DC Universe Signature Series: Superboy by Mattel

It’s been over three years since a DC Signature Series figure last appeared here on FFZ. This line was Matty’s noble attempt to keep DC Universe Classics going as a subscription line after it was pulled from the toy aisles for reasons that still don’t make any sense to me, but that’s an issue that I’ve tackled here before and I won’t go into it again now. Anyway, the subscription didn’t get enough support to go forward in 2014, but Matty still released a handful of figures that were already far along in production. One of those was Connor Kent and he was offered up as part of Matty’s going out of business sale at the end of last year.

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While the figures were designed to fit right in with DC Universe Classics, the presentation got a complete overhaul. And, boy, the packaging for this line was great. You get a collector friendly window box with character art on the side panel so you can identify the figure if you have the boxes all lined up on the shelf. The back panel features another piece of character art and a blurb about the character.

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Superboy features a nice balance between simple buck and unique sculpting. The upper body is just a muscled buck with the black, short sleeved T-shirt painted on and the red S-Shield stamped in the middle. It looks great, and the size really fits the younger, albeit still buffed out, character.

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From the waist down, we get sculpted jeans with a simple belt. There are plenty of rumples in the jeans, and I dig how the actual seams on the upper legs are lined up to match the sculpted seams of the jeans on the lower legs. The jeans end in cuffs, left outside of his black boots. Again, there’s nothing outrageous about the sculpt here, but everything works so well. It’s just a great, simple, and clean looking figure.

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The portrait is notably more mature than the last Superboy we got in the DC Universe Classics series. It’s also a bit more stylized than I’m used to seeing in this line. With all that having been said, I still like it and I think it works well. The head sculpts in this line were usually solid efforts, and Connor here is no different.

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The articulation here reaches back to the DCUC line and really scratches that nostalgic itch. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs have that funky DCUC style hips, the knees and ankles are hinged, and there are swivels in the thighs. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the torso and a ball joint on the neck.

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Connor was one of those figures that fell under my radar. I remember being disappointed at not getting him when the 2014 subscription failed, but somehow I missed him when Matty initially put him up for sale. Lucky for me they had some stock left over at the end, and I was able to drop him into my cart along with the short list of MOTUC figures that I still needed, making my Signature Collection now complete. The only problem with getting a figure like this one is that now I want to hit Ebay and hunt down the elusive DCUC figures that I’m still missing.

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DC Universe Signature Collection: Batzarro by Mattel

Here we go, folks, it’s the very last release in Matty’s Club Infinite Earths! Well, unless you count the four quarterly releases Matty will do this year. The Signature Collection had a pretty good run for two years and while I was still willing to sub for another year, the truth is that the waning months of the club in 2013 was starting to wear thin for me. Case in point, the last release we get is Batzarro. I’ve had this figure for a couple of weeks now and I still have mixed feelings about this guy. On the one hand, I don’t think there were many collectors out there who were asking for him and when you think of how many characters were vying for this slot, Batzarro is a ridiculous choice. On the other hand, if there was ever a viable venue for Batzarro’s release, I suppose a hardcore collector club like this one was the best way to do it.

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There’s the packaging. We may see it again, as I will be buying Ice when she’s released this year, but who knows how Matty will package her. She could come rubber banded into a plastic sandwich baggie for all we know. I don’t have anything new to say about these Signature Collection window boxes. They were well designed, nice and compact, collector friendly, and mostly had great character art. If space wasn’t such a concern for me I would have saved them all. Farewell!

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And here’s Batzarro out of the package. I have absolutely zero knowledge of this character other than what’s printed on the back of the package. Apparently he’s a clone of Batman as opposed to a legitimate Bizarro version of Batman. Does it matter? Not to me. What we have here is basically a pretty standard Batman figure in the grey and black costume with some fun tweaks. His “futility belt” is a newly sculpted piece with all the pouches upside down and opened. The bat symbol printed on his chest is also upside down. Also, I dig that the interior of the cape is grey as opposed to black. The head sculpt is new and it’s pretty damn creepy. There are no eye holes in the cowl and Batzarro sports a crazy rictus grin displaying fanged teeth. It seems pretty obvious that this was a figure planned for the Batman Unlimited line as he would look right at home on the pegs next to that ungodly Planet X Batman.

