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.

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DC Comics Super-Villains: “New 52” Captain Cold by DC Collectibles

The New 52 may be a thing of the past, but I still have some unfinished business with its action figure legacy. DC Collectibles has certainly done their part to immortalize this controversial era in plastic form and among these lines, one of my favorites has been DC Comics Super-Villains. I recently found a box of these stashed up on a shelf in one of my closets from just before Christmas. It’s been almost a year since I last looked at any figures from this line, so today I’m going to open up Captain Cold!

The window box is right in line with what DCC was using for most of their figures at the time of this release. It’s pretty generic, but it’s also crisp and snappy and I kind of like it. The window shows off the figure very well, you get a shot of the figure on one of the side panels, which is perfect if you want to keep these boxed and line them up on a shelf. You also get an extended back with a J-hook if you want to pin them to the wall. The box is black to give it that Super-Villains vibe and DCC always threw in a splash of color on these boxes to coordinate them match the figure. In this case it’s a really nice shade of blue. As always, everything is collector friendly, but I don’t save these boxes. I barely have space for the figures!

And here’s Snart out of the box. While I tend to be OK with a lot of the costume changes in the New 52 Era (Yes, I realize that’s a minority opinion to hold), I was not overly pleased with Snart’s. In fact, next to New 52’s first version of Poison Ivy, Captain Cold’s look is one of my least favorite of the whole shebang. With his weird hat-hood, his sleeveless jacket, and his Art Deco vibe, I’m just not sure what they were going for here when they designed it. That’s not to say the figure doesn’t look good. DCC did a fine job translating this look to figure form. The white paint is super clean, the shade of blue is gorgeous, and the gold belt really makes the figure pop all the more. Overall, the paint lines are pretty clean too.

My one complaint is that they really cheaped out on his jacket, as it’s molded as part of the torso. It looks fine from the back, but the open flaps on the front are chunky and not terribly convincing. DCC has done plenty of jackets by overlaying a separate plastic vest onto the figure, and since this one is sleeveless, not going that route here seems like a huge missed opportunity.

The head sculpt here is quite good and the distinctive glasses at least provide some link to Snart’s more classic look. I’m still not a fan of that weird hood-hat, though. As for articulation… Well, DCC has made some major strides in articulation since the DC Direct days, but you wouldn’t really know it from this figure. His arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, and hinges in the elbows. His right hand has a swivel, but that’s only because it pegs in, as the left wrist has no articulation. The hips feature a standard T-crotch, which at this point is a terribly dated design. The leg articulation is rounded out by simple hinges in the knees. The head may be ball jointed, but I can only get a swivel out of it. Truth be told, this is still better than what we usually got with DC Direct, but not by much.

Luckily, this figure really shines through his effect parts. For starters, the forearm is all iced over and it looks fantastic. It’s cast in jagged, shimmery plastic and it’s probably the most convincing ice I’ve ever seen in plastic. It’s also sharp as hell in some parts. I also really dig how they painted the icy veins in the bicep as part of the effect. This is great stuff. As already mentioned, this forearm is designed to pop off so you can swap it out with his other ice effect…

A spiked ice ball!  This thing is a pretty big accessory, and because of it, Snart here probably uses more plastic than any other standard release in this line. This thing looks every bit as good as the other ice arm and those spikes are really sharp. I got a couple of ouchies when I was trying to peg it into the arm.

Finally, Captain Cold comes with an ice dagger that he can hold in his left hand. While not as impressive a sculpt as the other two ice pieces, it’s still pretty cool.

The Super-Villains figures tended to run around $21 a pop. Some have gone up in the meantime, others have gone down. I remember picking up Captain Cold and some others before Christmas for under $10, and a deal like that can certainly temper my expectations for a figure. That having been said, this guy is just a roller coaster of ups and downs. I don’t dig the look all that much, but I really loved Snart in his Post-Forever Evil Justice League appearances with Lex Luthor. The articulation isn’t great, but stand him up there on the shelf with his ice effects, and he looks pretty damn good. If nothing else, he can keep my New 52 Flash figure company.

DC Comics: Lex Luthor ArtFX+ Statue by Kotobukiya

I started this week with a Kotobukiya Marvel statue, so I might as well end it with a Kotobukiya DC statue. Yes, despite telling myself that I was done with Koto’s amazing line of 1:10 Scale DC ArtFX+ statues, it seems I got pulled back in. I originally got into this line to pick up the Justice League and get out. Later, I wound up grabbing Catwoman and Batgirl, but I still never intended to be “all in” with these. That having been said, when I came across a sale on some of the ones I didn’t have, I found my resolve weakening. And so after almost three years since I opened my last one of these beauties, Lex Luthor is joining the display!

