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Etrigan and Klarion

Batman: The Animated Series
by yo go re

If you think we're doing this entire review in rhyme, you're daft!

During King Arthur's last stand, the magician Merlin chose to bond two evils - a demon and a traitor - in the hopes that, combined, their abilities might be used to avenge Camelot and gain retribution against the witch Morgaine Le Fay. Thus, the legend of Jason Blood and Etrigan the Demon began... and continues into the present day.

Etrigan definitely breaks the "let's keep the guest stars grounded" directive that informed earlier seasons of Batman: the Animated Series, by virtue of being a no-holds-barred magical being. There were no tricks, no cheats, Jason Blood (the form of man) used a magical, rhyming incantation (gone, gone) to transform into the Demon (Etrigan).

Three years before appearing on the cartoon, Etrigan debuted in 1995's Batman Adventures Annual #2, where he was designed by Bruce Timm and Glen Murakami. While Timm tried out many different, wild designs, Murakami insisted that they stick as close as possible to Jack Kirby's original designs, and clearly he won out. There's still a definite BtAS influence, with the massive sqaure jaw, but the goose-foot ears, the little horns and even the black marks around the red eyes are all straight from the pen of The King.

Etrigan is a huge figure, just a bit over 6" tall, but also more than 4" across the shoulders. A true brute! He wears a red tunic with white-dotted black bands around his forearms, and has a tattered grey cape that trails down to his ankles. Ankles, it must be said, that are kept warm ["Warm"? He lives in Hell. Why would he need to worry about keeping warm? --ed.] by silly little red booties. Like a bird's foot, his middle toe appears to be longer than the rest, and the boots bunch up just above the feet. While most of the sculpt is the typicaly smooth animated style, there are a few itsy wrinkles by his wrists and ankles.

The articulation is similar to the other figures': balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, elbows and wrists, swivel and hinged torso, H-hips, hinged knees, and hinged ankles. The fact that the ankles aren't rocker-style means his feet will only be flat on the ground if his legs are straight up and down, limiting the dynamic display possibilities. Of course, his upper body is so huge and weighty that getting him to stand up would be difficult anyway. Maybe making the ankles so solid was their only chance of keeping him from tipping over?

He does come with one of the plastic display stands that all the BtAS have, so that would theoretically help keep the toy upright, except the clamp part is way too small to actually fit around the figure. His only accessories are swappable hands: he's wearing fists in the tray, but also gets a relaxed pair and a gripping pair. His fingers are thick and squarish, as are his fingernails. Claws? Whichever.

It might have made sense to pair the Demon with a figure of Jason Blood, but instead, he gets an enemy to fight: Klarion the Witch Boy.

Another Kirby creation, Klarion is considered one of the most dangerous beings in the magical community. He arrived on Earth from another dimension called Witch-World of the Beyond Country. Klarion encountered Jason Blood at a Gotham City auction. They bid against each other for the personal branding iron of Morgaine le Fey only to be outbid by Bruce Wayne. Klarion later sent his familiar, a cat called Teekl, to steal the iron. Klarion used the item to separate Etrigan from Blood and enslave him.

Klarion hasn't had a ton of appearances over the years, so he hasn't really changed a lot - in fact, the only substantial upgrade to his appearance was when his skin turned blue during the 7 Soldiers of Victory miniseries. This one predates that, so he's still pink. His trademark look is a dark black bowl cut that has two little hair "horns" coming off the sides to make him look more devilish. Thankfully, the cartoon didn't copy Kirby's weird cheekbones, so neither does the toy.

Suiting a Witch Boy, Klarion dresses like someone who would have been present for the Salem Witch Trials: a straight black jacket with a white collar and cuffs, straight-legged pants, and chunky black boots with big gold buckles. The sculpted details on this figure are even fewer than average, because he's so small (a scant 4¾" tall) and dressed so simply. Still, good work by Irene Matar.

His reduced size also means reduced articulation. Klarion has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders and elbows, swivel wrists (no hinges), a swivel waist, H-hips, hinged knees, and swivel boot tops. But then, he's a magic user, he doesn't need to be completely acrobatic.

He does come with a display stand, but the vertical post is almost taller than he is! At least he's small enough that the clamp will fit around him, right? Not that he really needs it, since his giant Frankenstein boots give him a nice dose of stability (which isn't a word usually used in regards to Klarion).

Klarion has three sets of hands: fists, gesturing, and holding. The holding hands are perfect for his other accessory, the branding iron that served as the episode's Macguffin. It's grey with a black handle, while the one seen in the actual episode had a brown wooden handle. Whoops!

You can't have a Klarion without his kitty, so this set also includes Teekl. She isn't at all the same mold as Catwoman's cat Isis, which is surprising - sure, we'd expect the head and tail to be different, but the body and legs, too? Who'd'a thunk it? She's orange with green eyes and black stripes, and moves at the neck, shoulders, hips and tail. So cute! Sadly, she does not turn into a sexy cat-girl. As far as you know.

Etrigan was redesigned when he appeared on Justice League - he was made shorter and given black lips - and Klarion only ever made this single appearance in the DCAU, so this set is quite specific in its origins. It's still a good one though, adding some fun Halloweeny characters to your Batman: the Animated Series collection.

-- 10/27/16


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