Vault Review: DC Classics
John Constantine

In our never ending quest to get caught up on toy reviews, I’ll be taking a look at a figure that originally came out way back in November.  Like Swamp Thing, Constantine is a character that I was really looking forward to.  Unfortunately he didn’t live up to my expectations.

John Constantine is one of those characters that I love, even though I’ve only read a few issues of his Hellblazer series.  I wasn’t into comic books until 1997, and it took me a while to expand my reading horizons from Morrison’s JLA to the Vertigo line.  Most of my exposure to Constantine came from his appearances in fringes of the DC Universe.  Old issues of Swamp Thing, Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zatanna one-shots, and Sandman, and the Books of Magic are how I came to know and love the character.

Being a person who also loves buying toys, I didn’t even think twice about ordering Constantine’s first figure from DC Direct way back in 2000.  The line was still fairly new back then, and they were still trying to figure out just what adult collectors wanted out of their figures.  That figure had issues with articulation, an odd face sculpt, and couldn’t even stand up because his feet are a bit crooked.

This is one of the main reasons I was really looking forward to a DC Classics incarnation.  But my first DC Classics Constantine disappointment came before he was even announced.  My plan was to always have John hanging out on the shelf with his buddy Swamp Thing.  Yes, I know.  Swamp Thing can technically change his size, but most of the time the character is portrayed as only being a bit larger than the average human.  Putting him on the shelf with John just looks wrong, so the big guy is usually forced to hang with the Collect & Connects.

Fortunately John’s scale isn’t an issue.  He’s got the standard suit buck body with the rubbery trench coat piece.  We’ve already seen this with figures like Question and Joker, so you know mostly what to expect.  He does have a couple new pieces though.  His chest is a new wrinkled shirt.  His tie is new also and is sculpted to hang loose with a windblown look.

John’s most obvious new piece is his head.  I have really mixed feelings about this piece.  In my mind John Constantine has always looked like Sting (or maybe Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer).  Although this figure’s head sculpt is still recognizable as Constantine, I don’t think it captures the characters essence and personality.  I do like that they added the scar though.  It definitely gives him a bit more character.  Continue to page 2…

32 thoughts on “Vault Review: DC Classics
John Constantine

  1. Great overview, so-so figure.

    Shame, cause many moons ago I would’ve been foaming at the mouth over the prospect of a 4H-sculpted John Constantine, and I’m sure he was on a most wanted list or two.

    Just a bit too bland and grit-free to really capture the essence of the character.

  2. I’m really glad they captured the essence of Constantine: dour and ugly.

    But seriously, though; I don’t know why they decided to sculpt the Vertigo version instead of the New 52 version. Don’t get me wrong, when it comes to the books, I’ll take Vertigo any day, but Constantine ages in (semi-)real time, and most of the best stories features the younger, un-scarred John (which is what the ageless N52 version happens to look like, obviously).

    For a guy known as the Laughing Magician, this Constantine looks awfully bitter. And when getting this figure, so did I.

    1. There were enough complaints over the upcoming Red Hood in his cape/spandex instead of his jacket. do you really think Scott would have liked being threatened by the vocal minority with nu52 invading what he had previously called a refuge for classic/pre-nu52 looks?

  3. Where did you get the cigarette that you have him posed with? Does the end have a “lit”/burning look? I’d love to get one to go with my Constantine figure.

    1. The cigarette comes from the Revoltech Wolfwood figure.

      He comes with two of them. They both have a lit end with a little ash behind it. Definitely a nice prop.

      Wolfwood has been out for a while, so you can probably find him for a pretty decent price if you shop around.

  4. Well if it makes you feel any better, Swampy becomes Lord of Nature in the vertigo era. So he had run ins with John in Hellblazer and he was that large.

  5. Yes, Constantine *was* allegedly based on Sting, and Moore claims that shortly after his creation, a bloke looking exactly like him popped into hi spub, glanced around, saw Alan and nodded, then left. heh.

    I didn’t get the Swamp Thing run where he was introduced, but I recall being aware of who he was in COIE? I really didn’t read anything with him in it until the Books of Magic mini (Trenchcoat Brigade FTW! LOL) and not much since, other than the Day of Judgement event, which he has a small role.

    I do like the DCD head better, just like Uncle Sam, and this body is already seemingly getting tired, but that’s also probably because we’ve had what FOUR suits in three consecutive months? (John, Sam, Black Mask, now Rorschach…and was there another?)

    btw, cig is a painted toothpick? I recall people doing that a lot for ML5 Nick Fury, various Wolvies, and DCD Comedian.

    and was it wrong I was watching Supernatural this week and thinking I needed another Constantine to custom Castiel? not sure who I could use for Sam & Dean bases, tho?
    (slide me a few bucks to play the lottery while you’re at it! I had no idea THIS was the next review! 😉 )

    1. Lol, all lottery winnings must be shared with the staff of IAT!

      The cigarette is from the Revoltech Wolfwood figure.

      Supernatural is awesome! I’d love it if a company like NECA would get a hold of that license. Dean would kick the ass of all my demon figures.

  6. Even though I’m a fan of both guys I can live without the resemblances to Gordon Sumner and James Marsters, but those big old mitts have gotta go.

  7. Have to say I need a tutorial to make the cig. I recall one toyline back in the day had a cig with a fig but forget what it was.

    On the fig I don’t know much on the character other than the film which glad he doesn’t look like Keanu.

    1. The cigs I used came from the Revoltech Wolfwood figure, but I’m sure there are tutorials on how to make tiny cigarettes.

  8. Have to say I need a tutorial to make the cig. I recall one toyline back in the day had a cig with a fig but forget what it was.

    On the fig I don’t know much on the character other than the film which glad he doesn’t look like Keanu. I like him but man he looks incomplete with out a smoke. That one gun from the film woulda been nice though too.

    1. only figures I recall offhand had cigs were DCD Comedian (variant?) and the Kevin Smith Bluntman and Chronic figures from JSBSB.

  9. I was really disappointed by this when it arrived – the head looks off in terms of it’s proportioning, like he has a bigger jaw than is appropriate for his skull. And his hands – you are right on target! It must be tough to get hands that size through the sleeves of that coat. No wonder he keeps it on most of the time.

    I can’t recall him ever being done right though, and at least its better than that awful DC direct statue (although the paint apps might have a lot to do with that!)

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