We are just a few days away from the start of the first full year of the DC Club Infinite Earths online subscription program. I have to say, I am pretty satisfied with how the abbreviated 2012 line turned out, and there are a lot great characters already announced for 2013. We did have our stressful subscription sign-up period that pushes everyone to the brink of insanity, but through it all, it came through and we all had hope. Ah yes, hope. How appropriate that we have a January figure that is the embodiment of hope, the Blue Lantern Saint Walker. Mattel has quietly been making their way through the Lantern “leaders,” and with Bro’dee here and Larfleeze in April, we are almost there.
Each time we have gotten a new Lantern leader I have to think back to DCUC series 17. It seemed funny at the time to get the All-Star Lantern characters like Wonder Woman as a Star Sapphire and Barry Allen as Blue Lantern because we did NOT have guys like Atrocitus (a 2012 Club figure) and Saint Walker. So we are now able to bolster our Lantern ranks by adding them so that, with the exception of the Indigos, we will have at least two members of each squad. I am not afraid to admit that I am still pretty burned out on all things Lantern, but I am very welcoming of Larfleeze and Saint Walker here, as they are my favorites of the new colors. So while she isn’t making any of my top ten wish lists, it seems erroneous not to get Indigo-1 somehow now; in a weird way, she has become the final member of a “team” and DCIE is all about completing teams.
I realize that a lot of collectors are satisfied with many of the figures of these characters that the now-evolved DC Direct produced several years ago. Strangely enough, as I am not one to mix lines, but this new Saint Walker just took the place of the DC Direct version I had on the shelf. Now, there are things about both figures that I really like, and, in some aspects, one figure is executed better than the other. I think my choice to display the DCIE Atrocitus over the DCD version was tougher because I think the DCD Atrocitus figure better than the DCD Walker figure (making the choice between the Red Lanterns tougher), but now that I have this new Saint Walker in hand, I can easily admit that the only thing that I prefer in the DCD version is possibly the paint job. Metallic paint is not an automatic win for me, but the blue used in that is so nice and I will miss it in my display. Past that, though, I do think this new version is superior in every way when it comes being a part of a mostly-DCUC display. But that makes sense, right?
The most obvious improvement is in the articulation category, a place for which I always have a soft spot. Really, if you are going to compare the two, there is no competition in this category. In fact, Saint Walker is one of the most articulated DCUC figures to date, and he is one of the lucky few that benefits from double elbows, double knees and hinged wrists. Eat your heart out, Batman. The good part is not only does he have the extra joints, but they all work well, too. I can get a full range of motion from all of the joints, but they are all solid and tight. His neck joint has full up and down and left to right movement (a spot that has been a challenge in some DCUC figures in the past) and the little head tendril/Bib Fortuna thingee even has a cut joint in the middle. I would *almost* call the joint scheme perfect for him, but I still really miss those rocker-ankle joints and I hope they find their way back to the line at some point because once you cannot use it, you really miss it. Saint Walker is really fun to pose, though, and he can hold just about any stance you would really want and look good doing it.
In terms of sculpt, he appropriately reuses many pieces from the DCUC “skinny” base body, and it works fine for me. He does stand pretty tall so that is retained from his comic interpretation and he stands toe-to-toe with the Sinestro Corps version of Sinestro himself. I also really dig his head sculpt, which makes up the bulk of the new sculpt on the figure. It seems more proportional to the body than the DCD version and some of the sculpted detail is heightened over the older version. Specifically, the “stitching” on his face is raised and more apparent, and, as said before, the tendril is more dynamic. His expression is fairly neutral, which keeps with the inner peace and hope of the Blue Lanterns, but it not completely placid and gives a bit of personality to the figure so he does not get lost in his lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll’s eyes… Sorry, sometime I break out into random acts of Mr. Quint from Jaws. His hands are also new, of course, and he has a fist for his ring hand and his left hand can accommodate holding his lone accessory: the Blue Lantern Battery. The latter reused from the standard DCUC Lantern sculpt.
I also want to mention that the packaging has changed ever so slightly from last year’s model. There is a different font being used for the lettering. The graphics are a bit more industrial in their appearance, and, unfortunately, we also get that new and positively dreadful DC Comics logo. I am not sure if they kept with the same artist for the character illustrations, but to me the style in which Saint Walker is done looks slightly different than last year’s rendering. Let me know what you think in the comments below. The character biography is retained and at this point, but I cannot tell if a real name like Bro’dee is a Lantern or Masters real name. There seems to be a common thread of apostrophes and long vowels throughout. I don’t know, I like the name of “Saint” Walker for leader of the Blues, it just fits. Bro’dee, though, I’m not really feeling it. Real names are inconsequential to a good figure, however.
And a good figure he is! I know some people are feeling the burn of the Lantern fatigue right now, but Saint Walker is probably up there as being one of the best Lantern figures we have gotten. He has as much articulation as any DCUC figure thanks to the double stuff (thanks for that one, DisT), and I am really digging his head sculpt. I think he will probably win over some potential doubters once he arrives in a few days, and, at the very least, he will make for some good (but kind of expensive) custom fodder. Now that he is coming and Larfleeze is following suit in April, I think we need to get Indigo-1 just to say we can “catch ’em all.” If we were still at retail, I would probably want a Brother Warth figure to stand with Saint Walker, but with the Club structure, I have too many Liberty Belles, Fires, Ices, Big Bears, and Thunderbolts to worry about. We are off to a pretty strong start for 2013, so check out Saint Walker if he strikes your fancy on January 15th. The Phantom Stranger and Elongated Man are on deck next and make for some fine getting for the Satellite crew.
*Thanks to Toy Guru and the Club IE crew for sending us a Saint, we have more coming up soon!