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Batzarro comes with a soft plastic batarang, which he can hold in each hand. The fact that the bio points out that he likes to use guns makes the absence of a gun accessory rather disappointing.

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If today’s feature is brief, it’s because I don’t have a hell of a lot to say about Batzarro. A lot of collectors were pissed off to find that he was going to take the last slot in the CIE sub, but I will concede that I find him to be a fun release. Yes, he represents some pretty poor character selection by the powers that be over at Matty. The truth is that the final slot could have been much better spent on any one of a hundred characters. Nonetheless, I dig Batzarro a lot more than I did R’as Al Ghul or Red Hood, even if that’s a back-handed compliment. He is by no means the worst figure I received from the sub in its final year. Maybe that fact alone means it was time for CIE to shut down. It’s hard to argue that CIE wouldn’t still be going strong with better and more exciting character selection and Batzarro’s reception is a prime example of that.

DC Universe Signature Collection: Ra’s Al Ghul by Mattel

Here we go! It’s the penultimate release in Matty’s nearly dead Club Infinite Earths line. Last month I was pretty smitten with Ocean Master: Great character selection and a rather well done figure. I wish I could say the same about this month’s figure. Ra’s does indeed represent a great character choice, but the figure leaves me rather cold for a number of reasons and I’m willing to bet I’m not alone on that!

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There it is the Signature Collection box. We’re only going to see this one more time, folks. Well, maybe more if Mattel uses it for next year’s quarterly releases. I think these boxes have served us well. They offer a fairly compact and totally collector friendly experience and if I had the room I would have an entire shelf of these lined up with the character art on the side facing out. Of course, space being the valuable commodity that it is, I pitch the boxes. For a while, I was clipping the back panels and saving them as cards, but I don’t even do that anymore.

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When it comes to DCUC and its satellite lines, I’ve been suffering from a bit of what I like to call “suit fatigue.” In reality, there haven’t been all that many figures released wearing suits, but when you’re talking about a line dealing with comic book characters, it seems like we got a disproportionate amount of them in the last two or three years. When I first saw Ra’s here in his green suit, I was immediately reminded of DCUC Wave 19 Sandman, but then Sandman had an older style double-breasted suit, whereas this one is more modern. And then it struck me… Ra’s uses a recolor of the exact same body as last year’s Black Mask. And so what we have here are two Batman villains released nearly a year apart, with the exact same bodies. Two figures that will inevitably be standing next to each other on my shelf. Man, that pisses me off!

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I had every intention of flipping Ra’s on Ebay as soon as I got him. I’m sure he’s not going to be worth much, but I figured that if I could trade him for a bottle of Canadian Club, then at least I could get a cheap buzz out of the deal. Now, with that having been said, this figure looks much better in hand then in the pictures I’ve seen. I was compelled to open him up and check him out, and I have in fact decided to keep him. It’s not so much a question of the figure impressing me, but rather one of me not hating it enough to want to take the trouble of off-loading it. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, I know!

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The head sculpt isn’t one of the stronger ones in this line. Over the past two years, we’ve seen some exceptional portraits come out of the Signature Collection, but I won’t count this figure among them. In person I don’t find it as weak as I thought it looked in promo shots, but it’s just not a homerun either. There’s also a curious amount of mold flashing evident on mine. Did Mattel realize the line was kaput and just not care anymore? I don’t know, but let’s just label this portrait “about adequate” and move on.

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As for the rest of the figure, I don’t have anything to say really. As far as suited bucks go, this one is not bad. The jacket is a tad bulky, but it’s a worthy trade off for having it layered onto the figure and giving it some depth and credibility. The tie is also sculpted as a separate piece, which is pretty cool. The cape looks Ok and is thankfully rather understated, but the chain that holds it in place is needlessly chunky, especially when compared to the character art. Still, as good as the figure looks, when he’s standing next to Black Mask you can clearly pick out all the same wrinkles and folds, and it’s rather annoying. Ra’s comes with a sword, or rather a ludicrously huge scimitar. Taken on its own, it’s not a bad accessory; however, it seems to me that a guy wearing a suit would have something a little more elegant and discrete. He looks kind of silly holding it. Seeing as this is a direct reuse of Black Mask’s body, I’m just going to assume you’ve read that feature and not bore you with the details of articulation.

