DC Universe Classics: Wonder Twins (2009 SDCC Exclusive) 2-Pack by Mattel

Ok, I’m cheating a little, as today’s feature was not part of Matty Collector’s Cyber Monday Sale. It was, however, a Matty “warehouse find” that I picked up by way of the fine folks at Big Bad Toy Store a couple of weeks back. And since I had this one last day hanging out there, I decided to include this set to round out the week. I tried like hell to pick this set up when it was first offered back in ’09, but I got shut out, and I wasn’t even after the super exclusive Gleek accessory. The Twins are cool, but I hate that goddamn jabbering space monkey.

The packaging! Oh, the packaging!! For a guy that takes numerous trips to the dumpster each week with shredded action figure packages, you’d think I wouldn’t care, but I do. I especially care when a company goes to extremes like this one. I’ll confess the presentation of this set is a huge reason why I just wouldn’t let it go and kept hoping to pick it up one day. Now that I have it in hand, I have to say that the presentation doesn’t disappoint.

The Twins come in a standard white Matty mailer box. Inside, there’s a beautiful package with a semi-transparent wrap-around sleeve (Note: The sleeve comes with an opaque film to protect it, which I’ve opted not to peel off at this time!). The sleeve has the DC Universe logos and each of the Twins’ emblems superimposed over the figures.  When you take off the sleeve, you have access to both figures in their trays. But before you take them out, you get to try out the package’s electronic gimmick. Nay, gimmick is too cheap a word for the glorious electronic engineering of this package. Fold the package together so that the Twins connect their knuckles and then sit back and watch the show. LEDs light up around each of the figures and you hear that familiar Hanna-Barbera sound effect followed by:

“Wonder Twin powers activate!”

Zan: “Form of water!”

Jayna: “Shape of an Eagle!”

Zan: “Let’s go save those kids!”

Jayna: “I’m with you Wonder Brother!”

Glorious! With the box opened in this fashion, the back of it displays a great montage of the Twins. Unfortunately, it was photo-bombed by Gleek. Get out of my beautiful piece of Wonder Twins art, you fucking monkey!!!

With a little careful clipping of those pesky invisible rubber bands, each figure can be removed from their tray and then returned to the package, which is a great thing, because I plan on keeping them in the box and in the mailer. Maybe someday when I get more space for my vast DCUC collection, I’ll actually display the Twins with the rest of my figures, but for now, they’ll be staying nestled in their glorious package. But enough about the box, I suppose we should check out the figures themselves.

Let’s start with the head sculpts. Both Zan and Jayna have obviously sipped from the same Kool-Aid as DCUC’s Mary Batson and Stargirl, because they have the same creepy, vacant, cheesy, wax museum smiles. Personally, I think it works fine for these characters. Maybe Mattel could have toned it down a bit, but I prefer having cheesy smiles on the Twins over some kind of serious or neutral expressions, it just suits the characters better. Besides the smiles, I think the likenesses on both figures make them look a lot older than they should. What I’m seeing may be a result of going from very simple 70’s Hanna-Barbera art to 3D “realistic” figures, but a lot of their youth was lost in the transition and you can see it based on the character art from the packaging.

I think Zan’s likeness holds the best out of the two, although It’s worth noting that my Zan figure has an annoying nick in the plastic to his right cheek, which makes me wonder if these “warehouse finds” were actually customer service returns. As for Jayna, well there’s no nice way of saying it, Mattel really screwed the pooch on her likeness. Her face is flat and nowhere near the shape of the character art and her hair style looks like she styled it to mimic a Smurf hat. I don’t mind admitting that I grew up having quite the crush on Jayna. It’s still easy to see why when looking at the original art, but the face on her figure just ain’t cutting it. It’s hard to believe this is a Four Horsemen effort, but I guess everyone has their bad days.

Both Zan and Jayna are pretty standard DCUC figures built on the regular male and female bucks. As a result, both figures are too big, but Zan is way too big. Granted, scale has always been an issue with DCUC, so it’s not a problem unique to this set, but one that’s still worth noting. Their boots, gauntlets, belts, and collars are sculpted but the rest of their costumes are all paintwork. The bodies are cast in purple plastic, which looks fine on Jayna, but curiously cheap and rough on Zan. The tampos on their chests are nice and crisp, and the rest of the paintwork is up to par for the line.

Both figures feature the same points of articulation, all standard to the DCUC line. You get ball joints in the necks and shoulders; the arms have swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs have the usual universal joints at the hips, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles. They each also have the ubiquitous DCUC ab crunch hinge.

Each figure comes with an example of them in one of their alternate forms. Jayna comes with a really cool eagle, complete with articulated wings. Zan comes with a bucket of water with his face sculpted into the water. It was a cool selection because eagle Jayna can actually grip the handle on bucket of water Zan.

If it seems like I spent as much, if not more, time on the packaging as the figures, that’s certainly intentional. This set is a lot about the presentation and when you get down to it, the figures themselves are just flawed DCUC treatments of a pair of characters that most collectors are either going to love or hate (Hey, at least they didn’t do a Wendy and Marvin set, but then if they did I’d probably buy that too). I can’t say the set is disappointing, because I knew a lot about the issues going into it, but I can say I’m disappointed that Mattel didn’t put more effort into the likenesses, and maybe selected a more appropriate body for Zan.

As far as value goes, I got the set for $55 shipped and I’m perfectly fine with that, particularly since I had no interest in ponying up the money for a bagged Gleek that doesn’t even fit in the packaging. Considering that some of the DCUC two-packs that aren’t exclusives go for more than that these days, the price of this set was certainly reasonable and I’m happy to finally have it in my collection.

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