Sunday, November 3, 2013

Supplementary Lanterns: The Blackest Night Action Figure Box Set Is Cool!

The Good: Good sculpts, Cool coloring, Good bases (generally), Cool book, Fair collectible value! Most have decent balance
The Bad: Could use just a little more articulation, No accessories (outside the bases), Details on Blue/Green Lantern, Poor balance on Star Sapphire Fatality.
The Basics: The Blackest Night Action Figure Box Set is a decent addition to the DC Direct Blackest Night figure line, though none of them are in any way essential.

When it comes to action figure lines that are based upon other media – television, movies, books – there is a tough balance to find in producing figures. Some of the most successful toy lines have underproduced figures and made real collectibles by not straying too far from the essential characters. At the other end of the spectrum are toy lines for things like Star Wars and Star Trek where there are dozens of iterations of main characters (Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Jean-Luc Picard, Data) and the most obscure characters (Cantina aliens and one-appearance aliens or alter-egos of main characters). In the case of the DC Direct toys, perhaps the farthest they have yet gone is with the Blackest Night Action Figure Box Set. The four figures in the boxed set represent some of the least-exposed, least necessary, and obscure characters from the Green Lantern Universe.

Still, the Blackest Night Action Figure Box Set makes a lot of sense; rather than having four pegwarmers, the boxed set was produced in very limited quantities and fans of the series and the toys bought them up while they could. The set, which includes the Blue/Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Indigo Munnk, Black Lantern Blue Beetle and Star Sapphire Fatality is intended very much for fans of the Green Lantern Saga, especially Blackest Night books.

For those unfamiliar with them, all four characters have exceptionally minor roles in the lead-up to and main story of Blackest Night (reviewed here!). In the build-up to Blackest Night, Hal Jordan was attacked by a Blue Lantern ring, which made him for a few panels into a Blue and Green Lantern at the same time. Fatality was captured by the Star Sapphires and transformed after the Sinestro Corps War and was a Star Sapphire during the Blackest Night. Munnk was the right hand man to Indigo-1 in Blackest Night. The resurrected Ted Kord appeared in a background capacity in Blackest Night; with such little influence or presence that I do not even recall his story!

The Blackest Night Action Figure Box Set is a very colorful figure set that comes with a comic anthology unique to the boxed set that shows the characters in the set!


The Hal Jordan figure in the Blackest Night Action Figure Box Set is split down the middle on the coloring; the right side (facing the figure) is blue, the left side is green. This looks, for the sculpt, exactly like the modern Hal Jordan Green Lantern. The coloring is all that separates him from the familiar Green Lantern. The white lightning bolt going up the center of the figure – and up the spine on the back – separates the blue and green sides of the Lantern. This figure stands 6 7/8” high and includes such strong details as the muscles of the character and well-defined ears. The only recognizable flaw in the figure’s sculpt is that there is not ring molded onto the figure’s left hand; this is Hal Jordan, split between two colors without the Blue Lantern ring. The only flesh evident on this Hal Jordan figure is the figure’s head and outside the lips, the skin tones are monotonal.

The Munnk figure is a real contradiction. It is arguably the best sculpted figure in the set. The character is molded with incredible muscles, distinct face and incredible detailing, like the fingernails on the three fingers on each hand and molded on knuckles. The two-toed feet look weathered and cool and the sculpt even has Munnk’s slightly pointed ears. The neat thing is that Munnk’s clothes are made of a thin rubber, so they do not inhibit any of the figure’s movements. Where the figure falls down some is in the coloring. Munnk is entirely cast in monotonal purple plastic without any subtlety or shading. His eyes are appropriately blank and the figure does have some appropriate coloring details, like the eyebrows, Indigo ring, and the Indigo Tribe symbol on the character’s forehead. However, the figure does not have its beard (which is molded on) colored right, which is somewhat ridiculous.

