GREEN LANTERN WEEK: Walmart Exclusive HAL JORDAN & BARIS
Two-pack introduces Corps member and Guardian...
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Sure to be one of (if not THE) biggest movies this summer is Warner Brothers’ Green Lantern. For fans like me, it’s been a long time coming for the adventures of Hal Jordan and his amazing ring to make it to the big screen. What we’ve seen so far of the movie looks really promising, and of course that’s being backed up on the toy front by Mattel! Any day now we’ll see Green Lantern figures and toys of all kinds hitting store shelves, and we’re lucky enough to take a look at some of those upcoming products. In the first of a trio of Green Lantern advance reviews we’re going to focus on one of the Walmart exclusive Guardians of the Universe two-packs!
Sticking pretty close to the comic book back-story, the film tells the story of a test pilot named Hal Jordan who is chosen by the Green Lantern ring of dying alien Abin Sur to be the protector of Sector 2814. The Green Lantern Corps is run by the Guardians, diminutive yet immensely powerful aliens who have divided up the known universe so that their emissaries can guard all sentient life. Somewhat cold and aloof, the Guardians experience little emotion and can appear heartless to the more emotional Green Lanterns. However, their cause is ultimately just and nothing less than peace throughout the universe!
In the first (of six) Walmart Guardians of the Universe set you’ll find main character Hal Jordan along with Guardian Baris. The name might ring a bell with hardcore GL fans as it has appeared in the comic book. The packaging of the Guardians line is designed to grab the attention of younger fans, and it’s sure to do just that. The figures are enclosed in a plastic bubble that lets you see just about everything, and surrounding them is a bright green package with the movie’s logo, an image of Hal Jordan, and lots of bold text. If you look closely you can even see the Green Lantern oath written in the border around the plastic bubble, part of a GL symbol.
The back of the package is simple yet powerful. Divided into a narrow top band and two halves below it, the panel gives you a brief description of the Guardians and what they do along with stats, a bio, and a large image for both Jordan and Baris. What’s not here is almost as interesting as what is; nowhere will you find a “collect them all” section with other available figures.
As I discussed in my review of Mattel’s "Early Bird" Hal Jordan figure (read it HERE), one of the Green Lantern sub-lines (including these Guardians packs) is picking up close to where the Infinite Heroes left off. While the two Jordans thus far reviewed are somewhat larger and beefier than those who came before, these figures are in the gray area between 3 ¾ and 4 inch scales. With a younger audience in mind, Mattel has focused on the look of these figures with good sculpts and paint jobs rather than the articulation, and in that respect they fall below even the level of the early Infinite Heroes. Let’s take a look at these two.
This Hal Jordan will seem familiar to some, because he’s almost entirely a repaint of the "Early Bird" figure. The figure is nearly 4 inches tall, and his sculpt shows off the cool intricacies of the unique film version of the Green Lantern uniform. The style mixes some clothing elements and musculature, emphasizing the fact that there’s no actual fabric; the ring creates a GL’s uniform out of energy. Hal is sufficiently muscular, and you’ll find a tiny Green Lantern ring sculpted on the middle finger of his right fist.
The figure’s head sculpt is quite good with a passable likeness of actor Ryan Reynolds even at this small scale. Meanwhile, Baris is an interesting figure that reveals what at least one Guardian will look like in the film. Many of the traditional comic book elements are there – Baris is a small humanoid with an enlarged head wearing long flowing robes. While the sculpt is fairly asexual, the bio reveals Baris to be female. Her bulbous cranium features a stern, wrinkled face and droopy ears while her robe is deeply lined and creased with a neck piece and a Green Lantern symbol on her chest. Note that there is nothing under Baris’ robe; the figure consists solely of a robe, two arms, and a head.
On the whole I’m pretty happy with the paint on the small scale GL figures thus far. This Hal wears his “standard uniform” (as opposed to the crackling energy version of the "Early Bird"). Unlike in the comics, this one is pretty much all green, with hue varying from dark on the upper limbs to bright on the extremities and chest. It’s almost unfortunate that the colors blend from one to another; more distinct borders might have better shown off the sculpt. Of course, Hal has a green on white GL symbol on his chest, and on his head you’ll find flesh tone, brown hair, and his traditional green mask with white eyes.
Baris brings a whole new palette to the Green Lantern world with her blue skin and red robes. The blue has some darker patches on her face around her black eyes, and the top and back of her head is weirdly translucent (wonder if it’ll look like that in the movie). The Guardian’s robes are solid red with a nice metallic gold at the neck. Her GL symbol is green on green.
As I noted earlier, articulation is not the strongest suit for these figures. Hal has very basic movement with joints at the neck, ball-jointed shoulders, waist, and hips. Yep, that’s it (note that the "Early Bird" had all the same with the addition of side-hinged hips). His poseability is accordingly pretty limited, though he looks good standing at attention or brandishing his ring. Even elbows and knees would have made a world of difference. Baris has even less, with joints at the neck and shoulders. I’m not sure if her little arms are meant to rotate where they meet her robe; it looks like they might but mine didn’t move and I didn’t want to break her. Regardless, as more of an accessory piece Baris doesn’t require a ton of articulation and what she has is fine.
Speaking of accessory, this pack also includes a Green Lantern power battery! For this scale it’s a pretty cool piece with the film design in multiple green colors and translucent plastic. Hal can even carry it with his open left hand.
These small scale Green Lantern figures will be released in large quantities based on what Mattel has shown at Toy Fair and Wondercon. While the serious “adult” collector might pass on these in favor of the Movie Masters, kids and 3 ¾ enthusiasts are sure to snap them up. Keep your eyes out for these figures in multiple sets and series at retail. For instance, these Guardians of the Universe two-packs will be to Walmart but you’ll find other figures at Target and Toys R Us. Collect them all to build a whole Corps of your own!
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
Review Sample Courtesy of Mattel