For some collectors, DC Universe Classics Wave 17 proved to a bit of a gauntlet. While the six regular figures were all story specific, some appearing for only a panel, & not highly demanded characters, the Collect & Connect was someone many collectors had been waiting years for: the Anti-Monitor.
The Anti-Monitor first appeared during Crisis on the Infinite Earths. He is first shown in #2, calls himself the Monitor in #5, and gets stuck with the name “Anti-Monitor” in #7 courtesy of Harbinger. His back story has never really been developed, but it’s never really needed to be either.
Anyaway, in the DC Universe, you’re not supposed to see the big hand mixing the pot of creation. Never ever. The first guy to look back and see it caused the one universe to splinter into an untold number of parallel universes, including one particularly nasty, evil one. At the same time, two beings were spontaneously created, one here and one in that evil, anti-matter universe. Technically, they were both called “Monitors”, though the one in the evil universe ended up with the nickname, Anti-Monitor, so we could all keep things straight.
The Anti-Monitor conquered his universe and was content until the second guy looked back to see the big hand. That scientist ended up destroying his own universe and making the Anti-Monitor aware of new places to conquer. After that, ol’ Annie’ kept on conquering matter universes one-by-one until he got to a few that… uh, mattered – the ones where the heroes of the DC Universe resided. The battle for the fate of the last handful of universes is covered in Crisis on the Infinite Earths – a must read for any DC fan. It still holds up great, even today. A bit of a spoiler though, the Anti-Monitor is killed in that story and all is right with the DC Universe.
The Anti-Monitor stayed dead for a long time and there was much rejoicing. He was a great villain, but one best left to that one story; any return, unless carefully handled, would surely dilute him as a character. And unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. While I have happily read and mostly enjoyed Post-Rebirth Green Lantern, I have never been able to abide by the return of the Anti-Monitor and his lame use by Geoff Johns. When Grant Morrison begat the new Multiverse, the Anti-Monitor returned to life and set his sights… a little lower. He became a Guardian for the Sinestro Corps and got the crap beat out of him for his trouble. His dying body was then flung into space where it was trapped in the Black Lantern Battery. He’d be returned to life (and get the fancy new costume this figure sports) by the White Lantern Entity moments before Nekron flicked him back to the Anti-Mater universe like an annoying bug. He’s appeared a couple times as a plot device since then, but I assume Johns has some plan to actually make him menacing again. I’m in-between on if I want to read it.
Before we talk much about sculpt, I want to get a scale comment out of the way. The Anti-Monitor can be any size he wants, so this figure is, in fact, accurate. He’s also at or near the upper limit that Mattel is working to make the Collect & Connects, meaning that the folks in charge of the line might feel like they did all that they could do in giving him an impressive height. I guess they did, but I still find him a bit lackluster.
He’s the same size as Trigon, Stel, & presumably S.T.R.I.P.E.. He’s smaller than Chemo & Giganta. That just seems wrong. I guess what I want to say – and I know there are some of you that want them to max out the height on every C&C – is that I wish Mattel would use the max height more conservatively. Trigon, Stel, & S.T.R.I.P.E. could have all been a little smaller. Save the max height for the handful of characters that really need it. Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone needed it more than the ol’ Anti-Monitor here.
And I know that this is more than just Hasbro vs. Mattel, that it involves the popularity of Marvel vs. DC characters, the quality of comic-based films between the two comic companies, the non-fan/public awareness of the different companies’ rosters, etc – but I weep that I can buy a Galactus twice as big as this Anti-Monitor.
The Anti-Monitor features an entirely original sculpt and it deftly recreates the Anti-Monitor’s current look. He’s had a handful and, cape aside, I do like his modern look (despite having never wanted to see him return) so I don’t mind it being chosen for the line. I do lament the lack of his classic armor, as it’s certainly the most iconic of all his appearances. Still, I’m just glad they didn’t try to make “Sinestro Corps Anti-Monitor” or “Black Lantern Anti-Monitor”. Ewww.
As a unique sculpt, all the details you’d want to be there are present from the crags in his mouth to the rivets on the back of his boots. The Anti-Monitor will stand out on any shelf despite his relatively small stature. Plus, his expression is classic Anti-Monitor; you wouldn’t think so, but this guy rarely shuts his trap.
I only have two complaints about the figure’s construction, and they’re both material in nature. First, his upper torso armor is a very soft, pliable plastic. This is great for not blocking the shoulder articulation and for putting the head on the figure, but – as you can see in the photos – there are two pegs where the armor goes into his chest. When you first open him, your armor is going to look dented no matter what you do and, as time rolls on, I fear there will be stress lines (and ultimately tears) forming around those circles.
The second issue should be obvious. I’m on record as hating cloth capes (hate ’em) and this one is no different. Even more annoying was that Mattel had this one crammed into the bottom of the package. I had to iron it for this review and I hate ironing almost as much as I hate cloth capes! I would take it off completely, but it’s pegged between his back and his armor, so it’s not removable without tearing it and/or modification to the figure. Also, when you assemble the figure, the cape has a hole for the neck peg. My advice? Don’t use it. The head doesn’t seat as well on the neck peg with the cape in the mix. If you pull the cape down off the neck entirely, the head will seat correctly and the cape will stay on due to the peg in the back. Plus, you can pull the cape edges out to the shoulders and it looks as best as a cloth cape can. Continue to Page 2…