DC Universe Signature Collection: Batzarro by Mattel

Here we go, folks, it’s the very last release in Matty’s Club Infinite Earths! Well, unless you count the four quarterly releases Matty will do this year. The Signature Collection had a pretty good run for two years and while I was still willing to sub for another year, the truth is that the waning months of the club in 2013 was starting to wear thin for me. Case in point, the last release we get is Batzarro. I’ve had this figure for a couple of weeks now and I still have mixed feelings about this guy. On the one hand, I don’t think there were many collectors out there who were asking for him and when you think of how many characters were vying for this slot, Batzarro is a ridiculous choice. On the other hand, if there was ever a viable venue for Batzarro’s release, I suppose a hardcore collector club like this one was the best way to do it.



There’s the packaging. We may see it again, as I will be buying Ice when she’s released this year, but who knows how Matty will package her. She could come rubber banded into a plastic sandwich baggie for all we know. I don’t have anything new to say about these Signature Collection window boxes. They were well designed, nice and compact, collector friendly, and mostly had great character art. If space wasn’t such a concern for me I would have saved them all. Farewell!




And here’s Batzarro out of the package. I have absolutely zero knowledge of this character other than what’s printed on the back of the package. Apparently he’s a clone of Batman as opposed to a legitimate Bizarro version of Batman. Does it matter? Not to me. What we have here is basically a pretty standard Batman figure in the grey and black costume with some fun tweaks. His “futility belt” is a newly sculpted piece with all the pouches upside down and opened. The bat symbol printed on his chest is also upside down. Also, I dig that the interior of the cape is grey as opposed to black. The head sculpt is new and it’s pretty damn creepy. There are no eye holes in the cowl and Batzarro sports a crazy rictus grin displaying fanged teeth. It seems pretty obvious that this was a figure planned for the Batman Unlimited line as he would look right at home on the pegs next to that ungodly Planet X Batman.



Batzarro comes with a soft plastic batarang, which he can hold in each hand. The fact that the bio points out that he likes to use guns makes the absence of a gun accessory rather disappointing.



If today’s feature is brief, it’s because I don’t have a hell of a lot to say about Batzarro. A lot of collectors were pissed off to find that he was going to take the last slot in the CIE sub, but I will concede that I find him to be a fun release. Yes, he represents some pretty poor character selection by the powers that be over at Matty. The truth is that the final slot could have been much better spent on any one of a hundred characters. Nonetheless, I dig Batzarro a lot more than I did R’as Al Ghul or Red Hood, even if that’s a back-handed compliment. He is by no means the worst figure I received from the sub in its final year. Maybe that fact alone means it was time for CIE to shut down. It’s hard to argue that CIE wouldn’t still be going strong with better and more exciting character selection and Batzarro’s reception is a prime example of that.

DC Universe Signature Collection: Ocean Master by Mattel

The clock is running out on Matty’s Club Infinite Earth with Ocean Master being the first of the final three figures to be released in the Subscription and no new Sub going forward in 2014. These last figures are going to be a mixed bag for me, but of the three, Ocean Master here is definitely my most anticipated. The DCUC Aquaman on my shelf is getting pretty jealous of the other Justice League members and their expansive Rogue Galleries while all he has is Black Manta. Finally he can stop spending all of his time freeing dolphins from tuna nets and go fight somebody new. Besides, I’m fresh off of reading “Throne of Atlantis” and I gotta say, I really dig Ocean Master’s appearance in The New 52.



There’s the compact little window box I’ve come to know and love over the last couple of years. Of course, this is the Classic design of the character, which I’ve always been rather fond of and he sure looks nice in the box along with the excellent character art. If DC was all I collected I’d have these boxes all lined up on one of my shelves with the lovely character art showing on the side panels. <sigh> Unfortunately, I barely have enough room to display my DC figures loose, so these boxes have all been consigned to the landfill or possibly recycled into My Little Pony packages. Let’s get him out and take a look…


Last month we got a lot of new tooling with Huntress. This month, not so much. Ocean Master features a standard blue buck with a sculpted belt and sculpted fins on his bracers. I expected Matty to go with the fins on his calves too, but I’m glad they didn’t as it would have made him too similar to his nemesis Aquaman. Ocean Master does get a brand new head and it is a very cool sculpt. Matty went for something a little more subdued than what is depicted on the maniacal box art. He has a solemn, somewhat perturbed visage peeking out from his awesome finned mask. The new tooling is punctuated by a glorious cape with a ridiculously wide collar. I love it!


