DC Super-Villains: Black Manta by DC Collectibles

I’ve been slowly working my way through the TPB releases of DC ReBirth and having a great time. So far nearly all the books have been enjoyable, but the one that totally took me by surprise was Aquaman. Great story, great characterizations, and beautiful art and coloring. It’s also one that beautifully captures what a badass Black Manta can be. So much so, that I had to go back and pick up his action figure from the DC Super-Villains line. And this is a particularly pertinent review as with Irma bearing down on me in a couple days, I may soon be under water! Yeah… let’s check him out!

I’ve reviewed several of the DC Super-Villains series, so the packaging offers no surprises. The figure comes in a mostly black window box with a swipe colored to match part of the character’s deco. In this case the red of Manta’s eyes. The box also includes an extended back flap with a J-hook so it can be displayed standing on a shelf or hanging on the wall. The window shows off the figure very well and everything here is collector friendly.

Out of the box, Black Manta looks absolutely fantastic. By nature, his design is fairly minimalist when it comes to color and details, but DCC still packed a great amount of love into him. The nearly all matte black body suit features some rather subtle panel lining around the chest and there’s some nice musculature sculpted in a swell. The neck guard, boots and gauntlets are painted with a glossy finish, which can look black or purple depending on how the light hits it. He also features the red gill-like slashes on either side of the suits neck-guard. All in all, this figure captures the look of the suit perfectly.

The only other detail of note on the suit is his right gauntlet, used to fire his energy beams or micro torpedoes. It’s a great sculpt and features some nice silver paint.

From the back, Manta is wearing his jetpack/backpack, which is painted in the same silver as his gauntlet. The backpack not only serves to propel him in water, but in this case also stores his extra weapons, which I’ll touch on in just a bit.

My favorite thing about Black Manta’s look has always been his squat, bulbous helmet and it looks fantastic on this figure. The red paint and texture on the giant buggy eyes is particularly well done. The back of the head connects to the backpack with two soft plastic hoses. They do allow for neck movement, but sometimes have a habit of bringing the head back to the center position.

Articulation on the Super-Villains line isn’t the best and mostly adheres to the standards set by DCC’s earlier “New 52” style figures. The biggest restriction here is in the hips, where we get a disappointing t-crotch as opposed to ball jointed hips. The arms are overall decent, with rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the wrists. The legs feature hinges in the knees, but no articulation in the ankles, and no swivels in the thighs. There’s no articulation in the torso at all, and the neck is ball jointed. There’s still some fun to be had here, but for the most part, Black Manta is designed to stand on the shelf and look menacing.

What Manta lacks in articulation he makes up for with accessories. First off, he has what is sometimes called his hand-trident, although two blades does not a trident make. This is a simple weapon, but looks great in either hand and is stored by clipping it to the center of the backpack.

The other weapons are twin short-swords, and these aren’t really shown off in the package as they come sheathed in the backpack. Again, these are fairly simple, although they do have some detailing on the grips.

For the most part, the Super-Villains line has been one that I pick up when I find the figures at decent discounts, so rarely have I ever paid the full $20 that these are intended to sell for. Black Manta would have been an exception, as I went hunting for him after reading just a the first few issues of Aquaman ReBirth. To my surprise, he was already going for pretty cheap, and I was able to grab him for about $12. He looks great, and the accessories are a welcome treat that you don’t often see with this line, but the fairly limited articulation dampens (HA!) the fun a little bit. Still, I’m certainly glad I got him, as he displays beautifully with the Aquaman from my “We Can Be Heroes” Justice League set.

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DC Designer Series: Wonder Woman (Adam Hughes) Sixth-Scale Statue by DC Collectibles

The last bunch of DC Fridays haven’t been terribly cheery ones, as I’ve been slugging my way through a wave of Mattel’s subpar DC Multiverse series. As a result, I’m extremely pleased to be able to take a look at something of quality for a change. Anyone who’s been kicking around my blog for a while, should know that I’m a big fan of the latest run of DC Cover Girls statues, but I confess that I often feel bad that I didn’t jump on board with the original Adam Hughes run. A lot of those statues are difficult to come by for reasonable prices these days, so I’ve dismissed any prospects of ever going back and collecting them now. Fortunately, DC Collectibles has decided to take one of the best pieces in that line and give it a remake in an up-scaled sixth-scale format. Let’s check out the new DC Designer Series Adam Hughes Wonder Woman statue!

This Amazon Goddess comes in your typical fully enclosed DC Collectibles statue box and is limited to 5,000 pieces. The box is mostly white, has a blue side panel, and features several photos of the statue inside. It also has a logo celebrating Wonder Woman’s 75th Anniversary. The packaging is totally collector friendly and the statue itself comes sandwiched between two styrofoam bricks with the stand stored in a separate compartment on the outside of one of those trays. Once you get her unwrapped, all you have to do is plug her foot posts into the stand (the posts on mine went in easily, but are not quite flush with the base) and she’s good to go. I will pause here for a moment to say while this statue was billed as a cold cast porcelain piece (much like the Cover Girls statues, there are parts of it that look and feel more like resin, so I’m not entirely sure about the materials we’re dealing with here.