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It’s well known that I’m not the biggest Batman fan around, but even I have to wonder at the way Mattel seemed to non chalantly slip such an important character into the tail end of this line. He doesn’t feel like he was given any special love or care. It’s more like the guys were sitting around the office looking for parts to reuse and then just said, “Screw it, let’s just use Black Mask’s body and make Ra’s with it, so we can all get out of here and go over to Applebee’s for some sodium-enriched dinner specials and watered down drinks. The sad thing is that to me Black Mask is a far more effective figure, and I wasn’t exactly smitten with him either. In the end, Ra’s Al Ghul will stand in the back of my Batman display as a place holder until the pendulum swings back. At some point Mattel has to get all this Total Heroes bullshit out of their system and goes back to doing the DCUC style. I have to cling on to that hope.

DC Universe Signature Collection: Ocean Master by Mattel

The clock is running out on Matty’s Club Infinite Earth with Ocean Master being the first of the final three figures to be released in the Subscription and no new Sub going forward in 2014. These last figures are going to be a mixed bag for me, but of the three, Ocean Master here is definitely my most anticipated. The DCUC Aquaman on my shelf is getting pretty jealous of the other Justice League members and their expansive Rogue Galleries while all he has is Black Manta. Finally he can stop spending all of his time freeing dolphins from tuna nets and go fight somebody new. Besides, I’m fresh off of reading “Throne of Atlantis” and I gotta say, I really dig Ocean Master’s appearance in The New 52.

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There’s the compact little window box I’ve come to know and love over the last couple of years. Of course, this is the Classic design of the character, which I’ve always been rather fond of and he sure looks nice in the box along with the excellent character art. If DC was all I collected I’d have these boxes all lined up on one of my shelves with the lovely character art showing on the side panels. <sigh> Unfortunately, I barely have enough room to display my DC figures loose, so these boxes have all been consigned to the landfill or possibly recycled into My Little Pony packages. Let’s get him out and take a look…

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Last month we got a lot of new tooling with Huntress. This month, not so much. Ocean Master features a standard blue buck with a sculpted belt and sculpted fins on his bracers. I expected Matty to go with the fins on his calves too, but I’m glad they didn’t as it would have made him too similar to his nemesis Aquaman. Ocean Master does get a brand new head and it is a very cool sculpt. Matty went for something a little more subdued than what is depicted on the maniacal box art. He has a solemn, somewhat perturbed visage peeking out from his awesome finned mask. The new tooling is punctuated by a glorious cape with a ridiculously wide collar. I love it!

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Ocean Master gets by with minimal paint apps. His buck is cast in blue plastic, with some metallic purple paint on his belt to match his purple cape. His bracers, mask fins, and cape clasp are all painted in metallic gold. His ray emblem is stamped on his chest and he’s got flesh tones for his hands and face. The coloring is understated, but he still sports a very pleasing deco.

Articulation is what we all expect out of the DCUC style. The arms have ball joints in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs have the usual DCUC style hips, hinges in the knees and ankles, and swivels in the thighs. The neck is ball jointed, there is a swivel in the waist, and he has the usual ab-crunch hinge in the torso.

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Ocean Master comes with his aquatic staff. It’s a pretty simple sculpt finished with a gold metallic paint.

And so, Ocean Master is a solid figure and a welcome addition to my shelf. I’m always eager to expand my Rogue Galleries, particularly someone like Aquaman who is seriously lacking in foes. With only so many figure slots left in the line, it’s easy to start picking apart the character selection, but I think Ocean Master was a great choice. In fact, I’m rather surprised that in 20 waves of DC Universe Classics, he hasn’t made the cut a lot sooner.

