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Ultimate City Demon

Predator 2
by yo go re

The cancellation of SDCC this year was sad, but it did come with a silver lining: a much easier time getting exclsuives. No more did we have to sneak Rustin into the convention center inside a shipping crate, then have him use his vacation time to stand in line and buy things, before mailing them all around the world at our whim. It's much easier (and more exciting) to get exclusives from your local comicship or, in today's case, Walmart.

In the urban jungle of Los Angeles, the police force is at war with drug lords and gangs. Suddenly and one by one, the gang lords are killed by a mysterious, fierce adversary with almost supernatural powers - the Predator. Before long, the vicious creature begins to hunt the hunters... the police are now at war with a savage alien who has come to Earth to hunt humans for sport.

NECA has a decent history of making cloaked Predators that are more than just clear plastic poured into existing molds. Consider the cool Water Emergence Predator, or the ones designed to blend into trees. Heck, one of their first SDCC exclusives was the Mid-Cloak Predator, which was something no one had ever tried before. 2020's addition is back to being based on natural elements: specifically, electricity.

Inspired by the scene where the Pred climbs the Eastern
Columbia Building and gets struck by lightning, "Ultimate City Demon" is sold in a box featuring the image from the Predator 2 movie poster, color-shifted to be more blue and with thin lines of electricity arcing all over him (presumably drawn by Chris Longo). When you open the front flap of the box, six small LEDs flash erratically, something that caught me completely off guard when I was looking at the figure in the store. They're activated by a light sensor, so they won't go off in a dark or dim room - probably a decision made to help prevent anyone with photosensitive epilepsy from having a seizure (since being in a bright room will make the lights inside the box less stimulating by comparison). Still, if that's you, be warned. It does look pretty neat with light flashing on the toy, but that could be dangerous to some fans. Especially since it might be going off the entire time you're trying to get the figure un-twist-tied from the tray!

This figure uses the Ultimate City Hunter molds, which we haven't reviewed yet - the closest being the Slasher Predator, because (upgrade or not) how many nigh-identical City Hunters can one collector need?). That said, it has been nine years since the last P2 Pred, so there's lots of room for improvement. Kyle Windrix sculpted this one, so the details are good, though it's hard to show that in photographs. It does feel taller and skinnier than the non-Ultimate version was, but that may just be our imaginations. The body has netting, the armor has texture... it's a finely detailed sculpt, no question.

In the movie, the Predator wasn't cloaked when he got hit by the lightning - it was night, and he wasn't hiding from anyone, so there was no reason. But just painting electricity on the normal figure wouldn't have looked very striking, so NECA molded him from clear plastic, then went nuts with the paint apps. There are the thin, pale lines of electricity, with a medium metallic blue immediately around those, to suggest the glow, and a darker blue underneath it all so the colors will stand out against the translucent base. The paint is heavier on the front than on the back, of course, but the pattern is organically uneven, making the toy look more natural. Yes, more like a natural space alien being struck by lightning on top of a mid-heighet building in Los Angeles.

The Ultimate Predators increase the articulation from their non-Ultimate forebears. None of the old ones had a balljointed chest, for example. And their wrists were balljoints, rather than swivel/hinges like the wrists on this one. We still get balljointed ankles, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge hips, a balljointed waist, swivel forearms (are those new?), double-hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, and a balljointed neck. His wrist blades can extend a few millimeters and the cannon on his shoulder can slide back and forth and rotate - being molded from clear plastic makes seeing the mechanics of the toy possible, so you can understand how things are moving and how they work. That's nice! When he got zapped in the movie, he was just standing there with his spear held in the air, but you can do a lot more with this toy.

On that note, you might expect the only accessory this figure would come with would be the spear. You'd be wrong! In addition to the three extra hands (right and left to hold things, and a right fist), he's also got his extended spear, a collapsed spear, open and closed versions of the smart disc, and a human skull. The skull is clean white, when it really should be bloody and have some spine attached, but maybe they felt that wouldn't look as good as this one? All the other accessories get the same kind of paint as the figure, so they match his look. There's a little C-clamp none of the previous Preds have had on their back before, presumably intended to hold the spear when it's not in use. It can't hold the skull, because again: no spinal column.

NECA's Convention Exclusive "City Demon" Predator is an interesting and visually distinct action figure. It's not a screen-perfect reproduction, but the changes made are to make for a better toy. Even the electronic packaging adds to the fun - as long as you know it's there ahead of time.

-- 09/24/20

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