But whatever materials are used here, Diana is absolutely gorgeous! This iconic pose comes from the cover of Wonder Woman V2, Issue #150, which is itself a stunning piece of art, and I’ve got to say that the sculptor, Jack Mathews, has pulled it off perfectly in 3D. Her arms are stretched above her with each hand holding on to her golden lasso as the gilded magical rope coils and dances around her. The composition here is bold, majestic, noble, and bespeaks everything there is to be said about the Princess of the Amazons. And while this is a sixth-scale statue, the fact that she’s on a base and has her arms stretched upward, she actually measures in at just under 15 inches tall.

The outfit is both classic and simple, consisting of her iconic one-piece. The front features the wide golden wing border over her chest and the very large gold belt around her waist. Both areas are painted in a lush gold leaf paint that gives off a brushed metal look when viewed in the right lighting. Both the chest and waist pieces are sculpted as well as painted and the lines between them and the red middle are fairly clean. I had to get in pretty close and view it from a low angle to really see any minor deviations in the line. Diana’s blue “undies” are painted with a very vibrant shade of blue and speckled with razor sharp white stars. Lastly, her boots are red with white stripes running down the centers and white borders circling the tops. They also feature a very cool texture to make them look and feel like leather.

I’m extremely happy with the way the portrait came out as well. Her chin is lifted slightly upward, but no so much that it interferes with viewing the statue from dead on. Diana features soft, but well-defined facial features and crisply painted lips, eyes, and eyebrows. Her hair blows backwards and off her shoulders, and her gold tiara can be seen on her forehead, peeking out from her hair. If there’s one gripe I have, it’s that the ears didn’t receive quite the same level of detail as the rest, but they’re mostly obscured by her hair anyway. Now’s also a good time to come back to the question of materials, because I’m pretty sure that all the exposed skin is resin. It definitely isn’t flesh paint over porcelain. Whatever the case, I love what they did here. It gives her skin an extra warm and more realistic look, which contrasts beautifully with the matte paint used for much of the outfit.

And speaking of materials, the golden lasso is made of a springy wire, which is perfect in that it allows it to hold its intended shape, while not being brittle and prone to breaking. It’s even patterned to look like actual rope. I anticipated having to go through a lot of fussing and bother to get her lasso to look the way it’s supposed to, but it turns out that none of that was necessary. The statue actually comes out of the box with the lasso in it’s intended position, and that fact by itself is pretty damn impressive to me.

The base is a simple black disc, but it is extremely heavy. The figure is no slouch either, but in this case, the base clearly makes up most of the weight. That means you don’t have to worry about this lady toppling over, probably not even if you bump her. The stand includes Diana’s sculpted Wonder Woman emblem, which is also painted in the same lush gold leaf paint used for her costume. The bottom of the base features the statue’s hand numbered limitation. Mine is 3064 of 5000.

I can’t even express how happy I am that DC Collectibles decided to give this beautiful statue a new lease on life.  She’s an absolutely gorgeous update to the original piece and displays a level of quality and craftsmanship that actually feels like it exceeds the cost of the piece. And at just a smidge over $100, she actually clocks in at considerably less than you’re apt to find the smaller, original release. I own a lot of DC Comics Statutes, but this one is going to get a place of honor somewhere in my display. Previously, my favorite Wonder Woman statue was the first Wonder Woman Bishoujo statue by Kotobukiya, but this piece may usurp that one. Now, the only question is can the next DC Designer Series Wonder Woman (by Frank Cho and set to release next month) possibly upstage this one? I’m excited to find out.

DC Super-Villains: Johnny Quick and Atomica by DC Collectibles

It’s no secret that Forever Evil and Injustice League constitute a comic arc that is saturated with bad guys. Much of it reads like a who’s who of DC Super-Villains. And yet there are two characters in that weighty roster of scumbags that stand out as being truly horrible people. Yup, they would be Johnny Quick and Atomica. Holy shit did this pair feature in some great panels and some of their antics made the rest of the Crime Syndicate look like boy scouts by comparison. DC Collectibles released the entire New 52 Crime Syndicate as part of their Super-Villains line. A few weeks back, I had a look at Deathstorm and today I’m checking out this pair.

Johnny comes in the same type of window box that DCC has been using for all their New 52 figures, although they have been going with a black deco for the Super-Villains line accompanied by a splash of color themed for the character within. It’s collector friendly and shows the figure off well. So well, that I could see I had a problem as soon as I got him out of the shipping box. Apparently, there have been issues with the paint on Johnny’s vest fading and that’s certainly what happened here. I considered sending him back, but he was really cheap so let’s press on…

Here he is out of the box and faded chest paint aside, I love almost everything about this figure. What I didn’t love is that his left foot fell off right out of the tray and I had to glue it back on. Sheesh… the plastic gods are not smiling on me today. Anyway, the costume has a delightfully cheesy, retro flavor to it that contrasts beautifully with the fact that Quick is such an evil bastard. I get a strong Super Sentai vibe off of this design and I really love it.

There’s some wonderful attention to detail in the sculpted suit, which includes ribbing on what I presume is the exposed body suit, and lots of jagged, lightning-like edges on the armor and gauntlets. The brilliant metallic paint looks fantastic… except on his vest where it has faded. Yeah, that vest issue really sucks. It’s obviously  supposed to match the rest of his costume, but it’s gone so pale that it looks like another color paint entirely. At first, I thought it was sun fading, but it’s like that on the front and back. This is apparently a problem with this figure, as I’ve seen a handful of other reports from collectors with similar issues. It almost looks like it’s painted that way by design, but I know better. Anyway, the rest of the paint is pretty good, and I like the mustard tone they used for the glove, boots, and trim.

