Thursday, April 19, 2012

Statue Review – X-Infernus Darkchilde Comiquette By Sideshow Collectibles

I’ve never reviewed a statue before and I might not ever do it again, but I spent over two hundred bucks on this thing and I’m damn sure going to get some mileage out of it.

I’m not as fond of statues and busts as I am of toys and action figures, but I do own quite a few. Sometimes one of those items will be just the right character in just the right pose and it’ll get me. The first one I fell victim to was a statue of Wolverine infected by the Brood, from the cover of Uncanny X-Men #234. Not only do I love that story arc, but that was the first comic about the X-Men I ever bought. So I had to buy the statue.

I bought this Comiquette of Illyana Rasputin for similar reasons.

As I have mentioned before, Inferno is one of my favorite comic book storylines ever; certainly my favorite crossover. A few years ago C.B. Cebulski wrote a sequel to Chris Claremont’s demonic story. It was called X-Infernus and it was magnificent. Early on it was promoted with an image of Illyana Rasputin in her Darkchilde persona illustrated by David Finch.

Early last year Sideshow announced that they would be producing a Comiquette based on that image and I preordered it the second it went up for sale. I’ve never spent so much on what basically amounts to a fancy toy, but I had to have this one. It’s an amazing image of one of my favorite characters. Also, I managed to snag the Sideshow Exclusive version (not available from other retailers) that includes an alternate right hand grasping a sword rather than a battle axe.

If you don’t know, Illyana Nikolievna Rasputin is the younger sister of Piotr Nikolaievitch Rasputin – the X-Men’s Colossus. I first became aware of her when Inferno came out. I was only reading Uncanny X-Men at the time, but the story crossed over into several other titles as well. Actually, now that I think about it, several mainstream Marvel comics had Inferno tie-ins. I also bought a couple of Spider-Man books at the time and remember Spidey fighting some demonically animated lions outside of the New York Public Library. I think I collected Web of and Amazing back then.

Anyway, Illyana played a key role in Inferno and became a favorite of mine. Her alternate demon form – called Darkchilde – came about as a result of her repeated use of the Soulsword. The form seen in this statue is the one she used as ruler of the demon dimension Limbo leading up to the events of X-Infernus.

First Glance: I was expecting a large box – the statue is over sixteen inches tall – but this thing is huge. Once you get it open everything is in pieces, which I suppose is normal for statues this size. A sticker on top of the tape securing the two Styrofoam halves of the inner packaging suggested I got to to download instructions on how to assemble the statue.

On the one hand, I didn’t see how much help I could really need putting a few pieces of polystone together. I’m not an idiot and I have over thirty years of experience assembling many different toys of varying size and complexity.

On the other hand, I had just paid $270.00 for this thing (minus the Rewards points I had redeemed and plus shipping) and didn’t want to fuck it up. So I got online and looked for the instructions.

They were nowhere to be found.

There were instructions for many other items, but no Darkchilde.

I wouldn’t normally do this, but I spent a lot of money on this thing; so I clicked on “Contact Us”, brought up the little chat window, and typed out my problem. It took a while, but eventually I got a response. The person on the other end told me they’d look for the instructions. I knew that they meant on the website, which was something I had already done. Whatever. Sure enough, after about ten minutes they got back to me and said that the instructions did not appear to be on the website. I said, “I know”. Then they started telling how to assemble a statue. Not this statue, mind you – just general terms for any statue.
Start with the base and attach the legs”

Usually the arms are next”

I told them I thought I could figure it out, my purpose in contacting them was simply to let them know that the product was not listed. Then I closed the little window before they could provide any more “help”.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining or saying that the person on the other end did a poor job. I think they did the best they could under the circumstances. I just didn’t need that kind of help.

I managed to put my Darkchilde together just fine.

Sculpt: Let’s do what the Sideshow Customer Service rep suggested and start with the base.

The base is a chunk of Limbo-esque scenery, complete with a couple of skulls, some weird outcroppings, and some bubbling ooze. 

The outcroppings look cool and strange. I particularly like the tablet-looking one. 

The bubbling ooze has a very nice texture and helps keep the base interesting and alien. I like that it’s off-center and uneven. The skulls both look neat, if a bit more cartoonish than I might have liked. I do very much like the one with the unhinged jaw. The grasses and fauna in the middle of the base are as finely detailed as they need to be and work with the aesthetics of the statue itself. 

The bottom of the base has an outline of Darkchilde, the title of the statue, and numbering for the run size and which order in the production run this piece is. It’s clean and classy, especially given that this is the last time I’ll ever see it.

Overall the base is great. It has a lot of character and detail, but isn’t so busy it overwhelms the statue. Also, it feels like what was in the original art even though it has more dimensions and is a bit different.

The statue plugs into the base by way of two metal posts mounted in the figure’s feet. It’s easy to connect the pieces, but they feel secure once the statue is attached. Also, it did not require any kind of special positioning or movement to place the statue. The posts went home smoothly.

Starting with the hooves, the actual figure of Illyana is something to behold. The hooves have cool-looking ridges and the metal supports are securely attached. The fur above the hooves looks good and has a lot of detail. 

