DC Multiverse (Ares Wave): Collect & Connect Ares by Mattel

It’s Friday evening and I’m ready to collapse after a long work week. But before I dive head first into a bottle of Jameson, let’s wrap up DC Friday with one more review for today. If you hadn’t noticed, I’ve peppered my other reviews of this assortment of Wonder Woman movie figures with my general feelings about the film, but to sum it up here: I loved the first half, didn’t care so much for the second half, and felt that the final act really let the whole film down. It started with such lofty goals and excellent character presentation only to fizzle out with a disappointing and shitty CGI mess and it deserved so much better. By the time the final battle with Ares came, I was pretty drunk, very sleepy, and barely even paying attention. And so I give you the star of that disappointing denouement: Ares.

Ares is the first Collect & Connect figure from the DC Multiverse line that I’ve actually completed. Oh, I’ve done plenty from DC Universe Classics, and as such this one felt very abbreviated. Only four figures? Really??? That’s easy enough. Yes, despite still consisting of seven parts and a sword, Mattel doubled up on a lot of them to give us the whole figure in just four installments, with extra accessories coming bundled with the two Toys R Us Exclusive figures, which I’ll review next week. Putting this guy together is pretty simple, and the pieces fit tightly enough that I wouldn’t want to have to take him apart again.

As for the design, well… it’s certainly interesting. He looks like an armored terror that stepped right out of the pages of an AD&D manual, and that’s cool. But he’s also a far cry from how I’m used to seeing DC’s Ares depicted. This guy is a mix of human, demon, and armor, all blended together. He’s got regular looking hands and feet, as well as normal musculature running through the bare parts of his arms, but all cast in dark plastic. The chiseled chest features a bit more of metallic blue sheen to it, making me uncertain as to whether that’s supposed to be him or just armor, or maybe the armor is part of him. He has a similar finish on his grieves, arm bracers, and shoulder plates, as well as a sculpted black pelt thrown over his shoulder and secured with a strap. It looks as if there are sculpted keys hanging on the cross strap. Overall, the painted blue metal effect is cool, and there’s some nice pitted texturing on some of the armor, but I don’t find the design to be terribly compelling. The proportions are also a little wonky, like his legs seem a little weak and atrophied for his upper body.

The head is nearly featureless and hidden under the large demonic skull. Again, this is a pretty cool effect and I dig how at first glance it looks like the skull is actually his head and not just a helmet. The skull itself features a chalky blue paint job with white teeth and a pretty intricate sculpt showing all sorts of crags and bumps. It certainly makes for an intimidating look.

The articulation has all the right points. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, as well as swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, hinged at the knees and ankles, and have swivels at the thighs. The torso features a swivel at the waist, a ball joint in the chest, and a ball joint in the neck. It’s all pretty good, except for a super loose swivel in my figure’s right thigh. It’s bad enough that it will sometimes give way, especially in wide stances.

Ares includes one accessory (so far), and that’s his sword and I really dig it a lot. It isn’t ornate or gaudy, nor does it look ceremonial. Instead it looks like a utilitarian rank-and-file tool for butchering enemies, just like I would expect the God of War to wield. The hilt looks like it’s meant to be forged out of simple iron, with a turned grip and a down sweeping cross guard. The blade features a fairly sharp taper and most of it is washed in red paint. I’m not sure if that’s supposed to be blood, or maybe it’s glowing with heat, but either way it looks pretty bad ass. Of course, there are some more accessories to give him, but we’ll have to wait until I open up this wave’s two TRU Exclusive figures next week to look at those.

Despite my feelings for the DCEU version of Ares and that final battle in Wonder Woman, I have to say that I still dig this figure. Of course, individual mileage may vary based on personal opinions about the character design they went with. It’s also only fair to note that the DC Universe Classics Ares figure is one of my all time favorite releases in that line and was a very tough act for this Ares to follow. I can’t say that he would have been worth chasing in order to build on his own, but luckily I was pretty happy with the figures in this assortment, so Ares was just a cool extra.

