Sunday, January 30, 2011

DC Universe Classics Green Lantern Wave 1: Black Hand


The Black Hand just gives the word new meaning.

If you've read Blackest Night, you'd know what I mean.  The whole story is really about him.  Not Hal Jordan, not Nekron, and not the Flash, though they all do play major roles.  Wanting to bring peace to the universe by killing everyone?  Keeping everyone "alive" after death so that they'll enjoy this "peace" with him?  Ideas of a madman.  A madman named the Black Hand.

And while he was just a bit-part villain before having his origin rewritten, he's now a major baddie with even more major issues like necrophilia and believeing death to be the ultimate peace.

So it is fitting that he ends up as a part of the 1st wave of DCUC Green Lantern Series.

Like: Double-jointed elbows and knees.  While not a first for DCUC figures (The modern Blue Beetle from Wave 13 got the initial treatment), many have asked why give these to the Black Hand?  He's not a character that is known to be extra agile, or flies, or is an expert in martial arts? Why not Kyle Rayner, who is also in the wave?  I'll tell you why: it's for his penchant for necrophilia.

Well ok, it's not shown directly, but Blackest Night hints at it strongly.  I mean, the dude likes to lick skulls, calls corpses "pretty" from an early age, and retreats to graves to lie with corpses after each defeat against Hal Jordan.  It's for "peace and release," apparently.

Hence, double-jointed limbs allow him to curl up into a ball, hugging his favourite skull close, and fall asleep.  While most of us would associate double-jointed limbs with the more physical abilities of a character, the fighting and the flying, the Black Hand has them so he can achieve some of the more subtle poses that make him that bit more creepy.

Dislike: That he doesn't come with any accessories other than Collect and Connect Arkillo's left arm.  Granted, they've given him extra articulation and his CnC part isn't puny by any means, but since we're on the topic of licking skulls, he could've used one.

Other than making him even more character accurate, it could be one of those accessories that could sway the buyer on the fence to shell out the cash for him.  It'll make 'em think that the character is that bit cooler than they thought, especially if, like me, they only knew about the original second rate villain that he was.

Like: The sculpt.  Lots of new tooling here. The exposed skin of his face is drawn and really looks dried up like a corpse, while the right arm has similar aging along with veins on the bicep and forearm for that extra dehydrated look.

I also like that they didn't just paint on his chest symbol and that "V" on his head.  These are sculpted on, with the studs on them also sculpted.

The other thing that really caught my eye is that the black parts of his costume have folds of its fabric molded to looks stretched across the muscle.  These occur mostly along the seam between the black and the blue, like the chest, back of his arms, and most of his legs.  This makes him look like he is really wearing a costume and didn't just have one painted on his body. Heh.

Black Hand's face has been sculpted with a frown and some of the meanest eye bags in DCUC history.  These really give him a look of deathly determination. Yet at the same time, he does look strangely at peace...

Dislike: That you can see the pegs and holes for his double-joints.  The one on his grey right elbow is especially obvious and spoils the brilliant tooling and texture of the rest of his arm.  I wonder if there are ways to do a double-joint and conceal the pegs at the same time.  I suspect there is, but it might cost a bit more than Mattel and their consumers would like.


Aesthetics: 8.5/10 - The Black Hand is one fine looking corpse.  The paint on him as very good overall, with only a little bleeding from the blue on the left cheek of his mask on my figure and around his collar.

Other than that, he's pretty spot on for me, with the eyes being the most striking feature, especially if you shine enough light into them.

His right hand is also black from an encounter with the Green Arrow and the Specter, and gradually goes from decayed to gray.  I know some people have said that the black to gray isn't gradual enough, but it looks good on my figure.

Sculpt-wise he is near perfect for the character and only loses some points for the rather exposed double-jointed pegs.

Poseability: 9.5/10 - The figure's best feature.  With double-jointed limbs, it's hard not to be poseable.  He would have scored a 10 if not for his head, which swivels perfectly but has pretty poor up and down movement.  Having a cape is also a plus when it comes to double-jointed knees because while the knees allow for about 125 degrees of bending, most times the figure can't balance past a certain point.  Enter the cape, which acts as another leg!  Goodbye weak knees, hello tippy-toes!

But having a cape is not all roses when it comes to poses.  For example, if you want Black Hand kneeling, the rubbery cape gets in the way and keeps launching him forward so that he falls flat on his face.  You can't even angle his cape so that it falls away from him because it is glued on to the torso.

