Monday, 27 July 2015

POP! Marvel: Ant-Man (glow in the dark variant)

It's Funko POP! week again -- Hooray! So let's kick it off with a look at one of my least favourite characters of all time.

Series: POP! Marvel
Year: 2015
RRP: $16.95

Back when I was about 14 or 15, my local library started getting in a whole bunch of Marvel Essentials paperbacks – the big black-and-white ones. I remember reading the Avengers and X-Men ones, which compiled some of the very early issues of both titles. To the jaded eyes of a teenager raised on the X-TREME 90s school of comics, they were more than a little twee. Unfairly, they put me off Marvel quite a bit for a number of years.

In hindsight, I can appreciate a little more how important the books were at the time – the idea of a shared universe was really only sort of burgeoning at the time, and these titles did a lot to further that, even if some of the stories are a little hokey by today’s more sophisticated standards. Jack Kirby also had a very distinct art style, and though I sometimes have mixed feelings about that style, one would have to be a fool to deny the very real and positive influence he has exercised over the comics that have followed.

But one thing that I can’t really appreciate in hindsight is a key character – Ant-Man. Marvel and DC both have their share of decidedly average characters, but Ant-Man has always been one of my least favourite, across any company. Truly feeble, even by the “anything goes” standards of the early 1960s, Ant-Man was always a C-Lister trying to play in an A-Lister’s title. Tales to Astonish? The only astonishment experienced was at how lame he was, and that he continued to get published.

But more than 50 years since his debut, Ant-Man has just made his big-screen debut, defying all expectations. And I’ve done something even more shocking, something that I never, ever thought I’d do – bought a piece of Ant-Man merchandise.

Perhaps appropriately, I didn’t get off to a great start with this particular POP. He felt out of the box awkwardly as I was trying to get him out, and then his head was wonky. To be fair, this is a problem that affects a lot of Marvel POPs; as they’re contractually obliged to be bobbleheads rather than just figures, the wire can get a little bent out of shape. It’s easier to fix at some times than others, but this one looks just plain lopsided, his head cocked to one side. And then I tried to move him for the turnaround shot and he just fell over, due to the head being so heavy. Were it a lot of other characters, I’d be pretty irritated, but it’s keeping well within my experience of disappointment with Ant-Man.    
But on to the positive. Ant-Man is a very detailed sculpt, with loads of little details captured on both the suit and on the helmet. There are a few areas of paint slop around some of the smaller details, which isn’t really surprising – but the paintwork is relatively clean, much more so than a lot of POPs I’ve owned.

There are two other versions of this POP available – the non-glow version, which looks pretty similar, except the helmet has transparent lenses and Blackout Ant-Man, which was a repaint for SDCC. Yellowjacket, the film’s villain, is also available in both regular and glow versions too. The shop assistant who sold me this guy tells me Yellowjacket’s glow is not terribly amazing. I can confirm that Ant-Man's is definitely not great, though it is novel that his shirt and eyes glow red. I've found this mediocre glow to be spread across most of the GitD POPs I've bought. But I have yet to learn my lesson and stop buying them...

This POP has not turned me into an Ant-Man fan – he still kind of sucks – but I suspect that will be a big part of the humour in the actual movie. So this POP comes recommended for fans, but is unlikely to convert you if you're anti-Ant-Man or simply on the fence. 

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