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Mummy

McFarlane's Monsters
by yo go re

To tell you the truth, I didn't have much interest in McFarlane's Monsters. After I saw how terrible the werewolf was, any enthusiasm I might have had was dashed. However, I warmed to the Mummy when I saw him in person, and decided to give it a chance.

Mummies, really, aren't the scariest of monsters. Werewolves are bestial and vicious, vampires are seductive and powerful, and Frankenstein's monster was intelligent and massively strong. Mummies, however, are dried out corpses that are tied up. They shamble around slowly, barely able to move. How scary is a monster you can escape by going up a flight of stairs?

The sculpting was just as good as anything McToys had ever done; that much was evident through the clamshell. The bandages encircling this terror were appropriately textured and layered. Where they fell or had begun to rot away, the mummy's desiccated corpse could be seen: the remnants of ropy muscles and dried, snapped tendons clung tenaciously to dry bones. The MOC crowd would get a fine piece to look at, but would real toy fans get rewarded as well?

Once you open the Mummy (and really, breaking into that package is a thousand times worse than trying to open any tomb), you'll find the astounding amount of articulation he has: swivel neck, hinged jaw, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel forearms, hinged wrists, balljointed chest, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees and swivel/hinge ankles. That's 21 points of not just articulation, but useful articulation. Useful articulation! On a McFarlane toy! Bandages hide a lot of the movement, keeping this undead pharaoh looking natural.

The Mummy comes with a four-section staff that can be assembled or disassembled as you see fit: two long sections, each tipped with a blade, connect with two smaller sections. The small pieces are based on the crook (hega) and flail (nekhakha) that were the standards of the pharaoh. Well, actually, they were the symbols of Osiris, but the pharaoh was his representative on Earth. The crook is emblematic of the shepherd's tool, representing how the king looks out for his people; the flail, used in public beatings, symbolizes civic power.

The figure also comes with a bendy cobra (that would measure 9½" long if it were all stretched out), as well as a large ceremonial headdress that actually fits down over the toy's noggin with no problem. The snake has a different pattern of scales on its back and on its stomach, just like the real thing would have, and its mouth is open to reveal its fangs - better hope this isn't a spitting cobra! It's flaring its hood to warn off predators.

The headdress, or nemes, depicts Anubis, protector and guide of the dead. On its forehead is a uraeus - a cobra-shaped emblem representing the goddess Wadjet, protector of Lower Egypt - that would spit fire at the pharaoh's enemies (in Upper Egypt, a vulture was the chosen symbol, as Nekhbet was their protector). The nemes manages to be both muted and colorful, with inlays of red, blue, and black amongst the gold.

There are various amulets and charms sculpted on the piece - several scarabs (symbols of rebirth), winged representations of Horus (son of Osiris, offering healing and protection), and even a subtle shen, the Egyptian's representation of eternity. On a sash hanging from the mask are a series of hieroglyphics. Like Medieval Spawn II's sword (but unlike Skullsplitter's), there's an actual meaning to what's been sculpted. Reading from the top down, we get M K F A R L A N I M K G. You can see where they were going, even if it does kind of fall apart at the end. And they can be forgiven for using an "I" at the end of his name, since hieroglyphics didn't have silent letters, and that "I" can have a long "E" sound, like in the name Bambi or Nefertiti. What that final "McG" is, though, I don't know. McFarlane Toys had no comment.

The sculpt the Mummy is on par with what we expect from McToys - in addition to the more noticeable elements, the tiny detail work is where the beauty lies. There are several scorpions crawling about on the Mummy's parched flesh, and a few sprigs of hair remain on his scalp. He's got a hole that runs through his head from socket to crown, and a few jewels about his neck. His abdomen is no more than a gaping cavity, allowing you to see his spine even from the front.

As toy fans know, McFarlane's figures are often prone to breakage. McToys' Customer Service department, however, is superb. The Mummy in this review is my second - the first one took a header off the desk and, like any old person, broke his hip. By the time I sent him for replacement, they had run out of Mummies (seems everyone was breaking their toys that week). They offered to return my broken figure, as well as another Monster of my choosing. Well, I was rather slow in making a decision, and the day I was finally planning to make a choice, a package arrived - inside, a new Mummy! I wrote to thank the folks at Customer Service, who informed me that they had indeed found one last Mummy in a stack of other figures and sent him my way. Thanks to their diligence, OAFE now has the last Mummy that McFarlane Toys had available. Cool!

The Mummy was a wonderful surprise in the middle of my toy-buying year. As detailed as I could hope, more articulated than I'd ever have imagined, and fewer historical inaccuracies than Series 22. This is really a great figure, and no one would fault you if you shambled out right now to buy one.

-- 10/13/02


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