#2297: Hawkgirl

HAWKGIRL

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

During ancient Egypt’s 15th Dynasty, Princess Chay-Ara and her beloved Prince Khufu discovered a downed Thanagarian spacecraft. After their murder, the couple’s exposure to the ship’s anti-gravity Nth Metal has destined them to be reincarnated through the ages and fight alongside the Justice Society of America.”

At the start of this year, the DC comics license officially moved from Mattel (who held it for 17 years) to Spin Master and McFarlane.  Their first products started hitting halfway through last month, but right now I’m taking another look at Mattel’s tenure with the license, specifically when they were at their high point, mid-way through their DC Universe Classics run, when they were still filling out that core cast of characters.  Today, I’m taking a look at Hawkgirl!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hawkgirl was released in the eighth series of DC Universe Classics.  At this point, each assortment was getting one core DC character, and thanks to Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, that was a category Hawkgirl fell into in 2009.  She’s undoubtedly the most marketable character of Series 8 as a whole, due in part to the generally low-profile character selection contained therein.  As a whole this assortment was really our first taste of that deep cut philosophy that would define the line going forward.  Hawkgirl would wind up re-packed alongside fellow Series 8 release Gentleman Ghost in the “Fates Intertwined” two-pack in 2010, after she (and all of Series 8) wound up being very tricky to find at retail (a common tale with this line, unfortunately).  Despite the bio’s detailing of the Golden Age Princess Chay-Ara incarnation of the character, the figure is actually based on the Silver Age Thanagarian police officer Shayera Hol incarnation, who was the one that appeared on the cartoons and is generally better known.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  As the line was built on parts re-use, it’s no surprise that Hawkgirl had a fair amount of re-use going on.  The shoulders, upper arms, hands, lower torso, pelvis, and upper legs are shared with Series 4’s Wonder Woman, while the wings were previously used for Shayera’s husband Hawkman in Series 6.  In both cases its pretty sensible re-use (and the wings are just very nice pieces in general), and her new parts fit well with the old.  Due to the nature of her head sculpt and how it works with the articulation, she’s stuck looking a bit downward, but if you have her on a flying stand of some sort, it’s not so bad.  It is a shame they couldn’t get some more range out of that neck joint, though.  Overall, though, this is probably one of the most balanced sculpts the line produced.  The paint’s pretty straight forward too, with clean, bright, bold application.  There’s a bit of slop on the mask, but otherwise it’s a pretty clean look.  In her single-packed release, Hawkgirl included her mace, a short sword, a spear, and a display stand.  For the two-pack release, that was cut back to just the mace and the spear.  Mine’s just got the mace these days.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Series 8 was probably the worst distributed assortment in the whole DC Universe Classics line, and I don’t recall seeing any of the figures at retail, Hawkgirl included.  I ended up getting this one, which is the two-pack release loose towards the end of the line, just so I could finally fill out my JLA line-up.  She’s a pretty nice, fairly reserved figure, and one of the best Hawkgirl figures out there.

#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.

#0423: Vigilante

VIGILANTE

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS

DC Universe Classics may have ended up supplanting Kenner’s Super Powers as the “greatest DC toyline,” but the line owes a lot of its life to its predecessor. It’s been viewed by many as an update on the earlier line, and it’s worth noting that DCUC ended up releasing an update of every figure in Super Powers. But it seems that wasn’t enough. They decided to go further and release several of the characters who would have been featured in the proposed 4th Wave of the line. While some characters, such as Man-Bat and John Stewart Green Lantern, aren’t too surprising in a DC line in this day and age, one character in particular, Vigilante, seems rather out of place in a current line. The character was essentially DC’s answer to the Punisher, and he was fairly popular in the mid-80s, explaining why he was set to turn up in Super Powers. However, the character died in the final issue of his series, leading to him becoming largely forgotten. Still, he turned up in DCUC, joining the likes of Jemm, Kamandi, and Tyr.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Vigilante was released in Series 8 of DC Universe Classics. Vigilante was the most obscure character in the series by far, which is really saying something in a series that contained Gentleman Ghost, Sergeant Steel, Mr. Terrific, and Dr. Fate. The figure is a little over 6 inches tall and features 25 points of articulation (yay ankle rockers!). He’s based on the character’s look from the 80s, which as far as I know, was his only look. The figure uses the mid-sized buck as a starting point, with a unique head, forearms, and left hand, as well as shins from Series 7’s Flash, and an add-on piece for his belt and holster. The medium buck is as good as ever, and it works very well for the character. The new pieces are all very well sculpted, though it’s odd that they only gave the figure one hand with a trigger finger when he’s meant to hold a gun in each hand. The head features a fully sculpted set of eyes under the visor, which is a cool touch, especially since it’s almost impossible to actually see them. Vigilante’s paint is very nicely handled. Everything is nice and clean. The colors are mostly vibrant and bold, though this figure shows the start of Mattel’s tendency to muddle the whites a little bit. Vigilante was well armed, with a mac-10 submachine gun, an m-16 assault rifle, and a revolver (special thanks to Tim for the help on those). In addition, the figure also included the left leg of Giganta, but my figure was bought loose and did not include this piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When Series 8 was first announced and I heard Vigilante was in it, I assumed it would be the Greg Saunders version (who had appeared on Justice League Unlimited). When I found out this was the version of the character being released, I must admit I was a little let down. Still, it’s not a bad design, so I definitely wanted the figure. Sadly, the distribution issues hit their hardest with Series 8, and I never saw a single one of the figures on shelves.

Vigilante was the fourth and final DCUC figure I picked up at The House of Fun, which is an awesome store. Vigilante was one of the many, many loose DCUC figures the store had. I was really happy to find him. Odd choice of the character aside, this is a very well done figure. It’s a shame that Mattel couldn’t maintain the quality on this line.