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Night Owl (Classic)

DCD Watchmen
by yo go re

For years, the convential wisdom was that Watchmen (the book) was an unfilmable story; that there was no way to translate Alan Moore's epic comic into a two-hour movie. Well, earlier this year Zack Snyder proved that wrong. Watchmen (the movie) was a success both creatively and financially, and we finally got some halfway decent figures out of the deal - not ToY material, by any means, but it certainly filled a niche in many collections.

Inspired by the comicbook hero Superman and the real-life exploits of the vigilante Hooded Justice, policeman Hollis Mason donned a costume and adopted the other cops' derisive nickname for him, fighting crime as the first Nite Owl. Long after he'd retired, the Nite Owl legend lived on through Hollis' successor, inspired by his hero to fight the injustices of the world.

The other cops called him "Nite Owl," incedentally, because before becoming a superhero, Mason spent his evenings working out at the Police Gym, and was always in bed by 9:00. Ironic nickname, you know. Like calling the fat guy "Slim," the red-headed guy "Blue," or Shocka "Sane." Who owns the title of "Man's Favorite Stooge?" Curly. The bald guy. Cops love that kind of thing - it's their idea of being clever. Hey, when you spend your entire day filling out paperwork, you take your jollies where you can.

One of the beautiful things about Synder's movie was the costume design. Yes, there were a lot of fanboy complaints about how Nite Owl II and Ozymandias looked too much like Batman's Dark Knight suit, but that's idiotic: Dark Knight and X-Men are how the public thinks about superheroes now, not spandex unitards. The movie merely adopted that aesthetic. But on a thematically related note, the costumes worn by the 1940s Minutemen look like the sort of baggy clothes worn by the Adam West version of Batman - it creates a visual dichotomy between old and new that even casual theatre-goers can recognize, and that's damn smart.

Classic Nite Owl was sculpted by Karen Palinko, just as Classic Silk Spectre was. The stitches on his shirt are raised elements, and he has a crescent blade tucked into his belt. He has a large folded collar, and beneath it is another tunic to protect his neck. His hood makes a small break from the comics, adding a pair of horizontal points near the top, contributing to a more strigine appearance. It's new, but it works.

Articulation on this line remains poor. Nite Owl has a swivel neck, balljoint shoulders, swivel biceps, hinge elbows, swivel gloves, peg hips and pin knees, which is above average for the Watchmen. Paint is good, without any major errors: the shirt is a bluish-gray, his trunks are yellow, and the boots and gloves are black. His shirt and mask have yellow trim, and the mask is a darker shade of the came color used for the shirt. The belt buckle and the crescent get metallic gold apps. He has no accessories, other than the same base all the other figures have.

You know how the Watchmen characters were rip-offs of the Charlton Comics characters. In that deal, the two Nite Owls are based on the various Blue Beetles - specifically, Hollis Mason is an expy of the original Dan Garret version, right down to the day job as a police officer. The character got a great design in the movie, and this figure copies it as well as can be expected.

-- 11/05/09


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