DC Universe Signature Collection: Monsieur Mallah and The Brain

Ok, here’s where we separate the boys from the men, the dabblers from the collectors. It’s an action figure of Monsieur Mallah. Who ever thought it would come to this? I never dreamed Matty would ever have the balls to do a release like this one, but they upped the game. They said, “Oh? You like DC Comics? You like to get some action figures based on characters in some of those comics you read? Get a Superman or a Batman? Hmm? Maybe get some backbenchers? Some B-listers and C-listers. Hmm? Make you feel hardcore?” (If you didn’t read that in Stewie’s voice you’re doing it wrong) “Well how about this… we’re making Mallah and The Brain, muthf’ckers!  Are you hardcore enough to put that on yo’shelves?” Well, I guess I don’t have any choice, because they’re the Sub Exclusive. I’ll confess I am inexplicably delighted at this release, not for any overwhelming affection for these characters, but just because they’re such an unlikely release, I need them in my collection.



The occasional enemy of the Doom Patrol and Teen Titans, this pair comes in a large and wide window box, similar to the one that housed Metron and his Mobius Chair. I was actually surprised at how big the box was, mostly because The Brain is much bigger than I expected him to be. As always, the box shows off the figures quite nicely, with Mallah’s gun mounted behind his head, but still visible above The Brain. The character art is solid, but probably not among the best we’ve seen in this series. I guess when you’re drawing a gorilla wearing a beret and a bandoleer strap of ammo, and holding a brain in a cybernetic container, you don’t feel the need to go all out. I also noticed the bio didn’t mention anything about the romantic connection between these two. It’s possible that Mattel left that bit out because they didn’t want to be responsible for people’s heads exploding when they read the package.



Let’s face it, there’s no shortage of action figures of gun-toting gorillas wearing berets on the market today, and yet Mallah still manages to stand out. The realism of the sculpt is dead impressive. The stoic determined expression of the sculpt is only to be matched by the amazing paintwork on the eyes. You’d think the initial reaction to seeing an ape in a red beret would be comedy, but Mallah pulls it off with quiet dignity. No, my first reaction to seeing Mallah would not be to laugh, it would be to shit my pants and run. In any event, this figure is gorgeous.


Mallah’s body is recycled from the DCUC Collect & Connect Gorilla Grodd. What? You didn’t expect Mattel to churn out an entirely new gorilla body, did you? It’s a good reuse of that figure, and since I sadly don’t own a Grodd, it won’t be apparent when Mallah is displayed on my shelf. The body is big and powerful and the sculpted hair and feet and hands all match the convincing realism of the head fairly well. Mallah’s ensemble is rounded out with the belt of ammunition that hangs loose over one shoulder and a rather unique looking machine gun. Once again, I’m quite impressed with the work Mattel did on this guy.



Being a giant gorilla, Mallah’s articulation is a little different from your average DCUC style figure. He has no torso articulation at all, but I wouldn’t have expected it. I can’t imagine the engineering it would have taken to get an ab crunch into this beast. His neck is ball jointed, and offers a nice range of motion. His arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, have swivels in the biceps (suck on that, Larfleeze!), hinges in the elbows, and swivels and hinges in the wrists. His legs feature swivel cuts up at the hips and again at the ankles.




And then there’s The Brain. Obviously, this is more than an accessory than an actual figure. It’s just a silver tube with some sculpted detail, a skull like face, and a clear dome housing… well… the brain. It’s a nice looking piece, but it is greatly at odds with the artwork used for the packaging. It seems like Mattel neglected to get everyone on the same page for this one. Nonetheless, it’s fine for what it is and Mallah can certainly hold it fairly well.


I really think Mallah and The Brain was a great choice for a Sub Exclusive. If you didn’t Sub, you aren’t missing out on a crucial character, but you are missing out on a great figure. Sure, there are plenty of more important characters that need to be made, but Club Infinite Earth has been filling its share of holes, and I’d argue that this pair is exactly the sort of thing that the Club should be working on as well. Mallah represents a logical reuse of parts combined with some new sculpting that results in a truly fantastic looking figure that I’ll be happy to put up on my shelf.

