The Good: Incredible sculpt, Decent enough accessories, Translucent variant is awesome
The Bad: Low posability.
The Basics: Dr. Manhattan is an essential character from Watchmen and the translucent variant figure more accurately represents the character who appears in the film, even if it isn't naked.
No movie last year lived up to my high expectations like Watchmen did. In fact, as I awaited the DVD release of Watchmen (click here for my review of that!), I found myself having a renewed interest in the film and in the little empire it sprouted for fans in terms of merchandising. The foremost way I found to enjoy the renewed hype was finally picking up select action figures from the movie to decorate my living space with. I will have a little Watchmen shelf and my wife and I are actually pretty psyched about that.
Given our space limitations, though, we're also being more discriminating about that. As such, when we were given the choice between the standard Dr. Manhattan action figure and the limited edition, translucent variant figure, we opted for the variant because it looked cooler than the regular figure and . . . well, mostly just that. For serious collectors, especially those with limited space to fill up with collectibles, the translucent limited edition variant is the Dr. Manhattan figure to get!
To support the film Watchmen, DC Direct released two series of Watchmen action figures. Apparently, in the late 1990s or early 2000s, there was a planned series of figures which were based upon the graphic novel (click here for that review!), which never got off the ground. With the film's release, though, there was a renewed interest in the line and an ability to create a higher caliber of action figure. DC direct opted not to miss out on the option and they created eight figures based upon the cinematic representations of the essential Watchmen characters.
Arguably one of the most important is Dr. Manhattan, who was played by Billy Crudup in the film and is now immortalized in plastic thanks to DC Direct. The variant figure is the same sculpt as the original Dr. Manhattan figure, save that this one was cast in translucent blue plastic to help better capture the realism of the glowing character as he appeared in the film.
Standing 7" (or 7 5/8" if one uses the other legs) tall, Dr. Manhattan is a near-naked, well-chiseled man who could be virtually any comic book super hero. The DC Direct action figure features such details as the eyes without pupils and the tiny symbol he carved into his own forehead. The symbol, essentially a hydrogen atom on his forehead, is a decal or painted detail and is not molded into the figure, but it looks good and stands out appropriately. Dr. Manhattan comes with two pairs of legs and, no, for those wondering, he is not naked with either pair. In the movie, Dr. Manhattan is a floating blue man who frequently does not wear clothes because he does not need to. As a result, he is frequently seen floating around with his penis hanging out. One assumes that Dr. Manhattan - even the variant - is immortalized with his occasional briefs because there is some sort of action figure code that presents him from being cast with full anatomic realism.
That said, this is a pretty cool figure which features two sets of legs which pop out at the waist so they can be easily exchanged. Dr. Manhattan may stand bowlegged (or sit on the edge of one's desk, watching you as you type a review) or may be posed with the legs together legs levitating in a Christlike fashion on his special base. The variant is light on shading or coloring details because it is cast in translucent plastic which painting would obstruct. It looks phenomenal, though, and my wife and I agree this is a figure that begs for a blacklight!
Doctor Manhattan has the ability to change matter with his thoughts and as such, the interchangeable legs are mostly all the accessory he needs! However, the variant Dr. Manhattan still comes with the standard Watchman base. The base is a 2 1/2" plastic square that raises the figure 1/2" off the display surface and most closely resembles a section of suspension bridge. The base has three holes in it, through which one of the two pegs that come with the figure may be placed. The peg is designed to go into a hole in the figure's foot and Dr. Manhattan's standard legs have a hole that fits the peg in his right foot. The other two holes may either be filled in or left unpegged. The base also comes with a simple connector which latches together Dr. Manhattan's base with the base of any of the other Watchmen figures; all of the bases seem to be identical.
Dr. Manhattan also comes with a special base for the variant legs. The legs that have the feet together, pointing downward would otherwise not stand. As a result, DC Direct included a 1 1/2" tall clear plastic stand which plugs into both feet and the base when one uses one of the peg plugs. This both supports the figure perfectly with the variant legs and looks cool, like Dr. Manhattan is levitating upward!
Let's be honest; Watchmen is an adult film. Most everyone who picks these figures up will be using them for display, not play. DC Direct seemed to figure this out well in advance and the bases that the figures, like Dr. Manhattan, come with are designed for support and display, as opposed to play.
Still, with his standard legs in, Dr. Manhattan is a pretty cool action figure. Gifted with nine points of articulation, Dr. Manhattan is adequately posable for those who do put him on display. He has joints at the knees, groin socket, shoulders, elbows and neck. With the variant legs, he loses all posability below the waist. The joints make for a decent range of motion, with the knees and elbows being standard hinge joints. The shoulders are ball and socket joints, so Dr. Manhattan may make most of the poses he makes in the film! As well, the head is a ball and socket joint, so he may look in a great number of directions. This is a pretty cool figure that makes use of the medium quite well.
DC Direct seemed to gauge about the right amount of interest in the Watchmen figures and with the DVD release, they re-released most of the figures again. However, while the initial Doctor Manhattan figure was re-released, the variant was not. The variant Dr. Manhattan is strictly limited to 5000 pieces (which isn't terribly limited in my book). It has kept a decent market price well above its initial $15.00 issue price.
The Watchmen figures are all right and the variant Dr. Manhattan is THE Doctor Manhattan for serious fans of Watchmen to track down. He poses well and makes for a great display piece and has realistic coloring, something which the other, more common, Dr. Manhattan figure does not.
For other toys based upon popular movies, please check out my reviews of:
Kubricks Watchmen Set B
The Dark Knight 12" Two-Face doll
Twilight Edward Cullen Barbie doll
For other toy reviews, please check out my index page!
© 2010, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.