#2907: The Flash

THE FLASH

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE)

“In a freak lab accident, forensic scientist Barry Allen was struck by lightning and doused with chemicals, which gave him the superpowers of the Speed Force. Now he uses these powers to defend his hometown of Central City—and the rest of the world—from the forces of evil as The Flash! The Fastest Man Alive can run up the sides of buildings, across oceans, and around the world at light speed. He can also vibrate his molecules to phase through solid objects!”

Hey, look at that, sometimes McFarlane doesn’t only do Batman.  I know, it’s a crazy concept.  Sometimes he’ll laser focus in on a different character for just a moment.  And for a little portion of the last year or so, one such laser focused character was the Flash, who’s now had a whole five figures.  Can you believe that?  I mean, I guess it’s possible to believe it.  I mean, there’s like empirical evidence to support it and all.  It’s probably been peer reviewed.  Speaking of reviews, that’s what I’m supposed to be doing here, so why don’t I do that?  Yeah, I think I will!  Let’s jump in on that!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Flash was part of the basic DC Multiverse line-up, hitting retail at roughly the mid-point of last year…some places anyway.  McFarlane’s distribution’s been all over the map, so exact timelines can be weird.  He was the first of the Flash figures McFarlane released, but was quickly followed by the slight retool of this one for the two-pack release with Red Death.  The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 33 points of articulation.  Flash’s articulation scheme follows what we’ve become used to with McFarlane’s DC stuff.  The range isn’t bad, but it does have a tendency to break up the sculpt in rather odd ways.  Also, some of the joints, notably on the ankles, are a little on the loose side, so it can be hard to get him to hold poses for terribly long.  But, for the most part, it’s not terrible.  Flash’s sculpt was initially unique, but then saw re-use for the two-pack release, and is getting another re-use for the upcoming Reverse Flash as well.  It’s patterned on his far more ridge-y post-New 52 appearance.  While it’s got a bit too much going on for it to be my preferred Flash, it does seem like it’s more up Todd’s alley.  Also, it’s still his current look, so it adds up.  It does at least make for a pretty nice looking figure, and they didn’t add a bunch of other unnecessary details that don’t need to be there.  The main defining trait of this figure, in contrast to the two-pack release, is the head sculpt.  For this one, he gets a more playful expression with a smile.  It’s a bit cartoony an exaggerated, but it feels appropriate for the character, and I really like it.  The only part I’m a bit iffy on is the ear wings, which seem a little too crazy for my preferred take on Flash.  Otherwise, it’s pretty solid.  Flash’s paint work is generally pretty basic.  It’s bright and colorful, which is a bit of a contrast from the usual McFarlane output, so I won’t really complain on that.  The figure is packed with an assortment of lightning effects, as well as a display stand, so that you can get some more intense running displays…when he remains standing, of course.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When DC Collectibles launched Essentials, I picked up Reverse Flash, but not the standard, because I found basic Flash to be just a touch too bland for my taste.  I still wanted one in a comparable scale, so when this guy was shown off, I was at the very least interested.  Of course, with the wonky distribution and such, All Time never ended up getting theirs, and I couldn’t really be bothered to actually hunt him down.  As luck would have it, he wound up getting traded in loose a couple of months ago, so I was able to pick one up without much fuss.  He’s still got those typical McFarlane things going on, but I do like him a fair bit overall, and he fits in well with my Essentials figures, so I’d call that a win.

#2763: The Flash

THE FLASH

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Flash is the fastest man alive. Can run at super-speed. Can vibrate his body so quickly as to be immaterial, so that bullets pass through him, or can go through walls. Can also move so fast he becomes invisible. Can run on water.”

Despite the namesake being one of DC’s earliest heroes, and this particular iteration being the character that ushered in the Silver Age at DC, The Flash was nevertheless, rather conspicuously missing from DC’s earliest forays into the world of action figures.  He wouldn’t get his toy due until Kenner’s Super Powers, where he at least was not only finally included into toy form, but was also in the line’s inaugural year.  Way to go Kenner!  Let’s look at that figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Flash was included in Kenner’s first assortment of Super Powers in 1984, debuting alongside most of the rest of the core Justice League line-up.  Since Barry was still the current Flash at the time, the figure was very definitely based on him, in his look that more or less remained unchanged from his very first appearance in Showcase.  The figure was one of the shortest in the line, at a little under 4 1/2 inches tall, and he sported the standard 7 points of articulation.  Barry was typically depicted as a little bit on the shorter side compared to some of the other members of the team, so this slightly smaller stature fit the character, and also helped to keep the slightly more diverse physical characteristics of the line’s take on the heroes.  His sculpt also depicts as being much more lithe than his teammates, with notably narrower shoulders than the other male heroes.  It definitely helped to place emphasis on his legs and his build as a runner, which is very appropriate for the character.  His face has a nice, friendly smile on it; most of the heroes had a generally friendly expression, but Flash’s is very definitely a smile.  And it’s not one of Wally’s more sly grin’s, either; this is very definitely Barry’s goofy scientist type of smile.  I really like it.  Flash’s costume elements are largely sculpted, which is certainly impressive.  Perhaps the coolest little touch is the inclusion of the treads on the bottoms of his feet.  That’s an area that usually gets left smooth, but not on this guy.  It’s a very nice attention to detail.  The figure’s paint was pretty basic.  There’s not exactly a ton of details to be had, but he was, like the rest of the line, bold and colorful.  I like that.  Unfortunately, Flash is also a figure very prone to paint wear over time, specifically on his nose and chin, as can be seen on my figure.  I’ve actually had three of this guy over the years, and every one of them had the exact same wear.  Flash had no accessories, but he did include his own action feature, dubbed “Power Action Lightning Legs”.  When you squeeze his arms, his legs kick back and forth, in a sort of a reversal of the other figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

