DC Universe Signature Collection: Ice by Mattel

I’m sure many of you recall the DC Signature Collection. It was Matty’s well-intentioned effort to keep the DC Universe Classics line going by turning it into an online subscription. It lasted for two years before it withered and died due to lack of interest during the run up to its third year. Several figures were shown off for that third year and all of those were eventually produced and made available on Matty Collector to allow those of us who still kept the faith, an opportunity to complete our collections as much as they ever could be. Well, a bunch of those figures went up for sale during Matty’s Cyber Monday event and I finally relented and bought Ice to go with my Fire and complete the buxom elemental duo. And so, here we are, at a little more than a year after the line’s demise, revisiting it this one last time.

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I do kind of miss these compact little collector friendly window boxes. These are a far sight better than the bland packaging DC Collectibles is using these days. The Signature Collection character art was almost universally great and that’s certainly the case here with Ice. Man, this is some great stuff! I love the playful ice heart she’s tracing and the portrait is really good. So, good in fact that when I got the actual figure out it felt like a bait and switch. So let’s get her out of the box, jump right in and take a look at that head sculpt…

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Yeah, I don’t know what happened here. The head sculpts for this line were almost always good, but poor Ice got screwed. She’s got a broad and rather manly face looks more like a dude than the attractive Ice from the comic panels that I know and love. Just compare the figure to the box art and you can see an insurmountable artistic chasm between the two. But if the poor sculpt wasn’t bad enough, there are also some creases from the casting process on her face, which make it look like she’s been scarred up in a bad car accident. How unfortunate. The hair sculpt is a bit chunky, but overall not bad.

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The rest of the figure fares a little better with a pretty good recreation of her costume. The top, the long gloves, and the shaggy leggings are part of the body sculpt and both are done fairly well. The rest of the figure utilizes a standard DCUC style female buck with blue paint added to the white plastic for the coloring of the costume. The paint lines are fairly clean, although the pegs for the knee joints aren’t painted blue to match the costume and that’s a bummer.

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Articulation consists of standard stuff for a DCUC style female. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, sivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs have universal hinges in the hips, swivels in the lower thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles. She can swivel at the waist and has an ab crunch hinge just below her chest. The neck is ball jointed.

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Ice comes with one accessory and it’s an effect parts of an ice blast that fits over her right hand. It’s just a clear, crystalline piece of plastic that works fairly well for hat it is.

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And really, that’s all I have to say about Ice. She went up for sale during Matty’s Cyber Monday festivities, but she wasn’t actually on special or anything. That means that I paid about $25 for her and that was way too much for such a mediocre figure. Everything about Ice feels like Mattel knew the writing was on the wall for this line and just wanted to push her out the door. The sculpt for the portrait started out as a fail and the poor casting process dragged it down even further by disfiguring it with creases in the plastic. I guess I’m at least content to own the figure and complete the Fire and Ice duo, but it’s sad to see the once great DC Universe Classics line be reduced to this kind of disappointment in the end. It was truly a great line of figures, one of the best, and it deserved a better send off than this.

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DC Universe Signature Collection: Larfleeze by Mattel

April was a busy month on Matty Collector. For starters, they offered up a crap load of Masters figures. I’m happy to report that despite really wanting to get Mosquitor and Webstor through my Early Access privileges, I was able to resist. $27 a figure plus shipping? The stink of desperation is upon you, Matty, and you’re going to ruin a good thing with your greed. Speaking of greed (I LOVE SEGUES!!), Larfleeze was this month’s Club Infinite Earth figure, along with the Sub Exclusive, Monsieur Mallah and The Brain. Today we’ll check out Larfleeze and tomorrow I’ll double back to Mallah. Let’s go!

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You know the deal by now. The Signature Collection features nice window boxes that show off the figure very well. The box is totally collector friendly, but for space concerns, I now only keep the boxes for the oversized figures. Later today I’ll take a scissors to this one, cut off the back panel for keepsies and pitch the rest. Hey, I gotta do what I gotta do. Anyway, I really dig the character art here, even if it is drawing from the Larfleeze design that I like the least, but we’ll come back around to that in a minute.

