DC Universe Classics Space Heroes 2-Pack: Adam Strange and Starfire by Mattel

It seemed only fitting to sneak in some more DC Universe figures this week, since the fate of the line is currently being decided by a subscription thermometer on Matty Collector’s homepage. Yep, just like the bake sale at your local church, Mattel, the world’s largest toy company, is coloring in a thermometer to see if they can meet their undisclosed number of subscriptions. If they hit their goal the line lives as an online only property, if not… well, I guess 20 waves was a good run.

I don’t mean to sound cavalier about what now seems to be the certain death of this great line of action figures. Nonetheless, the two week subscription window only netted about 35 percent of the goal and while Matty has extended it another week,I don’t see it happening. We can sit here and postulate forever on why the line didn’t perform well at retail, but in the end I think it was a combination of crappy distribution and the limited appeal of niche comic book characters. Afterall, who actually reads comic books anymore? [Sarcasm! -FF] 

But enough about that… let’s get on to today’s figures. It’s Adam Strange and Starfire, a set I’ve been trying to snag for a little while now.

I absolutely love the packaging on these sets. The figures come in a nice big window box with the same kind of deco that we’re used to seeing on the regular carded releases. The back panel of the box shows pictures of each figure and includes biographies and stats for the characters. The box is perfectly collector friendly, and believe me if I had the room, I’d take advantage of that. Alas, I don’t, so the packaging gets deep-sixed. Both figures are posed a bit on the bubble, and that had me a little worried, particularly about Starfire’s skinny little legs, but no worries. Both figures came out of the package without any warping or joint damage.

Let’s start off with Starfire. I may not be making a concerted effort to collect Teen Titans, but my TT shelf has certainly been expanding as of late. But Teen Titan or not, I love the character and it’s hard to argue with having a figure on display that looks as good as Kory does. Starfire doesn’t rely a lot on unique sculpting, but what is here is fabulous. In particular, I’m referring to her head sculpt, which is perfect as far as I’m concerned. Beautiful, stern, maybe a little hint of bratty conceit, it’s all there. The sculpted hair is also excellent, as it sweeps away from the figure just enough to save the neck articulation, and yet still look pretty natural. Apart from the head, there are her bracers, collar and strategically placed crystal, but everything else on the figure is conveyed with paintwork.

So how about that paintwork? Overall it’s pretty good. The figure is cast in a slightly orange fleshtone, which possibly could have used more orange, but that varies on who was doing the colors on the comic. I last saw her when I was re-reading 52, and she was definitely more orange-yellow, but it’s all good. I really like the sparkly purple paint used for her, ah, garments. There’s a wee bit of slop on the straps running down her midriff, but otherwise the paintlines are pretty clean and sharp.

I’m also really impressed with the quality of the plastic used on Starfire. Having just opened Wave 16, y’all know that I found myself with some really buffed out characters with joints a lot weaker than the hinges in Starfire’s tiny arms and legs. The figures keep getting more expensive, and the plastic keeps getting softer and cheaper. That’s all I’m saying.

Moving on… Adam Strange is a really unique looking figure for the DCUC line, mainly because of his sculpted armor, which is a separate piece and includes a working holster for his sidearm and his jetpack. Obviously, Adam’s been kicking around the DC Universe for a long time and he’s got the awesome retro sci-fi design to prove it. The curves of his jetpack tanks and the mohawk fin on his helmet really deliver on the whole Buck Rodgers vibe, which I absolutely love.

Unlike Starfire, Adam’s paintwork has it’s ups and downs. The figure is molded mostly in red and uses yellow and white paint apps to make up his costume. He looks sharp and the yellow is pretty good, but the white is hit and miss. The worst of the paintwork is on the armor, which shows off a lot of unfortunate sloppy brushwork. If this guy hadn’t come out of a sealed box, I would suspect a shady seller had touched him up with whiteout. I can kind of let it go as it looks like scuffing and wear on the armor, but from a QC standpoint it could have been done much better.

Prices on the DCUC 2-packs tend to be all over the place. After re-reading 52 last week, I went hunting for this pair on Ebay and was able to find them at a reasonable $34.99 with free shipping. It seems to fall in just under the highly demanded Hawkgirl/Gentlemen ghost set, but still demands a fair amount more than the Batman/Clayface or even the Aquaman/Black Manta sets. Still, the figures worked out to be only about $17.50 a pop, so not bad at all. Even with the QC issues on Adam Strange’s paint, both figures are pretty cool and welcome additions to my collection.

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