The head sculpt here is great. While Quick was certainly a shit-bag in the comic, he had fun being one, so I would have liked to see a smirk or something, but I guess the determined expression works for me. The large bug-eyes and the back swept helmet are also pretty cool. Again, if the face was painted to match the helmet, this guy would look like he jumped right out of a Super Sentai show. I’m ready to move on to discuss his articulation, but before I do, both shoulders are stuck, so pardon me while I boil some water.

Ok, so that fixed the right shoulder up great. The left shoulder is still a little sticky, but we’ll press on. One of the most surprising things about this figure is how great the articulation is. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and hinged elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, and double hinges in the knees. The ankles have hinges and swivels, but in my case that now includes only the right ankle since the left foot is now glued on. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch in the torso, and the neck is ball jointed. And… OH FOR F’CK’S SAKE!!!

And then that happened. So, suffice it to say… this figure is cursed. From a bad paint job to two joint issues, he’s just a mess and I’m really disappointed. I love the design of this guy, I loved to hate him in the comic, and now I can’t even enjoy him on my shelf. Let’s bag it and just move on to Atomica.

Yes, Johnny also comes with his tiny girlfriend, Atomica. She’s a character that played a pretty big part in the New 52 Justice League and she’s had an appropriate amount of love from DC Collectibles. She last graced the pages of FZZ as a DC Icons figure and a damn good one at that. Of course, this one is a simple static piece, but very well sculpted and painted for such a tiny gal. They even sculpted her itty bitty goggles down around her neck. And I don’t have to worry about any of her limbs falling off because she doesn’t have any joints. She does come permanently attached to a clear disc base.

Well, needless to say this DC Friday didn’t go as planned. The only good news is I picked up Johnny Quick on clearance, so he was dirt cheap and I’m not out that much money. The bad news is, I love this figure so much, I’m considering trying my luck a second time. I know, it’s rewarding bad QC and it’s potentially throwing good money after bad, but I really want this figure on my shelf.

DS: “Sucks, dude…”

DS: “Let’s go murder some people. That always makes you feel better.” 

S-W: “I know I should be more sympathetic, but he’s kind of a dick.” 

Arkham Origins: Dr. Harleen Quinzel, The Electrocutioner, and Lady Shiva by DC Collectibles

It’s been over a week since I last had a day off from work. I’m exhausted and keeping up with FFZ’s content this week has been a real drain on me. Nonetheless, with just one day left, I wanted to finish off the week so I could collapse and rest for the weekend. Let’s see, what did I have scheduled for this DC Friday? Oh, shit… a box set of three figures? Oooook, let’s get to it…  As some of you may know, I’ve been picking up the figures based on the Arkham video games, even though I’ve only played the first two so far. I really like the designs for a lot of these characters and in some cases these allow me to get characters into my collection that aren’t otherwise available. This Arkham Origins set caught my eye at a game store a little while back and the price was right, so it went home with me.

The figures come in a pretty standard window box with the back showing off all the other figures available in this series. This set is actually my first from the Arkham Origins game, but definitely won’t be my last. The crazy thing about this series is that the figures tend to run all over the place in terms of cost. This set was pretty cheap, while some of the individually packaged figures have become crazy expensive. Let’s start with Harley… whoops, I mean Harleen!

I’m not sure why, but DC Direct, and now DC Collectibles, have had some issues in the past with females in civvies. They tend to look more clunky than they should, but I’m happy to say that’s not the case with Dr. Quinzel here. She sports a black skirt, red blouse, and white lab coat and there’s some really nice detail here, including the sprig of holly on her lapel, her security badge, and even the diamond pattern belt buckle that hints at the costume design for her future alter-ego. Indeed, I really dig how even the colors here are just a rearrangement of Harley Quinn’s classic look. Granted, the knee joints are a bit clunky, but otherwise this is a great looking figure. And speaking of joints, the articulation here is fair. Most of the useful points are in her arms, with rotating hinges at the shoulders, hinges in her elbows, and swivels in her biceps and wrists. The legs have swivels hidden up under the skirt, the aforementioned hinges in the knees, and she has a t-crotch, which is inhibited quite a bit by the skirt. Finally, she has a ball joint in the neck.

Even the portrait is pretty damn stellar.  Keep in mind, DCC’s paint tends to fall apart when you get in real close with the camera, but to the naked eye, this is a phenomenal head sculpt with some really great paintwork to back it up. The eyes are unfortunately uneven, but it’s really hard to tell that without a zoomed lens, and these have got to be some of the best eyeglasses sculpted in this scale that I’ve ever seen. Also, check out how the collar on her blouse pops up instead of just being sculpted as part of the buck. That’s a great touch!

Harleen comes with one accessory and that’s her clipboard. She can hold it in either hand, but it’s really intended for her right. It would have been cool if they could have printed a sheet of paper on it with The Joker’s file or something, but as it is it’s just empty.

I’ve wanted a figure of Harleen for a while now, and this one really scratches that itch. It’s a great sculpt and while she may not be the most exciting figure when it comes to articulation and accessories, she looks great on display. Next up… The Electrocutioner!

Even though he’s based off the video game, The Electrocutioner is everything I could hope for in a DCEU version of the character. The bulky electro suit is packed with details, from rumples to stitching, to all the little bits of wire that presumably make shoot electric bolts of death. In the tradition of modern comic book movies, it takes a very comic-booky design and ramps it up with a dose of realism. I particularly love the battery packs strapped along each of his sides. The heavy armored chest plate, boots, and knee pads give him an even more formidable look. And while he’s mostly a dark figure, he has some bright yellow and blue on his cables that makes him stand out. He also has some red striping added, which forms a “V” on his chest, reminiscent of some of his comic appearances. All in all, I think this is a damn cool design.