Ocean Master gets by with minimal paint apps. His buck is cast in blue plastic, with some metallic purple paint on his belt to match his purple cape. His bracers, mask fins, and cape clasp are all painted in metallic gold. His ray emblem is stamped on his chest and he’s got flesh tones for his hands and face. The coloring is understated, but he still sports a very pleasing deco.

Articulation is what we all expect out of the DCUC style. The arms have ball joints in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs have the usual DCUC style hips, hinges in the knees and ankles, and swivels in the thighs. The neck is ball jointed, there is a swivel in the waist, and he has the usual ab-crunch hinge in the torso.




Ocean Master comes with his aquatic staff. It’s a pretty simple sculpt finished with a gold metallic paint.

And so, Ocean Master is a solid figure and a welcome addition to my shelf. I’m always eager to expand my Rogue Galleries, particularly someone like Aquaman who is seriously lacking in foes. With only so many figure slots left in the line, it’s easy to start picking apart the character selection, but I think Ocean Master was a great choice. In fact, I’m rather surprised that in 20 waves of DC Universe Classics, he hasn’t made the cut a lot sooner.




Alas, I’m not terribly keen on the looks of R’as, so hopefully he’ll look better in hand, and I’ll confess to being morbidly curious about Batzarro. It’s worth pointing out that Mattel revealed at NY Comic Con that they will be producing the four figures that were shown off for Club Infinite Earth in 2014. These will include 90’s Aquaman, Ice (YES!!!), Black T-Shirt Superboy, and hell if I can remember who the other one was. If I can’t remember, I certainly wasn’t going to buy it. They are set to be sold quarterly on Matty Collector for $25 each. Had the price held firm at the already steep subscription prices, I would have likely bought the three I can remember. At $25 plus Matty shipping rates, only Ice is a sure thing, and possibly Aquaman. Containment Suit Doomsday will also be released as a Con Exclusive, but I’ve got no interest in that figure at all.

DC Universe Signature Collection: Huntress by Mattel

Yes folks, Club Infinite Earths continues to wind down. After this month’s figure, there are only three releases left and truth be told Huntress here is the last one that I was really looking forward to. That means that assuming every figure that has come before has been a homerun, in the end I had little interest in about a quarter of the entire 2013 lineup. It’s no wonder that the 2014 sub didn’t make it. Anyway, let’s try not to piss in Huntress’ cornflakes over Matty Politics, let’s just check out the figure…


It’s the same compact little window box we’ve been seeing all year. While I liked the packaging better before this year’s revision, I’m still fan of this style. If I had the space and these figures weren’t going directly into my DCUC display shelves, I would have certainly kept all of these boxes, but as it stands I’ve just been clipping out the back panels and tossing the rest.


The back panel has a little bio for the character and some artwork. I’m usually a big fan of the Signature Collection character art, but every now and then they stumble and I think this is one of those cases. Huntress doesn’t look bad, but there’s something off about her face to me. She looks like someone doing cosplay at a convention and it’s the morning after the big drinking binge. It’s certainly not the art that was the basis for the figure’s sculpt and that makes for a strange detachment between package and product. It’s not the first time we’ve seen this, but it’s a pretty minor problem for me.



Out of the package and Huntress is certainly a very solid figure. When I usually get a new DCUC style figure my mind begins to automatically dissect it to identify all the reused parts. Which body is it? Where’d he get that cape? Etc. etc. That wasn’t the case with this gal. While there’s obviously a standard female buck under there, she’s just brimming with newly sculpted bits and paintwork. The boots and gloves are brand new, as is the belt and the thigh straps and cape. The result is what feels like a totally fresh, new, and original figure. I love DCUC to death, but after years of collecting, that sense of new and original is not what I usually feel when getting a new figure in the line. All the newly sculpted bits here are quite good. The padded look of the boots, along with their straps and buckles, is executed particularly well. I love the scalloped look of her gloves, the holstered gun on her right leg, and all the pouches on her belt and thighs are nifty. The cape isn’t long enough to get in the way of posing, but it does make a nice support when trying to get her to stand in some tricky positions. Initial shots of the figure made me fear she was going to be a little chunky, but in hand, she looks great.


The head sculpt is also something that I was a little uneasy about early on. The final result is quite good. I wouldn’t call it one of CIE’s best efforts, but it gets the job done rather nicely. In fairness, between the mask and her hair, there’s a lot going on with her portrait. I do like the way her hair is sculpted to hang down over part of her mask and the face is certainly pretty with clean paintwork. If I’m assessing Huntress’ head sculpt a little lower than the norm, it probably says more about the outstanding quality of other portraits in the line than it does about any real failings on this one.


