Sometimes a figure I’m not too keen on reviewing gets overlooked. It’s rather easy to do – my review backlog feels like its miles long sometimes – but I tend to get to the Mattycollector reviews fairly regularly for two reasons. One, they’re insanely popular regardless of what figure I’m reviewing (even the Ghostbusters reviews got tons of hits) and, two, they show up every month and I’m always… “oh crap, I didn’t review last month’s yet”.
That is precisely the case today with this figure: Nite Owl from Mattel’s Club Black Freighter. Comedian arrived late last week and since the Watchmen figures are bimonthly, that means Nite Owl has been sitting in his box for two months. Oops!
Part of that is due to my interest for the character – he actually highlights one of the differences between the comic and the film for me. In the comics, I don’t much care about Nite Owl. He’s part of the ensemble, he’s important and I root for him, but I just never really had an affinity for him. Skip ahead to the movie and Patrick Wilson did such an amazing job as Dan Dreiberg (& Nite Owl) that it made me fall in love with the character.
And so naturally, my desire for a Nite Owl figure increased tenfold. I skipped all the movie merchandise (that year wasn’t really a financial boon for me), but my desire for comic figures was (& still is) a big part of my want list. And I’ve enjoyed, to varying degrees, Mattel’s stab at the comic-based figures so far, but Nite Owl has kinda me realize that I’d rather have a movie Nite Owl than a comic one. Hrm.
Now, what I’ve been mulling over, apparently for two months, is if I would rather have a movie figure because of Nite Owl was portrayed in the film or if because Nite Owl isn’t really on the stellar side of Mattel’s figure output. I really can’t quite decide.
I don’t entertain most of the complaints about the Watchmen line. I think it works. It’s a line of six characters that we would naturally want to fit in with our DC Classics and do thanks to the reuse of the buck bodies from DCUC. Rorschach has been on the high end & Dr. Manhattan the low end of how well the figures turned out, but I’m a universe builder. While I love finding a diamond in the rough (hello, Batros!) I’m also okay padding my shelves with figures that are good, but not exceptional.
And that’s Nite Owl. There’s little doubt. The gist is here. There the new pieces we needed: the head, the cloak, the belt that get the details right. And Mattel also did a new, non-ripped torso because Nite Owl was a little past his prime during most of Watchmen. That’s pretty cool. And the new pieces are pretty much all elements of great sculpting. I love the dour expression on the face. I love the belt. I love the ponch. It reminds me of me!
And I like the cloak too. I mean, it’s accurate… but it’s also not functional for an action figure. His arms are pretty much locked in there. He can get into some poses that stretch the clock a bit, but then the cloak is stretched once you take the pose down. It’s kind of annoying. I love that they went for the aesthetic. The precedent for this line was set by Rorschach, but I like my figures to be able to move. I’ve seen a few online mods where they trim the cloak down and it still looks good while increasing the figure’s range. I may try it. Continue to Page 2…