30th Anniversary Collection Comic Packs
Item No.: Asst. 87504 No. 87517
Includes: Quinlan figure, blaster, removable bandolier, reprint of a comic book
Action Feature: Blaster fits in holster
Availability: April 2007
Appearances: Comics: Tales #3 & #9, Jedi Council: Acts of War, several issues of Republic, and more.
Bio: Quinlan Vos awakens with no memory of who or what he is, and immediately finds himself in peril, in the midst of a fierce blaze and attacked by bounty hunters. He is saved by Vilmarh Grahrk, who helps him escape and explains that bets are being placed on Quinlan's chances of survival. Villie reveals that he has a personal stake in the outcome, but changes his outlook when he sees Quinlan's Jedi skills in action. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)
Image: Makeshift diorama based on "Bad Business," a story in Star Wars Tales #8. The Pit Droids are from the Gasgano/Pit Droid set and the others are bonus Pit Droids from Europe/Asia in 1999-2000. Debris also from bonus Pit Droid packs. The Hyperdrive is from the Hyperdrive Repair Kit accessory pack, as is the wrench in Villie's hand. The Hyperdrive is held up by two Cantina "tables" from Momaw Nadon and Hem Dazon. Makeup by Max Factor. Mr. Ghrark's wardrobe by Armani.
Commentary: Devaronians aren't common figures in Star Wars-- we got Labria in 1998, a repaint of him in 2007, and now, Vilmarh Grahrk, a figure which I was more than a little surprised to see. Hasbro did a great job with this one, designing it more as a toy than as a collectible. His hands are a little larger, the devilish face was altered and softened a little (horns moved & sharp teeth downplayed), and his toy is a little bit thinner. The sculpt is awesome, with a removable bandolier, and the costume appears nearly identical to how it looked in the comics. Still, the head of the new Labria is just a smidgen better looking than Villie-- which just isn't right given that one came out back when there were only three Star Wars movies and the other has the benefit of much more toymaking experience.
The decision to include Star Wars #19 from Dark Horse was an interesting one-- Villie basically appears in the comic as he does the toy, but Quinlan looks quite different. Plus, there were more interesting stories one could include-- like the Tales story about Quin's meeting with a young Han Solo, and either of the wacky Villie tales. But hey, whatever, it's not like I'm not sitting on all those stories in my comic boxes anyway. (Oh, wait, I do have them sitting next to my toys. Nevermind then.)
The figure's body is nearly perfect, with articulation at the neck, hips, waist, shoulders, elbows, and wrists. (No knees or ankles.) His head seems just a smidge off-- if he had a thicker neck and a meaner looking face, he'd be perfect-- but one has to wonder what the market would be for, essentially, a two-pack with a Jedi Native American that (technically) wasn't in the movies with a yellow streak on his face and a devil man with a gun anyway. Still, the figure is nice-- it's just that he could really use a nice playset to hang out in, or a nifty vehicle, or something. This is a figure that demands to be played with and set up in little displays, and could probably fit nicely in Jabba's Palace. This two-pack is a killer value for $10, considering you get a $3 comic and two 100% newly sculpted action figures. This is one of the year's finest products for the money, but obviously, if you care not for the comics, you won't want this. If you're not someone who has established rules about what you buy-- and honestly, I don't get why some of you guys say "PREQUELZ ONLEE!" or "TRILOGEE OR NOTHING!"-- this is something you should buy on sight. It's good.
Collector's Notes: This figure's partner, Quinlan Vos, was a highly requested figure for many years, but Villie, not so much. The character debuted in March 2000, so it took about seven years to make the transition from paper to plastic-- which is pretty normal for comic characters. It took the "topless" Darth Maul from the comics about a year to hit stores after appearing in the comics, but Dark Empire debuted in 1991, with figures hitting at the end of 1998. With the exception of big media projects like Clone Wars or Shadows of the Empire, so far, it usually takes years for comic characters to make their fairly rare appearances as action figures. At this rate I expect KOTOR comic figures around April of 2012. A variation of Villie was found shortly after the first shipment-- early releases are more pink, later releases are more red. The same figure was used for all shots of this article (and were taken before the variant was found), and are the first, pinker release.
About this character: I decided to do Villie for #400 because he was just such an unlikely candidate for an action figure. He's part villain, part sidekick, and as far as I can tell, I seem to be one of four or five people who tended to be pleased to see him. Most of his appearances were alongside Quinlan Vos in some capacity, but he also had two stand-alone tales of scoundrelness in Tales #3 (his first appearance) and Tales #8. They don't break any new ground, but they're fun little stories that really give you a sense of how much fun the writers are having with the character and his goofy villain persona. To date, there's really not much information on what Villie is up to post-Order 66, so here's hoping he shows up in a comic someday soon.
Day 400: June 10, 2007