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Black Lantern Hal Jordan and White Lantern Sinestro

DCD Green Lantern
by Rustin Parr

At SDCC 2009, DC Direct and Graphitti Designs joined forces for one of the most painful exclusive toy experiences San Diego Comic Con has ever seen - Rainbow Hal Jordans. They decided to follow it up this year by continuing theme and learning a small portion of what they should have from the year previous.

But enough about the drama - let's talk about the figures! This year we have two figures and two characters, both in variant costumes - Black Lantern Hal Jordan and White Lantern Sinestro. The latter was a bit of a spoiler at the time he was first made available at the first annual C2E2 convention in Chicago, but regardless he's still a very welcome addition to the display.

The Green Lantern Corps has faced many trials and encountered unexpected allies during the war of light. The onset of the Blackest Night harkened the return of Nekron, Lord of the Undead, master of the Black Lanterns. many throughout the universe, hero and villain alike, will feel the evil touch of the black rings of power, and not even Hal Jordan, the greatest Green Lantern of them all, is immune. As the war on life is being waged across the universe, one will rise to turn the tide, the White Lantern. The earth-shattering secret of Sinestro's ascension as the ultimate Champion of Life unfolds as the effects of Blackest Night continue to be felt.

Our strong belief here at OAFE is that a good exclusive is something that is a real treat for the fans, but would not be a definite hole in a collection, since many people won't end up with one. Sadly, White Lantern Sinestro doesn't really fit that criteria as his bearing the White Lantern mantel is a fairly significant element of both Blackest Night and for the character himself. Honestly, though, I'm not sure how popular this spin on the character it is, so maybe it's not so painful for those without him.

Sinestro uses the same body as the Blackest Night John Stewart figure. He has balljointed shoulders, hinged elbows, swivel forearms, T-Crotch, hinged knees, swivel thighs, and a great balljoint at the head. Seriously, the head has a really good range of fluid motion. The only new piece is Sinestro's head, which follows the style and detail of the phenomenal Sinestro Corps version but adds the mask and features a devilishly wry smirk.

The paint is generally pretty solid, with some bleed on the black lines. He's predominantly white and silver, with the ring being highlighted in silver on his white, gloved hand. The deep pink of Sinestro's skin does stand out a little too starkly, but what are you going to do - it's how he do. Black lines break up the colors.

Hal follows in the great tradition of last year's five figures and is a much-anticipated addition to that collection. He uses the same everything-physical as the Yellow and Orange Lantern figures, but in this case is painted in the Black uniform. Of course this adds the nitpicky, inaccurate "buttons" on the forearms from the Sinestro uniform, but I'm surviving. As with the figures last year, we have the same 11 points of articulation: balljointed head, balljointed shoulders, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, T-crotch and hinged knees.

The paint on him is really good and we have no complaints on the quality. He gets flat shades on most everything, but gloss on the forearms, hands, and hair. This looks totally fine of course, but he just doesn't fit in with the metallic colors of the Rainbow Hals sadly. I had really wanted two of this guy so I could have one with the Rainbow Hals and one with the Black Lanterns, but Graphitti saw to it that that would not happen, and frankly the longer I think about it, I think I'm fine with that. This one will probably live with the Black Lanterns that he more stylistically fits in with.

Much like the Rainbow Hals, both White Sinestro and Black Hal include a one-size-fits-all ring of their specific Lantern Corps and a base cast in the translucent color of their Corp (just clear for Sinestro) with the Corps' logo painted in white on it. Unlike last year, we get no lantern accessories. Sure neither White nor Black Corps really carry lanterns, but still... it would be cool to have them, especially considering that with the exception of Sinestro's head, these are just repaints.

The packaging is the same "book" style as the Rainbow Hals, and continues their lineup as the background on the front. The spines are just the figure included sadly, and the back features both toys.

The interior is interesting in that the inner "cover" features different series of DCD's Blackest Night toyline. It's kind of cool they went that route. In fact, the packaging is really the only thing that makes these exclusive to San Diego - you see, each has a sticker on the front proclaiming the convention and another announcing the amount available at that convention. Go to a different convention, get a different sticker. SDCC, Wonder Con, C2E2, what have you.

All in all, these are solid entries by our friends at DC Direct. They might not be setting the world afire with their individual awesomeness, and they may have been a big pain in the neck to secure, but by gum I'm right happy to add them to the collection. It'll be interesting to see what the team of DCD and Graphitti cook up for us next year. Please let it be simpler than having to pull raffle tickets from a bag. Please let them make enough to go around. Please let it be a pleasant experience for once.

-- 04/10/11

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