#1491: Dr. Impossible

DR. IMPOSSIBLE

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

“Who is Doctor Impossible? On the surface, he appears to be a dark, mirror-image of Mister Miracle.  Where Mister Miracle is aided in his fight against evil by a personal super computer known as Mother Box, Doctor Impossible accomplishes his evil deeds with the help of his “Father Box.”  Doctor Impossible claims to be Mister Miracle’s brother from Apokolips.  Origins aside, Doctor Impossible remains a formidable foe and disturbing flipside to the powers of Mister Miracle.”

Believe it or not, that bio is the most ever written about this character.  Crazy, right?  Dr. Impossible was introduced during Brad Meltzer’s post-Infinite Crisis run on Justice League of America, and never really amounted to a whole lot.  In his defense, DC decided to put a hold on the usage of the New Gods in general not too long after his debut, but even in his inaugural story, he’s little more than a bit player. Despite that, he’s gotten two whole action figures, one of which I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Like last week’s Mr. Miracle figure, Dr. Impossible is from the sixth series of Mattel’s DC Universe Classics.  As a matter of fact, Dr. Impossible was just a variant of said Mr. Miracle figure.  Being quite frank, his shared pieces from Scott are probably what really got him made, since he was presumably a cheap to produce figure.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  Just like Scott, Impossible’s built on the medium base body, albeit with far less unique pieces this time.  He only gets a new head (slightly re-tooled from Mr. Miracle) and forearms, as well as Mr. Miracle’s cape add-on piece.  Obviously, he’s not quite as impressive as Miracle (who just has an objectively better and more dynamic design), but he’s a solid enough translation of the source material, and he looks pretty decent with the Mr. Miracle figure.  The paint on Dr. Impossible is solid work.  It’s cleanly applied, and the colors are pretty accurate to the source material.  I like the flat colors used here more than the metallic shades on the DCD figure, so that’s a plus.  It’s a shame that he doesn’t get any of Miracle’s accent work, though.  Where Mr. Miracle was packed with a bunch of character-specific extras, Dr. Impossible is not so lucky.  All he gets is the leg of Kaliback, which is exactly the same as Miracle’s piece.  This coupled with his lessened use of unique pieces makes the figure feel rather light for the base price.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Where Mr. Miracle was largely absent from retail shelves around me, Dr. Impossible was quite plentiful.  He was quite plentiful everywhere, and for a good reason: compared to the Mr. Miracle figure (who came with the exact same piece of Kaliback), he’s just not as good a figure.  Add in that he’s a character that even hardcore DC fans will have only moderate interest in, and you’ve got DCUC’s first major peg-warmer.  So, if he’s a disappointment, why’d I get him?  Mostly because the guys at Cosmic Comix just know me way too well.  When I brought Mr. Miracle up to the counter, David (the guy behind the counter, who is aware that I’m an opener) quickly asked if I might be interested in a Dr. Impossible with a dinged up box, offering it at $5.  For $5, I was content to buy him.  Sure, he’s not anywhere near as good as Miracle, but at a fraction of the price, I can certainly enjoy him for what he is.

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#1484: Mr. Miracle

MR MIRACLE

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

“As part of a peace pact, Scott Free was raised in an orphanage on the cruel world of Apokolips.  Young Scott finally escaped that destiny and made his way to Earth where he was befriended by escape artist Thaddeus Brown, known as Mr. Miracle.  Under Brown’s tutelage Scott assumed the identity of Mister Miracle and elevated to greater glory as an entertainment super-escape artist!”