Having double-jointed elbows is a real treat. You can get about a 125 degrees of bend that will allow for all sorts of nefarious arms poses.  While I feel double-jointed knees may not have been necessary with Black Hand, double-jointed elbows absolutely add character to the figure.  But hey, if they give 'em, I'll take 'em!

Fun: 9/10 - With his retconned background and as the physical embodiment of death for Black Lanterns, I'm really happy to have Black Hand.  Having all these weird quirks to his character also provides lots of inspiration for comics, as you'll probably be able to tell.

The figure on its own is fun enough with all his points of articulation, but all you need to do is throw in some sort of skull prop and he'll be a hoot and a holler.  Heck, if you've got some sort of gravestone, coffin, or better yet, a dead body figure (some sort of zombie, maybe?), then it would be awesome to have Black Hand and his Black Lanterns around it for display!  Ok ok, so there's only Black Lantern Abin Sur so far for DCUC, but the rest will come, the rest will...Rise...

Value: 8/10 - For his articulation and sculpt, Black Hand is well worth your money, even if DCUC prices have been on the up recently.  As I mentioned earlier, he could use an accessory or two, but I can't fault the extra effort put in to give him double-jointed limbs and that Walking Dead look.  Also, he does come with Arkillo's left arm, and Arkillo is a big CnC.

Overall: 8.75/10 - To be honest, Black Hand was the figure I was least looking forward to next to Mongul for this wave.  But that was before I read Blackest Night and found out just how complex he could be as a character.  In fact, he didn't really seem like a villain but came off looking more like a misunderstood figure.  Twisted and demented, but ultimately misunderstood and pitiable.  I even found the fact that he kept a journal entitled "The Book of the Black: The Burned-In Thought of William Hand" (with an entry written on the back of each single issue in the series) pretty amusing.  That he had entries written in chapter and verse was pretty funny, as if he fancied himself an evil genius like Dr. Evil.

And this figure is a perfectly captures the essence of the character.  Still, I can't imagine anyone who hasn't read Blackest Night who'll have a similar connection to this figure.  But if you have, and are into Brightest Day as well, then DCUC Black Hand is a definite must-have!


  1. Nice review man!

    I was also surprised by how much I liked this figure. As for the reuse on the body, I don't know either. The stitching on the body suit matches up well with Batman's new duds in the comics, but the Black Hands symbol is sculpted, so that's kind of a wash. I guess they could rework it... I dunno.

  2. Thanks dude!

    Yeah, they've put so much effort into it that it seems unlikely this will be the only use for the body. Maybe DC has bigger plans for Black Hand in the future? Then they can reuse this buck to their hearts content. Just imagine: Star Sapphire Black Hand! :P

  3. I posted before, but it seems the comment was lost to the Matrix...

    Anyway, this guy has the best sculpt in the wave by far! Awesome review, Sir!

    P.S. That toilet continues to be the greatest action figure accessory of all time!

  4. Lol, 3B. These WWE accessories are not just neat because they look great, but also because most of them have a gimmick. This toilet flushes and makes a gurgling sound as if you're flushing someone's face. I also recently acquired another one loose. It's a safe and does a pretty corny thing. Look out for it! ;)

  5. This is one of those toys that looks silly at first glance, but with the right poses, he is great; your photo of him flexing and looking down at the viewer is menacing!

    Incidentally, thanks for your response in the Battle Cat thread. Non-update: an international school in Singapore has an English teaching position available (English is my favorite thing to teach), and a counseling position, which suits my wife perfectly.

    Who knows what'll happen, but maybe we'll be living in Singapore sooner than we'd ever have predicted!

    Also, not only can I now post comments here (assuming this one goes through), I've also been updating Geek Creek for the first time in a year; huzzah for inexplicably improved internet!

  6. Yes, awesome pics over at geekcreek! Inexplicable internet improvement FTW. :)

    But if you make it over here, you'll have no internet problems. You'l also have to let me know--I'll show you where the best places to go toy hunting are. ;)

    About Black Hand: yes, he does appear silly at first glance. In fact, he started out pretty silly because he decided that a life of crime would be exactly what he needed to stand apart form his brothers. Go figure. Lol.

  7. i love the new articulation Mattel is incorperating. i hope this level of detail and effort lasts. i like the figure, but i don't think im buying this one. my collection is geeting too big and i have to start being choosy. the cape on black hand doesnt really fly with me. great review.

  8. @Rupert - Yeah, the only reason I got him was because I wanted the CnC Arkillo to go next to my Kilowog on the shelf. Also, I'd wanted 4 out of 6 of the figures so I though what the hell. :)

    Being picky is great! I think it really keeps you from being burnt out and you learn to be discerning about ggod toys and crappier ones. Hah.


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