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King Shark

The Suicide Squad
by yo go re

Wow, it's not often we get the chance to say this, but why don't other companies follow McFarlane Toys' lead?

The enormous King Shark is half-human and half-shark, with a childlike naivete that belies the teeth beneath. Add to that a bite that far outcries his bark in this genetic experiment gone way awry, who is far more brawn than brains and always in the mood for his next meal, no matter who is on the menu... nom nom.

King Shark was the Build-A-Figure (or whatever McToys calls it) for their selection of The Suicide Squad toys - buy Harley, Bloodsport, Peacemaker, and Polka-Dot Man, and you could build a gigantic Nanaue. But as cool as he looked, the other figures were still in a 7" scale, so we weren't about to buy them. But Todd offered this "Gold Label" King Shark by himself, fully assembled and in his own box. Getting a BAF without having to buy the dead weight figures we usually get stuck with? Yes please!

Most the characters in The Suicide Squad were basically reskins of ones from An Suicide Squad - you've got Bloodsport as "Will Smith didn't want to return for this but we may still want to use Deadshot in the future," Rick Flagg and Harley Quinn as Rick Flag and Enchantress, Polka-Dot Man as El Diablo, Ratcatcher as Harley Quinn, Peacemaker as Katana (he's got my back. I would advise not getting killed by him. His toilet-seat hat traps the souls of its victims), and the monstrous, inhuman, man-eating King Shark as the monstrous, inhuman, man-eating Killer Croc. But while Croc was done with prosthetic makeup befitting the character's original incarnation, Shark is a fully CGI character.

Of course, The Flash already proved that King Shark could work on a TV budget, so he'd darn well better work on a movie budget! His body is smoother and chubbier than the last King Shark figure, but that makes sense: why should a shark-man be utterly ripped? There's a subtle texturing on the skin, and some small wrinkles, but not too much. He's got three fingers and a thumb on each hand, and three stumpy, pointed toes on each foot. They've sculpted the gills on his neck, the rough fin at the top of his shoulders, and even some wrinkles on his elbows. It's really nice.

Considering how soulless and hollow the first movie's characters were, the real shock of King Shark in Megan Thee Suicide Squad was how deep and emotional a character he was. He's a totally computerized creation, with those solid black unexpressive eyes, yet James Gunn shoots a scene of him looking out a van window and it's a damn tearjerker! You want to cry for King Shark! He's a shark! See, that's what happens when a movie has a writer and a director, instead of giving final cut to a company that makes trailers. The lesson for DC is clear: stop trying to chase trends. Just cut out the middle man, and hire the guy you're trying to copy, then let him go wild. [Uh, isn't that what they did with "Josstice League," and it sucked? --ed.]

Like we said, King Shark comes fully assembled, so you don't have to put him together. He's still plenty articulated, though, so no worries there. He has hinged toes, swivel/hinge ankles and knees, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge hips, a balljointed waist, balljointed chest, swivel/hinge wrists, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge shoulders, and a balljointed head. Plus, taking a cue from Appa, his jaw is hinged in such a way that it allows you to decide how much tooth you want him to be showing. Every hinge in the figure is remarkably stiff - even now, the only way we can be sure we're right about him having knees is by looking up his board shorts. Those shorts, by the way, are a fairly thick rubber, which pretty well renders any joints beneath them useless. Don't expect King Shark to be doing any splits or high kicks.

Since he's now being sold in a big box by himself, Gold Label King Shark gets something BAF King Shark didn't: accessories! They're a total throwback, too, to the old days of McFarlane Toys. I mean, a pair of severed limbs from a human King Shark has eaten? That's the type of thing you don't see any more! This was obviously a soldier, judging by the camouflage and the black boot, but since only two limbs are left, we know King Shark's been eating good! There's also a gold plastic stand to hold up the included trading card, and a small disc base. You know what would have been good, though? A handful of the colorful little Clyrax that decide to turn the tables on King Shark at the aquarium.

The "Gold Label" release of King Shark was announced in plenty of time to avoid buying the separate figures for their BAF pieces, but it wasn't immediately clear where the exclusive would find a home. Turned out to be Walmart, but he sold out quickly on their website and apparently never actually made it to stores (cf. '90s Black Widow or Captain Douchemerica). The character's a lot of fun in the movie, though, so I'm glad to finally have him - though this definitely isn't the first Walmart exclusive I've had to track down and import on Singles' Day.

-- 12/08/21

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