Doctor Who: Christmas Adventure Set by Character Options

It’s no secret that CO missed a few opportunities for figures based off of last year’s Series 5. Lord knows I’ve spent my fair share of time bitching about it in a few of my posts. One of those figures that I wanted pretty badly was based on Amy Pond as we first meet her as an adult. Whether you call her “Police Outfit” Amy or “Kiss-o-Gram” Amy, after a few wave revisions it seemed pretty unlikely that we were going to get her. Then, CO did that thing they do that sometimes irks a lot of collectors. They released her as part of a larger set, instead of on a single card. And thus was born the Christmas Adventure Set. The set includes a repaint of the 11th Doctor, Amy Pond, and a stripped down version of the 11th Doctor’s Flight Control TARDIS. It’s a set that could have been attributed to last year’s “The Eleventh Hour” but thanks to Amy wearing her Kiss-o-Gram outfit on the starliner in last month’s “A Christmas Carol” it becomes pertenant as a more current release as well.

If you’ve purchased any of the classic TARDIS sets, you’ll be pretty familiar with the packaging here. It’s a window box showing off the TARDIS and the two figures. It’s pretty collector friendly, although you’ll need a philips screwdriver to get the TARDIS off of the cardboard base. The back panel of the package advertises the Paradigm Dalek wave of figures, which hopefully will be landing on my doorstep any day now. The package includes a star-backdrop that can be removed and used to display the figures against.

I have very little to say about The Doctor figure as it’s the same 11th Doctor I already own with a variant paintjob. The vertical stripes have been taken off his shirt and his jacket has been made lighter with horizontal stripes added. I don’t really like the new style of the jacket, and it’s kind of hard to see the stripes on any of the stills I’ve seen from the episode. It’s still an excellent sculpt, but this Doctor won’t be replacing the one I got in the Time Crash set as my favorite. At least CO tossed in a Sonic Screwdriver and if by some odd chance you don’t have an 11th Doctor yet, then here ya go.

For me, it was the Amy figure that was the big draw of this set, and I’m not disappointed. It’s hard to capture the raw awesomeness of the real Karen Gillan in a sexy police outfit, but CO did a pretty good job. The head sculpt is a complete reuse of the previous single carded Amy and the Underhenge set Amy, which is by no means a bad thing, since it’s a pretty good likeness. The police outfit is nicely replicated right down to the checkered front, short skirt and low hanging belt. Her legs were left flesh toned, rather than giving them a tinted look to represent her stockings, although if you turn her around CO did paint the seams of the stockings running up her legs. All in all, I’m very happy with how she turned out.

Both figures feature the same articulation. The heads turn, their arms rotate at the shoulders, have swivel cuts in the biceps and forearms and hinged elbows. The legs rotate at the hips, have swivel cuts in the thighs and hinged knees. The Doctor’s hips have lateral movment for the legs, and while I expect Amy does also, her skirt prevents the joints from really working.

The TARDIS is probably the most controversial piece in the set as it’s pretty redunant if you already purchased the 11th Doctor’s Flight Control TARDIS. This is the exact same toy, which is really just a repaint of the original Flight Control TARDIS, only with all the electronics stripped out of it. That having been said, it certainly is a beautiful toy. The paint is awesome, very bright and clean, and I love the St. John Ambulance crest. The doors open and the inside features an illustrated insert depicting the Series 5 console room.

Considering the $45-50 price of this set, I think CO should have just kept the electronics in the TARDIS, but I guess they need to do anything they can to keep costs down. I can understand why collectors will be miffed to have to buy all this just to get their police outfit Amy. Is it worth it? Well, that’s for you to decide. It wasn’t too much of a bitter pill for me to swallow because I never did get around to picking up the 11th Doctor’s Flight Control TARDIS, and I’m content to just have it without the electronics. The only thing I really got stuck with hear was the extra Doctor figure, and I’ve come to accept that accumulating variant Doctors is inevitable. Honestly, I’m just really happy that CO made the Amy figure and that it didn’t turn up as some impossible to find convention or store exclusive.

