Sunday, April 3, 2016

Action Figure Review: Rorschach from Watchmen by Mattel

 I don't know about you, but this is the guy I've really been waiting to review. Rorschach might be an uncompromising, violent, right wing, unpersonable, mentally ill vigilante, but darn if this guy just isn't one of the most interesting characters in comics ever. Seriously, if you've never read Watchmen you really just need if for no other reason than to read Rorschach's inner-monologue. He's a truly amazing character and the clear favorite of most Watchmen fans. Rorschach was the first figure released in Mattel's Watchmen line back in early 2013 and was kind of used as a litmus test for how well the line might do. Sadly to say, Mattel reported that when Rorschach didn't sell as well as they had hoped the future of the line expanding beyond the basic cast pretty much just fell away. That's sad because I love Watchmen but even with a figure like Rorschach, you can see some of the weaknesses in the line. Let's take a closer look at this guy, shall we? Join me after the break...

 The Facts:

Height: 6 5/8ths inches

Articulation: Hinged ankles, hinged knees, swivel thighs, H-hinged hips, swivel waist, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, and a ball jointed head.

Accessories: Grappling hook gun, display stand, and an art print.

Original Retail Price: $25 dollars
 The Positives:

* This is a really fantastic Rorschach sculpt. Not only is everything pretty spot on with Rorschach's hat, coat, mask, and scarf, but the colors are quite striking. While Watchmen deals with some incredibly heavy subject matter, the book uses a very classic comic book palette for the art work, thus I'm really glad that Rorschach's coat isn't just dark, leathery brown. It actually looks like something from a comic. The classic mask also looks quite good here. Mattel made a good choice in selecting a facial pattern.

* The incredible paint work isn't just on the great shading on Rorschach's jacket but also on the awesome pinstripes on his purple pants and the excellent weathering on his shoes. You can almost hear Rorschach narrating what he's up to as you're looking at this figure.

* One thing I really like about this line is that every figure comes with a display stand. It's a simple disc and peg stand that comes trapped in the package with him and the presentation is awesome. The word "Watchmen" is sculpted on the base with a yellow disc behind it. It looks great and functions really well. I wish the DC Universe Signature Collection had come with stands; I'm always in favor of stuff like this.
 * Rorschach only comes with one true accessory: His gas powered grappling gun that Night Owl built for him. This is a beautiful accessory as the paint and sculpt are as impressive as almost anything else out on the market. It's quite large but it works for Rorschach. Remember the section of Watchmen where a Rorschach action figure and grappling gun accessory is proposed to Adrian Veidt to expand the Ozymandias toyline? Now you actually get to own that toy. Incredible!
* The packaging and included art prints for this series are really pretty cool. I did a pretty extensive rundown of the packaging in my review of the Comedian, so make sure to check that out, but I'll mention the unique elements here:

+ The Rorschach print is new and features a bio on the other side.

+The Doomsday Clock on the front of the package is set at less than 20 minutes until midnight while his side panels feature the second part of the "Who Watches the Watchmen?" mural and a Rorschach test inkblot design.

There's not much packaging worth keeping, but this collector friendly packaging is pretty grand.
 The Negatives:

* While Rorschach is built on a DCUC body, he seems to have so many new parts that you'll barely recognize that. Unfortunately, while his trench coat looks incredible, it makes getting any motion out of his hips a fruitless effort. Secondly, since parts were reused it means Rorschach is as tall as everyone else when he really should be a good deal shorter. I believe he's listed as being   5' 6". 

 * I really wish that Rorschach had come with a couple of extra accessories, particularly considering his original $25 dollar price tag. His makeshift flamethrower would have been nice, as would have been a copy of the New Frontiersman or the doomsday sign that he carried as Walter Kovacs. Most significantly what this figure needed, though, was an unmasked head to show off Kovacs' face. Two of the most stunning moments in the book occur with the removal of Rorschach's mask: His arrest and his unwillingness to compromise leading him to challenge Doctor Manhattan.
 While I do lament the fact that Rorschach didn't come with an unmasked head (that would have been amazing) I do think he's a pretty strong figure. Part of my praise is definitely colored by my lover for the character but I feel that overall this is just a stronger figure than the rest. The paint work and sculpt are incredible and feel much less "compromised" than the other character designs, something I believe Rorschach could respect. Rorschach is actually a Great and a 1/2 figure and if you track one figure down from this line, make sure it's him.

I've reviewed four other figures in this series so far: The Comedian, Nite Owl, Ozymandias, and Dr. Manhattan. Only one figure left to review in the series...


  1. He looks great- funny the grappling gun accessory/Adrian Veidt toy suggestion wasn't lost on you! Meta!

    1. Nope! I've always loved that little between the issues section in Watchmen. I also love how excited Veidt gets about a Bubastis action figure. I wish Mattel had done one in this line or as an SDCC exclusive. How meta!


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