A lot of people seem to be smitten with this packaging, but I’m not a big fan. It looks great, but it’s delicate so it doesn’t store well, and it’s really susceptible to scratches and rubbing. I prefer the colorful and sturdier enclosed boxes that Koto used for their Marvel ArtFX+ series. Those boxes were keepers, these just get pitched. They seldom survived the trip to me in good condition anyhow. As with the rest of this line, Lex is based off his New 52 appearance. Sure, there were a few things about The New 52 that didn’t work for me, and only a handful of books kept me engaged until the end, but Justice League was a solid book, and I absolutely loved what they did with Luthor during this run.

Similarly, I absolutely love what Koto did with this statue. While they have mixed things up with some recent DC ArtFX+ releases, the poses generally favor museum-style composition over action. Here Lex stands with both hands balled into fists in a pose that just oozes power. If I were to nitpick one thing here, it’s that I wish they had orientated him so that his head was turning to his right and not his left, but only because I think he would display better with the ArtFX+ Superman that way. Then again, when I do put them together the right way, it looks like Supes is staring at Lex suspiciously, as if to say, “So you want to join the Justice League, eh? Pfft… over my dead body.” To which I say, “Pssst, Superman, I hate to break it to you, but you don’t survive The New 52. Oh, and Lex becomes a kind of Apokolips God-being.” Either way, as a stand alone piece, I think the pose here is flawless.

This line has been big on using beautiful high gloss paint and that certainly is the case here as well and it makes for an absolutely striking figure. In fact, the only matte finish on this statue comes from Lex’s bald head. The armor itself is painted in an exquisite combination of metallic purple and green and the sculpted lines and contours of the armor is exactly what I would like to see from a modern DCEU version of Lex’s Power Armor. And yes I said, “like to see” not “expect to see.” I mean, Christ the DCEU can’t even get Flash’s suit right… that shit is a lost cause. Not to mention, just look at who their Lex Luthor is. Sorry. The DCEU triggers me every damn time. I’m going to take a deep breath, count to three and press on…

The portrait is a little on the soft side, for example there isn’t a lot of detail in his gritting teeth, but I chalk that up to a stylistic choice for this line. The rage-filled expression isn’t so much the “I want to join the Justice League. I can make a difference” Lex as it is the “I’m going to annihilate the shit out of The Crime Syndicate” Lex. Either way, I love it.

As usual, the statue comes with a black metal square base that attracts the magnets in the feet to help him stay upright. It’s not really necessary as he stands just fine on his own, but I still dig that they toss that feature in for some added stability.

I seem to recall the original retail on these statues to be around $50-55, but the actual market prices run the gamut from the low thirties to the high fifties. Granted, there are a few exceptions, like Catwoman or Supergirl which often reaches the low $70’s. The magic number for Lex was $30 and for that I simply could not resist. From a quality perspective, they’re certainly worth it up to the higher end of that spectrum. This is Kotobukiya we’re talking about, a company that is always dedicated to delivering quality and craftsmanship. Originally, I wanted to stick with just the Justice League, because that group of seven makes for a perfect display on my shelf. Each and every one of those statues was designed to work as stand alone pieces, but also display as a set. But with Catwoman, Batgirl, and now Lex off in the background, I may have opened myself up to collecting this line again. Even now, I find myself eyeing up Lex’s New 52 bodyguard, Captain Cold.

Femme Fatales “DC Animated Series:” Catwoman by Diamond Select

I started this week with a Marvel DST Statue, so let’s end it with a DC DST Statue. That seems only fair. Besides, the lovely Bruce Timm styled Catwoman has been sitting around waiting to be opened for over a month now. Diamond has been reworking this line into the DC Animated Gallery so that they can include some dudes, but Catwoman is still under the name Femme Fatales. Time to let this kitty out of the box!

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Speaking of the box, we’ve seen this packaging before. There are windows on three sides as well as the top panel to let a lot of light in and allow you to scrutinize the paint on your purchase before handing your money over to local comic shop guy. But not me. Oh no. My local comic shop ain’t so local. It’s over an hour away, so I have to roll the dice and hope the Amazon gods are smiling on the day their drone picks mine from the warehouse. There’s no assembly required here, so Selina comes out of the box all ready for action…

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And looking every bit like she pounced right out of the cartoon! Catwoman is wearing her skin tight gray body suit that shows off all of her wonderful womanly curves. As this is an animated piece there’s not a whole lot going on in the way of sculpted detail, just a lot of smooth surfaces. But at the same time, everything about the costume is part of the sculpt, so you get clear definitions at the edges of the boots and gloves and the string of yellow disks that make up her belt. The whip that she clutches in her left hand is a strip of bendy plastic and you can position it so it lands on the base by her foot or dangling off the side.

