SDCC REVIEW: Mattel DC Comics Vertigo Death “Figure”
The Endless Beauty With Limited Display Options...
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First appearing in the acclaimed comic series The Sandman in 1989, Neil Gaiman’s character Death has gone on to become one of the writer’s most beloved and popular characters, spawning her own titles and developing of following of her own. Yet despite her popularity, there is only a small amount of merchandise dedicated to her and the other Endless, and only around five figures/statues/busts of Death herself. Well fans have reason to celebrate as Mattel adds another Death collectible to the line-up with their own take on the gothic girl.
Mattel’s Death figure is more of a statue than an action figure, being dubbed “stactions” by fans, standing at 8 inches tall rather than being in scale with their established DC Universe Classics line. Why it was decided to introduce a new product line and scale is unclear but I’m sure I’m not the only fan that's disappointed Death towers over all of my other figures. It was said in a Q&A that they are trying something new out and if it does well we can expect to see an entire in-scale line of the Endless, but it remains to be seen if the Death figure sales met the expectations needed to produce the line.
The figure comes packaged in a dioramic window box that is in turn boxed inside an outer shipper all featuring artwork by former Death/Sandman artist Jill Thompson. While not my favorite choice of artwork for Death (as I find her style a little too cartoony) many fans will be thrilled to see a familiar artist lending her talents to the character. The outer box is completely black all-over, but features Death’s face on the front and her ankh symbol on the back. The figure’s box is made to look like a cemetery, with trees on the corners of the packaging and large windows in between. The interior insert continues the theme with a painted backdrop with the figure placed in the middle. The rear of the box features another Jill T. art piece featuring Death in the cemetery.
The sculpting on the figure is pretty straight forward as Death doesn’t have a complex costume or overly unique features. Small details such as the wrinkles in her shirt, her studded belt, and corded Ankh necklace are definitely appreciated. The likeness seems to be Mattel’s own interpretation of the character rather than going with an established look, although it looks closest to me to David Finch’s cover to Action Comics #894. To be honest, something about the face is very distracting and I think it’s the eyes. The coloring makes her seem very lifeless and I know that’s funny talking about Death but it is made worse by the fact she looks wall-eyed. The paint scheme on the figure is black and grey which is another distracting thing as Death’s skin should be more white than grey. The figure stands on top of a skull shaped base that is removable and extremely goofy-looking.
While I personally have a lot of gripes about the piece, Death is a great character and I’m happy to have a figure of her in my collection. Hopefully we will see the other Endless characters in the future (Delirium!) as it would be great to see a set of them all in the same scale.
Review & Photos by Michael Klein
Review Sample Courtesy of Mattel