I feel like I have a pretty interesting relationship with the band Ghost. They came to my attention in 2010 with their album Opus Eponymous and came at the recommendation of one of my friends. It wasn’t so much a recommendation based on quality, but more of a “You have to hear this,” because it was so out there. I grew up with heavy metal and it’s been my genre of choice since I was a pre-teen so Satanic metal was nothing new (have you seen the amount of Danzig shit I’ve posted?!), but it had been awhile since I heard something quite like Ghost. Ignoring the content of the material, Ghost sounded like a throwback to the 70s. The somewhat high-voiced vocals of Papa Emeritus I mingled with sludgy riffs and driving percussion. It wasn’t the blast beasts, grunts, screams, and such of black metal or death metal, the subgenre most associated with Satanism these days, and instead was more in-line with originators like Black Sabbath. Only there was little subtlety to what Ghost was singing about which added a different kind of entertainment value. Shock value? I suppose, but at the end of the day it’s all entertainment.
Ghost was next on my radar due to the band’s placement on the Hunter/Heritage tour, a co-headlining affair between the then more established Mastodon and Opeth. That was a show I had to see, and if Ghost was on the undercard then yeah, I wanted to see them too. Only I ended up missing their performance that night. It would be years later when the band opened for Iron Maiden that I found myself with tickets once again to see Ghost. That time, I really wanted to make sure I saw them and so did my cousin who I was attending the show with, but the evening traffic of Massachusetts had other plans in mind. We got to the show just after Iron Maiden took the stage, so naturally, we missed Ghost. Again.
This year, I came out of my COVID cocoon to attend a live event in the form of Nightwish. It was after that show that my cousin told me Ghost was coming around later in the year and he really wanted to see them this time. I had kind of lost touch with the band, but my cousin swore by the new album so I followed his advice and grabbed Impera. I loved it. It’s more poppy than the first two albums, which were the only ones I owned before 2022, but the hooks were great and the band had definitely evolved more of an arena sound which has apparently suited it very well considering the venues they now headline. I grabbed the other albums I had overlooked and also enjoyed them. What I couldn’t have predicted was how much my kids would like the band. My daughter, especially, loves Ghost now. She has a Frozen karaoke machine she’d rather sing Ghost songs through. And my son’s favorite song is “Year Zero.” It amuses me to no end.
Given that, of course I had to go grab the Super7 figure of Papa Emeritus I! Papa Emeritus I is the frontman for Ghost’s first album before being replaced by the logically named Papa Emeritus II. He’s essentially a Satanic version of the pope as he’s clad in the long robes and features the tall, funny, hat (I’m told it’s called a mitre), but his clothing is adorned with inverted crosses and his face painted sort of like a skull. It’s a look, for sure, and it’s not a surprise to see it converted to plastic and soft goods. Super7 has a track record for working with punk and classic metal acts and some contemporary musicians. Ghost seems to almost check all of those boxes to some degree, the music may not be “punk,” but there’s a punk attitude in place. Super7 also employs Kyle Wlodyga to spearhead some of their brands and he LOVES Ghost so the company has partnered with the band to produce not just Ultimates!, but ReAction sets as well.
The Ultimates! Papa Emeritus I comes in the standard Super7 Ultimates! style packaging. It’s a slipcover over a window box and it’s tailored to the band’s aesthetic. We have a white slipcover with the band’s logo on the front embossed in a metallic material, a G mixed with an inverted cross, with the rear featuring the band’s name in their stylized font. The logos are both really cool as the metallic portion plays with light. Sometimes it looks like a traditional steel color and other times it looks almost gold. The inner window box presents the figure with arms outstretched in a “T” shape with the cardboard over the window evoking the image of a stained glass pattern, though absent any color. On the back is a bio for the first Papa Emeritus and speaks of him in the past tense, which makes sense given this came out last year.
