DC Universe Classics Wal-Mart Exclusive GREEN LANTERN Set
No evil shall escape these "Lanterns' Light"...
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If you're anything like me, a huge fan of Green Lantern, this is a great time to be a toy collector. With the character's increased popularity due to amazing writing and art in the comic book and the upcoming film (not to mention two other GL-related titles on shelves, the recent Blackest Night event, a cartoon series on the way, etc.), Green Lantern is everywhere! Of course, that means toys, toys, and more toys. While there have been several Green Lantern characters in Mattel's main DC Universe Classics line, the bar has been raised with a new Wal-Mart exclusive set containing 5 new figures: Green Lantern's Light! Is this a must buy for completing your Emerald Warriors or something that should never have made it off of Oa? Let's take a look...
If you're new to the world of Green Lantern, here's a brief recap. An ancient and powerful race of immortals known as the Guardians of the Universe set about creating a truly universal police force. After some embarrassing failures, they came up with the Green Lantern Corps. Dividing all of space into 3600 sectors, the Guardians assigned one (and then later two) protector to each. Chosen from those who were immune to fear (or later able to overcome fear), the Green Lanterns received a battery and a ring that was the source of their power. A Green Lantern ring provides flight, protection, and nearly limitless energy-wielding potential. On Earth, the first ring went to Hal Jordan, who was joined later by Guy Gardner and John Stewart. Of the thousands of Green Lanterns, few are as famous as the heroic Tomar-Re, or as infamous as the traitor Sinestro.
Like last year's Wal-Mart exclusive Gotham City 5, Green Lantern's Light comes in a great big box that you’re sure to see in the toy aisle. The decorations, though, are new and particularly suited to the characters. Basically, it's green, very green window box. All five figures are prominently displayed, with Hal in the center and two on either side of him. Behind the figures is a bright green energy burst that looks really good. There's the standard DCUC logo at the top, while the bottom is branded with the current anniversary "DC 75 Years of Power" theme as well as the set's name and the names of the figures within it. h, and there's the obligatory Wal-Mart sticker so you know where you got it.
The sides of the box have the typical lineup of characters who have been made into DCUC figures, all in a green cast. The back of the box is a big improvement over similar products. Instead of a lot of background imagery or boring graphics, the panel is divided into five sections. Each Lantern has a photo of his figure, a relevant comic book cover, and a fairly in-depth biography. Frankly, it's a great package design and hopefully we'll see more like it from Mattel.
When it comes to the character selection in this set, it's pretty obvious that it was a balance between picking popular characters and reusing existing figure elements.
Including Hal Jordan in any GL set is a no-brainer. This Hal is a repaint of the Series 3 figure (which was also slightly repainted in the TRU Green Lantern two pack as well as the TRU All-Star line) and while it's only a superficial difference, the gray hair paint application represents a very specific incarnation of the character.
If you compare the figures side by side and look closely, you might also notice that while the original figure had black outlines on the chest symbol, this new one does not. Beyond that, Hal Jordan is a solid figure with great articulation, and a perfect stand in if you never got any of the other ones.
John Stewart is another very popular Green Lantern, and it's about time he's getting his due. John was part of the recent Series 11 in his standard GL uniform (with small Lantern symbol on a primarily black background). This repaint of that figure captures another specific moment, his unique style during the Mosaic series. The paint scheme is quite a bit different, with a larger green collar, huge green and white chest logo, a descending green torso stripe, green trunks, and long white gloves.
Underneath the paint, the sculpt is the same which means it has a sturdy body with excellent articulation and one of the best head sculpts in the line. A great figure with a great new look, John is definitely a highlight of the Lantern's Light set.
Sinestro appeared way back in Series 3 in both his classic and Sinestro Corps duds. Of course, that figure famously suffered from an abnormally short body. So this time, the villain has been upgraded to the base body used on Hal Jordan. Unfortunately, in what's most likely a cost-saving measure the Sinestro head has been reused unchanged, which means he's unmasked - not a look GL-era Sinestro adopted.
All in all it's a good figure, just not really very comic accurate... actually, that's not entirely true. Upon his arrest and trial Sinestro was unmasked, so I suppose you could recreate those scenes.
Then there's Tomar-Re, a very welcome addition to the line. His inclusion was all but guaranteed after the Xudarian Romat-Ru was made for the Color of Fear Mattycollector set. Prefer your figures a little more current? Just call him Tomar-Tu instead! The fishy aliens share a very unique head with its fin, huge ears, and wide open beak; taking Romat's, Mattel added a Green Lantern mask and a repaint. Whereas the yellow warrior was... well, yellow with scary black lines on his face, Tomar is somewhat more pinkish with solid white eyes inside his green mask. He's another all-around excellent figure.
Last, but certainly not least, is the best and baddest (in his estimation) Green Lantern of them all, Guy Gardner! Another character who has seen a recent resurgence, Guy got the most special treatment regarding newly sculpted parts. Never one to fit in with a crowd, Gardner takes a basic DCUC body and adds thicker boots and gloves, a turtleneck-like collar, his iconic outer vest, and a pretty amazing head sculpt. The detail on all of that is very good, down to the straps winding through the gloves and boots, as well as the belt and hemlines on the vest. You only need one glance to get the story on Guy Gardner, and the uniform and facial expression on this figure capture it perfectly.
All five of these figures share the same articulation scheme that’s come to be standard in the DCUC line. With plenty of joints, ball and otherwise, the Lanterns have a great range of motion that doesn't suffer from bulky limb or costume impediments.
In the accessory department, there's good news and bad news. The bad news? This set does not include any cool constructs that were packed in with Series 11 Lanterns (and promised for the upcoming Green Lantern series). It's not all bad, though, as each member of the Green Lantern's Light set carries his trusty lantern battery. They share the sculpt with Hal's from Series 3, but trades in the light green for a nice deep metallic color.
At about $60 and exclusively from Wal-Mart, this set is neither cheap nor easy to get. Should you hunt it down? Well, if you're a hardcore Green Lantern fan like me... oh, who am I kidding? You've probably already bought it or have one on the way! Moderate GL fan or DCUC collector? This set has five solid figures that'll look great in your collection, and the price breakdown per fig really isn't bad. With Mattel's dedication to Green Lantern-related products in 2011, this set will be the perfect "starter," including three out of the four human GLs (Kyle will be in the first GL series) and two great aliens.
Review by Scott Rubin
Photos by David Yeh