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by Monkey Boy

Considering how much I disliked Prometheus, it's surprising how much I've been anticipating the second series of figures from the film. I loved the Space Jockey from the first series, and eventually even got the "Pressure Suit" Engineer on sale, but Series 2 promised two of the most standout characters from the movie: David 8 the android (played excellently by Michael Fassbender) and the Deacon.

The Deacon's story is a strange one. First of all, if you haven't seen the film, this figure is one big SPOILER ALERT... there's no bio text on his packaging, just a blurb about the film itself, so I'll try to sum up as best as possible: the Deacon is the closest thing to the familiar "Alien" that we see in Prometheus. In the early days of the script, it was a straightforward Alien prequel, but as it progressed and got rewritten by the likes of Damon Lindelof (among others), the connection became less tangible. There are still visual cues to the Alien franchise, like the Space Jockey suit and the frescoes on the walls and the vases arranged like eggs, but it wasn't until the final scene of the film that something resembling the titular Alien actually appears.

Here's how we get the Deacon: David the android sneaks some Black Goo into Charlie Holloway's drink, and it starts doing weird things to him. Charlie then has sex with Elizabeth Shaw, who very quickly becomes visibly pregnant. Using a fancy futuristic medical chamber, she extracts the squid monster fetus from her body through a gross caesarian section. Later on, when an Engineer tries to attack Shaw, she unleashes the (now inexplicably giant) squid baby (known as the Trilobite) which brutally shoves its penis tongue down the Engineer's throat. An indeterminate amount of time later, the Deacon bursts its way out of the Engineer's body, presumably fully grown. Makes sense, right? Black goo > drank by Charlie > passed through sex to Shaw > removed by C-section > grows into a squid monster > face-rapes Engineer = Deacon. I suppose that's no more convoluted than the ridiculous set of coincidences that had to occur in order for life to develop and evolve here on Earth, so maybe, just maybe, there's more to the Deacon than sloppy re-writes.

Visually, the Deacon superficially resembles the typical "xenomorph" creature we're all acquainted with. He has an eyeless, elongated head, an extra set of jaws, and a lithe, skeletal body. However, he's not quite as bio-mechanical looking as previous Aliens, and he lacks any kind of tail or dorsal spines. Additionally, his head is pointed in the back, rather than rounded, and this is where he gets his name (think of a deacon's pointed hat). NECA's figure faithfully captures the look of the creature, so much credit to Jason Frailey, David Silva, and Thomas Gwyn. His sinewy, spindly body is extremely well detailed, and even the roof of his (inner) mouth is ridged and textured. Stretch him out, and he's almost 8½" tall from his toes to the point of his skull, but he'll never stand that way, as he's designed to be displayed in a bent-leg crouch. Still, it's quite impressive, and if the Deacon's not fully grown, it's hard to imagine how much more imposing a mature creature would be.

Deacon's paint is mostly a deep bluish gray, with a gloss finish and a lot of black splatter to represent the blood and viscera of the Engineer he's just burst out of. The mouth gums and inner jaws get some dull pinkish apps, and the teeth are a sickly off white. It's simple but effective, and while I rarely like glossy figures, it makes sense for the Deacon and really sells the gruesomeness of it. Jon Wardell and Geoffrey Trapp handled the paint, as is typical of most NECA figures.

The articulation is quite interesting. He has balljoints in the neck, torso, wrists, hips, and ankles, and they help give him a nice range of motion. The shoulders, elbows, and knees are peg-and-hinge joints, with the peg below the hinge, rather than above it. This means that the hinge doesn't turn when you move the peg joint, so they don't mimic the balljoint the way most peg-and-hinge joints do. The shoulders, for example, can't be used to extend the arms forward or backward, only out. The peg joint then pivots on that axis. The same holds true for the elbows and knees, but the joints aren't as restricted by it as the shoulders. Still, there are a lot of great poses to be had, and although it's an odd setup, it doesn't detract from the overall articulation as much as you think it would.

One area where the articulation works great is the jaw. There's a hinge that operates both the inner and outer jaws, and the lower jaw can also retract and extend, which allows you to nearly close the entire mouth. It's a very unique and innovative way of handling the funky goblin shark-like jaws of the Deacon, and it allows for a lot of great posing options.

Even though the Deacon cuts a fearsome presence (literally and figuratively), he doesn't really do much in the film, so nothing obvious jumps out in terms of accessories. However, the Deacon is pretty loaded. NECA used his release as an opportunity to include some notable items from the film, including the decapitated Engineer head and two "hammerpedes." The Engineer head is two pieces, with the top part of the elephantine helmet lifting off to reveal the diseased head underneath. It's really well done, the two pieces fit together well, and the sculpt is amazing.

The hammerpedes, which began as normal (space)worms until the Black Goo turned them into penis cobras [Whatever, as long as they're not dickwolves --ed.], don't fare quite as well in accessory form. They're bendy, which means they can be posed in a number of different ways, but it also means some of the detail gets lost in the rubbery plastic. There are also pretty obvious holes to accomodate the bendy wires, which hurts the sculpt even more. It's awesome that we get two separate hammerpedes (one with the hood closed, and one unfurled) but I'd personally prefer if they were static pieces, as it may have allowed for more detail in the sculpt, and it would have eliminated the need for the obvious wire-holes.

The last accessory is a clear display stand, to allow the Deacon to stand on its tip-toes with its digitigrade feet. I can personally attest that the figure can stand unassisted, but it takes a lot of precision tweaking and he might not stay standing for long, so the stand is a welcome addition. It features two raised wedges with pegs so the Deacon can maintain its stance.

I might not have enjoyed Prometheus, but anything Alien has a reserved spot on my shelf. With this figure, I no longer have to sit through over two hours of idiots in space in order to see the Deacon. It's a great figure, and the hammerpedes and Engineer head are just icing on the cake.

-- 04/13/13

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