Overall, the paintwork here is pretty good. Unfortunately the only spot of slop on the whole figure is in a rather conspicuous spot, on her right shoulder, but even that isn’t all that big a deal unless you’re getting in real close with a camera. The white cross painted against her black top is nice and sharp, as is the border around the window that shows off her tummy. The shade of purple used is excellent and every little snap on the pouches and buckle on her boots has been carefully painted. Even the small parts of the gun in the holster are brushed with a metallic finish.



Huntress features all the articulation I expect in this line. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, hinged at the elbows, and have swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs have the usual DCUC style hinge at the hips, hinges in the knees and ankles, and the thigh swivels are cleverly hidden just under the straps and above the knees. She can swivel at the waist, has an ab-crunch hinge, and a ball jointed neck.



Naturally, Huntress comes with her trusty crossbow. It’s a simple piece, sculpted in soft plastic, but it’s a solid enough sculpt and painted with a nice shade of metallic purple. Both of her hands are sculpted so as to hold it securely and she can even grip it in one hand and cradle it in the other.




Huntress is an awesome figure and it’s kind of sad to see this kind of craftsmanship coming out of the line in its dying months. If Mattel was able to deliver a figure like this every month, I have no doubt Club Infinite Earths would have flourished for years to come. There are few figures that I regret getting, but Huntress is still one of the only ones that feel like she’s actually worth the price of $27 shipped. That having been said, I understand a little about how costing things out works in the business and it takes a lot of simple repaints and kitbashes to bankroll so much new tooling on a figure like this, but with more subscribers it wouldn’t have been as big an issue. Maybe that’s a Catch 22… I don’t know. What I do know is that this figure belongs is a high point in the line and she belongs in every DCUC collection. When considered with just a few other releases, Huntress easily justified the entire 2013 sub for me.

DC Universe Signature Series: Fire by Mattel

Yes, Club Infinite Earths is dead, but its animated corpse still shuffles on, at least for a few more months. August gave us Brazillian bombshell Fire, a character that many, including myself, were eager to see released in the DCUC style. Naturally, Matty took this opportunity to pull a really clever move (or douchebag move, depending on your point of view) and release only Fire this year and save her partner Ice for the 2014 Sub. Of course, now we know there will be no 2014 Sub so we can only hope that somewhere and somehow Matty will let us buy Ice for a lot more than she’s worth just so we can complete the duo.



Fire comes in the same compact little window box that we’ve been getting all year from CIE. The character art is quite good and there’s a little bio on the back. The box is totally collector friendly, but in the interest of space, I’ll be clipping off the back panel for keepsies and pitching the rest of it.



Out of the package and Fire is a pretty nice looking figure. I have some issues, but nothing terribly crippling. Her two-tone green costume consists of a pair of smooth and featureless pants, heeled boots, a pair of appropriately uneven gloves, and a boob wrap… for lack of a better term. She also has a gold and green belt that hangs from one hip. I dig the work Matty did on the costume. I think her top should have extended a little lower, like maybe just to the ab-crunch, but I’m picking nits on what is overall a solid effort.


The head sculpt, I’m not totally keen on. She looks a little less super model and a little more severe. The hair is full on 80’s, which makes her look like she would belong jamming with Jem and the Holograms as much as fighting in The JLI. Again, I’m nitpicking, but in truth the sculpt works ok for me. The paintwork on her face is crisp and sharp and I like the wash they did on her hair.


Running through the articulation, Fire does pretty well for a female DCUC buck. You get ball joints in the neck and shoulders. Her arms have swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinged elbows. Her legs feature the usual DCUC style hip joints, swivels just above the knees, and hinges in the knees and ankles. She can swivel at the waist and has an ab-crunch hinge. No complaints here.



Fire does come with an effect part, which is a translucent green flame that can fit over either of her fists. As far as effect parts go, it’s not bad.




Yes, it’s a bitter time for Club Infinite Earths and Fire doesn’t help matters much. She’s a truly solid figure, and I am a big JLI fan, so I’m very happy to have her. But having her in hand makes me wonder how Ice will ever make it out and whether she’ll be difficult to get or expensive. It seems like the least Matty could have done was ship Ice to those who subbed as a consolation prize. I would have been totally fine with that in lieu of a refund, which still hasn’t shown up in my bank account. Anyway, I suppose it’s nice to know we have a few figures left to look forward to before Batzarro ships at the end of the year and makes me wonder whether the Sub dying wasn’t such a bad thing after all.

