Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Mattel Retro Superheroes Kyle Rayner 2011


I like to run a positive website. I believe in fun, enjoyment, and the ability for us to find pleasure in occasionally silly things. Unfortunately, some things just do everything in their power to avoid being enjoyed. The vast majority of my reviews tend to get glowing praise, mainly because I pay for everything I review and don't particularly want to own crap, but we all make mistakes. I'm just going to go ahead and say it - this was a mistake.



When I was a little boy, I had an Atari 2600. Go ahead, do the math. I'll wait. There wasn't much of an internet in 1982, so there weren't many websites to turn to for video game reviews. Back then, you just shot from the hip and hoped for the best, which is why the industry crashed a year later. There were two games that I desperately wanted for my 2600, and was fortunate enough to get as a gift. One was Pac-Man and the other was E.T. I had terrible taste. Horrible. The point being, however, I would prefer being locked in a room for twelve hours with only an Atari 2600, a 10" black and white television, and a copy of those two games over this figure from Mattel.
The overall design of this figure is known as "Mego-Style." First off, it's pronounced "MEE-go" if you were wondering. Secondly, it was a line of figures that were extremely popular in the 70's. In fact, the company released DC Comics and Marvel Comics at the same time, which is just unheard of today. Back then, Spider-Man fighting Superman and Batman was entirely possible and common. It's not surprising that toy fans about ten years older than myself have a long-lasting love of the toyline and the style.
Because of that, there was a lot of excitement when Mattel announced they would be doing their own 8" figures with cloth outfits and a Mego style. Not only would it be able to produce the figures that Mego never got around to, but also some of the more modern figures as well. They then announced that they would be $20 each, and followed up on that by making them almost impossible to find in a store. Mattel!!!!
A grand total of 25 figures were released over two years. I saw three of them. They used their own bodies rather than using the EMCE style (the company that took over releasing figures and ensuring the legacy), which they could have licensed. They did, however, take advice from the founder of EMCE toys.

That would have been great if the bodies didn't absolutely blow. I mean, they were terrible. the first wave had a tendency to hunch forward due to the elastic used in the body. There was a fix that was released by fans that tended to take care of it, but having to perform surgery on your action figure that you pay $20 for is a cardinal sin. There is simply no excuse for it. This figure actually was released at the end of the line as an exclusive, and its legs are so floppy that it can't possibly stand up on its own.
Without a stand, this figure would be able to stand about as well as Stephen Hawking. Luckily, I had a flight stand from, of all people, Mattel that was able to fit him and keep him upright, but it really takes the magic out of the figure. I don't mind using a flight stand to let Hawkman soar, but I'm not nearly as fond of doing it for a figure meant to stand in place.
The overall sculpt stays true to the MEGO style. It's a simplistic, cartoonish caricature that makes it clear who it's supposed to be, somewhat wonky proportions, and a costume that really doesn't do a great job of fitting. The vast majority of all of that is intentional and what collectors look for, and it would have been great for me if the body were the tiniest bit functional. He comes with his lantern, which is well sculpted for the way Rayner's lantern was designed at the time and unmistakable as to what it is supposed to be,
He is sculpted with the ring on his finger, and the mask is very well done for being such an odd design. The outfit itself is black spandex with clasps in the back. It's overlaid with a plastic applique that adds the details of the negative space and the black and green lantern. It seems like it will stay in place pretty well and not peel, but it isn't nearly as organic as it could have been if it were part of the spandex.
The gloves are extremely bizarre, however. in order to simulate seeing skin through the fabric, they just added peach-colored patches on it. Rather than creating a believable illusion, however, it just looks like they made a mistake. Also, I'm not entirely sure why he's wearing a turtleneck.
Overall articulation isn't too bad. The neck is only a swivel, which is standard to the style, and otherwise he moves at the waist, shoulders, elbows, wrists, and knees. The feet might move, but with the solid boots I'm not entirely sure. With one hand sculpted in a fist, only the left hand can hold the lantern. It's sculpted too open, however, meaning that you have to keep the wrist raised in order to keep the lantern from falling off.
With the flight stand, he'll be tolerable on a shelf standing up. I'm fortunate that I got this figure for $4, rather than $20. At $20, I'd be absolutely furious, while at $4 it's just a bit regrettable. This is the only one of this line that I own, so I'm not sure if others might be more enjoyable, but I can tell you I have absolutely no intention of finding out.







2 comments:

Eric Stettmeier on January 1, 2014 at 1:38 AM said...

Oh, Mattel. You wonder if they have a clue. You see things like this. You wonder no more.

Wes Grogan on January 1, 2014 at 1:58 AM said...

I know, right? I, like many others, sometimes feel like I just pick on Mattel too much, but you get something like this which could have been awesome and is just mishandled the entire way, and it becomes clear that they are actually begging to have the chance to disappoint me once again. Sigh.

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