hal was a hard-drinking lush… Both he and Tony were replaced by popular African-Americans for a while (In Jordan’s case—John Stewart—in Stark’s case—Jim Rhodes.) Both were made evil traitors for a while (Hal became the murderous Parallax, while Stark was a pawn of Kang) in storylines that so incensed the fans—they had to be “fixed” so that both characters were ultimately redeemed. Both were also replaced by controversial whippersnappers that lost the mantle eventually—remember the 18-year old Tony Stark from the alternate dimension? And obviously Kyle Rayner replaced Jordan for a big honkin’ chunk of time…
The rest you know—while working for Ferris Aircraft, fearless jet jockey and test pilot Hal Jordan was summoned to a crash site by dying Green Lantern Abin Sur and given a power ring to do good…Hal had a thing for his boss—Carol Ferris—who eventually became the evil Star Sapphire… Jordan was pals with his mechanic Tom Kamalku—but stopped calling the Asian “pieface” when he realized how unbelievably racist that sounded…Was a founding member of the JLA and was buddies with Flash and Green Arrow…Quit the Corps in a fit of pique and John Stewart was made Green Lantern… CRISIS and the death of friend Tomar Re pulled Hal out of retirement… Butted heads with superjerk Guy Gardner and formed a 6-member Green Lantern team to patrol earth…Seemingly went nuts when Coast City was destroyed—killing longtime enemy Sinestro and mentor Kilowog… “Died” saving the Earth when he re-ignited the sun… Became fused with the Spectre for awhile seeking atonement for his sins… Learned that he was being influenced and controlled by the evil entity Parallax and has been restored to heroic status.
It should be mentioned that the general look of Hal Jordan and his costume, as well as many of the key concepts of the Green Lantern mythos were created by writer John Broome and artist Gil Kane under the direction of editor Julius Schwartz. This current style of Hal was designed by Ethan Van Sciver—a simplified version of the original costume and mask. The new Hal Jordan figure comes with his lantern and a stand. he is articulated at the neck (semi-ball-jointed), shoulders (semi-ball-jointed), elbows, wrist swivel, hips, knees and ankles.
Megos and Custom figures
The History of Hal Jordan
There have been many versions of the Hal Jordan Green Lantern in action figure form—the majority of which are depicted here (with the exception of the Hasbro 4” GL from their “Super Heroes” line—a blocky version of the much better sculpted and articulated SUPER POWERS version). One of the customs pictured is the MEGO-inspired work of Charlee Flatt—one of a few extras he made and sold to a private collector. Unbelievably—MEGO never got around to making Green Lantern or Flash in the 1970s! DC Direct has released multiple versions of Green Lantern in 6” form—all of which are depicted here—with the exception of the translucent Toyfare variant of the latest Hal figure.
Basically, Black Hand was essentially a Silver Age Silly until recently. A bored, cliché-spouting supercrook from a wealthy family, William Hand invented some cockamamie power rod that could absorb power from Green Lantern’s ring and cast Hal into a dark alternate dimension. For years, Black Hand was content to spout cornball dialogue and knock off a bank or two—until his recent re-boot in REBIRTH. No longer a comedic villain with cornball dialogue—it looks as if something really nasty has happened to the creepily named Black Hand. He looks downright corpse-y in his current incarnation—a fashion victim of some ghastly makeover at a Bizarroworld Spa. Design-wise—I’d have to say this new version is a welcome reboot to what WAS a forgettable villain with a cool name—definitely on the plus side of the revamp ledger for Geoff Johns (who gets an A+ for his work on Captain Cold, Mirror Master, and Heat Wave—and Ds for his “court jester” Brother Blood and (gag) Kid Boomerang. (What was wrong with Digger Harkness/Captain Boomerang?) Credit artist Ethan Van Sciver for a memorable villain re-design.
It goes without saying this is the first Black Hand released in Action Figure form. As you can see from the pics– the figure is just downright spooky!
EMERALD SHIELD GREEN LANTERN
This Toy Fare exclusive has just recently started hitting mailboxes. The figure is a straight "repaint" of the Hal Jordan figure cast in translucent green plastic but with the logo detail. The only addition to the regular version is the addition of the flying stand that fits over Hal’s foot and attaches to the regular stand.
The exclusive Emerald Shield Hal Jordan figure comes with his lantern and a stand and an extra "flight" stand all cast in translucent green plastic. he is articulated at the neck (semi-ball-jointed), shoulders (semi-ball-jointed), elbows, wrist swivel, hips, knees and ankles.
Daniel “Julius Marx” Pickett has been around toys his whole life. The first line he ever collected was Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes line back in the 70s. He has been surrounded by collectables ever since.
In 1999 he was confounded by a lack of information and news about some of his favorite toy lines he was collecting. Since he couldn’t find the information he decided to pursue it himself thinking other people might also be interested in the same news. He started writing a weekly column on the toy industry and action figure for a toy news site and in a years time he tripled the sites daily traffic with his updates, reviews and product features.
He built relationships with every major toy manufacturer and many sculptors, painters and mold makers. He grew his hobby into a world wide expertise that the industry has embraced.
In 2004 he teamed up with his toy buddy Jason “ToyOtter” Geyer and they created their own website www.ActionFigureInsider.com.
Daniel has been quoted in both industry and mass media press outlets. Over the years Daniel and AFi have been sought out as experts in the field. Daniel was regularly featured on “Attack of the Show” on the G4 network as the primary contributor to their “Mint On Card” segment, and our front page has been linked to from USA Today’s
“Pop Candy” Blog twice. Daniel’s content has also been featured on MSNBC.com,
Wired.com, Fark.com, Boing-Boing, Gizmodo.com, Ain’t It Cool News, the Official
Star Wars blog, Geekologie, G4, CNet and Toy Fare magazine, among many
others. He has consulted on toy lines, books, documentaries and TV shows.
But all of that really just sounds snooty and “tootin’ his own horn” – the long and short of it is that Daniel loves toys and he LOVES talking about them.