A proper Kenner Flash was actually one of the later additions to my early Super Powers figures, which is amusing, because it’s actually Flash’s fault I was introduced to Super Powers in the first place.  When I was first getting into collecting in the ’90s, Flash figures were hard to come by (the Total Justice one had just dried up at retail, and the JLA rerelease wasn’t quite out yet), so my dad bought me one online.  It was the Toy Biz DC Super Heroes one, but had be incorrectly identified as the Super Powers one.  That ultimately led to me stumbling upon the Super Powers Archive and low-key falling in love with the line, but for the first few years, my “Super Powers” Flash was actually the Toy Biz one.  It wasn’t until my dad got me a batch of various figures for Christmas one year that I actually got to upgrade to the one seen in this review.  Despite not being my first Flash, he’s still a very cool Flash, and definitely one of my favorite Flashes, and he really shows that Kenner was very committed to not phoning these figures in.

#2707: The Flash

THE FLASH

FIRST APPEARANCE (DC DRIECT)

After the success of Superman and Batman, DC created a whole host of additional costumed heroes to join them.  Debuting in Flash Comics #1, Jay Garrick became the first incarnation of the titular character.  When the Golden Age ended, he was replaced by Barry Allen as the Silver Age Flash, but re-appeared just a few short years later in “Flash of Two Worlds,” the story that placed all of the Golden Age heroes on a separate Earth and officially created DC’s Multiverse.  Pretty nifty, huh?  Despite being a rather prominent fixture of the DC ‘verse, Jay’s been light on toys.  Under DC Direct, he got his second figure, amusingly enough, under the First Appearance banner.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Flash was released in the first series of DC Direct’s First Appearance figures, alongside the previously reviewed Batman.  Prior to this one, his only figure was the less style-specific figure from the main JSA line.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  While DCD were willing to spring for extra joints on Batman, they were not similarly inclined for the rest of the assortment, so Jay just got their standard movement of the time.  It’s enough for some decent posing, but is admittedly pretty limiting.  He’s certainly not getting any deep running poses or anything.  Like the rest of the line, this version of Jay is quite strictly based on his first appearance art, in this case, Harry Lampert’s illustrations from the interiors of the book.  He seems to draw the most inspiration from the illustration of Jay that ran alongside the character’s header within the book, right down to his slight pre-posing seeming to line up with the slight running pose of the drawing.  It’s actually not a bad match for the art, though it certainly leaves him looking a bit more polished, and generally just a bit, I don’t know, prettier? He’s a pretty man, I guess, or at least he was in 1940.  Less so later.  I’ll admit, I’m a touch weirded out by a Jay that’s not at least middle-aged, but he wasn’t always, I suppose.  This figure also reflects the minor changes that were present in Jay’s costume earlier on, with the free-floating lighting bolt, the slightly less defined boots, and the bolts on the sides of his legs (presumably to make him go faster?).  Flash was the one figure in the first series to lack any cloth goods pieces, due to his costume’s tighter-clinging nature.  He does, however, get a removeable helmet piece.  It’s not as defined as other versions, but it’s also accurate to the art in that way, so good on them for that, I suppose.  Flash’s paint is quite bright and colorful, which is appropriate for this incarnation, and also makes him fairly eye-catching.  As with Batman, they vary up the finishes a bit on some of the colors, which helps give them a little more pop.  Flash was packed with a display stand (same as Batman’s) and a reprint of his story from Flash Comics #1.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My main focus when this line hit was Batman, so I really didn’t pay this guy much mind when they were new.  Not many people did, honestly, so he would up being way marked down at Cosmic Comix about a year later, which is when I finally picked mine up, because, hey, he was cheap, right?  I also didn’t have another Jay Garrick at the time, so he worked on that front, too.  He’s not a bad figure, though he’s maybe not one of the showier offerings from this line.

#2563: Flash

FLASH

DC HEROES UNITE (SPIN MASTER)

To continue my Spin Master DC-centric week of reviews here, lets go ahead and just expand that Justice League roster just a bit further, shall we?  Yeah, and it’s gonna be one of the team’s founding members, even.  I mean, depending on who’s under the mask.  And which founding line-up you’re talking about…look, it’s the Flash, okay?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Flash is part of Spin Master’s DC Heroes Unite.  He was technically in Series 1, but proved a little more on the scarce side at that point.  Fortunately, he’s also in Series 2, allowing anyone who missed him the first time around to have another chance.  Yay for me!  Flash is seen here in his post-New 52 costume, which has the notable feature of being pretty much the only of those designs to actually last.  It helps that it’s really just a slight tweak on the classic ’60s costume.  That officially makes this figure Barry Allen, but given the general similarity of Flash costumes, he could also be Wally in a pinch, I suppose.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation.  No waist or wrists hits Flash a little bit harder than the others in the line, but he’s still got enough posability in him to get some halfway decent running poses.  In terms of sculpt, he follows the line’s general trend towards making these guys a little bit bulkier than usual, so Flash definitely isn’t as svelte as I tend to think of the character.  It’s not terrible, though, and he ends up being about the same size as NIghtwing, which tracks alright for me.  It’s really just his arms looking a bit stubby that throws things off, but it’s not the end of the world, and it’s no worse than anything Mattel did.  He’s got more jovial expression, with a friendly smile, which leans him more into that Barry characterization.  Whatever the case, it works, and it sets him apart from the others nicely.  Flash’s paint work is pretty simple, but also clean and very bright.  It works well for his design.  Flash has had a few releases, so there are a few options for his blind-boxed pieces.  Mine’s got the lightning bolt sword thing in yellow, the chest armor in a sort of metallic blue/purple, and the wind vortex in blue.  Ultimately, I don’t see myself using any of these for the character, but they’re nifty enough, I suppose.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Flash is one of the rare Spin Master DC figures I’ve actually found for myself, and was the one that cued me into the fact that there was actually a Series 2 out there, once I looked at his little pamphlet.  I’d actually just guessed he was a Series 1 restock when I saw him.  Whatever the case, I was glad to get a second chance at him, and he’s another solid addition to the line-up.

