Variants and Video Games: The SDCC Stars for Square Enix Play Arts
Though Square Enix had more than a fair share of existing product on display at SDCC '15, the company still managed to bring a few new pieces to the show, too. The Variant line has been a fairly big hit for Square, allowing for some more radical takes on familiar characters like Batman, Superman, Iron Man and Spider-Man. Though a tad pricier than most other collectibles featuring your favorite comic heroes, there's an undeniable personality in Square's products that you just don't see anywhere else.
Though the DC version of the Variant line didn't have much new, beyond yet another look at the incredibly divisive Tetsuya Nomura Catwoman, the Marvel line saw two Avengers leap into the fray. Black Widow joins Iron Man and Thor in the Play Arts series first, with Captain America coming some time after Natasha. Both are easily identifiable as the characters you've grown familiar with over their published lifespan, but feature that hallmark Squeenix style. Widow has a lot of detailing in her uniform, which makes up for how she's traditionally not outrageously outfitted. She's buttoned-up pretty well, too, and it's nice to see a Widow figure that isn't letting it all (or most of it anyway) hang out.
Captain America is still the same soldier you know and love, but his suit has a much more armored feel to it than what you'd normally see him wearing. There's a wealth of sculpted embellishments, and you can see where the Stars and Stripes patterning is used in some unique ways throughout if you look close enough. It's tough to tell exactly without the paint app in place, but the geometry of the figure is still fairly easy to figure out regardless.
Square still being a video game publisher, there were also some new gaming licenses on display. Rise of the Tomb Raider was a fairly nice surprise to see, and even in her early state, this Lara looks miles and above the last Tomb Raider figure in both detail and the face sculpt. Halo 5: Guardians got on the board with Chief and Locke, and some new Kingdom Hearts figures made an appearance as well. The figures that piqued my interest the most though were the new Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain pieces. D-Dog looks hilariously awesome, though I hope he won't be $90+ figure, and newcomer Tretij Rebenok has me pondering his role in the mysterious sequel.
It wouldn't be a SDCC booth without at least some Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice merchandise, and Square made its offering to the Comic-Con gods with a basic Batman and Superman from the upcoming film. Both sculpts look strong, and feature loads of articulation. The screaming Superman head that comes in addition to the stoic face is a bit funny, but only because it was dismembered at the booth, and looked hilarious just sitting there on its own. Batman mostly came with some weapon accessories, but there's always hope we'll get an even more grumpy Bat-face to swap out.