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As a budget line, I’ve been taking the paint quality on these in stride. None of my pieces in this line have had outrageously bad paint (just that Marvel Gallery Lady Deadpool!), but some have been better than others. I’m overall pleased with what I got here, although these statues tend to suffer from rubbing and light scratching over the large smooth areas. That was most prevalent with the gray suit on my Batgirl and it’s still the case with this piece. Granted, the studio lights and scrutiny of the camera tend to make it look worse than it is when displayed under normal lights. It would be great if they could clean this up, but I’ve learned to live with it. Otherwise, the only paint issue I can see on mine is a bit of yellow slop from her belt on her left hip, and that’s a pretty small flub.

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The portrait matches the animated style pretty well. Again, she has sculpted lines around her hood and mask and between the mask and her skin. The paint lines between skin and mask could have been a little sharper, but I’m really picking nits here, especially on a piece in this price range. The red paint used for her lips, on the other hand, is nice and clean.

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DST really went all out on the base here. It’s a rather large slab of rooftop with stone texturing and some sculpted bricks. That seriously would have been plenty, but they opted to add an adorable little kitty cat emerging from a chimney with a sack of diamonds in his mouth. This extra bit really goes a long way to give this piece some wonderful personality and I’m glad they did it.

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Once again, I find myself delighted to be collecting this line, especially since I’ve been resisting the urge to collect DST’s line of DC Animated figures. These statues give me some of that wonderful Bruce Timm style for my shelves, and between the low price point and frequency of releases, it’s something that I feel I can collect at my leisure and not worry about getting too far behind. These pieces continue to retail at about $45, but Amazon has been pretty competitive and pricing them between $30-$40, and that feels like a decent value to me.

Cover Girls of the DC Universe: Bleez by DC Collectibles

A few weeks ago, I remember lamenting the fact that Cover Girls was already awarding second versions of statues to A-listers like Wonder Woman and Catwoman when there were still so many lesser known characters that hadn’t been done at all. Well, behold the counter-argument: Red Lantern Bleez! With a tragic history and muddled allegiances, I best came to know Bleez in the pages of New Guardians. She’s a delightfully odd choice for a slot in the Cover Girls line, and you know what’s even odder? She’s quite possibly the best statue this line has produced.

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This box is huge! It dwarfs even the largest Cover Girls box I have in my storage. Aside from that, there isn’t a whole lot else to say about it. It’s fully enclosed and houses a brick of styrofoam that protects the statue inside. The only assembly required is to peg the figure into the base, and this was a little trickier than usual. It was a tight fit and single metal peg did not want to go all the way in. Eventually, I settled for getting it most of the way in. For all I know, that’s as far as it’s meant to go and at least the statue feels perfectly stable.

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All set up, Bleez is an impressive sight to behold. While she’s still scaled with the other Cover Girls releases, her elevated pose clocks her in at almost 11 1/2-inches as opposed to the 9 to 10-inch average of the rest of the line. She floats above a sea of flames with one knee drawn up in front of the other and the grizzly vestiges of her once magnificent wings fanned out behind her. She dons her own seductive take on the Red Lantern uniform with long black leggings connected to her one-piece with sculpted straps. The paint on this piece is stunning, both in quality and application. The matte black is coupled with a sumptuous metallic crimson on her gloves, breast cross-straps, and pointed shoulders and it contrasts nicely with the soft blue of her skin. The Red Lantern Corps emblem is sculpted into the center of her chest and flawlessly painted. There’s some great muscle definition sculpted into her abs and, well let’s just say that the rest of the tight costume leaves little to the imagination, despite covering most of her up pretty well.

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The skeletal wings are a huge draw for this piece. While the bulk of the statue is the typical cold cast porcelain we’ve seen in this line, the wings feel like resin. Obviously this was a good choice. I don’t know if it’s even possible to produce something like these bones in porcelain, but this way they’re far less likely to snap and help to alleviate some weight from the back. What’s here feels fairly sturdy and the coloring is just perfect.

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I particularly like how they sculpted the seams in the backs of her boots and leggings and… nah, just kidding. This is really just a gratuitous butt shot.

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And then you have the magnificent portrait. Bleez offers a broad smile and flashes her yellow eyes, with her face partially framed by the crimson high collar of her costume. The hood and mask are beautifully sculpted and feature some very sharp paint lines. She also has a pair of bat wings on her head that would make Capcom’s Morrigan and Lilith jealous. Did I mention the paint? Well, let’s bring it up again because it is absolutely superb and definitely some of the best I’ve seen in this line to date.

