#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.

#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

#0098: Negative Man

NEGATIVE MAN

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS

Ah, DC Universe Classics.  A line that left me with so much confusion.  The line led me to steadily hate everything Mattel did.  But on the same hand, it was the DC toy line I’d wanted since I was 4 or 5.  Not only did it have great versions of the big name characters and their supporting casts, but it also gave us characters we never thought we’d see released in a retail toy line in a million years.  I’ll be looking at Negative Man, one of those characters, today.

Negative Man, or more specifically Larry Trainor because Negative Man wasn’t actually his name, was a member of the wacky 60s super hero team the Doom Patrol.  The Doom Patrol weren’t your conventional super heroes, no, they were freaks and outcasts that the public had shunned.  They were led by a wheelchair bound man and they fought the Brotherhood of Evil.  No, I didn’t make that up.  They were totally the X-Men, only at DC.  Not a rip off, mind you.  They debuted the same year, and neither one was really a best seller.  But eventually X-Men became one of the bestselling comicbooks ever, and the Doom Patrol were mostly forgotten.  Sure they’ve had a few reboots, but none of them ever really captured the fun of the original series, and none of them ever really lasted all that long.

Anyway, Larry was a test pilot who was exposed to some strange energy that turned out to be the sentient being N-Man.  N-Man was trapped inside of Larry’s body, and could only be released in 60 second intervals, or Larry would die.  When N-Man was present in Larry’s body, Larry was radioactive, so he had to be wrapped in specially treated bandages to keep the radiation contained.  I’m gonna be honest, it was a pretty sweet concept!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Larry was released as part of the 13th wave of DC Universe Classics.  Believe it or not, Larry’s actually had a few looks over the years.  Mattel has chosen to go with what is probably the character’s best known look, his red and purple number that he sported for the majority of the original series.  While I’m partial to his original green uniform, I think they picked the right costume.  He stands just shy of 6 ½ inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  DC Universe Classics operated on the buck system, meaning they had a set of differently sized bodies and the picked the one that best suited the character in order to save on tooling.  Larry is based on the medium build male buck, which works fine, since he’s not supposed to be a powerhouse.  I’ve heard arguments that he should have been on a skinnier body, but I think the medium build looks just fine.  In addition to the buck body, Larry has specially sculpted parts for his head, neck, hands, belt and boots.  The head, neck and hands are all bandaged, and they all look pretty cool.  They found a decent way of handling showing a face, without it looking too silly, which is a good thing.  The belt has a cool leather texture to it, which is one of those things that could have easily been left out, but I’m really glad wasn’t.  The boots are actually a reuse from the line’s Green Arrow figure, but if it’s a good part, use it.  The paint on Larry is all well applied, with no slop or bleed over.  There are several washes present to bring out the details in the sculpt.  In one area of disappointment, Larry includes no accessories apart from the requisite C-n-C piece.  It’s Trigon’s staff for those who care.  But, Larry himself gets nothing, not even a cool snap on Negative Man effect!  I guess they had to draw the line somewhere.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In spite of DCUC’s spotty distribution, I actually found Larry in store with relative ease.  I was greatly excited by that, as he’s one of my favorite characters, and I’ve always wanted a figure of him.  This one did not disappoint.  Larry shows the DC Universe Classics line at its best.  Well distributed, well sculpted, cool obscure character.  He was just full of win!