Vintage Vault: Robocop 8-inch Electronic Talking Figure by Toy Island

[I don’t tend to feature a lot of my vintage collection on Figure Fan, and I’ve decided to try to change that a little. If for no other reason, it provides a nice break up in the Marvel to Transformers to GI Joe, to DC to Doctor Who rutt that I sometimes fall into here. Honestly, I’ve got more than enough material for posting just on the stuff that’s coming out now, but it just struck me that taking a gander at some older stuff every now and then might be fun too. So today I’m going to kick it off with my man, Robocop. Enjoy! -FF]

Robocop toys are a tragic subject for me, since I love the two films [YES, I SAID THERE WERE ONLY TWO!!!! 😡 -FF] and I’d love to have a crapload of nice figures based on the property. The problem is that most of the really nice figures are as expensive as all hell and a lot of the others, well they aren’t that great. That’s not to say there weren’t some decent or at least passable toys out there that can still be had for little money. Toy Island made a crapload of Robocop figures starting around 1993. A lot of them were electronic, most of them were in the 4-inch scale, but today we’re going to look at one of the 8-inchers.

The packaging is long gone, but I’m pretty sure this guy came mounted on a card, rather than in a box. I can be completely off base on that one, as the early 90’s were my College years and hence is mostly a blur. The immediate downside of this figure is that at about eight inches, he’s not really in scale with a lot of other figures. Although he does fit in pretty well with any Megos you have lying around.

The sculpt here is pretty darn good. There are some proportion issues with the legs, which look somewhat underdeveloped, especially from the knees down, but from the waist up, I’m pretty impressed. The detail in the armor is pretty spot on and I like how the speaker is concealed in the ribbed portion of the chest. His right hand is molded to hold his weapons and his left hand is molded open. The head sculpt is pretty spot on, although the glossy flesh tone used on the exposed half of his face looks pretty waxy and fake. But, hey, this is clearly a toy and not a replica or high-end collectors figure. The color and finish on the armor is also really nice and screen accurate. Generally speaking, this is one nice looking figure.

Robocop has ten points of articulation. His arms rotate at the shoulders, have hinged elbows and rotate at the forearms. His legs rotate at the hips and have hinged knees. The head, unfortunately, doesn’t turn because of the electronics in the head.

Robocop’s accessories include his trademark high-powered automatic pistol, an M-16 style assault rifle, and an arm cannon attachment that can be swapped out by pulling off his forearm and plugging it into the socket.

The figure’s electronic gimmick is fairly simple, but still effective. Press the button right in the middle of his chest and the visor lights up red and he sounds off one of three clips. One is weapons fire, the other two are voice clips saying either “Freeze” or “Uphold the law!” Neither are direct rips from Peter Weller, but they sound good enough. I would have loved to hear, “Dead or alive, you’re coming with me,” but I’m guessing that might have been a little too hardcore for a kids’ toy.

When I pulled this figure out of storage, I was pretty amazed at how well it held up. I expected time to have exposed all this stuff as total crap, and that’s not the case at all. Don’t get me wrong, there are some pretty sub par toys in my vintage Robocop box, and we’ll get to those in good time, but this guy is nice enough that I opted to put him up on my shelf rather than return him to his Rubbermaid tomb in the back of the closet. He looks pretty nice and I’m absolutely amazed to find that his electronics still work perfectly, despite me being a dumbass and leaving the batteries in him for nearly a decade.

Marvel Spider-Man: Toxic Blast Venom by Hasbro

I think it should go without saying that I don’t collect this Spider-Man line from Hasbro, but when I did my grocery shopping at the Wally World this morning, the toy pickings were pretty slim. They finally finished their toy reset, and guess what? They’re still not carryingMarvel Universe or DC Universe Classics. But, hey who needs those when you have 12 pegs of Iron Man 2 figures from a year ago and this sub-par kiddie orientated line of Spidey figures, eh? Anyway, I saw Venom here on the pegs and decided it would make a nice place-holder in my Marvel Universe line until the real thing comes along.