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The base features the same standard oval style that we’ve been seeing for a while now, but it’s cast in a beautiful translucent red plastic with the flames licking up around her feet. The metal post is just barely visible from the back of the statue if you get in close, so the levitating effect is pretty cool. You still get the limitation hand numbered on the bottom of the base. Mine is 1,413 of 5,200.

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This iteration of the Cover Girls line has been solid, and I really enjoy collecting it, but few of these ladies have really blown me away like this one has. Everything about this statue shines, from the sculpt, to the paint, to those amazing wings. I was grinning ear to ear from the moment I took her out of the package and set her up. With over a dozen of these ladies on my shelves, this is without a doubt one of the best. The only shame here is that some collectors may pass up this lovely piece because the character is undervalued or perhaps just not well known. And if that’s the case, I’d say Green Lantern: New Guardians is worth a read.

DC Icons: (#14) The Joker by DC Collectibles

DC Collectibles is ramping up their DC Icons line to epic proportions in 2017 (seriously, there are a ton of these things coming out!), but for now, 2016 has been experiencing some delays in the last two waves. And yet, here we have The Joker from “A Death in the Family.” I don’t know what the deal was with him, but he slipped out to online retailers about a month before his wave was due to hit the pegs. I was going to wait and pick up the whole shebang when it shipped, but in the end, I just couldn’t resist getting him early.

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The package design is exactly the same as what we’ve been seeing all along. You get a nice, clean window box with a spiffy angled edge. The side panel has the figure’s name, number, and the source comic he’s based on. Everything is collector friendly and if space wasn’t such an issue, I’d certainly be keeping these packages. Sadly, they have to go to make room for more figures. So, let’s get him out of the box and check him out!

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Damn, I love the look of this version. For a character that has spanned comics, cartoons, TV and film, it would be impossible for me to pick a favorite incarnation of The Joker, so many of them have their merits. I could definitely pick a least favorite, but why pour gasoline on that fire? With that having been said, this figure takes some of my all time favorite elements of the character and blends them together into a why-so-seriously great look. The purple high collared trench coat, the pimp hat, orange waistcoat, striped trousers, and spats is the epitome of Joker outfits for me, and I particularly love the long and lanky body that this guy is built on.

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Complaints? I have a few. The way the waistcoat is painted on below the ab-crunch doesn’t look all that great, but I don’t see any other way around it. There are also a few stray marks of paint on my figure’s coat, but nothing too bad.

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The head sculpt here is fantastic. I love how they did the mouth. You can see straight between the teeth and there’s all kinds of detail in there, including his tongue. The paint on the face is pretty solid too, so long as you don’t get in too tight. He’s got some sparkly eye makeup and the bright green they used for his eyebrows and hair is perfect.

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The articulation here is consistent with what we’ve been seeing. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, and the ankles feature both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s an ab-crunch hinge in the waist, and the neck is ball jointed. You get a total of five hands with the figure, but they aren’t complete sets. The figure comes with a set of fists, but the other three are all right hands. Here’s my biggest complaint with the figure, but first, let’s look at the two accessories.

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First, you get this nifty crowbar. There’s a hand designed to hold it, although the crowbar tends to slide in the grip. There’s a gap between the fingers if you want to pass it through and have him hold it that way, but I think it looks a little awkward.

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And then there’s my favorite accessory, the Thompson sub-machine gun. This thing is absolutely fantastic. I mean, just look at the paint apps and sculpt on this little weapon and compare it to what Hasbro is doing with their Marvel Legends weapons. It’s night and day. I think this is even better than most of the incredible small arms NECA is putting out with their figures these days. And that’s high praise indeed! Unfortunately, DCC included what appear to be two slightly different right gun holding hands, instead of a left hand to grab the front grip of the gun. They were already including an extra hand, so why make it an additional and unnecessary right hand. I’m baffled by this.

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Hand issues notwithstanding, this Joker is another top notch addition to my DC Icons shelf. This entire line has been quality from day one, and it’s exciting to finally be expanding on some of the more tightly related characters in the DC Universe. The Joker looks great alongside Harley or facing off against Batman. The fact that DCC is expanding this line next year pleases me to no end, and I’m particularly excited to pick up Firestorm when the rest of this wave finally hits.

Cover Girls of the DC Universe: Black Canary by DC Collectibles

It’s DC Friday again and I’m giving the action figures a rest this week to check out another statue. I’ve actually got a few DC statues waiting on deck for the spotlight, but since I’m getting a little backlogged on the lovely Cover Girls of the DC Universe, let’s go with Black Canary, a relatively recent release from that line!