It is sculpted in such a way that it looks lifelike but not posed. You know what I mean? Sometimes the hair or mobile parts of sculpted items can look really good but have a certain artificiality to their appearance. That’s not the case here. The reverse-articulated legs end in armored kneepads. From here there are stockings that go up the figure’s thighs. This makes no sense whatsoever, but I am always in favor of stockings, so we’ll just go with it. Of course, if you’re a sexy demon lady with stockings going from your kneepads up to some kind of weird chainmail garter belt, there are probably going to be some holes in those stockings. Sure enough, there are some sculpted in and they look good, breaking up what might otherwise be straight black thighs that would look weird with the rest of the figure. Well, weirder.

Illyana’s upper legs are well-proportioned and smooth and lead up to… well, we’re just going to have to take a minute to talk about the statue’s ass. It looks pretty great. Obviously that bare ass was a key portion of the original artwork. I am no ashamed to admit that I am a fan of bare asses, and the bare ass in the drawing was nice. The one on the statue is equally so. What I am a little ashamed to admit is that I couldn’t help but giggle a little bit when I inserted the tail. You see, the tail goes into a slot just above the crack of that ass, and if there is a person on this planet that wouldn’t laugh just at the thought of sticking the tail in that slot then I don’t want to meet them. 

The tail itself is smoothly sculpted and sturdy. The pose is accurate to the drawing and looks good. There are magnets in the slot and on the base of the tail that hold the piece in place, so once you get in the vicinity of the slot the tail just kind of jumps in there. Obviously this made me laugh more.

The loin cloth and belt are pretty awesome. The links of the belt are distinct and well-placed around the hips. The front of the loincloth is scaled and the back is not, which is accurate.
The rest of the figure’s torso is well-proportioned and exactly matches the original artwork. I like that they didn’t overdo the boobs. I don’t know if you guys are aware of this or not, but there is a tendency to overdo boobs in comic book artwork. But Illyana is a regular young woman. I suppose these could still be considered a little on the big side, but for comic book ladies they’re modest. The… um, breast curtains have a good texture and drape well.

The arms have pieces of armor and clothing and feel sturdy. There is a joint somewhere on the left arm, but I couldn’t figure out quite where. The armor is nicely detailed and the spikes and chains are well defined. The elbow pieces – and all of the armor, for that matter – look worn and old. They have pitted textures that have a lot of character. All of the spikes are nice and pointy, something you can’t get away with on toy releases.

The head is excellent, which is probably the most important thing this statue could have achieved. If the face doesn’t look good on something this large, you might as well throw it out. Well, return it, I guess. The hair hits a perfect combination of comic book/cartoony and realistic. There’s enough detail for it to look good at this scale, but not so much that it ends up looking hyper-real and throwing off the rest of the statue. The face has great proportions and is an accurate likeness of Illyana. The expression on the statue seems a bit more neutral to me than the one in the original art, possibly because the end result of X-Infernus was that Illyana was not actually evil. Also possible that it’s just my imagination. Either way it looks amazing, and the horns on top more than make up for any lost menace. The shape and detail is awesome and I’ve always loved that Illyana’s demon form doesn’t have little red nub horns.

Design: I don’t feel like I’m great at talking about paint. Just thought I’d put that out there.
Look at the pictures. The paint is fantastic. Everything is tight and accurate, and if it wasn’t I think you’d have a whole lot of pissed off collectors out there. This isn’t like one of Mattel’s shit little superhero figures where they can fuck up the paint all over the place and just say, “Oh, well. They’re just toys.” This is a high-dollar statue that needed to meet a certain level of quality, and it certainly does.

The eyes are my favorite. The effect of a spooky glow emanating from within Illyana’s eyes is well done and the somewhat muted tones of the rest of her face combined with those crazy red lips add to the effect.

The base is much more colorful than what is depicted in the art, but it looks very good for it. The wash on the swirls really draws my eye for some reason. I like how much it darkens those details up so much.

The armor pieces also look particularly good. The wear sculpted into them is complemented by the colors used. Same goes for the scales on Illyana’s loin cloth. They really stand out thanks to this.

The same goes for the red fur on her lower legs. The sculpt is great, but the paint adds a whole other layer of texturing.

The paint is just all good. See, I suck at paint talk.

Accessories: Since this is the Sideshow Exclusive version it comes with an alternate right hand holding Illyana’s Soulsword. 

While I never saw this item explicitly labeled as such, the Soulsword has looked very different depending on who was drawing it and has resembled this piece in the past:

The hands holding the weapons fit into the forearm via the same clever magnet mechanism as the tail, only you don’t feel quite so dirty installing them. 

Just as a note, the tail and the axe kind of run into each other a bit when you’re putting them in. It isn’t a problem, but be careful. Also, the wiggling I had to do to get the axe hand into place while working around the tail resulted in some of the paint scraping off of the connection point. I don’t really care because it’s hidden from sight, but you might.

Packaging: The box is cool for what it is. The graphics are nice and surprisingly colorful. I don't know that statue producers are in the habit of putting character bios on their packaging, but they should be. Everybody should be.

Overall: Clearly you’re going to have to really be a fan of this character to shell out for the statue, but if you are this piece is well worth it. I’m happy to have it in the house. We were going to put the thing upstairs with a Maleficent we own, but decided those buttocks were just too dirty for public viewing.

5 out of 5

The Exclusive version is long gone, but I believe you can still buy one of the regular edition Comiquettes at

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