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Toybox Review: Star Wars Black Series Carnor Jax - Mexinter.net

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Title : Toybox Review: Star Wars Black Series Carnor Jax - Mexinter.net
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Toybox Review: Star Wars Black Series Carnor Jax - Mexinter.net

Star Wars Black Series Carnor Jax 01

Release Date: April 2021
RRP: $24.99/£24.99

Star Wars fans around during the years between films who had to rely on expanded media such as novels, films and video games for new content have potentially had it rough since Disney took over control of the franchise, especially with the stories they love being deemed non-canon and being categorised as "Legends", but in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Lucasfilm at least Hasbro are giving them some acknowledgement. This four small range of special edition figures looks at all things Legends, with one release paying homage to Star Wars: Crimson Empire – the 1997 comic book series from Dark Horse that spanned a total of 20 issues as well as a full cast audio drama. Carnor Jax, the Imperial Sovereign Protector who made a bid for the throne following Palpatine's death has arrived in the Black Series. However the big question is, is this release even Carnor Jax in the first place?

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These Lucasfilm 50th Anniversary figures have some of the nicest packaging ever seen in the Black Series – gorgeous, book-style boxes with a front emblazoned with a cover from whichever comic or novel the figure hails from. This one of course uses the gorgeous Imperial Guard artwork from issue one of Crimson Empire, which has gone on to be used for various collected editions of the story and just the most commonly associated image for Crimson Empire in general. The spine of the box features a nice greyscale image of Carnor Jax (or is it?) from that same cover, whilst the "pages" spine sports a number of other greyscale panels from the comic. The back of the box is a more generic overview of the Star Wars franchise, with the Lucasfilm 50th anniversary logo and a timeline of current canon. Open the box up and you'll be greeted with the sight of the figure itself through a transparent window, and on the other side a brief bio for Carnor Jax outline his role in Crimson Empire. That said, the description of his character doesn't quite match up with the image they've chosen to go along with it…

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Upon opening the toy any Star Wars fan that's ever read Crimson Empire (or even just has the ability to use the internet) is going to notice that this figure isn't actually of aspiring emperor Carnor Jax, but rather of Palpatine loyalist Kir Kanos, whose fellow guardsman were slain by the aspiring emperor Jax. Following this Kanos swore a blood oath against the treacherous Jax, as well as anyone else who had a hand in Palpatine's demise. Kanos is the character that wears the familiar colours of the Imperial Guard, while Carnor Jax wears an inverted version with a red bodysuit, black armour and black mask piece. Hasbro themselves even admitted to this error shortly after the figure's initial announcement, but it was clearly too far into production for them to make any effort to fix it. Ultimately it doesn't really make much of a difference to the figure itself outside of the packaging (and god knows Star Wars toys have had plenty of packaging errors over the years), but it does make you lose some faith in Hasbro as a company when they can let oversights like this slip them by so easily. Anyway Carnor Jax Kir Kanos is a slight retool of the Black Series Imperial Royal Guard figure, swapping out certain paint apps but more significantly replacing the wraparound robes with a brand new cape with purple lining. Arguably this cape is the best thing about the entire release, with that purple fabric showing off a gorgeous shimmer that goes beautifully with the red and black colour scheme. By removing the robe that sculpted armour (which was present on the original figure) is shown off in all its glory, albeit with some slight colour changes. The legs and torso of the undersuit are now black rather than the original burgundy, whilst the arms have been recoloured red to match the armour. It's a shame all this detailing was hidden by the robes originally, because it's a great design with a lot of nice moulding. Another difference is that the helmet's visor has been done in a darker red rather than black, presumably to match certain panels and covers of the comic. Honestly though it doesn't look that great, and gets lost far too easily in the giant red helmet whereinas the black immediately stands out. QC on the figure will naturally vary from figure to figure, but my copy has numerous black scuffs which do detract from the otherwise clean look of this design.

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The Royal Guard figure was originally released all the way back in 2021, making it a fairly dated figure despite being part of the third "phase" of Black Series releases. Since the body has been completely unchanged from that release the articulation remains exactly the same, consisting of; 
- Ball jointed head, waist and hips 
- Swivel hinge shoulders, elbows, wrists and ankles 
- Single hinge neck 
- Double hinge knees 
Although I've listed the existence of a head and neck joint there you wouldn't know it without removing the helmet, because that giant helmet pretty much kills all movement in those areas. You can wiggle the helmet around a little bit, but looking to either side is impossible. While that worked for the standard Imperial Guards because all they did in Return of the Jedi was stand around looking stoic, it doesn't work at all for the Sovereign Protectors because the comic constantly depicts them in melee combat. Though the artwork may vary in the comic itself the helmet is always drawn with a smaller neck brace to make movement seem feasible (you can see that on the art the packaging uses), so the toy could have really done with some slightly remoulding just to give the head a little bit of movement. The figure comes pretty limited when every pose it destined to have it looking face on. Had that been fixed the overall articulation wouldn't seem as bad, because the rest of the body is pretty good. The swivel hinge elbows aren't great, but between everything else on the body they're able to get the job done well enough.

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Carnor Jax Kir Kanos comes with two accessories, one carried over from the original Imperial Royal Guard release and the other a brand new one unique to this release. The pre-existing accessory is the Royal Guards' pathetically small blaster pistol, which is kept in the belt holster on the right-hand side. Though the gun can technically fit into either of the figure's hands it's mainly intended for the left hand, as the index and middle fingers have been properly moulded to grip it. The new accessory is the double vibroblade the Imperial Sovereign Protectors use throughout Crimson Empire. It's a nicely moulded piece with two correctly shaped blades and a textured black grip, though some proper silver paint on the blades would have really made the piece pop. It looks just like it does in the comics, but compared to some of the comic art could have perhaps done with being a little longer. Since the hands were never designed to hold this weapon the grip is a little on the loose side, but the figure is still able to hold it reasonably well both in one and two-handed poses. Just how good those poses look is another question though thanks the articulation restricting him to always looking in one direction. With these figures being easy retools for Hasbro it's not surprising that it doesn't come with any more than the bare minimum, but an alternate head sculpt would have really made a difference on this release. Not just because Kir Kanos spends a lot of time helmetless in the comic, but also because then you've got an articulated alternative to that big Royal Guard helmet.

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Given the popularity of Crimson Empire Black Series Carnor Jax Kir Kanos should have been a release Hasbro knocked out the park, but even within a range of minor retool figures it feels like a middling effort. The dated body and frustrating articulation are disappointing but to be expected, but the naming issues really highlight just how little care was taken. Maybe one day we'll get an actual Carnor Jax figure or a Kir Kanos with a little bit more to it, but if anything this just highlights that the "Legends" era of Star Wars deserves far more love than it's actually getting. It's not all doom and gloom though – at least he has that bitchin' cape.



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