DC Universe Signature Collection: Poison Ivy by Mattel

I think it’s probably safe to say that Poison Ivy was a predominant name on many DCUC collectors’ wish lists. It’s kind of hard to believe that the line lasted 20 waves without her showing up. Even I, someone who only bothers with Batman when he’s part of the Justice League, was pretty excited to finally get the character in my collection. Of course, Matty was well aware of her popularity and wound up pimping her out as a threat to get people to subscribe to Club Infinite Earths. They even went so far as to warn collectors that if the sub didn’t go through, Poison Ivy would never be made. Pretty classy stuff, Matty.  Instead of a thermometer, they should have had a live cam of the prototype being slowly lowered into a bucket of acid and a tagline, “Only your subs could stop the descent!” Well, all the threats and recriminations are behind us now because the sub did go through and I’m holding in my hands, the DCUC version of Poison Ivy.

I’m always glad to see the Signature Collection package. It looks awesome, it’s collector friendly, and what’s inside seldom disappoints. I’ve been a big admirer of the character art that Mattel has been using for these packages and Poison Ivy’s continues to raise the bar. It was actually a pretty ambitious and risky piece of art to go with, because it’s a lot more detailed than the actual figure, particularly where the vines are concerned, but we’re going to come back to that in a second. You get the usual little bio blurb on the back and as always, the box is totally collector friendly.

A lot of the early criticisms of this figure have been that she looks too plain, and I think those are valid complaints. Just look at the character art on the box and all of those little vines and tendrils. That kind of detail is tough to create in an action figure at this price point, and so compromises have been made. Mattel went with using some simple, sculpted plastic vines, which are molded in spirals so that they snake around her arms and her left leg. They add some depth to the figure, they don’t inhibit her articulation, and generally they look good, but they don’t convey the beauty and complexity of what’s seen in the art. I think the figure would have been much better served with the vines sculpted into her arms and legs and then painted in, but remember, Mattel’s game is to create versatile sculpts that will serve them again later. In the DCUC line, they can often get away with it without compromising the figure, but that’s not the case with Poison Ivy. Her torso suffers from a similar problem. There’s foliage sculpted along the edges, but the rest is plain. In this case, however, it’s less forgivable. The entire one-piece should have been sculpted with vegetation. It would have helped the figure look less spartan. I’m actually surprised that Mattel went with bare feet instead of boots, but I’m glad they did, as it adds some individuality to the figure.

That all having been said, I’m very happy with the way the head sculpt turned out. Ivy’s face is beautiful with a slightly stern expression. The hair is absolutely amazing. It’s intricately sculpted and peppered with leaves here and there. The same effort that went into the hair sculpt should have been vested into her one-piece. That would have helped the figure along quite a bit.

Poison Ivy’s coloring is quite good. Mattel went with a minty colored, unpainted plastic for Ivy’s flesh tone and it looks very cool. A darker green was used for her one-piece and vines, the paintwork on her face is immaculate, and even her toenails are painted. But, again, it’s the hair that really shines here. The deep red paint is gorgeous and really brings out the details in that sculpt.

Ivy features most of the same articulation we’ve been seeing all along in DCUC. Her arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, hinged at the elbows, and feature swivels in the biceps and wrists. Her legs have the usual DCUC universal hip joints, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles. Her head is ball jointed, but her sculpted hair does inhibit the head movement quite a bit. It’s in the torso where things get a bit kooky. Instead of the usual waist swivel and ab crunch, Ivy has a swivel just under her breasts. It’s admittedly a lot less unsightly than the traditional DCUC articulation, but it’s not as versatile either.

Poison Ivy was a long time coming, so it’s natural she’s going to be subjected to a lot of extra scrutiny. I’m actually fairly happy with what we got, although I will concede that, unlike most DCUC figures, she doesn’t hold up to her character art. From a business standpoint, I understand why Mattel did what they did, but then I shouldn’t have to look at a figure and justify its production from a financial standpoint. On the other hand, despite this line being billed as a “collector club” it’s still essentially a mass market line and for a more complex looking sculpt, we have to look elsewhere. One of these days, I’ll pull out my Bishoujo Poison Ivy statue and we’ll see how great this gal can really look in plastic form.

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