DC Multiverse (Steppenwolf Wave): Cyborg by Mattel

Just last week I was lamenting the fact that I’d probably never complete this Justice League Movie wave because Cyborg and Flash are impossible to find at a reasonable price. Then a buddy of mine came through by finding me a Cyborg for a cool Andy Jackson and I found myself one step closer. And since my hopes of getting Flash are still pretty low, I’m just going to go ahead and check out this guy today so I can move on. I’ll preface this review by saying that I really liked the way they handled Cyborg in the movie, but I think his look needed a lot of work. Some elements of the design didn’t work for me, and the quality of CG in his full body shots were pretty embarrassing.

There’s nothing new for me to say about the packaging. You get a great look at the figure inside, and some cool pictures of Cyborg from the movie on the front and side panel. It’s collector friendly, but even if I was a stickler for keeping boxes, these are pretty bland, so there’s not much to motivate me here to keep this one. DC Multiverse did get a package design makeover for the most recent wave, and I think it’s a big improvement. Hopefully, I’ll be looking at some figures from the Clayface Collect & Connect Wave soon.

With Cyborg out of the package, the biggest surprise here for me is that I think the design works much better in plastic than it did on screen. I was not a fan of the crumpled tinfoil look in the CG, but I think it looks pretty cool here. It has a jagged and primitive look to it, which is a neat sort of proto-form, that could get more refined as Cyborg improved and advanced his new body. The sculpt really carries the day, with plenty of detail, particularly in the exposed skeletal structure of the abs and biceps. The curves and symmetry of the detail in his back really is quite beautiful. The paint is no slouch either. The combined deco of gray plastic with some very nice looking silver paint looks great, and the added hits of red paint makes for a pretty cool looking figure, despite the economy of colors.

The portrait is pretty solid too. The likeness isn’t astonishingly good, but there’s something of Ray Fisher in there. The paintwork on the remaining human face and hair is well done. In the closeups, I’ve noticed a fair amount of over-spray on the silver paint transferred onto the skin, and likewise some brown paint slopping over the silver. It’s not really apparent when I have the figure in hand, but suffice it to say the paint lines could have been better.

In addition to the Steppenwolf C&C parts, Cyborg comes with an arm attachment, which can be swapped out with either the left or right hand. It looks like it’s either a weapon, or maybe a hacking tool. It features the same great silver paint with a little blue to pick out some of the details in the sculpt. The tip has a few short appendages and there are two tubes visible inside. It reminds me of the Borg attachments seen in Star Trek. I love that they included this piece, and I’ll likely display it on him most of the time.

The articulation is pretty standard for what we’ve been getting in this lineup. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps, and swivels in the middle of the forearms where the hands detach. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, hinges in the knees and ankles, and swivels in the lower thighs. There’s a swivel in the waist and a ball joint in the head. This is one of those rare occasions where I don’t mind the lack of chest articulation. I think an ab crunch hinge would have thrown off the sculpt a lot. Besides, I don’t need my Cyborg to be super articulated.

The Justice League movie wave has been a real mixed bag. We’ve had some great new figures like Aquaman and Mera, a pretty solid Batman, and some recycled figures that felt way to lazy for a major toy company working on a major motion picture license. Cyborg definitely fits into the better end of things, but the end result is still a real odd looking bunch when you display them all together. It’s a shame because it detracts from the better figures. And with that ringing endorsement of Mattel and the DC Multiverse line, I’m going to wrap up this wave for now. I’ll revisit it again if I ever do find that Flash figure, but otherwise I’m ready to move on to other things for the next DC Friday.

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DC Multiverse (Steppenwolf Wave): Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman by Mattel

It’s the first DC Friday of 2018, but I’m still working on unfinished business from 2017. Remember that movie last year that was overall pretty fun, but everybody lost their shit over? No, not The Last Jedi. The other one. Yeah, Justice League! Well, at the tail end of 2017, I started reviewing the Justice League Wave of DC Multiverse, and now I’m picking up where I left off. Let’s double up today with Batman and Superman! Aw, hell, let’s throw Wonder Woman in there too and knock out the whole DC Trinity. Strap in kiddies, because like the movie, this is going to be a bumpy ride.

The figures come in the standard Multiverse packaging. It’s functional, it’s collector friendly, it has some nice shots of the characters from the movie on the front and side panel. It also notes that these are both part of the Steppenwolf Collect & Connect Wave, and I’ll have more to say about that at the end of the review! Let’s start with Superman…

Oh look, it’s 2013 all over again! I say that because I’m pretty sure this is just a re-dress of the Mattel’s Movie Masters Man of Steel figure that I reviewed almost five years ago! There are some obvious re-sculpted bits to update the costume, but it’s a real shame that Mattel couldn’t roll out a brand new figure for a huge summer blockbuster license. And while I didn’t buy any of the Batman V Superman figures, I wouldn’t be surprised if that Superman figure was the recycled connective tissue between these two. There’s some decent stuff here, like the texturing on the costume and the coloring is pretty good, but the real problem is that he looks like he’s pretty small and scrawny when lined up beside his fellow Justice League members. Yup, it’s almost like he’s from another line entirely. Funny how that works.

