Poor, poor Hellboy. Despite being one of the most popular independent characters of the last decade, he's only ever had one action figure before, and it was a steaming hunk of ass from the same people who brought us 2003's Worst Toy of the Year, Clerks Inaction Figures. Anung Un Rama deserved better.
60 years ago, a plot to take over the world was defeated by the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, a top secret government agency. Now those sinister forces have returned, and only the BPRD's unlikely team of heroes can save mankind. The BPRD are the ultimate last line of defense. When things go bump in the night, they are the ones who bump back.
With the Hellboy movie on the way, Mezco announced that Revolution Studios had given them the rights to produce toys based on the film. Considering all the great product that Mezco has released for its various properties, they were a perfect choice.
In 1944, the Nazis (in conjunction with the sorcerer Rasputin) undertook Project Ragna Rok. Attempting to summon the Beast of the Apocalypse, they instead got a tiny red boy with a great stone hand. Found by Allied forces, the little "hell boy" was raised in America and eventually granted honorary human being status by the United Nations. The BPRD's top field agent, Hellboy has encountered, fought and defeated all sorts of supernatural threats over the years.
Hellboy began his life on the cover of a convention program - a great menacing demon with the name "Hell Boy" on his belt. With some help and some prodding, the idea eventually grew into the Hellboy we know and love today. Heck of a path from con sketch to movie star, huh?
There are two Hellboy figures in the first series - one wearing his trenchcoat and the other in a plain black shirt (as well as variants of each). The coat-wearing version offers you a little bit more for your money, but both are still great.
The Hellboy line is made in a 7" scale (more or less), which makes them just about Movie Maniacs size. It's smart that companies think about whether their figures can be integrated with other lines, but Hellboy's certainly good enough to stand on his own.
Trench Hellboy moves at the neck, shoulders, torso, waist, elbows, wrists, hips, thighs, knees and ankles. Most of that articulation is balljointed, which gives plenty of motion. Even the wrist on Hellboy's giant stone fist is a balljoint. He's also got three points of movement in his long red tail. The tan coat, which has a BPRD patch sewn on the shoulder, is molded from a very soft plastic that does a great job of duplicating the flexibility and feel of a real trenchcoat at this scale.
Wisely, all the figures of Hellboy himself share the same sculpt for the stone arm - that way, every little crack and crevice is the same. The elbow on the stone arm is a peg joint, while the other arm has a pin. It's somewhat disappointing that Hellboy can only turn his right elbow, not bend it, but the rest of the articulation in the arm makes up for it. The Hellboy variant figures have a grimacing head and an open stone hand.
Even though it only managed to conjur Hellboy, perhaps Project Ragna Rok did not go awry - in the late 90s, Hellboy was informed by the sorcerer Rasputin that he had been summoned to free the dragon Ogdru Jahad and bring about the end of the world. The goddess Hecate told him that he was the key to Armageddon, and an ancient depiction of Hellboy's stone arm bore the caption "Behold the Right Hand of Doom."
The standard edition of the figure looks exactly like Ron Perlman in his Hellboy makeup, and features the filed-down horns that resemble a pair of goggles on his forehead. Perlman was a great choice to play Hellboy - he's a better actor under four pounds of makeup than most stars are naturally and thanks to the special effects team, he now looks like one of Mike Mignola's drawings come to life.
Hellboy comes with two accessories, though only one is really intended for him. That's his large revolver, which can be snapped open when he needs to reload. The gun fits snugly into a pvc holster on the figure's hip or can be held in his left hand. The second accessory is almost another figure in its own right.
Showing how strongly the movie draws from the comic, Hellboy comes with the corpse from The Corpse, a Celtic-inspired short story in which Hellboy was charged with the task of finding a spot to bury a body. Since the supernatural is involved, it's not as easy as it seems. The sequence was adapted for the film, and now adapted into toy form.
The earthly remains of Tam O'Clannie from Killarney were lugged from Teampoll-Déamus to Carrick-fhad-vic-Orus, from Imolgue-Fada to Kill-Breedya and now can come to your house. 4 1/8" tall from head to tailbone, Ol' Tammie is gone a bit 'round the bend. He's sculpted in a fine state of decomposition and moves at the neck and shoulders. His arms are made from a soft, flexible plastic, which means - you guessed it - they're bendy. He's pointing with his right arm and his left hangs at his side. The figure comes with a real rope noose that you can use to sling Tam from Hellboy's back. The bendy arms let Tam cling on tight - 'e don't want to fall off.
Though the Hellboy line is yet another example of a company switching to the stupid, stupid clamshells, Mezco always offers a bit of fun on their packaging. The Mezco Roach mascot always gets a new look specific to the line, and this time the little guy is dressed up as Hellboy, complete with tail, horns and giant stone fist. It's very cute, and a cool little touch.
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