By Hervé St-Louis
August 17, 2003 - 10:44
Although she has some of the poorest articulation ever found in an action figure, the Raven figure, sculpted by Tim Bruckner, was for a long time many people's favourite DC Direct product. This odd for an action figure. She holds that title solely because of her extremely beautiful sculpt.
Raven was one of the new Teen Titans introduced in the 1980 reboot of the series by Marv Wolfman and George Perez. She was the dark one of the team, the one who gathered them all and sent them on a mission. For a while, the others blindly followed her until one after the other they rebelled. This character had lots of inner strength but lots of internal conflicts, and that is capture perfectly in this figure.
The sculpt is based on George Perez' design from the Teen Titans. No other creator was as associated with the character. The difficulty in assessing the accuracy of the character's design, is that during the entire Teen Titans existence, the character's face changed from a sweet and baby face to a strong and evil look with high cheek bones, as her father's legacy slowly corrupted the character.
The Raven presented in this figure is a mix of both. She does not have the fiendish look that would later characterize her, as she became an evil opponent, but nor does she has the fat baby cheeks fans cherished when she debuted. The action figure is a good mix that represents all the intricacies of the character while keeping a distinct and memorable look.
The sculpt, as mentioned above, is the biggest strength of this figure. She has one hell of sexy body and delightful curves. Raven raises her arms, as if she were gonna cast a spell. Her head leans down, almost meditating. Her cowl hides her facial features even more. It creates a mysterious effect on the figure that is great. Bruckner dealt successfully with the problems of presenting the cowl in three dimensions.
In comics, it's easy to draw a character or a prop without any regard for the reality of the object in space. When it looks good in the book, that's all that counts. Well Bruckner finally gave illustrators a perfect guide for when they will draw this character. Her cape is as problematic. It was always a Batman-like cape, long and in the way. Bruckner kept it like the comic book, while cheating on the proportions.
The paint job on this figure is simple. The basic colour is dark blue. They painted skin areas, jewellery and other props differently. There are no highlights. However, after several years in my possession, there are wear marks on the dark blue areas. It seems that the sun causes some blemishes on the blue areas. Once anc see a leaky purplish tint where the light hit the figure the most.
Raven's fits well with fellow Titans such as Starfire, Wondergirl, Robin, Aqualad and Cyborg. The Teen Titans's Kid Flash (the yellow one) fits, but his scale is off compared to the others. Speedy does not fit with Raven, nor do the first Kid Flash, the red one. However, the fact that Raven's scale fits the other Titans does not hide the fact that again Bruckner cheated on her real scale. Her feet do not touch the ground.
On her own the figure is very stable and will not fall. Her cape helps her tiptoeing feet stick to the ground. With her action figure base, Raven will also hold tight, since you must insert her feet in holes. However, I find that the base is too strong for her feet and with continued use, it may bend and damage them. Therefore, I don't use it. It's also easier to tip Raven when she's on her base. So this base is useless.
Raven's articulation is weak. Her neck can move, but is trapped in her cowl. Only her shoulders and elbows are articulated. However DC Direct designed her shoulders so that they are permanently raised, So this articulation is almost useless too. The only useful articulations are her elbows. I have read reports that people have removed Raven's Cowl. Don't do it. It's glued and you might damage her.
Raven contains the traditional rubbery plastic used by DC Direct. I'm starting to have serious reservations about the plastics used by DC Direct. They are either too soft, or if they are like Raven's, light and temperature affect them. Eventually, your figure's limbs bend and they don't last well when used by kids. For the premium price that DC Direct charges for these, you'd expect a better plastic.
When you put Raven on her smoke base, it mimics her teleporting act, when smoke fills the air and moves her into another dimension. Bruckner beautifully detailed the base, like a George Perez drawing. There's lots of curves in there. If it wasn't potentially damaging for my Raven action figure, and if it held her better, she would stay on top of it permanently.
Except the base, there are no props with Raven.
Raven comes in a package similar to Cyborg featuring the Titans' Tower in the back and a picture of the latter. If you purchase Raven in the Titans' Four Pack, she's inserted in a box with a clear front with the other figures that come within the set.
The single Raven action figure is sild at the regular DC Direct price that varies from place to place. Shop around. There are single Raven figures available everywhere and in auction sites. The variant Raven figure that come in the Titans's Four Pack retails for about $40 USD. The variant is white, instead of blue. She was sporting a white costume in her late appearances. She is only available with the set.
The blue Raven can be found in many places even if DC Direct released it in 2001. Just because there is a new white version around, don't let people trick you into purchasing the original figure at a higher price. There is enough stock of the first figure around to satisfy demand. If you spot an auction or a store trying to sell you an over priced Raven figure, don't get it from them. Ask for help and you shall receive.
Go in message boards like the Comic Book Bin's and ask people to help you find a reasonable figure. Just because the figures are of a different colour, don't pay for the college fund of scalpers' kids. If the white version is the only that you find, it's all right. It's the same figure. You can probably find someone who will exchange their blue figure for a white one or another character. Be smart, and don't get ripped off.
Update February 6 2005:
This figure has sold out from Diamond Comics, the exclusive distributor of this action figure.
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