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 Comics: Wonder Girl Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

It’s DC Friday again, and also the start of a four day weekend for me. I can’t think of a better way to kick it off than by opening up a brand new Bishoujo statue from Kotobukiya. And oh, look! I happen to have Cassie Sandsmark, aka Wonder Girl, ready to join her fellow Teen Titans Bishoujos!

There isn’t much new for me to say about the presentation here. Wonder Girl comes in a mostly white window box with some of that lovely artwork by Shunya Yamashita. The statue itself comes encased between two clear plastic trays and the package is totally collector friendly. While Cassie comes attached to her base, there is a little bit of assembly required, as her golden lasso must be pegged into both sides of each of her fists. If you own the first Bishoujo Wonder Woman, you know how this works. Although, I’ll confess I had a little trouble getting mine to tab in and I eventually had to shave a little of the tabs to make them fit.

With that out of the way, here she is all set up and looking fantastic. Wonder Girl assumes a wide stance with her chest puffed out and her hands clutching the coils of her golden lasso, which snakes around behind her. All I can say is I really dig the composition here, she’s heroic and flirty, and just an all around perfect fusion of the character and the spirit of the Bishoujo line.

As mentioned, this is Cassandra Sandsmark as Wonder Girl, decked out in the modern costume and boy did Koto go all out on what could have been a fairly pedestrian outfit. The cut off t-shirt features a raised eagle emblem sculpted onto the front of it as well as sculpted borders around the neckline and sleeveless shoulders. The jeans feature a sculpted belt with a “WW” emblem belt buckle, sculpted star patches on the thighs, and flared cuffs mostly concealing her high-heeled boots. Details include little rumples in the shirt and jeans, stitch marks, belt loops, and studs on the pockets.

The coloring here also goes a long way to make this figure pop. The blue on the jeans features some gradations making them look faded in some area and contrasts beautifully with the bright red star patches and the silver luster of the belt buckle and studs. Likewise the sumptuous gold leaf paint compliments the bright red of her shirt perfectly. And as always the skin tone is warm and smooth.

The portrait is classic Bishoujo bliss. Cassie features a broad smirk as her sandy hair dances wildly around her, exposing some metallic red star earrings. Her eyes, eyebrows, and lips are all perfectly painted.

The base is worthy of a lot of praise, not only for its creativity of design, but also for its economy of shelf space. I’ve got over three dozen of these Bishoujos, and some of the larger disc bases can contribute to some pretty bad shelf congestion. Here, you just get three metallic red stars, which take up only as much room as they need to present the figure.

If you can’t tell, I’m totally in love with this statue! With Koto’s Bishoujo line beginning to double dip on some characters like Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn, it’s nice to see that they’re still willing to mine the roster for previously unreleased characters as well. Wonder Girl was a great choice for the line, and I’m actually more than a bit surprised they didn’t get around to her sooner. Indeed, I still wouldn’t mind seeing Donna Troy get the treatment. I picked up this lady for about $40 shipped, which in these days of Bishoujo prices creeping ever upward, is a damn good deal for such a high quality work of art.

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 Comics: Harley Quinn (New 52) Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

As promised, DC Friday is back after a couple weeks hiatus and today I’m digging in with a new(ish) Bishoujo statue from Kotobukiya. I actually passed on the last Harley Bishoujo and it’s bugged me for a while now that she isn’t represented on my ever expanding Bishoujo shelves, so I simply couldn’t let this one pass me by too.

If you’ve seen the packaging for any of the Marvel or DC Bishoujos then you should know what to expect. It’s a mostly white box with window panels on the top front and side. You also get some of the lovely art by Shunya Yamashita, which inspired the statue. The back of the box teases the Wonder Girl statue, which reminds me that I really need to pick her up, because she’s already out.

This statue is billed as the New 52 version, which really whored Harley up big time. It took her from mischievous looking jester to pole-dancer. It’s hard for me to tell if the shock value here has worn off for everybody else, but I’m so used to seeing her in this outfit now it hardly phases me. I’ve gone on record many times that I’m fine with this look, but I understand that it triggers a lot of fans who prefer her classic jester look. Anyway, the pose here features Harley with one hip thrust to the side, her hand resting on it, while the other cradles her trademark hammer, which in turn rests on her shoulder. It’s sassy, playful, mischievous and there’s a little bit of energy added with her pigtails and cape fluttering in the imaginary breeze.

The coloring on this piece consists of some beautiful red and blue, which looks all the more vibrant against the pale tone of Harley’s skin. There’s a lovely contrast between the matte finish on her stockings and cape with the glossy sheen on her corset and nearly non-existent shorts. This is a statue that really pops on the shelf, even when displayed among lots of other Bishoujos.

There is some excellent sculpted detail in the costume as well. Her knee socks have a knitted texture and the lacing on her corset is fully realized. I particularly love the detail in the belt. It features a squared silver buckle, cartridges stored in individual loops, and blue and red holsters for her twin sidearms.

And here’s a close up of what she’s packing. The guns are sculpted well enough that you’d swear they could be removed. Oh yeah… butt shot.

And that brings us to a great portrait, which includes sharply printed eyes and perfectly painted lips. She has a hint of a smirk. The ruffled collar fits her jester motif quite well, although I find the cape to be a bit of a strange inclusion.

The base is a disc with a checkered diamond pattern in red and blue to match her outfit. It’s simple, colorful, and suits the statue quite well.

One cool sidenote is that if you want an alternate display option, the hammer can also be positioned so that she appears to be leaning on it. Simply un-peg it from her arm and carefully place the end of the handle in her hand. I don’t think this was intentional, but I really do like the way it looks and it might be a welcome option for collectors with tight real estate on their shelves.

I’ve had this one on my want list for quite a while, but what finally got me to pull the trigger was when it went on sale for $35. There aren’t a lot of Bishoujo’s you can get at that price these days, so it was all the incentive I needed. I think the Bishoujo treatment works well for the character and everything from the pose to the sculpting and coloring hit all the right marks to make this one another excellent release.

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 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 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.