The Spider-Man cards have a very animated look to them, which makes me wonder if there isn’t an animated Spider-Man cartoon going on right now that I am unaware of. Anyone? Either way, as I already pointed out, this line is clearly designed for kids over collectors, which seems pretty suspicious since everyone knows that kids just play video games these days. Of course, it could just be one of those “use it or lose it”things that Disney has going on with their newly acquired Marvel licenses making this line just Hasbro’s stop gap until they inevitably start producing figures based off the upcoming reboot movie. Whatever the case, the packaging is bright and spends a lot of real estate advertising some battle card game included in the package.

Venom comes with a lot of crap. And I do mean crap. Besides the cards and instruction sheet for the battle game, which I didn’t photograph because they got tossed with the packaging where they belong, he also comes with a really soft web axe and a missile launcher that clips onto his arm so that it looks like it’s morphing out of the suit. It doesn’t have a firing button, you just hold back the missile and let it go. I really don’t get the axe. It’s got two holes in the handle and a peg at the end. I think it has something to do with clipping on to other web constructs from other figures, but I don’t know. He can sort of hold it, but not very well.

The figure itself, however, is not bad at all. The sculpt is very detailed with a ton of sinew and veins running through the body, and the headsculpt is just, well… wow. He’s got his huge rictus grin, bearing his fangs and a tentacle like tongue lashing out. The paintwork is pretty solid, with the bulk of the figure being black with some blue highlights, the mouth, tongue and teeth are all nicely painted and while there is some slop and bleeding on the white deco of the suit, it’s nothing that we haven’t seen worse in the Marvel Universe line from time to time.

The only place where this figure comes up short is in the articulation. The head is on a ball joint and the arms have ball jointed shoulders and elbows, so no problems there. The legs, however are only ball jointed in the hips and have no knee or ankle articulation and there’s no articulation in the torso whatsoever. Things could certainly be worse, but it’s worth pointing out that Venom’s articulation falls well below the Marvel Universe standards.

So, I picked up Venom here as a place holder for Marvel Universe and I think he fits the bill really well. He’s just a bit bigger than the MUSpider-Man and they look great together locked in combat. Maybe we’ll get a better Venom if Hasbro does a comic series subline to the new movie figures when they come out. If not, I’ll just wait patiently for a proper MU Venom to take his place, but for now I’m pretty satisfied with him.

Marvel Universe: Luke Cage by Hasbro

Back in the day, I used to make a habit of reading comics that premiered right around the year I was born. It’s how I originally got so obsessesed with Jack Kirby’s New Gods and Mister Miracle, and it’s also how I was first introduced to Luke Cage from Hero For Hire. My interest in the character didn’t extend much beyond that book’s initial run, back when he looked like part of the Dolemite scene. In fact, with just one or two exceptions, I can’t really remember much of anything he’s been in that I’ve been reading or watching at all.

Cage comes on a standard Marvel Universe style card with the Hammer Industries logo. The card points out that this figure was a Fan’s Choice Runner Up, which really surprises me. Like I said, he hasn’t been a high profile character in what I’ve been reading, apart from Dark Reign, where I was pretty damn disappointed he didn’t take the helm of The New Avengers. Still, his appearance here definitely fits with the Osborne/Hammer theme of the recent MU releases. The bubble is pretty well packed as all of Luke’s accessories are mounted off of the figure. As always, this is a nice presentation with some good character artwork to personalize the card.  My figure’s card looks like it’s been kicked around quite a bit, but it doesn’t matter because I’m ripping this baby open.

Obviously, Luke is based on his contemporary look, which is vastly different from how I remember mostly him. I say “obviously” because I don’t think his 70’s look would fit in too well in the toy aisles and they probably couldn’t have fit his mammoth afro inside a standard-sized bubble. As a result, Luke Cage’s figure isn’t as iconic looking to me as it probably is to some collectors. Still, the sculpt is excellent and the paint and wash on his jeans is particularly well done. Both his skull cap and his bling chain are separate accessories, which I found both surprising and cool, as it offers up different display options. He also comes with a crunched steel girder, which he can wield like a club.

As with all the latest MU figures, Luke Cage comes with his file card, secret document and a figure stand.

Because of the disconnect in appearance between this Luke Cage and the character I knew, this figure wasn’t really high on my list. In fact, the only reason I bought him at all, was because I stumbled upon him in Walmart’s clearance aisle for five bucks. It’s worth noting that this is one of the very few times I’ve actually found a Marvel Universe figure at retail as the overwhelming bulk of my collection has come from online e-tailers. But overall I’m happy I grabbed him as he really is a wonderfully executed figure, and I’m glad to have him in my collection.

