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Green Lantern vs. Predator

by yo go re

Batman vs. Predator. Superman vs. Aliens. Batman vs. Aliens. Those were all comics published by DC and Dark Horse. NECA's final DC set is more imaginative.

Green Lantern did get wrapped up in one of those crossover stories, but it was with Aliens: the first issue of the miniseries was set in the past, and saw Hal "have you met my good friend Jeffrey Epstein" Jordan encountering the xenomorphs for the first time; the remaining three issues were set in the present (ie, after Jordan had become Parallax) and saw Kyle Rayner having to clean up the mess Hal left behind. It could have been canon, but some of the deaths that happened were later retconned, so it's definitely not any more. But that's really got nothing to do with this review.

The other three NECA sets had long been known about by fans - we first saw glimpses of them in 2017, but it was 2019 before any of them made it into our hands. This one, however, was a later surprise, with the clues being carefully dribbed out via work-in-progress shots from NECA's studio, not shown directly but glimpsed in the back of other photos by sharp-eyed fans. Evenually the set was announced for New York Comic Con (because the way the license works means NECA couldn't just sell these at regular retail [though some fiercely lucky fans did eventually find them at Walmart when NECA finally broke onto the shelves there]). And for those who couldn't go to NYCC, they were also on NECA's website, where they sold out too fast.

The Green Lantern in this set is Hal, not Kyle. Because his part of the story was a flashback, he did not yet have his trademark gray streaks in his hair, so this figure doesn't either. Considering how many liberties NECA took with all the other DC figures in this line, that's kind of a shame.

This set does get something none of the others did, however, and that's an alternate head. No, it's not Kyle, it's John Stewart! Earth's second back-up GL, John was created in the early 1970s when DC realized that black people were a thing. Thanks to his appearance on Justice League Unlimited, he's the "default" Green Lantern to a lot of people (a lot more people than Hal is) so including him here is a smart move.

The reason John Stewart works better as an alternate head for this toy than Kyle Rayner would is the costume: while Kyle always wore his own thing, John started out when all the Lanterns were wearing matching uniforms, so this body works for him in a way it couldn't for Kyle. The mold is the same used for all four heroes (and currently serving as the base for the "Defenders of the Earth" figures), but it's the first to not have a belt to hide the transition between abdomen and pelvis - and consequently, the first to not be able to hide the shift from a heavy shading wash on the abs to a much flatter color on the trunks. Befitting both their characters, while Hal is painted with a green mask over his eyes, John is not.

We get some really nice accessories, comparable to Superman's heat vision. The figure has two altenate hands: a left hand that's open to hold the handle on the included Power Battery, and a right hand with a hole where the ring would be, allowing you to plug in one of three translucent green energy effects - a small flare of energy, a cross-shaped glint, or a longer beam blast. Nice stuff!

Green Lantern only ever crossed over with Aliens in the comic, and yet this set pairs him with a Predator. Why? Well, because two of these four sets already included a xenomorph, so this was just parity. But also, Predators are canon in the DC Universe, Yellow Lanterns are canon in the DC Universe, and therefore quite naturally Yellow Lantern Predators are canon in the DC Universe. For real this time!

The Sinestro Corps' power is based on instilling great fear, something the Predators have definitely shown themselves capable of doing. So the big question isn't "how did a Predator end up with a Yellow Lantern ring," it's "what did this Predator do to make himself so much more scary than every other member of his species?" Even Bad Blood!

Sinestro, being a despotic fascist, made all the members of his Corps wear identical uniforms (as much as their bodies would allow, anyway), so the Predator in the comics did just that: he wore the same costume as all the rest. That would have required tons of new sculpting for this toy, thereby defeating the purpose of it, so NECA has just taken existing molds and painted them black and yellow. The figure includes two heads, masked and unmasked, because both were seen in the comics.

Below the neck, the molds are all the same as Ultimate Borg, with an additional disc glued to the chest to show off the Sinestro Corps logo. To give him a slightly more distinct look, he uses Stalker's bio-helmet, with the distinct snout and the large crack running up the right side. The unmasked head combines Snake's cranium with Classic Predator's closed mandibles. Both left hands are new molds, redone versions of existing pieces that have been touched-up to add a raised power ring on the middle finger. How neat! Remember when DC Direct couldn't even be arsed to do that? The yellow chosen for the armor really should have been a brighter, more vibrant shade, not the washed-out color we got.

Most of the accessories come from the Borg Predator as well, though cleverly they've all been molded from translucent yellow plastic, suggesting they're just ring constructs. We're looking at a big backpack with an articulated plasma caster, a sword and sheath, an AvP-style glaive, and a spear. The spear doesn't come from Borg; it was originally included with the Ultimate version of Ahab. The yellow of the weapons is nice and bright - the dark suit does mean these have a really nice contrast, if nothing else.

The Green Lantern vs. Predator set may not have as strong a comic connection as the other three did, but it's still an indisputably cool pairing. Giving GL an alternate head to allow him to represent two characters was a great move, and the mix-and-matching of Pred parts has created something familiar, yet unique.

-- 02/27/21

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