Sometimes I wish I were a little more strong-willed when it comes to toy collecting. After picking up Superwoman & Talon, my DC Collectibles embargo has largely been in flux. I’m still not going to read many, if any, of the comics DC is putting out. If there’s a raving review, a favorite creator, or something that calls back to the storyline I was interested in, maybe, but otherwise, I’m good.
As such, I haven’t been reading Forever Evil. I’ve seen covers, a friend has told me a thing or two, but for the most part, I have no idea what the rebooted characters are doing. So why do I want to buy toys of them? Really, I’m asking! I could take the easy out and say that it’s because they look cool and have good articulation. I could be a little more somber and say that buying DC figures is just second nature. The truth is probably somewhere in between.
After Superwoman and Talon, I’d been keeping an eye out for Deathstorm. If there was a ranking of Firestorm fans, I imagine I could pull a pretty high spot. Well, at least back in 2004. I haven’t suffered the last 10 years of crappy characterization, changes, and reboots well. They kinda make me miss the limbo he spent the late 90s in… y’know, when we he was an underwear model. He’s had a hard go since, the 80s okay? I admit it. But I do love Firestorm. He is one of the few characters where I have nearly every comic appearance (up through 2004). I also love buying his figure on the rare occasion one gets made.
One I never got around to picking up was the Black Lantern Firestorm, or Deathstorm. I always meant to, but I just don’t run into DC Direct that often here in SWMO. And I know I could’ve ordered it, but DCD/DCC quality scares me – I’d rather see it first (which is ironic as a MOTU subscriber, I know). I’ll eventually snag one of eBay sometime. Until then, though, my thirst for a skull-faced Firestorm was quenched by this new-52, thrice-recycled idea figure.
I don’t know the origin of the new Deathstorm in The New 52. He is part of the Crime Syndicate, so I’m safe in saying he’s an evil doppelganger from Earth-3. While he looks undeniably cool, I do have to take a moment to laugh at how lame comics can sometimes be. Clearly, something is neat about Firestorm with a skull face. I bought this guy, right? But, even with my not really paying attention to DC Comics these days, I know this is at least third, unrelated version of Firestorm with a skull face to appear in the last few years. I imagine the pitch sessions involve someone shouting “that’d be awesome” and then being given the thumbs up with no real regard to storytelling or context.
But none of that matters, because this is a toy review. Bad singers have good songs. Bad authors have good books. And bad characters can have cool figures (and, heck, Deathstorm 3.0 might be cool, I really don’t know). And Deathstorm not only looked pretty slick in the box, he turned out to be pretty nice all around too.
The sculpt is probably 100% original. DCD could use some shared tooling in certain areas, but they tend not to. Even if shared tooling was in play, Deathstorm still has a ton of unique detail. Both the upper and lower torso feature appropriately sculpted costume elements, as do the arms and lower legs. And atop that is a well sculpted skeleton face that appears to be in mid-cackle. It’s appropriately creepy and that it’s molded in translucent orange for the flame to also double as light-piping is a fantastic touch.
The only sculpt element I wasn’t hot on was the arms. Firestorm’s well-known for his awesome, late-70s poofy sleeves. Deathstorm’s are similar, but not as poofy. The odd choice here though was to make the articulation internal and give the arms a rubbery coating. Truthfully, it looks great. But as any toy collector can tell you, softer materials give us pause. Whether it’s my white, “cornstarch” covered JLU figures, my leaking SDCC Swamp Thing, or my slightly yellow Stay-Puft, I’ve been burned by softer plastics. Burned bad. (And I know my examples all Mattel, but still). It’s neat, but I am worried how it will hold up over time. There’s a bicep swivel and a hinged elbow under there and some cracks in the paint are already visible. As I said, it’s not bad, just an area of concern for me. Continue to Page 2…