Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Blackest Night Series 2 Action Figures: Black Lantern Martian Manhunter

As anticipation for the BLACKEST NIGHT event continues to build, DC Direct introduces the second series of action figures based on this storyline!
Black Lantern Martian Manhunter • 7” h
Indigo • 6.5” h
Green Lantern John Stewart • 6.75” h
Sinestro Corps Member Kryb • 7” h

Included in Series 2 are Martian Manhunter, the second named member of the lifeless, emotionless Black Lanterns to be revealed; John Stewart, the Green Lantern charged with the task of protecting Earth; Kryb, the sinister, infant-stealing Sinestro Corp member; and the nameless, mysterious Indigo, who personifies compassion.
All four figures feature multiple points of articulation and include a display base. John Stewart and Indigo each come with their own version of a lantern, and Kryb comes with a baby accessory that fits into the cage-like sack affixed to her back.
4-color clamshell blister card packaging. Advance-solicited; on sale November 4, 2009 * Action Figures * PI

I tried to avoid spoilers in the past, but with the new DC solicitations posted online, the cat is pretty much officially out of the bag. Rather than wait for next month's "Martian Sightings," I'd like to discuss this toy.

Now, "Darkest Night" is meant to resurrect a bunch of dead super-heroes (and possibly villains?) as a new variation on the Green Lantern Corps. Some expect this to amount to a Marvel Zombies for the DC Universe, but I don't believe they'd go down such a well trod route. However, that "emotionless" bit bothers me. I'm not sure that there's confirmations these Black Lanterns will be evil, but even if they're not plainly so, it's hard to expect them to be more than drones. More likely, given that they represent death, and are tied into the armor of the Anti-Monitor, I wouldn't be surprised if they spread entropy/anti-matter or devoured energy/life-force. I'm picturing a Crisis On Infinite Earths Shadow Demon Corps, basically. That m.o. also ties into the first Black Lantern, the old GL foe Black Hand.

I hate when heroes' deaths are confirmed in this manner, as it makes their inevitable resurrections that much more gratingly convoluted. You'd think the guy who wrote Hal Jordan out of mass murder and a stint as the spectral wrath of God would be more wary of that sort of thing. Then again, I'm in the minority who thought Green Lantern: Rebirth's script was absolute dreck with pretty artwork, and I generally like Geoff Johns. In concept and image, this is not the caring, dry humored Martian Manhunter I came to love, so I can't say I appreciate the association.

Anyway, speaking as someone who has spent a lot of time trying to redesign Martian Manhunter's costume, it's funny for me to see some stuff I played with myself in the past, like the "floating" pie symbol (sans belt.) Since I feel the "X" strap on a bare chest is a Hawkman trademark, I'm glad to see it altered here into a variation of the Black Lantern icon. Pants are always a plus, and some flesh showing on the arms is good, but the essential color scheme is kind of boring. Elements of the José Ladrönn redesign are present, which is a shame, because it was also rather blah. I hate the boots, and never understood the phenomena of Manhunter's disappearing/reappearing occasional wristbands. On the other hand, I love the folded collar and the "Ming the Merciless" skull-pan. The design overall reminds me a lot of the Black Terror, and I appreciate the red eyes and visage recalling Manhunter's nastier moments.

In conclusion, this is not the peacenik Martian I dug under J.M. DeMatteis, but if it invokes memories of Christopher Priest, I can live with the new Manhunter.

1 comment:

Bookgal said...

Grrrrrrr we hates it! We hates it forever.

Sorry this just looks like a train wreck to me.

(and I thought Rebirth was pretty mediocre honestly)