Sunday, March 10, 2013

Doll Collector: Hulk's David Banner (2003)

A few weeks ago, AMC "premiered" Ang Lee's Hulk (2003). During its initial release, and given the runaway success of (and in estimation, inferior) Marvel's The Avengers (2012), Hulk is generally considered among the weakest of the Marvel superhero movies. I disagree. Just as when I first saw it opening weekend in theaters over a decade ago, I was drawn into Lee's unique vision for the character which, albeit radically different than the character from more recent incarnations, does succeed in capturing some of the tone associated with Hulk.

Perhaps one of the more controversial fanboy faux pas was the movie's use of Banner's father, David, as an amalgamation of Hulk antagonists as the film's "big bad." Commonly, as is the case on some Ebay and Amazon listings, the figure is erroneously referred to as "The Absorbing Man," another Hulk adversary. Actually, there are elements --or homages--to other Hulk classic villains such as Zzzax and Leader, too.

Of course, the David Banner action figure was the "doll" I set my sights on after watching the movie for the twentieth time this past weekend. An obscure figure I'd long hoped to add to my small collection, I had missed the chance previously to buy one. A quick search online revealed a number of items (still in original packaging) for sale at a small mark-up from the original $8.99 purchase price.

One appealing aspect of this Hulk Movie Series 3 figure  is that David Banner, as depicted by the figure, with multiple elements exhibited simultaneously, never appears in the film. In Hulk, Banner (played by Nick Nolte) exhibits some minor power transformations toward the end of the film, only using them en total, at the end. The clearest (and most dramatic) image on film of the character's empowered form is not even part of the action figures make-up, the electricity element. In many ways, this David Banner looks more like a realistic update of Metamorpho, DC Comics Elemental Man.

Produced as a movie-tie in by one-time Marvel sister-company Toy Biz Entertainment, the David Banner figure stands 6" tall and comes complete with multiple interchangeable limbs. The various arm and leg options snap into the torso to allow for a variety of combination and poses. Finally glad to have procured him, David Banner now stands with my limited, but sincere collection of amrginally obscure super hero action figures.

Previous Doll Collector musings:

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