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The Crocodile King

Spawn Series 33: The Age of Pharaohs
by yo go re

Spawn Series 33 grafts the Spawn characters onto Ancient Egyptian mythology. If Jackal King is Malebolgia and Isis is Angela, then the Crocodile King is Clown/Violator.

The Crocodile King. A cunning and deceitful deity, Sebek has set his greedy eyes on the Jackal King and will stop at nothing to claim dominion over the underworld.

Sebek, the crocodile-headed god, wasn't actually evil: like Loki, he was merely chaotic. He obviously began life as a representation of the crocodiles that lived in the Nile, and people would pray to him for protection from them. However, the crocodile's ferocity was also seen as a good thing, especially in times of war, when Sebek went from being someone to be appeased to someone to be emulated. He's a very "behind the scenes" god, often participating at the edges of myths, or pushing other deities to act. He may not do a lot himself, but he's quite influential.

McFarlane's Crocodile King is a chubby guy, standing only 5¾" tall, and he's clearly some sort of mystical beast, not just a normal croc that learned how to walk on its hind legs. Even if you ignore the scales on his back that are thicker and stonier than usual, he has ridges on his tail and spikes on his head and nose. To say nothing of the fact that his tongue is a living cobra, not just a flap of muscle. This is not a creature of our world.

The sculpt is wonderful. Croc's scales are uneven yet organic, textured with thin lines, and overlapped realistically. They follow the shape of his body as they should - he's posed twisting to the right, so the scales on that side are bunched tighter than the ones on his left. The articulation is minimal, of course, since McFarlane really lacks the talent to do anything more than that: he's got swivel elbows and wrists, plus swivel leg joints that really don't do anything other than make sure his feet are flat on the ground.

Crocodile King doesn't have a neck, so no turning his head to look anywhere else. His maw is permanently open, as well, but at least it's detailed nicely in there. He's got plenty of little sharp teeth, and ridges on the roof of his mouth. The snake-tongue can be removed if you want your King to be slightly more "normal." Stand him next to Black Adam and Isis, and he can be Sobek from 52 - all he'll need is an Osiris to devour. The snake is mostly realistic, and its scales fade as you move deeper in the mouth, turning into a more normal tongue. In the mythology, Sebek's mate was the cobra goddess Renenutet, so it's like he has his wife in his mouth - which definitely sounds like the beginning of a great weekend.

The figure's paint is good, though it's nowhere near as vibrant as McToys' publicity pictures would have you believe. He's mostly green, of course, with a pale belly. There's a stripe of muted blue running the length of his body - that's the most jagged area of his scales. Immediately below that is a rusty red band. There's white paint on his left leg and arm: it's definitely makeup, not a natural pigment. Often in the temples of Sebek, the priests would maintain shallow pools with tame, hand-fed crocodiles. Those crocs would wear jewelry, so this one having tattoos isn't so weird, is it?

The Crocodile King can stand up on his own, with some work, but he still includes a base to help keep him from dragging his tail on the floor. Unfortunately, it's just a plain black disc, which is really disappointing. Not only does it require zero thought or effort on McToys' part, it completely undermines what Todd was trying to accomplish with CK, here. It's a nice monster, right? And looks good standing next to Spawn? Well, no, the official story on their website reveals that the Crocodile King is supposed to be a 300' tall terror, an Ancient Egyptian Godzilla marching through the land. Like Jack Frost, he'd need something on his base to give him a sense of scale. This base offers nothing in the way of details or, consequently, of value.

Spawn Series 33: The Age of Pharaohs was, overall, a disappointment. None of the toys had even minimally acceptable articulation, the designs hovered right around the "mediocre" level, and most of the sculpts fell short of the standard we expect from McFarlane Toys. The Crocodile King - specifically identified as Sebek by the hieroglyphics on the packaging, just in case there was any confusion - is definitely one of the better offerings, though. He looks great and... well, that's all. He just looks great. But in this series, that puts him near the top of the heap. Even if you don't like the ill-conceived poses and stupid weapons on the rest of the figures, Crocodile King is a worthwhile monster.

-- 05/13/09

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