Every culture on Earth has a concept of the soul. It's easy to see where it came from: you and your caveman buddies are out hunting for dinner, when a sabertooth tiger leaps out of hiding and slashes Inuqmuk in the chest; as he lays on the ground with his guts hanging out, steam rises into the chilly air, and Inuqmuk stops moving forever - clearly, the steam is what made him "alive," and it was leaving his body after he got hurt. And people who are alive have that same steam coming out of their mouths at night, but people who are dead don't. Thus, there's some magic invisible spirit inside us all that makes us move around, and when we die, it leaves us.
In Anicent Egypt, the the soul was divided
into several parts: there was the ba, which was basically your personality; there was the ka, which was the force that animated your body and kept you alive; and when you died, the ka and the ba were reunited to form the akh, sort of a living intellect (similar to the way we think of ghosts nowadays).
For whatever reason, NECA has decided to make toys based on the Egyptian concept of the soul - at least, that's we're left to assume when we go to the store and buy a toy that, judging by the limited self-censorship necessary to get these into stores and into the hands of fans, is based on something called "Ka 2." I've got say right up front though, it doesn't look very Egyptian; more like a normal American kid dressing up as a superhero to kick some ass.
This figure is identified as "Armored Ka," because apparently this soul needs special protection. I don't know what type of thing could harm a soul, but judging by the big daddy body armor it's wearing,
I'm guessing a combination of blunt impact and bullets. It probably offers some protection from blades, too, but there are enough gaps in the protection - around the sides, in the armpits, all around the groin - that an attacker could easily get a knife in there to do some damage.
Other than the kneepads and the forearms, every bit of the armor is a separate piece slipped over the Ka body beneath. So yes, this really is just an excuse to get some more use out of the molds designed for the Ka figure in Series 1 - but it's a good excuse! No matter how many figures of the mighty spirit Ka you may have bought before, this one is completely unlike them.
The ka was essentially a person's double, an identical copy of the body it inhabited. This toy includes a second, unmasked head, persumably designed to look like whoever Ka is duplicating. It really looks a lot like Aaron Johnson, the guy who's playing Quicksilver in Avengers 2. The expression is totally neutral, though: it would look better on the figure if it was showing some emotion. Or some scrapes, cuts, and bruises.
The toy moves very well. He has balljointed ankles, double-swivel-hinge knees, H-hips, a balljointed torso, hinged hands,
balljointed wrists, swivel/hinge elbows and shoulders, and a balljointed head. Even with the armor resting on top of the body, the majority of the joints work just fine - the only problems are the chest joint (obviously), a little bit of limitation in the hips and anles. It's nothing major, and you'll still be able to pose him however you like. The figure is nearly 7" tall, meaning he fits in with NECA's movie figures, rather than other companies' comicbook figures. If that should somehow be important to you in this specific case.
Armored Ka has an extra pair of yellow hands, but there's no real reason for them: the hands he has on in the package are just fine, and actually match the rest of his body. Why, then, the extras? No idea. He's armed with two batons - in keeping with the Egyptian origins of the name "Ka," we can only assume they're meant to look like the hega and nekhakha, but what they end up looking like plain sticks wrapped in electrical tape - what did he, make these things himself at home? They can be stored on Ka's back, or held in either set of hands. There are (hinged) loops at the end so he doesn't drop them, and since the hands are removable, you can actually get the loops around his wrists the right way Excellent!
In a recent review, we talked about how unlikely it was that this series of toys would make it to Toys Я Us. And it probably wouldn't have, if not for NECA's new initiative to get more of its product on shelves. But the KA2 toys were the first to benefit from it, and it's nice to see them in person. I probably wouldn't have bought Armored Ka if I had to order him online, and that would be a shame: even if I can't figure out what this toy has to do with the Egyptian soul, he's a really kick-ass action figure.