Saturday, December 27, 2014

LEGION TOYS: Brainiac 5 (Mattel 12-Pack)

Mattel 12-Pack Brainiac 5
by David Weter

When opening the set for the first time, I was filled with excitement. The figures were all top notch, with great choices for costumes, and fun details.

Then, I came to Brainiac 5 and.... I shrugged.

Brainiac 5, who uses his massive brainpower to atone for his ancestor, the Superman villain, Brainiac.

A key figure in Legion history, and one of the most gifted and inspired characters in the early roster. And, yet, I shrugged.

He's not a bad figure. Not at all. But, the main question on my mind was: Why use the space-janitor jumpsuit design? Sure, it's sort of a standard look for Brainy, but this was  the only shot the Legion had at a full toy line, and the jumpsuit look was so Silver-Age.

But, licensing deals go through a ton of stipulations and specifications, so the look seems to have won out. The set seems to aim for the Dave Cockrum/Mike Grell incarnations of the characters, with the exception of Saturn Girl, who wears a more demure iteration of her costume.

Sculpt: Brainy must be really mad!!! Why else would both hands be permanently formed into fists? The Flight Ring is present, and the detail is on par with the previous figures.

But, why FISTS???? Brainiac 5 could have come with open hands, allowing him to hold an accessory. True, none of the figures have any accessories, but Brainy would be the logical exception. Instead, he looks primed to sweep the floors of Legion HQ, and grumble about Chameleon Boy leaving gum under the benches.

The real disappointment with the figure is the face. While Brainy's hair looks detailed enough to run your fingers through, the face has a static, boring expression. Come on, Brainiac 5 is the loveably obnoxious know-it-all. His (deserved) ego should show through.

How can Lightning Lad and Cosmic Boy both have ample personalities in their sculpts, and Brainy looks like he is listening to Yanni???

It's bad enough to have a droll costume choice (The Legionnaires costume comes to mind as a suitable choice) but to not spice up the figure with a cocky grin, or a scowl of disdain,  just feels off. A complete lack of emotion equals a complete lack of interest in the figure.

To the sculptor's credit, they did fine with the details on Brainy's purple jumpsuit. The ripples in the cloth look great, and the joints are (mostly) well ingrained into the sculpt. It's not the sculptor's fault that the costume is so plain-jane.

Articulation: Brainiac 5 has the same, standard articulation. There is nothing new here, other than the joints having more areas to hide within the folds of the jumpsuit.

Paint: Brainiac 5 must have the meat-sweats, or he just walked out of a sauna. For some reason the paint application on Brainy's face is highly reflective. When taking photos for this review, he was not easy to work with, as the flash kept shining off of him.

I'm used to Brainiac 5 cosplayers having a sheen about them, thanks to the pancake make-up. But, was a matte paint not available in green?

I must note, though, that an up-close look at his eyes reveal that they are actually purple. This tells me that the intent to keep the details are in check, even if they don't show in the facial expression.

The jumpsuit takes advantage of the matte paint, which makes the outfit look like cloth a bit. But, it's purple, and it covers his entire body from the neck to the boots--- that is a LOT of matte purple, which doesn't help the boring appearance of the figure.

Overall: In short, the figure is boring. A lone exception in a 12-pack that is made of win. With other, more dynamic costume choices available, the jumpsuit look, while Classic, doesn't translate well to 3 dimensions. 

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