Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Kyle Rayner & Kilowog (SDCC 2012 exclusive)

Having never been to a comic convention, I've long missed out on the con exclusive game. But luckily since college I've made friends who do attend such gatherings, and so for the last two years my friend Kelly has been able to pick up exclusive toys being offered at San Diego Comic Con for me. Last year she grabbed the Hasbro Indiana Jones six-figure set (I'm still rightfully apologizing for her having to carry a three foot-long box through the packed con floor), and this July she was able to snag the first DC Collectibles (formerly DC Direct) Green Lantern 3 3/4"-scale two-pack.

Well, the snagging was a little more difficult than it should've been. See, the deal behind this series of non-retail two-packs is that DC intends them to be exclusive to certain big-time conventions (the second set containing John Stewart and Atrocitus was exclusive to the recent New York Comic Con, for instance). The company further stated that the line wouldn't progress beyond the first two-pack if it didn't sell out at SDCC. Apparently DC anticipated astronomical demand, as it instituted a complicated voucher system to ensure people didn't buy too many, as they had done with DC Direct's multi-colored Hal Jordan figures a while ago. How complicated, you ask? So complicated that Kelly wasn't able to buy a set for me until the last day. And so complicated that when she went to the booth to see if she could finally give them money for something they want to sell, there were still huge piles of the set left over. Unsurprisingly, at that point scoring one wasn't all that difficult.

Despite the logistical foul-up that resulted in heaps of unpurchased Kyle Rayner/Kilowog sets, it seems sales were decent enough to warrant continuing the line. Anyway, I wasn't able to pick up my set from Kelly and pay her back until last month, and I haven't been able to write up my review until now, but I gots things to say about this pair of Lanterns and I hope you don't mind hearing about them.

As stated before, Kyle Rayner and Kilowog are in 3 3/4"-scale--the Star Wars scale, if you need a reference point. Per the source material, Kilowog is taller and has more mass. Possibly to compensate for that, Kyle comes with a machine gun ring construct. (Why someone would use the most powerful weapon in the universe--something which is limited only by the power of its wearer's imagination--to make a machine gun is beyond me. Well, it isn't, really--it's clear the bunch at DC aren't very imaginative these days.) Don't bother trying to fit on the construct on Kilowog's fist; it's only sculpted to work with Kyle's much tinier hand.

Kyle and Kilowog are perfectly in scale with the defunct Infinite Heroes line, but the sculpting and level of articulation put Mattel's to shame. The figures where crafted by different sculptors--Josh Sutton did Kilowog, while Robert Lynders is responsible for Kyle--both of whom are credited on the packaging. Yet another laudable advantage DC Collectibles boasts over its mass-market counterpart. Kyle's look is hindered by ugly double-knee joints, and his shoulders are engineered in such a way that his arms can't be posed entirely against the sides of the body. In comparison, Kilowog is very much the superior sculpt, so much so that he's almost worth the price of the whole set (almost--it was $25 for two small figures, after all).

One disadvantage present with this set is fragility--these figures aren't meant for play, and as DC Direct/Collectibles has a reputation for making figures that break easily, you want to be careful with these, especially when moving parts. My Kyle's arm came off at the shoulder when I removed it from the package, but luckily it was a balljoint and could be readily reattached. Even so, that arm has a tendency to pop off rather easily. Kilowog is studier, but I watch how I pose the figure, as one of the knee joints is fairly loose and I don't want to risk my pricey con exclusive taking a tumble off my desk (at the moment, I've replaced it inside the box for safe-keeping).

The longer I own this set, the more I find Kyle Rayner simply OK and the more impressed I am with Kilowog. I'm not looking to get more offerings in the line--my main impetus for purchasing this two-pack was because I'm a fan of both characters, and none of the others are enough of a draw for me to spend $25 and have my friends again deal with byzantine purchasing methods. Regardless, I'm on the whole pleased with this pair on their own merits, and it's especially nice that I now have figures of two characters I like in a scale that allows them to fit into my collection of a line that never got around to doing proper versions of these guys. And they look way better to boot. It's funny how much Mattel moans about how hard it is for the company to make a decent 3 3/4" DC line when rival Hasbro has been doing excellent work in the same scale for decade. And now a limited-run direct market collectible line is outshining it with a license shares the rights to. Geez, now I'm really hoping for a DC Collectibles Batman series in this scale.

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