Do you ever get self-conscious with all your toys staring at you? Turns out in at least one case, you have good reason.
Gazing down on Earth from the Blue Area of the moon, one being has borne witness to the storied history of our world for untold millennia. Uatu is the emissary of a vastly powerful race of Watchers pledged to observe from a safe distance the ebb and flow of the universe - but never act to alter the course of events. In direct defiance of his culture's code of conduct, the Watcher has been known to make his presense felt in the face of cataclysmic threats to Earth!
For a guy whose job it is to stand around and do nothing, Uatu sure is a busy-body. Pretty every time he appears in a regular Marvel comic, it's to do two things: 1) talk about how he is sworn never to interfere, and 2) go ahead and interfere anyway. There are only a few times he's actually fulfilled his role as a silent observer - of course, quantum mechanics teaches us that any observation changes the outcome, so the Watchers' mission is a failure from the start. Uatu's just more up front about it.
The Watcher first appeared in Fantastic Four #13, watching as the FF wrestled superpowered monkeys on the moon. His next appearance was Fantastic Four #29, watching as the FF wrestled superpowered monkeys on the moon. Yes, Marvel truly was the House of Ideas back in those days. Always innovating. Of course, DC was notorious in those days for re-using plotlines - see, for instance, this and this - so it's not like Marvel was the only one cutting corners.
Uatu, as he eventually came to be called [in Captain Marvel #39 --ed.] was a Jack Kirby creation, which means ToyBiz had a lot of different versions to choose from when they were making this figure. Old Jack wasn't real big on consistency in his artwork from one panel to the next, let alone several issues down the line. The packaging credits the figure as being based on Fantastic Four #48, but that's a bald-faced lie. In FF #48, we got the "Gigantic Fatty" version of the Watcher, and that's definitely not what this figure represents. This is the "Skinny Blockhead" version.
Kirby loved adding Greco-Roman influences to his designs;
take a good look at Galactus, and you'll see that he's basically wearing a gladiator's uniform. To that end, the Watcher is wearing a toga. His clothes haven't even gone through the "Kirbyification" that the Devourer of Worlds' did. Other than the ridiculous collar, this is just a toga. It's very nicely designed for the figure, and the skirt is molded from rubber so it doesn't get in the way, but this is still a toga. It's even got a free-floating sash.
The paint looks very simple, but it's really not. There are lots of subtle shadows airbrushed on, giving the figure a real sense of scale and weight. Look at that idiot collar of his, for instance - there's a deep shadow painted on it, but it just looks like it's cast by his head. Unlike almost every Marvel Legend that ever had an ounce of white on its costume, Uatu doesn't have an awful blue wash that's supposed to pass for shadows. His gloves are gold, as are his harness and the sunburst on his chest.
Uatu's trademark look is his giant, Charlie Brown-like head. To borrow a phrase, it's a huge noggin. It's a virtual planetoid. Has its own weather system! The Watcher's head is like Sputnik: spherical, but quite pointy at bits. He'll be cryin' himself to sleep tonight on his huge pillow. That giant dome was the only constant in Uatu's early appearances - it's since been adopted as a racial feature of all the Watchers, so at least he's not alone. The poor guy has no hair - not even eyebrows - and white, pupil-less eyes. His mouth looks a bit womanly, for some reason.
The figure is surprisingly articulated -
he moves at the waist, wrists, gloves, elbows, biceps, shoulders and neck, The neck is an odd joint that might be a balljoint or might just be a loose peg. In any case, the movement he has is more than enough for a character whose biggest action is gesticulating wildly at the horizon. He stands 9" tall, which is a decent size - he's one of those characters who varies from story to story. In one appearance he'll be about 10' tall, in the next, 50', so this may be the only figure that is perfectly in scale with Marvel Select, Marvel Legends and Superhero Showdown. To help keep the little guy standing, he has a 4" wide display base. It's a very simple piece, a speckled section of moon rock, but it supports him perfectly and is entirely unobtrusive.
Uatu is, like Thanos or Mephisto, a fine figure in his own right, but one that will also work perfectly for your Marvel Legends collection.
The right size, the right sculpt, the right articulation... with this figure on the market, there's no reason for Hasbro to waste time making another. Of course, we would have said the same thing about She-Hulk, but that didn't stop them from doing it anyway. Uatu's still pretty easy to find, despite coming out quite a while ago, and definitely deserves a spot in your display. Get him and stage your own What If...? stories.
What's your favorite Watcher-related story? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.