REVIEW: DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS CRIME SYNDICATE OF AMERIKA
I'm obviously a major fan of Mattel's excellent line of DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS action figures. However, as one might suppose, there are some items within the line that I look forward to a bit more than others. The forthcoming (as of this writing) Legion of Super-Heroes set is a biggie for me. So is this set.
I'm not sure where the concept of "mirror-universes" started out. My first experience with it was the Star Trek episode "Mirror, Mirror", in which a transporter mishap sends Kirk, Scotty, McCoy, and Uhura into an alternate universe, where the Federation does not exist. Rather, a tyrannical Empire stands in its place, and Kirk commands a vicious crew on board the I.S.S. Enterprise -- and Spock had that cool mustache and goatee. Later, in episodes of Star Trek Deep Space Nine, the Terran Empire had been overthrown by a Klingon/Cardassian Alliance, humans were little more than slave labor, and prominent Ferengi tended to have a rather high casualty rate.
Alternate universes have cropped up ever since. Even Lost in Space, for all its campiness, managed one. And certainly the DC Universe has. In fact, given that it debuted in 1964, it predated the others I just mentioned.
The concept of a "multiverse", to some degree, had already been established in the DC Universe, even though it hadn't been expanded to the degree that it would one day be known for. The initial "split" was essentially the result of numerous Golden Age characters being overhauled towards the end of the 1950's, in many cases being given entirely new identities and origins. The Flash was now Barry Allen, not Jay Garrick. Green Lantern was now Hal Jordan, not Alan Scott. Other heroes whom had had their finest hours in decades past, such as Hourman, Dr. Fate, and others, had been replaced by more recent heroes such as Martian Manhunter and the Elongated Man.
The notion of two distinct Earths first came about in a story in which the then modern-day Flash, Barry Allen, met his Golden Age counterpart, Jay Garrick, who on Barry Allen's Earth had only been a comic book character. It was soon determined that there were two distinct Earths -- which were ultimately designated Earth-1, the home of the modern day heroes, and Earth-2, the home of the Golden Age heroes (although it has certainly been argued over the years that the numerical order should have been reversed).
This initial meeting between the two Flashes eventually led to a meeting between the modern day Justice League of America, and their Golden Age counterparts, the Justice Society of America. Annual gatherings in the Justice League's own title soon commenced, and most of these have been gathered into a fine series of trade paperbacks.
But, y'know, really, who's to say that there were only TWO Earths out there? Although the first two, and some of the subsequent ones, such as Earth-S, home to the "Shazam" stable of heroes, for example, were necessitated by certain editorial or ownership edicts, there was no reason to assume that there weren't more Earths out there, some of which might well be as shockingly different as they were startlingly familiar.
And so in 1964, enter the "Mirror" universe of Earth-3. Here, there were no super-heroes. The five major super-beings of the planet -- Ultraman, Owlman, Superwoman, Power Ring, and Johnny Quick, easily identified as counterparts to Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and the Flash, were in fact all super-villains, organized into the so-called CRIME SYNDICATE OF AMERICA.
No one could stop them. There were no heroes on this Earth. And as such, the villains grew bored. Ultraman, gaining a new super-power as a result of exposure to Kryptonite, discovered the existence of the other Earths, and proposed that the Syndicate challenge both the Justice League and the Justice Society. Briefly, the Syndicate had the upper hand, but ultimately, of course, they lost, and were placed in a dimensional void between the Earths.
And, for the most part, there they remained, largely in obscurity. Nothing much more was done with them. The next really notable appearance of Earth-3 came in 1981, in a DC Comics Presents Annual, which teamed the modern-day Superman with his Golden Age counterpart from Earth-2. Earth-1's Lex Luthor and Earth-2's Alexei Luthor escaped to Earth-3, and teamed up with Ultraman. However, Earth-3's Alexander Luthor, a rather heroic individual, teamed up with the two Supermen to stop them, thus becoming Earth-3's first real super-hero.