DC Universe Signature Collection: Elongated Man by Mattel

Hells yeah! This is the kind of thing I joined Club Infinite Earths for! Finally, it’s the f’ing Elongated Man! Not to slight any of the excellent figures that have come from CIE before him, but I’ve had a certain DC Direct version of this guy chilling on my DCUC shelves as a place holder for a little too long now. Next to Jay Garrick Flash, this is the one CIE figure that scratches my itch the most. Sure, that DCD version is great and all, but getting an actual DCUC style figure of Dibny? Well, this has been a long time coming. Let’s check him out…



It’s the ever so slightly redesigned Signature Collection packaging. I think this is the third time we’ve seen it and it’s starting to grow on me. Or at the very least I’ve decided the changes are mostly harmless. Truth be told, I’m only hanging onto the boxes for the oversized quarterly figures now, so I’ll be taking a pair of scissors to this box to save the back and the rest will get trashed. Hey, space is precious and Dibney’s going right on my shelf anyway. Generally speaking, I’m usually blown away by the character art Mattel uses, but that’s not so much the case here. I appreciate that they are trying to show off Dibny’s elastic personality, but I’m just not feeling this character art. The bio on the back chronicles Dibny’s troubled life, but it does not explain why the DC writers like to mentally torture him so much. Let’s check out the figure…



Starting off with the head sculpt, I think the portrait here is excellent. I was very pleased with the DCD version’s head sculpt, but now that I’ve seen this one it’s a little hard to go back. This portrait is less harsh and angular than the DCD version and he’s not as sickly pale either. It makes sense, though, as the DCD version is from “Identity Crisis” and this one looks like Dibny from a less tragedy stricken time in his life. I’m not entirely sure the expression they were going for with this figure, but I do love it. It’s a little neutral with a bit of “gee-whiz” deduction thrown into it. I’ve always had a soft spot for Ralph and I think this portrait captures his personality extremely well. At least before he completely lost his shit over the tragedy with his wife, but I’m glad that Mattel didn’t try to sculpt angry-desperate-vengeful Dibny.


As expected, Ralph’s costume is achieved mostly through paintwork on a standard DCUC style buck, so there isn’t a lot of original sculpting here. He’s mostly red with black gloves, boots, and the “V” down the front and back of his torso. There are yellow borders around his boots and gloves, and he has a sculpted belt comprised of a simple black and yellow band. The paintwork is overall pretty good, although there are a few small spots on my figure’s chest where the black chipped.


In package, Elongated Man comes with his right arm stretched out, but you also get a regular fist that you can swap with it to make him normal. The DCD figure had a lot more stretchy gimmicks, with two bendable arms and an extending neck. I wouldn’t have minded two stretch arms for him, but I’m still happy with what they did here. It’s just enough to show him flexing his powers without going all nuts. He also comes with a very cool magnifying glass, which he can hold in his left hand.


Elongated Man features your standard DCUC articulation. That means a ball joints in the neck and shoulders, the arms feature swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs have the classic DCUC hip joints, which allow for lateral movement, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles. You also get an ab-crunch hinge and a swivel at the waist.


And so, finally I can retire my DCD version of Ralph Dibny to my DC Direct drawer and represent the character on my shelf in proper DCUC style. In this case, however, I’m still happy to own both versions, as the DCD figure does offer a lot more display options, but each figure brings its own charms to the table. On the other hand, I really am thrilled with this figure’s head sculpt. Sure, he’s a simple enough figure, but Mattel really did a wonderful job with it. Now I really need to double back and pick up Firestorm and Red Tornado.

DC Universe Signature Collection: Phantom Stranger by Mattel

Last month’s Club Infinite Earths figure, Saint Walker, wasn’t exactly high on my want list. This month’s release was not only on my list, but I never thought Mattel would ever actually get around to creating and releasing him. He’s Phantom Stranger and he is exactly the kind of character that this line should be all about. Finishing teams is great, I certainly approve of that, but I can’t believe Phantom Stranger would ever have wound up on the pegs in the DCUC line. And if he did, you can bet it would he would come with a part for one hell of an essential C&C figure to make sure he sold to the masses. Sure, he’s already been available as a DC Direct release… but now he can feel right at home on my DCUC shelves… let’s take a look!



This figure is the second release in this year’s tweaked packaging. Since last month, I’ve been forced to ditch all the packages, except for the quarterly oversized figures, so the change doesn’t bother me as much. I am, still clipping out the backs so I can save the character art and bios. Speaking of bios, I was really curious to see how Mattel would approach Phantom Stranger’s, since the true nature of the character has never been decided. I often vacillate on which of his intriguing backstories I like the most. If I were in charge, I probably would have left the bio area for him blank, because he really is that much of an enigma. But at least they didn’t suggest he was Superman and Wonder Woman’s son from the future, so I’m happy.