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FigureFan’s Favorites 2012, Part 2

Second verse, same as the first. And again in no particular order…

Thundercats: Mega-Scale Mumm-Ra by Mezco… I had such high hopes for the Thundercats in 2011. Some of it paid off. I got some decent figures and the 8-inch Classic Lion-O proved to be my favorite figure from that year. But 2012 saw the prospects of a continued line die a slow death. In the end, I had to live vicariously through Mezco and the hopes they might keep the Classic Thunderkitty goodness going with their Mega-Scale statues. In 2012 we got Mumm-Ra and Panthro. I still haven’t opened my Panthro yet, but Mumm-Ra proved to be another outstanding effort in this line. I love this big guy, and I think he was one of the best values of the year.

Marvel Universe: Cable by Hasbro… I’m sorry to say it, but overall Marvel Universe has been disappointing me lately. Maybe the Marvel Legends figures are just pushing their smaller cousins out of my field of interest. It’s also possible that I’m just evolving beyond the 3 3/4” scale. GI Joe and Star Wars were the only lines that really tied me to it, and I don’t collect a lot of those anymore. Maybe the new 3 ¾” Doctor Who figures will bring me back. Either way, the MU figures this year have been competent enough, but not spectacular. The exception to that, however, was Cable, a figure executed so well that he barely feels like an MU figure at all.

Green Lantern Classics: Collect & Connect Stel by Mattel… I came into 2012 with a lot of Green Lantern fatigue from that shitty movie and the carpet bombing of marketing that followed it. But that didn’t stop the franchise from producing one of my favorite figures this year. Sure, Stel is a C&C figure, but he’s amazing in every way. The sculpt, the coloring, the articulation… he’s got it all. I never had much affinity for the character, but he certainly made for some excellent action figure fodder and Mattel went above and beyond.

Marvel Legends: Punisher by Hasbro… It may be because Frank Castle has been absent from my collection for so long, but this figure really hit the spot for me. It captures all there is about the character, he comes with all sorts of great weapons, and I just can’t stop playing around with him. One of the greatest compliments I can pay an action figure is to keep it standing on my desk, rather than regulate it to the shelves in the other room, and Punisher has been on my desk ever since I opened him up. It seems like I can’t go more than an hour without reaching over and picking him up.

Hot Toys’ Captain America: The First Avenger… 2012 was the year I finally broke down and bought some Hot Toys figures and Cap was my first. I was really apprehensive about blowing the money as I am generally not a 1:6 scale collector and I was a little afraid that the figure would be lost on me. Nonetheless, from the moment I had the package in hand, I knew there were no regrets. Cap’s outfit in this movie is my favorite design and I just had to have it in this epic format. While I doubt I will ever go all out into collecting Hot Toys in a hardcore manner, I can certainly see myself grabbing two or three a year.

And that’s all the good stuff… tomorrow we’ll start the one-two punch to the gonads that make up my biggest disappointments of 2012… Hang tight, ya’ll are already halfway through this wonderful week of shitty filler articles!

DC Universe Classics Wave 20: Collect & Connect Nekron by Mattel

We can argue all day whether or not the new DC All Stars line is really just a re-branded DCUC only without the re-branding, but there’s no arguing that Wave 20 saw the last DCUC Collect & Connect figure. Obviously, Nekron wasn’t everybody’s first choice to fill the last C&C slot, nor was he mine, but I wasn’t terribly upset about it either. Besides, it’s not like Mattel was going to make everyone happy with any choice anyway. While there are plenty of other characters I wanted more, Nekron certainly had potential to be a very cool looking figure, so I was perfectly fine with it.

And cool looking he is! This poor guy has literally been lying on my shelf for ages, hoping that I would get off my ass and buy the last two figures needed to get him his legs. Unfortunately, a bunch of other purchases had priority and so he was going to have to wait. I was almost ready to take up a collection, complete with Matty Collector style thermometer and everything. “Our goal is just $30 to get poor Nekron his legs.” If only he had a long staff-like accessory to lean on. Ah, but more on that in a moment.

