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Green Lantern

DC Universe Classics
by yo go re

With Batman in Series 1 and (a) Superman in Series 2, Mattel needed a different "major" character to be the star of the line. What they got was Green Lantern.

While training in a flight simulator, test pilot Hal "Highball" Jordan was suddenly transported to the crash site of an alien spacecraft. Recognizing Jordan as a man without fear, the injured alien passed to Jordan his green power ring and energy battery or "lantern" which charged the ring. Jordan has since used the ring's fantastic powers for good, distinguishing himself as one of the finest members of the elite intergalactic police force known as the Green Lantern Corps.

"Highball?" Really? That callsign apparently first appeared in Darwin Cooke's New Frontier, and has since been picked up by the real comics. But seriously, "Highball?" Callsigns are based on a pilot's last name or their personality, and what Hal Jordan gets is "Highball?" What is he, a 2:00 drunk? It's a lot more likely they would have called him "River." There had to be literally dozens of suitable names. We'll offer up some as we move through this review.

Hal "Bad Touch" Jordan proved his heroic worth by... being closer when Abin Sur called. Guy Gardner was just as worthy, but he was on the other side of the country at the time. Hal being the "greatest" GL has about as much to do with his inherent moral character as Ripley becoming the galaxy's foremost expert on Aliens has to do with hers. Right place, right time, nothing more. Someone who wins the lottery isn't a financial genius, and a spectator who catches a foul ball isn't a star athelete. That's Hal Jordan.

Green Lantern uses the same body as Series 2's Black Manta, which isn't quite as bulky as the heavily-used Red Tornado from Series 1. Hal "I've Got Candy in My Van" Jordan is definitely shown as muscular in the comics, but not insanely pumped up, so this works. The shoulders seem a bit too wide, but that's a problem that exists for every figure using this particular mold, not something that only applies to Hal. He does, of course, have the obvious plug in his back where a cape (or other spinal accessory) would be glued if he used one.

The head is nice, really capturing the essence of Hal "Humbert Humbert" Jordan. He has a fairly square jaw - a... "lantern" jaw, if you will? He's got a slight frown, but chalk that up to determined concentration: maybe he's doing a particularly tough task, and it's taking all his willpower. He's wearing a domino mask, as usual, and his hair is coiffed in that particular "heroic" manner that he's worn for so many years, even while he was evil or dead.

GL's paint is mostly problem-free, but then again, it's not like anyone is asking anything really special of it. Green body and boots, black limbs, white gloves, you're done. The edges are crisp, and the colors (mostly) match whether they're molded or painted, which is more than we can usually say for the DCU toys. On the downside, the edges of his mask are still pink, rather than green, and his chest symbol, which is tampographed on, is noticeably off-center and crooked. Plus, since every inch of this figure had to be approved by DC, and they're doggedly sticking with the stupid "Parallax made Hal Jordan's hair turn white" retcon, his temples are as brown as the rest of his 'do, which isn't so much a problem as a personal preference. In my own mind, Hal "Lolicon" Jordan's apartment is filled with issues of Barely Legal magazine and Just For Men hair coloring.

Hal "If There's Grass on the Field, Play Ball" Jordan's right hand is sculpted as a fist, with his magic "do whatever I want and get away with it" badge ring sculpted on his middle finger. The same middle finger he gives to age of consent laws. The ring is slightly more metallic than the rest of the green on the toy, and even gets its own bio on the back of the card:

A Green Lantern power ring allows the user to create any energy force or construction imaginable simply by thinking it. The ring also allows unaided interstellar travel, offensive and defensive force fields and serves as a universal database and translator. However, the ring must be charged every 24 hours and is susceptible to anything yellow.

That isn't technically true. Any more. These days the yellow impurity has been removed (for everyone except rookie GLs) and the ring has a set power limit, not an internal clock. Other than that, the listed abilities are correct. The figure comes with a full lantern, so Hal "If There's No Grass on the Field, Play in the Mud" Jordan can recharge when the time's up.

Mattel's amateurish mistakes on the DC Universe line are legendary, from their laughable inability to distribute the product to the overall shoddy production quality. We here at OAFEnet love the toys, but we're not apologists - it would be a lie to tell you not to expect any problems, especially with Green Lantern. Listening to fans all over the place, Hal is easily the worst of the bunch. Forget stuck joints shearing off (though that does still happen with alarming regularity), we're talking complete structural failure, sometimes before the blister is even opened. Complete low-rent, amateur hour stuff, like the halves of his groin falling apart because they weren't glued. Hal "Exploding Crotch" Jordan. And of course, forget finding a replacement, because of the insufficient stock.

Still, if you get a good one, GL's movement is nice. It's the typical DCU assortment: balljointed neck, swivel/hinge shoulders and hips, swivel biceps, wrists, waist and thighs, hinged elbows, torso, knees and ankles. I wish the head could tilt back farther, for better flying poses, and that he had double-hinged elbows so he could actually get his fist into his power battery accurately, but the Horsemen hate double-elbows for whatever reason. You can get the pose pretty close, though, so that's something.

Hal "Lingering Hug" Jordan comes with a piece of the DCU Series 3 Build-A-Figure, Solomon Grundy. He gets the left leg, which is a sizeable chunk of swamp zombie. Seriously, Hal is 6½" tall, the leg is 5". Lots of room for sculpted detail, too, like the big thick laces on his boots, or the distinct scuff marks on the toe. The tears in the pants even get their own small paint apps.

Mattel's Green Lantern toy is exactly what we've come to expect from the company, nothing more: he has a nice sculpt, though most of the details are created by so-so paint apps rather than molded plastic; articulation is merely adequate, and you need to be super-careful lest half of it break. He has the appropriate accessory, though a few years ago we probably would have gotten a translucent green energy blast to go along with him. But that's just the reality of a changing hobby.

Hal "My Sharona" Jordan was dead and buried, but was sadly resurrected in one of the most ham-handed retcons this side of Xorn. However, it did set the stage for the absolutely stunning Sinestro Corps War, so maybe we can cut it some slack. But the fact remains, Hal Jordan isn't much of a character; this mundane action figure suits him perfectly.

-- 01/21/09

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