Welcome to Figures & Speech, Nerdist’s regular column by, for, and about grown-ups who still play with their toys but might want to know more before they buy. From product reviews to informed editorials, these are most definitely the articles that’ll make you want to strike a pose. Click all images to enlarge.
Kotobukiya doesn’t technically make action figures–they make statues. Sort of. When I think of statues, I tend to think of them as being polystone or resin. These ArtFX+ ones are plastic, with the description on the packaging referring to them as 1/10 scale pre-painted figures. In many ways, they’re not substantively different from some of the later Spawn figures that had no articulation. The “action” part of the figure, as Todd McFarlane might and did once argue, is in the dynamic pose.
They cost a little more, however, ranging from $59.99 to $69.99. But for a Japanese action figure, that’s downright reasonable.
Kotobukiya sent me a set of their ArtFX DC Comics villains, and the packaging on each one is very nice. With the exception of the larger, heavier Gorilla Grodd, they come in plastic oblongs that have two clear sides and two translucent sides with character logo and artwork.
In some cases, as with Joker and Bizarro, who are capturing story-specific rather than iconic looks, the name of the comic is more prominent than the character
Grodd is bigger and heavier, so he comes in a cardboard box, but the idea is the same. (Do you think anyone ever tells him the “Gorilla” in his name is redundant? I mean, I don’t call myself “Human Luke.” My guess is that nobody wants to contradict him, ever.)
Sinestro has a running pose that, in box, makes it looks like he’s running through dimensions or something.
The packaging is in some ways collector-friendly. You’ll have to peel off a lot of pieces of tape, and because Koto is careful to avoid even paint scrapes on the plastic, many of the statues feature baggies over different limbs. You could drop these packages and nothing would be damaged. But even if you like displaying in package and never plan on reselling, you might want to open them once, as removing said baggies does allow you to appreciate the details on the figures more.
And yeah, you might not want to put them right on top of your computer. They have magnets in their feet.
Like so! This allows easy display on the square black bases provided, but as you can see, they also include a hole in at least one foot to fit on different kinds of figure stands. In theory this could allow Koto, or customizers, to make non-magnetic diorama bases later.
Sinestro’s sculpt is pretty realistic for a huge-headed pink alien. But out of the package, the pose looks less like he’s running, and more like he’s reaching back for something.
Bizarro is my favorite of the bunch…BY FARRO!
The metallic tights and boots really pop, while the upper body looks formed of clay and a homemade T-shirt.
Bizarro actually comes with an accessory: a little flower.
Figuring out how to get him to hold it is tough, at first. You have to look super-closely, with almost X-ray-ish vision, to see the tiny pinhole under his thumb.
And that’s where it goes.
Lex Luthor is…unusual. Unlike Bizarro and Sinestro, he appears to have a more stylized look, but it makes his face quite different. Not only does he seem like he’s wearing mouthguards, but he also appears gender-ambiguous. And that would be an interesting direction to take Lex, for real…
…but it isn’t really matching the artwork.
But it still feels like one designer was trying to do Arnold Schwarzenegger and another Tilda Swinton, and they met in the middle. The power suit is snazzy, though I should note the paint is just shiny rather than metallic–unless it’s just that green metallic paint looks slightly less like metal than the blue on Bizarro’s tights.
Captain Cold also has the metallic blue, on his shades and pants.
Like every figure in this set, save maybe Grodd, he does not skip glutes day at the gym.
You can customize the Captain with an alternate, non-iced left arm if you so choose.
I’m not a fan of this arm–the forearm’s curvature is a bit too much, and the cavalier way he’s holding the gun is irresponsible, even for a villain.
Joker, on the other hand, knows how to handle a knife AND a gun in the more appropriately insane way.
The Joker from “Endgame” is less colorful than most Jokers, so it’s a faithful adaptation, though I personally find the black suit less interesting visually than the usual purple.
And one thing to watch for is that his feet are not flat to the ground, so while he does stand on the magnetic base, a bit of shaking will knock him down.
Now, you might be wondering about scale. Can you display them well with other figures? I tried out a few so you can see.
Marvel Select isn’t perfect…
Mego-style is a bit big…
Aha! NECA/McFarlane scale is just about perfect.
And modern He-Man scale (including DC figures that use the same base body) isn’t bad either.
Grodd is bigger than the other guys, but the same scale.
Come to think of it, he does look like he does glute day at the gym as well. (Should I reveal here that “Monkey-Butt” is something my wife calls me? She might stop when she sees what it literally means. And yes, I know gorillas aren’t monkeys.)
Grodd’s a good deal at a mere $10 more, because he’s not just bigger and heavier, but he comes with two distinct “looks.” You can display him almost nude, save that loincloth…
OR you can give him a cape, helmet, and skull accessory. And if you don’t want him to display with a skull accessory, we just don’t know each other any more.
The skull is easily palmed, and stays in his hand. The cape is wonderfully creased and battle-damaged.
If you normally buy action figures to display in primarily one pose anyway, Kotobukiya ArtFX statues are just one step beyond that. They’ve chosen the pose, but in general it’s a solid, character-specific one you might have put them in anyway. And the magnetic bases are great, though some figures stick more strongly than others.
Is it just me, though, or from behind do they all look a bit like they’re taking a drunken whiz after a hard night out?
All Kotobukiya ArtFX statues can be ordered directly from the company as long as they remain in stock.
Images: LYT for Nerdist
Luke Y. Thompson is Nerdist’s weekend editor and primary toy obsessive. “Figures” he’d be on Twitter too @LYTrules
Source: Nerdist Comics