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Deadman

DCD Kingdom Come
by yo go re

When it comes to summing up a character's powers, motivation and origin all in one simple name, nobody comes close to Deadman.

Deadman's skeletal appearance is an extrapolation from where Kelley Jones had recently brought him, with his spiritual form reflecting his true physical body's decay from the robust, superhero physique of the Neal Adams version. With his flesh far behind him, the visual projection of his appearance may either indicate a final acceptance of his (after)life's fate or a loss of his own mind.

Deadman was released in Series 3 of DC Direct's Kingdom Come line, alongside Wonder Woman and Flash. He probably wasn't anyone's first choice of purchase, since the line was already fairly expensive, and he was the smallest figure of the bunch. But that general unpopularity eventually translated to lower prices, which is how I finally got this guy - I figured, for $5, I couldn't go wrong. Was I right?

As mentioned above, Deadman got a pretty minor redesign for Kingdom Come. In the normal comics, he's always shown wearing what he was when he died: a red suit with white skin. See, much like Dick Grayson's parents, Deadman (real name Boston Brand) was a trapeze artist who was murdered during a show, so he's stuck spending the afterlife in his circus costume.

But in the 10-years-from-now future portrayed in KC, Boston has accepted his state, which is why his spiritual body looks more dead than before: he's just a skeleton in the tattered red rags, the remnant of what was once his suit. There's a white D on the chest, but his bones are poking through at the elbows, fingertips, knees and ankles - places where there'd be the most wear.

The sculpt is excellent, but that was true for all most of Tim Bruckner's KC Alex Ross figures. His clothes really look like they're laying over bones - particularly at the ribs and pelvis. The legs hang loose and baggy, and the big ridiculous collar is becoming tattered. His head is a plain skull, as it should be. The lower jaw seems to stick out a bit farther than it should, but maybe that's a nod to the way heroes' chins always seem larger and stronger than average.

Articulation on the Kingdom Come line was always ridiculously sparse, and Deadman is no exception. He has swivel hips and shoulders, though it's obvious he's not really intended to move: the sculpt is broken with even a minor change, thanks to detailed wrinkles and a surprisingly thin profile on the limbs. The head is a balljoint, so you can fake some expressiveness, and in the great tradition of skeletal toys, his jaw is a working hinge.

Paint seems simple, but there's more going on here than you may realize. The suit is flat red, but the interior (visisble through the rips and tears) is darker, and the inside of the collar is lighter. The bone is not quite white, and there are tan shadows painted on for detail. His teeth are white, however, and instead of being hollow, the "inside" bits of the ribcage and skull are a dark maroonish brown.

Deadman has no accessories, just a simple disc base to keep him standing. It's actually fairly useless, because he can stand on his own and the disc is too small for his feet anyway. Wow, great planning.

Alex Ross' design for Deadman in Kingdom Come is a simple yet clever update, and it looks nice in action figure form. The low articiulation is forgivable, since this is a skeleton, and if you can find one for a price you like, you shouldn't be disappointed.


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