March 6th, 2009

M Sipher guest review

More alien dudes.

Joyce and Walky!: Part three of the trilogy? (Was this a trilogy?)

Hey, guys! It's another guest review from Greg Sepelak, who is not me.

If you’re buying this set for any reason other than the Amanin, then there’s something grievously wrong with you.

The Amanaman is one of the neater aliens from Return of the Jedi, seen in Jabba’s palace. Hasbro remade the original (and secondary-market-expensive) Kenner figure to much fan rejoicing, in an undersized $10 Deluxe format that in hindsight really wasn’t worth the price tag, despite the Salacious Crumb and desiccated corpse it came with. Hasbro could have easily just used that old figure in the pack, but no. They went whole-hog and made an entirely new sculpt. The new Amanamanaman has the exact same articulation as the Deluxe one, but is just flat-out BIGGER, more wiry-muscled, has clawed feet and facial curves that really make him look menacing. This one also has a bendy tail, but the stiffness of the rubbery plastic doesn’t really let you do much with it. It’s freakish and awesome. The one big downside is that it really doesn’t hold its spear well at all; the big hands just don’t have a place to grip it in any meaningful way.

Lt. Sunber? Well, in all fairness, he’s a little more visually interesting than the myriad other Imperial officers who share this body mold, mostly because he’s in green instead of gray, and coated in “mud” paint applications. Pre-release photos of the toy showed him with a huge red smear of blood on his right pectoral, but I can only assume Wal-Mart didn’t go for that. While this is more visually interesting, it also keeps him from blending into the average “batch of officers” diorama. His “oh no!” pose seen above is about as good as you’re going to get with him, action-wise. The stiff-plastic “skirt” heavily restricts his leg articulation, making his ball-jointed knees and ankles pretty pointless, and preventing him from sitting down. This is a figure made for standing at attention; I don’t know why they even bothered with leg articulation.

I have mixed emotions on the comic. Killer savage Amamnamnamanmanans slaughtering Imperials is a great idea. There is some decent action, solid art, and it is kind of nice to see “modern” Imperials using the Turbo Tanks and AT-TEs that we saw during the Clone Wars. Unfortunately, the real bloody throwdown between the Imperials and Mahnah Mahnahs happens in the next issue. This issue is largely “Lt. Sunber is a good guy at heart and he’s always right”. The dude genuinely believes that the Empire is helping bring order to a chaotic galaxy and stuff. He’s a low-born guy who’s all nice and cares about his lowly Stormtrooper subordinates and is basically the bestest ever. It comes across as heavy-handed even for Star Wars, especially in contrast to his sneering superiors. I actually have another comic that involves him, from the Basso and Mouse set (which also only barely has the toy-guys in it), where there’s implications that some of the Imperials are raping their human slaves, and a later issue Sunber stops someone from doing so… which really. I think I can do without that kind of thing in Star Wars. It feels like forced “maturity” which just gives me the crawlies, and we get the point that Sunber’s not a terrible person just fine without it.

Pack value: questionable. The Amamamamamamamaman is just damn awesome as far as I’m concerned, and, well, I guess he at least has a victim to play with. The comic is definitely better than the Rogue Squadron one, and I don’t mean that in just a “faint praise” manner, but it nonetheless leaves a slightly unpleasant taste in my mouth. Knowing how the rest of Sunber’s story plays out (of COURSE there’s drama and angst!) mitigates it, but taken in isolation, it comes across kinda… apologist-y.