In time for Jack Kirby’s 100th birthday, his beloved Fourth World creations have made their triumphant return to the four-color-printed pages.  Well, a few of them, anyway.  Kirby’s most successful Fourth World creation is the evil monarch Darkseid, but I’d say that Mr. Miracle’s a pretty close second.  His original book ran for twice as long as the others, and he’s had more than a few revivals, including a currently running one, which I’ve been picking up and enjoying enough to keep reading.  He’s also had a pretty good helping of action figures.  I’ve already looked at two of them, but here’s one more.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mr. Miracle was released in the sixth series of DC Universe Classics, which was the final assortment of the line’s inaugural year.  It was a rather rocky year, with a slow start at Series 1, poor distribution for the four series, and quality control issues all over the place.  Series 6 marked a real turning point, being a little easier to find at retail and offering overall higher quality figures.  Scott was the second Fourth World addition, following Orion in Series 1.   Following Scott, there’d be one New God per series until Series 12.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  He’s built on the medium base-body, which works well enough for Scott, since he’s usually a little smaller than Orion and the like, but still usually depicted as larger than average.  Scott has a new head, forearms, and shins, as well as add-ons for his cape and belt.  It’s nice to see just how many new pieces there were on this guy, given how prone to just painting the details this line got as it went on.  The head is a generic depiction of Mr. Miracle’s mask, not based on any specific artist’s version.  Obviously, there’s some pretty heavy Kirby influence there, but it’s not a strict Kirby version of the character.  Nevertheless, it’s a good take on the character.  The other pieces are mostly just designed to slot in pretty flawlessly with the base body, which they do pretty well.  The cape, it should be noted, is made from a harder plastic than you might expect, which means it’s really stiff, solid, and heavy.  It can make him a little difficult to keep standing.  That being said, it’s still a nicely crafted piece, so no complaints there.  What I find most impressive about this figure are the details that most people will never see.  The back of his belt features a removable Mother Box, and the bottoms of his feet have been re-sculpted so as to get some Kirby circuitry.  Both easily overlooked details, but both details included here anyway.  The paintwork on this guy is perhaps his only real negative.  It’s not terrible, but it’s a little sloppier than I’d like.  Still, it’s got some very nice accent work that you don’t see much these days, and is all-around pretty good.  In addition to the previously mentioned Mother Box, Mr. Miracle is also packed with a pair of flight disks (which get a circuitry detailing similar to the underside of the foot), as well as the right leg of Kaliback.  Most impressively, he includes a pair of arm cuffs, clearly modeled after those included with his old Super Powers figure, making this guy the first official call-back to Super Powers in this line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t buy this guy new. Not long before his release, DC Direct had done their own set of Jack Kirby designed New Gods figures, which I quite liked.  That Mr. Miracle was my favorite of the set, and I didn’t really feel like I needed another.  Then this figure’s price shot up fairly quickly, and I figured that was just as well.  Recently, Cosmic Comix got in a nearly complete set of DCUC figures, and they’ve been slowly putting them out.  I saw this guy, and it was the same week as the new issue of Mr. Miracle, so I felt it was appropriate.  I’m glad I picked him up, because he’s quite possibly one of the finest offerings from DCUC.  He’s a character that really fit the style, and it’s clear they went the extra mile to make him so cool.  It’s almost hard to believe this was actually a Mattel offering.

#1468: Golden Pharaoh

GOLDEN PHARAOH

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

“British archaeologist Ashley Halberstam was at a dig in Giza, Egypt when he was engulfed by a bolt emanating from a laboratory on New Genesis. The bolt transformed Halberstam and conferred upon him the ”Power of the Pyramids,” as channeled through his magical pyramid staff. Virtuous and heroic by nature, Halberstam fought alongside Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman against the evil machinations of Darkseid and the legions of Apokolips, eternal enemies of New Genesis.”

