REVIEW: DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS "COLLECT-AND-CONNECT" TRIGON
The Collect-and-Connect figure for Series 13 of Mattel's remarkable line of DC Universe Classics action figures is an interesting bad guy by the name of TRIGON. Basically, he's an interdimensional demon type who caused a fair amount of grief for the Teen Titans over the years, after their resurgence by Marv Wolfman and George Perez in the 1980's. This is doubtless due to the fact that one of the Titans, Raven, is Trigon's daughter, and he wanted to use her power to help take over the world or whatever it was that he had planned. Nothing pleasant, I'm sure of that.
To me, Trigon is one of those sort of odd villains who has a presence and a power level that you would think would make him more of a threat than he actually turned out to be. But really, unless I missed something somewhere, he never really got past pestering the Titans. Now, not to malign them, but come on. If you're bent on global destruction or conquest, I don't care who's related to you on the team, you really need to go after bigger targets. The Justice League, the Justice Society, heck the Green Lantern Corps. But as far as I can tell, Trigon was pretty much restricted to the Titans. That may be fine and well for lesser-level villains, but doesn't "interdimensional demon" sort of imply something a bit more extensive? And he certainly looks the part with the antlers, etc.
Anyway, I looked up Trigon's full background story in some online research, so those of you unfamiliar with the character can have some additional information.
A sadistic, cruel, and powerful demon of interdimensional origin, Trigon is the result of a mating between a female member of a mystic sect and the deity-like being that they worshiped. A side effect of this pairing was that their child was filled with the cast-off evil energies of the inhabitants of Azarath, forming him into their personification. At birth, Trigon killed everyone around him, including his own mother. At the age of six, he destroyed an entire planet. And by the age of thirty, he held dominion over millions of worlds in his dimension.
Years later, a human woman named Arella joined a cult that was trying to kill Trigon. However, when a ritual was performed, Trigon, disguised as a handsome male human, emerged and married Arella, who was soon impregnated by him. She discovered Trigon's true nature soon after, and Trigon left Arella, who was soon found by the extradimensional society of Azarath, where she gave birth to her daughter, Raven. The inhabitants of Azarath are determined to raise Raven as peacefully as possible, teaching her to control her emotions in order to suppress and control the powers she inherited from Trigon.
In her teen years, Raven learned of Trigon's intentions to conquer the Earth, and vowed to stop him. She initially approached the Justice League, but they refused on the advice of Zatanna, who sensed her evil parentage. In desperation, she re-formed the Teen Titans, who had been disbanded for some time, bringing in several new members along the way, in order to fight her father.
The team was eventually able to defeat Trigon, and seal him in an interdimensional prison. However, Raven still had to fight her father's influence, as he was not completely destroyed. Trigon eventually escaped and came to Earth, taking control of Raven and destroying Azarath in the process. The Titans came together and tried to fight Trigon, but over the course of the battle, Raven was killed. This allowed the souls of Azarath to use her as a channel to kill Trigon. This had all been a part of a plan on the part of Azarath to destroy Trigon. He was seemingly blasted out of existence, although his followers, led by another Titans villain, Brother Blood, have tried to revive him several times.
Later on, Raven states that Trigon has returned and is responsible for a series of recent attacks on past and present members of the Teen Titans. The cause of Trigon's return is unknown; however, is is revealed that attacks by rival demonic forces have spread Trigon's forces too thinly, and left him desperately weak, which forces him to renew his attack on Earth's dimension, hoping to create a new power base. Three young individuals turn up, claiming to be the sons of Trigon. They attempt to open a portal to Trigon's realm, but betray him and steal his remaining power instead. Trigon is left trapped in his realm.
As to his powers and abilities, Trigon represents a force of pure evil and possesses vast power. He has been shown capable of energy projection, size-shifting, super-strength, near-invulnerability, telekinesis, matter transmutation, and much more. He was able to reshape the planet Earth on a whim on one occasion.
That "size-shifting" ability is likely what made Trigon a logical character for the DC Universe Classics "Collect-and-Connect" series. When fully assembled, Trigon stands about 9-1/4 inches in height -- not counting the antlers and his weird back collar. He uses a few of the same parts at Atom Smasher, a Collect-and-Connect hero from a few waves back.
Trigon, unlike some of the other bizarre demonic types in the DC Universe, such as Etrigan, a character who was released as an individual figure in Series 1 of DC Universe Classics, is fairly straightforward humanoid, in that he has a well-proportioned, muscular body, that doesn't deviate much from the norm. Until you get a good look at his head. That's where most of the weirdness is.
Trigon has, for one thing -- four eyes. Two of them are fairly standard, and are recessed under the brow as one would expect, and have eyebrows over them. The other two are above these, on the forehead. They tend to look like "extras" because they're slightly smaller than the "normal" eyes, and they do not have a brow ridge over them, or eyebrows. They just simply appear on the forehead.
Trigon has been seen to use these upper eyes for energy blasts. What else they may be capable of is anybody's guess. Depending on how independently the eyes are capable of moving, he might be able to look both ways before crossing the street at the same time (although frankly, I think if he were standing at a street corner, it'd pretty well bring traffic to a stop regardless).
One does sort of wonder if anybody ever made the mistake of calling him "four-eyes". I mean, given his actions in childhood, I think if he were asked if anyone ever did that, the answer would be something like, "Just once, but after I used my eyes to burn that person to a cinder, not so much..."
Trigon's head, as a whole, is semi-human. That is, it has eyes, two of which, at least, are where they should be, a nose, a mouth, and ears, all where you'd expect them to be. It's the overall look and proportions that are a little strange. His nose is relatively small, and his mouth rather large. It's sculpted open, a look a generally don't approve of but for this guy it works, and a few of his teeth are a little more pronounced. There's the hint of a tongue inside the mouth, so credit to the sculptors for the detail. His ears are large and pointed, far more than, say, a Vulcan's would be.
