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Cut Marv and Bloody Marv

Sin City
by yo go re

Though we rag on companies for endless variations, they're a fact of life for toy collectors. Every company with a long-running line eventually starts retreading familiar ground, whether it's Batman or Spider-Man, Homer or Hellboy, what goes around comes around. Even a company like NECA must bow before the reality of variations, and when it comes to Sin City, Marv is the Wolverine of the line.

We already got one Marv (and two paint schemes) in Series 1 of the Sin City figures, and there's more Marv-ly goodness in Series 2. But in case that's not enough, NECA has also made two exclusive Marvs available in the interim.

The first was brought to us by ToyFare magazine, and offered only the slightest of differences. For a review of the majority of this figure, we merrily direct you to Monkey Boy's review of the standard b/w figure here. ToyFare Marv is precisely the same from the neck down, and has all the same accessories. The change was all cranial.

After fighting his way out of his hotel room and evading the police, Marv was pretty beat up. Among other things, he'd just gone out a window and through a car's windshield, and a thing like that'll mess up even the prettiest mug. Marv's famous look has him all covered in bandages, but it wasn't until he got to his parole officer's, to Lucille's, that he could tape himself up. Which meant that for a pretty good chunk of time, he was running around Old Town all cut up, bleeding over all those back alleys.

To that end, ToyFare offered "Cut" Marv. The sculpt is basically the same, minus the nifty white bandaids. The gashes on his face line up perfectly with the bandages on the normal version - they're not just applied haphazardly. Blood is smeared around the cuts, making them look more realistic than just plain red lines. Even his hands are bandage-free.

Though Cut Marv wasn't very different than the previous version, NECA's San Diego Comic-Con exclusive strayed a bit from the norm. Depicting the aftermath of Marv's fight with that little jackrabbit, Kevin, Marv is a bloody mess. He's taken his coat off, as he tries to slow his heart down and breathe the fire out of his lungs.

Bloody Marv has only a single bandage left on his forehead, and it's not one seen on the mass-market Marv. He's got deep gashes on his face, but they're different than the ones on Cut Marv, and are instead specific to his fight with Kevin. That NECA didn't scrimp on these details, especially for an exclusive, is really nice.

While the legs and chest are the same as the standard figure, Marv's got new bare arms. Mickey Rourke's face may have been covered in makeup to play Marv, but those biceps are all his. There are overlapping bandages painted on his right shoulder. Why painted and not sculpted? Couldn't say. Maybe so the motion of his balljointed shoulders wasn't impaired? Kinda seems a waste not to have elbows on these arms, but there you go.

Bloody Marv has a few new accessories, too. Sure, he's got the hacksaw and the handgun, but those are the only two reused pieces. He also has a pair of handcuffs and an alternate left hand. The cuffs are particularly nice, made from metal and really functioning like actual handcuffs do. That's darn impressive workmanship, right there. The alternate hand is a fist, clutching Kevin by the hair - what's left of him, anyway.

The head is great. The frame of Kevin's glasses is bent, and one of the lenses is shattered. We get a decent likness of Elijah Wood, hinting at what the figure in Series 2 is going to look like. The only problem is his expression: even in death, he had that small, slight grin on his lips, but here he looks almost unhappy. The raw end of his neck tries to look anatomically correct, but it doesn't quite work - not only is the cut too smooth to have been delivered by a hacksaw, but he's missing all those bits that run down between your head and your chest: no spine, no trachea, nothing. A minor complaint.

Now here's the thing - while these are both exclusives, both of them are also available in Series 2 of the action figures. The only difference? The variants are in color, while the standards are grayscale. And mass-market Cut Marv has a few new accessories: razor wire and the gloves to handle it. But since Marv is a pretty black-and-white character, the monotones suit him better than a flashy technicolor get-up. With greyscale versions of both these versions readily available, is it worth it to hunt down the exclusives?

Actually, it kind of is. Though we don't see much of Marv in color in the film, the deep red blood has a tendency to get lost on the grey unless it's absolutely caked on like a middle school girl's make-up. So yes, if you can only get the mass market versions, fine, but if you have a shot at the exclusives, go for it.

-- 09/11/05

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