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There isn’t much to say about the packaging that I haven’t said a dozen times over. The goods come in a fully enclosed box with some shots of the statue and adverts for Catwoman v2 and Power Girl on the back. Inside, the statue is sandwiched between two styrofoam bricks and the only assembly required is to peg the feet into the base. If this is your first time checking out one of these statues with me, they’re cold cast porcelain and generally about 9 to 10-inches tall, depending on the pose.

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And in this case, Dinah is standing tall and proud, right leg slightly bent, left hand resting on hip, and with a shattered megaphone in the other. She’s totally mugging for the camera, and those are the poses that I tend to enjoy most in this line.

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Her costume is definitely New 52 inspired, but I don’t recognize the exact appearance. It has some similarities to her Birds of Prey costume, but this one is sleeveless. My guess is that this is from her solo book, which I never got around to reading. I’ll be honest, it’s not my favorite look for the character. I’m happy to defend a lot of the New 52 costume designs when I think it’s warranted. In this case, I dig the costume, but it just doesn’t scream Black Canary to me. See what I did there? Her one-piece features some nice sculpted wrinkles, textures, and stitching. All the decorative accents in the boots are also part of the sculpt and the same is true for her gloves.

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The stockings are actually string fishnets, which is the first real time I’ve seen mixed media on these statues, unless you count Catwoman v1’s whip. This could have been a risky move, considering the mixed results we’ve seen with stockings in DC action figures, but I’m happy to say they look fantastic here. The seams are fairly well concealed down the inner legs and the stockings convincingly disappear into the boots and one-piece.

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The portrait here is solid. She’s pretty, but I don’t know that I would recognize her from just a head shot. The hair sculpt is a little chunky, but that’s often an issue with these porcelain statues. I’m not a big fan of how the hair seems to levitate a bit above the shoulders, but again, I’ll blame the media. I definitely like the muscle definition in her biceps. The skin tones are also pretty good, but my statue has a rather annoying light scratch across her left shoulder.

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Which is a good segue into the paint. I’ve been overall very pleased with the paint quality in this line, and I now own about a dozen of them. Paint can so often make or break a statue, and that’s especially the case when you’re looking at pieces in the lower-middle price range like these Cover Girls. Unfortunately, Black Canary’s paint isn’t up to par with the rest of my DC ladies. The quality of the paint itself is fine. I like the metallic sheen to the blue and it looks great when contrasted with the bright yellow. The problem here is in the care of application. There’s no single glaring paint defect that made me think I could do better if I exchanged it for another, but the lines could and should have been a lot cleaner and there are just too many gloppy brush marks for my liking. Maybe it’s a case of the yellow paint being more susceptible to problems against the blue. This is a piece that looks fine when viewed casually on the shelf, but begins to break down a bit when you get in really close.

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And that brings me to the megaphone. I’ve actually waffled back and forth on my feelings about it. On the one hand, it’s a visual and somewhat humorous, way to reference her canary cry and the way it’s blown out looks cool enough. On the other hand, it’s a little obvious and perhaps an unnecessary prop. I mean, I’m laying down eighty to a hundred bucks for a statue of Black Canary. It’s safe to say that I’m aware of her signature power without needing a visual aide. It kind of feels like the type of gimmick from the Bombshells statue line. In the end, I guess I’m OK with it.

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The base is the same type of oval platform that this line has been using since it changed over from the diorama style bases. Dinah’s has a little canary emblem at the cardinal points. The yellow surface paint is clean and even, but my statue had some scuff marks on the black paint along the edges. They all rubbed out very easily with a damp Q-tip, but it begs the question, who’s checking these before they get boxed.

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As always, the bottom of the base is hand numbered with the limitation. Mine is 2798 of 5200.

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These gals tend to retail at about $99, but can usually be had for less soon after they hit the shelves. Canary set me back about $70 shipped. If this was your first time with me looking at a Cover Girls statue, you shouldn’t take this one as par for the course. As I said earlier, all of my Cover Girls are great looking ladies for the money. Even Black Canary here isn’t terrible. There are some strange choices here, but in the end she looks great on the shelf next to Katana and Poison Ivy. Truth be told, I’ve seen similar paint issues on far more expensive statues, particularly in the waning days of Bowen Designs. That doesn’t mean, however, it should be acceptable. The paint quality is so important on pieces like these and the standards really need to be high. My hope is that this is only a hiccup in quality and not a trend. We’ll find out in a couple of weeks when I swing back to this line to check out one of the Cover Girls’ oddest character choices yet, Red Lantern Bleeze!