Phantom Stranger is a pretty obvious kitbash. I don’t mean, if you’ve been collecting DCUC for years you’ll probably recognize some parts. No, I mean, if you subbed Club Infinite Earths last year, you will easily recognize the entire body of this figure. It would be one thing to say Phantom Stranger reuses the repainted lower half of John Constantine, but it’s another to say he uses the exact same body as Black Mask, with only a re-sculpted turtleneck to stand out as new. Of course, if you’ve also been collecting DCUC for years than you’ll take note of the fedora used for Sandman and The Question, Martian Manhunter’s cape, and a pair of hands cribbed from The Spectre. In theory, everything should work well, but when I look at him, I can’t help but see all the individual components. I think I know why, so let’s talk…


Coloring! I think the reason the kitbash elements stand out so much has a lot to do with the figure’s coloring. While character art for Phantom Stranger varies, I think it’s the fact that the blue cape and hat clash with the black suit, which makes the reuse on this figure stand out. I’ve seen plenty of art where his ensemble matches, and I think a more uniform appearance would make the borrowed parts look more cohesive. It doesn’t help that the cape is the same color as Manhunter’s and the fedora is the same color as The Question’s. I dare say, I think I would have liked the figure more in a suit that matched the hat and cape. Sure, all the parts suit the character, but as it stands, it still looks like the figure was cobbled together in someone’s basement.


As for the new stuff… The head sculpt is good. I had my doubts about the wash used on the face for shadow effect, but it does look good on the figure in hand. Likewise, the chain used for his medallion looks less clunky and more appropriate in person. Oddly enough, the hands, while still recycled, garner special attention as really tying the figure together. It’s the hocus-pocus aspect of the fingers, which are really expressive and really suit the character beautifully. It probably helps that Spectre was released quite a while ago and so cribbing his hands doesn’t feel so much like double dipping.




All things being equal, Phantom Stranger is a decent enough figure. He’s a character I wanted represented on my shelf, and in fairness the figure matches the source material quite well. As a kitbash released by the biggest toy company in the world, however, he just barely manages to scrape by. I’m usually perfectly fine with Mattel sharing parts. In fact, I usually enjoy seeing how they do it and I’m often impressed by how well they pull it off. Not so much here. A straight re-use of this much of a figure that we just got last year seems like it’s going just a bit too far and there’s not enough new here to justify a $30 figure. Is it just me? Maybe the prices on these guys are starting to get to me. Oh well. Chances are I will be subbing Matty’s Filmation line, so at least that will help defray some of the shipping costs. Either way, I have a feeling that next month’s CIE release will remedy the malaise of the last two months.

DC Universe Signature Collection: Saint Walker by Mattel

Hey, folks! It’s the first figure of the year from Matty’s Club Infinite Earths! Last year’s inaugural figure was the much coveted Jay Garrick Flash. Obviously, Matty realized he would be a tough act to top for 2013, so they didn’t even try. Yes, this year’s first figure is Saint Walker, and this guy wasn’t anywhere near my list of wanted characters. In fact, he actually set around here for a couple of days before I got around to opening him. Toss in the fact that I’m still reeling from all the Lantern Corps stuff Mattel has pushed down our throats over the past couple of years, and I honestly couldn’t be less excited about this figure. Let’s do it…

I’ve been pretty consistent in my praise for the Signature Collection packaging, so at least I can be excited about seeing another one of these pleasing boxes… oh, wait… Matty redesigned the packaging. Well, ain’t that a kick in the nuts! The redesign is more of a tweak than a total overhaul. The overall configuration of the box is mostly the same with a big window on the front, wrapping around to the side panel, and another window on the top. The deco is what’s changed. There’s now an illustrated leather-like pattern with a hexagonal grid trim. That f’ugly new DC Comics logo appears on one side panel. Seriously, guys? Your business is basically selling artwork and this logo is the best you could do?

The back panel of the box is mostly the same as the old style, complete with bio, and the character artwork is still great. It may take me a couple of releases before I decide whether or not I really dig this new look, but I can’t say as I hate it. I’m still at the point with these boxes where I’m fooling myself into thinking that I’m going to keep saving them all, when in truth I just don’t have the space. I can see the point coming soon where I’m going to clip the backs off and keep them like cardbacks and probably only keep the complete packages for the oversized figures.

My only experience with Saint Walker is based on his appearances in Final Crisis and Blackest Night. I haven’t read any of his appearances in the New 52, but then right now my sustained readings in the New 52 only amounts to about six books, and I’ve been shying away from most anything concerning the Lantern Corps. I dig his backstory, but as I already mentioned, he’s not a character that I was jonesing to have in figure form, other than the fact that he helps fill out my Lantern Corp leaders and I guess that’s a cool thing. I guess I also still dig the idea of having more alien Lanterns in the DCUC style and Saint Walker certainly fits that bill.

Ok, let me start out by saying that I don’t like the head sculpt very much. Saint Walker is usually drawn one of two ways: You’ve got him with the round “crash test dummy” dots for eyes or sometimes with more almond shaped eyes. DC Direct went with the almond eyes for their Saint Walker bust and I think it looks so much better. Hell, even the artwork on this box features that version and it looks so much better. Maybe, this is a matter of personal preference, but at the very least, Mattel should have had the styling of the box art and the figure agree with each other. Even the configuration of the sculpted lines on Bro’Dee’s face doesn’t really match the artwork. Am I being too hard on the likeness? I don’t hate it, but in light of the many excellent head sculpts we’ve been getting in the Signature Collection, I think it could have been so much better.