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Alas, I’m not terribly keen on the looks of R’as, so hopefully he’ll look better in hand, and I’ll confess to being morbidly curious about Batzarro. It’s worth pointing out that Mattel revealed at NY Comic Con that they will be producing the four figures that were shown off for Club Infinite Earth in 2014. These will include 90’s Aquaman, Ice (YES!!!), Black T-Shirt Superboy, and hell if I can remember who the other one was. If I can’t remember, I certainly wasn’t going to buy it. They are set to be sold quarterly on Matty Collector for $25 each. Had the price held firm at the already steep subscription prices, I would have likely bought the three I can remember. At $25 plus Matty shipping rates, only Ice is a sure thing, and possibly Aquaman. Containment Suit Doomsday will also be released as a Con Exclusive, but I’ve got no interest in that figure at all.

DC Universe Signature Collection: Huntress by Mattel

Yes folks, Club Infinite Earths continues to wind down. After this month’s figure, there are only three releases left and truth be told Huntress here is the last one that I was really looking forward to. That means that assuming every figure that has come before has been a homerun, in the end I had little interest in about a quarter of the entire 2013 lineup. It’s no wonder that the 2014 sub didn’t make it. Anyway, let’s try not to piss in Huntress’ cornflakes over Matty Politics, let’s just check out the figure…

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It’s the same compact little window box we’ve been seeing all year. While I liked the packaging better before this year’s revision, I’m still fan of this style. If I had the space and these figures weren’t going directly into my DCUC display shelves, I would have certainly kept all of these boxes, but as it stands I’ve just been clipping out the back panels and tossing the rest.

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The back panel has a little bio for the character and some artwork. I’m usually a big fan of the Signature Collection character art, but every now and then they stumble and I think this is one of those cases. Huntress doesn’t look bad, but there’s something off about her face to me. She looks like someone doing cosplay at a convention and it’s the morning after the big drinking binge. It’s certainly not the art that was the basis for the figure’s sculpt and that makes for a strange detachment between package and product. It’s not the first time we’ve seen this, but it’s a pretty minor problem for me.

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Out of the package and Huntress is certainly a very solid figure. When I usually get a new DCUC style figure my mind begins to automatically dissect it to identify all the reused parts. Which body is it? Where’d he get that cape? Etc. etc. That wasn’t the case with this gal. While there’s obviously a standard female buck under there, she’s just brimming with newly sculpted bits and paintwork. The boots and gloves are brand new, as is the belt and the thigh straps and cape. The result is what feels like a totally fresh, new, and original figure. I love DCUC to death, but after years of collecting, that sense of new and original is not what I usually feel when getting a new figure in the line. All the newly sculpted bits here are quite good. The padded look of the boots, along with their straps and buckles, is executed particularly well. I love the scalloped look of her gloves, the holstered gun on her right leg, and all the pouches on her belt and thighs are nifty. The cape isn’t long enough to get in the way of posing, but it does make a nice support when trying to get her to stand in some tricky positions. Initial shots of the figure made me fear she was going to be a little chunky, but in hand, she looks great.

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The head sculpt is also something that I was a little uneasy about early on. The final result is quite good. I wouldn’t call it one of CIE’s best efforts, but it gets the job done rather nicely. In fairness, between the mask and her hair, there’s a lot going on with her portrait. I do like the way her hair is sculpted to hang down over part of her mask and the face is certainly pretty with clean paintwork. If I’m assessing Huntress’ head sculpt a little lower than the norm, it probably says more about the outstanding quality of other portraits in the line than it does about any real failings on this one.

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Overall, the paintwork here is pretty good. Unfortunately the only spot of slop on the whole figure is in a rather conspicuous spot, on her right shoulder, but even that isn’t all that big a deal unless you’re getting in real close with a camera. The white cross painted against her black top is nice and sharp, as is the border around the window that shows off her tummy. The shade of purple used is excellent and every little snap on the pouches and buckle on her boots has been carefully painted. Even the small parts of the gun in the holster are brushed with a metallic finish.

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Huntress features all the articulation I expect in this line. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, hinged at the elbows, and have swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs have the usual DCUC style hinge at the hips, hinges in the knees and ankles, and the thigh swivels are cleverly hidden just under the straps and above the knees. She can swivel at the waist, has an ab-crunch hinge, and a ball jointed neck.

