NECA has already released their version of the Crow, wasting no time in showing up the Movie Maniacs version from years prior. But other than the (marginally) improved sculpt, a coat and the inclusion of an Eric Draven figure, they really weren't breaking any new ground - the pose was pretty much the same. NECA certainly wasn't doing anything to shake their rep as McFarlane-Wannabees. Now, though? Now we've got something new.
This set, like the previous Crow: Reflections set, is a two-fer. It's a big box set with two figures and a bit of scenery. But while the last Crow box set just had a dressing table, this one is a bit more ambitious: it's the final showdown between Eric and the murderous gang leader Top Dollar.
It all comes down to this. After carrying out his vengeance on the gang of criminals responsible for the death of he and his fiancee, Eric thought he was done and could finally rest in peace. But Top Dollar wouldn't allow it. He wanted the power of the Crow. He wanted immortality. By kidnapping Sarah, he draws Eric and the Crow out into the open. And now, with his invulnerability stripped away, Eric Draven makes his final stand atop the cathedral. It's Eric Draven versus Top Dollar in a rooftop battle, a fight to the death.
Rather than yet again being posed like the movie poster, this time the Crow is displaying a bit of action. He's wielding a two-handed weapon, so he's got his arms out in front of him. Rather than the straightforward walking pose, this Crow has his feet set wide, for stability, and has a slight twist in his torso to deliver more power to that weapon of his.
We already knew NECA could handle the details of the Crow's costume -
he started out wearing plain black jeans and a black shirt, but as he got his butt kicked through the course of the movie, he made repairs with whatever was handy - mostly electrical tape and baling wire. There are also lots of smaller, unrepaired rips and tears all over the place. The face is good, with a definite look of anger. His brow is furrowed, and his mouth is open slightly to reveal gritted teeth.
The figure moves at the head, shoulders, elbows, forearms, waist and boots, and every one of those is a swivel joint. That means he's pretty much stuck in his one intended pose, but if you want to play around a little bit, you can make him do a little dance.
What makes this set really stand out is the inclusion of Top Dollar - we've never had a figure of any of the Crow's enemies before. Hell, we've never had a figure of Michael Wincott, period. The Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves toyline lasted long enough to give us Will Scarlet and a generic evil soldier, but no Guy of Gisbourne? Lame.
Top Dollar was a charismatic mob boss who kept a tight rein on Detroit by encouraging his underlings' destructive tendencies on Devil's Night. If he'd been more willing to just cut his guys loose, he probably would have fared better: after all, Eric just wanted the four goons who'd killed him and his fiancee; Top Dollar just got in his way. Then he had to go and make it personal.
The figure looks really good.
He's wearing a white shirt under a grey vest, and his black pants are tucked into knee-high boots. The detail on the wrinkles is nice, and really sells his arms-raised pose. The face is good, but it could be better. It really looks like Wincott from the sides,
but the features are too pinched when viewed from the front. That may not bother you, though, since this is a "face-off" set and the figures will most likely be looking at each other, not at you. His hair is swirling around behind him.
Top Dollar's articulation isn't much better than the Crow's: waist, wrists, elbows, shoulder and neck. His alternate dance pose is more flamenco-inspired than Eric's twist. Or maybe he's cracking a whip, or he's a toreador. Ole! His head is a balljoint, so he's got that working in his advantage, at least. If you want to stick to his intended pose, his katana fits in his hands nicely.
The Crow and Top Dollar had their final fight on the roof of a church,
and that's exactly what this box set depicts. So in addition to the two figures, we get an 11 1/4" wide, 4" deep, 7" tall display base. We get one side of the roof, a flat catwalk area, a pair of small spires and a stone or cement stand with an ornate lightning rod. The roof has two footpegs - one for each figure - and the rod can be removed so Eric can defend himself. The interior of the box shows a weird angle of the roof, with a rainy night sky behind it, but it's not worth hanging onto like some of NECA's box sets.
Even if you're not a fan of The Crow, you have to respect NECA for being the first company to release one of his enemies. And as far as backdrops go, this set provides a great one. Come on, a gothic church rooftop? You can probably think of dozens of figures that would look awesome up there.
Which Crow figure is your favorite? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.