The head sculpt is also excellent and features a gruesome area of scarring on the left side of his face, where the flesh has practically been stripped down to the muscle. The red paint in the left eye is a particularly nice touch.

Like Harleen, the articulation here is fairly good, but has a few unfortunate restrictions. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, double hinges in the elbows, and the wrists can swivel. That’s all great, but the hips are a simple t-crotch, which is disappointing. The knees are, however, double hinged, and he has swivel cuts at the tops of his boots. There’s no articulation in his chest, but his neck is on a ball joint. Overall, I don’t mind the curtailed articulation here all that much, because Electrocutioner is a freaking tank and doesn’t really need it.

The Electrocutioner is completed with a pair of extra hands with open grips. I don’t feel that these were really necessary and I doubt I would have missed them if they were omitted, but it’s always nice to have options. The yellow cables simply unplug from the fists to allow you to change them out. I don’t really have a whole lot of history with Electrocutioner from my romps through reading DC Comics, but he’s a cool character and this is a great looking figure.  And that brings us to the final figure… Lady Shiva!

I was really impressed with the look of this figure before I even got her out of the box. The finery on her top is not only a great design, but DCC did a wonderful job translating it to this figure. Everything is sculpted from the gold fasteners to the sash tied around her waist and the gold fixtures at the ends and the paint really pops against the rest of the black costume. In reality, it’s probably not the most versatile attire for martial arts, but we’re talking comics and video games here, so I’m happy to sacrifice plausibility for a fantastic looking costume like this one.

Again, we have an excellent portrait with some nice depth to the face coming from the way it’s framed by the hair. I also dig the jade colored paint they used for her eyes. The articulation here is almost identical to what we saw on Harleen. The swivels in the legs are at the boots instead of up in the thighs, and Shiva has a better range of motion in the hips because she isn’t inhibited by the skirt. With that having been said, articulation that I found acceptable in the previous two figures feels really limited here. Shiva should be able to all kinds of crazy moves and poses, and you really can’t do much of that with this figure.

Lady Shiva comes with her sword and scabbard. There is unfortunately nowhere to attach the scabbard to the figure, which makes it fairly superfluous. Otherwise, the sword is a nice enough piece and her right hand is sculpted to hold it perfectly.

My guess is that this set was around $50-60 originally, but I got it on clearance for around $30 and that’s not a bad deal at all. In truth, I bought it mostly for Harleen and was just pleasantly surprised by the other two. All three of these figures look fantastic in terms of both sculpting and paintwork and really show that DCC at their best. The articulation is certainly lacking a bit, although the nature of Harleen and Buchinsky makes it more forgivable. In the case of Shiva, it hurts a little more. All this figure needed was some ball jointed hips to make her truly shine.

I had originally planned on doing an Anime Saturday post tomorrow, but I’m going to bow out in favor of some recoup time. Appropriately, I’ll be spending this DC Friday night seeing Wonder Woman and I’ll spend the rest of the weekend doing as little as possible! 

 

DC Icons: (#21) Deathstroke by DC Collectibles

Collecting the Icons series has been quite the roller-coaster ride. The line swelled pretty quickly and with a slew of releases planned for this Summer, it only seemed to be gaining more and more steam. I was sure we were looking at the next DC Universe Classics. And then DC Collectibles began the cancellations and it seemed as if the writing was on the wall. Right now, we’re getting mixed signals, with some figures still shipping, but I think it’s safe to say this line is on its way out. DCC blames poor retailer support. Either way, I’m not going to let my support for the line falter. Today I’m checking out Figure #21: Deathstroke!

The packaging remains unchanged from the last Icons figures I looked at, and it’s actually very similar to DCC’s Designer Series as well. Hey, why not go with what works! You get a nice clean design with a large wrap-around window to show off the goods. The left panel includes the name of the figure, the number in the series, and the comic that he was pulled from, in this case, The Judas Contract, a real classic, and the subject of a recent DC Animated film. Very good choice! Let’s open up this box and check out Slade Wilson!

As far as costumes go, Deathstroke is about as iconic as they get. I wouldn’t think that orange and metallic blue would go so well together, but I guess it works for The Hobgoblin too. Here we have Deathstroke in all his classic comic book glory. He features some ridiculously exaggerated buccaneer boots and gauntlets, and sculpted scale armor on his legs, arms, and lower chest. The upper chest and shoulders are matte black, which leads into his mask. The use of all original sculpting is a big part of what makes this line shine, and there’s plenty of that on display with this figure. I particularly love all the detail in his belt, right down to the pouches and grenades. He also features a belt of ammunition slung across his chest.

From the back, we can get a good look at Slade’s sword and scabbard. The scabbard pegs into his back and stays on firmly. It’s orange, to match the costume, and it features gold painted fixtures. And a closeup of the holster shows that his revolver fits into it… well sort of. I wish they had put a hole in the bottom to pass the barrel through. As it is, it rides kind of high. That’s probably convenient for those quick draw situations, but not so beneficial when it falls out unexpectedly.

