The best fiction respects its audience, no matter what age they are. The reason that Harry Potter is so popular with adults as well as children? Because it never talks down to anyone. When characters get into trouble, it's real trouble, and the villains aren't bumbling fools, but badass, scary mofos.
When he was first mentioned, indirectly, in the first book, Voldemort was just a vague threat, a darkness drifting somewhere out of view, a name whispered in fear. He was a danger that once was, but he'd since become something of a boogeyman. Even when he did finally make an appearance, it was phenomenally creepy, but not terribly threatening, and he was swiftly dispatched. Too bad it didn't take.
Voldemort makes his presence known in the second book, as well (in a roundabout way), but was entirely absent from the third, providing a brief respite before he returned in earnest for book four, The Goblet of Fire. Suddenly this character we'd heard rumors about, seen only tangentially, was back in full force, and ready to pick up right where he'd left off.
Since this figure is based on the fourth film, Voldemort is wearing his billowous black robes, rather than the fine suit seen in the fifth. Sure, it looks like a nightgown, but when you're this evil, who's going to make fun of what you're wearing? The fine, thin wrinkles show that this is a thinner material than, say, Snape's similarly hued ensemble. It must be windy where Voldemort is, because the robe is plastered against the body beneath.
Ralph Fiennes portrays the revitalized Voldemort in the films, though you never see his face. Now, this isn't a case like Doug Jones playing Abe Sapien in Hellboy, where the actor is behind complex prosthetics; there was no way to give Voldemort an inhuman, serpentine look just using make-up. He has no nose, for cryin' out loud! Instead, Fiennes' face was mapped and covered by a computer-generated duplicate that had the sleek features needed.
The Dark Lord just crests the 7" mark, allowing him to tower menacingly over Harry. Articulation is light even for a NECA movie figure, with joints only at the Springfield Four. The waist and left shoulder are pegs, while the head and right shoulder are balljoints. The shoulder balljoint is a tough to get moving laterally -
the swivel part of it is fine, though. He doesn't even rate ankles, because he isn't wearing shoes; you look under his skirt, and it's nothing but sallow flesh, all the way up. Party Voldemort!
It's hard to make plain block clothes look interesting, but the paint apps accomplish this well. The hem is a different tone than the bod, and there are highlights painted on. Voldemort's fleshtone is a pale and sickly shade, more yellow than pink. The veins on his head, arms and legs are painted impressively, and he has a slight wash on his hands to bring out the details. The roughest spots are the dark circles under his eyes - they might be a bit too heavy. Other than that, this is a beautifully painted figure.
Voldemort's only accessory is his wand,
which can be held in his left hand. It looks just as it does in the films, with a handle that seems to be made of bone rather than the rest of the wand's yew body. Voldemort's wand shares half a phoenix feather with Harry's, further connecting the two enemies. It's impressive the way the wand stays in the figure's hand - given the loose way he's gripping it, you'd expect it to fall to the floor.
Though the figure does't have any trouble standing, he does include an angular grass base. It's larger than Harry's similar display stand, and is even detailed with a fallen leaf on one side. The base isn't necessary, but since you can't adjust the figure's ankles, it's a nice piece to have if you ever need it.
Voldemort is one of the few truly evil villains in children's literature. He's completely threatening, and never hesitates to show us why he's got the reputation he does. This isn't some watered-down enemy, made safe for children, this is an introduction to a darkness they probably haven't seen before. JK Rowling doesn't pull any punches, and so neither does Voldemort. The figure is excellent, and if you only want the Dark Lord, you should feel free to get him. However, smart shoppers will pass on the individually carded (or clamshelled) version, and opt instead for the big box set that features both Voldemort and Harry in their first face-off.