Fast forward to 1985 -- the opening salvo of the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Earth-3 is being wiped out by the antimatter wave that is sweeping through the universes. The Crime Syndicate is doing what it can to save people, as is Luthor. But it's to no avail. The Crime Syndicate is destroyed, as is Luthor, although he and his wife, Lois Lane, are able to send their infant son through the dimensional void in the nick of time. He would become Alex Luthor, a major player in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, and later the Infinite Crisis. But it did seem as though that with the death of Earth-3 and the end of the multiverse, the Crime Syndicate was gone for good. I lamented this. I always got a kick out of the concept, even if some of the team members had pretty cornball costumes.
I really should've known better. In 2000, thanks to writer Grant Morrison, the Crime Syndicate was reborn, this time on an opposite Earth that existed in the anti-matter universe, which still existed. And they were badder than ever. And had better costumes.
JLA: Earth-2 re-established the Crime Syndicate of Amerika -- and no, that's not a typo -- into the DC Universe. They virtually ruled their planet through terror -- and what an Earth it was! The very notion of heroism was virtually unknown. The entire planet was inherently evil. One of the few good guys, Lex Luthor, came to the Justice League's world to enlist the League's aid. This resulted in a couple of cross-Earth invasions by the respective teams, only to have the entire mess revealed as a plot by the anti-Earth's Brainiac, who sought the destruction of both Earths -- and very nearly got it.
The Crime Syndicate was back, and this time, they weren't going to be relegated to obscurity. Three of them turned up in a three-part story in Superman's titles, and then put in an appearance in a Superman-Batman Annual that -- supposedly -- chronicled the first meeting between Batman and Superman. Written by Joe Casey, well known for his run on Marvel's Deadpool, it was a highly amusing story that even managed to work in someone greatly resembling Marvel's Merc with a Mouth.
The next major appearance of the Crime Syndicate followed a brief cameo in the opening pages of the JLA/Avengers limited series. Picking up some threads from that, writer Kurt Busiek refined the Syndicate and their world a bit, and gave them a substantial run in the JLA's own title. They would then be fairly major players in Kurt Busiek's "Trinity" series.
Their most recent appearance was once again in the pages of Justice League of America. Slightly altered versions of them were also the centerpiece of a direct-to-DVD animated movie, "Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths", written by Dwayne McDuffie and originally proposed for the Justice League animated series. It's an excellent movie.
So the Crime Syndicate was well established. How about some action figures? There had been -- a few. DC Direct had turned out the original Syndicate some years earlier. Mattel had done a two-pack featuring the original version of Ultraman -- not a uniform that I cared for -- and Alexander Luthor. And three members of the Syndicate -- Ultraman, Superwoman, and Power Ring -- found their way into the Justice League Unlimited line.
However, the modern Syndicate seemed to elude the big leagues -- Mattel's DC Universe Classics line. At least, until a special five-pack was released as a Walmart exclusive. Let's consider the figures individually.
ULTRAMAN - The initial appearance of the Crime Syndicate didn't bother much with backstories for the characters, so we can fast-forward to the modern incarnations.
Ultraman is Superman's opposite in a great many ways, including his origin. He is not, in fact, Kryptonian whatsoever, but is rather a human astronaut named Lieutenant Clark Kent. During a mission which carried him into hyperspace, his spaceship imploded. He was rescued by unknown aliens (anti-Kryptonians, one wonders?) who reconstructed Kent in an attempt to repair the physical damage he had suffered.
This procedure altered Kent both physically and mentally, giving Kent the powers equivalent to those of Superman that would make hum Ultraman. According to the anti-Earth's Luthor, the procedure twisted Ultraman's mind, making him vicious and evil.
In contrast to Superman, Ultraman's power is dependent on a substance known as anti-Kryptonite. This does not have any effect on Superman, nor does regular Kryptonite have any impact on Ultraman. In more recent adventures, Ultraman has laced his costume with time-release capsules of anti-Kryptonite, so he can maintain his power level even if he is away from a major source of the substance for an extended period of time.
