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by yo go re

Considering the huge headaches the Four Horsemen had to put up with getting their Ramathorr figure (and all his friends) out the door, it's no surprise that the FANtastic Exclusive 2008 winner, Gothitropolis' Lord Scarabus, wasn't ready in time to debut at the San Diego Comic-Con. But because the Horsemen are consummate pros and hate to disappoint their fans, they still had a con exclusive on hand to build excitement. Or, more accurately, they had three.

As of this writing, the Horsemen have yet to reveal any great amount of information about Scarabus, but we do know that he spans untold ages - all the variant color schemes are still the same single being, just seen at different points in time. Is he immortal? Is he a time traveller? We don't know. But what we do know is that he seems to be surrounded by little guys known as Timekeepers, which is where the exclusives come in.

While Scarabus (and all of his temporal analogues) will come with Timekeeper pack-ins, the Horsemen offered three exclusive variants to raise interest and show us just what we can expect. The individual little guys were available for $10 apiece, or as a set for $25.

The Timekeepers are sold in small black window boxes with the neat stylized logo beneath the figure. The sides have an image of Scarabus and a list of credits, and the back has a creepy painting of one of the Timekeepers. It's a nice presentation, even if you plan to chuck it in the bin as soon as you open it.

All three Timekeepers share the same basic mold, with a few different pieces to create variety. The shared body is basically a 2¾" tall skeleton wearing a little tunic. Aww! He thinks he's people! The arms and legs are just bare bone, and the cloth of the tiny smock looks like it conceals the same. There's even a visible vertebra on the back of the neck. For some reason, though they have five fingers on each hand, there are only four toes. Little mutant freaks.

The face looks mostly like a normal skull, but the actual shape of the head is oversized, lumpy and distended. There are long spines coming off his cheekbones, and the jawbone is wider than usual. Of course, the most outlandish features are the two recesses where the cranial accoutrements poke out. Wait, the whatnow?

One of the things that distinguish the Timekeepers from one another is the pair of anatomical oddities jutting out the sides of the their heads. Three Timekeepers, three different sorts of things: batwings, bird wings, and giant horns. Variety! In a very cute attention to detail, each of the Tks has a pair of spurs growing from their ankles that matches their style of horn. The Four Horsemen's love of clever touches strikes again!

Each Timekeeper is armed with their standard weapon, the Chrono-Hammer. It's basically an hourglass on a stick, but it's still neat. There are scarab symbols on the sides, tying back into their boss, and the arms around the hourglass look like bones. The peg that connects the handle to the head of the hammer is just plastic, and is fairly thin, so there's a danger of it snapping if you're not careful. No problems to report with that yet, though.

Okay, enough vaguery, let's talk specifics; who are each of these little monsters, and what do they look like?

Baraeth, the Messenger of Malice, is the red-bodied 'keeper with the leathery wings on his ears and ankles. He's also the one depicted in the painting on the back, which makes him the superstar. His outfit is brown, and he has a black collar with gold trim. Setting him apart from his bretheren, he also has a separate belt clinging to his waist. His belt buckle is gold with a green center. His Chrono-Hammer has a green glass.

Nybbaz, the Harbinger of Hallucinations, is a nice bright blue and is decorated with feathers. His collar is longer than the others', and he doesn't have Baraeth's belt. His robes are the color of unbleached linen, which gives him a nearly Egyptian look. He wears the only silver buckle of the three, and his hammer is a dark, tranclucent red. Apparently he utilizes the power of nightmares to open time portals for his master.

Aestorath, the Emissary of Avarice, is black and gold, and his shoulders are bowed under the crushing weight of his gigantic down-swept devil horns. He's wearing red and black, and his hammer is a brutally dark purple. The horns on his ankles seem to mirror the set on his head: they curl up, while the ones on his head curl down. His capelet is black and gold, matching his limbs and face. His belt is black with a golden buckle and a magenta dot in the center.

The Timekeepers may be small, but they have plenty of articulation. The waist and wrists are swivels, the torso and jaw (!) are hinged, and thee are balljoints in the shoulders and head. Now, the head is heavy, so it tends to pop off the demon's shoulders if he falls over, but it's also easy to getback into place. The wrist pegs are thin, and there are no caps on the ends, so the hands can pull off easily, as well, but that doesn't mean the figure is broken: you can just reassemble him. My Aestorath's hands fall off whenever I move him, thanks to the weight of his hammer.

Ten dollars may seem like a lot to pay for a 3" figure, even a con exclusive, but as always, the Four Horsemen give us our money's worth. The Timekeepers are fun little figures, simple yet detailed, with enough variety in their parts and paints to create three unique creatures that still manage to look like a team. The 'keepers are available now through Store Horsemen, so get 'em while you can. They're just too cute and too evil to pass up.

-- 08/31/08

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