Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,000: Sith Lord Darth Maleval

LORD MALEVAL or Darth Malevel, Whatever
The Legacy Collection Entertainment Earth Joker Squad Exclusive
Item No.:
No. 87923
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, lightwhip, cloak, 5 more figures
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $39.99
Availability: March 2009
Appearances: Legacy Comic Books

Bio: Darth Maleval was a male Quarren Sith Lord of the One Sith, serving under Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Krayt and his Empire, after Krayt deposed Galactic Emperor Roan Fel. By 137 ABY, many units, such as the 908th Stormtrooper Division, had defected to Emperor-in-exile Fel during the Anti-Sith Insurgency. To ensure the loyalty of Krayt's troops, Maleval was given command of the 407th Stormtrooper Division, which was based on the planet Yinchorr, as they attempted to recapture the base of the 908th on Borosk. (Stolen from Wookieepedia. For those not up in the lingo, this guy is post-post-post-ROTJ in terms of his era.)

Image: Adam's place, exterior.

Commentary: In the Star Wars: Legacy storylines, there's a virtual army of Dark Siders and Sith rather than the handful of baddies we're used to. In a way, it's kind of refreshing-- you can basically pop alien limbs on to any character design that looks like it came out of the Soulcalibur series and end up with something nifty. When I first got my hands on Lord Maleval, my reaction was "Squid Head's head, body by Namco." (The big eye in the middle of his armor looks a little bit like one of the weapons in the game.) As one of the few all-new sculpts in this boxed set, he's actually much taller than the other figures. This is a detail that was a real problem up until about 2001, when Hasbro really started making sure that Han, Leia, and Chewbacca were all different sizes. Now, it's not uncommon for a figure like this to be about a head or so taller than his squadmates, which is actually the kind of thing you want to see.

Tall, black, and tentacley here has the full super-articulated range of motion which has become the norm-- 14 points, ball movement at the neck, shoulders, elbows, ankles, and knees. (Not hips. That's just the normal articulation.) Because of all of this, the figure can be posed to hold a weapon with one or both hands-- whatever works for you. He can also sit, more or less, but there's a large plastic... uh... codpiece of sorts that hangs down over his legs. It may or may not get in the way, depending on what it is you're trying to do. It still hangs down when he's "sitting" which is unusual for this sort of figure, generally the legs will just cause it to bend out of shape.

As far as deco goes, it's a mixed bag. Since the guy is supposed to be this evil baadasssssss, he should be in black, and odds are it shouldn't show a lot of damage. If he has a bad rap and apparently godlike powers, he should look pretty pristine-- and he does. The body is molded in black with some very dark silver/grey highlights in certain places. Obviously, customizers will have a lot they can do here. The head and hands are a very bright red, in line with some of the Darth Maul figures we've had over the years. It's a nice contrast with the black, but some people complained that it's too red. I think it's OK, but then again, I'm pretty easy to please and I don't have much insight as to what a "realistic" squid-headed alien would look like after he joins a cult of evil and gets a makeover.

When it comes to accessories, Hasbro did a fairly good job here. The red lightsaber is a little wimpy looking, but the cloak is amazing. It's an all-new design with a wire in the neck and around the base of the cape, allowing you to pose it in any of a variety of ways. The hood goes up and it isn't cartoonishly huge like on most of the recent Jedi figures, plus you can wrap it around him or pose it to look like it's flowing in the wind. In other words, it's a good accessory. The third extra is a whip, which splits apart to reveal a knot-- you can see this as a defect, or a plus. Since some fans wanted a blue whip, I think it's a plus because all you need to do to "fix" it is swap out the string and tie a knot, and close it back up again. It's a bit of a problem because it splits apart fairly easily, resulting in yet another Easily Lost Part. So be careful there. The grip of the whip is fairly well done, with a decent amount of detail on the handle which was cast in grey plastic. Some black paint would have been nice to dress it up a bit, but that's probably being unrealistic given how it sometimes sticks to the figure in the long-term. (Or rather, I've had Qui-Gon saber hilts' paint molt off onto the figures.)

I like this one, and I've already had many asking "so when is it coming out on a basic card?" The answer is probably "never" or "so long off you'll either have caved and bought the set by then or quit the hobby." So if you like it, I suggest buying the set or coordinating with a fan to trade for theirs.

Collector's Notes: Full disclosure: we asked for this from Hasbro as part of my day job at, you guessed it, Entertainment Earth. As a character who didn't last long in the series, he managed to make a good first impression and that's likely why there's a toy of him right now. It's still available, having just come out, so there ya go.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,000: April 14, 2009

Other: If you enjoy this column, and have liked some of the past 1,000 entries, please do tell a friend. This feature is not something that pays, really, we do it because you like it. And if you keep reading, I'll keep doing it!


Mario! said...

This figure was a pleasant surprise. Really, I bought the set for one reason: a female Stormtrooper. My reaction to this guy was: "Whatever some random Sith from a comic I've never read." Then when I got the set, I was surprised by how cool he had turned out. I would have been perfectly fine with only Stormtroopers in the set, but Maleval adds some variety and is pretty cool by himself.

Lou G said...

1000 entries! Keep it up!

James at JediNews.co.uk said...

Well done on 1,000 entries!

Please keep up the great work Adam!

Peter in Japan said...

You guys are a ray of Light Side to my life. Many happy returns!

JGS said...

Terrific work, Adam. Your FOD column is a daily must-read. Always informational, and, often, hilarious. Keep up the great work, and thanks for your dedication to a terrific site.

John said...

Congratulations on 1,000 entries! This is the best collection of reviews of modern Star Wars action figures on the Internet - regularly updated, in-depth, informative, and always enjoyable to read. Keep up the great work!

Soja Rinn said...

new Squid head or recycled Squid head?

cefforts said...

Well, I've been following your writings since at least the Yakface days...and every one of the now-over-1,000 entries in FOTD so far!

It's been a constant through the years, good and bad (my life, not your writing), and, well, I for one appreciate it.

Best Wishes!