Presentation is nice and all, but I want the figure! Papa Emeritus comes wearing his signature black pallium with crimson trim. There’s inverted crosses up and down both sides and the face is painted up to resemble the actual character. The mitre is non-removable, but true to the band’s presentation as it’s largely silver and black (is he a Raiders fan?) with the logo on the front. Twin tassels (I’m sure they have a proper name, but I don’t know it) come off the back of the mitre and are sculpted in a soft plastic and possess some flex. The actual pallium is all soft goods with black on the outside and red on the inside. It possesses Velcro on the inside so that it holds together and the only actual hole in the robe is one for the head. There are two sleeves inside to help keep it in place as well. The outer edge is wired so it can be posed to your liking. The hands are really the only parts of the figure visible aside from the head and they’re sculpted in black. It’s a striking look and I’m very impressed with the quality of the soft goods. The head looks pretty good, but does have some paint imperfections, though probably not so bad that they’re noticeable from a shelf.
Under the robe, we have the figure itself which is cast entirely in black plastic. Papa is wearing a black, three-piece, suit underneath this thing. It’s mostly stiff plastic, save for the coat. I have no idea if this is accurate to the actual performer, but it makes sense for future releases in the line as far as reuse goes and it looks better than just a blank body, which is what I initially expected. I’m guessing no one will actually display the figure without a robe, but it’s nice to know the option exists. And the suit looks good, it’s just on the bland side since it’s entirely black. It is more matte than I would have expected with the only real shiny spot being the shoes, which are likely supposed to have a hit of gloss. I’m interested in seeing what Super7 does with the body down the road as I think it would look pretty good with some paint.
Papa Emeritus, when in his robes, probably doesn’t need to do a whole lot, but he does have some articulation we can talk about. The head is on a ball-peg and it rotates as far as the tassels on the rear of the head will let him. He looks down all right, but not much up because of those tassels. The shoulders are ball-hinged and raise out to the side just fine and rotate all around. The single-hinged elbows go a little past 90 degrees, which is good, and they swivel. The wrists rotate and hinge horizontally. Vertical hinges probably would have been better for the gripping hands, but oh well. The torso has an ab crunch and it works okay, plus it doesn’t look bad. The hips are on ball-pegs and Papa can do full splits and kick forward pretty far. The knees bend at 90 degrees with a swivel and the ankles hinge and rock side-to-side. It’s all pretty good, though some of it is hard to take advantage of with the robe on, but an unrobed Papa can certainly perform like a dynamic frontman should.
Papa Emeritus also has some accessories to speak of. He comes with open hands in the box, but also has two sets of gripping hands with one looser than the other and a set of fists in case he needs to punch someone. He also has a silver thurible, the incense holder priests swing around at funerals, that slips onto his open hands. It’s made of real chains with plastic pieces and is a really cool accessory. He also has a black microphone and a microphone stand, since he is a vocalist, after all. And if that’s not good enough, he has a complete second outfit. This one features a head with a white and gold mitre and a robe to match. He even has a second, gold, thurible to complete the look. I’m torn on which one I prefer. The second head has a slightly cleaner paintjob, but also has some color bleed under the nose and left eye. The pattern of the black is also slightly different with a smoother approach to the lips. Neither one actually matches the promotional shots of the figure and it looks like they opted for a less ambitious pattern. Right now, I’m displaying the original look, but maybe I’ll swap to the white in the near future. Maybe for Christmas?
This is a pretty specialized figure, even more so than the usual Super7 products. If you like Ghost and you like action figures, then this is for you! It’s not cheap as it will set you back $55, but I feel better about this figure than some of the other Super7 products I’ve purchased. And obviously, I’m having quite a bit of fun with it if you’ve been paying attention to these pictures. And I feel good about this one mostly because I have no issues with the sculpt and articulation, it all functions well and looks good. The accessories accommodate it very well and are well done. The only thing I’m less impressed with is the paint job on the face. It’s not horrible, but it could be better and considering the head is basically the only part of the figure that’s painted I think it should be a lot better. Is it bad enough for me to consider passing on this figure’s eventual successor? No, probably not, though I have yet to order it because I don’t know that it’s different enough to warrant a purchase. There are other looks for the Ghost frontman that interest me more that I’ll definitely be interested in when and if Super7 gets there. For now, we only know that Papa Emeritus II is on the water for delivery to Super7’s warehouse and a Papa Emeritus III has yet to be shown. I suppose if I want more, I should get on that, but maybe I’ll leave the second one dangling out there in case my kids want to get me something evil for Christmas.
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