DC Green Lantern Classics Wave 1: Kyle Rayner and Abin Sur

[I’m not going to do another DC Universe Classics week, at least not so close to the last one I did. And yet in addition to the first wave of Green Lantern Classics, I’ve also just picked up DCUC Wave 11, so I’ve got a lot of these figures to look at. So, I’ll be tackling them one or two at a time over the ourse of the next couple of weeks while tossing in enough other stuff in between to try to keep things interesting for those of you who don’t give a shit about the DC Universe. Fair nuff? -FF]

Blah, blah, same old DC Universe Classics packaging… only… hey, it’s not! There are definite similarities in the overall design of the packages, and nowhere does it actually say Green Lantern Classics, but the green card, the lack of a collector’s button, and the giant faction symbols on the bubble insert definitely set these figures apart from the regular flavor DCUC figures. And so does the fact that this assortment is called Wave 1. Apart from that, though, these are still essentially DCUC figures in every other way and will fit comfortably in with the rest of your DCUC shelves. Let’s rip them open and start out with Kyle Rayner.

If you’re familiar with the DCUC figures, there shouldn’t be a lot of surprises with the Kyle Rayner figure. He utilizes a pretty standard DCUCbody sculpt and relies mostly on the black and green paint apps to distinguish his Green Lantern costume. The paint apps on my figure are pretty crisp and clean with little to no bleeding or slop. The headsculpt is excellent and I really like the sculpted mask, which could have easily been a paint app cop-out.

Kyle comes with a giant gauntlet and sword construct that fits over his fist and he also comes with a green lantern. The ring construct is pretty cool looking, but I do have a real hard time getting it to socket right under fist, and I’m afraid to monkey with it too much for fear of popping off his wrist.

Next up is Abin Sur who appears in his resurrected Black Lantern form and is one seriously creepy looking figure. But you know what’s scarier than that? He’s packaged in an action pose!! Aaaarggh!!! Yeah, right out of the package my Abin Sur’s right leg was seriously messed up at the knee and ankle hinges. I’ve managed to do a little blow dryer action to bring it back, but it’s still not quite right.

In Brightest Day,  and Blackest Night,  God Damn You Mattel,  Make my figures’ legs alright!

It really is getting infuriating, but I’ve been through all this quite recently with my look at Zatanna, so I’m not going to go through it again. The body sculpt is a bit on the leaner side and the black and white paint apps make up his costume. As with Kyle, the paint apps on this figure have crisp lines and are pretty much without fault. Very nice. The head sculpt is absolutely amazing, with a nice glossy finish to accentuate the gore and vacant, pupil-less eyes. Like I said, he’s damn creepy looking.

Both figures come with a piece to build the Collect & Connect figure, Arkillo.

I’ve probably been more excited about this Green Lantern themed wave than any one since Wave 12. There’s nothing about Kyle and Abin Sur that we haven’t seen before, but they are wonderfully executed and look amazing. But then we’ll see that that’s the case with just about every figure in this wave. I may not be entirely sold on the Green Lantern movie yet, but if it keeps giving us figures like this, I’m all for it.

Iron Man 2: Weapons Assault Drone and Armor Assault Drone by Hasbro

Iron Man 2 continues to be the movie property toy line that simply refuses to die. While most movie-toy ventures evaporate over night or linger on in the clearance aisles, Tony Stark continues to hang tough. Even after this past couple of weeks where most retailers have completed the post-Christmas reset of their toy aisles, Iron Man 2 remains on the planograms. While I’m still as weary as ever of seeing pegs full of the same few Iron Man armor variants that I saw last year, some of the newer figures are finally filtering out and many of them are spectacular. Even better, the two figures we’re looking at today will finally give my army of Iron Man armors something to fight beyond just Crimson Dynamo and any of those Whiplash figures, I’ll probably never find.