Where was I? Oh yeah, he is a great looking figure. The head sculpt is worthy of praise just because there’s so much depth and texturing in it. The skin has a great cross-thatch pattern, the Black Lantern emblem is sculpted, rather than just painted, and every one of the teeth in his rictus grin is lovingly crafted. The deep set eyes are piercing and thanks to a particularly great bit of paintwork, they practically look like they’re glowing, and in a way that is better than most light piping effects can produce. The neck features a heavy collar with real chains dangling off the front and back. Simply awesome.

The body is clad in a soft, rubbery black trench-coat type affair that’s tattered towards the bottom. It’s parted at the chest to allow a good view of the broken rib cage, complete with strands of sinew and flesh clinging on, and the sculpted heart that lies within. Man, it would have been cool if the entire torso cavity was actually hollow to improve this effect, but the way they did it still works well. Nekron has another heavy manacle on his left wrist with another real chain hanging off of it.

If you’re looking for exciting coloring, look elsewhere. Nekron is as drab as death and appropriately so. In a series full of brightly colored costumed heroes and villains, it’s kind of refreshing to see someone dark and dusty and actually looking like they just crawled out of a tomb. The only real contrast from his grey, dead skin is the glossy black pants and the silver on his belt and boots. The coat is matte black, and there’s a great layer of dust painted all around the bottom of the back of the coat.

Mattel went all out on the articulation for this guy. You get a ball jointed neck, and even with the collar, you can still get good motion out of the head. The arms feature ball joints in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps and wrists, and double hinges in the elbows. The legs feature the usual DCUC universal hip joints, swivels in the thighs, hinges in the ankles, and double hinged knees. There is no ab crunch, due to the unique properties of the chest sculpt, but it’s nice to see that Mattel tossed in the extra double-hinges in the elbows and knees to make up for that. Nekron isn’t exactly a figure that I need to be busting out action poses, but more articulation is almost always better than less, so I’m not complaining.

Equally cool is Nekron’s trademark scythe. Hey, wait a minute… there’s no scythe! No, there isn’t. While shown off in promo pictures of the figure, the scythe was taken out at the last minute as a cost cutting move. It was a really unfortunate decision as it soured a lot of collectors on the very last C&C figure. What’s worse is that Nekron’s hands are obviously sculpted to hold the missing accessory and they mock me every time I look at them. Seems like Mattel could have thrown us collectors a bone for keeping the line afloat for 20 waves, but then I’ll confess, the scythe is no small accessory and I have no idea how much it would have added to the overall cost of the wave. Not to mention it’s probably not great business sense to go over budget on the final wave of a dead line.

And there ya have it. I can’t help but think that it might have been a little inside joke to have Nekron, the lord of death himself, as the last C&C figure, towering over the final wave of DCUC as it passes into oblivion gets slightly revamped into DC All Stars and continues on its merry way. This format was the way to do him right. The DC Direct version was a great sculpt, but the scale doesn’t work for me. I wanted my Nekron towering over my other figures, and I certainly got that in the end. Scythe notwithstanding, I’m pretty happy with him. He looks great, and the character certainly has gravitas, even beyond the Blackest Night story arc.

DC Universe Classics Wave 17: Collect & Connect Anti-Monitor by Mattel

And today is the payoff. After collecting the six figures of Wave 17, I can finally build the amazing Anti-Monitor C&C figure. There were only three figures in this wave that I would have bought otherwise: Scarecrow, The Atom, and Wonder Woman. I didn’t mind so much having to pick up The Flash. But Lex and Hal were only for the pieces. Was it worth it? Oh yeah! Obviously, Anti-Monitor is a character most fans and collectors are going to want to have in their collection, and Mattel did a bang up job with him.

