REVIEW: DC UNIVERSE GREEN LANTERN CLASSICS STAR SAPPHIRE
With the growing popularity of the Green Lantern corner of the DC Universe, not to mention the live-action movie, Mattel has chosen to provide us with a couple of assortments of a GREEN LANTERN CLASSICS spin-off of their popular DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS line of action figures.
One of the characters appearing in the second wave of that series is someone with plenty of history with Hal Jordan, Earth's primary Green Lantern. Her real name is CAROL FERRIS, and she goes by the name of STAR SAPPHIRE.
If I may make a brief aside here, Star Sapphire is the first female entry in the DC Universe Classics line -- Green Lantern branch-off notwithstanding -- in a while. And there are only three coming up that I know of -- the Star Sapphire version of Wonder Woman in Wave 17, Superwoman of the Crime Syndicate in that very much anticipated five-pack, and Saturn Girl of the Legion of Super-Heroes in that very much anticipated twelve-pack.
Now, that's not too bad, and the DC Universe Classics line has been more generous than some action figure lines with its female characters. At the same time, there's any number of decently prominent female super-characters in the DC Universe that could certainly do with the action figure treatment.
I took a little bit of time recently and just thought about it a bit, and with just a little offhand thinking came up with enough decently prominent female characters to fill an entire wave, including a Collect & Connect. Such a wave could theoretically include Huntress, Stargirl, Vixen -- who's been shown among the crowd of heroes on one of the package designs, interestingly enough -- Poison Ivy, Miss Martian, and Jade. That's six right there. Your Collect & Connect could be Elasti-Girl from the Doom Patrol. If you want to throw in a few extra figures, then a modern Batgirl, and Donna Troy in her "starfield" costume would not be unwelcome. That one could easily be a repaint of the existing figure. Just something to think about, that I wanted to state publicly in one of my reviews.
However, for the moment, we have Star Sapphire. And this is a character with quite a bit of history, so let's consider her backstory, with a little help from some online research.
I decided to look into both Carol Ferris and Star Sapphire, since there have been other Star Sapphires besides Carol Ferris -- and the background is complicated enough as it is, especially in light of recent events in the Green Lantern corner of the DC Universe.
As regards the basic parameters of Star Sapphire, an immortal alien race of warrior women, known as the Zamarons, were depicted as having an ancient tradition of choosing mortals from across the cosmos to serve as the host body for their queen. The woman chosen to serve this role is called Star Sapphire. She is given the queen's symbolic weapon; a crystal resembling an actual star sapphire that grants the user powers similar to the power ring of a Green Lantern, but using violet light rather than green.
In more recent continuity, the name came to refer to the Star Sapphires, an organization created by the Zamarons whose members are all female, from across the universe. Not really clearly defined as either heroes or villains, unlike the individual Star Sapphire character who tended to be a villain regardless of her actual identity, the Star Sapphire organization first appeared in Green Lantern Corps #20, and was created by writer Geoff Johns as part of his establishment of an emotional color spectrum represented by various corps.
The original Star Sapphire actually debuted in the Golden Age of comics, and claimed to be a "queen from the 7th dimension". She battled the Golden Age Flash. A later retcon connected her with the Zamarons, explaining that she had been chosen as their queen, but had proven unworthy, and had been banished to the 7th dimension as a result.
Carol Ferris was the next Star Sapphire, but we'll get to her shortly. The next Star Sapphire was Dela Pharon, who interestingly enough assumed the role even though Ferris was still a Star Sapphire as well. She is a native of the planet Xanador, and was chosen by one faction of Zamarons, while another faction wanted Ferris to continue the role. She is currently listed as a member of the Star Sapphires.
The next Star Sapphire is an alien woman named Remoni-Notra, of the planet Pandina, but she takes the name of Deborah Camille Darnell on Earth. She joins the Secret Society of Super-Villains, but during the events of Infinite Crisis, is part of a group of magic-users that summon the Spectre. After being summoned, the Spectre singles out Darnell for her past crimes and kills her.
As a group, the Star Sapphires are one of the seven Corps empowered by a specific color of the emotional spectrum. Though their roots can be traced back to the earliest appearances of the Star Sapphires, their nature as an organization was never significantly explored until the events leading up to the Blackest Night storyline. At present, all known members of the Stat Sapphires have been depicted as humanoid females. During a panel at Comic-Con International 2009, Geoff Johns explained that "anyone can join, but most men are not worthy."
The Star Sapphires are first mentioned in the context of a group during a conversation between Carol Ferris and Hal Jordan immediately after Ferris has recovered from being possessed by the Star Sapphire stone during "Mystery of the Star Sapphire". Ferris explains that while under the possession of the stone, she learns a number of things about its history and capabilities.
