Thursday, January 8, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 932: Clone Emperor Palpatine

Power of the Force Collection 2
Item No.:
Asst. 69605 No. 69886
Manufacturer: Kenner
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, removable hand, removable cloak, on-package backdrop
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $5.99
Availability: Fall 1998
Appearances: Dark Empire

Bio: Six years after the destruction of the second Death Star, the galaxy is thrust into turmoil. A reborn evil threatens to enslave the galaxy, and the Republic's closest friend - Luke Skywalker - may become their greatest enemy. With the power to transfer his consciousness to genetic clones, a younger, stronger Emperor Palpatine is perilously close to gaining total control of the galaxy forever. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: If there's one thing fans like, it's bad guys. If there's one thing kids don't seem to like, it's the Emperor. That's why this Clone Emperor Palpatine is neat. It takes a familiar face, de-ages him a little bit, and throws him in a newish story. An entirely new mold which was never reissued, the figure had a fairly good streak of popularity among collectors due to it being a version of the Emperor that wasn't an old guy in a black hood. This time around, he had armored hands and a lightsaber to accent his fairly vampire-esque outfit. Underneath, Kenner designed him a unique set of robes and shoulder armor which is sure to please-- or rather it would, had anyone looked underneath his baggy exterior garment. He's fairly mobile for a figure in a big clamshell, which is great as the added wrist joint made him a better-than-average figure for his day.

Rather than literally interpret Cam Kennedy's artwork from Dark Empire, Kenner's deco artists used their heads and opted to not make him a freakish green guy. This resulted in a stronger, less-distracting figure. While some of the original art's influence can be seen with highlights on his robes, this toy took the look and feel of the artwork and translated it into a fairly realistic take on the outfit. This was nice to see, and given how likely Hasbro is to color an item exactly as it appears on the page, it might be something out of the distant past. The new version, while nice, is basically a naked guy underneath. I kind of like seeing my villains as a little more dressed and a little less... blue liver spots. So this was a strong figure in its day, and I think it still is worth owning despite a new version being on shelves today.

Collector's Notes: This was a bit of a sleeper when it hit as it came and went quickly-- and fans took notice. Demand shot up for a period of time, but time tends to dampen fan enthusiasm for a hard-to-get figure. It's still a neat figure, although the new one in stores now may make fans less excited about owning this older version from a nearly 20-year-old comic.

Day 932: January 8, 2009

1 comment:

Ben Carthage said...

I was a big fan of this whole first EU line (I still think this Mara is better), and this Emperor was probably the weak link of the eight, but he's still pretty good. Obviously the articulation and sculpting on the new one is better, but I think the actual designs for he and Luke were better on the older figs. I would have filed him under "good enough not to need an upgrade."