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Red Arrow

DC Direct
by yo go re

There's only really been one sidekick who fulfilled the promise and moved up to take over his mentor's role: Wally West. He graduated from the name "Kid Flash" when Barry Allen died. Most of the others? They just get a new "adult" name, like Nightwing, Troia or Arsenal.

Red Arrow Roy Harper began his career as Speedy, the sidekick to Green Arrow. He later called himself "Arsenal" to prove he "graduated"... to prove he was different... always out to prove something. Today, Roy Harper is no longer on a quest to prove anything. He knows who he is. He's proud of where he comes from. And he's thrilled to show the world how he's different.

Well holy crap, look at that! A DC Direct figure with a useful bio on the back of the card? Isn't that illegal? It's definitely a welcome change of pace. The text was written by Brad Meltzer, the guy who just finished his run on the Justice League of America comic (and also wrote the excellent Identity Crisis a few years back), so you can guess he might have a pretty good idea about who the characters are. DCD needs to keep doing this sort of thing, rather than their usual one-senetnce wonders.

The last time we got a Red Arrow, it was just a straight repaint - frat boy this time, we get something new. RA was sculpted by Sam Greenwell, and he's looking darn good. The figure is muscular, but still thin and wiry; he doesn't need a bodybuilder's physique to draw a bow. His costume is just a red version of his mentor's, with the dark, lace-up tunic over the lighter body suit. He even wears the same kind of domino mask, but at least he doesn't have a big recognizable beard to contend with, as well. The facial sculpt is particularly well done - it's a subtle piece, but the way his jaw is set and the tiny wrinkles on his brow definitely tell you what this guy is feeling.

Red Arrow is 6½" tall, and has some nice articulation. He moves at the boots, knees, hips, wrists, elbows, biceps, shoulders and neck. one good arm The neck and shoulders are balljoints, for maximum poseability, but the biceps are just cut straight through above the armbands. At last, DCD gave us balljointed shoulders that are actually useful - you can get them up to a full 90° from the body. Unfortunately, it's still not enough to get realistic archery poses.

If you read our review of the Alex Ross Justice Green Arrow, you know how an archer should stand - bow arm out straight, string drawn back to the cheek, etc. For a complete run-down, read that review. Roy can hold his left arm out straight, which is a step in the right direction, but the articulation in the right arm isn't enough to actually draw the bow. You can do a good job of making it look like he's just fired, though - nice bow, but the arrow has a bit of a problem more action that way! His arm guards are sculpted incorrectly (or perhaps that's a feature of Ed Bennes' artwork). They should cover the inside of his arms, not the backs - you know, where the string is likely to hit? Yeah.

The figure inscludes a bow, of course, a recurve that stands 5" tall and has a black elastic string. There's a handle for Red Arrow to grip, but no arrow rest, which means he'd be firing off his hand - and cutting his knuckles to shreds in the process. The quiver he wears on his back is removable and - red arrows get this - has real removable arrows! One side of the quiver just has the faux arrows you always see on this type of thing (soft plastic, so they won't snap off), while the other side has three loose arrows. The arrows are phenominally short - 2¼" long, when they'd need to be at least an inch longer to reach his hand - but we do get three different heads. Yes, obviously Roy is employing trick arrows; he's got one normal arrowhead, then two that are tubular. For the sake of argument, let's say a sonic arrow and a flash arrow. The arrows are painted well, and fit tightly into the quiver.

As a special bonus, the packaging for this line features a cut-out JLA membership certificate JLA on the back of the card. Oddly, it's blank; the spots where you fill in the member's name are empty. They couldn't put a sticker on there, like they did to show the character's name on the front? On the plus side, that means you can offer JLA membership to anyone you want. I hereby nominate Captain America, Ryu and Scrappy Doo! The figures also include a black and gold JLA logo base.

The name "Red Arrow" actually comes from Kingdom Come, where the former Speedy had taken over his mentor's role. The reason he's using it right now in the comics, though? A mistake. While they were out in public, Hal "Bad Touch" Jordan nearly let Roy's real name slip. In a clumsy attempt to cover, he turned the R sound of "Roy" into "R... ed." Seamless! Way to cover, Hal! Maybe if he kept his mind on the job and not on the underage girls, things like that wouldn't happen?


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