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DC Universe Classics
by Poe Ghostal

While still waiting on my case of DC Universe Series 6 to ship from an online retailer, I managed to score a Hawkman (thanks Mom!). I'd recently been a victim of Hawkmania and had been attempting to sort out his history, which is a mess. But that doesn't detract from a great action figure.

During Ancient Egypt's 15th Dynasty, Prince Khufu and his beloved Princess Chay-Ara discovered a downed spacecraft from the planet Thanagar. Exposure to the ship's anti-gravity Nth Metal allowed Khufu and Chay-Ara to be reincarnated countless times throughout the ages to follow. In modern times, Khufu became the hero Hawkman, Chay-Ara reincarnated as his beloved Hawkgirl.

Yes, despite the fact this is clearly the Silver Age Katar Hol Hawkman (evinced by his red briefs and lack of a pouch-belt), the packaging bio describes Carter Hall, the Golden Age and current Hawkman in the DCU. That's not the first time Mattel has had problems like that on its cards.

No doubt inspired by the Super Powers figure, the Four Horsemen have done justice to this Justice Society stalwart. While the body sculpt is the standard DCU "large male," it does have some unique tooling. Hawkman's shoulders and forearms have raised veins, as befitting his shirtlessness, while the tops of the boots and their yellow trim are raised and sculpted.

But the best work is on the head and wings. The feathers on the wings of the head are highly detailed, and he even features Hawkman's distinct chin-butt. The facial sculpt manages to convey Hawkman's no-nonsense attitude perfectly. As some collectors have noted, Hawkman's eyes are a little high - on a real person they would be about where the beak of the mask is. But in reading some Hawkman comics, I can tell you this is something the artists do a lot as well. Unless I really think about it, it's not something I notice.

The wings, as you can see, feature some fantastic detail. Every line on every feather is visible. As with Deathstroke's scale mail or Aquaman's shirt, Mattel and the Horsemen are clearly willing to get really detailed when it's warranted. One last thing to note - unlike Amazo, Hawkman gets to have sculpted man-nipples. Hooray for man-nipples!

Now, it's important to keep in mind this is the Silver Age Hawkman, which is why his outfit is so bright and colorful. Hawkman's upper body is molded almost entirely in flesh-colored plastic. It's notable that he doesn't have a wash anywhere on his body, unlike many DCU figures. The washes tend to be hit-and-miss, so it's probably just as well, particularly since this is modeled after the brighter Silver Age Hawkman. I don't mind the lack of a wash, but some fans have expressed a wish for one on the pants and boots.

The real amazing paint work is on the wings. They're molded in gray, but have a fantastic bright-gray drybrushing that brings out all their detail. It's some of the best paint work we've seen on this line so far.

Aside from his wings, Hawkman features standard DCU articulation. Unfortunately, he suffers from the Helmet Syndrome, meaning he can't really look up straight for a good flying pose; in fact, the helmet limits most of the neck's mobility, although I find I can easily pose him looking straight down.

The wings are mounted on hinges and feature additional hinges at the top of each, allowing Hawkman some excellent mid-flight poses. The wingspan is about 12" when the wings are flat against his back. While the wings can also be moved forward and back, they're quite tight, and it can be difficult to get them to stay in a medium position between flat against the back or straight backward. It's a minor issue, though.

Some DCU figures don't have any accessories; others get da woiks. Hawkman has a mace, a short sword, and a shield embossed with the hawk symbol. They all feature some nice weathering, and have clearly seen more than a few battles. The paint work isn't quite up to the quality of the sculpt, and the weapons look a bit toy-ish.

More bothersome, though, is the fact that Hawkman's right hand is closed, so it can't hold any weapons. While I appreciate the fact Hawkman is known as a physical fighter, I think Mattel should have gone with two open hands in this instance; I wish I could put Hawkman in that sort of pose. Also, the haft of the mace and handle of the sword are rather slender, and tend to hang loosely in Hawkman's hand. I finally heated up the hand, pushed the fingers in a bit more, and dunked it in cold water, which helped improve his grip.

Despite the accessories and the wings, Hawkman still gets a fairly large piece of the Series 6 Build-A-Figure, Kalibak - specifically, the right arm. It's either furry or hairy, and has a scar or tattoo on the shoulder. The hand is gloved, and fully extended, the piece is 5" long.

I had no problems with my Hawkman, but as always with DCU, be careful with the joints, especially the hips. Hawkman runs about $12, which just about standard for a 6" collector-oriented figure these days. However, I feel a lot better paying $12 for a figure like Hawkman, with his large wings and three weapons, than I do, say, the Atom.

-- 09/11/09

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