I’ve already mentioned the coloring on this figure, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t praise both the quality and application of the paint. The metallic blue used for the scale armor is just so damn gorgeous and it contrasts so nicely with the matte orange. You also get some yellow applications on the trim of the gauntlets and various places on the belt. The ammo strap has more of that lovely blue, with each cartridge painted gold on the front and back, and some more gold on his collar. Even the sculpted straps for the holster are neatly painted. This is a beautiful figure!

Slade comes out of the box with his masked head, which is simple but nonetheless excellent. I really dig how the sculpt shows the contours of his face underneath it, and the one eye is superbly painted as is the black outline around it. You also get some metallic paint on the discs over the ears. The mask is rounded out with tie strings coming off the back and running down behind the neck.

And you also get the unmasked head, which is a fantastic piece of work and really presents me with an unsolvable conundrum. Which head to display him with? Which only leads me to other questions: Do I need to pick up another one of these figures so I don’t have to decide? Will it save the line if I buy two of every figure released? Because I’m prepared to do that!

Articulation is standard DC Icons stuff, which is to say it’s pretty damn good, but not quite pretty damn great. The legs have ball joints in the hips, double hinged knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. Nope, still no thigh cuts, and that’s a big part of what keeps the articulation from being all that it could be. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The torso has an ab crunch and a ball joint under the chest, and the neck is ball jointed as well. Make no mistake, this figure is tons of fun, but after playing with the Designer Series Bombshells, I can’t imagine why DCC couldn’t have added those thigh swivels.

No doubt Deathstroke comes with a lot of goodies, which I’ll run through right now, but he also has an extra pair of hands to help hold his killing tools. I’ve already shown off his revolver in the holster, so here’s a shot of it out and ready for action. It’s a good sculpt, but just cast in silver plastic and has no extra paint apps. His right hand is sculpted to hold it perfectly, trigger finger and all.

Next up, we have this assault rifle. It’s an interesting design, very futuristic, and like the revolver, he can hold it perfectly in his right hand. It’s cast in the same plastic as the pistol, and here especially I think some additional paint apps would have helped make a cool looking weapon even better.

His sword draws from the scabbard easily, and his left hand is designed to grip it firmly. The blade is made of pretty stout plastic, so it isn’t susceptible to warping and I really dig that.

And finally, Slade comes with his staff. It’s another accessory cast in silver plastic. It also separates to form two fighting batons.

DC Icons Deathstroke is such a damn great figure, I can’t help but feel sad for the Icons releases that have already been cancelled. Booster Gold, Ted Kord Blue Beetle, Etrigan, Catwoman, Sinestro, and Deadshot are all among the confirmed cancellations and that’s breaking my heart. I know, I shouldn’t be pissing all over the end of this review by dwelling on this stuff, but every time I open a new Icons figure, I just want more and more. I’m guessing it’s too late to save this line, but I still have pre-orders up for all of these figures on Amazon, where they have yet to be taken down. I know, it’s wishful thinking that I can change anything, but I’m still willing to try.

DC Comics Super-Villains: Deathstorm by DC Collectibles

Yup, every now and then I’m still picking up some of DC Collectibles’ New 52 line and the Super-Villains series was one of my favorites. I was tempted to pick up all of the Crime Syndicate, but I already have the DC Universe Classics versions, so I decided to just pick up some of the ones that Mattel never put out. Enter Deathstorm!

As usual, the figure comes in a sizable window box and it’s even branded with the Crime Syndicate logo up on the flap. This figure is based on the character’s appearance in Forever Evil where he was basically a living prison, trapping the Justice League inside his energy matrix. I really enjoy that story arc and Deathstorm had some solid moments in the events that unfolded, but the main reason I wanted the figure is because his character design is just so bad ass.

Deathstorm’s costume is a dark and sinister reflection of that of his counterpart Firestorm’s. He has a burgundy and black suit with the flared shoulders and segmented boots and bracers. He even has his own version of the energy burst symbol offset on his chest. From the neck down this is a fairly simple costume, but the figure pulls it off quite well, thanks mostly to some excellent paint work. I especially appreciate the mix of matte and gloss black.

And Deathstorm has a portrait that would make Ghost Rider proud! Yup, he’s sporting a full on skull for a face and he has a flame for hair. The skull is cast in the same translucent plastic as the flame and painted over with a dirty white finish. I’ll bet that lends to some pretty damn nice light piping.

Aw, yeah. It does! It’s a shame they couldn’t have slapped a hinge in that jaw, but it probably would have been difficult with the hood that frames it.

Speaking of articulation, Deathstorm’s got all the right points. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps and thighs, ball joints in the hips, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The torso has a waist swivel and an ab hinge, and the neck is ball jointed. Note, I didn’t mention the elbows and note that there are no visible joints on the elbows. There are actually what appears to be rotating hinges buried under rubbery sleeves. It’s really uncommon for DC to put hidden joints on a figure, and I find it odd that they chose Deathstorm to get this treatment. Unfortunately, it has some mixed results. The right elbow articulates perfectly, the left one won’t hold a bend and it’s impossible for me to know what’s going on in there. Oh well, it was a cool idea.

And that’s really all I have to say about Deathstorm. He comes with no accessories, although I’d like to think DCC sculpted a teeny tiny Justice League and inserted them all into his torso. He’s definitely a simple figure, but well executed. At least, everything but that one elbow. I picked him up at a really good price from an online comic shop, and I only wish the rest of the Crime Syndicate were going for reasonable prices these days, because I wouldn’t mind having more of them to go with him. As it is, I only have two other members of the Syndicate from this series, and I’ll be coming back around to look at them in a few weeks.

