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Darth Talon & Cade Skywalker

SW: Legacy
by Artemis

Fun story about this set: Star Wars figures turn up in Sydney in highly-erratic waves, so you can see a figure on the racks one moment, and then never again for weeks or months. On my way to training one day (you don't get Black Canary's thighs by sitting on the couch watching She-Ra, you know), I stopped in at a Toys Я Us on the way and saw, for the first time ever, one - count 'em, one - Darth Talon/Stupid Guy two-pack. Only it wouldn't scan at the check-out, so the managerial idiot-on-duty farted about for the better part of half an hour, then decided they couldn't sell it. I saw him, with my own eyes, write my cellphone number on a post-it note and stick it to the pack itself, with a promise to call me the moment they'd sorted themselves out. Did he call me? Did he bollocks. Two days later I checked in, and they'd just ditched the number, put the pack back on the shelf, and sold it. Bastards. Luckily I managed to find another Talon at Kmart (cheaper, too), so I guess the moral of the story is that chains with lame-ass customer service reap what they sow... but really I just felt like bitching about TRU.

Years ago, when the Sith attacked the Jedi at Ossus, Cade Skywalker disappeared in a fiery blast. Everyone believes he's dead except Wolf Sazen. And as it turns out, Cade's former Jedi Master is right. Cade is now a disillusioned bounty hunter and pirate who carefully hides his true identity from everyone. But through a series of circumstances, Cade must face his past - and battle the ruthless Darth Talon, the Emperor's newly chosen assassin.

These comic packs with two figures follow a pretty predictable pattern, at least so far as I'm concerned: if I want to buy a figure of some enterprising Star Wars woman, I also wind up with some guy I didn't really want. In this case, that guy is Cade Skywalker, pirate, bounty hunter, secret Jedi, and pretty much every Mary Sue hero cliche you'd care to suggest. Seriously, if Cade were a girl, he'd have purple hair and eyes the colour of teal oceans, and every male character in Star Wars would be in love with him/her, especially heartless bastards like Darth Maul who'd be ruthlessly retconned into tortured souls who secretly yearn for the love of the woman to whom they can reveal their true feelings, possibly in the form of goth poetry. And then a portal opens up to Hogwarts, and a romantic triangle develops between her and Maul and Harry Potter. That, in a nutshell - excepting the presence of nuts - is Cade Skywalker.

On the plus side, Cade Sue's a pretty good figure. He's your basic Star Wars guy structurally, with rag-tag bits of armour over his outfit, but the main feature is - of course he's wearing one - a black duster. It's a good design though, with the body and shoulders a light, thin plastic piece sitting over the figure's body, tight enough to look good but loose enough for mobility. The lop-sided shoulder armour covers up the join to the sleeve on the left; on the right the stockman's coat shoulder style helps hide the fact that the sleeve and body of the coat are separate pieces better than most figures manage.

Cade's typically grim/hardass-yet-heart-of-gold face is rendered in fair detail, with decent paint on his mop of Skywalker dusty blond hair, and heavy eyebrows over simple but effective eyes. He's got a little goatee - this guy really ticks off all the boxes for bad fanfic - which, despite being a shade darker than his hair, still tends to disappear into his chin a bit when you glance at the figure. He's got a pair of earrings too. Of course he does.

I'm still miffed that Star Wars is so resistant to the humble hip swivel/pin joint, but even so, Cade is your typical modern Star Wars figure, and that means good articulation. He's got a neck balljoint - the high collar sits far enough away from his head that it doesn't get in the way - and a shallow sternum balljoint, a swivel/pin rather than true ball, I think; I can't get him to tilt sideways, anyway. His arms have swivel/pin shoulders and elbows, and swivel wrists; the legs are peg hips, with swivel/pin knees and ankles. You want cool poses, he'll do them.

Cade's got a lightsaber, of course - two in fact, a lit blade and an unlit hilt. He's also got some kind of sawed-off shotgun, or maybe a sawn-off blaster. His left hand had its grip tilted, to allow him to hold the blaster/gun level despite its angled handle, or else it can fit in the big chunky holster on his left thigh (though he's wearing it backwards in the package - it needs to hang off his right hip, not his left). Be careful when you buy the set: early shipments were missing Cade's lightsaber and hilt.