On the other hand, I love the body on this figure, and since a lot of what I love about it is the articulation, let’s start there. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, have swivels at the biceps, double-hinges at the elbows, and swivels and hinges at the wrists. The legs feature the usual DCUC style hip joints, swivel at the thighs, have double-hinged knees, and hinged ankles. The torso has an ab crunch hinge, swivels at the waist, and the head is ball jointed. You also get a swivel cut in his head-tail. This is really phenomenal articulation and all the joints are strong and sans warping. Honestly, the only thing I could possibly think to add would have been ankle rockers.

Saint Walker’s costume itself is comprised almost solely of paint apps and the paintwork is excellent. I do adore the rich, deep shade of blue Mattel uses for the Blue Lantern costumes and the overall deco when mixed with the black really looks striking on the figure. The white Lantern Corps emblem tampo on the chest really ties everything together. Bro’Dee’s left hand is obviously sculpted in a fist so he can wield his power ring and his right hand is sculpted so he can hold his lantern.

So, Saint Walker is a bit of a mixed bag. If he were a figure that ranked high on my want list, I would have probably taken further issue with the head sculpt, but as he’s just going to be another face in the crowd on my Lantern Corps shelf, I can live with it. Make no mistake, there’s a lot to love about this figure, particularly if you prefer this style of portrait and I hope to see this style of articulation in more figures this year. But I still cannot help but look at the figure next to the character art and say “No!” He’s one of only a select few figures that have appeared in CIE that I wouldn’t have purchased if I wasn’t a subscriber, especially when you consider the fact that he was $28 after shipping.

DC Universe Signature Collection: Lead by Mattel

Alrighty, let’s deal with the giant lead elephant in the room. Mattel has done it again and bestowed giant status on a figure that doesn’t warrant it. First we got the inexplicably huge Rocket Red and now Lead gets the giant treatment. Lead is built off of the C&C Darkseid buck, meaning he towers over the other Metal Men. While definitely the bruiser of the team, Lead was usually drawn the same size as the other Responsometer robots. I should be furious that Mattel took us all the way up to the last member of the team and then did something crazy like this. But I’m not. In fact, I’m willing to give this one a pass, because the Metal Men could change their size and shape at will, and quite frankly, I think he looks pretty good this big.

As a quarterly figure, Lead comes in a bigger version of the same style window box we saw yesterday. In this case, the character art is solid, but not as exceptional as it usually is. You get a little bio blurb about the character and, as expected, the package is completely collector friendly.

Starting off with Lead’s head sculpt, I definitely dig the portrait, which features Lead smiling broadly. He’s got a lot of personality and his nature of the big loveable lug really comes across in the sculpt. Mattel didn’t have to do a lot of new tooling for this figure, but what they did, they did well.

Moving on to the rest of the body… well, besides his obvious growth spurt, Lead’s use of the Darkseid buck also means that he retains the stony sculpted lines on the arms and legs. Mattel, these are the METAL Men not Rock Lords. Lead and stone are two different things and seeing the stone patterns on this figure is both wrong and distracting. Luckily the dark coloring of the figure makes them a little less obvious, but the fact that these are there bother me a lot more than Lead being an oversized figure. One I can explain away, the other I cannot.

Once I get past Lead’s stony limbs, the rest of the figure falls into place pretty well. The rubbery smock that makes up his skirt and chest plate looks good. He’s got heavy rivets sculpted into his triangular front plate, and again around his gauntlets and boots. Otherwise, there’s not a lot of original sculpting on the body, but I’ve come to expect that from this team, and in truth it isn’t necessary.

Lead is painted over in a satisfyingly dark grey wash with some faint swirly patterns that crop up here and there. It’s a good finish for him that’s pretty characteristic of the artwork. The only other paint apps on the figure are the black for his eyes and eyebrows, the “L” symbols on his chest and forehead, and the white for his teeth. I’m a little iffy on the white teeth. I’m thinking black would have worked better, but it’s not really a sticking point for me.

Even as a former C&C buck, Lead retains most of the articulation we come to expect from the DCUC line. His arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, hinged at the elbows, and have swivels in the biceps and wrists. His legs have the usual universal hip movement and feature hinges in the knees and ankles. There are, however, no swivels in the thighs. Lead’s neck is ball jointed, he can swivel at the waist, and he retains his ab crunch hinge, which is still fairly serviceable under his soft rubbery chest plate. The only other thing worth mentioning is that my Lead figure has really loose legs. He can stand ok, but they really flop around.