Holy shit, that’s a nice looking figure! Putting him together is a little trickier than most C&C figures, mainly because of his soft rubbery cowl. It’s also rather difficult to get his domed head to peg in just right. The head and shoulders on mine still tend to pop off every now and then when I’m trying to pose his arms too high.
The sculpt is mighty nice with plenty of detail. You get all the various panel lines on his armor, along with the tiny little bolts at the corners of the plating. I really like the segmenting on his arms and legs and the hoses connecting the segments of his armor look great and really add a lot of depth and complexity to the sculpt. His domed head features stickers for the eyes and mouth. I wasn’t really sure about how good this would turn out. It the end it looks a tad cheesy, but I don’t think paint apps would have worked and I suppose the stickers give contribute to his comic bookish look.
The only thing I’m not too keen on here is the softgoods cape. Its definitely too big to have been executed in plastic, but it doesn’t hang very well on the figure. The better way to go here would have been to make it a little bigger and put the bendy wire in the edges like Mattel did with the C&C Trigon.

Anti-Monitor has a wonderful metallic blue and silver deco with some gold fringe. Even among a lot of brightly colored superhero figures, he still really pops on the shelf, particularly if you’ve got some nice lighting directed at him.

And there we go. Anti-Monitor is definitely one of my favorite C&C’s the DCUC line has produced. He’s a crucial and iconic character and a natural choice for the C&C gimmick. Its unfortunate that Matty decided to include him in this uneven and often underwhelming wave.
Its possible that this has been FigureFan’s last DCUC week. I’ve only got Wave 20 left to pick up, and I haven’t decided yet whether I’m going to get it all in one go or not. I do still have some assorted DCUC figures to grab from past waves, so either way you’ll certainly see plenty more from this line. And let’s not forget next month, when we’ll be looking at the very first figures from Matty Collectors’ Club Infinite Earth.

Young Justice: 4-inch Series: “Stealth Tech” Aqualad by Mattel

ARGHH!!! I’ve already ranted plenty about this shitty last wave of repaints (and one awesome figure) that Mattel is stuffing down our throats in order to finish building the Collect & Connect Hall of Justice set. But back when I looked at Stealth Robin I warned you that I would likely get more and more pissed off with each successive repaint in this wave that I bought. Well, here’s the second to the last. And yes I’m pissed. So, let’s do this.

I still love the packaging Mattel adopted for this line. Its colorful, its exciting and the way they hide the C&C piece with the false back of the bubble is very clever. That’s about all the positivity you’re going to read here today, so make the best of it.
And here’s Aqualad. The same fucking figure as last time only repainted with a black and grey outfit. I’ve got nothing else to say that wasn’t already said in my feature on the original figure. He does come with a new accessory, its an aqua mace instead of a sword. Whoopty-fucking-shit.
Articulation? Yep, you get the same shitty five points. Rotating shoulders and hips and a ball jointed head. If we add a half point for the ball pointed head, that’s a whole half a point more than you’d get if this were 1977 and you were buying a Kenner Star Wars figure. Hey, Mattel, I can go out and buy a super-articulated GI JOE figure with a shit-ton of accessories for a couple bucks less than this guy.
Ok, so here’s what I bought the figure for. The last of two pieces to go for the C&C Hall of Justice. I know I said I wasn’t going to be photographing it again until it was done, but seeing as how it was hardly worth the battery life in my camera to take a lot of shots of Aqualad, let’s look at the HoJ with my new piece added in…
Wait… what? There are still TWO fucking pieces left??? Yeah, if you look back at my feature on the first Kid Flash, you’ll see that he came with two pieces, the floor and wall. Well, “Stealth Tech” Kid Flash comes with the same two pieces for the other side. Is it a coincidence that the last figure of the assortment, the one only one that isn’t readily available to purchase comes with two pieces? This is Mattel, so I’m not taking anything for granted. Anyway, all kidding aside, this thing is huge and its looking really cool.

Stealth Aqualad was $9.99. That was way too much for this figure the first time I bought it in normal colors. And if you wanted Aquaman and bought the 2-pack than this is the third time you had to buy this figure. He’s going right into my giant tote of left over accessories from my DCUC and MOTUC figures, where he can drown in a sea of swappable hands, heads and extra weapons and soak up the noxious vapors of Moss Man’s extra head. Quite frankly death is too good for him. The sad part is who knows when I’ll be able to have the privelage of paying ten bucks for the Kid Flash repaint so I can complete my Hall of Justice and be done with this wretched nightmare.

