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DCD Blackest Night
by Artemis

Yes folks, it's her. Just think how many Hal-bashing Figuretoon ideas yo's had over the years that just become possible.

After replacing her father as the Green Lantern of Sector 2815, Arisia of Graxos IV had a long career as a member of the Corps. Believed to have perished in the Emerald Twilight, Hal Jordan discovered her alive on the Manhunter home world - used as a power source for the Cyborg Superman in service to the renewed Anti-Monitor. Arisia rejoined the Corps, continuing to represent the Green Power of Will in the Blackest Night.

This review, though, is not going to be just another cascade of Hal "Statutory" Jordan jokes, since we've done a lot of those over the years and it's bound to stop being funny eventually, but also because there's plenty of other jokes to be had just as the expense of Arisia's wardrobe. I mean, come on - it's 2010 and no one's looked at that and dropped a quick word to the artist to give the costume a retool? It's not the skin on show that bothers me (I read Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose, remember), it's just that Arisia's outfit couldn't look more like a cheap titty-bar waitress ensemble it if was deliberate. All she's missing is a pair of bunny ears and a cotton ball on her rump. This is someone who fights cosmic menaces for a living? Does she collect tips from the planets she saved afterwards or something?

Well, she is what she is - Tinkerbell with bills to pay and no other marketable skills, apparently - and we're here to review her, so let's be about it (yep, I've been reading Honor Harrington a lot). With the exception of the occasional artist-styled foray, DC Direct's work always fits into pretty well-established guidelines, and Arisia's no exception: 6½" tall and styled as a realistic-looking comicbook character, she'll fit right into the mass of former DCD releases with no problem (with that outfit, if she were a bit taller she'd fit into a Plastic Fantasy collection, too). With so much skin on show it's all unpainted plastic - on the upside, that gives it a smooth finish and a healthy glow, but it's also a rather heavily tanned skin tone (tanning bed tan, too, not the real kind) which brings out the unpainted, plasticky quality of the skin if you put her next to a figure like series-mate Star Sapphire, with paler, painted skin.

The costume, what there is of it, is fairly well executed, although again DC Direct has gotten all enamoured with their sparkly plastics and paint, such that only the boots are plain green - even with a couple of sculpted wrinkles around the ankles, it leaves them looking very plain. The... bustier, I guess you'd call it, is pearly white, which actually works pretty well at keeping it from looking excessively dull, and emphasising the contours of it under normal lighting. Its edged are painted commendably crisply, especially given the depth of some of the "neckline" edges, such as beneath the breasts, and the little Green Lantern collar is likewise crisp, though the logo is a touch off-center, and not especially sharp. The only real paint flaw - with typically spot-on accuracy - is the ring on her right hand, which is painted green on the face only, leaving the sides white, very noticeable with the reflective colour.

Her face is pretty, but a bit at odds with itself, if you follow me. It's got all the hallmarks of a pixieish young thing - short bob of hair, fine features, pointy elf ears - but the face itself is somewhat square-jawed and robust-looking. It's not that different from the art I've seen, but there's something in it, maybe the shape of the eyes, that just looks more down-to-Earth than I think it's supposed to.

The unpainted skin is a factor as with the body, though the eyes and lips are painted well, while the hair is a separate piece, so no edge paint issues there - it's also a very tight fit, so there aren't any concerns about weird-looking gaps between her skin and hair. What is a bit weird is that the top of the hairpiece is perfectly smooth, with the sculpted strands - which are pretty good work - only coming in at the fringe, sides and back. A comic can draw hair like that and get away with it, but on a figure it just looks unfinished.

Articulation shouldn't be a surprise to anyone in its broad strokes: balljoint neck, swivel-pin shoulders, pin elbows, peg hips, pin knees, enough for minor tweaks to her display stance but nothing more. Taking advantage of the level glove tops, though, DC Direct have also thrown in swivel wrists, which are a major asset since it means she can hold her accessory, a green lantern, with the handle over the fingers of her open left hand. There's no way in hell she can touch her ring to it, but it's better than nothing (i.e. what Carol Ferris is stuck with).

The lantern is nothing fancy, but it's no piece of junk either - the central cavity is hollow, with pale green translucent plastic "lenses" at either end, and the handle is free-moving. It's cast in shiny green plastic too, which looks decent, unlike some of the other colours (the violet one looks like it came out of a Christmas cracker). Lantern aside, Arisia gets the by-now-standard Green Lantern base, clear green with the GL logo the cut-out in the white paint job over the top. She stands on the base just fine, but so long as she keeps both feet on the ground (and with DC Direct leg articulation, there's not a lot of reason to try anything else) she can stand just fine without it, too. The logo paint isn't oriented that well either, for display purposes - if you swivel her until she's more or less centred, the logo is slanted off to the side.

In the annals of action figure history (assuming there are such things - I like to imagine big steel-bound tomes, guarded by unemployed Skeletor henchmen and such), this one's basically going down as a no-score draw. It doesn't really do anything wrong, but then, it doesn't stick its neck out either - it's "satisfactory adherence to duty" for DC Direct, no more, and with a character as relatively marginal as Arisia that means she'll be bought only by completists and die-hard fans.

-- 02/28/10

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