Justice League (New 52) Box Set by DC Collectibles, Part 3: The Flash and Cyborg

It’s DC Friday again and time to wrap up my look at the DC Collectibles’ New 52 Justice League set with The Flash and Cyborg! If you missed out on the last two installments, you can check out the packaging along with Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman here and Green Lantern and Aquaman here. Let’s start with Barry Allen…

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While The Flash is in no way a terrible figure, I’m sorry to say that I find him to be the weakest of the set. I guess someone had to come out on the bottom, but in this case the few issues I have with him are pretty specific. But first, I’ll say that I like this sculpt a lot. With the New 52 behind us, I can take this opportunity to say that I’ve been perfectly fine with all the Justice League costumes and that goes for Flash as well. Granted, it’s not a huge departure from previous looks. The main difference is the addition of the panel lines and these are all part of the sculpt, as are the lightning bolts on his waist and arms, and his chest insignia. I particularly like the sculpted lines in the boots.

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The coloring on this figure is overall quite good. The plastic used for the bulk of his suit is rich and vibrant and it contrasts nicely with the bright glossy yellow used on the boots and lightning bolts.

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The portrait is where I think this figure starts to falter. The mouth is just weird. I do like the sculpted detail in the hood and chin cup. God, everyone seems to have hated that chin cup. It wasn’t such a big deal to me. The wings on the hood are made of pretty hard plastic, so they won’t warp, but that also means they feel really fragile. It probably wouldn’t take much to snap them off. The paint around the mask and face is fairly straight and clean. I wish I could say the same for the emblem on his chest. It’s easily the weakest paint work in the entire set.

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The articulation here is the same as we saw on the previous figures. That includes rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, hinges in the elbows and knees, a T-crotch for the hips, and a ball joint in the neck. It’s nothing outrageous, but I can still get Barry into a decent running pose. I will note that the right bicep swivel on my figure has a little pull to it leaving a gap between the joints. Bummer. Let’s move on to Cyborg!

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Cyborg is an appropriately large figure. He’s not only bulky, but stands almost a head taller than the rest of The League. The figure features a clean and somewhat simple sculpt with some deep cut panel lines as well as some segmented sections between the joints and on the sides of his torso. I really prefer this over-sized look for the character as opposed to the leaner and more human proportioned renditions.

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The paint here is well done, but I’m surprised they didn’t go for a metallic finish. I mean, they did it for Green Lantern and Aquaman’s scalemail shirt, it seems like they could have ponied up for it here as well. Then again, it might have been an artistic choice and I’ll concede that the more satiny finish doesn’t look bad, by any means. From the neck down this is mostly a monochrome look with just the bright red domes in the chest, back, and hips to make the deco pop.

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They did a really solid job with the portrait here. The high collar looks great and I like the exposed segmented part of the neck. You also get some more detailed panel lines in the cybernetic half of his face. The paintwork here is fairly good. The hairline could have been sharper, but it’s not too bad either.

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Cyborg is the one figure that adds a bit of articulation over the rest and that’s additional swivels in his forearms. It’s odd that he should get extra points, as I consider him to be the least agile of the bunch. On the other hand, even with those extra swivels, there’s not a whole lot you can do with him when it comes to posing.

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It was fun for me to give this set a once over now that the New 52 is behind us and even with a few disappointing things about The Flash, I’d say this is a fine collection of figures, so long as you aren’t in the market for anything super pose-able. Personally, I plan on keeping this set displayed in a box up on top of one of my display cases where it looks fantastic. Either way, I think it’s a fitting end tribute to the action figures from this era of DC Comics, and while a few New 52 appearances are bound to still turn up in DC Icons and maybe some statues, it’s probably safe to say that by next year it’ll be phased out for either ReBirth designs or more classic looks. While I drifted in and out of lots of different books across the New 52, The Justice League was one of the books where I never missed an issue. It wasn’t always great, but I think it was almost always good. Although, I’d still rank Wonder Woman as my favorite New 52 title. With that having been said, next week I’ll be checking out another one of the Cover Girls statue, which will land us right back in this era.

Justice League (New 52) Box Set by DC Collectibles, Part 2: Aquaman and Green Lantern

It’s been another killer of a week for me at work, folks, but the show must go on here at FFZ. Fortunately the figures I have on tap for today won’t require a lot of time from me, so I can crawl back into bed with a bottle of Jameson and some comic books. On the last DC Friday, I started checking out DC Collectibles’ New 52 Justice League set with Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman. Today, I’m pressing on with a look at Aquaman and Hal Jordan. If you want a refresher on the packaging, have a look back at Part 1, otherwise, let’s start with Aquaman…

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It may be the New 52 look, but Aquaman’s costume still retained much of its classic and timeless design. The figure features the scale armor tunic with some gorgeous metallic golden-copper paint, a stylishly sculpted belt, green gauntlets, and the green leggings with sculpted fins on the backs of his calves. As far as the costume itself goes, there’s nothing really groundbreaking here, but when it comes to this costume, I always love the contrast between the dark matte hunter green and the glittery top and this figure showcases that perfectly.

