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Like Poe said a while ago, Prometheus really isn’t a very good movie. And yet, I own it. And watch it. It raises some interesting discussion, especially on the difference between the philosophies of Dan O’Bannon, who wrote Alien, and Ridley Scott, who wrote Prometheus. Another thing is how much Scott flip-flopped on whether it was part of the Alien franchise or not. But of course it is. In fact, one of the early finished scripts had a bunch of xenomorphs, including a boneless one with tentacles. At the end of that version of the movie, a gigantic “Ultramorph” was going to burst out of an Engineer, and Dr. Shaw would have had to fight it with a diamond-tipped chainsaw. This did not make it into the final movie. The teaser before the end credits is all that remains of this. Remember? The one with the proto-xenomorph hatching out of the Engineer?
Called “The Deacon” because of the shape of its head, this little creature serves as the final link between Prometheus and Alien, showing what might be a prototype xenomorph design, or maybe a variant, or maybe what one looks like when it’s born out of the bigger Engineer aliens, who knows. But in a really good idea, NECA has made a toy of this creature. That’s really all we wanted from the movie, anyway. Toys! So, let’s see how this one stacks up!
Packaging: The Deacon comes in a slightly slimmer-than-usual clamshell. It protects the figure well enough, and has some nice art on the front and back. It’s not very fancy, but the packaging is serviceable, shows off the figure, and should be nice for all you MOC people.
Sculpt & Paint: Though you don’t get the best look at the Deacon in the movie, this figure seems to match how it looked. The emaciated, slimy thing is meant to be hunched over or crouching, and has kind of a shark-like look thanks to the shape of its head and those secondary jaws. It also eschews the typical xenomorph’s Freudian design for one approaching the uncanny valley – there is just something so strangely human about it that the creature looks more wrong, somehow.
As for the paint, the Deacon is cast in dark blue, which contrasts with the black apps all over its body – remaining afterbirth, apparently. It’s gross, and fitting for such a greasy little thing. I especially love the gloss it’s got over its body, making it look like it just clawed its way out of the Engineer’s corpse. There was a little bit of slap on the lower jaw of mine, but it’s only noticeable if you look really closely.
Articulation: One way in which NECA has always beaten McFarlane is the fact that they actually articulate their figures. The Deacon has ball joints on the neck, torso, hips, wrists, and ankles, and ball-and-socket joints on the shoulders, elbows, and knees. Its jaw is also articulated twice, so you can pull it out, open or close it. The jaw is pretty ingenious; though it might take you a bit of work to pull it out the first time (don’t scratch it with your nails). The leg articulation is good, though the figure is really meant to stand on the balls of its feet. You can pose it to stand flat-footed, but this looks awful, like it’s standing on its ankles. The shoulder articulation is also very limited, as part of the sculpt stretches over the Deacon’s back, limiting its movement. This is unfortunate, and bad enough to deduct some from the score – the Deacon just can’t lift its arms very high, and it’s not immediately obvious why!
Accessories: In a refreshing change from the other Prometheus figures, the Deacon is loaded with accessories! It’s got a clear plastic stand, two bendy “Hammerpedes,” and a prop of that one severed Engineer head/space jockey mask. The stand is absolutely necessary unless you want to pose the figure on its ankles, which is unfortunate – it’s kind of big, ugly, and the type of hard plastic that picks up dirt and link quickly. Since it comes taped in the package, mine still has scotch tape gunk on it, which is irritating.
The Hammerpedes are good in theory, but somewhat underwhelming in person. They both lack detail, and the closed one is nearly featureless. The open Hammerpede is much better, though it’s also got its share of problems – the holes to allow the rubber to bend without tearing are on its underside, so if you pose the thing, they’re right in front, just under its head. It also has serious trouble “standing” unless it’s leaning against something, so you might want to leave these two worms lying flat.
On the other hand, the fossil is fantastic. The two pieces fit snugly together, and are sculpted and painted extremely well. I especially like the Engineer face’s desiccated skin, or even the seam where the two parts connect. This is an excellent little piece that’s almost worth it as a toy on its own!
Quality Control: NECA has problems with stuck joints. Part of my Deacon’s jaw was stuck at first, and I wasn’t aware that I could move it for a little while. It also had one tight ankle, and its hips seem slightly loose, which isn’t good considering its precarious balance. But other than that, the figure seems fine.
Overall: Despite some minor problems, this really is an excellent figure. Despite how limiting its stand seems to be, you can really get a lot of poses by only anchoring one foot on the base. It’s a hideous, visually-distinct Alien variant with a bunch of accessories – sure, only one really works, but that one is fantastic. The issues are individually small, but there are just enough to knock off a raven from the score – stuck jaws, an unsightly base, bad shoulders, and underwhelming Hammerpedes keep this figure from being perfect. But overall, the positives far outweigh the negatives, and I keep finding myself taking this figure out to play with it, or pose it, or take pictures of it.