Yes, with Club Infinite Earths dead, I’m looking backwards and working on slowly completing my DCUC collection with maybe two figures a month. Swamp Thing was a special stand-alone release drummed up as a San Diego Comic Con exclusive for 2012 and later offered on the Matty Collector website. I really wanted to pick him up at the time, but funds are usually tight around SDCC time and I had to make some tough choices, one of which included taking a pass on him. Luckily, a couple of months ago BBTS got hold of some of Matty’s unsold stock (hey, not all of it went to Big Lots!) and cleared them out at half price. A winner is me!
The fact that this guy was a special exclusive release is evident by the conspicuously awesome packaging. It doesn’t actually say SDCC Exclusive anywhere, but just take one look at this presentation and you’ll know that this was a special release. I believe the only difference between this and the one sold at the Con was the inclusion of some Un-Men figures in the Con version. The huge outer box is printed with a swamp motif and the DC Universe logo. The front of the box has gaps cut between the vegetation, so you can see Swamp Thing peering out at you from within as if to warn you not to bring your evil here. There’s also a color pamphlet made to look like Alec Holland’s diary.
Inside you get a giant Swamp Thing head that’s made of some kind of crappy bio-degradable material. It feels like old newspapers and you can actually wear the front as a mask if you’re insane, or just tight on cash this Halloween. It also attracts cat hair like nobody’s business! Ok… so, Matty, my hobby includes amassing a collection of as much plastic as I possibly can before I die, and you’re business involves producing as much plastic as you possibly can sell. Is this one bio-degradable package going to help negate any of that? I get it, Swamp Thing is all about protecting the environment, I’m just busting balls a little.
Anyway, open up the head, which is hinged on the bottom, and we finally get to the goods! The inside tray, made out of the same material, holds the Swamp Thing figure and a display stand.
Out of the package and Swamp Thing looks spectacular! We’ll get to the rubber skin in a minute, because the first thing that struck me about Swamp Thing when I get him out is how freaking huge he is. DCUC has never been a stickler for proper scale, but I guess since this guy was a special release they were able to go apeshit with his size. And boy did they! He’s a full third taller than your average DCUC figure.
And yes, the figure is covered with a rubbery vegetation skin that feels just a little creepy and looks amazing. When I first saw this figure in hand, I realized there was no other way that they could have done him such justice. For starters, the portrait is just absolutely stunning for a figure in this scale. They captured his noble bad-assery without any compromise, right down to his grim mouth, piercing eyes, and heavy brow. As far as head sculpts go, this is just fabulous stuff!
Of course, the detail over all of the skin is just as impressive. Besides a rough mossy texture, you get some really cool painted and sculpted bits, there are vines snaking all around his body like exposed veins, flowers sprouting on his chest, fungus growing here and there, and what appear to be some kind of turnips growing on the back of his shoulders. This guy is a veritable walking salad bar.
Swamp Thing features only four exposed joints. His head is on a regular ball joint, his shoulders are on rotating hinges, and his hips are ball jointed and will pop off, rather than break, if you stress them too far. The rest of the joints lie hidden under the rubbery skin and include hinged knees and ankles and, surprisingly enough, the ab crunch hinge. The biggest compromise comes in the absence of any swivels. He’s not the most poseable figure out there, but you can still do plenty with him and I think the trade-off for the skin was a good one.
Also included in the package is a very nice environment figure stand. It’s a swampy patch of land with a couple of trees and the remnants of a skeleton partially concealed. There’s one peg that fits into the peg hole on Swampy’s right foot and holds him there quite well. The sculpt and paintwork on this piece goes way beyond anything I’m used to seeing out of Mattel on any level. Yes, that’s a left-handed compliment, but I meant it with all due respects.
I was extremely happy to get a second crack at this figure from a retailer (I’ve been kind of burned out on hunting figures on Ebay lately) and the fact that it was half price was just the icing on the cake. Had my budget not been bursting last Summer, I would have been happy to have paid $30 for him because he really is that fantastic and he’s definitely going to be a highlight of my DCUC shelves. I’d dare say that even if you aren’t a DCUC collector but still a fan of this character, this is a fine stand-alone piece for your shelf. Mattel did a beautiful job on this guy, and I’m only hoping that the rubber skin stands the test of time.