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Todd Rice

DC Universe Classics
by yo go re

Our DCU Classics reviews are soon going to start appearing on Poe's site, just like the MotU Classics reviews get cross-posted here, and that means one obvious thing: holy balls, we'd better hurry up and get through this backlog! DCU16 just came in the mail, and we've barely even started 14 yet!

Todd Rice was in his teens before learning he'd been separated at birth from his twin sister, Jenny-Lynn Hayden. The children of Green Lantern, Alan Scott, and the super-criminal, Thorn, Jenny inherited their father's powers of light while Todd developed shadow-powers from their villainous mother. Battling mental instability, Todd became a full-fledged villain, but eventually regretted the suffering he'd caused and pledged to make amends. Still, those closest to Todd worry that the "Obsidian" within him may one day consume him.

It's a bit strange that this figure is called "Todd Rice" instead of "Obsidian." It's almost certain that this is due to some sort of trademark issue, but that doesn't make it any less odd. Todd was introduced in the '80s All-Star Squadron book, and actually served as a member of the Justice League for a while. He's more identified with the Justice Society these days, and was actually the threat that brought the team back together in the modern day (ie, 1999). Don't worry, he eventually switched sides.

Obsidian has a very thin torso - it's not even as big as the "slender male" body. It's been seen previously on figures like Doctor Fate, Guardian and Shark, but the narrow shape works for Todd - he's not a big bruiser. His belt and cape are new pieces, and all the other costume details are just painted on. His hands are both very dynamic: the right has a very good "clutching" pose, while the left has a ingle finger extended to point. This is much better than the usual fists or "accessory-holding" options.

It's important to note that all the black areas of his "costume" are really his bare skin showing through. It's easy to forget, since he rarely see him in his powered-down form, but the blue is cloth, and the rest would be pink if he weren't covered in his own shadow. The edge of his cowl is sculpted, to remind you of this separation. The toothy grin works for either hero or villain.

Todd has the same articulation as any other DCU Classic figure: a balljointed head (that has a full range of motion, which is nice to see), swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, hinged torso, swivel waist, H-hips, mid-thigh swivels, hinged knees and hinged ankles. His cape just hangs behind him, so it doesn't block any of the joints. Though his new belt is in the waist joint, it's made from PVC, so it flexes out of the way when you turn him. One of the hip joints was stuck fast when I opened the figure, but a few sessions in the freezer freed it up without breaking.

Obsidian doesn't have any accessories, but since Series 14 came out in 2010, he does include a DC 75th Anniversary collector button. The buttons were Mattel's way of hiding the price increase: toys are $12.99, add a button, they're $14.99; take the button away, price stays at $14.99; fanboys forget they used to pay less two years ago.

The Series 14 BAF is Ultra-Humanite, and since he's a giant gorilla, he gets a lot of his pieces from Series 2's Grodd. For instance, Todd comes with the left arm, which is the same as the piece that came with Electric Superman, just done in white instead of grey.

It had long been hinted that Obsidian was gay, but it wasn't until 2006 that the theory was completely confirmed. Of course, some people were upset by this, but the seeds had been planted years ago, so it's not like this was some sudden change. Todd Rice is probably the most prominent gay male character in the DC Universe, but that's not his defining characteristic. He's a complex and unpredictable character, and he looks really cool as an action figure.

-- 03/02/11

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