DC Universe Signature Collection: Freddy Freeman by Mattel

It’s time for another release from the Club Infinite Earths sub, and Matty is keeping on point by delivering another figure that is conspicuously missing from our shelves. Captain Marvel, Jr. was definitely on my list of characters that I needed for my display. Maybe he wasn’t high on that list, but he was definitely on there! His arrival also reminds me that Captain Marvel himself is vacant from my DCUC lineup. Yes, somehow I own both versions of Mary Batson, but there’s still a gaping hole in my collection where Captain Marvel should be. Note to self: Pick up the Black Adam and Captain Marvel 2-pack. Anyway, let’s check him out… oh yeah, and… KRAKOOOM!



Once again, the Signature Collection packaging consists of a delightful little window box. It’s collector friendly, it shows off the figure quite nicely, and it sports some rather excellent character art. No, wait… scratch that last bit… force of habit. I am not really digging the character art here. Freddy looks a little too Alfred E. Neumann to me. Anyway, there’s a bio blurb on the back, which contains the amazingly awesome phrase, “Captain Nazi killed his grandfather.” Oh yeah, shit just got real. Now that you’ve mentioned Captain Nazi on a package, you have to make the figure Mattel. YOU HAVE TO! Sorry, I don’t make the rules.




Let’s kick things off with the portrait. I like the head sculpt here a lot. It doesn’t look much like the character art on the package, and as we’ve established, that’s a good thing. Mattel also resisted the urge to sculpt Freddy with a vapid, “I just took six halcion so I can pose for holiday pictures with the in-laws” smile like they did with Mary Batson. It’s not their best head sculpt of late, but to be fair, they’ve been doing a bang up job lately, so in this case even average is pretty good. I do like the way the tussled hair came out and all in all, they’ve managed to capture the youthful look of the character quite well.


Freddy is appropriately built on the smaller DCUC body. I know that should be obvious, but I’ve learned not to take scale for granted in a DCUC-based line. I find it to be a good fit for the character, not too big and not too muscular. He’s just a smidge shorter than Mary. There isn’t a whole lot of unique sculpting here. Beyond the belt, boots and wrists bracers, the blue costume gets by with just the “Shazam!” lightning bolt painted on his chest. Aside from that, you have a new cape, which is excellent. The braid, border, and fleurs are all sculpted and painted.


There are no surprises in the articulation department. You get a ball joint on the neck and shoulders. The arms have swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs have the usual DCUC hip-joints going on, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles.


Freddy Freeman is what the Club Infinite Earths line is all about, folks. He’s another character sorely missing from the DCUC roster and he helps to complete a team. Ok, so he’s not the most exciting figure around, but in the spirit of turning a pithy DC-related motto on its ear… sometimes we get the figure we need and not the one we deserve. I’ll admit, with the CIE sub open right now, Mattel may have been better served delivering some more exciting figures to drum up interest, but then for a company often accused of playing games and dealing dirty, I applaud them for not doing so. Politics and business tactics aside, this figure is another solid addition to my shelves. He turned out great and I’m very glad to have him.


DC Universe Signature Collection: Red Hood by Mattel

It’s been a long week, I’m coming down with something, and I just want to flop onto the sofa and do very little of anything. It’s no coincidence that today I’m going to look at a figure based on a character I don’t care a hell of a lot about: Red Hood! Yeah, for the most part, I’ve been lucky with my Club Infinite Earth subscription. My interest in the DC Universe runs pretty broad and deep, but sooner or later I was bound to get a figure that I could have done without. And so, this guy arrived on my stoop this week in complete disregard for my apathy toward most Batman comics. Let’s get this over with, so that I can pop in a DVD and go back to being horizontal again.



There’s the packaging we’ve all come to either love or tolerate from DC’s Signature Collection. I still dig it. You get a nice window box that shows off the figure quite well and is totally collector friendly. The character art is usually excellent on the DCSC packaging, but in this case, it seems off. There’s just something about the character likeness that doesn’t work for me. Maybe it’s the head sculpt? I kid, I kid… Red Hood’s head is a giant Tylenol gel capsule. It’d be hard to screw up the likeness on the box art. It’s fine.



And here he is in all his glory. Red Hood is a f’cking terrible character design. It’s possible that he’s more credible in the comics, but as an action figure, he looks like he could have been one of the MOTU designs that lost to Fearless Photog back in the 80’s. But he is what he is, so I’m going to try to not beat up on the figure too badly. Oh, who am I kidding? Yes I am.


