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The Boys
by yo go re

Let's get patriotic!

With the face of a movie star and the superpowers of a god, Homelander is the greatest superhero alive, and the leader of The Seven. Not only can he fly, he's got superstrength and superhearing, and he can see through almost anything with his x-ray vision and then destroy it with his laser eyes. On the surface, he's affable, modest, and sincere; the ultimate Boy Scout, an All-American, God-fearing patriot. But just like mere mortals, even superheroes have secrets.

The whole "Superman, but he's not good" thing is far from the brilliantly creative idea people seem to think it is. Zack Snyder Zack Snydering all over the Man of Steel may have been the thing that introduced the trope to the mainstream, but it was already old hat in comics - it's just that we're seeing more of it now, both in original properties like Brightburn, and in the many, many adaptations of those comics, like Jupiter's Legacy, Invincible and, obviously, The Boys.

The first person we're going to mention in regards to the creation of this figure is Chris Longo, who's responsible for the packaging. You know it's gotta be good if we're bringing it up before even hinting at the toy inside it! We get the usual NECA "Ultimates" box, with the front flap and the window showing the figure inside, but it's the graphic design that makes this special. Rather than a photo or the show logo on the front, the entire box is designed to evoke Homelander's costume: dark blue, with a UV-printed texture and brick red trim around the top and bottom, with a thin gold line separating the colored panels. The icon in the center is Homelander's eagle logo, with his name printed across it. I can tell you from personal experience that it's hard to spot this as a Boys product on the shelf, but once you do, the design absolutely sells who's inside before you even open the flap. And while NECA's logo is on the bottom of the box, along with the credits, the logo for Vought International is the only one on the back - suggesting this represents an in-universe product.

Homelander was sculpted by Kyle Windrix, Alex Heinke, and Trevor Grove, and looks impressive. The show's costume designer, Laura Jean Shannon, crafted Homeboy's look to be both safely corporate and subtly fascistic: the basic look, of a blue suit with red gloves and boots and a golden belt, is purposely meant to recall other classic, trustworthy heroes, but the overabundance of eagles (including as the [sculpted!] texture on the cloth) is used here the same way it's been used in fashy cultures through history. The superheroes of The Boys wear their suits all the time, but you can tell this is an "on-duty" Homelander - when he's "casual," he folds down the corner of that flap on his chest. Ah, relaxing! Too bad they couldn't take a cue from The Rocketeer and give us alternate chest flaps so we could have both looks.

The blue used for the toy's suit is not as dark as the blue used on the box. None of the colors are, in fact. Shouldn't those have been coordinated? Like, do a lighter blue box now, then save this one for the inevitable blood-splattered variant we'll see someday. At first, I thought the upper parts of his gloves were the wrong color, because they didn't match the hands, but that's correct: he has small golden eagle symbols above the wrist, just like the ones on his collar. The toy's cape is disappointing, and for once it's not because it's softgoods: the American flag pattern is only printed on the outside, so the interior looks a bit cheap unless you fold the edges over to hang behind him.

His articulation is about what you expect from a NECA figure: balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, double-swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, balljointed waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-swivel/hinge knees, and swivel/hinge ankles. The eagles on his shoulders are soft PVC, so they can flex out of the way slightly as you move the arms - continuing our run of reporting every terrible flaw every NECA figure has, one of the two tabs that holds the left pauldron in place was insufficiently glued, so it lifted up too much. O, the heartbreak! The figure includes an alternate pair of fists, which swap out at the wrist easily.

He's also got three heads, none of which really looks that different from the rest. And, frankly, doesn't look that much like actor Anthony Starr, either. Like, it's a passable likeness, but not as eerily accurate as many of NECA's products are. Like, the chin is too long or the jaw isn't wide enough or something. The head he's got on in the tray is a look of general affability, while the first nearly identical alternate is just a little more dishevled: the hair isn't as perfect, and the fake smile isn't as wide. You literally have to hold the two next to each other to notice any difference at all (and the chin on the second one seems even more incorrect than the first did). By being different, but not different enough to change the look of the toy, it's honestly a waste of plastic. Why not do his big, manic "mental breakdown" grin? Or even a huge, smug smile? Something, anything that would have looked unique.

The third head at least gets that much right. The shape of the jaw is still off - this is the same mold as the first head - but there's a hint of red blush painted around the eyes, representing his heat vision. They didn't paint the pupils red, however, because there are no pupils: this head has holes to accommodate the set's "eye blast" accessory.

We've come a long way since the Superman vs. Aliens set. Instead of needing to have a wide furrow dug in above the nose, Homelander just gets two small holes centered right in the eye and thus mostly unnoticable unless you want to see them. The 3¾" laser blast plugs in nicely, and the two beams join in an impact flare at the opposite end. It does look quite nice, and is a perfect inclusion for the character.

This is a decent figure, but it does have some disappointing flaws - namely, the uninspired alternate head and the budget-conscious cape. That said, the eyebeams are awesome, and the overall quality is high enough that we're really hoping NECA can make the full team of The Seven.

-- 07/03/21

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