Video courtesy of my site Comics Now. Used with permission.
I’ve loved the Martian Manhunter as long as I’ve known him. He’s a tortured soul who’s lost everything, and yet he cares for people who are not his own. He fights for them and saves them. When I found out that Tweeterhead was making a statue of the Last Son of Mars in their Super Powers line, and that it was sculpted by the incredibly talented Paul Harding, I knew it had to be mine. And so I socked some money away, went to Sideshow, and preordered. It arrived this week, and after staring at it for several days, I’m ready to write my review. My completely independent review, I’ll remind you, because this was not sent to me by Tweeterhead, or Sideshow, or any other company, person, or whomever. I bought this puppy myself, and while my opinions are always unbiased and untainted by complimentary review units, you people can’t hold it over my head this time.
I’m not bitter. You’re bitter.
J’onn comes in an absolutely beautiful box. I’m trying to figure out a justification for keeping it, because I suspect it would feel a bit like losing a limb to toss it. I wouldn’t bat an eyelash had the packaging been far less attractive, but dang, now that I’ve seen it, it’s going to be hard to accept anything less.
There’s nothing fancy on the inside. It’s just styrofoam and the four wrapped pieces of the statue: the head (with collar), the cape, the body, and the base (which has the right foot permanently affixed). Assembly is fairly easy. The body connects to the right foot by way of a post, and it takes a little bit of pressure to get it in there. The result, however, is a nice, snug fit that feels like it isn’t going anywhere. That’s exactly what I want.
The cape and head attach much more easily, but don’t worry—it all looks very seamless once it’s together. This is something I was worried about back when I preordered the Super Powers Batman (the variant with black instead of blue), but I contacted Tweeterhead and was told that the connectors were very well-tooled, and that there was nothing to worry about. They were exactly right.
This thing is absolutely ridiculous. If you’ve looked at the Super Powers line, you may have noticed that not all of them are created equally. Every single one of them is nice, and obviously very well-made; but there are some that have superior sculpts. It’s no coincidence that these ones—Batman, Robin, and Martian Manhunter—are all sculpted by Paul Harding.
The pose on J’onn is magnificent. He’s reaching out with his hand, a moving symbol of his empathy for humanity. His cape sweeps out to one side, his body arched back—a pose more ponderous and inquisitive than it is aggressive. I’m no expert in the various muscular systems of the body, but the musculature here all looks authentic and just as it should be. The costume that adorns those muscles is simple and spare, allowing Harding’s masterful physiological detail plenty of room to show off.
J’onn’s face is just perfect, too, with the trademark prominent brow, longing, red eyes, and slightly parted lips. I can’t image a fan of the character not feeling eerily connected to this inanimate object as they take it out of the box and walk past it day by day.
The paint job is almost as perfect as the sculpt, but for a few very hard-to-notice spots where the detail work got the better of the finisher. If you look at the top of J’onn’s boots, where the fold of the cuff meets his green skin, you’ll notice some places where the green paint ended up on the sculpt of the cuff. There’s a similar issue with the chest straps, where the green paint again creeps onto the thin edge of the straps.
As I said, these are incredibly difficult to notice when you aren’t looking for them, and even at a fairly close distance, they’re small enough to remain hidden. And part of that is because the rest of the paint job is completely bonkers. There are numerous greens used on the skin to accentuate muscles and suggest shadow, and the blue and red of the suit are spot on.
Oh boy, is that base amazing. It’s clearly meant to be the remains of some Martian monument, and aside from it being a conceptual slam dunk, the execution by Harding and the finishers is flawless. It looks like real stonework, and the dominant colors evoke the Red Planet perfectly.
At just under $300, this statue wasn’t cheap. But after reviewing a variety of statues from other manufacturers for the past few years, this definitely feels like a major step up. It costs more, but the increase in quality is exponential, and I couldn’t be happier with my purchase. There are still a few of these left at Sideshow, so if you’re interested, get yours while you still can. You won’t be sorry.
NOTICE: This is a completely independent review. The collectible was purchased by the reviewer, and there was no arrangement with or expectation of the manufacturer in regards to this review.
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