Ultraman is in, shall we say, a difficult marriage with Superwoman, who has a periodic affair with Owlman. Ultraman has been known to fire his heat vision near the two when they are together, but apparently Owlman has some sort of photographic evidence against Ultraman that would be made public if anything of a permanent nature happened to Owlman as a result of Ultraman's actions. Knowing the nature of the antimatter Earth, it's probably a photo of Ultraman helping a Boy Scout across the street or something...
Ultraman has powers equivalent to those as Superman. However, he is not as intelligent, and he tends to be less skilled in his fighting methods. It has been pointed out that since Ultraman, unlike Superman, tends to kill his foes, he has had no chance to develop improved strategies that would enable him to improve his abilities against repeated threats.
So, how's the figure? Truly excellent. The first Ultraman figure, which was based on the classic Ultraman, suffered from two problems -- having to duplicate a dumb costume, and eyes painted glaring red as if his heat vision was "on" at all times. That much could have been avoided. There wasn't much to be done about the costume.
The original Ultraman wore a mostly blue costume with preposterously flared shoulders and a very basic red "U" on the chest, and red boots. The classic figure did a capable job of emulating this, but there's still no getting around the fact that it was a pretty silly costume.
The new Ultraman figure, taking its cues from the modern incarnation of the character, is a vast, vast improvement. The costume is almost entirely blue. There are no trunks or boots. Ultraman does have a red cape, however. There are silver ovals around the waist and at the points of the elbows. Most impressive to me is the new emblem. It inverts the five-sided shape of Superman's "S" shield, and replaces the "S" with a "U", as one would expect. The color scheme is otherwise identical -- a red outline and letter with a yellow interior. It's really an impressive design, and it has been carried out very effectively on the figure.
It has been pointed out that in his initial, and most of his subsequent appearances, Ultraman's costume includes blue gloves. However, the hands of the figure have been painted in a flesh-tone. It has also been pointed out, though, that there have been a few times that Ultraman has appeared with ungloved hands, so it can be reasoned that this is a legitimate look for the character. And honestly, I think an all-blue figure, except for the head, cape, and emblem, would look a bit dull. The flesh-tone hands break it up a bit.
Interestingly, the headsculpt is the same as the classic Ultraman figure. But what a difference a better paint job can make! The eyes no longer have the "heat vision" look, and instead appear normal. The teeth are better painted, as well. It's a vast improvement, and the headsculpt works just as well on the modern Ultraman as on the classic.
The silver ovals on Ultraman's costume necessitated the making of a few new body parts, notable the lower torso, and the lower section of the upper arms. This has resulted in one minor glitch, in that it's not easy to post the arms perfectly straight. The lower arms don't quite want to go all the way back. This isn't that big of a deal, since he can still assume some appropriately menacing poses.
OWLMAN - The character's original creators, Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky, have stated that they named this evil version of Batman "Owlman" because owls have been known to prey on bats. I didn't know that.
As to the character's modern origins, Owlman is Thomas Wayne, Jr., the older brother of Bruce Wayne. In the antimatter universe, young Bruce was killed along with his mother by a policeman when Thomas Sr., refused to accompany him for questioning. The younger Thomas escaped the scene and grew up to become Owlman.
Equipping himself with a utility belt and technology similar to those used by Batman, along with possessing a drug-enhanced superior intellect, Owlman became a master criminal and ally to Gotham City's Boss Gordon.
Later, he learned that his father, Thomas Wayne Sr., was still alive and had become the chief of police of Gotham City, gathering a small cadre of honest police officers. Owlman blames his father for the deaths of his mother and brother, and it is strongly hinted that the main purpose to his criminal career is to destroy his father, who is well aware of who Owlman is and is equally determined to destroy his own son.
Interestingly, during his visit to the "positive-matter" Earth, Owlman is both shocked and grieved to learn that the Waynes, including the counterpart to his father, are dead, and he shows a rare moment of pathos when he kneels in front of the grave.