The old Movie Masters figure had a plastic cape, but here it’s been replaced with cloth. I’m generally in favor of soft-goods capes, but the execution here isn’t so great. For starters, there’s a huge disconnect between the sculpted plastic pieces of the cape that attach to his shoulders, and the actual cloth cape that cascades down his back. And like the figure, the cape feels rather undersized and a little cheap.

The head sculpt is different from the Movie Masters figure. I wouldn’t say it’s better or worse, but mainly just different. It’s not a bad sculpt in and of itself, but I can’t see much likeness to Cavill. At least they dumped the badly painted five-o-clock shadow from that older figure. The sculpt and paint here are both very basic, almost like it’s meant to be a comic version of Superman wearing the DCEU costume. Once again, Mattel needs to check out what Hasbro is doing with their MCU Marvel Legends figures and up their game accordingly.

The articulation is passable, but not great. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in both the knees and ankles. There’s a swivel in the waist and a ball joint in the neck. The lack of any kind of chest articulation is quite an oversight. I’d like to blame that on the fact that this is a recycled buck from five years ago, but Mattel was putting ab crunch hinges in their DC Universe Classics figures way before that.

Mattel, I know your’re capable of better than this. Your Justice League Aquaman and Mera figures were pretty damn good. But you’re licensing a major DC Comics summer blockbuster here. It’s f’cking Superman from a Justice League movie. Do you think you can at least try, instead of rummaging through a drawer to find an old figure you can dress up to save a couple of dollars? And Warner Brothers, why are you still licensing to these people when they clearly don’t give a shit half the time. I’m a bit angry now. Let’s move on to Batman…

Batman comes wearing his tactical bat suit and he looks pretty damn good. Is this another recycled figure? I honestly don’t know because I didn’t buy any of the BvS figures, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt here and say Bats here is new. The suit features some excellent texturing and some pretty good attention to detail. You get all the reinforced armor plates, serrated edges on his gauntlets, and some sculpted straps and buckles. The varied deco also makes for a more interesting figure than if he were just all black. Here you get a matte pale blue under-suit with some glossy black bits, as well as some silver and copper for the armor. Overall, I’m really happy with the sculpt here.

Like Superman, Batman features a soft-goods cape, but this one uses a more leather-like material. It doesn’t match the sculpted shoulder attachments perfectly, but it’s a lot closer than the stuff they used on Supes’ cape. In fact, my only issue here is that the bottom edge came out of the package creased, so you can’t see the scalloped pattern because it’s folded up on itself.

While the suit is excellent, the head sculpt here is a little bit of a letdown. The cowl looks OK, but the exposed face is pretty soft. Also, I thought it was an odd choice to have him wearing the goggles. This feels like a head they should have used on a figure packed in with a Batmobile, rather than the main representation of the character in the wave.

Articulation here is almost identical to Superman. The big difference is that Batman actually has an ab crunch hinge, which is what makes me think that this is probably at least a new figure. It’s not a fantastic figure, but it’s got a lot of good stuff going for it, and here’s one where I feel like Mattel at least tried with a decent sculpt and a pretty solid deco. Moving on to our last stop… Wonder Woman.

Hooray, back to recycling! I’m not sure what’s worse, recycling a figure that’s so old that some people might not notice, or one that just came out a year or so ago. Yes, Diana here is a straight repack of the Toys R Us Exclusive from the Wonder Woman movie, and a figure that I reviewed last month.  The only difference is that she comes with a new sword and no shield. The advantage here is that I think this was an excellent figure, so if you missed out on her, here’s a chance to pick her up again without having to hunt re-sellers or hopelessly out-of-date Toys R Us stores.

At this point, I’ll just refer you back to the review that I linked above. But before wrapping up, there’s a picture of the two figures together. I actually like the head sculpt and paint on the previous release a little better, but this one looks fine. She also comes with her golden lasso.

And there you have it… Mattel’s idea of making the most out of netting a huge license like Justice League is to recycle two out of three figures. It’s lazy, it sucks, and it’s pushing me back toward not wanting to collect Multiverse anymore. Need I remind you, that they also have a line of BASIC Justice League figures, so these are the $20 ones aimed at collectors. Oh, but wait… there’s more! The Flash and Cyborg appear to have been woefully short packed in this assortment and both figures have been impossible for me to find, outside of scalpers asking twice as much on Amazon and Ebay. I enjoyed the movie well enough, I sure as hell ain’t paying a premium for DC Multiverse figures. And so, my Collect & Connect Steppenwolf is destined to remain in pieces, and my DCEU Justice League incomplete, unless those figures start turning up at my local brick-and-mortars. And there ain’t much chance of that.

