Last week I hit y’all with a triple play of Marvel, and yesterday I did my usual Marvel Monday. In case you’re all Marveled out, I thought we’d see what’s going on in the other camp. Today and tomorrow I’ll be delivering a one-two punch from Mattel’s DC Comics Unlimited series, and we’re starting with Wonder Woman. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I really dig the New 52’s Wonder Woman. The art isn’t among my favorite of the current DC books, but it gets by. The story, on the other hand… conceptually, the story is just everything I wouldn’t have expected. The first year played out as a bizarre tour of the tortured relationships between Diana’s extended family, The Olympian Gods. The take on these Gods is nothing short of brilliant. Their dialogue is dry and witty, their character designs are fresh and original, and in a lot of cases, their characterization is so entertaining that they make Wonder Woman take a backseat in her own book! I can see why this sort of thing would irk Wonder Woman fans to no end, but ultimately the book is so imaginative and entertaining to me, I’m willing to forgive what sometimes feels like a bait-and-switch.
DC Unlimited is just another one of the confused splinter lines which rose from the ashes of the now defunct DC Universe Classics. Like the Signature Collection, or the short-lived All-Stars, these figures are designed to be right at home on your DCUC shelves, while drawing primarily from characters as they appear in contemporary DC Comics media. I had a lot of fun poking fun at the “reinvention” of the DCUC line into DC All-Stars when the package and branding barely changed at all, but the packaging for DC Unlimited got a full revamp, and the result is pretty spectacular.
The cards really stand out on the pegs, thanks to the huge panel of artwork inside the bubble. The artwork featured here comes from Jim Lee’s Justice League, rather than WW’s own book, which is a good thing, because I think that book looks far more dynamic and exciting. The back panel features a little blurb about the character and brings back the little list of stats. Overall, this packaging is just every bit as colorful and exciting as a comic book action figure deserves.
The first thing I noticed about WW was that she seems rather smallish, so much so that the regular DCUC WW stands about a head taller. On the plus side, all the New 52 figures have been smaller than their predecessors, so Diana fits in fine with my DC All-Stars Batman and Superman. I’m not sure if Mattel did this to save plastic or just because these are supposed to be younger versions of the characters, either way it does make them stand out when displayed with DCUC figures.
That having been said, what’s here is quite good. The skin tone on Diana’s face is a bit waxy, but the sculpt is beautiful. Again, she’s patterned after the Justice League art as opposed to Cliff Chiang’s larger eyed version from the Wonder Woman book. The hair is particularly well sculpted, although it does render her neck articulation useless.
DCUC used to get by with a lot of painted costumes, but that’s certainly not the case here. With the exception of her arm band, every detail on Wonder Woman’s outfit is actually sculpted onto the figure. That includes not only the boots and bracers and the crest running along the top of her “swimsuit” but also all of the panel lines, the stars, and the choker. Her lasso is permanently coiled and attached to her hip, and she has an oddly placed loop on her butt to hold her sword. The sword came out of my package warped to hell. I was able to straighten it out and it looks pretty good in her hand, but it’s still a very soft and flimsy piece of plastic. The one downside of the sculpt is Mattel’s decision to plaster the copyright information in huge lettering across Diana’s back. Yes, some of it is obscured by her hair, but it’s really ugly. This kind of thing belongs on the bottoms of the feet or inside of the leg in tiny letters, not like a billboard on the figure’s back.
Wonder Woman’s paintwork is mostly ok, but it varies a lot. The paint on her face is solid, although there is a stray mark between her eyebrows. The paint on her one-piece is practically immaculate. On the other hand, the white striping on her boots is rather sloppy. I do like the red and blue and silver they used, although I’m not a fan of the blue boots over the old red ones. But that’s an issue I have with the character design, not Mattel’s figure.
Diana’s articulation offers most everything you would expect to find in a DCUC figure. The arms are ball jointed in the shoulders, hinged at the elbows, and have swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs have the usual DCUC joint in the hips, which allow for lateral movement, hinges in the knees and ankles, and swivels in the biceps. There is no ab crunch hinge, instead, there’s a swivel in the upper torso. It feels like it might be a ball joint, but it really only allows for side to side movement. The neck is ball jointed, but as already mentioned, the sculpted hair renders it useless.
Overall, I think Wonder Woman turned out ok. She’s not exceptional in any way, just competent. There are some tweaks here and there that could have made her a better figure, but she fits in fine with the growing ranks of my New 52 Justice League. I picked up mine online for around $18, which feels a little steep. I think these figures are closer to $15 if you can find them on the pegs, but there’s only one store in my area that even stocks DC Unlimited and all they have is Hawkman, and I’m not keen on his new design to pick warrant a purchase.
Ok, folks, time to pay the kitty, I’ll be back tomorrow with a look at DC Unlimited Flash!