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Jesse Custer

DC Direct Preacher
by yo go re

Since Preacher is now a successful TV show and will soon be getting toys from NECA, we thought we'd take the opportunity to look back at the comic-based figures from a few years ago. And where better to start than with the man himself, Jesse Custer?

The Reverend Jesse Custer is a man with a mission: to find God, who has disappeared from heaven. Armed with a strict moral code, a vicious right hook, and a voice that must be obeyed, Custer's quest has taken him across the globe and into conflict with a bewildering variety of adversaries.

While DC Direct had a Preacher-specific line of figures, that wasn't until later: Jesse, here, was in the second series of figures DCD ever produced (released on September 1, 1999), just one series after Swamp Thing; remember, DCD was still finding its legs back then, and their releases were limited to the things that weren't licensed to anyone else - in other words, an ecclectic mix of Golden Age characters, nobodies, and Vertigo properties. And since Preacher was one of the biggest Vertigo books around, it only made sense to give the fans what they wanted by including Jesse Custer in the second lineup.

The figure is based on the artwork of Steve Dillon, whose clean style makes for an uncluttered sculpt. Of course, this was also 1999, so other than McFarlane (and maybe a few ToyBiz releases), nobody's sculpts were that cluttered. Jesse's head seems too large for his body, but that may be an effect of his rather poofy hair.

The figure's stance is strange, too. It's likely meant to convey "cocky" or "confident" - you know, a real tough guy pose - but he just ends up with one shoulder higher than the other like he's trying to keep his backpack from sliding off. He's a fairly casual guy, wearing a button-up shirt, a sport coat, and blue jeans with boots beneath. As with the head, the sculpt is only so-so: there are edges and wrinkles, but it lacks the sense of "depth" we've come to expect. Nice paint, though; the jeans look like semi-faded denim. He has stays on the tips of his shirt collar, and the white clerical collar is visible at his throat.

Since this toy came out when every DC Direct figure had to have a variant, it has a variant. The sculpt is completely the same, but he's wearing a black shirt and a white suit. Fancy! It's a nice look, but the standard figure is more in line with how the character is most often seen.

Jesse has hinged knees, a V-crotch, a swivel waist, hinged elbows, peg shoulders, and a swivel neck. The waist barely moves, because his jacket hangs lower than the joint and is made from stiff ABS. His head turns freely, but you don't want to turn it too far, because of his action feature. In the comics, whenever Jesse used the Word of God power, his eyes were colored red; to simulate that, press a button on the toy's back and his eyes light up. It's done pretty well, and the paint on his face is thick enough that it doesn't ignite like Cyclops' did, but there are a few thin spots along his hairline, allowing light to spill out there.

His only accessory is an eye patch, which doesn't necessarily mean that Howard Stark will be going full Nick Fury in a future season of the TV show: after all, it's not like Sheriff Pit-Stains followed the same path as his comic counterpart. The patch fits over his left eye, and the strap is molded to go around his hair.

There's no doubt that NECA's Jesse Custer will blow this one out of the water, since it has been almost 20 years since this one was made. But if you want a comicbook version of Preacher 'n Pals, it's not bad.

-- 04/19/17

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