Red Hood uses a standard DCUC style buck molded in pale grey plastic. His gloves are sculpted, but his boots are just painted on, as is the chest emblem. None of the paint lines are particularly sharp and there’s some mold flashing on the arms. The cape is plugged into a hole in the back of the buck and the head is just a big pill painted red. At the very least, Mattel could have used a clear dome for the head and painted the inside red to give it a little illusion of depth. What’s here looks like the quickest, cheapest, and dirtiest of cash grabs. On the bright side, at least you get two pistols. Too bad they’re so thin that they’re almost two-dimensional. Functional holsters might have helped nudge the figure up a notch in my eyes, but no. On the contrary, only one of his hands is sculpted with a trigger finger to hold the gun properly.



Articulation is the standard DCUC affair. The arms feature ball joints in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinged elbows. The legs have the usual DCUC style joint in the hips, hinges in the knees and ankles, and swivels in the thighs. The torso has a waist swivel and an ab crunch hinge. And yes… the dome will turn from side to side… brilliant!


And that’s it… I’m spent. If you’re a big Jason Todd fan, then this figure might scratch your itch, but it’s the first one in the CIE sub that I would have preferred to have opted out of. In fact, he may still find his way onto Ebay. Despite acquiring a renewed love for the character, I hate this appearance. It just feels like  lazy character design, and the figure feels like a slop job. In the congested shelves of my DCUC display case, I’m not sure I even want to spare him any standing room. $28 for this guy?  Blah!

And that’ll do it for DC Week. I’ll try to mix things up a bit more next week, but I have a feeling the pendulum is going to swing the other way and we’re going to be in store for a fair amount of plastic Marvel tat. See ya’ll on Monday!

DC Universe Signature Collection: Monsieur Mallah and The Brain

Ok, here’s where we separate the boys from the men, the dabblers from the collectors. It’s an action figure of Monsieur Mallah. Who ever thought it would come to this? I never dreamed Matty would ever have the balls to do a release like this one, but they upped the game. They said, “Oh? You like DC Comics? You like to get some action figures based on characters in some of those comics you read? Get a Superman or a Batman? Hmm? Maybe get some backbenchers? Some B-listers and C-listers. Hmm? Make you feel hardcore?” (If you didn’t read that in Stewie’s voice you’re doing it wrong) “Well how about this… we’re making Mallah and The Brain, muthf’ckers!  Are you hardcore enough to put that on yo’shelves?” Well, I guess I don’t have any choice, because they’re the Sub Exclusive. I’ll confess I am inexplicably delighted at this release, not for any overwhelming affection for these characters, but just because they’re such an unlikely release, I need them in my collection.



The occasional enemy of the Doom Patrol and Teen Titans, this pair comes in a large and wide window box, similar to the one that housed Metron and his Mobius Chair. I was actually surprised at how big the box was, mostly because The Brain is much bigger than I expected him to be. As always, the box shows off the figures quite nicely, with Mallah’s gun mounted behind his head, but still visible above The Brain. The character art is solid, but probably not among the best we’ve seen in this series. I guess when you’re drawing a gorilla wearing a beret and a bandoleer strap of ammo, and holding a brain in a cybernetic container, you don’t feel the need to go all out. I also noticed the bio didn’t mention anything about the romantic connection between these two. It’s possible that Mattel left that bit out because they didn’t want to be responsible for people’s heads exploding when they read the package.



Let’s face it, there’s no shortage of action figures of gun-toting gorillas wearing berets on the market today, and yet Mallah still manages to stand out. The realism of the sculpt is dead impressive. The stoic determined expression of the sculpt is only to be matched by the amazing paintwork on the eyes. You’d think the initial reaction to seeing an ape in a red beret would be comedy, but Mallah pulls it off with quiet dignity. No, my first reaction to seeing Mallah would not be to laugh, it would be to shit my pants and run. In any event, this figure is gorgeous.


Mallah’s body is recycled from the DCUC Collect & Connect Gorilla Grodd. What? You didn’t expect Mattel to churn out an entirely new gorilla body, did you? It’s a good reuse of that figure, and since I sadly don’t own a Grodd, it won’t be apparent when Mallah is displayed on my shelf. The body is big and powerful and the sculpted hair and feet and hands all match the convincing realism of the head fairly well. Mallah’s ensemble is rounded out with the belt of ammunition that hangs loose over one shoulder and a rather unique looking machine gun. Once again, I’m quite impressed with the work Mattel did on this guy.