#1498: Kid Flash

KID FLASH

THE FLASH (DCC)

One of my favorite TV shows (and one of the few I can actually more or less keep up with) is CW’s The Flash.  The show’s gone pretty much all-in with the whole Flash mythos, and just last season they officially introduced Wally West in the role of Barry Allen’s sidekick Kid Flash.  Wally’s always been a very important character in the Flash, and I was pretty thrilled to finally get to see him in action.  I was also pretty thrilled that finally got an action figure, courtesy of DC Collectibles’ very slowly released line of figures from the show.  Let’s have a look at how he turned out, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kid Flash is the seventh figure in DCC’s The Flash line.  The last of these I looked at was Captain Cold, who was figure 2, so it looks like I’ve fallen a little bit behind.  Wally just hit a few weeks ago, alongside White Canary from Legends of Tomorrow.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall (just a skosh smaller than Barry, which is about right) and he has 26 points of articulation.  Wally loses several points of articulation from Barry, all of them swivels on the legs.  I’m not sure what DCC has against swivels on the legs, but they do seem to remove them a lot.  It’s frustrating, because it definitely limits the poses you can do with the figure.  He does at least have rocker ankles, so he makes out a bit better than Supergirl in that respect.  The articulation is far more useful than on recent Mattel offerings, and that’s a definite plus.  Wally’s sculpt is all-new to him.  While it’s not quite as detailed as Flash or Supergirl (which is true to his show design, since his costume lacks a lot of the texturing of the main characters’ costumes), but it’s still quite accurate to the show design.  I actually find his build to be more realistic and far less gangly than Barry, which is a step in the right direction.  The head sports a pretty solid likeness of actor Keiynan Lonsdale in the mask, although this is clearly him from earlier in Season 3, given the shorter hair.  Wally’s paint is some of the best I’ve seen on the CW figures, helped largely by the bolder colors present in the design.  There’s a lot of vibrance in the color choices, and he’s even got some pretty solid accent work to keep the larger stretches of the same colors from getting too monotonous.  Wall is packed with hands in fists, gripping, and in flat running poses, which make for a decent variety of poses.  He also gets an extra unmasked head, which makes me retroactively frustrated that DCC stuck the extra Barry head in a freaking two-pack.  I still would have liked to see some sort of running stand included here; I ended up making due with a Minimate flight stand for the photo up top.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Wally from Cosmic Comix.  As luck would have it, he hit during the 26th Annual Annual Sale, so I got him for 40% off his usual price.  I definitely wanted to pick him up at some point, but I won’t deny that the sale helped me make the decision to grab him sooner rather than later.  I’m happy with this figure.  He’s not perfect, but he’s still quite good.  And, most importantly, he got me to dig out my CW Flash figure, and reminding me that that figure was actually way better than I remembered.  And now I have this pretty awesome pair!

#1459: Justice League Rebirth Set

SUPERMAN, BATMAN, WONDER WOMAN, FLASH, GREEN LANTERN, AQUAMAN, & CYBORG

DC ICONS (DCC)

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another entry in my latest recurring feature…F-DC F-icons Fridays?  Yeah, there’s a name that’s catchy and rolls right off the tongue.  Not content to just review one DC Icons figure a week, I’ve decided to continue my descent into madness and review seven of them in one day.  And you all get to be here for that descent.  Don’t you just feel so special? Without further ado, let’s look at the Justice League!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Cyborg were released in March of this year in the “Justice League Rebirth” boxed set, as part of the DC Icons line.  The set’s actually been in progress since mid-2016, when it was initially shown as a New 52-themed set, before being updated to reflect the characters in their most recent looks (for the most part), and tying it into the DC Rebirth relaunch.

SUPERMAN

This figure’s my primary reason for grabbing this set, since Rebirth actually got me reading Superman and Action again.  This figure actually just saw a single release a few weeks ago, which looks to be identical, apart from the packaging.  The design of this figure comes from the initial Rebirth books, after the older Post-Crisis Clark took over the identity again.  It’s already been replaced by a tweaked design, but it’s not too far off.  I actually quite like this design; it’s not the classic look, but it’s way ahead of the other post-New 52 looks.  It’s still weird to see a Superman without the red shorts, but I think making his boots blue helps to alleviate some of the color imbalances caused by that.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  Superman follows the “new” scale for Icons, meaning he’ll fit in best with figures from later in the line’s run.  He’ll also fit with some Marvel Legends depending on how much of a stickler you are for inter-character scaling.  He’s a little smaller than a Legends figure built on the Reaper body (as seen in the comparison pic with Cap).  Since he’s so sized up, he can’t really use any pieces from the first Icons Superman, making this figure an all-new sculpt.  It’s not bad work at all.  The build of the figure seems about right for Supes, and the proportions are all pretty balanced.  Detailing is all pretty clean and bold as well.  The head is pretty solid too; it’s got a nice friendly expression that seems right for Clark.  It feels maybe a touch wide, and perhaps a bit young for the more experienced Clark Kent this figure is meant to represent, but by and large I find myself really liking it.  The cape is made from a soft plastic, and it’s very nicely done.  After years of Mattel capes that have to be attached with a huge brick that utterly ruins the flow, this is a very refreshing piece.  In terms of paint, Superman is decent, if perhaps not fantastic.  The basic colors are all good matches for the source (the blue is a touch dark for my taste, but that’s accurate) and he looks pretty slick overall.  My only real issue is with the face, which just seems a little bit lopsided.  It’s the sort of thing that looks totally fine from most angles, but really goofy if you catch it the wrong way. Still, good work overall.  Superman includes no accessories.  Of course, that’s true of the entire set.  At least Supes doesn’t feel too light without the extras.