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Naturally, Huntress comes with her trusty crossbow. It’s a simple piece, sculpted in soft plastic, but it’s a solid enough sculpt and painted with a nice shade of metallic purple. Both of her hands are sculpted so as to hold it securely and she can even grip it in one hand and cradle it in the other.

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Huntress is an awesome figure and it’s kind of sad to see this kind of craftsmanship coming out of the line in its dying months. If Mattel was able to deliver a figure like this every month, I have no doubt Club Infinite Earths would have flourished for years to come. There are few figures that I regret getting, but Huntress is still one of the only ones that feel like she’s actually worth the price of $27 shipped. That having been said, I understand a little about how costing things out works in the business and it takes a lot of simple repaints and kitbashes to bankroll so much new tooling on a figure like this, but with more subscribers it wouldn’t have been as big an issue. Maybe that’s a Catch 22… I don’t know. What I do know is that this figure belongs is a high point in the line and she belongs in every DCUC collection. When considered with just a few other releases, Huntress easily justified the entire 2013 sub for me.

DC Universe Signature Series: Fire by Mattel

Yes, Club Infinite Earths is dead, but its animated corpse still shuffles on, at least for a few more months. August gave us Brazillian bombshell Fire, a character that many, including myself, were eager to see released in the DCUC style. Naturally, Matty took this opportunity to pull a really clever move (or douchebag move, depending on your point of view) and release only Fire this year and save her partner Ice for the 2014 Sub. Of course, now we know there will be no 2014 Sub so we can only hope that somewhere and somehow Matty will let us buy Ice for a lot more than she’s worth just so we can complete the duo.

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Fire comes in the same compact little window box that we’ve been getting all year from CIE. The character art is quite good and there’s a little bio on the back. The box is totally collector friendly, but in the interest of space, I’ll be clipping off the back panel for keepsies and pitching the rest of it.

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Out of the package and Fire is a pretty nice looking figure. I have some issues, but nothing terribly crippling. Her two-tone green costume consists of a pair of smooth and featureless pants, heeled boots, a pair of appropriately uneven gloves, and a boob wrap… for lack of a better term. She also has a gold and green belt that hangs from one hip. I dig the work Matty did on the costume. I think her top should have extended a little lower, like maybe just to the ab-crunch, but I’m picking nits on what is overall a solid effort.

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The head sculpt, I’m not totally keen on. She looks a little less super model and a little more severe. The hair is full on 80’s, which makes her look like she would belong jamming with Jem and the Holograms as much as fighting in The JLI. Again, I’m nitpicking, but in truth the sculpt works ok for me. The paintwork on her face is crisp and sharp and I like the wash they did on her hair.

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Running through the articulation, Fire does pretty well for a female DCUC buck. You get ball joints in the neck and shoulders. Her arms have swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinged elbows. Her legs feature the usual DCUC style hip joints, swivels just above the knees, and hinges in the knees and ankles. She can swivel at the waist and has an ab-crunch hinge. No complaints here.

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Fire does come with an effect part, which is a translucent green flame that can fit over either of her fists. As far as effect parts go, it’s not bad.

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Yes, it’s a bitter time for Club Infinite Earths and Fire doesn’t help matters much. She’s a truly solid figure, and I am a big JLI fan, so I’m very happy to have her. But having her in hand makes me wonder how Ice will ever make it out and whether she’ll be difficult to get or expensive. It seems like the least Matty could have done was ship Ice to those who subbed as a consolation prize. I would have been totally fine with that in lieu of a refund, which still hasn’t shown up in my bank account. Anyway, I suppose it’s nice to know we have a few figures left to look forward to before Batzarro ships at the end of the year and makes me wonder whether the Sub dying wasn’t such a bad thing after all.