FigureFan’s Disappointments 2017, Part 1

Well, I hope everyone has been enjoying my Ten Favorites of 2017. There were a lot of items that came close to making the cut, but I tried to be good and stick as close to the self-imposed confines of my list as possible. And now it’s time to embark on the flip-side and look at my Ten Biggiest Disappointments of the year. I’m happy to say this list was a also difficult to assemble, but not because it was hard to whittle down, but rather it was tough to come up with ten acquisitions that really didn’t live up to my expectations. And that’s a good thing! So let’s kick off today with the first five…

Marvel Legends Astral Projection Doctor Strange: Hey, remember this turd? Generally speaking, 2017 was another fantastic year for Hasbro’s Marvel Legends line, but when you put out a lot of figures, at least a few of them are inevitably going to be crap. And this Doctor Strange variant was the cream of the crap. But this isn’t so much a case of a poorly made figure, indeed it’s a great sculpt, but rather a bad idea. Not only is it just a rehash of the regular Doctor Strange figure (FROM THE SAME GODDAMN WAVE!) cast in milky translucent plastic, but it was an obligatory purchase if you wanted the head for your Dormammu Build-A-Figure. And that’s what really earns this figure a spot on my List of Shame. If you’re going to toss this in as an extra in a three-pack or something, do what you gotta do, but don’t make him mandatory to complete a BAF. That’s just mean.

Star Wars Black Series Jawa by Hasbro: Just a reminder, that a figure doesn’t have to be bad to be on this list, just disappointing. And to be fair, I could say that Star Wars Black as a whole has been disappointing this year. It’s not that the figures are terrible, and yes there have been some great ones, but in general this line seems content to be average. It doesn’t feel like the “Collector’s Line” we were promised, but rather just a new scale set up to make idiots like me buy the characters all over again. The Jawa for me was a prime example of that. There’s just nothing here that hasn’t been done as well, if not better at a smaller scale. No tailored softgoods, a plastic robe that renders half the articulation useless, and he can’t even hold his guns properly. Need more? Well, this figure is also too small to justify this price point, it was really hard for me to get one, and in the end, it just wasn’t worth all the effort. If it weren’t for me trying to fill the Early Bird stand with the Original Twelve, I wouldn’t have bothered.

DC Multiverse: “The Dark Knight Returns” Batman and Robin: I’ll admit, I kind of feel like cheating by listing Multiverse figures in with my Disappointments. Truth be told, I didn’t have high expectations from this line at the time. But I was looking forward to getting these DKR figures on my shelf, only to be flabbergasted at how sub-par they turned out. Yes, flabbergasted! My monocle popped right out of my eye, as I exclaimed, “My word, what rubbish!” It’s hard to believe this is the same company that delivered so many great DC action figures in the past. This pair should have been a slam dunk, instead, they feel more like knock-offs. So much so, that I still haven’t bothered to complete this wave to build my goddamn Doomsday. Maybe next year.

Transformers Titans Return Murk & Octone by Hasbro: Just to prove that Titans Return wasn’t entirely made up of rainbows and kittens, here’s one that made my Disappointments List. 2017 was a stellar year for Deluxe Class Transformers, but maybe no so great for the Voyager Class figures. Figures like Broadside and Blitzwing made for solid robot modes, but their alt modes ran from somewhat lacking to downright terrible. And yet it was still pretty easy to single out Octone as the worst of the bunch. I was really looking forward to getting this guy in my collection, and I’ll still admit the robot mode is fine, but neither of his alt modes worked for me at all. Also, I hate what they had to do to his name. It’s OK, Hasbro, you’re still way ahead of the game for 2017.

And I do believe I’ll break for the day and tally up how much money I spend on these less than stellar purchases, some of which I regret and some I’d probably still buy just to have them in my collection. Join me again tomorrow as I round out this List of Disappointments and wrap up this week of lists.

 

DC Multiverse (Steppenwolf Wave): Mera by Mattel

Welcome back, friends, to a second helping of Multiverse on this DC Friday. Christmas may not be until Monday, but around here every day is a good day to open toys! Earlier this morning I checked out the Justice League version of Aquaman and found him to be quite good! And now I’m spending tonight with his bride to be, Mera. That sounded creepy, what I meant to say is I’ll be reviewing her action figure. Despite a lot of fanfare about her casting, Mera was barely in the Justice League movie, but she sure has been playing a big part in the Aquaman Rebirth comic and I dig her a lot in it. Needless to say I was happy, albeit surprised, to see her get a DCEU release in this lineup.