DC Bombshells (DC Designer Series): Poison Ivy by DC Collectibles

After a little mid-wave sabbatical last week, I’m back on target to work on finishing off this amazing assortment of action figures based on the DC Bombshells art and statues. The third figure up on deck is Poison Ivy!

If you’ve been on board since the beginning of the wave, then you already know all there is to know about the packaging. It shows off the figure wonderfully and it is totally collector friendly. You also get some nice character art on the side panel so you can identify who is who when the boxes are lined up on a shelf. I have to be honest, Ivy was probably my least anticipated figure of this wave, so let’s see how she ranks among some pretty stiff competition.

Batwoman was aimed at America’s Greatest Pastime, Wonder Woman referenced WWII Posters, and Poison Ivy here is squarely targeting the cheesecake pin-up style of the 1940’s. As such she comes wearing not much at all, just her chlorophyll-infused skivvies: Bra, panties, stockings, and high heels. All of her outfit is integrated into the sculpt, so the only thing on this figure that’s achieved by paint alone are her amazingly cool tattoos and the vine patterns on her legs, which I assume are supposed to be part of the stockings, but this is Poison Ivy, so you never know! Particularly nice touches include the sculpted bow in the center of her bra and her garter belts. I’ll also note that this is one of the few times I can remember where a figure in this scale had high heeled shoes that didn’t come out looking like granny shoes. Ivy comes out of the box with a pair of fists, which I don’t find a lot of use for with this figure. Luckily, she does have two other pairs of hands to choose from.

The portrait definitely has the whole pin-up style down pat. I don’t think they were going for any specific actress, but the hair style feels influenced by the famous pin-up artwork by Alberto Vargas. The paint applications for the eyes and lips is quite good, and the sculpted rose in her hair is a very nice touch. This shot also provides a better look at her lovely tats… and by that I mean tattoos!

The articulation here is right in line with what we saw for the last two figures and as such it’s some of the best pose-ability I’ve seen in any of DC Collectibles’ lines. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, with swivels in the thighs, and double hinges in the elbows. The hips are ball jointed, but also seem to have a sort of hinged dog-bone up in there, that allow for even more range of motion. Further down we get swivels at the tops of the stockings, double hinges in the knees, and the ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. There’s an ab crunch hinge and a ball joint under the chest, and the neck is ball jointed. My figure’s left bicep swivel was stuck, but a little warm water fixed that. I should also note that while those heels look great, Ivy is a difficult figure to keep standing!

If Poison Ivy stumbles a bit where the others excelled, it would be in the area of accessories. Now, don’t get me wrong, the accessories she comes with are definitely on point for the character, but by their nature, I didn’t have quite as much fun using them with the figure as I did with the previous two releases. It might also have something to do with the fact that the other figures were kitted out more for action, whereas Ivy is in her underwear. I wouldn’t call these complaints, she just has a different feel to her in that sense. With that having been said, the first accessory is a simple rose.

The other accessory is a little more interesting and also a tad frustrating. It’s a coil of vine with a snapping head on the end. I like it. It’s a cool looking piece, but it’s hard to figure out exactly what she’s meant to do with it. None of the official photos of the figure that I’ve seen have her interacting with hit. I managed to come up with some OK things for her to do with it, but I still feel like I’m missing out on exactly what was intended here.

I feel as if I’m more critical of this figure than the others and I’m not sure why. The truth is she’s a fantastic sculpt with some beautiful coloring, and a superb level of articulation. It’s true that Ivy is my least favorite figure of the three I’ve opened so far, but in this assortment of figures, that’s not something she should be ashamed about. On the next DC Friday, I’ll wrap up the wave with a look at Harley Quinn. Was I saving the best for last? The worst for last? Come on back and find out!

DC Designer Series: Batgirl (Babs Tarr) Statue by DC Collectibles

I’m taking a mid-wave break from reviewing the excellent DC Bombshells action figures to check out a statue that’s been long overdue for my collection. It’s rare that I court a statue for as long as I longed after this one. Sure, sometimes I’ll waffle a bit and other times I’ll wait for a deal, but this Babs Tarr Designer Series Batgirl Statue is one that I started eyeballing way back when the teaser art was first introduced. Then it was revealed to be part of the B&W Series. I loved the art direction, loved the sculpt, but wasn’t keen on it being a B&W piece and it was too small to really fit in with my mostly 9-inch or 12-inch scale statue collection. But, as if in answer to all my reservations, DC Collectibles re-worked the statue back in 2015 as a full color sixth-scale piece. I was in love again, but there were so many reports of QC issues and statues arriving broken, despite being new in sealed boxes. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, when my infatuation finally won the day, and I decided to roll the dice and risk disappointment or else forever regret what might have been.

While this is my first DC Designer Series statue, the packaging is very similar to my beloved Cover Girls line. It’s a fully enclosed and collector friendly box with a brick of styrofoam inside that houses the statue. The box on mine is a little beat up and there’s some heavy rubbing on the sides. Oh, man. I can’t tell you how nervous I was as I sliced the tape and prepared to reveal the statue inside. The Interwebs are littered with pictures of this statue with pieces broken off of it, I was terrified mine was going to be a mess, and this distressed box isn’t helping to calm my fears. Nevertheless, I came this far, and I just had to see how my luck turned out…

Well, it turned out pretty freaking great, thank you very much! Not only did the statue arrive without any breakage, but the paint quality and overall coloring on this piece are both superb. Setting her up simply requires that you peg her foot into the base with the metal rod and she’s all ready to go. Before getting started, I will mention that while this figure is billed as being cold-cast porcelain, there’s definitely some mixed media going on, namely the plastic used for her the skin tone of her face, and I’m pretty sure the hands and some other fixtures are resin. That’s not a complaint, mind you, as the results are fantastic, but just an observation. And the statue still has a remarkable heft to it, especially as I’m used to the smaller Cover Girls.