BATMAN

This guy also saw a single release, at the same time as the Superman figure.  It’s hardly a shock, what with it being Batman and all.  Batman is also sporting his look from Rebirth, but he’s been fortunate enough not to have it already change on him.  It’s another decent design.  It doesn’t speak to me quite as much as the Superman design, but that’s less about any particular element pulling me out, and more about it not being too terribly different from all the other Batman designs in recent years.  I can point out what’s different between this and the New 52 design if put on the spot, but they’re fundamentally the same.  Well, this one has less tactical-tech lines, which is certainly a plus.  The figure is 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Batman’s maybe a smidge taller than Superman, depending on posing.  I generally like for Bruce to be a little shorter, but it’s easy enough to have Clark standing straight and Bruce slightly hunching.  The important thing is that this Batman is taller than the Icons Nightwing, which can’t be said of the first Icons Batman (which is absolutely dwarfed by this release).  The very first prototypes of this set showed Batman using quite a few pieces from the older figure, but this guy ended up as a totally new sculpt.  It has its pluses and minuses, to be sure.  As a whole, I think it’s a strong sculpt, and it does a good job of conveying a modern era Batman.  He’s got a good, solid build, and the details on the costume appear to be more or less accurate to his new design.  The mouth seems ridiculously pouty, but Batman is the king of brood, so I guess that just goes with the territory.  His head is set a little higher on the barbel than other Icons figures, which can look a little off in straight standing poses, but actually affords him a good deal more range on his neck joint, which is pretty nice for a guy who does a lot of hunching.  The figure’s topped off with another nicely rendered cape, which has a flow to it that is just as well-crafted as, but completely unique from, Superman’s.  Paint on Batman is very solid work.  Nothing seems out of place like on Superman, and everything’s very bold and clean.  Perhaps the purple could be a little more noticeably different from the black on the cape, but that’s a very minor complaint.  Batman feels a little more hurt by the lack of extras; at the very least a batarang or something would have been nice.

WONDER WOMAN

This set’s Wonder Woman was actually the first in the line, though her single release wasn’t far behind. Unlike the last two, Wonder Woman’s single release was quite a bit different, leaving this one still exclusive to the larger set.  Wonder Woman was another big motivator for me buying this set since, like Superman, Rebirth got me reading her title again.  She’s sporting her first Rebirth look, which was sort of an update on her classic look, with a dash of the movie design thrown in.  She’s switched to something even more movie inspired since, but as with Superman, I sort of prefer this one.  The figure stands almost 6 3/4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  Yes, you read that height correctly; Wonder Woman really is almost a half an inch taller than Superman and Batman.  I’m not inherently opposed to her being taller than the other two (my favorite take on Diana is most certainly Darwyn Cooke’s, and he drew her as an inch or so taller than Clark), but this feels like a little much.  I think my issues ultimately stem from how the height is distributed; her proportions are a little out of whack, so her legs, specifically her thighs, end up taking most of the height and looking a bit longer than they should.  There’s a similar issue with the arms, where the forearms and biceps look really long relative to the shoulders and torso.  If you look at the comparison between her and the other two, you can see that despite her pelvis being a good half-inch higher than the other two, the hands all end in the same spot.  It’s not awful, but it does look a little off, at least in comparison to the other figures in the set.  On the plus side, it does make her the one figure in this set that fits in with Legends without any fudging.  Regarding the quality of the sculpt on its own, this figure’s a bit tricky.  Based on photos online and my initial reaction right out of the box, I was all ready to hate on the sculpt.  But then I took her out, and was messing with her for the photos and such and I realized it’s actually not a bad sculpt at all; it’s just an exceptionally hard to photograph one.  This figure looks very different based on the angle you catch her from, and she really doesn’t look great viewed from above.  But, head-on, she actually looks rather nice.  Yes, the proportions are still a little off, there’s no denying that, but I like more about this sculpt than I dislike.  Given the right pose, she actually looks pretty great, and given just how bad a lot of prior Wonder Woman figures have been, that’s very much a compliment. Wonder Woman’s paint work is definitely on the better end of things.  From what I’ve seen, there’s a bit of variance on the face, but mine seems to have turned out alright, and I really dig how bright all the colors are.  I didn’t know colors were allowed to go that bright on a DC figure.  Wonder Woman gets hit pretty hard by this set’s lack of accessories, because it means she loses her defining weapon: a big ol’ sword!  I jest, of course.  Who would ever think her defining weapon was a sword?  That’s just silly.  She’s actually missing her lasso, which is a real staple of the character, and a rather glaring omission.  It would have been nice to at the very least have it coiled up hanging from her belt.