Think back to the distant past when Iron Man 2 was out in the theaters or, better yet, dust off your Blu-Ray copy and you may recall that these Drones were the Hammer Industries armor suits modified by Vanko to fight Stark and Rhodey in the big climactic battle. I’ve been waiting to get these guys in figure form for a long time. The packaging is still the same and it still looks really great. I can’t remember the last time I liked a movie line’s packages as much as I do the Iron Man 2 carded figures. The only real difference here is an added sticker that points out there’s a $5 off coupon inside toward your next Iron Man 2 toys purchase. Beyond that the figures are nicely displayed inside the bubble and the back panel shows some pictures of other figures you may never see on pegs still clogged with earlier waves of figures.

The Air Assault Drone is the simpler of the two figures, so let’s start with him. The sculpt is simply fantastic and this line continues to push the envelope of sculpted details on the 3 3/4″ scale. There aren’t a lot of paint apps on this figure, as he’s pretty much just a two-tone grey and silver, which reproduces his military style finish pretty nicely. Besides, the sculpt is so good, it doesn’t need a lot of paint apps to make it stand out. The backpack is removable, although why you’d want to, I’m not really sure, but then options are never really a bad thing.

The Weapons Assault Drone has the same awesome detailing as his comrade with a green and silver paint deco. Some of the components of the two figures are very similar in overall configuration, but the sculpted details are different enough to make them both very distinctive. The WAD has a few more added bells and whistles, including two shielded armor plates that fold out from his forearms and two sawblade attachments for his arms that can be swapped out for longer ones, which essentially look like Whiplash’s whips without the electricity. This Drone also has a swappable head, with a different front piece, although I’m not really sure why Hasbro went through the trouble or didn’t include the same extra for the AAD, which seems a little wanting for extras by comparison.

Both figures have the same basic articulation, which is good, but have some really weird hip joints, which can swivel, but don’t want to seem to do anything else. The heads are ball jointed, the arms include rotating shoulders with some lateral movement, elbows with hinges and swivels and swivels in the wrists. The legs include double hinged knees and ankles with hinges and swivels. They also each have ball jointed torsos.

As is the standard with Iron Man 2 figures, both Drones also come with a figure stand and the three Armor Cards, which can be fitted into the slots on the stand for a cool looking display.

Even if you aren’t the biggest Iron Man fan, these figures are worth looking at. They are wonderfully executed and would fit in well with a lot of different 3 3/4″ figure lines. Unfortunately, I count myself lucky just finding this pair, but if these guys ever became common, I’d happily army build a squad of each. Even after all this time, Hasbro still impresses me with the Iron Man 2 figures and whenever I’ve convinced myself I’m done collecting them, I wind up stumbling across a few more and falling in love with this collection all over again.

Marvel Secret Wars Comic Pack #11: Thor and Enchantress by Hasbro

Slowly but surely, I’m finishing off my collection of Hasbro’s Secret Wars comic packs. I think I only have two more to go after this one. Lord knows some of these packs got a little random with the figure assortments, but number eleven is a pretty straight shooting Thor theme, which also allows you to add an excellent villain to your Marvel Universe rogues gallery. Let’s take a look.

As always, I love the packaging here. In this case, you can’t see much of the comic cover, but the artwork on the bubble insert sure is nice. This pack includes the penultimate issue of the Secret Wars series, which builds up to quite the cliffhanger, but other then that doesn’t feature a whole hell of a lot of action.

The Thor figure is a nice pick up, as he’s only been released as his modern design in the Marvel Universe line and this is his more classic and iconic look. Of course, with the Thor movie’s release right around the corner, I’m willing to bet there will be a newer and better sculpt of classic Thor released, assuming Hasbro keeps with tradition and includes “comic series” figures in with the movie toys. Nevertheless, this comic pack version of Thor is a pretty solid sculpt and doesn’t really suffer from any of the quality control issues that have nagged some of the comic pack figures. I’m not 100 percent satisfied with the head sculpt, and the way his cape seems to levitate off his shoulders is a little odd, but other than that I’m pretty happy here. Mjolnir even has the tiny inscription on the side, which is pretty damn amazing.