I took the packaged shots when I thought I was going to review Aquaman and Mera together, but in the end I decided they each needed their own review. But here’s one more look at the figures in their window boxes. While it doesn’t state it anywhere on the box, Mera is actually an Amazon Exclusive. And while she doesn’t come with a Collect & Connect part for Steppenwolf, she does come with some extras to make up for that. There’s not much else to say about the packaging, other than for some reason Mera has more disclaimer information on the front of her box, and she has some lovely pictures of her from the movie on the front and side panels.

As good as Aquaman’s figure was, Mera is even better in every respect. In fact, Mera is so good, that she actually feels like she’s from an entirely different line. For starters, the detail on her sculpted armor is sharper and crisper than that of Arthur’s. The underlying emerald green suit is etched with fine lines and textures, all punctuated by golden interlacing lines. The mix of emerald and gold paint is rather stunning and when combined with the intricate patterns in the sculpt, the armor has a bit of a reptilian flavor to it. It really is quite simply a work of art on exhibit in a line that rarely seems to care.

The head sculpt is pretty solid. It’s certainly not a spot on likeness to the actress, but I can see a little something of her in there. I think the contours of her face feel more like stylized than realistic, and she looks a little too pouty, but overall I still like it a lot. She’s pretty and the skin tone for her face as well as neck and chest is extremely well done. The paint for the eyebrows and lips is fairly precise, although the eyes on mine aren’t perfectly straight, it’s something I didn’t really notice until taking some close up shots. It looks as if the hair may be sculpted in a separate piece, and the gold tiara is part of the hair sculpt.

And then we move on to what really floors me. Mera’s articulation is actually better than Aquaman’s. Considering how I’m used to seeing reduced articulation in my 6-inch ladies, this is a welcome treat. Mera features all the same points as Arthur, but adds thigh swivels and an ab crunch. The fact that Mattel was able to put an ab crunch in Mera and not compromise the sculpt or her shapely form, means there’s no excuse for Aquaman missing one. The same could be said for the thigh swivels as well. I can’t explain the decision making here, but I’m happy that Mera got the extra poseability.

Even when it comes to the the accessories, Mera offers more. For starters, she comes with an extra pair of hands sculpted with water effect parts. These look great and they’re a lot of fun to play around with.

And finally, she comes with this spear. Like Aquaman’s trident, it’s just a simple sculpt, and it’s cast in silver plastic with no paint applications. There’s a barb and a partial hook toward one end, giving it a little more of a harpoon vibe. It’s not bad, but it feels too basic to really feel like it belongs with such a great looking figure.

After going through a solid wave of Wonder Woman figures, I’m pleased to see that DC Multiverse looks to be continuing that streak. Aquaman was really good, but Mera here just blows me away for a figure in this line. It just goes to show that they can still bring the A-Game when they want to. But maybe it’s a little unfortunate that they wait to do it on a figure that’s an online exclusive and probably a more limited release. Mera’s price on Amazon has been fluctuating all over the place. I picked her up when she was around $15, but she’s dropped as low as $11 a few times this week. Either way, she’s well worth the money!

DC Multiverse (Steppenwolf Wave): Aquaman by Mattel

It seems like forever ago that I saw Justice League, but that’s probably because it quickly got pushed down by my multiple (FOUR!) viewings of Thor: Ragnarok and the recent release of The Last Jedi. For the record, I was one of the seemingly few who enjoyed Justice League, and I really enjoyed it for what it wasn’t: A sour and suicidal thought-inducing monochrome vision of despair like Batman V Superman or Man of Steel. As a result, you know I had to pick up the action figures and today I’m starting with a look at Aquaman and Mera. I had intended to review these figures as a pair, but the more time I spent with them, the more I decided to give each their own review. So let’s start with Aquaman this morning and come back to Mera later tonight.

There’s not much to say about the packaging. It’s typical Multiverse fare and it is collector friendly. Before I get started, I will say that I was not a big fan of the way they’ve chosen to portrait the character in the film. I wouldn’t say I’m the biggest fan of Arthur Curry, but I did really enjoy the New 52 Throne of Atlantis run, and I’m digging the hell out of his current run in the Rebirth comics. So, I have definitely become more of a fan in recent years. The DCEU version isn’t really recognizable to me as Aquaman, but it more or less fit in the context of the film and I wound up not hating him.

And I sure as hell do not hate this figure, because it looks pretty damn great. Arthur comes donning his full suit of Atlantean armor. The sculpt here is  intricate and consists of a network of organic, curved lines against a field of muted scales. There’s barely any space on this figure that doesn’t contain some kind of sculpted detail and it looks really solid. The shoulder pads are also cast in soft plastic and connected to the torso, giving them the ability to work well with the arm articulation.

As good as the armor looks, the real star of this figure is the portrait. And yes, I can’t believe I’m saying that about a Multiverse figure. Not only is the likeness for Mamoa certainly there, but it’s actually expressive too! The face is framed with a mighty beard and a copious mane of shaggy hair punctuated with a good looking paint wash. I particularly love the pale blue they used for his eyes. This is without a doubt the best head sculpt I’ve seen in this line, even if that isn’t really saying a lot.

