Last year, an extremely obscure Batman villain, Killer Moth, not only got his own DCUC figure but also appeared in the bestselling videogame Lego Batman. If 2008 was the Year of Killer Moth, 2009 appears to be the Year of Gentleman Ghost.
While the relatively obscure villain made a few brief appearances on Justice League Unlimited, he’s had starring roles in two Batman: Brave and the Bold episodes–including a memorable origin episode, “Trials of the Demon,” which also features Etrigan and Batman in his Gotham by Gaslight get-up.
And now Gentleman Ghost receives his very own DCUC figure, featuring a brand-new body sculpt. It’s already known this sculpt will be re-used for the Joker later this year, and I think it’s a good bet we’ll see similarly-dressed characters such as Uncle Sam and Ra’s Al Ghul in the near future.
After being hanged for his crimes, 19th century highwayman “Gentleman Jim” Craddock‘s spirit rose again–as the Gentleman Ghost. Returning to his former life of crime, the Gentleman Ghost soon crossed paths with the Justice Society of America. His powers and phantom nature make him nearly impossible to apprehend. But the heroes of the 21st century have always managed to defeat this dapper, spectral villain.
Packaging: Has there always been a small, yellow triangular image of the character on the back of the package above the bio, or is that new with these seven-figure waves? I’d never noticed it before.
In any event, Gentleman Ghost is nicely packaged with a fairly dynamic pose. I still wish they wouldn’t put the weapons in their hands, though, as this does cause some grip problems.
Sculpt: It’s a relief to see the Four Horsemen get to flex their sculpting muscles on something other than the standard superhero-in-spandex body. Gentleman Ghost features what I’m going to call the “Gentleman” body, sporting a dress coat, waistcoat, Victorian cape, cravat, a hat and a monocle.
The design of the hat and monocle is clever, given that Gentleman Ghost has no head. The hat rests on the top of the cape collar, while the monocle is attached to the top of the hat.
Plastic & Paint: Obviously there’s not a lot of complexity to the paint applications of a ghostly character like this, but Mattel deserves credit for not going the easy route and just making the whole figure molded in white.
Instead, parts of the figure–the feet, legs, and cape, and maybe even the torso–are molded in clear plastic. The lower parts of the feet and cape have an excellent spray-fade effect that, in my opinion, elevates Gentleman Ghost from a well-sculpted but rather plain figure to a great one.
My only criticism is this: I wouldn’t have made the lower part of the cape around the shoulders translucent. It makes sense for the bottom of the figure, but higher up it looks off.
Articulation: Gentleman Ghost sports ball jointed shoulders, H-hinges at the hips, hinges at the elbows, knees, ankles and abdomen, and swivels at the biceps, waist, wrists and thighs. Obviously, a ball jointed neck isn’t really an option here.
The bicep articulation, which often looks awkward on suited characters, is nicely hidden by the shoulder cape. However, the stiff plastic used on the lower waistcoat severely limits the waist movement. It doesn’t particularly bother me, since Gentleman Ghost doesn’t strike me as a character given to lots of acrobatics, but I do hope a softer plastic is used on the lower part of the Joker’s waistcoat to improve the range of motion.
Accessories: In addition to Giganta’s head and pelvis (?), Gentleman Ghost comes with a flintlock, a cane, and a tiny Atom.
The flintlock can be fitted in either hand, although it sits better in the right hand on my figure. Both hands appear to be designed to look as if they’re holding guns, which will no doubt prove useful for the Joker. The round head of the cane also fits well in the left hand, allowing him to lean on it.
The mini-Atom isn’t articulated and the paint applications aren’t as good as what we’ve gotten on the miniature DC Direct Atoms, but he’s still a nice bonus.
Quality Control: Once again, I had no issues with Gentleman Ghost. QC definitely seems to have improved on the latest couple of waves.
When Gentleman Ghost was first revealed, his real significance to me was as a sign that we’d be getting a Joker soon. However, now that I have him in hand–and have become more familiar with the character via The Brave and the Bold–he’s won me over as a figure in his own right. The sculpt is sharp, and the clear fade effect is well-executed. Toss in the bonus mini-Atom and you’ve got a four-raven figure.