I did the rundown on the history of parademons in my review of the Red Parademon, so I hope you’ll pardon me if I refer you to that article if you haven’t read it already. I could copy and paste the same information, but then I’d just look even lazier.
The Green Parademon variant is the one based on the original of the parademons in Kirby’s comics. In their green-and-yellow outfits and large numbers, they strongly resemble the shock troopers of Marvel’s HYDRA, who first appeared in Strange Tales #135 in 1965 and were created and designed by, yes, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. Kirby’s parademons (as one PGPoA reader pointed out in my Red Parademon review, possibly meant as a play on “paratroopers,” which Kirby would have been familiar with from his time in the army during WWII) were created a good six years after he designed the HYDRA goons. The two share similar roles in their respective organizations and share the same fashion sense when it comes to colors and goggles. But then, Kirby wasn’t above cribbing from previous designs on occasion–see Blastaar (Marvel, 1967) and Kalibak (DC, 1971). One wonders whether Kirby simply wanted the opportunity to use the characters he’d created his own way, rather than letting another write develop them.
Of the many warriors serving Darkseid, lord and absolute master of the planet Apokolips, none are more feared or loyal than the Parademons. Artificially grown in the genetic laboratories of Apokolops, these elite soldiers prowl the dark skies of Armagetto dealing death and destruction to all who challenge or invader their master’s domain. Their every waking moment, every thought, is filled with one purpose only: to protect and serve Darkseid — at any cost!
Packaging: The usual DCUC package–see photo.
Sculpt: Even Kirby himself didn’t draw the parademons in any consistent fashion, and artists since then have followed suit. There are certain parts of the outfit that need to be there–the gray skin, the v-shaped antennae, the outfit colors, the goggles, the small curved yellow wings–but everything else is fair game for artistic license.
The Four Horsemen have done justice to Kirby’s design while adding some nice little touches of their own. The green parademon has one of my favorite head sculpts in DCUC thus far. The outfit is nicely detailed while paying homage to Kirby’s unique style. The sculpt also works in an excellent hunchbacked posture that works well for these twisted henchmen.
Plastic & Paint: Given the bright green and yellow design, it’s inevitable that the parademons ended up looking more toy-ish than other DCUC figures. This doesn’t bother me, though, for two reasons. First, as I’ve made clear before, a toy-ish look generally doesn’t bother me, but I realize it bothers other folks–so your mileage may vary. Second, Kirby’s bright, colorful designs almost looked like toys in the first place.
Don’t overlook the multitude of smaller paint apps here, though. There’s some sharp detail work around the face, especially in the wrinkles around the exposed flesh. The highlights on the upper armor and legs are clean and neat.
Articulation: Given their monstrous nature, the Horsemen apparently decided they didn’t need to worry as much about preserving the integrity of the sculpt when it came to giving the parademons hip articulation (which makes sense to me). So the parademons have the first exposed ball jointed hips we’ve seen in DCSH/DCUC (certain skirted figures, such as Darkseid and Supergirl, have had ball jointed hips). The joints are identical to those found on MOTUC figures.
Unfortunately, the parademon’s head is not ball jointed. This is probably due to the large armor piece that fits over the upper torso, but it’s definitely a disappointment on an otherwise great figure.
The green parademon also has the following joints: ball jointed shoulders (which are smaller and more maneuverable than usual), hinges at the elbows, knees, ankles and abdomen, and swivels at the waist and wrists. However, he doesn’t have the usual bicep swivels, due to the unique sculpting of the upper arms and the smaller, more maneuverable shoulder joints, which almost–but don’t quite–make up for the lack of biceps swivels.
Accessories: Along with the same yellow blaster that came with the red parademon (and its attendant problem–see the accessories section of my red parademon review), the green parademon comes with one of the coolest Easter eggs I’ve ever seen.
It all goes back to Kalibak. Kalibak’s signature weapon is his Beta Club, which Kirby usually drew as little more than a golden, mechanical-looking club. When it came time to add Darkseid’s ill-favored son to the 1980s Super Powers line, the Beta Club was given a more unique design. Mattel and the Horseman had hoped to include both the comic-accurate Beta Club and the Super Powers version in Wave 6, but when that didn’t cost out, the Horsemen–with the help of Mattel’s Bill Beneke–came up with a plan to work the SP Beta Club into Wave 8. As the Horsemen described on their website,
“We can’t take 100% of the credit for this. Sure we planned the weapons to work out this way, but Bill Beneke over at Mattel oversaw the whole project and made sure that the production of the weapons went the way it was supposed to so they were interchangeable. It’s hard to explain how difficult that would have been for Bill, but let’s just say that the Pantographing of those items must have been a nightmare.”
The results speaks for itself. The Horsemen, Beneke and Mattel have come up with an ingenious way to give fans this little treat. Basically, the SP Beta Club rests in a cradle that can be held by the parademon, creating a unique (and very Kirby-esque) new weapon. However, the club can of course be removed and given to Kalibak.
But wait, there’s more! Remember the yellow pistol? Well, if you look closely, you can see it was directly inspired by a blaster from a Kirby pin-up of Kalibak–and it even includes a peg so it can be attached to Kalibak’s belt.
Oh, and he also has Giganta’s left arm.
Quality Control: Some DCUC Wave 8 figures have loose joints, and the green parademon’s legs may be the loosest. But I could hardly care about it when compared to sloppy paint applications, breakage, stuck joints, swapped or repeated limbs and so forth.
For those of you who have been so angered by the bad QC on DCUC, Wave 8 represents a major step forward. I didn’t have one problem with breakage, stuck joints, or swapped limbs. Mattel has heard your complaints (which were certainly fair–I’ve never claimed otherwise) and has worked to improve them, and they deserve some credit for that.
This is a fantastic, fun action figure. It’s an army builder. and judging from collector response it’s already a very popular one. I picked up two myself, and I won’t discount the idea of getting more if I ever see them at retail. The clever inclusion of Kalibak’s SP Beta Club and the extra pistol net him an extra point. This is one of the best examples of a DCUC figure yet.