DC Universe Classics: Green Lantern (Alan Scott) by Mattel

Consider today’s feature as a eulogy and a review. The eulogy part comes into play because DCUC died this week with Matty Collector’s failure to get sufficient support for Club Infinite Earths. Sure DCUC proper has been dead for a little while, but the torch was being carried on by the various Unlimited lines at retail and the DC Signature Collection by way of subscription. I had no delusions about CIE going through this time, the support just wasn’t there and I’m not going to tick off the multitude of reasons as to why I think that was the case. Suffice it to say, I did my part and bought a sub, and I suppose I’ll consider myself lucky if I actually get that $35 refunded. Aaaaaaanyway… with no new figures ahead, I can now devote more time to looking back and filling the many holes in my collection. Today we’re doing just that with a look at Alan Scott, Green Lantern, from Wave 14. This figure has been sitting unopened beside my desk for over a month, and I suppose this week was as good a time as any to open him up.

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And here’s a blast from the past… it’s the DCUC packaging! I still love it! Green Lantern comes to us from Wave 14, also known as the Ultra Humanite wave because that’s the C&C figure you build with all the parts. Wave 14 was also one of those pesky Walmart Exclusive waves. Ah, yes, a great partnership that was. The only problem with it being none of the Walmarts in my area has sold any DCUC figures since Wave 10 or 11. Brilliant!

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I’ve been slowly piecing this wave together from second hand retailers ever since it first came out. I’m still missing Tyr and Hourman, as well as Alan’s son, Obsidian. Unfortunately, I bought at least one of the others loose, so even after I complete the wave, my Ultra Humanite is going to be missing something. In addition to the C&C piece, you also get a little collectible button. Somewhere, I have a cigar box with a bunch of these rattling around in there. It’s nothing special, but it sure beats those shitty little bits of cardboard that Hasbro calls Comic Shots.

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And there he is in all his Golden Age glory. I am a sucker for these vintage costumes! He sports a far more colorful and interesting outfit than the Lanterns who have come since. You get green trousers and red shirt with the old-timey lantern emblem sharply tampo’ed on his chest. The back of his cape is purple and the lining is green. The paintwork on my figure is a little rough in some spots, particularly the yellow on the buckle and there’s some stray yellow on his shirt.

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In addition to the colorful costume, you also get a fair amount of unique sculpting here. The yellow wraps on his boots are sculpted, he’s got a new belt and buckle, and his high collared cape looks fabulous. Naturally, he has his power ring sculpted on his left hand. The head sculpt is pretty good, albeit a little ambiguous. His mouth is a little open, he’s showing his teeth. He doesn’t exactly look fierce, maybe he’s about to dispense some verbal justice. Maybe he’s yelling at kids to get off his lawn. Either way, it works for me.

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Of course, you get the standard DCUC articulation. The arms have ball joints at the shoulders, hinges at the elbows, and swivels at the biceps and wrists. The legs have the usual universal joint at the hips, hinged knees and ankles, and swivels at the thighs. Alan cannot swivel at the waist, but he does have an ab crunch hinge in the torso and his neck is ball jointed.

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In addition to the collector button and the C&C part, Green Lantern comes with his trusty lantern. It’s the old style, which is very cool. What’s not cool is that the metallic green paint on the handle flakes off if you look at it funny. When I put it into or take out of his hand it flakes all over the place.

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Yes, I’ll confess that Alan Scott is not top of my list of Green Lanterns, but I still enjoy the character, I love the retro feel of his distinctive outfit, and I really dig this figure. It surprises me that it took fourteen waves for him to make it into the line. As for the death of Club Infinite Earths being the end of the line for the series, well it’s really not for me. I’ll be able to divert my resources backward and start working on completing my collection. There are still a lot of figures and C&C parts for me to hunt down. Besides, I’ll be surprised if we don’t see some more figures in the DCUC style popping up here and there in the years ahead.

DC Universe Signature Collection: Freddy Freeman by Mattel

It’s time for another release from the Club Infinite Earths sub, and Matty is keeping on point by delivering another figure that is conspicuously missing from our shelves. Captain Marvel, Jr. was definitely on my list of characters that I needed for my display. Maybe he wasn’t high on that list, but he was definitely on there! His arrival also reminds me that Captain Marvel himself is vacant from my DCUC lineup. Yes, somehow I own both versions of Mary Batson, but there’s still a gaping hole in my collection where Captain Marvel should be. Note to self: Pick up the Black Adam and Captain Marvel 2-pack. Anyway, let’s check him out… oh yeah, and… KRAKOOOM!