Being a giant gorilla, Mallah’s articulation is a little different from your average DCUC style figure. He has no torso articulation at all, but I wouldn’t have expected it. I can’t imagine the engineering it would have taken to get an ab crunch into this beast. His neck is ball jointed, and offers a nice range of motion. His arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, have swivels in the biceps (suck on that, Larfleeze!), hinges in the elbows, and swivels and hinges in the wrists. His legs feature swivel cuts up at the hips and again at the ankles.




And then there’s The Brain. Obviously, this is more than an accessory than an actual figure. It’s just a silver tube with some sculpted detail, a skull like face, and a clear dome housing… well… the brain. It’s a nice looking piece, but it is greatly at odds with the artwork used for the packaging. It seems like Mattel neglected to get everyone on the same page for this one. Nonetheless, it’s fine for what it is and Mallah can certainly hold it fairly well.


I really think Mallah and The Brain was a great choice for a Sub Exclusive. If you didn’t Sub, you aren’t missing out on a crucial character, but you are missing out on a great figure. Sure, there are plenty of more important characters that need to be made, but Club Infinite Earth has been filling its share of holes, and I’d argue that this pair is exactly the sort of thing that the Club should be working on as well. Mallah represents a logical reuse of parts combined with some new sculpting that results in a truly fantastic looking figure that I’ll be happy to put up on my shelf.

DC Universe Signature Collection: Larfleeze by Mattel

April was a busy month on Matty Collector. For starters, they offered up a crap load of Masters figures. I’m happy to report that despite really wanting to get Mosquitor and Webstor through my Early Access privileges, I was able to resist. $27 a figure plus shipping? The stink of desperation is upon you, Matty, and you’re going to ruin a good thing with your greed. Speaking of greed (I LOVE SEGUES!!), Larfleeze was this month’s Club Infinite Earth figure, along with the Sub Exclusive, Monsieur Mallah and The Brain. Today we’ll check out Larfleeze and tomorrow I’ll double back to Mallah. Let’s go!


You know the deal by now. The Signature Collection features nice window boxes that show off the figure very well. The box is totally collector friendly, but for space concerns, I now only keep the boxes for the oversized figures. Later today I’ll take a scissors to this one, cut off the back panel for keepsies and pitch the rest. Hey, I gotta do what I gotta do. Anyway, I really dig the character art here, even if it is drawing from the Larfleeze design that I like the least, but we’ll come back around to that in a minute.


Aside from way back in Blackest Night, I haven’t encountered Larfleeze much in my regular funnybook readings, but then I’ve only read the first couple issues of the current Lantern books. Most of The New 52 Green Lantern and New Guardians are still stowed away on my Kindle waiting to be read. In fact, the last time I can recall seeing this fellow was in the delightful Larfleeze’s Christmas Special, a one shot which really betrays Geoff Johns’ bewildering and endearing love for this character. It was a lot of fun for what it was, and it even contained a recipe for Larfleeze’s Orange Lantern Cookies and other fun activities. DC really needs to turn that into a thirty minute animated special that I can pop in around the holidays.



So, the first thing worth mentioning about this figure is his portrait. The character has gone through some artistic changes over the years and this one is certainly at odds with his appearance in the aforementioned Christmas Special, which happens to be my preferred look for him. Gone is the horse face, and I’m not sure I’m all that happy about it. I’ll grant you that the head sculpt is very impressive, particularly the rictus grin with all those wonderful teeth, but I don’t think it has the same personality as the more elongated face. Although, this one is definitely a lot scarier. Maybe this would have been a good opportunity for Matty to have provided a swappable head. Either way, what’s here is definitely good.


As expected with these Lantern figures, The body is a very simple sculpt, with most of the detail of the costume being painted on. There are raised discs for the emblem tampos on his chest and shoulders, and sculpted rings to segment his arm bracers, but the bulk of this body is just cast in orange plastic and has some black paint on the arms and torso. The paintwork is ok, although there is certainly some slop around the lines and the paint on the arms doesn’t quite match the orange plastic in the torso. There’s nothing spectacular here, but he gets by.


Larfleeze’s articulation consists of ball joints in the neck and shoulders. The arms feature double hinges in the elbows and hinges and swivels in the wrists. The legs have the usual DCUC style hip joints, which allow for lateral movement, hinges in the knees and ankles, and swivels in the thighs just above the knees. The torso has a swivel in the waist and an ab crunch hinge. What’s missing? The bicep swivels. Seriously Mattel? You cut out the bicep swivels? That pisses me off beyond belief. These figures are supposed to be based on the DCUC style and that has always included bicep articulation in the male bucks. Cutting that out is unacceptable to me. I should also mention that there’s so little clearance in the ankle hinges, they might as well not be there either.