THE FLASH

Flash is one of the two figures in this set who I’ve looked at an Icons figure of before.  I was overall impressed by the Series 2 figure, so I wasn’t really in the market for another, especially not one based on his super line-y New 52/Rebirth design.  And yet, here we are.  Flash’s design was essentially unchanged for Rebirth; the only noticeable difference here is the lack of chin strap, but a quick Google search shows that totally varies from artist to artist.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  Flash’s sculpt is all-new to this figure, but looks to have used the prior figure as a starting point at the very least; the musculature and sizing are all about the same, but the specifics of the costume have changed.  All of the yellow lines are etched into place, and there’s added details on the boots.  The head is a completely original piece, totally different from the Series 2 figure.  Since the head was the only part of that figure I had an issue with, I was intrigued by this one.  I’m happy to say, I find this one to be a serious improvement over the original.  The yellow lines aren’t etched into the head, so there’s a part of me that’s tempted to try and remove them so I can put this head on the old body, because I like it that much.  The paint work on Flash is mostly good, aside from one glaring issue:  he’s got a big spot of missing paint on the right side of his chin.  It’s a pretty noticeable flaw, and I’m definitely going to have to break out my paints to fix it.  Not the sort of thing I like having to do right out of the box, but I feel confident this is a one-off.  The lack of accessories for Flash is a bit less of an issue, but I do wish his default hands were flat running hands instead of fists.

GREEN LANTERN

GL is the other character for whom I’ve already reviewed an Icons release, and this figure’s even less different than Flash.  At first glance, this is a straight re-release of the deluxe Hal Jordan figure from Series 2.  However, that’s not quite the case.  You see, that figure was 6 inches tall, but this one is 6 1/4.  He’s also got tweaked hips to add the drop-hips that the rest of the set feature, so my first thought was that they’d simply sculpted new thighs with added height. Upon closer examination, I found that the entire figure has actually been ever so slightly enlarged, in order to bring him into scale with the rest of the set.  What’s more, the details of this figure’s sculpt are a lot crisper than those of the earlier figure, and the green has been changed to a more metallic sheen.  I loved this figure the first time I got it, and I still love it here.  Of course, I’m also frustrated by it, because it’s just different enough that it’s not a straight duplicate, so now I have to keep it.

AQUAMAN

You know the old saying: “if an Aquaman figure is released without a trident, does he make a sound?”  …Maybe that’s not quite it.  Regardless, here’s this Aquaman figure.  He’s based on the Rebirth design, which isn’t that much different from his classic look, apart from the gold around the collar and the lack of black shorts.  This figure stands about the same height as all of the other figures in the set, and has 29 points of articulation.  He’s really just a reworking of the single-release Aquaman, though, like with GL, he seems to have been scaled up ever so slightly.  The real difference between the two Aquamen is the head.  I can’t say I’m much of a fan of this one.  It looks fine on the prototype and all, but something was definitely lost in translation, leaving him looking rather goony.  It’s possible it’s just the paint making it look that way, though.  The rest of the sculpt is pretty top-notch.  The build is appropriate for him, and I really like the detailing on the scales of his shirt.  His paint is fairly decent; the colors are bright, and, apart from the odd placement of his eyes and a little bit of bleed over from his belt, it’s fairly well applied.  Aquaman’s lack of accessories here means that he doesn’t include his trident.  And I’m okay with that, because despite what pretty much every Aquaman figure ever would have you believe, he doesn’t really use a trident all that often.

CYBORG

This figure’s presence in this set frustrates me, because it sort of continues a persistent problem I’ve had with DC for several years now.  They keep shoving Cyborg into the Justice League, and it just upsets me.  I like Cyborg.  I like the Justice League.  I don’t really like Cyborg in the Justice League.  Especially when it’s at the cost of Martian Manhunter as a member, which it almost always is.  And that’s what the case is here.  In a seven figure Justice League set, I kind of expect a Martian Manhunter.  But noooooo.  No, in this set, we got Cyborg.  Cyborg who also got a single release with accessories.  Instead of Martian Manhunter, who was completely left out of the line, leaving my Icons Justice League sadly incomplete.  And of course, now I have a Cyborg, but not Titans to go with him, meaning that’s another incomplete team.  Bleh.  I’m sorry, all that ranting is largely to do with the fact that I *actually like* this figure.  Quite a bit, in fact.  His sculpt, even though it’s based on a more modern Cyborg than I tend to go for, is top-notch.  It’s sleek, well put together, and just plain cool looking.  He’s got 31 points of articulation, and it all works really, really well.  The joints are smooth, and the mobility is pretty sound.  He’s probably one of the best in the set, posability-wise.  Perhaps the only drawback to the figure proper is his lack of extras, since his forearms have clearly been designed to swap out for other arm attachments.  Just one of those would have been really cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After picking up Nightwing and Supergirl, and finding out that just about everything I wanted from Icons was cancelled, I was admittedly a little bummed.  That being said, I recalled that this set had been released, and I had checked it out a few times, before ultimately deciding it was a little bit on the pricey side for me.  I still really wanted that Superman, though, so I was excited to hear he was getting a single release.  I was less excited to hear that he was going to run me almost $30 and feature no additional accessories.  It was around this time that I discovered that Barnes & Noble’s website had marked this set down to half of it’s original value, and were also offering free shipping and $5 off orders over $25.  The final cost was $45, which is $6.43 a figure.  And that’s an amazing deal.  Superman’s awesome, as is Batman.  Wonder Woman’s better than I expected, if not perfect.  Flash isn’t my ideal costume choice, and has that one annoying paint flaw, but is a very good figure.  Green Lantern’s not the total repeat I expected, and fixes a few minor issues with the original.  Aquaman’s head sucks, but the single release has a spare head I can toss on the otherwise solid figure.  And I ranted a bit about Cyborg’s spot in the set, but he’s still a very, very well crafted figure.  If you want to give Icons a chance, I heartily recommend this set, and feel obligated to inform all of my readers that it’s still available at the discounted price on barnesandnoble.com.