Billions of years ago, when the Guardians of the Universe decided to form the Green Lantern Corps, a tribe of women left Oa because they didn't agree with the Guardians' belief in living a life without emotion. They said they would continue on their own existence with emotions, starting with love. They searched the universe for billions of years for the emotions that the Guardians feared, and eventually found it on a planet called Zamaron. They learned of love from the first Star Sapphire gem, which was discovered locked between the embrace of two crystallized skeletons inside a cave.
In the modern telling of the Star Sapphire Corps, the Zamarons have determined that the power of the Star Sapphire is too overwhelming for just one host. The farther from the center of the emotional spectrum, which is centered on the green, characterized by willpower, the greater the influence a powered light has over its bearer. The violet of the Star Sapphires is at one end of the spectrum, while the red of the Red Lanterns, characterized by rage, is at the other. The Zamarons determine that the problem could be rectified by taking a page from the Book of Oa, and developing their own Corps, as well as transforming the Star Sapphire stone into a power ring, and even developing a power battery akin to those used by the Green Lantern Corps, and the other developing corps.
As for Carol Ferris, she first appeared in Showcase #22, in 1959, but didn't become a Star Sapphire until a story in 1962.
As Ferris Aircraft's Vice President, Carol, the only child of aerospace mogul Carl Ferris, hired Hal Jordan and quickly found herself attracted to the fearless test pilot. However, the young couple's romance quickly became complicated when Carol took over the company from her father and the Zamarons crowned her the new Star Sapphire. Over the years, Star Sapphire and Green Lantern would duel repeatedly, but each time Jordan would defeat Ferris and revert her to normal.
The "Green Lantern: Secret Origin" storyline revised some parts of Carol's and Hal's history. In this retelling, the two first met when they were children, as they watched Hal's father, Carl Ferris' best friend, experience mechanical problems with his plane. With a choice between crash landing in Coast City or the nearby desert, Hal's father chose to fly into the desert.
In the most recent incarnation of Carol Ferris as Star Sapphire, Carol has come to the realization that she still loves Hal, but is uncertain of his feelings towards her. The Star Sapphires, sensing the heartache Carol has been carrying over Hal, send a violet power ring to her, transforming her into one of their number. The ring reveals that all those chosen to wield the violet light must accept it willingly. The ring tells Carol that she has a "hole in her heart" but Carol denies it. The ring explains that she has continually put aside her own happiness for the benefit of others. Because she is capable of doing this, Carol could become the most powerful Star Sapphire in the universe. The Zamarons intend for Carol to lead the Star Sapphires into battle alongside the Green Lantern Corps during the Sinestro Corps War and the Blackest Night.
As of this writing, Carol Ferris is teamed with the leaders of the other Corps, alongside Hal Jordan, attempting to deal with the capture of the various entities that empower the various Corps.
The Star Sapphire rings have powers similar to those of Green Lantern power rings, including the ability to fly, fire blasts of energy, create light-based constructs, and a certain amount of invulnerability as well as the ability to survive in space.
Based on what I've read in the comics, I get the impression that Carol Ferris is increasingly reluctant to serve as a Star Sapphire. The super-hero life certainly isn't for everyone, and as capable as she may be, thanks to increasing experience, one tends to get the impression that she'd just as soon go back to running Ferris Aircraft and leave the cosmic-level adventures to others. We'll see what happens.
So, how's the figure? Very nicely done, very impressive, and surprisingly distinctive. For one thing, she's easy enough to spot on the shelves. The Green Lantern Classics figures, not surprisingly, have green package cards. Star Sapphire is dressed in bright reddish-purple. It tends to stand out.
The figure is entirely unique. Now, I might have thought that some parts might have been brought over from the basic female body molds, that have been used to one degree or another on quite a number of the female figures in this line, everybody from Harley Quinn to Starfire to Cheetah. But a quick comparison has shown me that, no, even those parts, such as the arms, especially, or the lower legs, that could have been made from existing molds -- weren't.
Star Sapphire's arms are slightly different than most, just a little larger. And no, I'm not calling Carol Ferris fat. I'm just saying that there is a difference. Slight, but it is there, and as such, proof that the figure used a distinctive set of molds.
The placement of some of the articulation joints is very slightly different, as well. Thankfully, the figure has not been inflicted with the double-articulation that has made its way into some male figures in the line -- and needs to make its way out and stay gone as soon as possible.
The torso is an entirely unique sculpt, as the costume details are not just painted on, but sculpted into the design of the figure. The same is also true of the upper legs, with the tops of the boots.