While Ultraman is technically the leader of the Syndicate, Owlman is the real brains behind the team. The working relationship between the two is extremely tense, not only due to Superwoman, but also because of Ultraman's desire to rule the planet through fear and violence, whereas Owlman takes a more pragmatic approach, even to allowing a certain amount of dissent and rebellion, if only to keep things interesting.
In other media, Owlman has gotten around a little better than some of the other members of the Crime Syndicate. He has appeared in the animated series "Batman: Brave and the Bold", where he traveled from his Earth, where he leads a group known as the Injustice Syndicate. He travels to Batman's world and assembles a group pf super-villains to join him. He is eventually returned to his proper world.
So, how's the figure? One of the sincere prizes of the assortment, I can happily say. If any Crime Syndicate character portrayed the silliness of the early 60's, it had to be Owlman. He looked out of shape, thoroughly unathletic, and was wearing gray and blue tights -- poor-fitting ones at that -- that were a duplicate of Batman's, but on his head he had this gold-colored owl's head, that didn't even conceal his face, that looked like he'd either shot and stuffed the head of some gigantic species of owl, or maybe had been pillaging Hawkman's wardrobe and tore the side wings off. It looked silly in the 60's, and not even George Perez could do much with it for his brief appearance in 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Honestly, if Ultraman and Owlman hadn't been garbed in their modern costumes, I would have had serious reservations about buying the set. Happily, I needed no such reservations.
Owlman is entirely modern. The feathered head has been replaced by a futuristic-looking helmet, with some resemblance to the head of an owl, in that it has large, oval, silver eyes, and upswept ridges to the sides, resembling those of an owl's ear tufts.
Owlman's uniform has been molded mostly in black. This is a slight stretch, as in the comics, I've always interpreted it as being a very dark gray-blue. On the other hand, I can't deny that the black looks very impressive.
Owlman has thick ridged bands around his wrists and lower legs. These are a metallic pewter in color. One assumes he has some sort of gadgetry concealed within these. Obviously, these uniform details required the making of new molds. He also has a utility belt around his waist.
Most impressive is Owlman's cape. It is perhaps the most distinctive cape I've ever seen for a DC Universe Classics figure. For one thing, it's segmented to vaguely resemble feathers, in the same sort of high-tech way the helmet resembles an owl's head. But more to the point, unlike other DC Universe figure capes, which are molded "off the shoulder", Owlman's cape is actually draped over his shoulders! This is entirely in keeping with the character's usual appearance in the comics, but one would think it would be a serious burden to articulation. However -- it isn't.
Owlman's cape has been molded thin enough, and from a far more flexible than usual material, that his arms retain a proper range of motion. The cape is hardly a hindrance at all. Needless to say, I am hugely impressed with the results.
Owlman's facial expression is appropriately grim, and he's also the only figure in the set to come with an accessory -- he has a small Owlman version of a Batarang, except he doesn't call it an Owlarang or anything. They're known as Razor-rangs -- which should give you a pretty good idea of what they're capable of.
SUPERWOMAN - Although technically the counterpart to Wonder Woman, Superwoman has some aspects of her character that correspond to Superman's world, as well. She is an Amazon by birth, having been born on Damnation Island, presumably the counterpart to Themyscira, and has ventured into what she called "Patriarch's World", having taken the alias Lois Lane (!), and has risen through the ranks -- doubtless unpleasantly -- to become the chief editor of the antimatter Earth's version of the Daily Planet, which appears to be a tabloid that would make the National Enquirer look like responsible journalism.
Arguably, her Lois Lane identity is closer to Diana Prince than the positive world's Lois Lane, but it does get a little muddled. As to Superwoman's personality, this would require the use of language that would hardly be suitable for a family-friendly Web Site, but suffice to say that such terminology would rhyme with such words as "witch", "limbo", and "glut".
Not that you'd want to say any of those words to her if you wanted to stay out of the hospital -- or possibly the morgue. Like Wonder Woman, she possesses a magic lasso. Unlike Wonder Woman's, which compels people to tell the truth, Superwoman's lowers people's inhibitions, making them that much more inclined to brag about whatever dirty little secrets they might be carrying around with them.