#1209: The Flash

THE FLASH

JUSTICE (DC DIRECT)

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A quick glance around the internet tells me that this may be a slightly controversial opinion, but I really love the work of Alex Ross.  Marvels and Kingdom Come are obviously the standouts, but in the late ‘90s/early ‘00s, his work was the best source of classic DC Comics material out there, which was something of a godsend for me, a classic comics fan born into the wrong era. In that regard, his 12-issue maxi-series Justice, which was effectively Challenge of the Superfriends on an even more epic scale, was right up my alley.  The fact that it got a whole line of figures courtesy of DC Direct?  Icing on the cake.  Today, I’ll be looking at my first figure from the line, Barry Allen, aka the Flash!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

flashjust2The Flash was released in the first series of Justice figures from DCD.  This was only the second Barry Allen Flash we’d gotten from them, and the first time he’d been released solo.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation.  Not a ton of movement, but it was an incredible step up from the prior Kingdom Come figures, which had what can be described as “minimal” movement at best.  He’s based, of course, on Alex Ross’s depiction of Barry from not just Justice, but also the tabloid-sized specials DC put in the early ‘00s.  It’s really just Barry’s classic costume styled as if it were made from real fabrics and worn by a real person, but that’s a pretty good look.  The sculpt on this guy was handled by DCD’s main sculptor at the time, Tim Bruckner, and it’s not a bad stab at this particular design.  The main issues I would cite with this figure come from its desire to be two different things simultaneously.  They wanted him to be in a sort of a running pose (something no Flash figure they’d released up to that point was capable of pulling off), but also be able to stand up relatively straight, like the rest of the line.  The end result is a figure with a rather static and stiff upper half, and a lower half that looks to be mid-lunge.  With a bit of careful posing, you can get him to look fine (which is more than can be said for some of DCD’s later output), but he always seems ever so slightly off.  On the plus side, there’s a lot of fun detail work on the sculpt.  The costume sports plenty of wrinkles and stretched fabric, to make it more convincing that he’s not just sporting body paint, and there’s even a seam running down the front, showing how he gets the costume on and off.  The boots are heavily wrinkled and very obviously a different material than the rest of the costume, and there’s even the appropriate treading on the soles.  The head is some pretty solid work as well; the face under the mask displays Barry’s goofy charm pretty well, and the mask has a seam running across the forehead, much like Adam West’s Batman Cowl.  The paintwork on Flash is pretty good, but I have one small complaint: they used gold in place of yellow.  It’s not an uncommon practice, and this is far from the first Flash to do so, but when companies do this, they almost always use this dark and rather dull gold.  In the case of the Flash, this robs him of some of his costume’s boldness and clash, and on this particular figure, it has the unintended effect of sort of reversing the dynamic of his costume and making the red the lighter color in most lighting.  A more vibrant gold would have looked a bit better.  Apart from that, the application is all pretty clean, and I do really like the slightly pearlescent red they’ve gone with.  Barry’s only accessory was a rather large and unruly display stand, which was the same one included with every figure in this line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite getting most of my DC Direct figures from Cosmic Comix, I actually got Flash from a Suncoast.  I think CCX had sold out of Flash by the time I got there, so I ended up finding him while on a mall outing with my Grandmother and my cousins.  I think he may have even been on sale.  I was quite excited to get him, since I didn’t yet have a Barry Allen in this scale.  He remained my go-to Flash figure until he was eventually supplanted by the Darwyn Cooke-styled Flash from New Frontier.  He’s not a perfect figure, but he’s a pretty solid one, and he definitely brings back some fond memories.

#1156: Justice Guild

THE STREAK, TOM TURBINE, BLACK SIREN, & GREEN GUARDSMAN

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (MATTEL)

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Some of the best characters are the ones that come about because creative teams aren’t allowed to use a pre-existing character.  One of the most famous examples of this is Watchmen, which was originally meant to make use of DC’s recently acquired Charlton characters.  DC seems to do this to their creators rather frequently, as this also cropped up a few times during the course of the DC Animated Universe.  My particular favorite of these was The Justice Guild of America, from the Justice League episode “Legends.”  The episode was originally drafted with the Justice Society in mind, but was ultimately changed when DC decided the direction of the story didn’t fit how they wanted the JSA portrayed.  Fortunately, this worked out pretty well, as it gave the creators more free reign with the characters, and resulted in one of the most entertaining entries in Justice League.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These four were released as one of Matty Collector-exclusive four-packs from Mattel’s Justice League Unlimited line.  Now, it’s a Mattel review, so you’re probably already expecting a bit of Mattel hate.  Well, here it is:  Who in their right mind releases a four-pack based on a five member team?  On top of that, one of the four members released here is Black Siren, who is part of a duo with the unreleased member Catman.  The back of her box even has Catman in both of the screen shots of her!  Were they just rubbing it in our faces?  Seeing as the four-packs were actually just four single-carded figures packed together, and thus there wasn’t an issue of needing to redo the packaging, couldn’t they just have made this a five-pack?  Or, if they really felt the need to go with arbitrary number schemes, couldn’t they have just made it a six-pack and just thrown in a Green Lantern figure to round the set out?  No, that would be sensible.  Can’t have that, especially not on a Matty Collector-exclusive.  It wouldn’t be right!  Okay, I vented, let’s actually look at the figures.

