I haven’t had time to gather up the review links of late (man, that’s gonna be one massive list…), but how about we toss a brief review into the Friday mix to make up for it? Today, I’ve got a quick look at Mattel’s version of Phantom Stranger, the February Club Infinite Earths figure.
I’ve mentioned it a million times I know, but some of the earliest things I remember reading as a kid were 70s JLA reprints. They’re still some of my favorite stories to this day and, as such, Phantom Stranger is pretty important character to me even if he’s not terribly well-known.
The original (dare I say “real”), pre-nU52 version of the Phantom Stranger is a great example of things DC had to let go to reformat their universe. Stranger originally appeared in the 1950s as a horror character, either disproving or combating supernatural threats. In the 70s & 80s, he was pulled from those origins into the mainstream of the DCU where he’d assist the Justice League or foster along a sequence of events in the large crossovers. And while he would play his part, who he was was always in question. Readers only knew that he was cursed to wander the Earth in penance of something. DC traded on his unknown origins, even publishing an issue of Secret Origins that featured four different possible origins for the Stranger. His mysteriousness, his lack of origin was what made the character interesting.
Sadly, all that was washed away by DC. One of the first things they set out to do in the new universe was given the Stranger an origin (he’s Judas Iscariot – hey, I didn’t say it was original) and more or less torpedo what made him cool or unique. I’ll be honest, I haven’t read the new solo title, but the changes made to the Stranger represent what I don’t much like about the relaunch. I’m just not interested in the new version, his definitive origin, and the need to replace his medallion with a necklace made from the thirty pieces of silver. Nuance has been replaced with “kewl!”.
But, hey none of that really applies to this figure right? This is the classic Phantom Stranger that I know and love. And I should be happy to finally have him in the line… but, much like the new 52 Stranger, he just doesn’t quite scratch the itch I need him to.
The figure is what any longtime DCUC collector would’ve come to expect. It’s the same suited body we’ve seen a couple times with a handful of new pieces to get the details right. In that regard, Mattel didn’t skimp here. We’ve got the new turtle neck upper torso, new hands, the cape, and the head. Also included is the medallion as a removable piece and all the chains are real metal. On paper, this figure looks like it should be awesome. Continue to Page 2…