Mattel can be geniuses when it comes to reusing parts in this line. A quick look back to Uncle Sam certainly proves that to be true. Unfortunately, Lead is not one of those times. They had two good reasons not to reuse the C&C Darkseid buck for this figure: Size being one and the stony pattern in the sculpt being the other. I can get around the size on this one, in fact I even kind of like it, but the problem with the sculpt is tougher for me to get past. I like the figure well enough. I’m very glad to have a complete Metal Men team, but a lot about this figure stinks of laziness, and when you consider that it’s a more expensive quarterly figure, I find that hard to accept. With the first year of Club Infinite Earths in the bag, I’ve been overall extremely satisfied with this line. If Lead here is the biggest disappointment, than that’s not too bad. Still, it’s a shame the line had to end the year on a low.

DC Universe Signature Collection: Platinum and Tin by Mattel

When Iron came out, way back in DC Universe Classics Wave 12, I had little exposure to The Metal Men, other than their cameos in other comics, like 52. But the thing I always loved most about DCUC was the way it could send me scrambling to buy books I never would have otherwise read if it weren’t for a certain figure I liked. Shortly after buying Mercury, I happened upon a stack of the original 1960’s Metal Men comics at a used bookshop downtown. They were in terrible shape, but I got them for cheap, took them home and devoured all of them that night. A bit later, we got word that Mattel would be completing the team through Club Infinite Earths and so I tracked down the Walmart Exclusive Gold. Soon I was hotly anticipating completing a team that I barely knew a couple of years ago. And that brings us to December’s CIE monthly figure(s): Platinum and Tin.

It’s interesting that Mattel waited so long to do Platinum (aka Tina), because at the start of the original comic she was the most prominent of all of Dr. Magnus’ Responsometer creations. Issue #1 (“Rain of the Missile Men”) managed to endear her to me straight away. The issue starts out with Magnus donated her as a museum display for being too emotionally attached to him. Of course, she was promptly kicked out of the museum because she wouldn’t stop crying and the patrons concluded she was a fake because robots don’t cry. In addition to some fun bickering between her and the chauvinistic, dickhead (“I hate women – especially robot ones”) Mercury, Tina eventually becomes the object of lecherous desire from an alien robot who proceeds to attack Earth to get her as his queen. Fun! As for Tin… well, I found him to be a pretty annoying character even at the best of times, but I’m still happy to get him as a pack-in just to round out the team.

On to the packaging… As usual, the character art is fantastic and the window box is completely collector friendly. Sadly, I’ve amassed quite a few of these over the year, and most of the figures have been incorporated into my DCUC display shelves. I’m starting to feel the pinch for space and I’m resisting the sensible urge to ditch the packages. In the end, I may be forced to keep only the quarterly figure boxes. Anyway, I don’t have much new to say about the package, so let’s move on!

Tina’s design hasn’t changed all that much since she was introduced and the figure reflects that fact. The portrait is pretty good, although Tina looks a lot more confident and mature than the doe-eyed naïve and innocent metal woman from the early funnybooks. Either way, she’s quite pretty and certainly invokes the spirit of the modern appearances of the character. Tina has her little cap with her symbol and the sculptors did a fine job recreating her 60’s hairstyle. The rest of the figure is appropriately lacking in sculpted detail. Really, all you have are the rivets around the edges of her triangular front plate and some more around the tops of her boots. Both of her hands are sculpted into tiny fists, which are fine, but I really would have liked a set of attachable coil hands. All the other Metal Men up to this point got extra pieces that allowed their hands to morph. Tina’s trademark move was turning her arms to springs. I guess that extra plastic went into Tin.

Also keeping with the theme of the characters, Tina is washed over with a pleasing coat of shimmery silver paint. The only other paint apps on the figure are the black making up her eyes and eyebrows and the symbol on her cap. My only quibble about the paint would be the unpainted joints, but the base plastic is close enough that it isn’t jarring to the eye.

Platinum’s articulation includes everything you’d expect from a DCUC style figure. The arms feature ball jointed shoulders, hinged elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. Her legs have universal hinges at the hips, hinges at the knees and ankles, and swivels in the thighs. She has a ball jointed neck, can swivel at the waist, and has the usual ab crunch hinge in her torso. The articulation looks good on paper, but her sculpted skirt really puts a damper on her upper leg movement. At least the torso design allows for her ab crunch to work.

And then there’s Tin. Remember that 3-pack of critters Mattel put out in Green Lantern Classics? Well, he’s not as bad as them, but the idea is about the same. He’s a cool little sculpt, which captures the goofy and awkward nature of the character. He’s mostly pre-posed, in an odd hunched over posture with knees bent. I’m not sure what they were going for with the pose, or what he’s supposed to be doing with his pointed fingers, but as a pack-in to finish off the team, I’m fairly happy with him. With rotating shoulders and head, he does have three points of articulation and he stands surprisingly well on his own.