Alas, the articulation does disappoint. It’s not terrible, but it’s not up to the standards that I expect from a twenty dollar 6-inch scale figure. The arms are fine, as they have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, as well as swivels in the biceps and wrists. hinges in the wrists would have been nice, but it’s not a big deal. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and have hinges in the ankles. The knees look like rotating hinges, but all I can get out of mine is a straight bend. I’m not sure if that’s because of the armor sculpt, or by design. The lack of thigh swivels is disappointing. The neck is ball jointed, but because of the hair, I can’t get a lot of movement out of it. There’s a swivel in the waist. The biggest let down is the lack of ab crunch or ball joint in the chest, which is particularly egregious in a figure of a character that swims.

In addition to one of Steppenwolf’s legs, Aquaman comes with his trident. It’s a very simple sculpt, cast in gray plastic with no paint. It’s serviceable, but it’s so plain it feels like an accessory that would be bundled with a far more basic figure. Also, the fact that his left hand is sculpted in a fist is a bit of a bummer, as he can’t hold the trident in both hands.

So, Aquaman is far from a perfect figure, but I still think he’s a very good one, especially for a line that has more often than not been sub-par. The sculpt and paintwork here is excellent, but the articulation is lacking a few critical points. Considering how pleased I was with the Wonder Woman movie figures, I’m beginning to suspect Mattel is willing to put the effort in where the DCEU figures are concerned, even if they’re not so gung-ho over the comic figures. Either way, be sure to swing back here later tonight and we’ll have a look at Mera!

DC Multiverse (Ares Wave): Wonder Woman by Mattel

Welcome back to another one-two punch of DC Friday content. It’s a strange thing to still be talking about a wave of Multiverse figures after wrapping up the Collect & Connect figure, but in this case, Toys R Us had two exclusive releases, which weren’t necessary to build Ares, but did give him some extra accessories. This morning, I had a look at Menalippe and this evening I’m checking out Wonder Woman.

As with Menalippe, there’s no specific TRU branding on the package, which is weird, because TRU loves to stick their foil Exclusive stickers on everything. The only other thing notable here is that this figure is added to the back of the box, where she wasn’t pictured on either of the four wide release versions. Makes sense. Target and Walmart don’t want packages advertising figures you can only get somewhere else.

And here she is, Wonder Woman in all her cloakless glory, and she is a damn nice figure. Yes, I still find it really odd that the cloaked version was the regular retail release and the more iconic one was an exclusive. This is mostly the same figure I looked at last week, obviously minus the cloak and with re-sculpted head and arms to remove the hood and sleeves. I don’t own the Superman V Batman WW figure, but I think it’s very likely that this is more or less the same one with a new (and better) head sculpt. I’m also all but certain that the Justice League version, which I have yet to open, will also be a repack.

The sculpting and paint on her outfit is fantastic. So much so, that it’s hard to believe this is a Multiverse figure. Yeah, I’ve said that about several figures in this wave, but it’s worth repeating here as well. Her outfit features sculpted lines, including some battle scarring, and a leather-like texture on the skirt. The gold, red, and blue all have a bit of a metallic sheen to them, and it’s great to see this outfit in all its vibrant glory and without it being shot through a depressing filter or overly saturated.

Her gold and silver bracers include some sculpted panel lines and she has brown wraps for her hands, while her red and gold boots feature sculpted straps and some more scrapes from battle. Everything about this costume really shines!

Except maybe the shoulder rigging, which I’m still very torn on, and is permanently attached to her back. It was a little less bothersome on the cloaked figure because it was partially concealed, and it looked less bulky with the big cloak over it. But here it does get in the way of my enjoyment of the outfit. At least it serves a purpose, with a pegged loop on the right hip for her lasso and an enclosed loop on her left hip for The Godkiller. I guess I just wish it fit the figure a little more snugly.

The head sculpt is also excellent. There’s definitely some Gal Gadot in there, but I’m willing to be forgiving because it is generally a very good looking portrait. She’s pretty, the paint is applied with precision, and her the detail in her hair is very well done. The fact that part of the hair is sculpted to spill over her right shoulder doesn’t even hinder the neck articulation as bad as I thought it might. As far as 6-inch scale portraits go, it’s not up to Hasbro’s MCU standards, but I’d say it’s better than some of the Star Wars Black Series in my collection.

Wonder Woman sports some excellent articulation, but nothing we really haven’t already seen in this wave. Her arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, and swivels in the wrists and elbows. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, hinges in the knees and ankles, and swivels in the thighs. The torso features a swivel in the waist and she has a ball joint in the neck. The only thing really missing would be some lateral rockers for those ankles.