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Once again, the Signature Collection packaging consists of a delightful little window box. It’s collector friendly, it shows off the figure quite nicely, and it sports some rather excellent character art. No, wait… scratch that last bit… force of habit. I am not really digging the character art here. Freddy looks a little too Alfred E. Neumann to me. Anyway, there’s a bio blurb on the back, which contains the amazingly awesome phrase, “Captain Nazi killed his grandfather.” Oh yeah, shit just got real. Now that you’ve mentioned Captain Nazi on a package, you have to make the figure Mattel. YOU HAVE TO! Sorry, I don’t make the rules.

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Let’s kick things off with the portrait. I like the head sculpt here a lot. It doesn’t look much like the character art on the package, and as we’ve established, that’s a good thing. Mattel also resisted the urge to sculpt Freddy with a vapid, “I just took six halcion so I can pose for holiday pictures with the in-laws” smile like they did with Mary Batson. It’s not their best head sculpt of late, but to be fair, they’ve been doing a bang up job lately, so in this case even average is pretty good. I do like the way the tussled hair came out and all in all, they’ve managed to capture the youthful look of the character quite well.

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Freddy is appropriately built on the smaller DCUC body. I know that should be obvious, but I’ve learned not to take scale for granted in a DCUC-based line. I find it to be a good fit for the character, not too big and not too muscular. He’s just a smidge shorter than Mary. There isn’t a whole lot of unique sculpting here. Beyond the belt, boots and wrists bracers, the blue costume gets by with just the “Shazam!” lightning bolt painted on his chest. Aside from that, you have a new cape, which is excellent. The braid, border, and fleurs are all sculpted and painted.

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There are no surprises in the articulation department. You get a ball joint on the neck and shoulders. The arms have swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs have the usual DCUC hip-joints going on, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles.

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Freddy Freeman is what the Club Infinite Earths line is all about, folks. He’s another character sorely missing from the DCUC roster and he helps to complete a team. Ok, so he’s not the most exciting figure around, but in the spirit of turning a pithy DC-related motto on its ear… sometimes we get the figure we need and not the one we deserve. I’ll admit, with the CIE sub open right now, Mattel may have been better served delivering some more exciting figures to drum up interest, but then for a company often accused of playing games and dealing dirty, I applaud them for not doing so. Politics and business tactics aside, this figure is another solid addition to my shelves. He turned out great and I’m very glad to have him.

 

DC Universe Signature Collection: Red Hood by Mattel

It’s been a long week, I’m coming down with something, and I just want to flop onto the sofa and do very little of anything. It’s no coincidence that today I’m going to look at a figure based on a character I don’t care a hell of a lot about: Red Hood! Yeah, for the most part, I’ve been lucky with my Club Infinite Earth subscription. My interest in the DC Universe runs pretty broad and deep, but sooner or later I was bound to get a figure that I could have done without. And so, this guy arrived on my stoop this week in complete disregard for my apathy toward most Batman comics. Let’s get this over with, so that I can pop in a DVD and go back to being horizontal again.

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There’s the packaging we’ve all come to either love or tolerate from DC’s Signature Collection. I still dig it. You get a nice window box that shows off the figure quite well and is totally collector friendly. The character art is usually excellent on the DCSC packaging, but in this case, it seems off. There’s just something about the character likeness that doesn’t work for me. Maybe it’s the head sculpt? I kid, I kid… Red Hood’s head is a giant Tylenol gel capsule. It’d be hard to screw up the likeness on the box art. It’s fine.

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And here he is in all his glory. Red Hood is a f’cking terrible character design. It’s possible that he’s more credible in the comics, but as an action figure, he looks like he could have been one of the MOTU designs that lost to Fearless Photog back in the 80’s. But he is what he is, so I’m going to try to not beat up on the figure too badly. Oh, who am I kidding? Yes I am.