So, how's the figure? Very impressive. Interestingly, Superwoman's costume has changed the least from the original incarnation to the modern, and it's a fairly straight forward costume, resembling a one-piece black swimsuit with a short cape, high black gloves, and black boots. There is some yellow trim on the interior of the cape.
About the only additions made to the modern incarnation of the character were a more modern hairstyle, and a silver neck chain that linked to two silver ovals at the shoulders, that were connected to the cape. In the center of this chain is a small silver oval with the letter "S" sculpted into it. Clearly this figure is intended to be the modern Superwoman, as all of these elements are present and accounted for.
The figure uses some body parts from existing female molds, but this is mostly the arms and possibly some parts of the legs. The head, upper body, and especially the boots -- relatively short boots with open tops and high heels -- are entirely distinctive to this figure. Superwoman is slightly taller than some of the other female figures in the DC Universe Classics line, such as Catwoman or Cheetah, but is not quite as tall, or as powerfully built, as Wonder Woman.
Nevertheless, she's an extremely impressive figure. The headsculpt is excellent. She has a -- really mean facial expression, that has been superbly painted. She has small silver earrings, and long black hair, clearly a separately molded piece, that has excellent detail. She also has a little black choker chain around her neck.
The cape is short but flexible. Typical for most capes, it's attached to the figure in the back. In this instance, I do fond myself wondering how necessary this was, since the cape is attached to the shoulder pieces and the chain in the front. Given how short the cape is, this is one instance where perhaps it didn't need to be secured in the back.
Superwoman does not come with any golden lasso. Then again, neither did Wonder Woman. Both of these matters can readily be remedied by a visit to a good craft store that should carry gold thread, twine, or elastic cord for a minimal price.
My only complaint about Superwoman is that her legs are a bit stuck -- and I'm convinced it's because the lower torso was painted in a fairly glossy black, which looks great, but tends to have this effect. I remember when I got the Batman Legacy figure of Batgirl, who was almost entirely painted in glossy black, she was almost entirely stuck, as well. Took me the better part of a day to free her up. Hopefully I'll be able to do the same for Superwoman. Apart from this, however, this is really an outstanding figure.
JOHNNY QUICK - Here we come to a figure in the set who's a little difficult to explain both from a character and a figure standpoint. The original Johnny Quick from the original Crime Syndicate never had much of an origin. The Johnny Quick created by Grant Morrison for "JLA: Earth-2" appeared to be a counterpart to Wally West, who in the "main" universe was the Flash at the time.
And here we get as much of an origin as possible. Unlike Wally West's connection to the Speed Force, which was granted to him after being doused in a chemical concoction identical to Barry Allen's -- and being hit by lightning in the process -- Johnny Quick uses an injected drug called "Speed Juice" in order to maintain his superpowers. The main Earth has had something similar, a speed-inducing drug called "Velocity 9". Whether Quick's serum is a counterpart to this substance is unknown. Writer Grant Morrison has commented that this Johnny Quick had a predecessor, possibly the equivalent of Barry Allen, and that his blood was used to create the "Speed Juice". Since something like that would be a limited supply, one would assume that Quick has since found a synthetic counterpart.
Johnny Quick is also highly addicted to this drug, to the point where if he doesn't inject himself on a regular basis, he goes into serious physical withdrawal, including very slowed down, slurred speech.
Now here's where things get a little complicated. In the Syndicate's most recent appearance, Owlman comments that "the original" Johnny Quick and Power Ring have returned. This is due to the fact that, apparently, events on the "main" Earth affect those on the antimatter Earth, and with the return of both Barry Allen and Hal Jordan, the original versions of Johnny Quick and Power Ring have also returned.
And yet there is a further conundrum. During battle in their most recent encounter, Justice League member Jesse Quick, who is the daughter of the Golden Age HERO known as Johnny Quick, no relation to the Crime Syndicate whatsoever, comments that underneath his helmet, the Crime Syndicate's Johnny Quick looks exactly like her late father.