Platinum was one of my most anticipated figures of this year’s CIE offerings, partly because I’ve grown to really love the characters and their books, and partly because my OCD really flares up when I have incomplete teams. In the end she didn’t disappoint. Granted, she wasn’t the hardest figure in the world to do, but at least Mattel didn’t do something crazy like make her into an inappropriately oversized figure like Rocket Red or… oh… well, we’ll talk about Lead tomorrow.

DC Universe Signature Collection: Uncle Sam with Doll Man by Mattel

I really love it when Mattel digs deep for their DC Universe figures. With so many of the final waves of DCUC populated by topical characters from recent comic events, it’s easy to forget that this line was always intended to draw from the vast corners and deep history of the DC Universe. That should be doubly the case now that the line doesn’t need to rely on casual retail shoppers and can be fueled strictly by the interests of niche collectors willing to seek out and subscribe to the figures online. And that’s why I love the fact that they’re releasing figures like Uncle Sam. He’s not only a pretty obscure piece of DCU history, but a masterful; some might say diabolical, kitbash of a figure. Let’s check him out!

Sam comes in a typical Signature Collection window box. As always, the character art featured on the back and side panel is excellent. Close your eyes and imagine what a character named Uncle Sam would look like, and you’re probably right on the money. Acquired by DC from the buyout of another imprint in the 1950s, Sam is not so much a character but the spiritual embodiment of American patriotism able to possess different corporeal hosts when needed. Wow, that’s awesome. The box is completely collector friendly, which is always a plus in my book.

Uncle Sam is one of the finest examples of Mattel’s deviously clever ability to reuse parts from older figures and have it turn out perfectly. Sam is an unlikely hybrid of Gentlemen Ghost and The Joker. When I look at the figure, it’s so blatantly obvious that he’s a kitbash, and yet the final result looks amazing. He has a sculpted shirt and vest with a separately sculpted jacket layered over it. Toss in the necktie and this figure has a wonderful sense of depth and complexity to the sculpt. The pants are cuffed around his ankles and he’s got spats on his shoes. If spats were socially acceptable, I would wear them every day. The only thing that really mars this figure in any way is the plug used in his back to cover up what I presume is a cape socket. Not a big deal, but just a little unsightly.

The coloring on Uncle Sam’s outfit is deliciously patriotic. There are two shades of blue for his jacket and vest and the white and red striping of his pants really make the figure pop. Alas, there are some paint flubs on his red striping.

Of course, the whole figure is really tied together by the superb head sculpt. He has an iconic and noble looking face that still manages to convey the fact that if you mess with America, he’s going to kick your ass off the hemisphere. The hair and beard sculpting is awesome and his hat really crowns (literally!) the whole piece. Wonderful!

Uncle Sam has pretty typical DCUC style articulation His head is ball jointed, although the sculpted hair restricts the movement of the head to a turning motion. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, hinged at the elbows and feature swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs have the usual universal joints in the hips, hinges in the knees and ankles, and swivels in the thighs. While there’s no waist swivel, which is disappointing but understandable, Uncle Sam does still have an ab crunch hinge.

While his hands are sculpted to hold accessories, Uncle Sam sadly doesn’t come with any, that is, unless you count Doll Man. He’s similar to the shrunken down version of Rita Farr that we saw last month, only better sculpted and more substantial. He’s actually a pretty solid piece of plastic! I’m not a big fan of Doll Man so he’s kind of lost on me, but it was a nice way for Mattel to deliver a second member of the Freedom Force in this package.

Getting Uncle Sam in my DCUC collection is a real treat. He’s a wonderfully obscure character and while Mattel went the Frankenstein route in creating him, I certainly can’t quarrel with the results. Sam looks amazing and I am thrilled to have him represented on my DC shelf. Of course, November was a double figure month for Club Infinite Earths, and we’ll double back at the end of the week to check out John Constantine.

DC Universe Signature Collection: Elasti-Girl by Mattel

This month Matty brought double the DC goodness to Club Infinite Earth subscribers with another oversized quarterly figure, and it is none other than Ms. Rita Farr aka. Elasti-Girl! Matty made a point of saying that they wanted to use CIE to finish up some teams, and they certainly are delivering. This year we’ll get the rest of The Metal Men and the figure we’re looking at today brings us one step closer to rounding out the Doom Patrol. Personally, I’ve yet to pick up Beast Boy or Robotman, so I only have Negative Man to keep her company. Either way, let’s take a look at the lovely lady and see how she turned out.

Signature Collection packaging! We just saw it on Monday with Poison Ivy, so I’m not going to spend a lot more time on it. It’s exactly the same as the regular monthly figure packaging, only bigger. The artists at Matty did another great job on the character art. I’m not so sure the sculptors had the same image in mind, but the art here is just gorgeous. I’m so glad these packages are collector friendly, because it gives me an excuse to keep all this stunning box art.

