Dan's ToyBox takes a bit of a departure from the more traditional superhero action figure reviews as today, we are looking at the Neca: The Original Superheroes line of figures: The Phantom Action Figure. Though there are several other figures in this wave, notably from the Flash Gordon movie series, I was really only excited to grab the Phantom and even though it's been out for a while, I did finally pull the trigger last weekend. I'm glad I did because this is a pretty stout offering from Neca.
The Phantom, created as a daily newspaper strip, debuted on February 17, 1936, created by Lee Falk tells the story of Christopher Walker Jr. a sailor on one of his father's vessels. During one voyage, they were attacked by pirates, before plunging into the sea, Christopher watched the pirate leader murder his father. As Christopher fell to the water, both ships exploded, leaving him as the only survivor. Christopher's unconscious body washed up on a beach in the country of Bengalia, where the Bandar natives slowly nursed him back to health. One day, while on the beach, Christopher discovered another body, that of the pirate who killed his father. Christopher stood by, watching, as the vultures picked the body clean. Then, picking up the skull, Christopher swore this oath: "I swear to devote my life to the destruction of piracy, greed, cruelty, and injustice, in all their forms! My sons and their sons, shall follow me." As Christopher lived with the tribe that saved him, they were attacked by another, warmongering tribe, the Wasaka. Christopher managed to escape and, remembering a legend he'd heard of a man coming from the sea to save this tribe, he fashioned a costume based on the look of the Demon God of the Wasaka and led a group of Bandar warriors to attack. The Wasaka, thinking they were seeing their very own Demon God come to life were terrified and quickly routed in battle, ending decades of Bandar slavery. The Bandar tribe then showed Christopher a cave, which resembled a human skull. He made this his permanent home, which would become known as the Skull Cave and be home to generations of Phantoms. As Christopher grew old, before passing, he would hand the mantle down to his son and after swearing the oath, that son would become the new Phantom. In this way, the Phantom appeared to be immortal as each successive generation would take over from their fathers. If you are interested in learning more about this character, I would definitely recommend finding books and stories as it is one of the more fascinating hero characters of the 20th century.
If you are a regular reader, please feel free to jump on down to the review. If, however, this is your first time visiting, Dan's ToyBox uses four categories to review figures: Accessories, Appearance, Articulation, and Affordability. Following my previous review, I've felt it necessary to alter the overall rating system a bit. After discussing each, the figure is then given an overall score of Zero to Five ToyBoxes, with Zero being the worst and Five being a "Must Add" to your collection! Without any further ado, let's take a look at The Phantom!!!
I was very impressed with the accessories that come with The Phantom. He has one pair of fists, one pair of trigger finger hands, one open, grasping right hand, and one item holding right hand. the Oath Skull, the whip, two M1911A1 handguns, two short muzzle flash effects AND Glow In The Dark EYES!!! I discovered that last quite by accident, namely when I noticed them glowing after turning the lights off in my light box. I confirmed it on the back of the box and was really impressed with this added feature. Both pistols fit easily into the soft holsters and both muzzle flashes port onto the ends of the guns and are very stable. The hands are fairly easy to interchange, but I do recommend taking it carefully at first. I've had other Neca figures hand pegs break, which is no fun. The Oath Skull is also a really neat addition and is highly detailed. I'll discuss that more shortly though. The best accessory though, has to be the whip. It's made of a bendy wire, which allows you to coil it up, and create a number of great pose effects with the figure. I really like the creativity inspired by the accessories with this figure and feel it's well worth an A for Accessories.
The Phantom is one sharp looking action figure. The purple body suit has a nice wash over it to give depth and shadow to the sculpt and it really is well done. I do think there could have been a little bit more added, but for what we get, the figure looks very nice. The touch of paint on the lips and the hint of a "five o'clock shadow" on his chin are great added details. Each of his hands has a silver skull ring, his belt, holsters, guns, and whip all have the small, signature silver skull emblems sculpted, and the attention given those is very intricate. The black boots, belt, holsters and guns are well done and everything just "fits" nicely with the figure. I particularly enjoy the translucent yellow muzzle flashes for the pistols and am glad to see they were included with the figure. As I mentioned earlier, the skull accessory is exceptionally well detailed. The paint applications, wash, design, and sculpt give this a very lifelike look and feel and it's almost creepy how accurate it appears. What else I found cool was the artists responsible for creating this figure are all listed on the packaging. They did an excellent job translating this character into figure form and the level of detail packed into what is really a very simplistic design shows the amount of care taken to accurately reproduce The Phantom! One thing Neca has always been known for is the amount of detail in their figure sculpts and The Phantom is no exception to this rule. Even the packaging has an "old timey" pulp feel to it, which gives us an even closer tie to the character's origins in 1936. I definitely have to give him an A for Appearance!
The Phantom has solid articulation engineering, while not as posable as other companies that I collect, I'm pleased with how well this figure does move. The head is on a ball peg and can look down very well, though not up as much. It will easily turn side to side and has a great deal of tilt for "attitude." His shoulders will raise almost to a full T pose, but the very large shoulder muscle design does prevent it from going much higher. The arms will rotate a full 360 degrees though and the bicep swivel will also rotate 360 degrees, if you are so inclined. The bicep swivel will allow you to simulate a cross body punch, maybe not as accurately as if it had butterfly joints, but still passable enough. The elbows do have a double joint and will bend in reasonably well but run into limitations due to the size of his biceps. Each of the hands will hinge and swivel on their pegs. The Phantom has an upper diaphragm joint which allows forward and backward crunch/tilt, though the forward bend is deeper. There is a nice waist swivel, which isn't hindered by the floating belt and holsters. His legs can do a full split, which is incredible and again, the soft holsters move easily with the legs and don't deform at all. He can kick forward as the crotch piece is also a softer plastic, but the leg will rotate outward. There is no thigh cut, but there is a hidden thigh swivel which works nicely. The double-jointed knees bend in deep enough nearly allowing heel to butt contact. There is a boot cut, hidden at the top of his boot and a solid ankle hinge and rocker, with toe articulation. Unfortunately, both of my ankles are somewhat loose, which makes standing him an adventure. I think The Phantom will end up on a shelf where falling over won't cause any other mayhem. In spite of a lack of butterfly joints and the head limits, the figure moves well enough and is posable enough to enjoy. I'll give it an A for Articulation as well.
As far as pricing goes, I've seen this figure ranging from $29.99 in stores up to $70 on the secondary market. I paid $32.99 for mine, which I considered a deal as I found it out near Cleveland Ohio and expected to actually pay more. I've seen it in stores, local to me, at $35.99 so I can't complain too much, I suppose. Is it worth the price? I would say so, especially given that it's double that on the secondary market. If you can find one in the wild, I'd say it earns an A for Affordability. The collectible box alone helps enhance the value and I'm not usually one to keep my packaging (except for Retro Legends and imports.) With all of this in mind, I will happily give the Neca: The Original Superheroes: Phantom Action Figure a solid:
FOUR AND THREE QUARTERS OUT OF FIVE TOYBOXES
This is a fun figure to own and really looks solid on my miscellaneous figure display shelf. If you're a fan of the old pulp comics or just the character, I definitely recommend grabbing one for your own collection! Thank you, as always, for visiting Dan's ToyBox and until next time... GEEK OUT!!!