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by yo go re

"So, um, we think we should discuss the bonus situation."

Subjects I.Q. count of 4.3 aand GMA personality matrix count of 6.2 indicated a slightly unhealthy mixture of sublimated hostility to authority and environmentally suppressed intelligence. Subject's counts did not substantially alter throughout span of employment, with an exception of a 0.2 rise in I.Q. count due to oral inception of intelligence booster Dramox-222. Early mechanical aptitude has borne out limited education in FTL aand sub-FTL rocketry maintenance and computer assisted facilities assessment. Performance ratings were constantly at an average of 13-15% below the Lucan-Miller Curve for company maintenance per fleet records for the period of subject's employment, indicating an increase of Dramox treatment and psych, orientation were long overdue. However discontinuity in employment occurred 2/17/34. c.f. document under file BG97-G.

That text (and all its extant typos) is taken from a dossier seen on-screen for about two seconds in Aliens, when Ripley is undergoing a deposition about what happened to the Nostromo. There was also info Ridely Scott created for all the characters and shared only with their actors; that informs us Parker quit his first job over a salary dispute (which is totally on-brand for him) and that he was taken prisoner during a civil war on Torin Prime; he ran a black market for his fellow POWs and escaped the camp by building his own vehicle from scrap. Damn, dude!

Parker is the first new mold in this 40th Anniversary line. He's a 6'4" man, so he couldn't use the Ripley jumpsuit body, and he's not wearing a pressure suit, so he couldn't use the Dallas body. As the pandemic taught us, one of the good things about being an "essential" worker is a little more autonomy - let's face it, the Nostromo didn't really need Kane or Ripley (and clearly would have been better off without Ash), but it sure as hell needed Parker and Brett downstairs keeping it running. So while the engineers may not get much respect (or even a full share of the profits), nobody's going to give them much crap if they don't wear their uniforms to spec. And frankly, nothing says "corporate decision made with no input from the people affected" than making the crew's work clothes white. Have you ever seen maintenance or mechanics wearing white? Of course you haven't. At least there's some padding on the knees, for crawling around cramped spaces to make repairs. Parker's got a green T-shirt beneath a short-sleeved button-up, and lots of pockets on his legs for filling with snacks.

Parker was played by Yaphet Kotto, an actor who reportedly turned down the roles of both Lando Calrissian and Jean-Luc Picard! Can you imagine one guy being a cornerstone of three such huge sci-fi properties? He's wearing his blue headband and, despite the toy being nearly 7⅜" tall, is painted looking up. Up? Dude's 6'4", there's not a lot of call for him to look "up" at anything.

The paint does feel slightly "off," however. It's not the dirty smudges applied to keep his clothes from looking pristine, the detailing (buttons, badges, logo) on his shirt, or even the way the photo-real face has been printed. The problem is his skintone. Yes, Parker is a black man, but he doesn't have melanism! Looking at stills from the movie, there are definitely scenes where Parker's skin looks this dark, but those are dimly lit scenes set in the gloom of the ship - if we're going with this shade for his body, his white shirt would have to be gray, too. The thing that made us notice this problem, however, is something they did right: they remembered to paint he palms of his hands a lighter color. Humans have less pigment in our plantar skin (ie, palms and soles of the feet), so those are lighter - yes, even on honkies like me. We don't get a lot of action figures of black men, and most of those are wearing gloves; even on the small percentage that aren't, we can't recall anyone ever bothering to paint the character's hands like this before. So the skintone in general gets a C-, but we'll award some extra credit for treating him like a human and not a doll.

Something else the toy absolutely gets right? His posture. Again: 6'4". That's 0.0019304 kilometers for those of you who use the metric system. When you're that tall, you learn to make yourself smaller so as not to intimadate the wee folk; you keep your head down, you hunch your shoulders a little bit... can't be scaring the shrimpos, after all. Parker is sculpted that same way, with his neck coming forward instead of straight up like everyone else's, and there's a little bit of a belly that says he's bending forward slightly beneath those clothes. The figure moves at the snkles, knees, thighs, hips, waist, wrists, elbows, sleeves, shoulders, and head. The joints are stiff at first, but eventually start moving if you're persistent.

Parker is large and uses new molds, so there's not a lot of budgetary room for many accessories - all he gets is the flamethrower he built and an improvised cattle prod. The flamethrower is the same mold Ripley had, while the zapper is a new piece, basically a long rod with a handle and a cord running into a battery pack. He's got an alternate right hand with a tighter grip to better hold that one.

Parker is underrated in Alien. All he does is grouse about money, and he doesn't seem to like Ripley at all; but once his buddy Brett is out of the picture and it's obvious Ripley is the voice of common sense, he's behind her 100%. He's still the only character to willingly attempt to physically engage a xenomorph in a fight. It didn't work, but hey, he's not Superman. Way to be brave, Parker! He's a good guy at heart, and NECA did their typical good work on his first ever action figure.

-- 11/07/20

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