Both the sword and lasso are the exact same accessories that came with Cloaked Wonder Woman, so I won’t spend much time on them here. The lasso is sculpted in a coiled configuration and the sword is still a great looking sculpt and nicely painted. It would be nice if Mattel would toss in a piece of gold string to double as an uncoiled lasso, but I suppose that shouldn’t be too hard for me to find.

The new accessory is the shield and it’s a fantastic piece. This is definitely the more ornate version that she had in her own movie, as opposed to the blander one she carried in Batman V Superman. It features some sculpted geometric patterns, which make it look more Art Deco than Greek to me, but I don’t care, because it just looks fabulous. The shield itself is dark gray with bronze paint on the sculpted lines. The back of the shield features two soft plastic straps, which slide over the figure’s arm. I couldn’t really get her to grip the second one, but it works just fine without it in her hand. And speaking of shields…

Wonder Woman comes with a shield for Ares too, and it is an absolute work of art. I mean, just look at this thing! It’s got some insane sculpted detail decorating the front and a beautiful silver-blue finish, which matches the painted parts of his armor. It works the same way as Wonder Woman’s shield, with two straps on the back that slide over his arm. I’m definitely going to have to give his flaming swords to another figure, because there’s just no way I’m not going to always display him with this shield and his sword.

While I’ve enjoyed this assortment from the beginning, I have to say that this particular figure is a total home run. It’s a great sculpt, beautifully painted, and she’s lots of fun to play with. The only downside here is that it really should have been the wider release instead of the cloaked one. There are no Toys R Us stores near here and I wasn’t able to get her through their website. Nope, I had to hunt her down through a secondary seller. I didn’t get beat up too badly on the price, as she was just a couple of bucks more than she would have been at retail. But even with that having been said, this Gal is worth hunting down. On the next couple of DC Fridays, I’m going to switch gears to some DC Collectibles figures and then I’ll come back to Mattel to check out their DC Multiverse Justice League movie figures.

DC Multiverse (Ares Wave): Menalippe by Mattel

YES! DC Fridays are still alive and well, and should be going strong well until next year! Last week, I wrapped up the core figures in this Ares Wave of DC Multiverse Wonder Woman movie figures as well as had a look at the Collect & Connect Ares figure. But the wave doesn’t end there. Toys R Us had two exclusive figures for this wave, each of which came with extra accessories for Ares, making them completely optional for the C&C build, but still worth checking out. I’m going to have a look at both of those today, starting this morning with Diana’s friend, Menalippe.

There’s nothing on the box that states this is a TRU Exclusive, which is pretty weird, because The Giraffe House usually loves to plaster foil stickers on these releases. Nonetheless, you still get photos of the character on the front and side panel, and the only other difference is that where the back used to show only four figures in the wave, here Menalippe has been added as #1. As always, the box is collector friendly, but I’m about to tear the crap out of it to get at my goodies.

So, I can’t say as I actually remember Menalippe in the movie, but I’ve still only seen it once and I was pretty well sauced. I hope to remedy that sooner or later. But despite being a specific character, I think this figure could probably work just as well as a generic Amazon army builder. She features a very handsome suit of maroon, black, and bronze armor with some cut lines running in a “V” pattern on the torso and some additional pitting sculpted in. Her arms feature shoulder pads and wrist bracers. The ensemble isn’t as flashy as what we saw on Queen Hippolyta or Wonder Woman, but it makes for a great rank-and-file soldier.

The bronze belt looks like it’s supposed to be an eagle motif, with the wings reaching out and back around her hips. Below the belt Menalippe has a soft plastic brown skirt, which is sculpted to resemble strips of leather. Under that she has sculpted high boots with grieves and knee armor. My only real gripe here is that the color of her flesh tones doesn’t match too well between her upper biceps and lower arms. The upper biceps are painted, but the bottom arms are bare plastic.

The head sculpt is good and I can see a little bit of the actress likeness in there, but then again, she’s got her helmet on, so some of the features are concealed behind the sculpted cheek guards. There’s a lot of detail in the hairstyle, and the paint on the face is basic, but all around solid. The seams running up the sides of her neck are a little f’ugly, though.

The articulation here is identical to what we saw with the previous female figures. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, bicep swivels, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the wrists. The legs have rotating hinges at the hips, hinges in the knees and ankles, and swivels in the thighs. She also has a swivel in the waist and a ball joint in the neck. The skirt is designed so that it doesn’t hinder her leg articulation too badly at all.

Menalippe comes with three accessories: A bow, an arrow, and a spear. The bow is brown with a gold grip and additional gold fixtures. There’s no string, and it doesn’t look like one could be easily attached, so you just have to use your imagination. The arrow is also brown and gold. Mattel designed the figure to have a socket in the right hand to plug the arrow into. The downside, it renders that hand useless for anything else, but it does mean you can actually get her to hold the arrow well and even pose as if she’s knocked it and is ready to shoot. A swap-out hand would have been nice, especially since it’s a common thing to see in Hasbro’s 6-inch Marvel line, but let’s face it, DC Multiverse isn’t working at that level yet.