The Star Sapphire Fatality figure is a wonderful sculpt and is pretty close to perfect on the sculpt front! She looks very accurate based on the artwork in the Blackest Night Saga! The love-enslaved version of the Fatality stands 6 7/8" tall to the top of the figure's head. On the sculpt front, this version of Star Sapphire Fatality is the familiar version of Fatality as she has appeared more in The New 52 and looks very much like this figure. This version of Fatality has bright pink eyes, flowing black hair and the tiara like virtually every other Star Sapphire. The outfit also features the giant white collar that is distinctive to the character (though this one is slightly pinkish). This outfit has Fatality’s midriff showing, her boots rising up to her thighs and her breasts supported by very little. She also has her arms obscured entirely by her Star Sapphire Fatality energy that terminates in gloves and act as a sleeve for the character. The facial sculpt looks like some of the best artwork of Fatality and this figure looks distinctly like Star Sapphire Fatality. Star Sapphire Fatality's costume is colored metallic pink. This leaves very little of the character’s dark skin exposed and provides a very cool effect that matches the metallic sheen to the other Lanterns in the line. While she does not appear to have much in the way of depth and shading for her skin tones, the Star Sapphire Fatality figure looks realistic enough, especially considering she comes from comic book source material. The head, face and hair all look great.

The Black Lantern Blue Beetle may just be the Justice League International figure of Blue Beetle recolored in Blackest Night coloring and with an appropriate head (with the desiccation) and hand swapped on (so the right hand has the Black Lantern ring). The Black Lantern Blue Beetle stands 6 ¾” tall and has the Black Lantern symbol on the figure’s chest. Despite the monochrome nature of the Black Lantern Blue Beetle, DC Direct colored the wrinkled flesh of the character’s lower face immaculately.


Outside the boxed set’s unique comic book anthology, the only accessory are the four stands for the figures. Each stand is 3 3/4" in diameter and 1/4” tall and it has a single peg which plugs into the hole in each figure’s right foot. On the base, the figures are entirely stable, save the Star Sapphire Fatality, whose high heels inhibit her standing up without a lot of effort.

The lack of accessories is a bit of a detriment to this box set; that Munnk does not come with his staff and none of the Lanterns come with their power batteries undermines the characters and playability from the set.


The DC Direct figures were designed more for display than play and this is especially true for these figures. All but the Star Sapphire Fatality have surprisingly good balance, but only when they are flatfooted. Because they all lack joints at the ankles, the poseability is somewhat limited in their posing and cannot take on dynamic stances. Off the stand, the Star Sapphire Fatality tips when not flatfooted. On their stands, the others are incredibly stable!

The Star Sapphire Fatality figure comes with only nine points of articulation, which is pretty pathetic for a DC Direct figure. Star Sapphire Fatality has joints at the knees, groin socket, shoulders, elbows, and head. The shoulders are proper ball and socket joints, while the elbows and knees are both hinge joints. The head is on a ball and socket joint, which would allow her to look in virtually any direction, except for the high, ugly collar and the hair which seriously inhibits the head’s movement!

The Hal Jordan, Munnk, and Black Lantern Blue Beetle figures have all the joints Fatality has, plus swivel joints at the calves and wrists!


The Blackest Night Action Figure Box Set is a limited edition set only distributed through comic book shops and specialty stores like FYE. Because the set contains so many obscure figures only the die-hard fans will want to buy it. While it has generally held its value, it has not gone up in value and a few toy shops have hedged their bets and clearance the set (which was nice for me, as I was able to get one for half price!).


The Black Lantern Action Figure Box Set is worthwhile for the fans, despite the minor deficiencies. Especially with Munnk and Fatality’s presence in the New 52, there is every reason to expect the set will appreciate in value and it is a fun set worth the original release price.

For other Blackest Night figures, please check out my reviews of:
Wave 8 Black Lantern Black Flash
Wave 8 Indigo Tribe The Atom
Wave 8 Orange Lantern Lex Luthor
Wave 7 Arkillo
Wave 7 Red Lantern Mera
Wave 6 Blue Lantern The Flash
Wave 6 Star Sapphire Wonder Woman
Wave 5 Black Lantern Deadman
Wave 5 Nekron
Wave 3 Star Sapphire
Wave 2 Indigo-1
Wave 1 Boodikka
Wave 1 Saint Walker


For other toy reviews, please check out my Toy Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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