Ares Series (Walmart exclusive, 2008)
I prefer Vindicator. Always liked that name. Made him all edgy and cool, before edgy and cool were hip. Don’t get me wrong, I understood the name change to Guardian, and I like the idea of Canada’s Captain America having a positive name, but Guardian? They were right to off Hudson after 12 issues, which, by the way, was one of the best issues written to date. The name sucked, but the character was perfect. Guardian was a great hero, and the idea behind him was perfect; Hudson was the Banner/Richards/Stark of Canada and his suit was the perfect mix of Iron Man meets military super soldier. It was a damn fine idea. And, as a leader of Alpha Flight, it could not have been a better mix of concepts.
The costume was also pretty smart: white and red with the red Canadian maple leaf under the left armpit and the red stripe on the other side. It looks sharp. The helmet looks like a great mix of an aerodynamic design mixed with a crash safety test in mind. I like it. It’s a good costume, a good hero concept.
And then there is the figure. Firstly, the base choice is good; the armor was always supposed to be skin-tigh,t and James Hudson was never depicted as a super-soldier type. He was a Tony Stark, Reed Richards average. The choice of base figure is OK. I don’t think there is another figure that could be chosen as useful at the time. If the figure were made again, then you could argue for the Black Panther base. Could argue, that is, but I like the smaller build for Guardian.
I’ll not beat you up again with my hatred for the Hasbro incarnation of the Bullseye base, but let’s face it: FUBAR. Instead, I’d like to beat you up with my opinion of the head sculpt. IT IS FRAKKING TINY! I mean, this pinhead is so pin that it is embarrassing! It’s a horrible, horrible head. I did say sculpt, so let me start there. The head sculpt looks like a Batman head without the ears. I know that when Mac was reborn the mask was drawn more like a mask and not a helmet. And Byrne would even draw a nose or a brow or eye-depth, but any time that helmet was on a desk, none of that was present. And my expectation was the figure would have that same lack of detail. But no, we got the Batman mask, which is now the standard look. OK, I’ll accept that. I have to.
But if you are going to force me to accept this look, then for the love of god, make the scale of the head right. What, is this head for a 4-inch figure? This noggin is so small the Microverse called looking for it. My son and I had a talk about this head the other day, which led me to pull out Andrew Loomis’s proportions. Loomis used an example of four body types: Normal, idealist, fashion, and heroic. Let’s chuck heroic and fashion becauseour hero, Hudson, is at best idealistic if not normal. Let’s argue idealistic. He should be 2 1/3 heads wide. My best guess is that this figure is 3 1/2 heads wide! That’s not even OK by Loomis’s heroic standards. I know that action figures are representations and interpretations, and there things that we’ll do to mess with perception. But this is ridiculous! It’s folly. I know that Marvel Legends started going the small head route earlier, but it’s just not right. Quicksilver and Yellow Jacket had it right(er). Those are good-sized heads for these figures. But Guardian, man, if you are going to stick a good character on a base figure, at least make certain that head looks sharp.
Someone needs to make a new head for this guy.
Guardian. Yay. Looks “o” kaaay next to Sasquatch. But it’s kind of a sad Alpha Flight team we have. They need Snowbird, Shaman, and Puck to help out.
And Indy, I make no apologies for going all nerdy on the head size in this post. At least they didn’t make it huge like Hasbro Steve Rogers or Toy Biz Nick Fury.
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