Trigon has somewhat long, dark blonde hair, and two short antlers protruding from the top of his head. Each antler has two prongs on it. The head has been molded in at least two parts. There's the front of the head, which goes as far as the front part of the hairline and includes the hair that hangs in front of his ears, and there's the back of the head, which includes the rest of the hair, as well as the antlers, and is molded from a more flexible plastic. This makes the antlers very flexible and rubbery, but they'd almost have to be, not necessarily for safety reasons (although that may well be a factor), but because they're quite thin, and if they weren't as flexible as they are, they might well have been prone to breakage.
The rest of Trigon is, as I said, relatively standard in appearance and proportion, although his fingers are slightly longer than average, and have almost claw-like nails -- who's this guy's manicurist?
Trigon has red skin, and his outfit -- what there is of it -- is white, molded here as a very, very pale gray. Apart from his demonic look, this is one rather creepy thing about Trigon -- he's rather underdressed. He has boots that come up past the knees, an armband on his left upper arm, different wristbands on each arm, a narrow strap across his chest, and he wears a thin double belt with a length of fabric, molded as plastic, down the front and back.
It doesn't help that there's this little object on the top center of his front -- whatever the heck you want to call this -- that's a tiny little four-eyed skull, with horns. Now, nothing questionable really shows -- even in profile, thank goodness. There are times for precision and accuracy. This isn't one of them. And I don't fault the toy, certainly. It's an accurate representation of the character. But sometimes I do find myself wondering what George Perez was thinking when he first drew this -- unless it was a colorist who went a little overboard with the red.
The wristbands are very nicely detailed. The ons on his right arm is ridged, while the one on his left arm has ovals embossed on it. Not sure why the discrepancy, really. The strap across his chest has been given little marks to make it look leatherlike. The boots are plain, and in fact their tops are just painted on. That's okay, though, it works.
Of greatest interest in Trigon's wardrobe, though, are the collar and cape. These clip to Trigon's back. The collar is this weird thing that looks like a bony fan, as if taken from some strange creature with multiple long, bony fingers and webbing. But the large white cape is of special significance -- it's actually made from fabric! In the entire history of the DC Universe Classics line, there has never before been a fabric cape, or, if memory serves, any fabric accessories whatsoever.
I have to surmise that Mattel did a cost analysis here, and it was simply more economical to craft a fabric cape than sculpt and mold what would've been a very large plastic cape. Trigon is the first caped Collect-and-Connect figure.
The cape is very nicely made, and very large. The entire edges -- sides and bottom -- have plastic-coated wires installed in them, so that the cape can be "posed". It's a nice idea, one I first encountered on a much smaller figure, an Obi-Wan Kenobi figure from the 3-3/4" Star Wars line, who had it in his robe. It has since become a surprisingly common practice among action figures with cloth pieces, and it's not a bad idea at all, since it allows the fabric piece -- robe, cape, whatever -- to actually be "posed" in a more realistic manner relative to the figure than the actual size of the fabric piece would allow for in and of itself.
The cape came neatly folded in a plastic bag within the packaging of the figure it was included with, but the folds don't show once you have the cape unfurled and properly adjust the wires. There is a little tag inside the cape, though. I suspect there's some sort of legal regulations that plush or fabric pieces of a certain size MUST carry such a tag. It's easy enough to remove if you're careful about it with a good pair of scissors. There is something otherwise just a little strange about an interdimensional bad guy like Trigon wearing an official legal tag on his cape...!
The tag has a Mattel copyright date on it, country of origin (China), comments that it's made from all new materials, contains plastic coated "wire stiffeners", and of note, is "Surface Washable Only". That could be important. This cape is WHITE, very white. And while I would expect that those of you reading this take good care of your action figure collection -- mishaps happen. Put this cape in a washing machine and there's probably not going to be much left of it. And nothing stains easier than white!
Sort of makes me wonder how Trigon managed to keep his outfit clean, given some of the less-than-pleasant environs he doubtless traveled in. Maybe his energy blasts? An interdimensional laundromat? There's a mental image...
Articulation on the figure is excellent, of course, on a par with a standard-sized DC Universe Classics figure. Trigon is fully poseable at the head, arms, upper arm swivels, elbows, wrists, mid-torso, waist, legs, upper leg swivel, knees, and ankles. The paint work on the figure is somewhat limited, just due to the limited color palette (mostly red and white), but where it is, especially on the head, is very neatly done, really superb.
Trigon also comes with an accessory, a large staff. There's a small globe at the top, with a little critter on it that at a distance almost looks like an eagle, but upon closer inspection is some sort of creepy little bat-winged bird-lizard with a tail that coils around the staff nearly halfway down. I have no idea if this is one of those weird little creatures that can come alive at its master's command, but if so, with a tail like that, you'd think the easiest way to defeat it would be to just whip it around in wide circles until it passes out from centrifugal force.
So, what's my final word here? I still say that Trigon was never as prominent in the comics as one would expect someone with his power levels to be, but regardless of that, Mattel has done a superb job with this figure. He's big, he's mean-looking, and he's accurate to the character. The cloth cape is an interesting touch. Granted, you sort of have to get most of Wave 13 in order to get all of the Trigon parts, but for the most part, it's a winning assortment (I'm not massively enthusiastic about the new Blue Beetle for several reasons), so you're not really losing anything there, either.
The DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS "COLLECT-AND-CONNECT' figure of TRIGON definitely has my very enthusiastic recommendation!