On the flipside you have The Enchantress, and if you’ve been keeping up with The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, then you’ve seen a fair deal of her lately. I honestly avoided picking up this set because I’ve read some rather unfavorable reviews of this figure, but having her in hand, I have to say I think she turned out quite good. The head sculpt is nice and the paint apps are relatively clean. The only thing I’m going to complain about here is the odd way her waist joins with her hips. It just looks awkward. Still, all in all I’m very satisfied with her figure. Granted, Enchantress is just as likely to get a comic style release as part of the new Thor movie toys, so you may want to wait to see what’s coming.

Secret Wars pack #11 is a nice score, especially for Thor fans who just can’t wait until the movie figures start turning up, which based on early photos are looking really amazing. While the Secret Wars comic packs are fast disappearing from the shelves, you may still be able to grab some of these straggling on the pegs at your local toy aisle. I found this one for $12.99, which is a pretty solid deal for two great figures and a comic book.

Lego Pharaoh’s Quest: Rise of the Sphinx (#7326)

Pharaoh’s Quest presses onward and upward with the next set in the series, Rise of the Sphinx. The last time we looked at theCursed Cobra Statue, but now that seems like mere child’s play when compared to the 527 pieces of Rise of the Sphinx. Wowsers! Not only is this set bigger than the combined brick count of all four sets in the series we’ve looked at so far, it’s the largest Lego set I own. That may not be saying much to some of you Legophiles out there, but it’s got me all excited. I even may have pee’d a bit. Let’s tear this baby open and see what we got.

The box is nice and big and does a good job of advertising what you get once you’re done with the build. Inside you get four bags of NUMBERED bricks. Yep, we’re up to the big leagues now and the bags need numbers. You also get two instruction books and a small sheet of stickers. Bag #1 builds the three minifigs and the vehicle, a roadster. Bag #2 builds the temple base. Bag #3 builds the head and body of the Sphinx, and Bag #4 builds the Sphinx’s legs. The three minifigs, vehicle and Egyptian structure has been the basic formula for the last three sets in the series, but this time out, the Egyptian part really monopolizes the brick count in a big way. Oh yeah, the featured artifact this time around is the Golden Sword, which will go nicely with the Golden Scarab Shield from the last set. Enough with the preamble… to the minifigs!

Ok, things are starting to get really redundant here. You get another Jack Raines. This time, he’s got the body of the Aviator Jack Raines that came in the Flying Mummy Attack set, but the hair of regular Jack Raines. Either way, you really don’t need this figure if you’ve picked up all the smaller sets so far. The Mummy Guards are the same ones that came with Golden Staff Guardians only instead of each one coming with a sword and scarab shield, one comes with a sword and the other with a spear. There’s nothing wrong with any one of these figures, they’re great, but they are starting to get a little stale. But hey, at least my Mummy army is continuing to grow.

The roadster falls in somewhere between the jeep from Golden Staff Guardians and the bi-plane from Flying Mummy Attack in terms of size and complexity. It looks great, and holds two figures. I like the build for the exposed engine as it was really creatively done. It comes with a rifle that mounts onto it behind the seats and a pick axe that stores on the rear bumper.

The Sphinx consists of two parts, there’s the temple base and the Sphinx itself. The idea here is the same as the Cursed Cobra Statue. Once Jack helps himself to the Golden Sword artifact, the Sphinx comes to life and chases him down for stealing his shit. Yes, the Sphinx is in reality a fully articulated figure, big enough to squish Jack under his paws. The temple contains an altar that looks very similar to the lid of the Ark of the Covenant only with golden scorpions instead of angels. There’s a play feature that allows you to clip the dynamite to the wall and then by slamming the exposed lever on the back of the temple, you can blow out the wall and reveal the altar with the Golden Sword. It works surprisingly well.

The Sphinx rests snugly on top of the temple, but his legs are all on ratchet joints so he can stand up just fine on his own and be put in various poses. His head is stationary, but his bottom jaw opens and closes. It’s a really big piece, especially when standing with legs extended. Building the Sphinx was lots of fun and even though the legs involved redundand builds, you still had to mirror the left and right legs, which I did without the instructions for a little added fun and challenge.