Just two days ago, I was looking at a DC Icons figure, and lamenting the sad tale of that failed DC line.  How about another?  Yes, I’m feeling nostalgic, so let’s turn our sights to DC Universe Classics.  Admittedly, it’s funny to view this as a “failed” line, seeing as it ran 20 Series at retail and had two years of a subscription service after that.  It’s possibly the longest-running line of DC figures, especially if you factor in its precursor DC Superheroes or any of its numerous spin-offs.  It is, for all intents and purposes, the definitive DC toyline.  So, why is it a “failure?”  Mostly for retrospective reasons.  Despite it’s deep reach in terms of character selection, many teams were left sadly incomplete.  Choices of costumes and incarnations were frequently questionable.  And, if we’re being totally honest, with a few exceptions, the last quarter of the line was filled with mediocre, uninspired figures, leaving it as little more than a hollow shell of its former self.  Despite its flaws, the line is well-noted for its devotion to obscure characters, and even moreso for its recreation of Kenner’s Super Powers line, right down to the kooky original characters.  This includes today’s focus, Golden Pharaoh, who received his second figure ever courtesy of this line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Golden Pharaoh was released in Series 15 of DC Universe Classics.  From Series 8 forward, each assortment included one Super Powers-recreation figure.  Pharaoh would be the last one in the line (well, not including Samurai in the Super Friends series, but he was a slightly different story), as he wrapped up the “originals” set.  Pharaoh was easily the least developed of all the Kenner-original creations, so the fact that he was the last one to join the line isn’t a huge surprise.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  He was built on the medium-sized base body, with a unique head, torso, arms, and calves, as well as an add-on piece for his loincloth.  As noted in prior DCUC reviews, it’s a body that’s started to show its age, and it wasn’t exactly top-of-the-line when it was new, but for a character like Golden Pharaoh it’s really not bad.  The unique pieces manage to capture the essence of the original figure, while still managing to be modern and updated.  It’s definitely got a bit of an Ed McGuinness vibe to it, but that’s not a bad thing in the slightest.  The paintwork on Pharaoh is pretty solid work, especially for this point in the line.  There’s not a lot of accent work, but he makes up for it with the gold paint and the translucent purple plastic.  It certainly makes for a unique looking figure.  Golden Pharaoh was packed with his fabulous Golden Pharaoh staff, as well as a Super Powers display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t buy Golden Pharoh when he was new.  I can’t really tell you why.  Possibly because we got most of this assortment to finish the Validus Collect-N-Connect, and this guy didn’t come with a piece.  I ended up getting him just a few months ago from Cosmic Comix, who just got in a large collection of DCUC figures and was selling this guy for $7, which was about the right price for me to finally get him.

#1319: Joker

THE JOKER

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS

“The Clown Prince of Crime is Batman’s deadliest and most unpredictable foe. Rumored to be a failed stand-up comedian turned petty criminal who fell into a vat of chemical waste while escaping from the scene of a crime – that incident turned his skin white and his hair green. Batman knows the Joker is certifiably insane, which makes the end result of his action  that much more deadly.”

A common complaint of DC Universe Classics was about its over-reliance on oddball, C and D-list characters that most of the general public hadn’t heard of, and the subsequent delaying of heavy hitter characters until too far into the line’s run.  Case in point: the Joker.  Batman’s greatest foe, and we had to wait more than a year to get him (made especially egregious by Harley Quinn’s presence in Series freaking 2).  Obviously, in a line like this, you want to hold some heavy hitters back, but 10 series seems like a bit much.  But, with the line wrapped and gone, at least he got a figure.  I’ll be looking at that figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Joker was released in Series 10 of DC Universe Classics.  I’ve been reviewing a lot of this particular series lately.  Not for any particular reason, or anything; just luck of the draw I suppose.  As I’ve noted in prior reviews, the series was the line’s second Walmart-exclusive series.  While it was far less scarce than the first, it still seems a little odd that DC’s most recognizable villain was relegated to a store-exclusive release.  There’s a reason this guy has one of the heftier aftermarket prices in the line.  Anyway, the figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Joker is seen here in an appearance that’s about as classic as he can get (specifically, he’s modeled after his Super Powers figure as this was really when the line was leaning hard into the recreation of Super Powers).  He’s built on the body that was introduced with Gentleman Ghost, which was designed with Joker in mind.  In that effect, the cut of the suit matches up pretty well with classic depictions of Joker.  The body showcases a lot of Mattel’s troubles with working articulation into a sculpt naturally.  It’s nowhere near as bad as some of their more recent work, but it’s definitely not the strongest showing from DCUC.  On the plus side, it’s not awful to look at, especially if you chose a decent pose.  He had a unique head and neck, which are definitely the star pieces of this figure.  He also has a tweaked jacket, which removes the cape from Gentleman Ghost and adds a flower to his lapel.  It’s an okay piece, but slightly marred by the weird panel in the back where the cape was originally attached.  Why does Mattel insist on attaching capes with that huge rectangular peg?  I don’t think I’ll ever know.  The paint work on the figure’s actually pretty good.  The colors are nice and bold, and there’s some really well-executed accenting, especially on the hair and the vest.  The pinstripes on the legs could probably stand to be a little straighter, but they look decent enough.  Joker was actually pretty well accessorized.  He includes a joker-head cane, some playing card, a laughing fish, and a large green mallet (deliberately pattered after the one included with the Super Powers figure).  They were all pretty solid extras, among the best in the line.  He also included the right leg of Imperiex, the Series’ CnC.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Joker came from the same assortment of trips to Walmart with my Dad that netted me the previously reviewed Beast Boy.  I don’t recall the exact circumstances, but he was definitely a later find, since he was the most sought after initially.  He’s not one of my favorite DCUC figures, but that’s hardly because he’s bad.  He’s actually very well executed, apart from the slightly lackluster handling of the articulation.  For me, he just suffered from being “yet another Joker” in a series full of brand-new characters, but I suppose I’m a bit counter to most fans in that respect.

#1309: Beast Boy

BEAST BOY

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS

“While traveling to Africa with his scientist parents, Garfield Logan fell victim to a deadly virus and was saved via an experimental treatment that tuned his skin and hair green, in addition to granting him the ability to transform into any animal he imagined. After his parents died in a boating accident, Gar was taken in by the Doom Patrol, a team of misfit heroes that helped him to master his powers.”

It’s kind of odd that his bio mentions the Doom Patrol, but not the Teen Titans.  I’m not complaining, just noting that that’s the way they went.  In regards to DC Universe Classics, I’ve looked at Negative Man, Elasti-Girl, and Robotman.  The only Doom Patrol member they released that I haven’t yet looked at is the aforementioned Beast Boy, adopted son of Elasti-Girl (but we don’t seem to talk about that anymore), and, more prominently, member of the New Teen Titans.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Beast Boy hit in the Walmart-exclusive Series 10 of DC Universe Classics, alongside fellow Doom Patroller Robotman.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and has 25 points of articulation.  The sizing on this guy is confusing to say the least.  He’s effectively wearing his costume from the Teen Titans cartoon, which was worked into the comics when Gar rejoined the Doom Patrol after “One Year Later.”  When Gar was wearing this costume in the comics, he was a full-grown adult, but this figure builds him on the small teen male body (introduced on the Series 3 Robin figure), as if he were just the version of BB from the cartoon.  This wouldn’t be a huge issue if the BB-specific parts weren’t clearly meant to be emulating the older Gar from the “One Year Later” storyline, and built with the proportions of an adult.  So, the end result is a Beast Boy that just sort of seems out of scale with just about everything.  I’m fine with Gar being a little smaller than the rest of the Patrol, but a full inch difference seems a little excessive, and he’s actually just flat-out in the wrong scale.  What’s really frustrating is that the actual sculpt really isn’t that bad.  He’s a pretty solid recreation of Gar from this period in the comics, and has a lot of nice little small details, such as the arm hair on his forearms, and even the really sharp work on his shoes.  The hair is a separate piece, which makes its contrast really sharp, and the ears even have the point they gained in later designs.  It’s clear a lot of effort went into this sculpt; he’s simply too small.  The figure’s paint is pretty solid, at least; the colors are a good match for both the comic and the cartoon, and everything is applied pretty cleanly.  There’s not a lot to mess up here, and Mattel succeeded in not messing it up.  Good for them.  Beast Boy included a green falcon (re-used from the MotUC line), meant to emulate his shape-shifting abilities, as well as the right arm of the series’ Collect-N-Connect, Imperiex.  Woo.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Beast Boy is one of the earlier figures I got from this series.  Just after it started hitting Walmart, my dad and I had a few trips just checking our local stores, and he was one of the ones we found.  I’ve always liked Beast Boy, and at the time I was super pumped about getting the Doom Patrol as action figures.  I can acknowledge some of this figure’s merit, and I certainly don’t hate him, but he disappoints me greatly.  He’s kind of a perfect example of DCUC in a nutshell; great in theory, and in 95% of the execution, but there was just enough leeway for Mattel to find a way to screw him up.  They were so close, and yet still so far.

#1258: Robotman

ROBOTMAN

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

Wasn’t I just talking about DC Universe Classics a few days ago?  Okay, technically it was only in passing, since Catwoman was actually from one of the spin-off lines.  The main line is particularly noteworthy due to just how deep into the DC Universe it went (something that may have contributed to its downfall in the end, unfortunately).  One of my personal favorite subsets from the line was the Doom Patrol, who are one of my favorite DC teams.  I’ve looked at Negative Man and Elasti-Girl, but now it’s time for me to take a look at the team’s final founding (and most consistently present) member, Cliff Steele, better known as Robotman!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Robotman was released in Series 10 of DC Universe Classics, which was the second Walmart-exclusive series in the line.  He was the first member of the Doom Patrol to be released, which was rather sensible, as he’s probably the most popular of the main three.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  There are a few different Robotman looks to choose from, but Mattel went for his classic ‘60s design.  It’s definitely a wise choice; it’s easily his best design, and it’s one he’s returned to a number of times over the years.  Cliff is built on the medium male body, with his own unique head, hands, and upper torso.  The new pieces all fit pretty seamlessly with the pre-existing stuff, and it all does a really great job of capturing Cliff’s retro-sci-fi design.  The head is a pretty decent piece; it’s not quite as streamlined as Cliff frequently was in his classic appearances, but it’s a pretty close match.  That slightly less streamlined appearance is also there due to the removable scalp, which allows us a view at Cliff’s brain.  It’s a pretty fun little touch, which takes this figure from average to awesome.  The upper those isn’t too far removed from the basic piece, but adds a few of Cliff’s extra robotic bits, as well as the video monitor that allowed the Chief to keep in contact with the team when they were on missions.  Also, since the upper torso includes the ridges above each shoulder, some of the shoulder’s size is masked, thus remedying what I find to be the weakest aspect of the basic DCUC body.  Cliff’s paintwork is some of the cleanest DCUC had to offer.  In the comics, he was always just orange, but here he’s more of a copper sort of color, which looks really slick in person.  The black shorts preserve his robot modesty (and also break up the colors a little bit), and there’s some really sharp detailing on the monitor.  The straps for the monitor are a little rough around the edges, but not horribly so.  Robotman’s only extra was the torso of the series Collect-N-Connect figure Imperiex.  It would have been kind of cool to maybe get an extra robotic Chief head from when he replaced Cliff on one of the missions, since poor Niles was never going to get his own figure.  But, that’s honestly pretty issue-specific, and probably a bit much for a character that was already lucky just to be getting a figure at all.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found most of Series 10 at retail when it was released, but I never had any luck with Robotman.  It was made worse by the fact that I really needed to find a pair of them, since my Dad’s a huge Doom Patrol fan too.  Fortunately, my good friends at All Time Toys came through for me, and I was able to find two Cliff figures for a reasonable price.  Robotman is a great example of the sort of awesome stuff this line could do when they actually put in the effort.  He’s a lower tier character with exceptional execution, and just a really fun figure all around.  As much as I rag on Mattel, this guy is really one of my favorites, and the whole Doom Patrol set is just really fantastic.

#1146: Todd Rice

TODD RICE

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

obsidian1

It’s rare for something’s greatest strength to also be its greatest weakness, but that’s really the case with Mattel’s DC Universe Classics.  One of the most endearing and memorable things about the line was the sheer reach of character selection.  Not only did we get definitive versions of major characters, but we also got lots of characters that pretty much no one ever thought would get action figures.  Unfortunately, while is is great for hardcore fans, it doesn’t result in the greatest sales in a retail line.  Still, the line did give a lot of DC characters their very first action figures.  Interestingly enough, today’s focus Todd Rice, better known as Obsidian, is not an example of this.  Oh sure, he’s obscure, but he actually had already gotten a figure courtesy of the Justice League Unlimited toyline.  For those of you less familiar with Todd, he’s the son of the Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott.  He was a member of the JSA-spin-off team Infinity Inc in the ‘80s, and has been on-again-off-again affiliated with the Justice Society themselves.  Most recently, he was played by Lance Hendrickson in an episode of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, which is easily the most coverage Obsidian’s ever gotten!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

obsidian2Todd Rice was released in Series 14 of DC Universe Classics, which was the third (and final) Walmart-exclusive series from the line.  Given the presence of both his father and fellow JSAer Hourman in the line-up, as well as frequent JSA foe Ultra Humanite being the CnC for this particular series, Todd was right at home.  It’s worth noting that Todd’s official codename is Obsidian, and has always been Obsidian, but for whatever reason (more than likely it’s the fact that Obsidian, as a rock, can’t be trademarked), he’s called “Todd Rice” on the box.  Whatever gets us the figures, I suppose.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and has 23 points of articulation.  Todd was built on the mid-sized male buck, with unique head and hands, as well as add-ons for the cape and belt.  The base body is starting to show its age a bit more with every figure I review from this line, but it’s still a pretty solid piece.  The mid-sized body is actually a pretty perfect fit for Todd.  In fact, he’s the sort of character who really works in a line of this nature.  The new pieces all work pretty well with the established body.  The hands are nice and expressive, and certainly a nice change of pace compared to the basic gripping hands so many of the figures got stuck with.  The cape is one of the better capes from the line, and the belt does a decent job of capturing the design from the comics, as silly as it is.  The head is…well, I guess it’s okay, but I’m not sure it’s one of the better DCUC sculpts.  What’s weird is that is seems almost too detailed on the face.  Like, it’s as if no one told the Four Horsemen that Todd’s wearing a mask and that’s not just his face.  Usually, the black part of the mask was mostly featureless, with just the eyes and his open mouth showing, which makes him look pretty sleek.  Here, they clearly tried to replicate that, but they also tried to add this realistic touch to his face, which just seems…odd.  Also, he seems to have had his lips removed or something, because they appear to be absent.  Obsidian’s paintwork did a pretty decent job of replicating his color scheme from the comics.  It’s a good scheme, and it looks really nice on the figure.  Obsidian was packed with the left arm of Ultra Humanite.  Not really specific to him, but I guess it’s better than nothing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Obsidian was one of the last figures I found from this particular set (but not THE last; that was Gold).  I’m not insanely familiar with the character, but I’ve always liked his costume quite a bit, and I obviously have at least some appreciation for him due to being the son of a Green Lantern and all.  I was actually pretty excited to get this guy, and he’s really not a bad figure.  Sure, there are a few oddities, but the good definitely outweighs the bad.

#1040: Wonder Woman

WONDER WOMAN

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

WonderWomanDCUC1

Oh, DC Universe Classics, how you confuse me.  The line had a lot of promise. Heck, it had a lot of success. After all, 20 series at retail is nothing to sneeze at. Unfortunately, the whole line was plagued with issues with distribution, strange character choices, and the latter half was really hit by odd design choices for long-awaited characters. Still, early on, the figures really seemed to be really on point. If nothing else, the line gave us some pretty definitive versions of DC’s biggest characters, including today’s focus figure, Wonder Woman.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

WonderWomanDCUC2Wonder Woman was released in Series 4 of DC Universe Classics. She served as the series’ “anchor figure,” which seems pretty sensible, what with her being one of DC’s top three characters and all. The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and she has 25 points of articulation. Wonder Woman is based on the look introduced in the late ‘70s-early ‘80s. It’s the look that the character had for a good 20 years or so, so it’s definitely a good choice. It’s also the same costume used by the Super Powers figure, which fits with DCUC’s theme of recreating SP. The figure had a new sculpt at the time, which was meant to serve as a starting point for future female figures. It’s not bad, though it hasn’t aged quite as well as some of the other sculpts from the time. Like the male bucks from the line, there’s the whole shoulder thing, where they just sort of…jut out. At least the line is internally consistent, I guess. The shoulders wouldn’t quite so much of an issue if her arms weren’t as skinny as they are. They aren’t horrid, but they really should be a bit thicker, especially for an Amazon. The waist is also pretty tiny, especially when compared to later figures in the line. On the plus side, the head sculpt is really strong on this particular figure, especially the hair, which has a nice weight and flow about it. Wonder Woman’s paintwork is pretty decent. While she’s not breaking any records or setting the bar, she’s pretty solid. The colors are nice and bold, and everything’s pretty clean. As far as accessories go, Wonder Woman’s a little. The obvious choice is the lasso, but that’s permanently attached. Instead, she gets an axe and a shield, which are fine, but they mean that her hands are in this odd loose grip, instead of a more preferable fist pose. She also included the left leg of Despero, the Collect-N-Connect for Series 4.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Series 4 of DCUC was the first series that I didn’t have much trouble finding at retail. I actually found all but one of the figures at KB Toys just before they went out of business. Which was cool, since they were 60% off and all, but also really sad, since, you know, KB Toys was closing and all. Ultimately, Wonder Woman isn’t one of the strongest figures in the line, she’s still a pretty solid figure, and a pretty good rendition of the character.

#0891: Elasti-Girl

ELASTI-GIRL

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS

Elastigirl1

I’ve had over a week of Marvel reviews; maybe I should give their distinguished competition a bit of focus. Of course, being me, I’m not gonna go with a heavy hitter or anything like that. No, no, I’m pulling out the stops, and looking at a member of one of my favorite DC teams, the Doom Patrol. The Doom Patrol were essentially DC’s equivalent of the X-Men (they actually premiered three months prior), but they’ve never been quite as successful. And I’m pretty sure that most of them don’t actually exist anymore. I’ve actually already looked at one of the three founding members, Negative Man, and today I’ll be looking at another: Elasti-Girl*. Despite what the name might imply, she didn’t have stretching powers, but instead could grow or shrink in size, similarly to Marvel’s Giant-Man. She’s also only ever had one action figure, which is the one I’ll be reviewing today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Elastigirl2Elasti-Girl was released in the first year of the Club Infinite Earths subscription, which continued the DC Universe Classics line. In the first year, they offered twelve main figures, plus four “oversized” figures. Elasti-Girl was the third oversized figure, and was released in October of 2012, alongside Poison Ivy. The figure stands roughly 10 inches tall (about 4 inches taller than her main line counterparts) and has 22 points of articulation. Elasti-Girl is built on a lot of the same pieces as Series 8’s Giganta Collect-N-Connect (rumor had it that Elasti-Girl would have been a CNC herself, had the DCUC line not failed at retail). She uses the arms, upper torso, and upper legs from that figure, along with a new head, hands, lower torso, and lower legs. The end result is really quite nice. The proportions are decently balanced, if a tiny bit stylized, and the detail work on the hands and boots is very strong. In addition, the head is one of the best sculpts to come out of DCUC; it’s not too big or too flat like so many of the others, and her expression avoids being dead or vapid. The only part I can really find any fault with is the torso section, which falls a bit more into comic book proportions than the rest of the sculpt. It’s not terrible, though, especially in light of the rest of the line. Elasti-Girl’s paintwork is pretty straight forward; the colors are nice and bright, and there’s some nice, subtle accent work, which gives her a more life-like appearance.  No DCUC figure was ever particularly plentiful in terms of accessories, so it’s not a huge surprise that Elasti-Girl only gets one. It’s a little, 1 inch version of her, to showcase her shrinking powers. It’s not anything amazing, but it’s nice that they gave her something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t actually back the subscription service during its first year, so I had to contend with Matty Collector’s horrid “day of” sale. On the plus side, it wasn’t as terrible as other times, and I was even able to get a second Elasti-Girl for my Dad. Honestly, it’s figures like this that remind me of exactly why I collected DCUC in the first place. She’s a good, solid representation of a lower tier character, who makes use of just the right balance of re-use and unique parts. If the later sub figures had been able to stick to this kind of quality, maybe the line might have survived a bit longer.

*Not to be confused with Elastigirl from Pixar’s The Incredibles, who actually used the name with DC’s blessing, but had to be called “Mrs. Incredible” on all official merchandise.

Elastigirl3

#0846: Black Lightning

BLACK LIGHTNING

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS

BlackLightingDCUC1

As much as I loved DC Universe Classics, the problems with the line (which were mainly distribution-based) cropped up pretty early in its run. While the first series received fairly even distribution, series 2 and 3 were fairly spotty in coverage (possibly due to slow sales on Series 1). By the time Series 4 came along, it seemed things had mostly been sorted (apart from the odd instance of several variants being easier to find than their regular counterparts). Then came Series 5. See, Walmart is notoriously difficult to work with, especially if you’re a toy maker. In order to carry a line, they’ll frequently demand an exclusive series. Because of this, they did not carry the first four series of the line. To ensure their support of future series, Series 5 was given to Walmart as an exclusive. Walmart under-ordered and ended up sending no more than a single case of figures to many of its stores, with some receiving none at all. The end result was one of the hardest to find series in the line, with individual figures commanding extraordinarily high prices on the aftermarket. Black Lightning, who was having a bit of a career revival at the time, had the misfortune of being one of the figures in this set.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BlackLightningDCUC2Black Lightning was, as noted in the intro, released in the Walmart-exclusive fifth series of DC Universe Classics. The figure stands 6 ½ inches tall and has 25 points of articulation. Lightning uses his Ed Benes redesign from the relaunch of Justice League of America. It was his current look at the time, and it happens to be far less dated than his original and 90s looks. It also had the added benefit of not requiring much new tooling. He uses the mid-sized male buck, with a unique head sculpt. The buck is a decent match for Black Lightning’s build from the comics and it allows him to fit in seamlessly with the rest of the line. While it was top-notch at the time of its release, it’s starting to show its age a bit, especially at the shoulders. Also, the poor quality of the plastic on this particular series makes Lightning’s body prone to warping, and some tearing at the joints, which is a definite negative. The head sculpt is fairly decent; it does a fairly good job of capturing Lightning. It’s not super distinctive, but neither was Lightning at this point. Unfortunately, it’s got some pretty obvious mold scarring, which is made worse by the fact that he’s bald. He looks like he’s taken some damage. The paint work is okay but not great. The base colors are nice and vibrant, which is good, but some of the lines, particularly the yellow for the belt, are really fuzzy. Also, while the prototype for this figure had clear goggles, allowing his eyes to be seen, their totally opaque on the final figure. Lightning included no accessories of his own, but he did include a piece of the C-n-C for this series, Metallo.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had no luck finding any of Series 5 in stores when they were released, so I ended up having to buy this guy second-hand, without his Metallo piece. I was quite enjoying him in Justice League at the time, so I was glad to find him at a semi-reasonable price. The final figure is sadly a bit lacking, mostly due to the lower quality of the materials used for this figure. I’m happy I have him, but his lower quality contributed to me not going out of my way to find any of the others from this series.