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Saint Walker

DC Signature Collection
by yo go re

So, after its successful initial run, we dive right into Year 2 of the DC Signature Collection.

When their sun began to die, the people of Astonia turned to their priest Bro'Dee Walker. His steadfast hope drew the attention of a Blue Lantern power ring, which saved the planet by turning the dying sun into a bright blue star. Bro'Dee was then selected by the ring as the first member of the Blue Lantern Corps. Known as Saint Walker, the first Blue Lantern uses the power of hope to create constructs that soothe his targets. He can charge Green Lantern rings and drain Sinestro Corps rings.

It's not just that he can supercharge Green Lantern rings - he has to be near a Green Lantern ring in order for his ring to work properly. That seems incredibly short-sighted: what happens when there's trouble and there are no GLs around? We're not even talking about "oh, there needs to be a Green Lantern in the same space sector," we mean they pretty much have to be right next to each other. You're in charge of 1/3600th of space, but the distance from the Earth to the Moon is too much for your powers to work? You're boned!

Brother Warth was recognizably an elephant, but Saint Walker isn't so easily identified - unless he's a worm. There's three-and-a-half-foot long tendril sticking off the back of his head. Huh, maybe he's a sperm. He has no nose and beady black eyes, and there are lines on his face. While DC Direct's figure had those inset, the statue had them raised. Which is right?

The price of the DCSC figures has gone up this year, but it seems like Mattel decided to start with Saint Walker in order to reassure us that the price is worth it. In addition to the new head (a necessity), he has new three-fingered hands that include a fully detailed Blue Lantern ring on the right hand. Always love that. The forearms are new, with thin raised bands at the top and bottom of the gently wrinkled bracers. Most of the rest of the body is the same one Sinestro had, with one important difference: the chest is an entirely new mold, with a raised circle where the Blue Lantern symbol is painted, and a sculpted seam around the neck and down the front of the throat. Those are minor changes, but they make Saint Walker feel unique - thus addressing one of our major complaints with Mattel's DC toys.

Another one of our complaints has been the lack of sufficient articulation, and that's another problem Saint Walker solves. His reused body means he has a swivel/hinge neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, hinged torso, swivel waist, H-hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees and hinged ankles. He also gets a joint unique to him, a swivel in the middle of his head-tail. In addition to the sufficient elbows and knees, the figure's neck joint actually allows the head to move up and don the way it should (and the way few Mattel DC figures do). His only accessory is a Blue Lantern... lantern. What, no ring constructs?

The packaging has been redesigned slightly, so it will be easy to tell the Year 1 figures apart from the Year 2 figures at a glance. The shape is the same as last year's box, and still has windows on the front and top, but the windows are different sizes: the one on the front is smaller, and the one on top is larger. The biggest difference, however, is in the graphic design. While last year's box was basically just ssolid blocks of color, this time there are various textures, including either stone or leather, and a hexagonal honeycomb frame. It's clear the two packages are related, but they're also unique.

One thing that hasn't changed is the nice painting of the character on the back of the package. It's still done by Mike Thompson, proving that Mattel isn't following Hasbro's lead with Marvel Universe and trading out artists every year. Saint Walker is drifting regally, and surrounded by a blue aura. It's definitely not as dynamic as the only other ring-bearer we've gotten, but it's a lot easier to translate "rage" into body language than "hope." It doesn't help that the blue DC assigned the Blue Lanterns is so dark that it barely stands out against the black. The lantern Bro'Dee is holding has a more complex handle than the accessory, though we're not sure where that comes from.

Shocka told me recently that he's mad he got suckered into buying Saint Walker, because he already had the DC Direct version (and paid ⅔ less for it). He expected the DCD version would be larger and better made. Well, it may be bigger, but that doesn't make it better. DCSC Saint Walker lacks the stretched, alien proportions of the other figure, and less of his costume details are sculpted, but that doesn't make him bad. This one's got better articulation is isn't as oversized. Given the choice between the two, Mattel's is better.

-- 01/24/13

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