The costume as a whole -- well, let's just say that it's fairly consistent for most members of the Star Sapphire Corps, and that it's just as well there aren't any male members, because I think they'd look pretty silly in it. But it certainly looks good on the female humanoid form. Maybe a little too good. I had one person see the figure and remark that they didn't think it would be appropriate to give the figure to a small child. I thought that was something of an over-reaction, but I also pointed out the "Adult Collector" label on the package.
The Star Sapphire costume has admittedly evolved over the years, and almost admittedly gotten more revealing. The original costume from the 1960's shows a costume with a flared collar, tight-fitting, long-sleeved top and trunks, with a wide belt, along with gloves and boots.
The modern costume still has the flared collar, but a fairly open front, running down to a silver star-shaped insignia about where a low belt buckle would be, if there was a belt, which there isn't. It's basically right below the navel, and there haven't been a lot of DC Universe Classics figures that have even shown a navel...
The costume has long sleeves, which just sort of merge into gloves with no visible separation. The boots are high, almost to the hip level, and have distinct heels to them. The costume is mostly a single color, a fairly bright red-violet, with the silver star and the white collar being the only real indications of color, and the collar is arguably the main apparent holdover from the original design. The red-violet has a very, very slight metallic sheen to it. Can barely tell it's there except in certain light.
The headsculpt is excellent. Carol Ferris has pinkish-violet eyes, doubtless a reflection of the Star Sapphire power rather than her natural color, and a slight smile on her face that could arguably be called "mysterious". Personally, I would tend to describe Carol Ferris as on the side of the heroes these days, certainly when compared to villains like Sinestro or Atrocitus. The Star Sapphire Corps, on the other hand, is probably still a little ambiguous as far as defining it as either heroic or villainous.
Carol has a sort of combination tiara and partial mask, that is a lavender-violet in color, that rests just above her hairline, and partially encircles her eyes, and is somewhat flared at the tips. It's a distinctly different shade of purple than the costume. It's been given a metallic finish, and there is a white star emblem at the top of the tiara.
Just for the sake of some color composition, I believe, Carol Ferris has been given a bit of eye shadow that is roughly the same color as her costume, and she is wearing earrings that are also the same color as the costume.
The overall sculpting job is excellent. Carol Ferris also has long black hair, which I believe was molded separately, and attached to the rest of the head behind the tiara. The sculpting job here is excellent, and the hair has been molded from a sufficiently flexible plastic so that it doesn't hinder head articulation too much. The hair hangs about to Carol's waist, and isn't pre-posed to look like it's blowing in the wind or anything, thank goodness.
On Star Sapphire's right hand is a violet power ring, very nicely sculpted, and given the same metallic violet color as the tiara mask. Star Sapphire doesn't come with any accessories.
The figure is very well articulated, and is fully poseable at the head, arms, upper arm swivel, elbows, wrists, mid-torso, legs, upper leg swivel, knees, and ankles. Thankfully, as I said earlier, the figure doesn't have any double-jointed articulation. It's interesting to note that the figure does not have waist articulation. Most female figures in the DC Universe Classics line do. However, given the design of the costume, it would have broken it up a bit much, in conjunction with the mid-torso articulation, and it's no great loss. The figure moves readily, although I have found the mid-torso joint to be rather difficult. I don't know if this is the case with all Star Sapphire figures, or even how far it's supposed to move. And I'm not about to force it. The upper and lower torso are well aligned, and they can stay that way. It's fine with me.
Paint work is for the most part excellent, if minimal. Mostly it's flesh-tone details on the costume, which are carried out very well. The face is painted very nicely, although there was a little glitch of paint on the forehead that I had to deal with. I do sometimes wish that Mattel would mold the heads in the color they're supposed to be, rather than paint them. It's just too easy to mess up a face. However, I will also admit that in this case, painting the face does let it work better with the painted flesh-tone details of the rest of the figure, something that might have been difficult to achieve otherwise.
So what's my final word here? I'm very pleased to have this figure. She's a prominent character in the Green Lantern part of the DC Universe, who has become more prominent in recent times because of developments in the storylines. Honestly, she's prominent enough so that she might have rated her own figure in the main DC Universe Classics line, and there's not a lot of Green Lantern-specific characters from these various colored corps that I can say that about (although I would welcome properly made figures of any of them).
Star Sapphire is nicely made, well-detailed, well-articulated, and a welcome addition to the DC Universe and Green Lantern Classics line, and a welcome new female entry into the line, which hasn't had any for a little while now. I believe any DC and/or Green Lantern fan would readily welcome this figure into their collection.
The DC UNIVERSE GREEN LANTERN CLASSICS figure of STAR SAPPHIRE definitely has my highest recommendation!