Saturday, November 22, 2014

LEGION TOYS: Lightning Lad (Mattel 12-Pack)

Mattel 12-Pack Lightning Lad 
by David Weter

This time around, I am charged up to talk about Garth Ranzz, Lightning Lad. As the final third of the original Legionnaires, he stands out in ways positive, and negative.

All puns aside, Lightning Lad was a shoe-in for this collection, as not only one of the original members, but one of the most prominent and interesting characters in Legion lore- the first Legion member to die. He got better, but he also lost a limb along the way.

So, Mattel knew that they had to deliver Garth to the masses, and they constructed a fairly well-rounded figure, with some problems.

Lightning Lad has a lean frame, noticeably less muscular than the Cosmic Boy figure, which really impressed me. Standing side by side, Cosmic Boy looks like he's been hitting the gym a lot more.

Lightning Lad also has less to his sculpt in term of costume details. There are no bands, belts, or other pieces to work around. It's a standard body suit, which makes the fact that his body is a distinct sculpt all the more applause-worthy.

The head-sculpt makes the most of Lightning Lad's strawberry blonde locks of hair, giving him a very wavy, incredibly detailed coif. The real cherry on top is the grin on Garth's face, which immediately conveys a lot of personality.

The flight ring is present, as with the other characters, and the detail still staggers me- I can make out the L, and star  within the golden circle. We are a long way from a simple dot of paint to signify a power ring on Super Powers figures.

The articulation is standard, which is to say excellent. However, like all of the figures in the set, he has ankle joints, which are the bane of collectors who display their figures. All it takes is one loose ankle, and a domino effect will take down every figure on the shelf... normally in the middle of the night, causing a lot of terror in the wee hours.

But, Lightning Lad runs into a problem with articulation- his costume. There are a pair of twin lightning bolts, arching from the top of the shoulders down to the center of the chest- this bridges between the arms to the torso pieces.

In terms of display, this means that Lightning Lad is limited in his arm movement or else the cohesiveness of the lightning bolts gets ruined. And, I know what you are thinking- these are figures, they can be played with, so why stress this point?

This was a high-priced set of 12, marketed directly through a website targeted, and inspired by, the adult collector market. These are made for a niche audience of collectors who have a chunk of disposable income, which means they have a job, and therefore were made and marketed to people who don't blow up their G.I. Joe figures anymore.

The paint is matte again, save for the shine on the boots- a move that makes the colors really absorb light, without getting washed out by the reflection.

The dark tone of the blue, cast against the bright yellow of the lightning bolts, and cream-white of the gloves, and inner legs, creates a sharp profile of the figure's shape.

The distinctive color of Lightning Lad's hair is astounding. Yes, that is an odd detail to fixate on, but the color is unique, and is the feature that draws the viewer's eye. But, the flipside to that is, the complexion of Lightning Lad's skin is fairly close to the same hue, causing an unintended blend of face and hair at a glance. It takes a second look to let the facial feature shine.

Lightning Lad stands out in the main areas- a unique sculpt for a fairly sparse costume, a sharp facial feature, and great color scheme which is enhanced by the choice of paint applications.

One of the better figures of the set, with only a few small gripes here and there.

1 comment:

  1. Why does the face sculpt remind me of Steve Coogan?