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There are a couple of nice touches that make this figure rather distinctive. First, he has a pretty cool necklace hanging around his neck. Secondly, his trident is attached to his belt with a gold chain. The trident itself is nothing special, just a simple sculpt cast in gold plastic, but the chain is a cool addition, that is unless you want to display the figure without the trident, because it’s clearly not meant to be taken off.

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The portrait here is fantastic, somewhat unconventional, and easily one of the best looks for the character I’ve seen in action figure form. I just love the scruffy beard and sideburns over his usual clean shaven look. He has a fairly pissed off expression. the paint used for the skin tone is excellent, and I really love what they did with his hair. Moving on to Hal…

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Green Lantern features one of the simpler sculpts in this set. He does feature some cut panel lines in the shoulders as well as his chest emblem being sculpted. Other then that you mainly just get some nice muscle definition. The costume features a mix of matte black, metallic green, and some lovely pearlescent white for the gloves and face of the chest emblem. The metallic green paint on this guy is quite the eye catcher and it reminds me a lot of the finish Kotobukiya used on their excellent ArtFX+ Hal Jordan only not quite as brilliant.

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They did a particularly nice job with his ring. It’s both well defined and neatly painted.

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The head sculpt here doesn’t impress me as much as Aquaman’s, but it is very good. It features a rather stern expression, the mask is part of the sculpt, and the paint is all on point. I like the stray wisps of hair over his forehead and more of that lovely green paint on the mask.

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The articulation is identical for both of these figures. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, hinges in the elbows and knees, ball joints in the necks, and t-crotches for the hips. These aren’t super pose-able by any means, but I can still have a little fun with them.

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So, overall there aren’t a lot of surprises with this pair, but what’s here is exceptionally well done. The sculpts are solid, the portraits are excellent, and while they aren’t going to feature the play value of DC Icons or even Mattel’s 6-inch DC lines, they look fantastic up on my shelf, especially when displayed with the rest of the Justice League. I believe these are pretty much the same as the individually boxed releases, but I have yet to see those in person, so there may be some variations at work. On the next DC Friday, I’ll wrap up this set with a look at The Flash and Cyborg!

Justice League (New 52) Box Set by DC Collectibles, Part 1

It’s DC Friday, I’m almost caught up on my DC backlog, and so it’s time to dig deep and go into the reserves. I’ve had this set sitting around for what seems like forever. It feels weird to be getting to it only now that the New 52 has been rebooted to ReBirth. Still, this set was a nice way to snatch up the entire New 52 Justice League in one shot and, if you managed to get the original “We Can Be Heroes” release of this set, you were not only getting the figures before they were released individually, but also helping the relief efforts against drought and famine in Africa. I’m going to go through this set in three parts. Now, while this was the first way to get these figures, I actually did a Feature on the later released, Trinity War box set, which included a variant version of this Superman along with straight repacks of Batman and Wonder Woman. So, today I’ll start out with a look at the package and a quick comparison of those figures to the later Trinity War releases, and then tackle the other figures, two at a time, in the following couple of weeks.

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When you’re getting seven 7-inch scale figures in a single box, you know it’s going to be sizable. In this case DCC put the figures all in one epic lineup and into a long window box. The box’s deco is very simple and mostly white with a blue slash down the far right side showing some of the characters in silhouette. The set is also set apart from the original release by not having the “We Can Be Heroes” motto printed above the word “Justice.” This box is one of those cases where the packaging itself would be totally forgettable if the figures didn’t look so damn good all lined up like that. It’s a box that makes a statement and arguably displays the figures just as well as if they were lined up loose and on the shelf. Happily everything is collector friendly. You just slit the tape on the side flap and pull out the tray. There’s a clear plastic cover over the tray to keep the figures in place, but no pesky ties to worry about. I like that my set happens to have Wonder Woman looking at Superman, Superman discretely looking back at her, and all the while Batman looks off to the other side as if pretending not to notice. Anyway, this is most definitely a box that I’ll be keeping to display the figures in. I’m going to start with Superman, because he’s really the only one that’s different from the one in the Trinity War box.