Even with the rather redundant minifigs, this is one awesome Lego set. It took me about two and a half hours to build it, although keep in mind I was well lubricated on Scotch while I was doing it, so your build time may vary, and it was fun all the way. The Sphinx’s articulation is good and he’s a solid toy that can stand perfectly fine on his own, although mine will spend most of his time squatting on his temple and looking awesome while doing it. At fifty bucks, I was pretty concerned over the value of this set, but having built it, I’ve got no complaints.

DC Universe Classics Wave 14: Zatanna by Mattel

I can’t deny it. I love me my DC ladies, so it should be no surprise I’ve been patiently awaiting the inevitable DCUC release of everyone’s favorite sexy magician, Zatanna. Not to be confused with Zartan, Zaranna or Zatarain’s Cajun style foods. Found in your grocer’s freezer section, their New Orleans style dirty rice and beans can’t be beat! Wait, what? Oh, yeah… Zatanna. I’ve spent an awful lot of money lately buying up entire waves of DCUC figures, so I’m cherry picking Wave 14 and just picking up a few figures for now, but Zatanna was one of those must-haves for me in this wave. I’ve already heard an earful of collectors complaining about this figure, so let’s take a look and see what we’ve got.


Same old DC Universe Classics packaging. You’ll note the “Only At Walmart” sticker, which ensures that I could never find this figure at a retail store. Apparently, none of the Walmarts in my area got the memo saying they have an exclusive deal with Mattel and should therefore actually carry DCUC figures. Still, Zatanna sure looks great in there… all dynamically posed… in the tray… held down by… oh shit! Yeah, Zatanna comes right out of the tray with her lovely legs warped all to hell because Mattel cannot understand that some of us “Adult Collectors” actually open our figures and care less about how they look in the package and more about them not coming out of said package all deformed. When Zatanna came out of the bubble it looked as if Brother Night ran over her legs with an SUV… and then backed up. I was able to get them a bit more presentable, but I’m being doubly cautious since a) I’m afraid I’m going to mess up her fishnets even more, and b) ever since my Raven figure’s leg broke off in my hand, I’m extra gentle with these joints. But let’s try to put the unfortunate packing aside and check out the figure.


Some early photos of the figure had me worried about the face sculpt, but the figure that I have in hand looks fantastic. The face sculpt is beautiful and the paint apps are immaculate. Naturally, the sculpted hair all but torpedoes her neck articulation, but that’s just something I come to expect from a lot of the DCUC ladies. In this case, however, they needn’t have even bothered putting a neck joint in there. Ah, well. I really like the subtle blue highlights in her hair. Her magician outfit is well done, and for a showgirl, Zatanna shows a lot more class than her fellow female superheroes by buttoning up to the collar and garnishing with a cute little bowtie. Because bowties are cool. Wait, wrong series.



From the waist down, it’s a bit more of a mixed bag. Yeah, I’m talking about the fishnets. If you own the DCUC Black Canary figure than you know exactly what to expect here, only in the case of my figure it’s a lot worse. The stockings look passable from the front and from the knees up, but they tend to bunch up a lot down by her ankles, and Mattel’s inability to replicate a decent stiletto heel makes Zatanna’s look a bit like granny shoes with support hose bunched up around her ankles. It ain’t pretty. From the back, the fishnets are a mess. Should Mattel have tried this again? I don’t know. I’d say at the very least, they should have done a variant without the fishnets. I’m thinking that with deft use of a razor blade you could get them off, but I’m not about to try it unless I wind up with an extra. They look loads better on Black Canary, just because they end at her boots. Oh, and speaking of shoes, Zatanna has no peg holes in the bottom of her feet, so even a figure stand won’t save her from falling down.




Zatanna comes with two accessories: Her hat and wand. I am so glad that Mattel made the hat removable, as I really thought that they were going to go for a hat or hatless variant like they did way back with Big Barda. The hat has a little nob inside that catches against her bangs and keeps it on her head pretty well. I may have to go buy myself a little Schleich rabbit for the hat [Actually, wound up getting one with one of my Zenescope Alice in Wonderland figures!] Why yes, I am insane, thanks for asking! Zatanna also comes with the right arm of that damn dirty ape, Ultra Humanite, Wave 14’s Collect & Connect figure.