Where to begin the love fest? Well, for starters I think the pose really captures this iteration of the character perfectly. She’s got one foot kicking back behind the other, a little playful lean on her right hip, and her left hand fiddling with the pouch on her utility belt. They did such a great job bringing this costume to life. There’s just enough detail to keep things interesting, but it still manages to capture that rather simple animated art style of the book. And she’s so damn colorful! Granted, a big part of that comes from this costume design, but credit has to be given to the team of artists at DC Collectibles for translating it so perfectly into this piece. The purple and black matte finish on the suit is smooth and practically flawless and it contrasts so beautifully with the bright and glossy yellow used on her big, chunky boots, gloves, bat symbol and utility belt. Some silver paint on her zippers and black lacings on her boots round out the costume beautifully.

The portrait is just plain adorable. I love the way her head tilts down to the left while she glances up to the right with her big green eyes. And that smile says it all! Her cowl appears to be sculpted separately from the face, which gives the head some welcome depth, even more so than if there were just sculpted lines. The reddish-orange hair swirls around her neck and drapes down her left shoulder. There’s so much personality in this portrait, and like the pose I think it just captures Babs Tarr’s Batgirl perfectly.

The beast of a base is a simple black disc, which is a heavy slab that all but ensures Batgirl won’t be taking any dives off the shelf. It has a bat symbol cut deeply into it, and I really dig the way they outlined the cut lines with purple paint. It makes for quite a striking statement. The bottom of the base features the hand-numbered limitation. Mine is 1,990 of 5,200.

It’s always a tricky thing, pining after something on your want list for so long. Can it possibly live up to the anticipation and expectations? Well, in this case, Batgirl certainly did. I was in love with this statue when I first saw it, and I’m just as much now that it’s in hand. It’s been so long since this statue debuted, I don’t even remember it’s original MSRP. I’m guessing it was somewhere in the $100-125 ballpark. I picked up mine from a comic shop on Ebay for about $85 shipped and I am so damned happy to finally have this gal on my shelf. Every little thing about this piece works for me. The colors are gorgeous, the pose is so perfect, and I actually set her on the shelf beside my desk, at least temporarily, so I can admire her every now and then, before retiring her to the display case in the spare room. I’m looking forward to picking up some more statues in this series, and I’m pretty sure my next one will be the Amanda Connor Starfire.

DC Bombshells (DC Designer Series): Wonder Woman by DC Collectibles

On the last DC Friday, I started digging into the first wave of the new DC Bombshells action figures. These figures are based on a line of statues, which conceptualize DC Characters (mostly the gals) in a 1940’s style. I kicked things off with a look at Batwoman, and boy was I impressed. Today, I’m pressing on and opening up my second figure in the assortment… Wonder Woman!

Clean, attractive, functional, and collector friendly. These are all words that I would use to describe DCC’s packaging these days. You also get some wonderful Bombshells character art on the side panel so you can line these up on a bookshelf and still know who is who. In this case, you also get a sticker on the window proclaiming the 75th Anniversary of Wonder Woman, and my doesn’t she still look great for her age! Normally, I’m quick to throw out action figure packaging, but I’m actually holding on to these boxes for now. I know, I probably won’t be able to keep them for long, but I want to at least give myself the option up until wave two hits.

And here she is out of the box and ready to go! If Batwoman represented America’s greatest pastime, then Wonder Woman here is going for the Rosie the Riveter, “We Can Do It!” angle. It’s a little more subtle here than a full on baseball uniform, but I still think it works very well. A big part of the success of this design for me is in the way the costume manages to stay faithful to Wonder Woman’s traditional look, while still embracing the 40’s style. The blouse, for example, features her emblem on the front, but adds a wide white collar and cuffs on the short sleeves. The blue shorts feature her iconic white stars, and her red high-heeled boots have white decorations and stars as well. The outfit is rounded out by a belt with a sculpted gold belt buckle and her famous lasso hanging off her right hip. She’s even got her wrist bracers, which are beautifully etched. All the details in the costume are part of the sculpt, and the paint is sharp and clean.

The portrait is over-the-top cheese, which certainly fits with the original statue. Wonder Woman is offering her biggest “Can Do” smile and has her hair tied up with a yellow ribbon while the bulk of her coif blows off in the breeze. I really love what they did here, but I have a feeling that it may be a little too singular a look for some collectors. It conveys the original art beautifully, but with a perpetually smiling expression, you are certainly limited in some of the poses you can pull off with her, whereas Batwoman’s portrait was more versatile. With that having been said, apart from adding in a second head, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

The articulation here is every bit as good as what we got with Batwoman. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, double hinges in the elbows, and hinged pegs in the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a ball joint in the chest and another in the neck. Once again, I’ll point out the irony that these are figures based on a line of statues, and yet they feature some of the best articulation that we’ve seen out of DCC yet. And no stuck or gummy joints, either!

