REVIEW: DC Collectibles SDCC Exclusive Kyle Rayner & Kilowog DC Comics Super-Heroes
Familiar Faces in a New Line and a New Scale Only at Conventions...
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When it comes to announcing San Diego Comic-Con exclusives, toy companies often try to be the first or the last. This year, DC Collectibles (formerly known as DC Direct) secured the latter with a surprise announcement that came so close to the show that some people missed it. As revealed in a video clip and then on their website, DC Collectibles prepared to offer something that’s at the same time familiar and new. Partnered with Graphitti Designs, the booth next door, DC continued its use of Green Lantern-related characters as exclusives but this time debuted a new scale for the company: Kyle Rayner & Kilowog in the all new 3 ¾ inch DC Comics Super-Heroes collection!
Some Green Lantern fans (but not me) occasionally complain that we only get dozens of Hal Jordan toys for every one other character made into plastic. And while Hal has done very well for DC and Graphitti in recent years as exclusives in Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, White, and Black, for this new series DC started it off with some others. While it’s too early to judge if this was a wise move, instead of Hal they went with Kyle Rayner and Kilowog. Kyle came onto the scene in 1994 when DC turned Hal into a villain, and he remained “the” Green Lantern for ten years until Jordan returned from the dead. Chosen by the Guardian of the Universe Ganthet, Rayner was a struggling artist who adapted to the life of a superhero with some difficulty. Eventually he proved himself as a Green Lantern and as Ion, the embodiment of the Corps. Kyle has played a significant role in recent story arcs like Blackest Night and War of the Green Lanterns, and he currently leads the rainbow-colored New Guardians.
Kilowog, on the other hand, is a veteran of the Green Lantern Corps dating all the way back to his first appearance in 1986. A hulking alien from Bolovax Vik, the GL drill instructor belies his brutish appearance with a cunning, scientific mind. While there aren’t a ton of Kilowog toys out there, he is one of the most popular characters after the humans.
The two new Green Lantern figures were offered in a clean, predominantly white window box. The front panel offers a clear view of Kyle and most of Kilowog, with a version of the fold over “C” from the recent DC Comics logo appearing on the right-hand side. There’s also the still new DC Collectibles logo, SDCC logo, and the names of the figures along with the name of the new line “DC Comics Super-Heroes.” One side of the box has a close-up photo of the two figures together while the other informs you of who sculpted each one (Kilowog by Josh Sutton and Kyle by Robert Lynders).
The back panel has a minimalist style with thumbnail images of the two GLs and full-size photos of “upcoming” figures Red Lantern Atrocitus and Green Lantern John Stewart. DC also notably included the logo of their We Can Be Heroes charity campaign. All in all it’s a very nice presentation, and assuming the upcoming sets have the same style they’ll look great together. Inside the package is a background insert depicting the Green Lantern Central Battery on Oa which you can remove and display if you like.
For the first in this new scale for DC, these are solid figures. Kyle clocks in at a standard 3 ¾ inches while the hulking Kilowog stands 4 3/8 inches. Overall they feel like a good balance between sculpt/look concerns and the inclusion of good articulation. In the spectrum of similarly scaled figures they’re head and shoulders above the DC Infinite Earths offerings in both respects and while they may not be quite as articulated as some Marvel Universe figures, they feel more solid and are easier to pose.
Clearly sculpt was a major focus for DC Collectibles in this line, as they even included the sculptor info prominently on the box. And it shows. Both Kyle and Kilowog have very strong sculpts that capture their comic book appearances without making sacrifices. Rayner has a pretty typical male human body with a very good amount of musculature. Of course the Green Lantern uniform is almost all energy, so there aren’t really any sculpted clothing or armor elements. Kyle does have a large GL ring that stands out on his finger. The human’s head sculpt is pretty good, capturing his unique facemask and long hair. The expression on his face looks part serious, part smirk which actually works very for the character.
While Kyle is slim and streamlined, his partner is huge and bulky. Just about everything about Kilowog is massive, especially his barrel chest and powerful arms. Sutton did a great job emphasizing the alien’s size without making him look over-muscled, which is always a danger. ‘Wog has a particularly excellent head sculpt matching his comic book look, again something which has eluded sculptors in the past. Everything is there from his huge jaw line to the variegated lips, furrowed brow, and tiny ears. Kilowog has a sculpted ring as well, and his uniform does include a sculpted GL logo on his chest. The only minor complaint about this figure is that his legs seem a little undersized for his upper body.
Even with a good sculpt, a figure can be made or broken by its paint job. Thankfully, DC put the care and attention into these figures that their sculpts demanded. Green Lantern uniforms aren’t extremely complicated, so it’s important that the colors are true and distinct. Both figures share the same matte black (upper limbs, abdomens), pure white (gloves) and bright metallic green (boots, chests), cleanly applied where appropriate on their different uniform styles. Kyle adds a pale skin tone with his black hair, green mask, and white eye holes, while Kilowog has a nearly bubblegum-pink head and neck with white eyes. ‘Wog’s GL symbol looks cooler than Kyle’s too with its white and green paint instead of green on black.
Next up after sculpting, the emphasis on these figures is definitely on articulation. 3 ¾ inch figures can range greatly in the quality and amount of articulation, but the DC Super-Heroes line is definitely off to a good start with these two. They’ve got ball-jointed necks, ball-jointed shoulders, biceps, elbows, forearms at the glove line, torso, ball-jointed hips, double-jointed knees, lower legs at the boot line, and ankles. Kilowog also adds an ab crunch joint to the mix. With all of that articulation the Green Lanterns are very poseable, especially in the arms and upper bodies. The hips are a bit restricted so there’s not a huge range of leg movement, but the number of joints in the lower bodies makes the figures very stable. One potential change that could increase the posing options would be the addition of ball-jointed ankles; this would help especially with wide-legged stances.
What good are action figures without accessories? Well, too often we’re forced to find out. From this duo and the mock up of future figures in this line at SDCC it appears that DC is going to go the extra mile and include some accessories. Kyle is the winner in this pack with a pretty cool gun energy construct. About an inch long, the translucent green piece has a slot for Kyle’s hand and looks like energy turning into a gun barrel. The opening is a bit too small to accommodate Kilowog’s hand, but it’s possible the accessories will be interchangeable with future human-sized figures. Notably the back of their box shows John Stewart wielding a wicked sniper rifle construct.
Okay, so while Kyle and Kilowog look great, there was a bit of tragedy when I was doing my review photography. Right out of the box the figures had very tight joints, and in the process of loosening them up for posing the right arm of Kyle snapped off at the bicep. The post inside his upper arm joint is very small and if too much stress is placed on the joint it can break. But while it’s a bummer for me, I haven’t heard of this happening to anyone else so it’s probably an isolated incident. Thankfully, it was a pretty easy repair too.
While 3 ¾ inches may be a scale that DC doesn’t have a ton of experience with, you wouldn’t know it by looking at K & K here. They’re a couple of really good figures that look great and have above average articulation for their size. Kilowog is the stand out for me, large and in charge and possibly the best looking adaptation of his comic look I’ve ever seen on a toy. This set was only $25 at Comic-Con, and its price hasn’t gone too far above that on the secondary market. Green Lantern fans should really track this down, and keep your eyes open for more 3 ¾ inch Super-Heroes as exclusives at upcoming conventions.
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin