#2092: Nightwing

NIGHTWING

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

After his parents were murdered, young Dick Grayson was adopted by Bruce Wayne, becoming his ward… and, as the first Robin The Boy Wonder, his partner in the war against crime. Years later, Robin struck out on his own as Nightwing and now lives in the corruption-ridden city of Bludhaven where by day he serves as a member of that city’s police department.”

Mattel’s DC Universe Classics was born out of DC Superheroes, a line that was itself born out of their earlier Batman line.  DC Superheroes introduced some Superman characters into the mix, but was otherwise still very Batman-focused.  When it came time for DC Universe Classics, there was no corner of the DCU unavailable, so Mattel got a lot deeper with their coverage.  However, they still didn’t stray too far from the Batman side of things, meaning it wasn’t a huge surprise to see two of his sidekicks crop up early in the line’s run.  I’ve already looked at the Robin, so how about the former Robin, aka Nightwing?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nightwing was part of Series 3 of DC Universe Classics, alongside the previously reviewed Tim Drake Robin, Green Lantern, Sinestro, and Deathstroke.  He was the third figure Mattel had done of Nightwing at this scale, and like Robin before him, this figure marked the first time that the Four Horsemen worked on the character.  Nightwing is seen here in his traditional blue/black costume, which had been his consistent look for over a decade when this figure hit shelves, meaning it was a pretty safe choice.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Nightwing used the mid-sized male body, which was first introduced for this very assortment, and would be used simultaneously for both him and Hal Jordan.  It’s a little on the bulky side for how Dick is usually portrayed, especially in the shoulders, but within the context of the line, it worked alright.  Nightwing had a unique head, forearms, and shins.  The head depicts an early-to-mid ’00s Nightwing, as denoted by the hairstyle.  While I might like it to be a little more expressive, it’s otherwise a pretty strong take on the character, and there’s plenty of detail work, especially in the texturing of the hair.  The forearms and shins depict the most inconsistent element of this Nightwing costume: the cuffs for the gloves and boots.  They were frequently all different shapes, sizes, and positions, and by the time of Hush, Jim Lee had removed them completely.  That streamlined look is honestly my preferred interpretation, but to Mattel’s credit, there’s been very little action figure coverage with these pieces included, so it does help the figure stand out from DCD’s offerings.  The paintwork on Nightwing is mostly pretty basic, straight color work.  The blue is appropriately bright, and the application is clean.  There’s some ever so slight accenting on the hair, which helps bring out the sculpted textures, and that’s pretty nice.  Nightwing was packed with his usual Eskrima sticks (which he can store on his back, another unique feature of this figure), as well as the head/torso of the Grundy CnC.  Why he got the largest piece over the comparatively much smaller Robin figure is anyone’s guess, but mine didn’t have it anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, it’s a DCUC review, so you know the drill: this assortment was hard to find at retail, and I never saw a Nightwing in person.  I managed to track down GL and Sinestro, my two main wants, in-package and new, and got the reissue of Robin a little later, but Nightwing never turned up.  I already had the Hush figure, so I wasn’t too worried about it, but when this guy was among a large DCUC collection that got traded into All Time Toys last year, I jumped at the opportunity to get him.  I’ve got a lot of Nightwing figures, and I can’t say this one really stands out from the pack, but he’s certainly not a bad figure.

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#2077: Doctor Fate

DOCTOR FATE

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

Doctor Fate arises when the Lord of Order known as Nabu bestows his sorcerous knowledge, as well as a magical helmet, amulet and mantle, to a human host in order to battle the forces of chaos. Once a human dons the garb of Doctor Fate, Nabu’s personality assumes control of the human host. Doctor Fate, in his many incarnations, has long served in the Justice Society of America as one of its most powerful members.”

Amongst it’s focus on some of the more oddball teams from the DC Universe, DC Universe Classics also did pretty well by the Justice Society of America, DC’s first super-team.  In the 20 Series at retail (and a few fill-ins from the subscription service), we got the whole founding line-up (well, minus Earth-2 versions of Superman and Wonder Woman), as well as a few figures from the team’s modern-day incarnation.  In some cases, they would pull double duty, giving us classic and modern incarnations hand-in-hand, as was the case with today’s figure, Doctor Fate.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Doctor Fate was part of Series 8 of DC Universe Classics, the ill-fated Giganta Series.  There were two versions of the figure in play; the main one was the classic Doctor Fate, but there was also a variant based on the third Doctor Fate, Hector Hall.  That’s the one I’m looking at today.  He was actually the rarer of the two, as this was one of the 70/30 variant splits.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Both versions of Fate were built on the mid-sized male body, the line’s most common choice when it came to base body.  He had a new head, forearms, hands, and calves (all shared with the standard release) as well as an add-on piece for his cape/collar combo.  Oddly, this collar piece gives him the illusion of the opposite problem that plagued most of the line: his shoulders kind of get a little lost.  The new parts are all very solid.  The helmet is a good recreation (even if I miss being able to see his eyes the way you could on the DCD figures), and the hands are nice and expressive.  I also dig the ornate detailing on the collar, something that’s very important for this incarnation of the character.  Perhaps the weirdest aspect of this figure is the paint.  There has long been some back and forth over whether Fate should be yellow or gold.  The Super Powers figure was all yellow (as was the standard release from this line, being a Super Powers homage and all), the first DCD figure had gold for the helmet and amulet and yellow for everything else, and the second DCD figure was all gold.  This figure doesn’t seem to want to commit to anything, so we get a weird mix.  I can get behind gold for the helmet and collar (though I wish it had a yellower finish to it), but the boots and trunks don’t seem to work.  On the flip side, the boots and trunks would be fine if at the very least the gloves were also gold.  It’s the arbitrary mix that really gets me.  Why would they do that?  You know, aside from the obvious “because they’re Mattel.”  Fate was originally packed with a magical effect piece, as well as part of the Giganta CnC, but my figure is without either of those.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: this assortment was really badly distributed, so I never found them at retail.  Fate was one of two notable missing members from my DCUC JSA (though the New Frontier figure did okay as a stand-in), until a rather nice DCUC collection was traded in at All Time.  While I would have preferred classic Fate, Modern’s close enough that I was content.  The gold/yellow thing is definitely a glaring issue on an otherwise fairly nice figure, but I’m overall pretty happy just to finally have a DCUC Fate.

#2062: Superman – The Dark Side

SUPERMAN – DARK

ELSEWORLDS (DC DIRECT)

After landing on the planet Apokolips instead of Earth, Kal-El is raised to be a merciless soldier, becoming Darkseid’s ultimate weapon in the war with New Genesis”

I’ve spoken once before of DC’s “Elseworlds” line, which they launched in 1989 as a throwback to their “Imaginary Stories” of the Silver Age.  It was actually a pretty big success throughout the ’90s, before being put on a hiatus in 2003.  While it was on hold, there was still some recognition of its importance in DC’s history, in the form of a line of dedicated figures, courtesy of DC Direct.  Numerous stories were given coverage, including 1998’s Superman: The Dark Side, a tale which, as the bio so notes, re-imagines Kal-El as landing on Apokolips and becoming a villainous New God.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Superman was released in 2007 as part of the fourth (and final) series of DC Direct’s Elseworlds line.  He was available in both “Good” and “Dark” variations.  This would be the “Dark” one.  Of the two, it’s certainly the less classically Superman-styled, and hits a lot of the same beats as the brainwashed Superman’s design from Superman: The Animated Series‘ “Legacy.”  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation.  DCD was still kind of figuring out the whole articulation thing at this point, so Superman’s not an overly poseable figure.  I suppose he should consider himself lucky that he didn’t get stuck in an uncomfortable pre-pose, like that poor New Frontier Batman.  Instead, he’s just got a fairly basic standing pose, which isn’t that bad looking.  His sculpt was definitely a strong one, even for this line.  It’s sharply defined, and quite clean-looking.  It appears to be fairly faithful to Kieron Dwyer’s illustrations from the book (I haven’t read it myself, so I’m going off what I can find online), and nicely maintains the imposing nature of this armor’s design, as well as capturing that pseudo-Kirby styling. It’s not super detailed, erring more on the side of cleaner, bolder lines, which is again true to the source.  His paintwork is fairly standard from DCD for the time, which is to say it’s pretty solid.  The base work is clean, and sporting a real cool gunmetal grey over most of the figure.  The reds really pop from that, and there’s some really nice accenting, which brings out the details well.  The visor on the helmet is done up in a translucent red, which doesn’t quite catch the light as well as I’d hope, but is otherwise a decent break from the other reds throughout the armor.  Superman was originally packed with an alternate un-helmeted head, a sword, and a display stand.  My figure only has the sword, which, if I’m being honest, is the coolest bit anyway.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Having not read the story, I didn’t pick this figure up when he was new.  Instead, I decided to wait until he was super expensive on the aftermarket, because I’m way smart like that.  Okay, not quite.  This guy was traded-in to All Time Toys in a large lot back in December, and while I’ve never read the story, I quite liked his look, and was able to get him for a very good deal.  He’s a cool-looking based on a cool-looking design,  He’s not super-poseable or anything, but he’s certainly a cool display piece.

#2055: Batgirl

BATGIRL

DC ESSENTIALS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

I’m a fan of pairing off my figures, which is actually one of the few things that DCC’s current central line is tailored to, since they generally like to have two pairs of figures per assortment.  The latest round is decidedly Bat-themed, and a natural pairing to yesterday’s Nightwing is Barbra Gordon, aka Batgirl, who is amongst many other things his on-again, off-again romantic partner.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batgirl is figure 10 in the DC Essentials line, placing her two figures ahead of Nightwing, though the two of them arrived in stores at the same time.  She’s based on her “Batgirl of Burnside” attire, which I’ve always found to be a pretty solid design.  It’s also been her default look for a few years now, so it’s certainly sensible.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and she has 34 points of articulation.  As the line’s first female figure, Barbra does get an all-new sculpt, because DCC has at least drawn the line at saddling her with the same body as everyone else.  How kind of them.  Batgirl changes things up for this line, at least so far as the figures that I personally have looked at, being not just a brand-new sculpt, but also one that’s fairly tailored to its specific character.  While I can certainly see elements of it being reused for other characters, a lot of it, specifically the head, torso, pelvis, forearms, hands, boots, and most of the right leg are all clearly designed for Batgirl and Batgirl alone.  That’s slightly surprising for this line, but I guess not a huge shock given the nature of this particular costume design.  The sculpt is a fairly decent one overall.  The long arms of the male body have been traded for long legs here, which, while still not perfect, are certainly a better trade-off.  Some of the details, especially on the head, are a little softer than I’d like, but it’s not awful.  Other areas are just a little more crisp is all.  The paintwork on this particular figure is brightly colored and eye-catching, and reasonably close to how she appears in the comics, though, like Nightwing, there’s a bit of slop and fuzz on the edges, but no specific gaffes like I had on Nightwing.  I was particularly impressed by how they handled the boots and gloves, which sport some really solid accent work to bring out the details.  Essentials figures aren’t known for their accessories, but Batgirl makes out the best out of all of the figures I’ve looked at so far, with not only a batarang, but also an extra set of gripping hands.  Extra hands with an Essentials release.  Who could have seen that coming?  Certainly not me!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I was already grabbing Nightwing on FCBD, I felt compelled to grab Batgirl as well, because I generally like to have them both in any given style.  I also never got around to getting the Icons Batgirl, so I didn’t yet have this costume as a figure.  She’s actually rather refreshing after a lot of same-ness from this line, with an all-new, actually character specific sculpt, and even a few accessories.  Perhaps she’s a sign of things to come?

#2054: Nightwing

NIGHTWING

DC ESSENTINALS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

I’m a little bit of a glutton for punishment, aren’t I?  How else can you explain the fact that I just keep returning to the toylines that hurt me?  There are, of course, a few entries under that title, but the one I’m concerning myself with today is DC Essentials.  It’s DCC’s second line by that name and also their second attempt at a line of consistently styled and highly articulated versions of their characters.  After they put Icons out to pasture, this became their new focus, which, for DCC, generally means rereleasing many of the same characters all over again.  Today, I look at a figure I already had as an Icon, Nightwing!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nightwing is figure 12 in the DC Essentials line.  He was actually one of the first figures to be shown off when the line was announced, but found himself pushed back a little bit.  He’s based on Nightwing’s Rebirth design, which is fairly heavily inspired by his appearance from The New Batman Adventures.  It’s a nicer redesign than either of his New 52 looks, so I really can’t complain.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Apart from a new head and hands meant for gripping, Nightwing is just using the same body as Reverse Flash and Superman before him.  Like I mentioned in the Superman review, the fact that they’re using the same base body for all of these characters is one of the iffier aspects of the line, as these three should really not be sharing a build.  On the plus side, the general build works okay for Nightwing, at least in a vacuum.  The downside is that the body still has all of the issues it had before.  The forearms are definitely too long, and those pegs on the ab-crunch still really bug me.  I will say, I do like his new headsculpt, and I think it’s one aspect of this figure that I really prefer to the Icons version of the figure.  In particular, I like the slight little grin on his face.  Nightwing’s paint is fairly straight forward.  The blue makes for a nice contrast to the black, and he’s fairly eye-catching.  However, the application’s a little spotty, with a lot of fuzz around the edges of the blue.  Also, my figure has a rather noticeable smear on the back of his head, which, for the record, I could not see in the package.  Nightwing includes his usual escrima sticks, and that’s it.  In his defense, that’s two more accessories than the prior Essentials figures I’ve reviewed, but it’s still quite a bit less than his Icons counterpart, or really any comparable figures.  Given the MSRP on these is several dollars higher than a Marvel Legend, that’s really a let-down.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the figures were first shown off, Nightwing was actually one of only two that I really had any interest in, but then I got the Icons Nightwing, who I really liked.  I also got Reverse Flash and Superman, who made me less than enthusiastic for the line, so when Nightwing first popped up, I decided to pass.  However, Cosmic Comix was running a sale on Free Comic Book day, so I was able to grab him for a far more reasonable price.  Ultimately, he’s still not swayed me on the line, but I don’t hate him, because at least he’s a semi-decent Nightwing figure.

#2050: Dr. Sivana

DR. SIVANA

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

When the Shazam movie was first announced, there was one big name star attached to it: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.  Originally rumored for the Big Red Cheese himself, it was later revealed that he’d actually be filling the role of antagonist as Shazam’s dark reflection, Black Adam.  So, it came as a little bit of a surprise when the movie’s villain was instead revealed to be a different Shazam foe entirely, in the form of Doctor Thaddeus Sivana.  Sivana’s actually a pretty natural choice for the first outing, since he debuted right alongside Captain Marvel in Whiz Comics #2.  Sivana’s origin was changed up for the film, borrowing a decent chunk of Black Adam’s dark reflection gimmick, but I felt Mark Strong’s performance sold Sivana as a character that wasn’t too far removed from his original incarnation (and the end of the film put him firmly on the path to classic Sivana), and I just found him to be an entertaining villain.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dr. Sivana is one of two DC Comics Multiverse figures offered up for the movie, with the other being the big man himself.  However, unlike Shazam, Dr. Sivana is thus far not available in the basic line (and I’d be genuinely shocked to see him turn up at this point).  Sivana is also the lesser-packed of the two, making him ever so slightly hard to find.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Sivana’s an all-new sculpt, as he well should be.  While it’s not quite on par with any of Hasbro’s MCU-based sculpts, it’s certainly an immense improvement over where Mattel’s movie-based figures were a year ago.  The best part of the figure is definitely the head, which is sporting a pretty solid likeness of Strong.  His jacket and arms also sport some pretty nice looking texturing, which is a marked change for these figures.  The under-lying body isn’t quite as strong, with more rudimentary shaping, larger patches of un-detailed plastic, and rather obvious breaks for the articulation.  On the plus side, at least the articulation breaking up the sculpt actually serves a purpose this time, as the joints aren’t nearly as limited on this figure as they had been on previous releases.  It also helps that the worst of the sculpting his hidden under the jacket piece, meaning you don’t have to fixate on the mistakes quite as much.  Sivana’s paintwork is mostly pretty subtle work, with a lot of dark, somber colors, like in the movie.  There’s not a ton of actual paint, but the important details are covered, and the work on the face in particular is quite nice and very lifelike.  Sivana is packed with a second head sporting sunglasses, two sets of hands in fists and open gesture poses, and his 8-ball that is fairly plot-relevant.  The heads are a bit tricky to swap back and forth, but it’s otherwise a pretty nice selection of extras, and I particularly like that 8-ball, because it’s the sort of thing you don’t tend to see.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since there was no Sivana in the main line, this one was really my only option.  Fortunately, I liked the look of him a lot more than the Shazam that’s meant to go with him.  Despite being slightly on the rarer side, I didn’t have too much trouble finding Sivana, finding him at only my second stop after seeing the movie.  While there are some definite “yep, it’s Mattel” elements to this figure, I was still quite happy with him, and he actually fits in pretty well with the basic line.

#2049: Mary

MARY

SHAZAM! (MATTEL)

A year after the introduction of Freddy Freeman, aka Captain Marvel Jr, the Marvel family got third inductee, this time keeping the “family” aspect a bit more literal.  Mary Batson was the long-lost sister of Billy, and was also granted her own set of magical powers.  Like Freddy, Mary proved quite a popular addition to the mythos.  For a while, she even eclipsed Freddy, though things have somewhat shifted.  Though classically Billy’s younger, more innocent sister, Mary was reimagined as an older sibling (with no confirmed biological connection), and had an admittedly minor part in the film as a whole, with her usual role being filled by Darla.  Nevertheless, Mary still ends up powered, and maintains her classic appearance, with an accompanying figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mary is another figure from the basic Shazam! line from Mattel.  She’s one of the lightest packed figures in the assortment, which means she’s so far proved to be the trickiest figure in the line to track down.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and sports 20 points of articulation.  The movement is the same basic layout as Shazam and Freddy, though the skirt and the hair do end up being a little more restricting to her.  Mary’s sculpt is decent, though I can’t say it’s quite as strong as the other two.  To be fair, my figure is saddled with one issue that I can assume isn’t a recurring one.  Her hair is affixed ever so slightly off-kilter, which means that her entire head is permanently cocked to one side, unless you turn her head off to the side.  It’s kind of a frustrating thing, and not as easily fixed as you might hope.  Were the hair properly attached, I think the head might actually look pretty decent, and the likeness of Michele Borth isn’t terrible, especially by Mattel standards.  Below the neck, Mary shares a number of parts with Darla, which is mostly sensible, but the re-use of the legs, which have sculpted texturing, is a little odd.  It’s not overly noticeable, though, especially with the skirt over top of it.  Beyond that, it’s a pretty respectably sculpted figure.  Mary’s paintwork is pretty solid, and matches the other two.  She’s bright, she’s colorful, and she pairs well with Billy’s colorscheme.  Like the other two in the set, Mary is packed with one of the Seven Deadly Sins, this time Sloth.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After seeing the movie, I desperately wanted the original three Marvels.  While Billy and Freddy were easily acquired, Mary was not quite so simple.  I had actually seen her at retail prior to seeing the film, but after seeing it, she was nowhere to be found, and commanding the highest after market value.  Mary’s my favorite member of the Shazamily, so I was keeping an eye out for her.  She randomly came back in-stock at regular retail price on Amazon on Monday, so I got right on ordering her, had her delivered yesterday morning and, boom, had her reviewed in less than a few hours, which I think may be a record for the site.  She’s the weakest of the three figures, but I do still really like her, and continue to be pleasantly surprised with these.

#2048: Freddy

FREDDY

SHAZAM! (MATTEL)

The first of Marvel family to be added after Billy Batson was granted his powers, Freddy Freeman became Billy’s side-kick Captain Marvel Jr, the member of the Marvel family with more name-changes than even the Big Red Cheese himself.  He proved a popular character in his own right, and was even Elvis Presley’s favorite comic book character (and would in fact serve as an inspiration for his later career appearance).  When Freddy was confirmed as a main character for the movie, it wasn’t that much of a wild guess that he’d be granted his alter-ego, whatever his name might end up being.  Freddy’s alter ego (and all of the Shazamily’s, for that matter) ended up being confirmed not by the movie itself, but rather by his toy, which I’m looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Freddy is another figure from the basic Shazam! line from Mattel, and is the first of the extended family figures.  He’s also the heaviest packed after Shazam himself, which is probably a pretty sensible choice, given his prominence in both the comics and the movie.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 20 points of articulation.  From the neck down, Freddy’s identical to yesterday’s Shazam figure.  They had essentially the same costume, and a fairly similar build.  Plus, it was a solid sculpt the first time around, and it’s still a solid sculpt this time.  He tops the re-used body off with a brand-new head sculpt, which sports a pretty decent likeness of older-Freddy’s actor Adam Brody.  It’s at the very least on par with the Zachary Levi likeness on Billy, and makes him distinctly different from that figure.  Assisting in him looking different?  The color scheme.  Freddy’s traditional blues are here in true form, and it’s definitely a nice look.  Like Shazam, there’s the printed eyes, which make for a fairly lifelike appearance.  Freddy’s also packed with one of the Sins, this time Pride.  Again, it’s a soft rubber stretchy sort of thing, so it’s largely gimmick.  But hey, I’m not going to complain about extra stuff!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, I saw the pictures of these figures before seeing the movie, meaning I knew about the big twist going in.  It also meant that I knew these figures existed going in, and therefore wanted a Freddy figure as soon as I got out of the theatre.  Fortunately, he’s one of the easier figures in the set to track down.  Like Shazam, Freddy’s figure is a pleasant surprise coming from Mattel.  He’s a solid offering, and definitely worth the price, especially if you liked his appearance in the movie.

#2047: Shazam

SHAZAM

SHAZAM! (MATTEL)

Man of Steel ushered in a new era of DC movies, an attempt at catching onto the train that Marvel was riding with the MCU.  The self-proclaimed DCEU tried to make a big splash, but just never caught up.  Five films into their new shared universe, DC decided to re-orient their movies, moving away from their frantic universe-building epics, and away from their mainstream characters.  Shazam! was their second film in this new-new era, and set its focus less on making its characters “super-hardcore-metal” and more on actually making them semi-likable and giving them a decent story to reside in.  It was the first DC film in a good while that I actually enjoyed, even if it had the misfortune of being wedged between Captain Marvel and Endgame, which seemed to, almost poetically, steal its thunder.  The dead licensees walking over at Mattel are still on tap for the toys, which I’m finally getting around to reviewing a few of this week.  Let’s kick things off with the title character!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Shazam is part of Mattel’s basic tie-in line for the movie, which offers up the whole Shazamily.  It follows Mattel’s trend since Batman V Superman of having the basic line and the “collector’s line” be virtually the same scale.  The figures stands 6 inches tall and he has 20 points of articulation.  I was quite pleasantly surprised by the articulation on this guy, especially on the arms, which sport universal joints on the shoulders, elbows, and wrists.  Honestly, if this figure had more than just swivels on the hips, he’d be on par with any of Mattel’s higher end offerings.  Even as is, he’s an incredible improvement on many of their Multiverse figures simply because he can actually *use* most of his articulation.  No pointless joints here!  Being in the basic line, you might not expect Shazam’s sculpt to be anything impressive, but it’s actually pretty decent.  The head seems to be sporting the best of the Zachary Levi likenesses to be offered up for this movie.  It’s not a spot-on look, but it’s quite close, and fairly identifiable.  The body takes his bulked up physique from the movie and bulks it up just a little bit more, but not quite to the cartoonish proportions of some of the prior basic line figures, especially when compared to how he looks on-screen.  What really impresses me about it is the level of texture work on the suit, which is both movie accurate, and not quite as overpowering as the texturing on the Multiverse release.  Shazam’s paintwork is mostly pretty basic.  The application is fairly clean, with minimal slop.  The eyes and brows actually appear to be printed on, which looks quite lifelike.  However, you have to be careful with it, because a couple of the figures I saw in person had the eyes applied really off the mark.  Each figure in this assortment is packed with a little rubber recreation of one of the Seven Deadly Sins.  Shazam is packed with a little Wrath, molded in red.  It’s not a terribly exciting piece, but it’s nifty enough.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After seeing the movie opening day, I immediately ran out to pick up some of the figures, because that’s what I do.  I compared both of the 6-inch Shazams, and I found myself overall liking the look of this one more.  Once I got him out of the box, I felt even happier with my purchase.  At half the price of the Multiverse figure, this figure offers the better likeness, the more accurate build, and plenty of articulation.  It’s just a really solid figure, and if you know my track record with Mattel, you know that means a lot coming from me.

#2023: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

DC: THE NEW 52 (DC COLLECTIBLES)

DC’s “New 52” relaunch sure does seem like a distant memory these days, doesn’t it?  Their big relaunch to end relaunches happened several relaunches ago, and, for the most part, it’s kind of old hat.  I mean, yeah, they aimed for big sweeping changes, but they kind of missed.  One of the books least affected by the changes was Green Lantern, which was still pretty big at the time.  Nevertheless, lead GL Hal Jordan got a minor redesign courtesy of Jim Lee, in order to better match the rest of the Justice League.  And, of course, that came with a new figure, which I’m looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern was one of the first seven figures in the New 52 line, when DC Collectibles was set on getting all of the main Justice League members out in their new uniforms.  He was subsequently re-released in the Justice League 7-pack that followed, and saw an evergreen release as part of the DC Essentials line…well, the first incarnation of it, anyway.  This figure is the original release, but the figures within the package are virtually identical between the three releases.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and has 11 points of articulation.  This was fairly standard for the launch figures, which were really just carrying forward the stylings of the later DC Direct figures.  Compared to more recent offerings, he’s a little archaic, and, honestly, compared to contemporary lines, they were archaic, too, but they were hardly a surprise given who was producing them.  The main focus was definitely on the sculpts, and GL’s sculpt is actually pretty decent.  He, and all of the early figures, really, was based on Jim Lee’s design for the character.  GL’s look was really just a slight tweaking of his post “Rebirth” design that he’d had for almost a decade by this point, with some extra armor plating here and there, because Jim Lee was all about that armor plating for this round of designs.  The sculpt actually does quite a respectable job of capturing Lee’s style in three dimensions.  While I was a little iffy about the tweaks to the design on the comics page, it actually translates pretty nicely into an action figure.  The details are crisp and sharp, and I especially like the seams on the gloves, even if perhaps a hardlight costume shouldn’t have such things.  Like a lot of DC Direct figures and early DCC figures, there’s a bit of pre-posing going on, but in this figure’s case, he’s just got the heroic stance that all of the League was sporting in the promo shots for the New 52.  It also impedes the articulation’s use a lot less than some of DCD’s figures, so that’s a plus in my book.  GL’s paintwork is pretty solid.  The metallic colors for the green and white are a nice look, and while there’s a little bit of bleedover on the face, for the most part, he’s pretty clean.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, The New 52 being the thing that kind of got me off of DC for a while, I wasn’t exactly breaking down the door to pick these guys up when they were coming out.  Even with my usually forgiving fandom for GL, I skipped this guy when he was released, as well as the few times he was re-released.  Why get him now?  It’s quite simple: Cosmic Comix had one in a package that was worse for wear, and he was marked down to $5.  For that price, he was worth it to me.  He’s actually not a bad figure, truth be told, though I can’t really say he stands out compared to the other GLs I’ve got in my collection.  Still, he was worth what I paid for him.