The spear is a completely different sculpt than the one we saw with Hippolyta. This one has a plain elongated gold point, and looks more like the weapon of a soldier. I dig that. Her left hand is clearly sculpted with the intent to hold the bow first and the spear second, as a result the spear can be a little loose in her grip. Before wrapping up, let’s see what this box has for Ares.

HOLY SHIT! The Ares accessories are a pair of flaming swords and these are some bitchin’ looking weapons. If this guy didn’t already look like he belonged on the front of a Metal album cover, he sure as hell does now. The underlying sculpts are meant to resemble the sword he came with, so I guess he just ignites that bitch and splits it into two swords.

These are each cast in an orange-yellow translucent plastic and there’s some paint spray to bring out the swords which are supposed to be at the heart of the flames. The effect isn’t bad, and I’ve got to appreciate how much plastic went into crafting what are essentially a couple of bonus accessories for a Collect & Connect figure. Indeed, considering I didn’t pay a lot more than ten bucks for Menalippe, these swords were almost worth the price of admission alone. And Ares doesn’t know it yet, but he may be lending these puppies out to some of my Mythic Legions figures.

I think Mattel made some solid character choices for this wave, beyond the obvious ones, and I’m really happy that they leaned heavy on the Themyscira stuff, because that was my favorite part of the whole movie. The fact that I hunted down Menalippe just goes to show how happy I’ve been with this wave, and she displays quite nicely with the other Themyscira-based figures. Later on tonight, I’ll come back and check out the last figure in the line… Wonder Woman!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DC Multiverse (Ares Wave): Steve Trevor by Mattel

I was originally going to save the second half of my DC Friday content for later in the day, but I decided to just unload it all at once this morning before heading off to work. So, if you happen to be checking in today, don’t forget to scroll down and read the review for the Wonder Woman figure as well. This way I’ll be freed up to come back later tonight and have a look at the Collect & Connect Ares figure as well! But for now… let’s check out Steve Trevor.

There’s nothing new to say about the packaging, so let me just go on record by saying, I like Chris Pine a lot. He’s a damn charismatic fellow and based on some of the behind-the-scenes stuff I’ve seen, he seems like he’s fun to work with. I’d even dare say that some of the interviews I’ve seen with Gal Gadot and Pine promoting Wonder Woman have shown more chemistry between the two than between their characters on screen. But maybe that’s just me. With that having been said, Pine didn’t always work for me as Steve Trevor. Maybe it was the way he was written, but I just didn’t see it. Nonetheless, he wasn’t necessarily bad in the role and I was happy that Mattel gave him a figure.

And it’s a damn nice looking figure as well! Steve features his WWI-era garb, which consists of boots, sculpted wraps for his lower legs (socks?), some baggy trousers, a belted tunic-like vest, and a heavy knit shirt with a turtleneck. It’s a strange attire, and that’s coming from someone who has made reading the history of the period a hobby for a while now. I’m not saying it isn’t authentic, but it’s far more of a swashbuckling adventure garb than a straight on uniform. Then again, in the DCEU Trevor is an American Pilot who attaches himself to a British Army Unit as an Intelligence Agent, so it makes sense that he wore whatever was on hand and suitable. In any event, the sculpting here features some decent texturing on the wool socks and the the vest, as well as the knitted pattern on the shirt. I think the vest is supposed to be leather, which is why they went with a glossy paint for it, but I think it would have looked better in matte. Still, the recreation of the underlying costume is not bad at all!

Steve also wears a coat over his duds, one which I would say is like a cross between an aviator’s jacket and a trench coat. Yes… after all the figures I have wearing trench coats, I finally have one wearing an actual TRENCH coat. How exciting! The coat consists of the usual soft plastic vest with arms sculpted to look like sleeves. The arm holes are a little bigger than they needed to be, which sort of dispels the illusion that it’s all supposed to be one garment, but it still works pretty well. The jacket features sculpted stitching and buttons, wide lapels, a sculpted fur collar, and even the buttons on the sleeves are sculpted and painted gold. Again, nice attention to detail!

The head sculpts in this assortment haven’t been the best, but Mattel sure hit all the right notes when they did this one. It’s an excellent likeness to Pine, and I’m guessing that’s not an easy thing to do, because Playmates sure as hell couldn’t make it work when they were releasing the Kirk figures from the 2009 Star Trek film, and they sure tried in every major scale. The paint here is a little basic, especially the wash on the hair, but I’m confident that I could recognize who this was supposed to be, even if the figure was taken completely out of context. It’s not quite up to snuff with some of Hasbro’s best MCU portraits, but it’s still good work.

