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Bloody Marv

Sin City
by yo go re

2005's Sin City was a surprise hit. It was one of the first fully digital films, and had an amazingly fresh visual style. The sequel, on the other hand, comes about five-to-seven years too late, and suffers from Frank Miller's enthusiastic poisoning of his own well: if the movie had come out before the cheap knock-off that was The Spirit, before his weirdly misplaced rant against Occupy, before the release of Holy Terror (a book that was ugly to look at and racist on the scale of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion [and probably aimed at the same welcoming audience]), before everyone was laughing at "Batman, The Goddamn"... before all that, people might still have cared.

Most people think Marv is crazy. He just had the rotten luck of being born in the wrong century. He'd be right at home on some ancient battlefield swinging an ax into somebody's face. Or in a Roman arena, taking his sword to other gladiators like him. Instead, he warms a bar stool at Kadie's Club Pecos, keeping an eye on the girls and beating up anybody who asks for it. The night Goldie walked into his life, he thought his luck had changed, but when he woke up to find her dead, he made it his mission to find the guy that did it and give him the hard goodbye.

NECA made toys based on the first movie, but that was back in their pre-articulation days, so while the figures were okay, there was still room for improvement. NECA didn't pick up the license this time, so A Dame to Kill For is being released alongside action figures from Diamond Select Toys.

Following the lead set by the Universal Select line, there are big fancy figures (in the traditional Select packaging) at the speciality market, and simplified versions at Toys Я Us (which, in this case, are also in color). And at SDCC 2014, there was this exclusive Bloody Marv. All three versions have the same sculpt - no "bandage" variations here!

The figure was sculpted by DST's go-to guy, Jean St.Jean, and we heartily approve! Frank Miller's concept for Marv was "Conan in a trenchcoat," so naturally, he's wearing said coat. Rather than hanging straight down, it's billowing out to one side. Given the choice, we'd prefer the more neutral look, but we get the appeal: it not only adds a bit of dynamism to the figure, it instantly sets it apart from every previous Marv - even the comicbook ones. His pants are sculpted to look baggy, and he's wearing the combat boots that are only laced up as high as the ankle. Naturally, his chest is covered by his white tank top, and his cross necklace is sculpted against his chest.

And then there's the paint. The contrast on this figure is very strong, from the shirt that's almost white to the boots and belt that are glossy black. His coat and pants are a dark grey, so he doesn't just fade into a total dark mess, and they're also matte rather than gloss. His skin and hair fall right in the middle, chromatically. Overall, the variation in colors is quite strong. The blood on his face, neck, hands, and shirt is a vibrant red, but it's applied so cleanly and specifically that it looks like a graphic element rather than something that's been spilled on him.

Just breaking the 7⅛" mark, this figure isn't as tall as the Marv that Dave Cortes made for NECA, but he has a ton more articulation. There's a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge elbows (which is kind of redundant after the biceps), swivel wrists, a balljointed torso, swivel waist (again, superfluous), H-crotch, swivel thighs, hinged knees, and swivel/hinge ankles. The design of the hips doesn't allow the legs to move forward very far - it's like he's got a front-butt!

Marv comes with the same accessories Marvs always come with: his pistol Gladys, a hatchet, and a gas can. Okay, he's missing the traditional severed head and hacksaw, but these are still very predictable pieces to give him (and yet it's more than ToyBiz did). Where DST sets itself apart from the rest is the inclusion of a large, ornate display base for the figure.

Depicting some dingy Basin City alleyway, the base is 7½" tall, 6½" wide, and 4⅝" deep. We get a little bit of a corner, two brick walls coming together, and a drainage pipe running down from the top. There are larger blocks at ground level, and the pavement is cracked. There's a sewer grate (which, thanks to the wonderful city planning that no doubt exists in Old Town, is nowhere near the drain pipe). Trash is piled in the corner - crumpled papers and broken bottles - and a rat is scurrying away. The whole thing is done in greyscale, and there are two footpegs to hold the figure in place.

This figure was an SDCC exclusive, and it may not have sold too well: online retailer Action Figure Xpress was offering it for free with a purchase of any $30 worth of in-stock merchandise. A sale like that already? That screams "severe overstock" to me. And I don't know if they're sending them out in order, but I got #248 of 1300. Since I already had three movie-based Marvs, I was hesitant to get another one, but for free? Yeah, I'll take that. It's not a perfect toy, but it's better than the previous ones - and now I'll have to get the other DST Sin City figures, too!

-- 09/06/05


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