DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)
You do have to give Mattel a little bit of credit, and I can’t believe I’m saying that, on how they handled the early line planning on DC Universe Classics. There was some serious effort not to just front load the whole thing with all of the hitters right away, instead using them to anchor assortments of otherwise more minor characters. Their first year saw them struggling to reach full retail distribution, but going into their second, things were starting to seem a little more solid. They kicked off the year with an assortment loosely centered on today’s focus, the Flash, specifically of the Barry Allen variety, since he had just returned to life after a lengthy period of deadness just a few months prior.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Flash was part of the seventh series of DC Universe Classics, the series that built the Atom Smasher figure I reviewed last year. This marked Mattel’s first of many assortments where the heavy hitter of the set would be sold sans Collect-N-Connect part, something Hasbro would end up co-opting into their Legends line when it returned a few years later. Flash was, unsurprisingly, the heavy hitter for this assortment. The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation. At this point in the line, the rockers are still present on the ankles, for all the good they do. Okay, that’s a little unfair, because they do wind up being somewhat useful on Flash, at least for some slightly better running poses. He’s still not gonna balance very well in those poses, but let’s take what we can get. Flash was built on the medium male body, originally introduced in Series 3 for Nightwing and Green Lantern. It was the slightest build they had available for an adult male body at the time, and would remain that way for quite a while. Ultimately, it’s just too bulky for any iteration of the Flash. Barry can be a little bulkier than the average speedster, but this goes to excess. I honestly think that it’s really the shoulders that throw things off; the DCUC bucks always had very prominent shoulders, and for a character like Flash, this stands out even more. Generally speaking, however, it’s not the worst it could be, and in light of a line that was built upon such things across the board, it’s ultimately a minor issue. Flash got a new head, shins, and feet. The head is decent, if a bit devoid of personality for Barry. A slightly warmer expression would go a long way. The lower legs gave him proper boot sculpts, which are actually quite nice. The feet even get treads on the bottoms, just like Flash always had. It’s certainly a nice touch. His paint work is generally pretty basic, but it’s also generally pretty clean in its application. He also gets a little bit of accenting on the reds and yellows, just to keep things a little more visually interesting. It actually works pretty nicely. Flash was the one figure in the set not to get a CnC piece, but he did get one of Mattel’s patented crappy blue display stands. They were great for…umm…being not so good at helping the figures stand? They sure were blue and translucent, though. They did that part well.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
By the seventh series, the line was starting to get a little easier to get, so it wasn’t quite the nightmare of other sets to get these figures. That said, I didn’t actually get Flash until after the line was essentially dead. At the time he hit, I was still mixing these guys in with my DC Directs, and I had a couple of other Barry Allen Flash figures I liked well enough, so I didn’t go after this one. When the line ended, I realized how close I was to having the Satellite Era League, so I filled in a few gaps, and picked this one up for a decent price loose. He’s not my favorite figure from the line, but he does an okay job, and he does look cool with the rest of the League.