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DC Direct
by yo go re

Unlike the Marvel Universe, DC doesn't have a lot of second-stringers. After the big guys like Superman and Batman, it drops straight off to third- and fourth-tier characters like Hourman and the Atom. Sure, they have the potential to be bigger stars, but they're not. They're just not written that way. And when the heroes are such losers, you know the villains they face have to be even worse.

Psycho-Pirate After obtaining an enchanted Medusa Mask, Roger Hayden donned a costume and committed crimes as the Psycho-Pirate!

Okay, now to be fair, there have been two Psycho-Pirates - the original was even worse. The Golden Age version was a pissed-off printsetter at a major metropolitan newspaper. He had no powers, just committed crimes based vaguely on emotions. At least the new one has powers, even if they don't make any sense.

Hayden shared a jail cell with Charley Halstead, the original Pirate. Halstead, recognizing his own advancing years and wanting to leave a legacy, revealed to Hayden the existence of the Medusa Masks, which allow the wearer to project emotions onto others. Hayden got out of jail, stole the masks, attacked some of those aforementioned third-stringers and got his butt thrown right back in jail. Another DC Comics success story!

Controlling others' emotions proved to be too much for Hayden, and he ended up in an asylum, where he would quite hapily have faded into complete obscurity, if not for Marv Wolfman and George Perez dredging him up for their massive Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover.

Psycho-Pirate became a pawn in the struggle between the Monitor and the Anti-Monitor, using his emotion-manipulating abilities to control the entire populations of multiple earths at once - the strain proved to be too much for him, and he was left a psychotic, strait-jacketed mess. But for one brief, shining moment, the Psycho-Pirate actually mattered and because of that, DC Direct has turned him into a toy.

verily, let us away to yon joust! Part of Crisis On Infinite Earths Series 1, Psycho-Pirate is designed to look much as he did when drawn by Perez. He's wearing the red and black checkerboard costume that makes him look more like a Rennaisance Fair juggler than a supervillain. He's got his big Dr. Strange-style cape and a removable Medusa Mask.

Story goes that Medusa didn't actually literally turn people to stone but, in a mistranslation similar to the one that put Cinderella in glass slipers instead of fur, overwhelmed them with emotion. And apparently did so with the power of a dozen golden masks. Sure, why not? The one this figure is wearing seems to be fear or worry - though mostly featureless, the mask does have two thin, arching eyebrows above its golden eyes.

Oh, you're his bitch now. The masks gave Psycho-Pirate the ability to change others' emotions by changing the look on his own face: he looked afraid, you'd be afraid; he looked curious, you'd be curious. Of course, that suggests that the power was in him and actually had zilch to do with the masks. And also wasn't limited to emotions, since he also projected things like confusion and friendship. Go figure. Take off the snug-fitting mask, and you'll see angry Hayden. Perez is the master of semi-realistic detail, and this toy looks just like one of his drawings.

Articulation is the DC Direct standard: neck, shoulders, wrists, hips and knees. No waist. He's sculpted to be fairly fit and in shape, but not at all muscular - a nice touch for a guy who would never get into a brawl with the heroes. His hands are sculpted in a clutching pose, so it looks like he's gesticulating as he attempts to control someone's mind. The cape is made of a fairly thin rubber, so it doesn't restrict any movement.

just an example of the problems There are a lot of small problems with the paint, noteable since DC Direct has usally been so good about that. Though his yellow belt and the comedy and tragedy masks on his torso are painted well, the black and red tend to spill onto one another, and there are a few stray spots of black in a few locations. His apps on his face are all perfect, though.

Crisis packaging Psycho-Pirate comes in the same packaging as the rest of the Crisis figures, which is really well designed. The card has an image of the merging Earths, and the blister is a tapered dome. The figure's display base, the CoIE logo, serves as the logo for the packaging. Overall, this is a nice design that really stands out on the shelves while still remaining true to the comic and the era that spawned it.

Crisis logo base The base itself is clear plastic, with the colors of the logo screened onto the underside. There's one foot peg - in the base of the R - to hold the figure up. The base is 5" long and 1 1/2" wide.

We've never had a Psycho-Pirate figure before, and in all likelihood, we never will again. Immediately after Crisis, he became something of a favorite plot device, being one of the only people who remembered what the world was like before the universes merged, but soon faded away again. He's currently getting some play as DC ramps up toward its next major event, Infinite Crisis, so get this figure while you still can.

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