It's back to form for DC Direct with their newest series of Superman/Batman figures. Series 1 was okay, but Series 2 was terrible. Sculpted mostly by "the Big Chief" and based on Michael Turner's run on the series, it was basically a big disappointing mess that was barely salvaged by a decent-looking Darkseid figure (the only fig not sculpted by the Chief). Seriously, if you're going to be cocky enough to give yourself a nickname, you'd better be good (i.e. the Four Horsemen).
That series was something of a surprise, anyway:
when the first "Public Enemies" series was released, everyone assumed it would shortly be followed by another. Why? A lack of two characters in particular: Hawkman and Lex Luthor. They were a big part of the story, but didn't get toys. Thankfully, DCD has granted our wish in the improbably named "Superman/Batman 3: Public Enemies 2." Heaven help us if DC ever wants to do a story that's actually called "Public Enemies 2," and they try to give us toys from it.
In "Public Enemies," Hawkman and Captain Marvel were enlisted by the U.S. Government to bring in the fugitive Superman and Batman, who had been declared the titular public enemies by President Luthor. While the first series of S/B figures featured Captain Marvel (or "Shazam!" as he's legally called), Hawkman was notably absent. Since Hawkman features such a unique design (which artist Ed McGuinness handled wonderfully), he was sorely missed in the bland first series, in which 80% of the figures had the same body.
Hawky, here, is definitely not sharing any body parts with any other figures. The hulking Hawkman looms over the figures from the first series. This is a major screw-up, since a pivotal plot point of "Public Enemies" involves a bit of subterfuge that hinges on size. While the series was designed entirely by E McG, the figures were handled by a varied cast of characters, including the much-maligned Big Chief. Hawkman, thank God, was handled by DCD superstar Tim Bruckner.
And Bruckner delivers! Hawkman's bulky, muscular body is covered in veins and scars, and his helmet and wings are adorned in very nicely detailed feathers. There are lots of tiny details in the sculpt, one of which almost made me jump for joy. On the cover art for Superman/Batman #4, Hawkman's elbows are shown with tiny curlicues marking the joint, a design element that Bruckner included on the figure! That is awesome stuff. The scars even match up fairly well with where McGuinness drew them in the comic.
The paint is also great, especially considering DCD's spotty history in this area. The skin is a nice tone, which is key since Hawkman's darn near bare-chested.
The scars have a slightly lighter tone to them, and his torso is covered with tiny, tiny hairs. It's the type of thing they try on Wolverine figures all the time, but Hawkman shows you how it should be done. All the lines are clean and crisp, and there's very little bleed, which is a nice touch, particularly on areas with long straight lines where you'd typically expect slop, such as on the chest straps and belt. The hair shouldn't be black - it works that way in the comic because the drawings are inked. On a figure, it should probably have been brown to maintain the same look. One major mistake? They painted the symbol on his chest backwards.
The figure's articulation is nothing special, but what he does have works well. He gets a peg joint at the neck, balljoints in the shoulders, hinges at the elbows, pegs at the wrists and waist, t-crotch hips, and hinges at the knees. The first series of Bats/Supes figures were notorious for their restricted shoulders, which couldn't be properly brought down to their sides. Hawkman's design thankfully allows for a much more natural look to the shoulder movement. He also gets balljoints at the wings.
For accessories, Hawkman gets his mace and his "Claw of Horus" glove.
The mace is simple, but really well done. The hilt is wrapped with leather to provide a better grip, and the head has five flattened studs, which is accurate to the interior of the comic, if not the cover. They really should be a bit more weathered, though. There are cracks and dents in the surface, making it look like a real weapon of war.
The glove is particularly awesome. It's painted very intricately and features a technique not widely utilized in an action figures since Mattel's
original Masters of the Universe line: like a piece of "snap-on" armor, the claw comes apart at the seams to fit around Hawkman's left hand. Sadly, because of the way the figure is designed, he can only wear it if the wrist is in the one perfect position. Otherwise it pops open and falls off.
So what is the Claw of Horus? It's made from nth metal, the same stuff that lets Hawkman fly. The glove draws its power from the magnetic core of the Earth. Like he told Superman, as he was busy handing the Last Son of Krypton his ass, "Essentially... I just hit you with the planet." Bam! Hawkman also gets a Superman/Batman logo base, which is recycled from the previous series and is way too small.
Speaking of which, why is Hawkman so big?
I mean, he's a big guy, but this figure absolutely towers over the first series of "Public Enemies" figures. He's a full head taller than Batman, which absolutely should not be. You can pretend it's intentional, but DCD is no stranger to scale issues, and the size discrepancy is pretty ridiculous. You can almost understand Lex being bigger, since he's in a bulky suit of armor, but even Luthor is dwarfed by the mighty Thanagarian warrior. Bottom line, this is just wrong wrong wrong wrong, and a major mistake on DCD's part. They made the figure too big, and that screws things up.
Aside from the height snafu, this is a wonderful figure. It's solid across the board - awesome sculpt, great paint, useful articulation, and cool accessories. It almost justifies the typical outrageous DCD price tag. If only they made figures like this more often. And if only this one was the right size.
Why is Hawkman so damn big? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.