[Disclaimer: Once again, I’m starting a Mattel feature with a rant against that most unholy of partnerships Mattel and Digital River. If you’re tired of reading this kind of stuff, and yeah I don’t blame you, just skip down to where it says “END RANT” and you can get right on to my look at the figure without having to be exposed to my vitriol.
So last month’s Matty Sale Day included the first of the Signature Series DC Universe figures. Yeah, the line was supposed to start shipping in April, but Matty fucked up and it was delayed a month. Then, Matty fucked up again and instead of shipping on the day of sale, the figure didn’t ship out until five days later. And that was the least of this week’s complications. Matty also sent out a shipping invoice that claimed they were charging me $57.46 for my $15 Jay Garrick figure. Eventually it turned out that Digital River mistakenly included the original price of the sub on the invoice, so I was not actually charged that. Instead, I was charged $25 and change and then again $36 and change. I was furious.
So after going back and fourth a few times via email, and Matty insisting every time that everything was correct, the $25 charge was debited back to me, and so I was left with a single charge that still overcharged me about five bucks. Emails flew in both directions a few more times. They assured me that the amount on my invoice was correct, despite me doing the math for them and showing them it was wrong. In the end, when I was prepared to take the trouble to FAX my credit card invoice, they debited back that charge and I was finally charged the correct amount, $15 for the figure and $8.70 for shipping. Headaches like this, I do not need. Ok, enough with this crap…
For those who haven’t been paying attention, DC Universe Classics is gone, and even the line that was supposed to replace it, DC Univese All Stars, has been put on the back-burner. As a result the only way to keep your DCUC collection going is with Mattel’s online exclusive/subscription line, Club Infinite Earth. It seems like an eternity ago that Matty put up the sub for this line with the disclaimer that it would only go through if they hit a certain goal. The goal was never met, but the sub went forward anyway. Of course, back then we weren’t entirely sure what figures we’d be getting, but one of the few that Matty used to tempt people into the sub was the long awaited Jay Garrick. And here he is. And I have no problem admitting that this Golden Age Flash was a big reason why I subscribed, because… well, damn I wanted this figure bad.
I’ll confess, I sort of expected Matty to just keep going with the DC Universe Classics packaging, with maybe a new insert to set these apart. So, I’ll give credit where its due, as they went for an entirely new packaging and threw out the cardback and bubble altogether. Jay Garrick comes in a window box and it really goes a long way to make this figure feel like something extra special. There’s no C&C piece, there’s no stupid collectible button, just an honest to god figure of a character I’ve wanted since the day I started collecting DC Universe Classics. Looking at the box dead on, the package allows the figure to do most of the talking. It has the rather simple, yet snazzy “DC Universe Signature Collection” title on the top, and “The Flash” diagonally on the bottom. You get a great look at the figure behind the window, who thankfully is packaged in a very neutral stance. How badly Matty must have wanted to put him in a joint-fucking running pose, but kudos to them for resisting.
The side panel and back of the box features some really fantastic artwork. I mean, seriously, the illustrator put some great effort into the character art and boy does it show. I love ya, Marvel Legends, but damn you could learn a thing or two from this character art. The back features a simple, but effective little bio blurb that ties Jay nicely in with Barry Allen, just in case you’re a little too young to remember or appreciate Jay Garrick. I do sincerely miss the extra stats that used to appear on the DCUC packages, but that’s really the only gripe I can come up with concerning the Signature Series packaging. I love it!
The name of the line and the packaging may have changed, but once I got Jay Garrick in hand, it was a comfortable and familiar feeling. This is still a DCUC figure through and through, and I’m so happy that Jay Garrick can hang with the rest of my DCUC collection without looking out of place. The plastic even feels a bit more solid than the more rubbery stuff I’ve been seeing in the later DCUC figures. Jay features the standard DCUC painted costume body, which means that from the neck down there isn’t a whole lot of unique sculpting at work here. You do get a sculpted belt, his hands are both sculpted into fists, which works fine for the character.
The sculpting that is worth mentioning, however, is the head. Matty’s team really nailed the face perfectly, right down to the little hint of a smirk. Its not quite as deliciously cheesy as the character art, but just right. The helmet is sculpted onto Jay’s head and the little wings are made of something a little softer, but they still hold their shape great.
The paintwork on my figure is pretty immaculate, but then there isn’t a whole lot to screw up here. Sure, the lightning bolt on his chest is crisp and clean, but apart from that you just have the red shirt, blue pants, and red boots. The colors are rich, particularly the red and blue. Ok, there’s a tad of uneaven application between his shirt and skin, but the fleshtones are nice, and the paintwork on the face is crisp and clean, as is the case with most of my DCUC figures. I think the nicest surprise here was the vac metal helmet, which I’m sure was talked about prior to the release, but I don’t remember reading anything about it. Either way, it was a nice surprise and looks very sharp on the figure. If anything makes Jay Garrick stand out as something different from the DCUC figures, its that cool chromed out helmet.
Articulation is exactly what we’ve come to expect from the DCUC line, which again helps to make the figure feel right at home among the rest of my collection. You get a ball jointed head, naturally. The arms feature ball jointed shoulders, hinged elbows, and swivels in the wrists and biceps. The legs feature the usual univeral hinge for the hips, hinged knees and ankles, and swivels in the thighs. Jay can swivel at the waist and features the ubiquitous DCUC ab crunch hinge. Yes, I would have liked to see swivels in the ankles, or even rocker joints in the ankles. Or maybe double joints in the knees. The articulation isn’t perfect, but its familiar and perfectly serviceable.
In the end, I still have to ask myself is it worth it? Is it worth the headaches with dealing with the sub? Is it worth paying basically $25 (including shipping) for what used to be a $15-18 figure line in the stores? And I keep inexplicably answering yes. I’ve invested a lot of time, energy and money into DC Universe Classics over the years and truth be told, I still adore the line. and by extension I love this first figure in the Signature Series. The fact that DCUC is living on this way isn’t exactly optimal, but I’m still glad it is. Ultimately, Matty delivered on a fantastic first figure for the line. The Jay Garrick figure represents every reason I’m still motivated to collect this line, as it is quite simply a great figure of an iconic character that desparately deserved a place on my shelf.