Of course, Larfleeze comes with the Orange Lantern of Avarice. It’s more or less the same lantern we’ve seen before only with an orange coat of paint. But wait a minute… isn’t the orange lantern not supposed to have a handle? You managed to get that right in the super shitty Orange Lantern Lex Luthor figure, why’d didn’t you just recycle that piece? Hmm… Well, it’s probably a good thing that it does, because without those bicep swivels, it’s hard to get him in a good pose where he’s hugging it close to him.


I’ll grant you, Larfleeze is a little disappointing. The portrait is what it is. It may not be the look I preferred, but I can’t argue with what is an excellent head sculpt. But cutting out crucial articulation is just not cool. I love the DC Signature Collection to death, but if Mattel starts making a practice of doing these little cost cuts in articulation, they’re going to find themselves with one less subscription next year. Still, considering, the only other Orange Lantern is Lex Luthor, and I probably hate him more than any other figure in my entire collection, it’s nice having Larfleeze representing on my shelf. Normally, I’d toss in a little bitching about the cost of the figure with shipping being way too much, but this month I got to split the shipping between him and the Sub Exclusive, so in the end, he probably only averaged around $20. Still a lot for one figure, but I am an irrevocable DC whore so it’s not like I have much choice.

I’ll be back tomorrow to check out the wonder that is Monsieur Mallah in all his improbable action figure glory.

DC Universe Signature Collection: Elongated Man by Mattel

Hells yeah! This is the kind of thing I joined Club Infinite Earths for! Finally, it’s the f’ing Elongated Man! Not to slight any of the excellent figures that have come from CIE before him, but I’ve had a certain DC Direct version of this guy chilling on my DCUC shelves as a place holder for a little too long now. Next to Jay Garrick Flash, this is the one CIE figure that scratches my itch the most. Sure, that DCD version is great and all, but getting an actual DCUC style figure of Dibny? Well, this has been a long time coming. Let’s check him out…



It’s the ever so slightly redesigned Signature Collection packaging. I think this is the third time we’ve seen it and it’s starting to grow on me. Or at the very least I’ve decided the changes are mostly harmless. Truth be told, I’m only hanging onto the boxes for the oversized quarterly figures now, so I’ll be taking a pair of scissors to this box to save the back and the rest will get trashed. Hey, space is precious and Dibney’s going right on my shelf anyway. Generally speaking, I’m usually blown away by the character art Mattel uses, but that’s not so much the case here. I appreciate that they are trying to show off Dibny’s elastic personality, but I’m just not feeling this character art. The bio on the back chronicles Dibny’s troubled life, but it does not explain why the DC writers like to mentally torture him so much. Let’s check out the figure…



Starting off with the head sculpt, I think the portrait here is excellent. I was very pleased with the DCD version’s head sculpt, but now that I’ve seen this one it’s a little hard to go back. This portrait is less harsh and angular than the DCD version and he’s not as sickly pale either. It makes sense, though, as the DCD version is from “Identity Crisis” and this one looks like Dibny from a less tragedy stricken time in his life. I’m not entirely sure the expression they were going for with this figure, but I do love it. It’s a little neutral with a bit of “gee-whiz” deduction thrown into it. I’ve always had a soft spot for Ralph and I think this portrait captures his personality extremely well. At least before he completely lost his shit over the tragedy with his wife, but I’m glad that Mattel didn’t try to sculpt angry-desperate-vengeful Dibny.


As expected, Ralph’s costume is achieved mostly through paintwork on a standard DCUC style buck, so there isn’t a lot of original sculpting here. He’s mostly red with black gloves, boots, and the “V” down the front and back of his torso. There are yellow borders around his boots and gloves, and he has a sculpted belt comprised of a simple black and yellow band. The paintwork is overall pretty good, although there are a few small spots on my figure’s chest where the black chipped.


In package, Elongated Man comes with his right arm stretched out, but you also get a regular fist that you can swap with it to make him normal. The DCD figure had a lot more stretchy gimmicks, with two bendable arms and an extending neck. I wouldn’t have minded two stretch arms for him, but I’m still happy with what they did here. It’s just enough to show him flexing his powers without going all nuts. He also comes with a very cool magnifying glass, which he can hold in his left hand.