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From the neck down, the sculpt here is identical to what I showed off December of last year. The only difference in the costume is that the metallic paint has been replaced with a more appropriate flat matte look. Now, I really did dig the metallic version a lot. It felt like a cool callback to Kotobukiya’s ArtFX+ Supes. Of course, the deco was more about giving collectors who already owned the figure an excuse to buy the set, then it was about anything to do with Superman’s appearance in the Trinity War story arc. Here we have a more conventional paint and just a beautiful representation of Krypton’s Last Son in his New 52 outfit. And yes, I do really love this outfit. Every detail on the outfit is part of the actual sculpt, from the panel lines and edges of the boots, right down to the belt and S-Shield. The colors, which consist of rich and vibrant blue, red, and yellow are absolutely gorgeous. I’m just totally in love with the look of this figure.

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The cape cascades over Superman’s shoulders and stops right about at the tops of his boots. It’s a fairly pliable plastic and doesn’t throw the figure off balance at all. The back of the cape features a black S-Shield stamped right in the middle.

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The portrait is the only difference in sculpt between this release and the Trinity War figure, which had Superman offering up a goofy smile. I was pretty happy with the Trinity War portrait, but this one just blows it out of the water. It’s definitely a more stern look, but I think it’s a great 3D likeness of Jim Lee’s art from the book. The paint is very clean and the hair is more neatly sculpted on this version.

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The articulation is pretty standard stuff when it comes to the earlier days of DC Collectibles’ figures. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, hinges in the elbows and knees, a ball joint in the head, and a simple T-crotch. You can tweak a few different poses out of him, but nothing too crazy. Moving on to Wonder Woman…

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I loved this Wonder Woman figure when I got her in the other set, and I still do. This is a great look for her and the sculpt really brings out the details in the costume beautifully. Yes, for all the guff that the New 52 costumes got, and some of it was well deserved, this version of Diana’s digs is just fine with me. I still find it odd, however, that DCC never gave us the costume with the pants, but that’s a discussion for another time. Once again, every detail in the costume is part of the sculpt.

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The paint here is nice and clean and pretty consistent with the later Trinity War release. The blue and red is darker than what we saw on Superman, but it has that silver and a little white to help lighten things up. Even the skin tone, which is achieved through bare flesh colored plastic, is smooth and warm. The articulation here is identical to that of Superman, so it’s not all that fantastic, but at least Diana got herself some swivel biceps. That’s not always a sure thing when it comes to the female figures.

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Diana comes with her golden lasso sculpted on her right hip and her left hand is sculpted to hold the sword she doesn’t come with. Now, that surprised me, as it was also vacant from the Trinity War set. Apparently the only way to get her sword was to buy the individually boxed figure or the set that paired her with Katana. Now, it’s bad enough to buy the same figure twice, but three times? That would be crazy, right? Well, I’m not saying I did, but I may be getting around to looking at that Wonder Woman/Katana two-pack at some point. Just saying.

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When I did my Trinity War Feature, I suggested that Wonder Woman was sporting a new head sculpt, but it turns out that isn’t the case. There are some natural variances in the paint, but they’re quite subtle and it is the very same portrait. I’d say I like this one a little more, just because the eyes are a wee bit straighter, but otherwise they’re both fine and very attractive. I really like the detail and paint on both the choker and the tiara. And oh, look! Bewbs!

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And last but not least, we have Batman. Like Wonder Woman, this figure is exactly the same as the one released in the Trinity War set and I’m going to irk a lot of people by once again saying that I really like this costume a lot. Granted, it’s not a huge departure from some of Batman’s iconic looks. You get the same sculpted detail as the other figures, right down to the panel lines and mesh material at the joints, and some very spiffy high gloss black paint for the boots, gloves, and cowl. It makes for a striking contrast against the matte gray finish of the suit. Just lovely!

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The cape falls beautifully behind the figure and the scalloped edges drag on the ground. It’s a bit heavier than Superman’s and I love the way the folds are sculpted up near the top. It looks as much like a shroud as it does a cape, and that’s certainly appropriate. The articulation here is identical to Superman and Wonder Woman, so there are options, but I really can’t get any super cool fight poses out of him.

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Once again, a really solid head sculpt with a beautiful contrast between the skin tones of the face and the gloss black paint of the cowl. Batman sports a grim expression, which is quite fitting. Let’s check out some quick comparison shots of the figures with the Trinity War releases on the right and the figures from this set on the left…

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I knew when I was going in that I was going to be double dipping on some of these figures, but that was OK by me, because I didn’t have any of the other members of the Justice League in this set. And besides, the Superman is different, so it was really just two figures that were already in my collection. And while the set was originally about a hundred bucks, I found mine for a ridiculous $45. And if you hunt around, the set can still be had for very close to that price. They aren’t the most articulated figures out there, but the sculpts and paint on these three are truly fantastic. On the next DC Friday, I’ll have a look at Aquaman and Green Lantern!