In the end Zatanna is a real mixed bag. The sculpt is excellent, but I think a lot of collectors will remain undecided on the fishnets. I would appreciate the attempt more if they hadn’t already tried it on a previous figure with dubious results. Even so, I’d still end up recommending this figure. It took Mattel longer than I thought to get to her, but I’m just glad they finally did. She set me back about $25 including shipping, which is a lot more than I’m used to spending on these figures. But I guess if I can blow $30 on a Masters of the Universe Classics figure, than Zatanna was worth the money.

*This Feature was re-worked and re-shot on 8/18/15. 

DC Justice League Unlimited: Superman, Galatea, The Huntress, and Booster Gold by Mattel

With DC’s Infinite Heroes line a thing of the past, I’ve had to begrudgingly get my fix of smaller DC figures elsewhere. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Justice League cartoon and Justice League Unlimited was pretty good too, but it took me a long time to warm up to the overly stylized nature of the JLU figures, not to mention some of their other recurring issues. Nonetheless, a few days ago I picked up one of the 3-packs as well as a single carded Booster Gold figure, so let’s check them out.

I love the look on the packaging here. The DC Universe style card is great, there’s animated stills of the characters on the back panel, and the figures are displayed well. What I don’t like is that the tray is designed to warp the legs of the female figures. Seriously, the ladies never stood a chance with their lower legs splayed out like that in the package. Luckily they come with stands. I’ve tried my best to warp them back into form, but the plastic is too soft and thin. Great job Mattel. Thanks a lot.

I’ll start with Superman, since I already own this mold, albeit with ugly Eclipso triangles all over it. The figure captures the animated style of the character pretty well and for the most part the paint apps are pretty clean. There are some serious quality control problems, though, with the seaming around his shoulders and the way his head fits on his neck. It just looks like the figure’s torso is ready to burst into two halves and shoot the head up in the air. Other than that, Sueprman is fine.

Galatea, on the other hand is a mess. The head sculpt is awful, particularly around the eyes where she looks like a Futurama character. The body is ok, if you ignore the fact that her legs are malformed from the package. All of the detail from the neck down is achieved with paint apps, which certainly gets the job done. Hey, Galatea, Power Girl called and she wants her shirt back. Moving on…

The Huntress is a great looking figure and from an aesthetics standpoint easily the best of this set. Unlike Galatea, her headsculpt is very well done and between the head, the cape and the paint apps, you’d be hard pressed to tell that this is the same figure as Galatea from the neck down. Unfortunately, that also includes the warped legs. But wait, what the hell is up with her arms. All of these figures use a rather soft plastic, but Huntress’ arms feel like she’s been left in a car in Florida for about four hours in the burning hot sun. They literally feel like they are made of the same plastic as her cape. Not cool.

This set originally retailed for around $15, which is a hell of a lot better than the ridiculous $9.99 that the single carded JLU figures sell for at Target or online. As fun as these figures are, I can barely justify paying the five bucks a pop each in the three-packs. There isn’t a single figure in this pack that doesn’t have serious issues that range from nagging to just downright awful. The pack does include two figure stands, which is a good thing because neither of the ladies will stand on their own. But it still irks me when Mattel tosses only two stands in a three figure pack, as if to suggest that the .000001 of a cent that those stands must cost to make prohibit them from including three.

Ok, moving on to Booster Gold. Sorry, I don’t have an in-package shot, but I just wanted to throw him in as a contrast to the other figures and to show that Mattel is capable of putting out a quality figure in this line. Sure, Booster is simple. He uses a standard body with paint apps to make him who he is. The head and collar are the only unique sculpted parts on this figure. Still, like the Superman mold, this figure does a great job capturing the spirit of the character as depicted in the JLU style. He also comes with a little Skeets, which sadly doesn’t plug in to him anywhere like the Skeets on the DCUC Booster, so there’s really no good way to display it.

As decent as the quality is on this figure, and as much as I love Booster Gold [even if you are trying my patience in the funny books lately. -FF], I couldn’t justify the $10 price point, but I only paid a couple of bucks for him so no worries. These aren’t my first JLU figures, as I do own a number of the six-pack figure sets, but needless to say poor quality control made this a pretty disappointing foray.