Elongated Man features your standard DCUC articulation. That means a ball joints in the neck and shoulders, the arms feature swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs have the classic DCUC hip joints, which allow for lateral movement, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles. You also get an ab-crunch hinge and a swivel at the waist.


And so, finally I can retire my DCD version of Ralph Dibny to my DC Direct drawer and represent the character on my shelf in proper DCUC style. In this case, however, I’m still happy to own both versions, as the DCD figure does offer a lot more display options, but each figure brings its own charms to the table. On the other hand, I really am thrilled with this figure’s head sculpt. Sure, he’s a simple enough figure, but Mattel really did a wonderful job with it. Now I really need to double back and pick up Firestorm and Red Tornado.

DC Universe Signature Collection: Phantom Stranger by Mattel

Last month’s Club Infinite Earths figure, Saint Walker, wasn’t exactly high on my want list. This month’s release was not only on my list, but I never thought Mattel would ever actually get around to creating and releasing him. He’s Phantom Stranger and he is exactly the kind of character that this line should be all about. Finishing teams is great, I certainly approve of that, but I can’t believe Phantom Stranger would ever have wound up on the pegs in the DCUC line. And if he did, you can bet it would he would come with a part for one hell of an essential C&C figure to make sure he sold to the masses. Sure, he’s already been available as a DC Direct release… but now he can feel right at home on my DCUC shelves… let’s take a look!



This figure is the second release in this year’s tweaked packaging. Since last month, I’ve been forced to ditch all the packages, except for the quarterly oversized figures, so the change doesn’t bother me as much. I am, still clipping out the backs so I can save the character art and bios. Speaking of bios, I was really curious to see how Mattel would approach Phantom Stranger’s, since the true nature of the character has never been decided. I often vacillate on which of his intriguing backstories I like the most. If I were in charge, I probably would have left the bio area for him blank, because he really is that much of an enigma. But at least they didn’t suggest he was Superman and Wonder Woman’s son from the future, so I’m happy.



Phantom Stranger is a pretty obvious kitbash. I don’t mean, if you’ve been collecting DCUC for years you’ll probably recognize some parts. No, I mean, if you subbed Club Infinite Earths last year, you will easily recognize the entire body of this figure. It would be one thing to say Phantom Stranger reuses the repainted lower half of John Constantine, but it’s another to say he uses the exact same body as Black Mask, with only a re-sculpted turtleneck to stand out as new. Of course, if you’ve also been collecting DCUC for years than you’ll take note of the fedora used for Sandman and The Question, Martian Manhunter’s cape, and a pair of hands cribbed from The Spectre. In theory, everything should work well, but when I look at him, I can’t help but see all the individual components. I think I know why, so let’s talk…


Coloring! I think the reason the kitbash elements stand out so much has a lot to do with the figure’s coloring. While character art for Phantom Stranger varies, I think it’s the fact that the blue cape and hat clash with the black suit, which makes the reuse on this figure stand out. I’ve seen plenty of art where his ensemble matches, and I think a more uniform appearance would make the borrowed parts look more cohesive. It doesn’t help that the cape is the same color as Manhunter’s and the fedora is the same color as The Question’s. I dare say, I think I would have liked the figure more in a suit that matched the hat and cape. Sure, all the parts suit the character, but as it stands, it still looks like the figure was cobbled together in someone’s basement.


As for the new stuff… The head sculpt is good. I had my doubts about the wash used on the face for shadow effect, but it does look good on the figure in hand. Likewise, the chain used for his medallion looks less clunky and more appropriate in person. Oddly enough, the hands, while still recycled, garner special attention as really tying the figure together. It’s the hocus-pocus aspect of the fingers, which are really expressive and really suit the character beautifully. It probably helps that Spectre was released quite a while ago and so cribbing his hands doesn’t feel so much like double dipping.




All things being equal, Phantom Stranger is a decent enough figure. He’s a character I wanted represented on my shelf, and in fairness the figure matches the source material quite well. As a kitbash released by the biggest toy company in the world, however, he just barely manages to scrape by. I’m usually perfectly fine with Mattel sharing parts. In fact, I usually enjoy seeing how they do it and I’m often impressed by how well they pull it off. Not so much here. A straight re-use of this much of a figure that we just got last year seems like it’s going just a bit too far and there’s not enough new here to justify a $30 figure. Is it just me? Maybe the prices on these guys are starting to get to me. Oh well. Chances are I will be subbing Matty’s Filmation line, so at least that will help defray some of the shipping costs. Either way, I have a feeling that next month’s CIE release will remedy the malaise of the last two months.