Obviously I didn't buy this set for Cade, so let's move on to contestant number two, Darth Talon. Like Cade, she's quite a bit of a Mary Sue, albeit of the villainous variety - she's pretty much the female version of all those secretly-emotional Darth Mauls. Still, Star Wars is short of women, especially of the "sexy evil babe" variety (they even keep trying to de-sexify Asajj Ventress every time they redesign her), and I'm not inclined to be picky.

She's a Twi'lek, so she has her race's tendency to dress like a stripper half-way through her act - again, not complaining - so a strapless bra and strappy-loincloth-adorned pair of briefs are her idea of combat gear. I hope she never has to visit Hoth, she won't need a lightsaber to cut through stuff; just her nipples will do. Since she's a villain, she's got more of her body covered by accessories than actual clothing, with thigh-length boots and opera gloves. I guess we should be grateful she's not in stilettos.

All of her "clothing" is a gunmetal grey, approximating patent leather near enough; her body is a rich scarlet, with a full complement of those Sith tattoo things covering her from head to... well, thigh, but presumably they go all the way down. They're good clean work, intricate enough to look like they're on a full-size person, but simplified and design-streamlined sufficiently to look good and purposeful at 3½" tall. The only failing of the paint is that there's not quite enough on the edges of her costume - a bit of skin red shows there, where a bit more coverage was needed.

She's got one of the better faces I've seen on a Star Wars woman, both attractive by its aesthetic merits, and conveying a lot of character besides. Her eyes glint out from their setting among a border of tattoed black, and her lips have a slightly darker red shade to them, almost plum, picking out a determined but youthful pout; I don't know if it's intentional, but there's a resemblance there to Aayla Secura and Oola. She's wearing a variation on the typical (prosthetic-edge-hiding) Twi'lek headdress, but since she's a comic book character with no edges to hide, hers has no front, just the ear (or whatever) covering sides and a connecting strap at the rear. Likewise she's not wearing any of the usual straps on her lekku - maybe all that's the Twi'lek equivalent of going topless.

She's a mobile little bundle, although there are some concessions to sleekness which limit her more than your standard well-articulated Star Wars gal. She's got a balljoint neck, of course, plus a swivel/pin sternum filling in for a waist, which is immobile to maintain a trim figure. She's got the usual swivel/pin shoulders, but only swivels at the gauntlet tops just beneath the elbows otherwise - they're slightly angled, so these joints can vary the shape of her arms a bit, though without a wrist you have to make do the best you can with which way her hands end up facing. Below the belt she's got the standard peg hips and swivel/pin knees and ankles. Her boots are pretty sleek, so there's not a lot of foot surface area to keep her standing in action poses, though the straps hanging off her waist are fairly rigid, and can actually support her weight without bending if you get them just right, and have at least one foot on the ground to stabilise her.

Talon doesn't fare so well as Cade with accessories - though she can steal his sawn-off, of course, and hold it fairly well in her left hand. All she has to call her own, though, is a lightsaber, red-bladed of course, and with a silvery organic-looking hilt design, all curved bands of metal wrapped around the central core. Like all 3¾"-scale lightsabers it's got that silly flare sculpted around the base of the blade that real ones just don't have, but luckily the flares are getting fairly minimal these days, so it doesn't look too bad.

Cade and Talon are in a comic two-pack, so of course there's a comic, issue #2 of Star Wars: Legacy, in which both characters have decent show-off moments that don't require too much in the way of prior knowledge (which is good, because I have none). Cade and his buddies (who fit neatly into the Sexy Sidekick and Tough Sidekick tropes) rough up a bar somewhere to collect a bounty - evidently things aren't going well for the famous Skywalker family at this point in future history - while Talon does some Sith training thing where she executes her mentor to prove she's not a nice person. It's a good choice for a pack-in issue, although I can't say it interested me enough to try more.

So there you go, Cade and Talon. Sittin' in a tree... well they do, apparently. Fair enough, if I had the Jedi skills to be at least confident of getting away in one piece, I'd hit on Talon too. If, though, it turns out that all she needs to turn her back on the Dark Side is the love of a tough-yet-vulnerable hero with a troubled past, I am going to say I told you so.

-- 11/29/08


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