DC Universe All Stars: Superboy Prime by Mattel

So, I’ve been having a little fun with DC Universe All Stars and about how despite all the hype on Mattel’s part about DCUC being completely rebranded as a new retail line, nothing has really changed in terms of the brand. We’ve got the same basic figure styles, same basic packaging. So let’s at least give it to Mattel that what they really meant was that DCUC was being rebranded as a concept, and was going to be spearheading the action figures based on the New 52 reboot. That’s why the first wave has included figures like New 52 Superman and Batman and now… uh… Superboy Prime? Ok. So scratch that idea too. Isn’t Superboy Prime one of the main players partly responsible for the whole thing the New 52 reboot was intending to get away from? Sigh… let’s press on…

Yes, it’s the new rebranded packaging that looks the same as the old packaging. At least having “Classics” left on the package makes sense now since this figure is from the old continuity. For all my poking fun at the lack of package changes, I’m still happy for it. It’s comforting to continue to see this familiar old style keep turning up, despite the line being officially dead and reinvented into something new. The back panel has the little blurb about Superboy Prime and pictures of the other three figures in this wave. This will be the third of the four that I’ve looked at here, and I’m probably going to pass on Red Robin.

Out of the package, we have Superboy Prime wearing his Anti-Monitor inspired armor and it is the armor that I dislike most about this figure. Take a look at the photo of the figure on the back of the package. It looks just like the early promotional images for the figure we’ve been seeing all along, right? Now take a look at the figure itself and you can see some major differences in the armor. The shoulder armor in the images has separate hoses that look really nice. The final figure has hoses sculpted onto the shoulder pieces and are painted like shit. There’s a ton of slop between the gold and the blue making it look like someone had it with a brush and some Testor’s model paint. I can’t tell you how disappointed this change made me. At least the hoses are real on the arms and legs, and the chest shield being part of the shoulder armor is kind of cool.

The figure under the armor is pretty decent. The head sculpt features Supes’ traditional cowlick and the prominent ears give him a youthful, almost dorky appearance. I also like the tattered sculpt used for the cape. Naturally, both hands are sculpted into fists for some “reality punching action.”

I’ve already pointed out how crappy the paint on the shoulder armor is. The paint on the rest of the figure is actually pretty decent, although there isn’t much else to speak of. The body is cast in a nice shade of blue plastic with the boots and super-undies painted matte red. I like the use of glittery blue paint on the arm and leg armor. There is a little scratching on the front of the gold belt, and the blue highlights in his hair are a bit weird.

Articulation? You know the drill. There are ball joints in the neck and shoulders. The arms have hinged elbows and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs have universal joints in the hips, hinged knees and ankles, and swivels in the thighs. The torso swivels at the waist and has an ab crunch hinge. The armor inhibits the articulation at the shoulders quite a bit. Thankfully the hoses on the arms and legs are soft and loose enough to not impede the rest of the figure’s articulation.

Who knows what Mattel was attempting with the whole “DCUC is dead and will be rebranded into something new” malarkey? (Yes, I used the word malarkey, dammit! Deal with it!) They could have been trying to fool retailers into carrying the figures again, but then I haven’t seen any of the new All Stars in any of the Big Box toy aisles. They could have been using it as a scare tactic to try to push the Signature Collection as a subscription line to cut out middlemen and up the profits. Or they could have just had different plans that somehow went tits up. I distinctly recall the initial teasers for All Stars having all New 52 versions of the characters, rather than this mix of old and new. Honestly I would have preferred that arrangement, especially in light of how Superboy Prime turned out. He’s not the worst figure I’ve ever picked up, but he’s a blatant bait and switch between the early proto and the final figure, and had I seen him on the pegs, instead of buying him blind online, I would have taken a pass. At least I didn’t wind up paying a premium for him.

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