Green Lantern Classics Wave 2: Collect & Connect Stel

Oh yeah, here’s the reason I suffered through this somewhat mediocre assortment of figures. It’s not that I’m such a huge fan of the Stel character. I’ve already said that I don’t read a lot of Green Lantern Corps so my exposure to Stel has been pretty limited. On the other hand, the fact that he’s a giant Green Lantern robot is just such a cool and bizarre concept. The rings feed off of emotional power so how did a robot get one? And more importantly how does he use it? If I read Corps will I know these answers? Well, hell, maybe I should. In any event, Stel is one of those fine examples of a DC Unvierse Classics figure that I absolutely adore despite not being all that familiar with the character.

Hot damn, check him out. There have been plenty of cool Collect & Connect figures out over the years but this is without a doubt one of the most amazing sculpts Matty has thrown into this line. The sheer detail involved in all the little pistons and workings, mixed with the outstanding paintwork just makes this figure jaw droppingly awesome. Its a testament to the paintwork that we’ve seen the legs to this figure when we looked at the C&C STRIPE figure from Wave 19 of DCUC and yet they sure look different between the two figures. I’m especially fond of the inset Lantern Corps emblem in his chest plate. Brilliant!
Stel features great articulation. You get ball joints in the neck, shoulders, and hips; Hinges in the elbows, knees, and ankles, swivels in the biceps and wrists and waist, and a ball joint in the torso. Despite his bulky size Stel is capable of some great poseability.
There are plenty of C&C figures in my collection that I love more than Stel because of who they are. Darkseid, Bane and Kilowog all come immediately to mind. But in terms of sheer aesthetics Stel has no equal. He’s a drop dead gorgeous figure that made choking down some of the more mediocre figures in this wave a lot more tolerable. Even if I had no interest in the Green Lanterns or DC characters, I’d still be gushing over this figure. He’s just unbelieveably awesome.

So, I still have the rest of DC Universe Classics’ Wave 17 to look at, but I’m going to take a break from the DC stuff for a little bit in order to ramp up the variety around here. In fact, I’m going to impose a one week ban on any Marvel or DC figures, period. I’ve got some assorted stuff kicking around waiting to see the light of day, so let’s take a little detour before we come back to check out the Wave 17 figures, eh?

Young Justice: 4-inch Series, Wave 3: Sportsmaster by Mattel

I think I’ve got all the frothing bile and anger toward Mattel out of my system, so let’s see if we can give the next figure in the 4-inch Young Justice line a fair shake. He is, afterall, the last only truly new figure in this wave, and the only one that I was excited about picking up.

We just saw the packaging for the 4-inch line a couple of days ago and I don’t have a lot more to add to that. I’m still really digging on it as it feels like the spiritual successor of the JLU line and something about those figures and packaging really scratch my nostalgic itch. Once again, I’ll also point out how much I love the way Mattel uses the printed card behind the figure to hide the C&C piece so that it looks like part of the cardback. It’s just neat.
Out of the package and in hand, Sportsmaster is instantly my favorite figure of all the 4-inch single carded figures in this wave and possibly the whole line. He’s a great recreation of his animated counterpart with what seems to be all new tooling. He’s really well proportioned, the plastic feels a lot more solid and less bendy in the limbs, and there’s a ton of little details on the sculpt and paintwork for this animated-style line. He’s still got that annoying upturned wrist on his left hand, but the fact that it shows off the nice detail of the straps on his armor, it doesn’t look so bad on him.
Sportsmaster came with the rightmost wall of the Hall of Justice C&C set. That means that I can finally connect that rightmost floor piece to something, but I still can’t connect that piece to the rest of it until I buy the two remaining repaints. Truth is, I would have had them already if it weren’t for the fact that noone online seems to have them instock yet.

Of course, you still only get the basic five points of articulation, so there isn’t a lot you can do with him in terms of posing or even play. The lack of articulation is a little more annoying here because there’s not much you can do with his staff.  Plus, this is such a great looking figure, I really want to put him in some cool action poses, and that’s just not going to happen.
So, in a wave of repaints Sportsmaster didn’t have to be anything special to stand out, and yet he turned out to be among the best executed figures in this line. Mattel went above and beyond with his detail and paintwork to the point where he almost looks out of place among some of the others. Its possible they saved so much money on the rest of the figures being repaints that they were able to cost out more attention to him, but whatever the reason, I’m glad to have him in my collection.