Despite being the first male character in the assortment, Steve features close to the same articulation we saw with the ladies, but in an ironic twist, there’s actually a few points less here. His arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, and swivels in the wrists, but not in the biceps. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in both the knees and ankles. After years of complaining that Hasbro omits the bicep swivels from their Marvel Legends ladies, it’s kind of funny to see this mostly female assortment from Mattel go the other way around. He does make up for it, however, by adding a ball joint at the chest, in addition to the swivel waist and ball jointed neck.

Trevor comes with one accessory and that’s a shotgun. It’s a fairly bland sculpt and the trigger and guard are both one piece of solid plastic, but at least the forestock is ribbed. The weapon has a blued finish with brown paint for the stock. I was able to get some decent poses of him holding it, but since the trigger guard is a solid piece, and he doesn’t have a trigger finger, you can’t really have him firing it.

All in all I think Mattel did a really nice job on this figure. Yes, he’s relatively simple and the colors are bland, but both fit the source material pretty well, there’s some nice attention to detail on the costume, and the likeness is exceptionally well done for a DC Multiverse figure. He also looks great next to Wonder Woman, and that’s really what counts. Not to mention, he comes with the final pieces I need to cobble together my Collect & Connect Ares figure. So, come on back tonight and I’ll wrap up an ultra-rare DC Friday Triple-Play by checking out Ares.

DC Multiverse (Ares Wave): Wonder Woman by Mattel

Welcome to another Double Feature for DC Friday! And after some spotty weeks without new DC content, it feels good to be doing these again! Last week, I knocked out the first half of the DC Multiverse Ares Wave with a look at Diana and Hippolyta. Today I’m going to finish up the four figures needed to build the C&C figure by opening up both Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor!

And here’s Wonder Woman in the box, and I’ll go ahead and point out the obvious by saying this is Diana wearing her black cloak over her costume. It’s a look that she adopted for some very specific sequences in the film and it’s probably not the iconic look that most fans and collectors are looking for. There is a more traditional version (sans coat), but oddly enough that one is a Toys R Us Exclusive and is not necessary to build Ares, but does come with some optional extras. And yes, I will be looking at that figure, as well the other TRU Exclusive of the wave, Menalippe, next week. For now, let’s get Diana out of her box and check her out.

While I don’t own the Multiverse Batman V Superman Wonder Woman, this one looks like this is a re-sculpt of that previous release. She’s been fitted with a soft plastic sleeveless coat, and her arms have been sculpted with sleeves on them to resemble part of the jacket. It looks good, I like the sculpted fur fringe, although it does cover up a lot of the beautiful work they did on her rather iconic outfit underneath. And damn, it is a beautiful outfit, with plenty of detail, and some snappy red, blue and gold paint. I’ll actually save some of that gushing for when I review the TRU Exclusive version.

Diana also sports the shoulder strap, which is sculpted from a separate piece of soft brown plastic and features a loop for her sword and her lasso. The lasso loop works well and pegs into place securely, although the sword loop pits the sword against the cloak, making it a difficult fit. And while I appreciate the ability to store her equipment, I do wish this rig was removable. Alas, it’s permanently attached to the back of the figure. Some deft work with a razor could probably get it off of there, but I think I’ll keep it.

The head sculpt is also unique to this figure, as it features an integrated and non-removable hood. It looks good and allows her to still have working neck articulation, while still convincing me that it’s supposed to be part of the cloak. The overall portrait is OK, but it’s certainly not a great likeness for Gal Gadot. I can see a little of her in there, but it’s fleeting. Also, they seem to have missed the white paint on my figure’s right eye. I’d argue that such lofty goals as good likenesses are too much to expect from a 6-inch mass market line these days, but then I look at some of Hasbro’s MCU figures in Marvel Legends and realize that solid likenesses can be done at this scale and price point. You just have to work harder at it, Mattel.

As for articulation, this wave has been really consistent with the different points, meaning that it’s all the same points we saw last time with Diana and Hippolyta. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, with swivels in the wrists. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in both the knees and ankles. There’s a swivel in the waist and a ball joint in the neck. On the downside, the sculpted jacket sleeves restrict the range of motion in those shoulders just a bit. I was sort of able to get the Diana figure to cross her bracers, but that ain’t happening here.

As already mentioned, Wonder Woman comes with her sword, The Godkiller, and her Lasso of Truth. The lasso is more or less the same accessory we got with Diana. The sword is similar a similar sculpt to the one bundled with Diana, but features several notable distinctions, including the pommel crossguard and blade. She can hold either accessory in either hand.

And so this wave continues to give me hope for the DC Multiverse line, where previously I had none. As I’m sure I said before, there’s still room for improvement, but compared to some of the garbage this line has churned out in past waves, figures like this one are definitely steps in the right direction. Mattel obviously invested some effort into the sculpt and paintwork, and if you want a figure of Diana that is very specific to her first solo movie, than this cloaked version definitely fits that bill. Coming up next… Steve Trevor!