Thursday, December 6, 2012

REVIEW: SLUG Zombies Series 3 - Tragic Magic

Produced by JAKKS Pacific | Released November 2012

Previous Job: Magician
Likes: Bunny Rabbits, Hats & Hacksaws
Dislikes: Hecklers, Bad Crowds
Favorite Food: Vegetarians (They Taste Better)

SLUG Zombies Series 3 - Tragic Magic
Following on from the Review of his Zombie Hunting pack-mate Double-Barrel Carol comes illusionist-turned-undead-horror Tragic Magic.

Tragic Magic was provided for Review purposes by JAKKS Pacific at no cost to That Figures.

Sculpt & Design
Generally the figures in the SLUG Zombie line-up will fall into two categories - parodies of celebrities/pop culture homages or everyday role/job-themed riffs. Tragic Magic, as a former stage magician, falls into the latter, so rather than be so some kind of spoof of David Copperfield or David Blaine (what is it with Davids and magic?) he is instead based upon the archetypal illusionist. But that doesn't mean he's not a fun figure or his design is somehow lacking...

Tragic Magic features the de rigueur attire for a stage magician, specifically formal evening wear that includes a bow tie and tail coat. These details are neatly sculpted, with wrinkles in the bow tie and the coat featuring padded shoulders, surprisingly intricate collar detail and cleanly-sculpted coat tails. As with all the undead SLUG figures, Tragic Magic's clothing shows signs of wear and tear, post-zombification, with his sleeve sporting some cool, arm-exposing tears and a ripped right pant leg and damaged shoe, again exposing the shambling undead corpse beneath.

The head sculpt - and the face detail in particular - is impressive. I particularly like his protruding tongue and bulging eyes, which make me wonder if he was killed and resurrected in some kind of hanging-based illusion gone wrong. Or maybe being turned into an undead nightmare has driven him insane. Either way, I really like the amount of detail the head sculpt features.

If that weren't enough, Tragic Magic features another great little ''spot'' gag, the kind of extra detail found on such characters as Extra Crispy that really pushes the zombie gag beyond the expected. In this case it's the (presumably equally undead) rabbit head he's holding, having plucked it from his top hat in a really, really morbid take on the old ''rabbit from a hat'' trick. It's sick, gross, disgusting and I love it.

As most zombie fans will probably tell you, it's not uncommon for movies (or comics or videogames or bubblegum cards) to feature zombies repeating their pre-undead routines or behaviors and Tragic Magic is a prime example of this, with his rabbit-holding pose illustrating that as far as he's concerned, ''the show must go on!'' There is almost an air of the tragic about the pose, as if Tragic Magic hasn't realized he's now dead and has simply fallen back into his routine of performing magic tricks to entertain his audience. Or maybe I'm just reading too much into that.

Extras & Accessories
Tragic Magic is available as part of a 3-figure pack (along with Double-Barrel Carol and The Deadlifter) or as part of the Series 3 12-figure pack. In both he comes with the standard 16-figure collector/bio sheet.

Final Thoughts
Although not quite as epic as his pack-mate Double-Barrel Carol, Tragic Magic is a very cool-looking, nicely-sculpted and grimly-humorous zombie. The facial detail is strong, the pose is excellent and the little addition of the rabbit head/top hat trick is a neat one.

As a non-specific parody, his appeal could go one of two ways, depending on your view of the line's pop culture/celebrity spoofs. The idea of a stage magician-turned-zombie is a neat one and the designers have done a fantastic job squeezing the maximum mileage from the concept. Would it have been funnier had he been a more hip ''street magician''-style illusionist in the vein of Criss Angel? For me personally, no. I think JAKKS made the right call going for the archetypal magician over a more modern performer but you may feel differently.

I have a couple of minor criticisms of Tragic Magic though. For starters, I think this is the first SLUG Zombie where I've really noticed the mold lines on the figure. They're not massively prominent but when you look closely, they're quite plainly there. Part of it may be that the designers incorporated them into his pants seam but rather than disguise the lines it simply serves to draw attention to them. I also wish they'd been able to make his top hat hollow, but that's another very minor point.

The other thing to note - and this is again a fairly minor issue - is that all the figures included in this 3-pack are  also in the 12-pack. As far as I'm aware that's the first time JAKKS Pacific has done this (normally there's at least one figure in the 3-pack that's an exclusive) so just be sure to pay attention to which figures are in which packs to avoid duplication.

A strong sculpt and a great example of the line's sick humor.

Final Score: B+

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