Produced by Lego | Released February 2013
Lego's exploration of the human condition continues with the release of this Series 9 Minifigure, Mr Good & Evil, a piece in which they offer the hypothesis that man is simultaneously both - as the name suggests - good and evil, capable of compassion and cruelty, of greatness and depravity, in a study that acts as a mirror to the observer and encourages us to contemplate this duality within the figure and ourselves.
He also has an awesome hat.
Taking their cue from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr Hyde - by way of Batman villain, Two-Face - Lego's designers have given us another great-looking character, created from the core Minifigure buck and then elevated courtesy of some great tampo work and a few accessories.
The figure's design is pure Victoriana - though upon closer inspection you'll see a few elements that mark the contrasts in the figure's persona. Note that he's wearing what appears to be a (however badly damaged) top hat, implying he's a gentleman in evening/opera wear, yet his neckerchief and patterned waistcoat/vest imply a more working class background. I'm not sure if this is somebody just throwing in ''Victorian stuff'' or a deliberate design decision, but either way it's very cool.
The tampo work is very neatly applied, as we've come to expect from Lego, and does a great job of ''selling'' the character. It's a unique look, which does limit its potential for use in other (or custom) figures but that's also part of the figure's charm.
The designers' intentions were clearly to produce a permanently split-personality in Mr Good & Evil, hence the irregular hand coloring and center-split face tampo, the right side of which represents Mr Good's positive personality and the left his evil/bad side. Even his body tampo reflects this, with the left side featuring more scuffs and tears compared to the right. I find it surprising though, given how many of the Monster Fighter releases feature reversible heads (with different expressions) that Mr Good & Evil doesn't include a ''good face'' and a ''bad face.'' I think it would have been a fun addition to the character to allow kids to transform him between the two states, but it's a very minor point and takes little away from the figure's coolness.
As for accessories and augmentations, Mr Good & Evil is a fairly simplistic creation, with most of his unique look coming from his tampo work. But we do get a great top hat and a very cool bottle of transformation elixir and in this case although there's not a massive amount in terms of physical ''play'' (or posing) features the equipment pieces are more than enough to ''sell'' the figure's concept and if you are - or have - a kid with a lot of imagination who understands the concept behind Mr Good & Evil then there's a lot of fun to be had here.
Mr Good & Evil is clearly designed to compliment the Monster Fighters line - and he does so brilliantly. Whether at brewing a potion in The Evil Scientist's lair or aiding/thwarting Lord Vampyre in the Vampyre Castle, the figure's quasi-Victorian/steampunk aesthetic and movie monster concept fit in perfectly. OK, so that's pretty much the only place he does fit in but to criticize him for that would be like complaining that the Police ATV doesn't look good as part of the Lord of the Rings range. So I won't.
As I mentioned above, I'd have personally loved to see the figure feature a ''transforming head'' tampo. I could really see that being a fun thing for kids to play with. ''Oh no... Goodness Potion...wearing off... Becoming... MISTER EVIL, at your dis-service! Mwuhahaha!'' But that would also have meant creating a new hat/hairpiece combo accessory to hide the second face, which no doubt would have impacted the line's budget elsewhere.
A minor missed opportunity aside though, Mr Good & Evil is a great figure, particularly if you're a fan of the Monster Fighters line-up. He may not sport a bunch of neat accessories or character-specific pieces but he's a prime example of how a good set of tampo transfers and just the right pieces can transform the most basic of figures into something fun.
A great addition to the Minifigures line and a must-have for fans of the Monster Fighters range.
Final Score: A-