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Aside from way back in Blackest Night, I haven’t encountered Larfleeze much in my regular funnybook readings, but then I’ve only read the first couple issues of the current Lantern books. Most of The New 52 Green Lantern and New Guardians are still stowed away on my Kindle waiting to be read. In fact, the last time I can recall seeing this fellow was in the delightful Larfleeze’s Christmas Special, a one shot which really betrays Geoff Johns’ bewildering and endearing love for this character. It was a lot of fun for what it was, and it even contained a recipe for Larfleeze’s Orange Lantern Cookies and other fun activities. DC really needs to turn that into a thirty minute animated special that I can pop in around the holidays.

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So, the first thing worth mentioning about this figure is his portrait. The character has gone through some artistic changes over the years and this one is certainly at odds with his appearance in the aforementioned Christmas Special, which happens to be my preferred look for him. Gone is the horse face, and I’m not sure I’m all that happy about it. I’ll grant you that the head sculpt is very impressive, particularly the rictus grin with all those wonderful teeth, but I don’t think it has the same personality as the more elongated face. Although, this one is definitely a lot scarier. Maybe this would have been a good opportunity for Matty to have provided a swappable head. Either way, what’s here is definitely good.

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As expected with these Lantern figures, The body is a very simple sculpt, with most of the detail of the costume being painted on. There are raised discs for the emblem tampos on his chest and shoulders, and sculpted rings to segment his arm bracers, but the bulk of this body is just cast in orange plastic and has some black paint on the arms and torso. The paintwork is ok, although there is certainly some slop around the lines and the paint on the arms doesn’t quite match the orange plastic in the torso. There’s nothing spectacular here, but he gets by.

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Larfleeze’s articulation consists of ball joints in the neck and shoulders. The arms feature double hinges in the elbows and hinges and swivels in the wrists. The legs have the usual DCUC style hip joints, which allow for lateral movement, hinges in the knees and ankles, and swivels in the thighs just above the knees. The torso has a swivel in the waist and an ab crunch hinge. What’s missing? The bicep swivels. Seriously Mattel? You cut out the bicep swivels? That pisses me off beyond belief. These figures are supposed to be based on the DCUC style and that has always included bicep articulation in the male bucks. Cutting that out is unacceptable to me. I should also mention that there’s so little clearance in the ankle hinges, they might as well not be there either.

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Of course, Larfleeze comes with the Orange Lantern of Avarice. It’s more or less the same lantern we’ve seen before only with an orange coat of paint. But wait a minute… isn’t the orange lantern not supposed to have a handle? You managed to get that right in the super shitty Orange Lantern Lex Luthor figure, why’d didn’t you just recycle that piece? Hmm… Well, it’s probably a good thing that it does, because without those bicep swivels, it’s hard to get him in a good pose where he’s hugging it close to him.

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I’ll grant you, Larfleeze is a little disappointing. The portrait is what it is. It may not be the look I preferred, but I can’t argue with what is an excellent head sculpt. But cutting out crucial articulation is just not cool. I love the DC Signature Collection to death, but if Mattel starts making a practice of doing these little cost cuts in articulation, they’re going to find themselves with one less subscription next year. Still, considering, the only other Orange Lantern is Lex Luthor, and I probably hate him more than any other figure in my entire collection, it’s nice having Larfleeze representing on my shelf. Normally, I’d toss in a little bitching about the cost of the figure with shipping being way too much, but this month I got to split the shipping between him and the Sub Exclusive, so in the end, he probably only averaged around $20. Still a lot for one figure, but I am an irrevocable DC whore so it’s not like I have much choice.

I’ll be back tomorrow to check out the wonder that is Monsieur Mallah in all his improbable action figure glory.