THE STREAK

justiceguild2The Streak possessed super speed and was the leader of the Justice Guild of America, a team of Super Heroes from a simpler time.  Things got complicated when a group of strange heroes calling themselves the Justice League visited their home town of Seaboard City.” The Streak is the Guild’s answer to Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash.  As such, he takes a lot of design cues from Garrick, but trades out Jay’s more unique helmet for an old-school racing helmet. The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  He’s built on the mid-sized body (patterned on Green Lantern’s sculpt), which is a good fit for him.  He has an all-new head, as well as new legs to add in his boot cuffs.  The new pieces do a pretty good job of capturing his look on the show, and the head in particular is a very good rendition of the Streak’s look.  The paint on the Streak is bright, clean, and bold, which are all good things.  The red is noticeably brighter than the JLU version of the Flash (as it should be).  As a whole, this is a design that looks really good as an action figure.

TOM TURBINE

justiceguild4A power belt allowed Tom Turbine to generate energy as needed.  He and The Justice Guild protected Seaboard City for years, though between missions he continued to work on his pet project: a gateway capable of piercing the dimensional barriers between multiple earths!” Tom Turbine actually has a couple of analogues in the JSA.  While he actually replaced Al Pratt’s the Atom in “Legends,” and borrows from the Atom in a few areas of design, as well as stature, he also has a similar power set and limitations to Hourman, as well as the general demeanor of Mr. Terrific.  This results in him being by far the most unique of the five Justice Guilders, as well as the most rounded.  He’s built on the same medium body as the Streak, but the only piece that’s actually shared is the torso.  The head, arms, and legs are all unique to this figure, and he’s also got an add-on for his belt.  These new pieces are alright, though I can’t say any of them are as spot-on as the Streak.  The legs make him a little shorter, but it’s not actually enough to be all that noticeable.  I do like that the arms have two fists, since that’s sort of key to the character, but I can’t help but sort of wish they’d just sculpted them into the hands on the hips pose he sported a few times in the episode, since it’s not like the articulation’s good for anything anyway.  The head’s really where the accuracy slips up a bit.  It’s close, but just too squared off for Tom, who was slightly rounder in the face.  Tom’s paintwork is pretty solid.  The colors match up with those seen on the show, and everything’s pretty clean.  The change between the neck and the yellow of his shirt isn’t quite as overt as I’d like, but it’s hard to say what they could have done to fix that.

BLACK SIREN

justiceguild5A nuclear blast destroyed the world Black Siren fought to protect, along with the other members of the Justice Guild.  Then the world and the Guild were back, returned to life by the mental powers of Ray Thompson.  When the truth was revealed, the Guild has to destroy everything again – including themselves.”  Okay, seriously?  That’s Black Siren’s bio?  It’s not even about Black Siren!  It’s just a synopsis of “Legends” (and not even a particularly good one, at that).  I’m guessing Siren got the short end of the stick on bios, since any actual bio for her would have to mention Catman, and we wouldn’t want to remind everyone we left him out.  Of course, this bio mentions Ray, who was also never released, so zero points there.  Second round of venting done.  Okay, so Black Siren was based on Black Canary, who would eventually be properly brought into the show when the roster was expanded.  Her partnership with Catman is patterned on Black Canary’s frequent partnering with Wildcat (another thing that would be properly brought into the show later down the line).  Ultimately, Black Siren is kind of the shallowest character introduced in “Legends,” with her main purpose being to showcase the casual sexism of a bygone era.  Anyway, her figure is built on the standard female body, which wasn’t really one of the stronger bases they had at their disposal.  The legs are oddly spaced, causing the arms to bash into them, and pretty much all of the articulation is useless.  For her part, Black Siren got a unique head sculpt, which is a reasonable enough piece, I suppose.  The jawline seems a bit solid for Siren, but it’s not the worst.  Now, she really should also have a unique set of legs to properly replicate the boots, since those bands should be three-dimensional, but she just get’s the normal legs.  It seems odd that everyone else got all the pieces they needed and she didn’t.  The paintwork on Siren is pretty good overall.  The application is pretty solid and crisp.  Most of the colors match, but the lavender sections should be a more straight grey to be totally show accurate.  Siren is the only figure in the set to get an accessory: a display stand.  It’s good, because she can’t stand without it.  Of course, this is really the sort of thing that should have been standard for all of the figures.

GREEN GUARDSMAN

justiceguild3Powerless against anything aluminum, the Green Guardsman used his power ring to protect Seaboard City as a member of the Justice Guild.  A young John Stewart, who would grow up to become Green Lantern, read comic books of his adventures!” That’s a better bio, I suppose, but the bit about John seems really tacked on.  John doesn’t really interact with Green Guardsman at all.  So, in case it wasn’t obvious, Green Guardsman takes the place of Alan Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern.  Like the other male figures in the set, Guardsman is built on the medium male body, with a unique head and an add-on piece for the cape.  The head’s okay, but probably the weakest of those included in the set.  It’s looks a little smooshed at the front.  The cape would actually go on to be shared with Alan Scott himself later on the line.  It’s a decent enough piece, but it makes him really difficult to keep standing.  The paintwork on Green Guardsman is about on par with the rest of the set.  It’s bright and bold, and the lifework is all pretty clean.  The only real nit is that the ring gets kind of lost on the hand.  Maybe an outline or something would have made it stand out?  Guardsman includes no accessories.  While that’s somewhat more forgivable with the others, this guy would have really benefited from some constructs or something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When this set hit Matty Collector, I had pretty much completely checked out of the JLU line, and Matty Collector too.  Turns out, a pretty large portion of the collector-base had done the same thing, which meant this, and a lot of the other sets from the same time period ended up being marked down on Matty Collector and later closed out and made available at a number of other retailers.  I ended up finding these four at Power Comics on small business Saturday, for a rather good price.  I’m still not happy about Catman being left out, especially since he’s never, ever going to get a figure at this point.  That being said, the rest if the figures are pretty cool, and I guess some are better then none.