[And that’s going to wrap up all I have of the Young Justice line right now. I’m still trying to hunt down those last two pieces of the Hall of Justice, I mean, last two figures from Wave 3, but no such luck yet. I’m going to take a couple of days to dig into some other stuff and then we’ll get back to the world of Mattel and DC by finishing up revisiting the remaining figures from Green Lantern Classics Wave 2. -FF] 

Young Justice: 4-inch Series, Wave 3: Robin (Stealth Tech) by Mattel

[I started writing this piece and it quickly degenerated into a drunken emotional rant against Mattel and then it kind of got away from me. If you’re only interested in hearing about the figure then go ahead and skip down a couple of paragraphs. If you’re interested in hearing me vent, then by all means read on. -FF]

Mattel hates us. Sure, if you’ve experienced the Matty-Digital River partnership first hand over the years, you’ve already suspected this to be true, but now we have definitive proof that Mattel does indeed hate us. You see, Mattel came up with this great idea to make a Collect & Connect Hall of Justice set and spread the pieces out over three waves of 4-inch Young Justice figures. Sure, at ten bucks a pop the figures were on the pricey side for what they were, but it was easy to swallow that pill knowing that with each one you buy, you were closer to a pretty cool Hall of Justice backdrop. The first two waves gave us a mix of the kids and adults, including Speedy, Kid Flash, Aqualad, Superboy, Captain Atom, and Black Canary as well as some baddies like Icicle Jr and Vandal Savage. All good so far?

So, it seemed only natural that the last wave would finish the team with Robin and Miss Martian, maybe some more adults like Red Tornado and Green Arrow, and some extra baddies like Sportsmaster, Cheshire, and Black Manta, right? Well, we got Sportsmaster… and THREE FUCKING REPAINTS. Yes, the last three figures you need to finish the Hall of Justice set consists of “Stealth” versions of Robin, Aqualad and Kid Flash. Thanks for fucking us over, Mattel! If you want regular Robin or Miss Martian, you can go buy the two-packs, because Mattel would rather saddle you with $30 worth of repaints than give us single carded versions with C&C pieces. What pisses me off even more is that they don’t even bother to call Robin, “Stealth Tech” Robin like they did with Aqualad and Kid Flash, so if you’re ordering this figure online without scrutinizing the picture, you might be fooled into thinking he’s the regular red tunic version.

If this is your first experience with these 4-inch Young Justice figures, by all means go back and read my various looks at the last eight figures. They’re basically like a hybrid of the JLU and Infinite Heroes lines. They have the antiquated basic five points of articulation like the JLU line, but they’re more realistically proportioned like the Infinite Heroes, although make no mistake these figures are still highly stylized to match the animated counterparts. If you’re nostalgic for either of those two lines, these will probably give you a warm fuzzy feeling. Otherwise, you may want to stay away.

[Ok, enough with the long-winded preamble. Let’s get to the figure… -FF]