The best conclusion that can arguably be drawn here is that the Crime Syndicate's Johnny Quick is in fact the anti-matter Earth's Johnny Chambers (the Golden Age's Johnny Quick's real name), but presumably did not become active until closer to the time of Barry Allen, which might also imply something of an age discrepancy. As to his "return", I'm not even going to get into that, since at best, it's a story-telling mechanism, and I'll have enough to deal with in that category when I get around to Power Ring. As to what might have happened to the Wally West version of Johnny Quick -- probably nothing terribly pleasant.
So, how's the figure? Well, very cool, but once again, we have a discrepancy to deal with. For reasons that I cannot entirely fathom, Mattel and the Four Horsemen chose to present the classic version of Johnny Quick in this set. Fortunately, it's still a very decent figure. In fact, the classic and modern Johnny Quicks are virtually identical in appearance -- with one major difference. The modern Johnny Quick wears a large silver helmet on his head, with a visor that presumably protects his eyes, and covers all but his lower face. The classic Johnny Quick wears a red headpiece that merges with the rest of his costume, but leaves the face exposed. There are two lightning-bolt-like earpieces on the sides, which are borderline silly-looking, but -- hey, at least it's not the original Owlman, y'know?
Otherwise, the costumes are very much the same, and as one would expect, take their cues from the Flash. Johnny Quick's costume is almost entirely red, with yellow gloves and boots, with treads on the soles. Dual narrow lightning bolts start at the shoulders and converge in the middle of the back, and just below the belt line on the front.
I'm still trying to explain the costume discrepancy, just for my own peace of mind. Perhaps Quick doesn't wear the helmet at all times. It's gotta be on the heavy side. Maybe when the "original" Johnny Quick returned, he used the helmet for a while, but has since decided to abandon it. Strictly personal theories here, with nothing (yet) in the comics to back them up.
Ultimately, I have to say I would have preferred to have seen the modern Johnny Quick, and I am very curious about Mattel's rationale here, but if one figure had to be made in the classic likeness, then this is the one it should have been.
POWER RING - Another classic likeness, but this one can get away with it a little better thanks to a recent appearance. That doesn't make the backstory of Power Ring any easier to explain.
When the Crime Syndicate first appeared, the Green Lantern represented in the Justice League was Hal Jordan. Accordingly, Power Ring resembled Hal Jordan to some degree.
When the Crime Syndicate was brought back by Grant Morrison in 2000, the main Green Lantern, who was in the Justice League at the time, was Kyle Rayner. Accordingly, Power Ring bore some resemblance to Kyle Rayner. He was a younger man, with spiky blonde hair, a mask that looked more like a sculpted visor -- not unlike Rayner's own very detailed mask -- and his costume was different and somewhat more complex than the original's -- again, much like Rayner's.
He also didn't have much respect for the "old guard" of heroes, at one point referring to Aquaman as "grandpa", very sarcastically -- whereupon he learned that it's not a good idea to insult someone who has a large harpoon for a left hand.
The next time the Crime Syndicate appeared, in the Kurt Busiek run of JLA, the Green Lantern represented in the Justice League was John Stewart. At this point in time, the anti-matter universe was recovering from the reality-shaking events of JLA/Avengers. Indeed, the anti-matter universe had been temporarily wiped out by these events, and later restored. But as part of a number of -- well, "cosmic hiccups", for lack of a better term -- the Rayner-like Power Ring was replaced, literally in the blink of an eye, with a new Power Ring that greatly resembled John Stewart. His costume was more simplified, similar to Stewart's own, he was African-American (or however he might be called in the anti-matter universe), and like Stewart, he had a military background. Stewart had served in the United States Marines, whereas Power Ring had just recently won manumission from the Slave Marines.
This Power Ring would arguably see the most time, participating in the bulk of this particular adventure in the pages of JLA, as well as being the main Power Ring in the "Trinity" series. He would even be the Power Ring to receive a figure in the Justice League Unlimited line.
However, in the most recent appearance of the Crime Syndicate, in the pages of Justice League of America, to keep the story aspect of events in the "main" universe affecting those in the antimatter world, it is explained that the original Power Ring has returned, just as Hal Jordan had, even though technically Jordan had returned before the events of Trinity. One assumes some sort of delayed reaction.
