So far, there's only been one DC Direct figure that came close to the high standards set by Marvel Legends, and that was because its mold could be reused so heavily. While DCD isn't regularly trying to pass off glorified statues as toys, they're still not delivering $20 worth of figure.
When you've got a series whose sole purpose is to look like a specific artist's work, then you'd better make damn sure that your sculpts are up to par, right? And when that specific artist is fan-favorite Alex Ross and the work in question is the seminal Kingdom Come, then the margin for error is much, much smaller. Still, the first series of KC figures were surprisingly bad, earning the runner-up spot for Worst Toy of the Year.
Series 2 showed marked improvement, however, and finally delivered what they promised - fortunately, not all the big characters had been tossed off in the first wave.
In a world thrown into chaos by warring super-humans, Earth's greatest heroes are made to choose sides. For Captain Marvel, the choice is evil! Under the control of Lex Luthor, the World's Mightiest Mortal quickly becomes the World's Mightiest Villain.
At just under 7" tall, Captain Marvel looks imposing in amongst your other superheroes. DC has never been a company that favored articulation over sculpt, and the Kingdom Come takes that to extremes - to best preserve the look of Ross' art, the figures move only at minimal spots. The Big Red Cheese is articulated at the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips and boot tops, which is just enough to get him into the iconic pose for which he was intended: him jutting his mighty package at the viewer.
Ross didn't radically redesign Captain Marvel the way he did other heroes - the costume in Kingdom Come was no great departure for the character, so the job of making sure that the figure was recognizable as his KC version fell mainly to the pose.
That pose is Cap's saving grace. In his case, the sculpt and pose are so obviously taken from Ross's artwork that DC Direct is selling us an affordable statue, which is all that some fans ask. Heck, McFarlane Toys has been claiming for years that that's what they were doing. Still, the sculpt is very nice, with a big bulky body and slightly cartoony head that harken back to the character's origins. Sculptor Tim Bruckner even captured the big stitches on Cap's boots and the braided tassels on his cape.
The cape is the only accessory included with the figure, which is fine. The sculpt is good, and the paint job, instead of being flat white, has a pearlescent quality to it. The corded clasp fits over Cap's head easily, so you can recreate your own UN flag-raising ceremony if you so choose.
The first series of Kingdom Come figures may have been handled very poorly, but things have been greatly improved. Captain Marvel is one of the best figures despite his nearly immobile state, and that's quite an accomplishment. Now if only they'd go back and redo a Battle Weary Superman worthy of facing him.
Who's your favorite KC redesign? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.