Its been a little bit since we looked at the second wave, but the packaging for these figures hasn’t changed. I still really love the presentation here. It’s a nice big bubble and a colorful card, not entirely unlike the DC Universe Classics packaging. There’s a printed card insert behind the bubble that matches up with the cardback to conceal the Hall of Justice C&C piece that’s tucked behind the figure. Mattel has always done a wonderful job packaging their DC figures and these guys are no different.
Out of the package, Robin is the same figure you may already own if you bought the Batman and Robin two pack. The only difference? His tunic is painted grey instead of red. It’s a nice enough sculpt and captures the look of the show’s animated Robin pretty well in the 4-inch scale. Unfortunately his arms and legs are really rubbery and soft and as already mentioned, the articulation is pretty much crap. Is there nothing new here? Well, Robin does come with his hologram wrist computer that’s cast in translucent blue plastic and clips on to his arm. This idea worked great for the 6-inch figure, but not so well here. It’s way too big and since Robin’s arm can only rotate at the shoulder, he can’t really hold it in any convincing manner. Blah!
And then there’s the real reason I bought this figure: The C&C piece for the Hall of Justice. I’ve got only three pieces left. This set comes with the middle part of the arch and finally allows me to connect one of the loose pieces I had from Wave 2. It’s looking sharp and really, really big. I’ve opted not to bother posting a picture of the Hall of Justice again until I finally have it complete. Its partly because I’m really bitter right now, and partly because I have it in a tote at the bottom of my closet and I don’t feel like digging it out again.
And there you have it. In case you haven’t picked up on my subtlety, I really resent having to buy this repaint solely for the C&C part, and I’ll likely get more angry with each successive repaint in this Wave that I need to buy. I was also none to pleased yesterday when I went out to buy the Batman and Robin 2-pack so that I could have the regular Robin in my Young Justice 4-inch display. I was going to look at Sportsmaster next, but instead I might as well knock out the Batman and Robin set tomorrow so that I can get the rest of this rage out of my system before taking a look at the only fresh figure in Wave 3: The Sportsmaster.

Young Justice: 4-inch Series, Wave 2: Superboy and Captain Atom by Mattel

Mattel seems to be rushing out the 4-inch Young Justice figure with great haste. I just recently found all of Wave 1 at TRU, when Wave 2 started popping up all over online. I was able to pick up the first three figures of Wave 2, and I’m still hunting for the third. Today we’re going to take a look at Superboy and the first adult superhero in the line, Captain Atom.

Yep, there’s the same packaging we saw for Wave 1. I still like it a lot. The deco is very colorful and comic book inspired and the big bubbles display the figures very nicely. If anything maybe the bubble is too roomy. I still think it’s really clever the way the package uses an illustrated false back under the bubble to conceal the Collect & Connect pieces for the Hall of Justice. If you want to display these guys carded, the presentation won’t be marred by chunks of a building. The back panel of the cards have the character profiles and portraits and an illustration of what C&C piece you’re getting with the figures.
Let’s look at Superboy first. He’s a really solid likeness that once again relies more heavily on paintwork than sculpting. The head sculpt, however, is extremely well done and fits the animated character perfectly. The rest of the body also falls in line with the overall likeness, with his simple S-shielded black T-shirt, blue jeans and black boots. Astute collectors will note that Superboy uses the same torso and arms as Aqualad. The figure still looks fine, even with the reuse of parts, but considering the price point here, it does bug me a bit. It’s most noticeable in the arms when the two figures are standing next to each other. Superboy comes with an odd accessory, which looks like he ripped the exhaust system out of somebody’s car. In reality, it’s probably just supposed to be a piece of metal he’s bending with his super strength.
Next up is Captain Atom. I was pretty happy to pick him up since I don’t have either the JLU or the DC Universe Classics versions, and so this is my first figure of this character in my collection. Although, in fairness, I would have rather had Mattel do Red Tornado in this wave instead, since he’s more prominent in the cartoon. Captain Atom is a completely new sculpt, making him bigger and a little bulkier than the kids. His paintwork is as simple as it gets. He’s all silver with red boots and gloves and his red emblem tampo’ed on his chest. Nonetheless, the paintwork is all pretty sharp. Despite being a new sculpt, Atom’s hands are in almost an identical position to all the kids, which is just sort of weird. Atom comes with a piece of energy that clips onto his hand. The effect on this isn’t so great, but Atom is still a sharp looking figure.