A lot of your personal mileage with Elasti-Girl is likely to vary based on how well you know or enjoy the character. Sure, that’s the case with a lot of DCUC figures, but in this case it’s even more so. If you’re not in the know, she is essentially just a really tall chick in a skirt, and unless she’s seen alongside other DCUC figures, she’s just a chick in a skirt. Nonetheless, fans of the character should find this figure to be a real treat, because it really does her justice. As already mentioned, the head sculpt isn’t quite in tune with the box art, but I still really like what we got. She’s pretty, I dig the slight upturn to her eyes and the face features some truly immaculate paintwork. The hair is sculpted with a band to hold it back, and the hair is short enough so as not to inhibit the head articulation too badly.

The rest of the figure’s body features sculpted gloves and boots, and a belt around her slender waist. The skirt is made of particularly flexible plastic, and it’s wide enough so that you can really get some good range of motion out of her hip joints. The top half of her outfit is painted, with some nice sharp lines between the red and white and the neckline. I would have preferred a paler shade of blue for the belt and boots, but now I’m really nitpicking. She’s also got some seriously nice muscle tone sculpted into her arms.

Elast-Girl’s articulation features that new torso joint that we first saw with Poison Ivy. I’m still on the fence over the new design. Is Matty only going to be using this with all the ladies? Time will tell. It doesn’t seem to have the same versatility as the waist swivel and ab crunch, but it is a lot better looking. The arms feature ball joints in the shoulders, hinges in the knees, and swivels at the wrists and biceps. The legs have the regular universal movement at the hips, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles. Naturally, the head has the usual ball joint. I’m not sure if it’s just because of her size, but I really would have loved to see double hinges in her elbows.

Elasti-Girl comes with a tiny version of herself, which is a very cool bonus. She’s very similar to the Antman that Hasbro put out with their Marvel Universe Yellowjacket, or even the tiny Wasp that came in the Secret Wars comic pack. Just be careful not to sneeze while you’re holding it, or you may lose it forever. The resident FigureFan feline has already been scoping it out for his larder of trophies behind the sofa.

I was pretty delighted when Matty revealed this figure, as I truly believe we would have had no chance of getting her anywhere else. A while ago, maybe I could have seen her as a C&C in DC Universe Classics, but with the direction the line went toward the end, I don’t think it ever would have happened. So what’s the downside of Elasti-Girl? Well, besides now being motivated to go back and pick up the rest of the Doom Patrol, I’m really hankering to pull the trigger on the insanely pricey Giganta, just so I can have another huge chick for her to fight. Then again, I’ve got do some rearranging on my DCUC top shelf in order to fit another oversized figure. At the moment, even poor Rocket Red is still chilling in his box and waiting for some shelf time.

Okdoky, tomorrow we will round out this Matty Haul Week with a look at the Big Guy himself… Voltron! It will, however, likely be posted pretty late, as I’m pulling the graveyard shift tonight and I’ll likely be sleeping most of the day tomorrow.

DC Universe Signature Collection: Black Mask by Mattel

It’s time for another Matty Collector release! My Voltron and Club Infinite Earth subs didn’t synch up this month, so I’ve just got the DC figure to look at. I was a little tempted by the He-Man offerings this month, but I kept my resolve and didn’t go for them. Anyway, this month’s CIE figure is Black Mask, and he is one of the very few figures getting released by the Club this year that I wasn’t really looking forward to. Batman’s funnybooks have always ranked pretty far down on my reading list. On the other hand, that hasn’t stopped me from picking up most of the other Batman related figures that Mattel has put out, so I wasn’t exactly sorry to be getting him either. Let’s see if Black Mask can win me over…

Ahh, I still love this packaging. As usual, the figure comes in a very cool and very collector friendly window box. The package displays the figure very nicely, with his accessories (Yes! Accessories!!!) mounted in the tray all around him. The back panel of the box has some excellent character art and the token short biography. A few of Black Mask’s accessories were a little loose in the package, but I care not for I am taking them all out.

Riddle me this, Batman, where have we seen this body before? Yuppers, it’s the Riddler from one of the early waves of DCUC. I want to say Wave 5 or 6. I have no issues with Mattel making use of the suited body again. It’s quite a good sculpt and as we’ll see in a little bit it retains a surprising amount of the core DCUC torso articulation. The suit jacket is layered on the figure, which gives the sculpt a lot of realistic depth, and you can even reach in and pull his stylish tie right out from inside his jacket. Black Mask is a pretty monochrome character, so there’s little coloring to get excited about here. The suit is matte black and the arms and legs match the jacket petty well. The high gloss paint on the shoes is a nice touch. All in all, I’m pleased with how the body turned out.