And so, the Power Ring in the Crime Syndicate's most recent appearance was once again the Hal Jordan-ish individual. His name is Harrolds -- first name unknown -- and the name is clearly a moderate anagram of Hal Jordan.
Let me just say this -- I don't even want to think about what the antimatter world's version of Guy Gardner must be like...!
As to Power Ring's -- power ring -- it has no apparent connection to the Green Lantern Corps or the Guardians of Oa, although it does operate on a similar basis. It relies on willpower, and casts a green light, which can be used to build constructs, as well as allowing the wearer to fly, even in space. In Power Ring's first appearance, he showed no weakness to wood -- the vulnerability of Alan Scott -- or the color yellow, at that point in time the weakness of Hal Jordan.
The ring appears to have a fully-sentient entity contained within it, named Volthoom. This was actually a secret code-word used by the Crime Syndicate in their original appearance. Volthoom is able to talk and to advise the user as to various courses of action. Most of the ring's owners seem to have found this voice in the head somewhat annoying. Volthoom is purportedly the mad monk that offered the ring to the first Power Ring. However, the most recent storyline in Justice League of America seems to imply that Volthoom is the antimatter equivalent of the Starheart, which bestows its power on Alan Scott and Jade, and which does have some indirect connection to the power source of the Guardians and the Green Lantern Corps.
It's also been mentioned that Power Ring's ring emits an energy charge with an energy signature that is the exact opposite of a Green Lantern's.
So, how's the figure? Very cool. Had it not been for this particular Power Ring's appearance in the most recent episode featuring the Crime Syndicate, I might've been a little peeved that we didn't get the Rayner or Stewart counterparts, but this version has some modern legitimacy at this point.
The headsculpt is especially interesting, particularly the mask. Power Ring, like Hal Jordan, is a Caucasian male with brown hair. The figure has an appropriately mean expression, and the green mask, which covers the eyes and nose just as Jordan's does, is upswept and pointed at the tips. This has the effect of making Power Ring look more than a little like Jordan when he was possessed by the power of the evil entity Parallax. I'm not the first person to note that about this figure, and it's a legitimate observation. Nice touch, too, whether it was intentional or not.
Power Ring's costume is mostly dark green, with lighter green boots, and narrow stripes down the arms. He has off-white gloves, and a large emblem on his chest. Obviously, it is not the Green Lantern emblem. It is a white triangle, with a green "X"-like shape in the center of it.
Much to Mattel's and the Four Horsemen's credit, the power ring on Power Ring's right hand is a brand new sculpt, with the proper design given to the ring, with a touch of metallic green paint.
Personally, I think it'd make a cool story to drag this guy before the Guardians of the Universe and see if they can figure him out. There's thousands of Green Lanterns out there, and even Alan Scott has some connection to the Guardians. But there's only one Power Ring of this type, whether it's worn by Harrolds, or the Rayner or Stewart equivalents. There's a story there, somewhere.
All of the figures are neatly painted, properly assembled, and certainly well articulated. All are fully poseable at the head, arms, upper arm swivel, elbows, wrists, mid-torso, waist, legs, upper leg swivel, knees, and ankles. Thankfully, none of them have any annoying and unnecessary double-jointed articulation.
So, what's my final word? That this set will receive my highest recommendation is an understatement. I've always gotten a kick out of the Crime Syndicate, and their 2000 reboot with the wardrobe overhaul just made them that much cooler. The absolute worst thing I can say about this set is that I wish Johnny Quick had his helmet, and that's a very minor issue. Otherwise, this set of DC Universe Classics figures is nothing short of absolutely amazing, and certainly an extremely welcome addition to any DC Universe collection. I am truly delighted to be able to welcome the Crime Syndicate of Amerika in, and I am certain that you will be, as well.
The DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS five-pack featuring the CRIME SYNDICATE OF AMERIKA most definitely has my very highest recommendation possible!