#0977: Flash

FLASH

JUSTICE LEAGUE (MATTEL)

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Yeah, so I’m kinda running out of things to say about the DCAU. It was really good. Far better than anything else DC’s done in a very long time. There, I got that out of the way. When the DCAU’s fourth series, Justice League, premiered most of the cast were not household names. While the Flash was decently well-known, the show undoubtedly contributed to character’s current state of popularity. During Hasbro’s run with the DC license, they only released three Flash figures over the course of a decade (and two of them were the same figure with a slight change in paint). Thanks to Justice League , when Mattel took over, Flash was amongst the earliest figures they released. I’ll be looking at that particular figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

FlashJLU2Flash was released in the first half of the first series of Mattel’s Justice League line, alongside Superman, Batman, and Green Lantern. Both he and Green Lantern were short packed to two per case in initial shipments, so they were initially quite scarce. However, this basic Flash figure was released numerous times over the course of Mattel’s later Justice League line with virtually no changes. The figure stands 4 ½ inches tall and has 5 points of articulation. That articulation count was low even in 2002 (heck, ESPECIALLY in 2002, since that’s when Marvel Legends was started), but it both kept the figures somewhat consistent with the Kenner/Hasbro animated figures that preceded, and also preserved the figure’s overall aesthetic. The sculpt for Flash (and all of the other initial Justice League figures) was done not by anyone at Mattel, but rather by DC Direct (prior to Mattel’s holding of the DC license), who down-scaled their larger scale animation maquettes for the first seven figures. The end result is a figure that is quite faithful to Flash’s depiction on the show…mostly. Something’s always bugged me about the head, and I’ve never been quite able to put my finger on it. Other than that, the figure’s spot-on though. Flash’s paint is fairly simple. He’s molded in red, with painted details for the various yellow and white bits, as well as his face. The application is generally pretty clean, though he does have a bit of slop around the edge of his mask. In his initial release, Flash was packed with one of the light blue connecting stands that the first seven figures all came with, as well as a lenticular trading card.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Boy were the Justice League figures a long wait. Even after they finally made it to shelves (a year after the show’s premier), getting a hold of them, especially the short-packed Flash and Green Lantern, was no easy feat. I ended up lucking into Flash: there was a comic book store near the church where my aunt was getting married. My dad and I went there to kill some time and the store had just gotten in their case of these figures and had one each of the short-packs. He’s not a perfect figure, but he was the figure I wanted, and he was one of my favorite Flash figures for a few years. Even with the lessened articulation, he still looks pretty good.

#0857: The Flash

THE FLASH

DC ICONS (DCC)

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In 1956, Barry Allen became the second version of the Flash, and officially brought about the Silver Age of comics, for DC anyway (though, if you want to get technical, the first real Silver Age character was Martian Manhunter, who appeared one year prior. And if you want to get REALLY technical, the first Silver Age character was Superboy, who appeared a decade before that. I feel I may have lost some people on that one…). Barry was a brand-new take on an already established hero, and in one fell-swoop showcased DC’s penchant for both reboots and legacies. Barry is a pretty important character for DC, so it’s not a huge shock to see him show up as one of the figures in DC Collectibles’ DC Icons line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

FlashIcon2The Flash is part of the second series of the DC Icons line. He’s figure #05 in the line, placing him right after Mr. Miracle in the numbering, and making him the “first” figure in Series 2. Flash’s figure was designed by Ivan Reis (one of DC’s top artists) and sculpted Amos Hemsley. He’s officially based on Barry’s appearance in “Chain Lightning,” which was a five-issue arc during Mark Waid’s tenure on the book, which brought back a pre-Crisis Barry through time travel. Of course, all that’s just a very specific way of saying he’s a classic, pre-Crisis Barry Allen Flash. The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation. He’s just a bit taller than the Mr. Miracle figure; he still totally out of scale with other DCC lines, but you can sort of fudge it a bit if you want to put him with, say, some Marvel Legends. Also, he’s got lateral movement on his legs! Yay! I was afraid DCC had totally abandoned such joints. Barry gets an all-new sculpt, but it’s worth noting that he, like many others in the line, is built on a base prototype body, which gives everyone a unified look. Overall, I really love this sculpt. It’s nice and clean, and full of classic comics goodness. The details of his costume are all sculpted elements, which is certainly a nice change of pace. The detailing on his boots is definitely a stand-out. The arms do seem just a touch small, and I really wish his facial expression was a little less bland, but aside from that, the sculpt is very nice. Barry’s paint is generally pretty nice. The colors are bright and vibrant, and there’s a nice glossy finish on the boots and his logo. His eyes are a tad wonky, but not terrible for the scale. The Flash is packed with two pairs of hands: one set of fist/gripping combo, and one set of flat palms, perfect for running. However, the coolest accessory by far is the Cosmic Treadmill. It’s a slightly more modernized design than I’m used to, but it’s exquisitely sculpted, and a fantastic companion piece to the figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is actually the figure that sold me on the whole DC Icons concept. It’s funny, because it isn’t like I don’t have classically-inspired Barry figures, but I just really liked the look of this one, and was happy to see more pre-New 52 stuff. I ended up using a giftcard I got for Christmas to order him from Amazon. While he isn’t perfect (the expression still kinda bugs me), I do like him a lot, and he’s one of my favorite Flash figures I own. He’s definitely a good indicator of how cool this line can be!