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Green Lantern & Sinestro

by Rustin Parr

Last year, Mezco kicked off their DC license for Mez-Itz with a remarkably cool Batman & Joker two-pack exclusive to the San Diego Comic Convention. While we have seen virtually nothing come from the license in the last year (I think only Green Lantern Hal and Sinestro from the movie have actually been released) Mezco is back with another two-pack for SDCC 2011, and like the previous, it's surprising in its high-profile character selection for an exclusive: Green Lantern Hal Jordan & Sinestro Corps Sinestro.

Mez-Itz started off as small 3" variations on the stylized mini-figure craze started with Medicom's Kubricks and perfected with Art Asylum's Minimates. The format didn't really grab a huge following and eventually petered out only to be resurrected, mainly just as a brand name, to cash in on the former success of Hasbro's Mighty Muggs. These figures are about 6" tall and have but five points of articulation. We find swivels at the hips and shoulders and a ball-and-socket joint for the head. The latter of which is really the secret weapon that makes Mez-Itz much more fun than Muggs. But the real winner on Mez-Itz are the great art, which is what differentiates the figures from one another. Mez-Itz are a single sculpt, but through paint become different characters, which is what Mezco excels at by finding a perfect balance between intricate art to really grab and engage the eye but with stylized simplicty to maintain the aesthetic established by the re-used bodies. The bummer, though, is that because of the shapes used for the body, the hands can't clear the heads when turned upright, so sadly no "pointing the power rings to the sky" ability here.

The art for Hal Jordan is great. It gets both the familiar modern costume but adds in enough cool stylized shading to make this definitively a Mez-It. It is a little odd that there's no shading on the hands, but one can accept that as a conceit to go along with the palm-wide thumb of the sculpt. Fortunately he does have the ring painted on his right hand. It's interesting because like the rest of the art, they go that extra little step for realism. They have the famous circle, complete with lantern icon, but also add a bit of oval on either side of it to suggest the band of the ring. It's a neat but not wholly necessary inclusion.

Sinestro is my favorite comicbook villain (because of his great turn in The Sinestro Corps War) so I'll pretty much buy anything that has Sinestro in his yellow uniform, and thus this was the figure I was most looking forward to of this set. Sadly, he is the weaker of the two. This is a result of his being cast in yellow plastic, which causes a lot of the darker yellow paint, used for shadowing, to not really stand out and thus gives the uniform a sort of muddy look. Like Hal, he too has a power ring painted on his hand (in this case the left). Another fun unadvertised feature is a by-product of the ball-and-socket joint used for the head: as a result of this, the heads can easily be popped off, allowing for a quick head-swap and creating Green Lantern Sinestro (though he didn't wear this specific version of the costume, it's still neat).

So while they are, overall, good figures, they do seem to fall short of expectations and that is because they lack accessories. Most figures of this nature don't typically include pack-ins, so with no real intervening product between the two SDCC exclusive sets, precident is set by last year's pairing, which included a new head for Batman, a cloth cape, a batarang and a hat for the Joker. Lantern accessories would have been great here, or better yet a translucent "energy" cap for the hands. In both cases it could be the same sculpt just in different colors, and if they went as far as to give unique accessories to each it would be greatly appreciated and really help boost the caliber of the figures. While the four Mez-Itz look good together, the Lanterns here can't help but seem to be lacking.

These are good figures if, like me, you're a fan of the Mez-Itz line and style, they also add a nice bit of style and flavor to any Green Lantern collection. However, they do seem to lack the "panache" of last year's set - that intangible quality that draws the line between the "cool" and "must have." I'd like to say your collection is safe without these, but in all honesty these are some pretty big holes left if the line does continue. Sure there are other costumes they could do, or just even new iterations of these, though that would freel pretty cheap as these are some pretty iconic looks for the characters.

-- 08/28/11

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