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Red Hood uses a standard DCUC style buck molded in pale grey plastic. His gloves are sculpted, but his boots are just painted on, as is the chest emblem. None of the paint lines are particularly sharp and there’s some mold flashing on the arms. The cape is plugged into a hole in the back of the buck and the head is just a big pill painted red. At the very least, Mattel could have used a clear dome for the head and painted the inside red to give it a little illusion of depth. What’s here looks like the quickest, cheapest, and dirtiest of cash grabs. On the bright side, at least you get two pistols. Too bad they’re so thin that they’re almost two-dimensional. Functional holsters might have helped nudge the figure up a notch in my eyes, but no. On the contrary, only one of his hands is sculpted with a trigger finger to hold the gun properly.

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Articulation is the standard DCUC affair. The arms feature ball joints in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinged elbows. The legs have the usual DCUC style joint in the hips, hinges in the knees and ankles, and swivels in the thighs. The torso has a waist swivel and an ab crunch hinge. And yes… the dome will turn from side to side… brilliant!

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And that’s it… I’m spent. If you’re a big Jason Todd fan, then this figure might scratch your itch, but it’s the first one in the CIE sub that I would have preferred to have opted out of. In fact, he may still find his way onto Ebay. Despite acquiring a renewed love for the character, I hate this appearance. It just feels like  lazy character design, and the figure feels like a slop job. In the congested shelves of my DCUC display case, I’m not sure I even want to spare him any standing room. $28 for this guy?  Blah!

And that’ll do it for DC Week. I’ll try to mix things up a bit more next week, but I have a feeling the pendulum is going to swing the other way and we’re going to be in store for a fair amount of plastic Marvel tat. See ya’ll on Monday!

DC Universe Signature Collection: Wally West Flash by Mattel

Jeez, I had completely forgotten about my May Club Infinite Earth figure until it showed up at my door the other day. I guess I have a lot of things going on, and right now a huge Pile of Loot that I have coming from BBTS probably eclipsed the anticipation of this single arrival. It may also have to do with the fact that Wally West Flash isn’t high on my list of must-have DC figures. Oh, he’s on the list. You’ve got to have Wally on your shelf! He’s just pretty far down at the bottom. As big a fan of The Flash as I am, and I have a lot of versions of him on my shelf, I’ve always been all about Barry. Still, this was an easy figure for Mattel to toss out there, and there’s no doubt that he’s an essential for a lot of DC collectors out there. Let’s take a look…

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Wally comes in the now typical Signature Collection window box and it shows off the figure quite nicely. Thank you, Mattel, for resisting the urge to package him in a running pose and warping his joints all to hell. The character art is quite excellent as usual, and you get a bio blurb on the back of the box. Not a lot else to say here, so let’s move on to the figure.

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What we have here is as simple and easy a figure as Mattel can make. Wally makes use of the standard DCUC buck. The sculpt appears identical to my old Barry Allen figure, minus the wings on the boots. Is that a bad thing? Not really. My point is just that if you’re looking for any original sculpting on this figure, you must look to the head! The head is pretty good. The exposed part of Wally’s face features an ever so slight smirk that I really dig, and I love the look of the whited out eyes. The wings curve in ever so slightly, which may be by design or by the plastic warping, but either way I like it. There’s a little bit of slop between the flesh of  his face and the red of the hood, but nothing too terrible.

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Speaking of paint…. the coloring on Wally is gorgeous. It appears as if the entire figure is painted, and he features a gorgeous deep, rich red with a slight metallic sheen. The emblem on his chest is sharp, although the circle is a little dim… much dimmer in person than in these pictures. The gold painted lightning bolts around his arms and waist are also nice and crisp and his boots are painted with the same gilded finish. All in all, this guy really pops on the shelf.

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Articulation? By now, you should know the drill. Wally features ball joints in the neck and shoulders. The arms have swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinged elbows. The legs have the usual DCUC hip joints, swivels in the lower thighs, and hinges in the ankles and knees. He can swivel at the waist and he has the ab crunch hinge in the torso.

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I’ll admit that I wasn’t tossing and turning at night over the absence of Wally West Flash in my collection. I’m still happy to have him on my shelf, even if I’m not sure yet where exactly he’s going to land. My DCUC case is getting pretty congested and it’s going to have to start expanding again soon. Anyway, I wasn’t expecting anything amazing out of this figure, but Mattel stepped up with a very good head sculpt and an exceptionally nice paint job.