What about the head sculpt? Alas, I’m really not so happy about how it turned out. I’ve been overjoyed with all of the head sculpts in the Signature Collection thus far, and while Black Mask’s should have been a slam dunk, it just doesn’t work for me at all. The head looks funny on his big trunk of a neck and the details in the sculpt are really soft, particularly around the teeth. The paintwork on the teeth, which is ironically some of the only paint on the figure is kind of sloppy and uneven too. C’mon, Matty. It’s a skull mask! The Horsemen should have really had some fun with this one. Instead, it feels like they phoned it in.

Black Mask retains all the usual articulation found in the DCUC line. That means the head is ball jointed, the arms feature ball jointed shoulders, hinged elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs have the usual DCUC hip joints, hinged knees and ankles, and swivels in the thighs. What I wasn’t expecting was to get a waist swivel and ab crunch built under the sculpted jacket. Very cool!

One usually doesn’t get a lot of accessories with a DCUC figure, but Black Mask comes with some goodies. You get a double-bladed fork weapon, a knife, and Batman’s cowl. That’s all well and good, but you know what would have been cool, Mattel? Giving us the gun that’s pictured in the character art on the package. I was actually surprised to find that I don’t have a decent black .45 automatic in this scale, so he’ll have to go without.

Black Mask gets a resounding Meh from me. He’s not terrible. I don’t mind standing him in the corner of my display that houses Batman’s rogue gallery. However, he’s the first figure of the Signature line that really disappoints me, and I wasn’t expecting much to begin with. Considering the recycled body and the figure’s meager need for paintwork, I think Mattel should have put in a better effort with the head. I’m fine with having him in my collection, but considering I didn’t get any other figures from Matty this month, Black Mask shipped alone, and that means he cost me about $25. That’s twenty-five bucks worth of Meh!

DC Universe Signature Collection: Mirror Master by Mattel

I didn’t mention it during my Voltron features, but Matty did another great job handling my subscriptions this month. Once again, I was billed the correct amount, everything was processed about five days before the Day of Sale and the package was shipped out about two days ahead of the Sale Day. I realize it’s kind of crazy to have to be praising a company for getting it right, but with how screwed up Matty Collector has been in the past, it’s worth giving credit where credit is due, and I haven’t had any difficulties with Matty for quite a few months. I was really looking forward to this month’s Club Infinite Earths figure, as I really love me some Flash and I’m always happy to add more villains to my collection. Put the two together and it’s no wonder I was happy to get Mirror Master.

There’s that Signature Collection packaging that I love so much. It’s a simple window box with some really kick ass character art on the side and back panels. The package is totally collector friendly and includes a little blurb on Mirror Master on the back, pointing out that this is indeed the Evan McCulloch incarnation of the character. Until I can reorganize my DCUC display, I’ve been keeping all my Signature Collection figures in the boxes and they sure look great lined up on the shelf.

Out of the package and we see that Mirror Master gets by with a very simple sculpt. What we have here is a very basic buck with sculpted boots and wrist bracers. There’s a sculpted belt with two functional holsters, each with fastening flaps and there’s a sculpted neckerchief draped above the figure’s shoulders. The body is cast in brown plastic with green paintwork on the bracers and boots. Both hands are sculpted to hold his weapons.

Mirror Master’s head sculpt is well executed, but I don’t think it’s one of the more remarkable ones we’ve seen from the Club to date. That’s not meant to be critical. Truth is there’s nothing wrong with McCulloch’s head, it just doesn’t pack that extra wow factor that I’ve experienced with figures like Jay Garrick or the unmasked Thom Kallor head. A bit more character in the expression might have helped, because as it is, it’s just rather neutral and flat. The paint work on the head is overall pretty good, although there are a few orange smudges on his chin.

Naturally, we get the standard DCUC points of articulation. The head is ball jointed. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, hinged at the elbows, and have swivels at the biceps and wrists. The legs have universal movement at the hips, hinges at the knees and ankles, and swivels in the thighs. The torso swivels at the waist and features the standard ab crunch hinge.

Mirror Master comes with his rather distinctive looking pistols, both of which fit snugly into his holsters. They also each include swappable barrels that feature them deployed in firing mode as well as the standard configuration.

No, Mirror Master isn’t the flashiest of figures (har har) but he is a great representation of a really great character. This figure has gone through some major improvements since it was first revealed. Original images suggested the figure wouldn’t be able to hold his guns, let alone hint at the guns having dual configurations. It’s likely that the improvements were planned from the beginning and what we were seeing was just an early prototype, but you never quite know with Mattel, and fans were pretty vocal about the changes they wanted to see. Whether those changes were always planned or the result of a response to fan feedback, it’s nice that Matty put the extra effort into the figure.