Yes, I’ve now got two more pieces of the Hall of Justice, but I’m not going to show the progress until I get to the next figures in Wave 3: Vandal Savage and Black Canary.
These figures continue to be a guilty pleasure for me. I still think they’re over-priced and under-articulated and now the reuse of parts isn’t making me much happier. And yet I still dig them on some level and will be continuing to buy the line. I wouldn’t go recommending them to anyone who isn’t already in love with Mattel’s Infinite Heroes or JLU lines, because I think they’re likely to disappoint everyone else. I was able to get this pair plus Vandal Savage off of Amazon at regular retail price and even netted some free shipping. The fourth figure in the Wave, Black Canary, is going to be a little bit more difficult to score at the retail price. Looks like she’s going ot be Cheetara all over again. [I was actually able to score her off of TRU’s website a few days ago, so I’ll have a look at Vandal and Black Canary in a few days! -FF]

Young Justice: 4-inch Series, Wave 1: Speedy and Kid Flash by Mattel

Last time we checked out Aqualad and Icicle Jr and now it’s time to take a look at the ketchup and mustard twins. In retrospect, I probably should have split these guys up since they feature the same red and yellow coloring on their uniforms, but then they’re also both dicks toward Artemis when she first joins the group, so I guess they have a lot in common.

It’s the same packaging we saw last time and I still like it a lot. It’s colorful and the huge bubble really shows off the figure well, while hiding the unsightly Hall of Justice piece behind a cleverly concealed card made to blend in with the cardback. the back panel of the card has an illustration of the character, a little blurb about him, and reveals what the other figures in the line will be. The overall deco of the package really draws me in and makes me want to spend ten dollars on an under sculpted and under articulated figure. Damn, you, Mattel!!!
Let’s kick it off with Kid Flash. The head sculpt is great! From the goggles and lightning bolts coming off his hood right down to his little douchebag smirk, Mattel has certainly captured the likeness. From the neck down, though, there’s precious little in the way of sculpted detail, apart from his gauntlets. I was, however, pleasantly surprised to see that it is a new body and is notably and correctly shorter than the other members of the gang. His costume is characterized by a nice bright coat of red and yellow paint and a red lighting bolt tampo’ed on his chest. As much as I hate pre-posed figures, I’m almost tempted to say Kid Flash might have benefited from some, since you can’t really get him into a good running pose. Kid Flash comes with one accessory: A bag of fast food. It’s pretty useless since he can barely even hold it, but then I think it’s kind of awesome to own a figure that comes with a bag of takeout.
Moving on to Speedy. He enjoys the most unique sculpting of any figure we’ve looked at so far. The head is pretty solid, with the hat sculpted onto the head , complete with feather, and the mask painted on his face. While his torso appears to be the same as Aqualad’s, there’s a sculpted belt and “skirt” added over the hips that makes the shirt look more like a tunic. The high collar and strap across his chest are added with paint apps. His arms also benefit from uniquely sculpted sleeves and gauntlets, and his legs have sculpted heavy boots. Naturally, Speedy also has his quiver full of arrows. It’s permanently plugged right into his back. Speedy comes with his trusty bow. Mattel could have probably gotten away with just using paint apps for some of Speedy’s sculpted bits, so it’s nice to see they went a little extra on making this guy unique.

The articulation on Kid Flash and Speedy is the same as Aqualad and Icicle Jr. You get the basic four points of rotation: Shoulders and hips, and you get ball jointed necks. Again, this is really unacceptable in this day and age, not to mention at this price point, but I guess Mattel got away with it throughout the JLU line, so and decided not to mess with success.

Ok, so having looked at the entire first wave, what can we make with the Hall of Justice C&C pieces so far?
                                    
There it is. Not too much to look at yet, but you can definitely get an idea of just how big this thing is going to be and what it’s going to look like. I’m extremely impressed. Early reports suggested that the pieces don’t lock together all that well, but I’m finding the opposite. This is a pretty sturdy construct that holds together extremely well and looks great as a backdrop for the Young Justice figures or even the JLU or Infinite Heroes lines. Hell, even though it’s  out of scale with the DCUC figures, they still look great posing in front of it.
And that’s Wave 1. I know I should be coming down on these figures like a ton of bricks, but I’m still digging on them. Sure, I wish they were better articulated. Sure, I wish they had a bit more detailed sculpts. And most of all, yes, I wish they cost less. But I just think the simple execution works well for an animated series like Young Justice. But most of all, the main reason I’m pursuing this line like I am is to get the Hall of Justice completed. It’s really is going to be cool and offer up a whole bunch of great display options for my various lines of DC Universe figures.