In addition to three sets of hands (fists, tight gripping, and loose gripping), Wonder Woman comes with two fun accessories. The first is a wrench, and let me tell you, if you’re in the market for a wrench in this scale, this is probably one of the best ones I’ve seen. It also fits the theme here quite well. I’m sure Wonder Woman is going to use that pipe wrench to tighten the bolts on the bomb that’s going to blow up Mr. Hitler! If not, then it’s just a great metaphor for the whole “Put America to work” mobilization that made up the CCC and WPA leading up to Doublya-Doublya-Two!

The other accessory is a chain with a cinder block on one end and a ball on the other. The original statue had her breaking a chain, which obviously inspired this piece. At first, I thought it an odd accessory, but I have to confess that I’ve had a ton of fun playing around with it.

If Batwoman spoke to my love of Baseball, Wonder Woman here does the same for my love of history. Everything about this figure gels so perfectly. The design, the execution, and the amazingly fun level of articulation. I was originally on board with these figures as some inexpensive alternatives to buying the statues, but I never expected them to be so engaging, or so difficult to put down. These figures are retailing for around $25 at most online retailers, and if this style is your jam, then you really can’t go wrong. On the next DC Friday, I’m going to take a mid-wave break to check out a statue, and then I’ll start opening up the second half of this assortment of amazing figures.

DC Bombshells (DC Designer Series): Batwoman by DC Collectibles

If you are at all attuned to the collectible comic statue market, then you’ve probably seen the DC Bombshells line. They’re DC gals (and a few dudes) re-imagined as WWII-era nose art. Or at least that’s how it started. It’s since grown into a wider scope, embracing the DC characters depicted in 40’s-era style in general. The statue designs have been pretty cool and while I’ve come close to picking up a couple, I’ve managed to resist so far, mainly because I’m already struggling to find space to display my DC Cover Girls. Although, I just miiiight have one Bombshell statue on pre-order. Enter the DC Bombshells figures. You get the same re-imaginings of the characters in action figure form and at a fraction of the price. Now you’re talking! I picked up the whole first wave and I’m kicking things off today with a look at Batwoman.

The packaging should look readily familiar if you’ve picked up any DC Collectibles figures these days. They use this same style for the Designer Series, the Icons Series, the DCTV Series… just about all the Serieseses. And why not? This is clean, collector friendly packaging that show off the figures beautifully and really lets you get a solid look at not only the figure, but all the accessories you’re getting. DCC is actually releasing the Bombshells under their Designer Series, celebrating the wonderful art of Ant Lucia. Batwoman is inspired by what else? America’s greatest pastime, Baseball! Get it? Bat-Woman? Oh, you did get it. OK then, let’s check her out.

Batwoman dons a somewhat non-traditional, but quite yummy, skirted baseball uniform, which includes a low cut top, sculpted belt, high socks, dainty gloves, and glossy cleats. Naturally, the deco is inspired by her crime-fighting costume in the comics, featuring a snappy mix of black and crimson. The paintwork here is super sharp, from the silver buckle on her belt to the piping around her collar and the black stripes at the tops of her socks. Best of all, you get a glossy bat symbol across her chest. This is a great piece of inspiration and an all-around great looking figure.

A quick view from the back reveals the lettering on her uniform top: “Gotham Knights 52” I love it!

The portrait here is pretty stellar as well. She features wide green eyes, perfectly painted lips, and a flowing coif of crimson hair that spills out from her distinctive baseball cap, which features both her bat symbol and a pair of adorable little pointy bat ears. She also has just a hint of grease paint around her eyes, suggestive of her mask. All the skin tones are achieved through nekkid plastic and the stuff they used looks great.

DCC went above and beyond with the articulation here. It’s something I really didn’t expect from a line of figures based off of conceptualized statues, and yet here we have it. This is quite frankly even better articulation than we’ve been getting out of DC Icons. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, double hinges in the elbows, and hinged pegs in the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a ball joint in the chest and another in the neck. The jointing feels excellent, with no gummy hinges or stuck joints. I can’t even tell you how much fun I’ve had playing around with this figure, but hopefully the pictures will convey a little bit of it.

Accessories include three pairs of hands: Fists, bat-holding hands, and ball-holding hands. She also comes with a catcher’s mitt, a baseball, and a bat. The mitt is just another hand that can be swapped out and it’s sculpted to hold the ball perfectly so you can recreate some amazing catches. Batwoman doesn’t let anything get past her… not even those pop flys!

If there’s anything in this package that’s disappointing, it would have to be the bat. It pains me to say that, because it’s an excellent sculpt with a very realistic wood-grain finish. It even has her name engraved on it and a tiny bat emblem on the tip. So what’s the problem? It just feels too small. Maybe I’m off base (HA!) on this. I dig baseball a whole lot, but I’m no expert. Nonetheless, I just get a sense that the bat isn’t regulation and that it’s under-scaled for the figure. Make no mistake, it’s not enough to tarnish my love for this gal, but worth mentioning nonetheless. Besides, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have anything negative to say here at all.

Am I gushing? I’ve been gushing, haven’t I? Well, truth be told, I was really looking forward to getting this first wave of Bombshells figures in hand, and I gotta tell ya, after opening up Batwoman, this gal does not disappoint. Everything about this figure, from the sculpt to the paint to the super fun articulation is just about perfect. I love the spirit behind these designs and I am suitably impressed at how this figure manages to capture the look of the statue while delivering all the fun that goes along with a fun action figure. I’m chomping at the bit to open up another, but sadly, that’ll have to wait until the next DC Friday.