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.

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 Super-Villains: Johnny Quick and Atomica by DC Collectibles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DS: “Sucks, dude…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Justice League War (DC Animated Movie Series): Shazam by DC Collectibles

It’s DC Friday again, and I’m almost to the point where I’m caught up on opening my backlog of DC figures. It’s possible that I might start switching up Friday content a bit in the future, but I’m hoping it won’t come to that. I’ve got the rest of August and part of September covered, and by then, I’m hoping some new stuff will start rolling in. Today, I’m looking at my last figure from the Justice League War animated film, Shazam!

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Here’s the obligatory shot of the packaging, or at least the best one I could salvage after my cat hit the table while I was taking it and I didn’t realize the picture was wrecked before I tore open the package. Whoops! Again, it’s clean and simple, and it shows the figure off beautifully. There are some stills from the movie printed on the card behind the figure, and some shots of other figures in the series on the back of the card. It’s not at all collector friendly, so let’s rip this sucker open and see what we’ve got!

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Because of the animated style, this line focuses more on paint than individual sculpts. Indeed, Shazam here is a repaint of the Superman body, and that’s a good choice that works well. The costume is mostly deep red with gold paint for the boots, belt, wrist bracers, and some gold and yellow for his chest emblem. Overall the paint is neatly applied, although there are some areas, particularly around the cape’s trim, which could have been sharper.
The cape is the only newly sculpted piece for the costume. It’s fairly light and very pliable, but it still makes him a little back heavy. The hood is sculpted down, which is the way I prefer it. I have passed on at least a couple of Shazam figures because the cape was permanently up.

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The head sculpt is one of the better ones in this line. Yes, that’s a loaded compliment. Superman’s sculpt was a lumpy mess, Green Lantern’s was a painted nightmare, the rest have been OK. I think they did a pretty good job capturing the animated style in this portrait and the paint is fairly clean. There are, however, a couple of stray marks on his bottom lip that unfortunately look like cold sores. Hopefully them old wizards have a cure for herpes!

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The articulation has been a standard in all the male bucks of this line. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, swivels in the biceps and wrists, ball joints in the hips and neck, and hinges in the knees. There’s no articulation in the torso at all. These are not highly pose-able figures, but I’d still rank them as better than most of the releases from the dark days of DC Direct’s premier lines, where nothing but t-crotches and swivel cuts were the order of the day. Still, there’s only so much you can do with him, hence the limited number of shots I used for this Feature.

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By now, you all know that this line has been hit and miss for me. Shazam was the last one I have to open, and seeing as he’s one of the better ones, so I’m happy to ending my look at this series on a positive note. If I ever stumble across The Flash at a decent price, I’d probably grab him to complete the Justice League War set, but otherwise it’s safe to say I’m finished with these. Even though I picked up all of these for ten bucks a pop, my hindsight is telling me I should have passed on them. At a time when I’m trying to tighten up my collecting habits, the amount I spent on these figures could have paid for a Cover Girls statue I needed, or even one of Mezco’s upcoming One:12 Collective releases.

 

Justice League War (DC Animated Movie Series): Superman and Wonder Woman by DC Collectibles

Marvel may be ruling the world of live action movies, but DC has long been kicking ass with their animated direct to video presentations. Justice League War was one of these and boy was it great. Superb characterization, a really fun Batman vs. Superman fight, some dude called Wonder Woman a whore and got outed as a transvestite, and overall a really good feature length treatment of the first story arc from The New 52’s Justice League book. Rather than just bring us animated Jim Lee art, these films tend to skew a little more stylized and if nothing else that gives them the opportunity to market action figures of the same characters to idiots like me.

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Now let me say straightaway, that I would have included Batman here, but for some inexplicable reason, they didn’t make a Justice League War version of Bats. Shazam? Sure! Batman, nah! That seems really shortsighted to me, but they did release him from Son of Batman, naturally I have him and I’ll get to him eventually. Anyway, the packaging here looks nice, but it’s a simple bubble on card affair and not collector friendly. You get some stills from the feature behind the figures and character art on the right panel insert. The figures are numbered, with Superman and Wonder Woman being #2 and #4, respectively. Let’s start with Superman!

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Oh, boy. This is a stylized re-imagining of the New 52 look, and I think the work on the costume is pretty solid. Keep in mind that this line uses some buck sharing, so with the exception of the cape, all the details on Superman’s costume are achieved with paint alone. I like the rich shades of blue and red they used and for the most part the lines are fairly sharp. The intricate panel lines of the comic look have been toned down to just a few. The package suggests these might glow in the dark, but I don’t see much evidence of that. There are a few unfortunate globs of glue on my figure, one by his right cape attachment and another on his left bicep. These were priced about the same as regular DC Collectibles figures, but the quality control on Supes could have been better.

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The cape is OK. It’s not too heavy and it doesn’t drag on the floor, so it doesn’t inhibit wider stances. There’s no S-shield printed on the back. I can’t remember if he had it in the film, but I’m guessing not. Moving on to the portrait…

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Sweet Kryptonian Jesus!!! While everything from the neck down is passable, I don’t know what is going on with this head sculpt. It’s like someone cast older Robert Z’Dar to play Supes. Too soon? Sorry Z’Dar fans. Anyway, this portrait is just all sorts of wrong and I’m hoping that the mold got pinched in production or something, because I don’t want to call anyone out on their work. Phil Ramirez sculpted him and he’s a talented guy. I have lots of his work in both action figure and statue form, so I’m just not sure what happened here. The promo pictures were actually spot on and should have been enough to warn me off the figure, but I remember thinking, there’s no way the actual figure’s portrait is going to look like that. I have no one to blame but myself.

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Articulation is pretty good for a DCC release. You get rotating hinges in both the shoulders and elbows, as well as swivels in the biceps. The wrists look like they have swivel cuts, but mine won’t budge and I don’t want to twist them off trying. The legs are ball jointed and the knees are hinged. And lastly, you get a ball joint in the neck. Let’s move on to Wonder Woman…

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Diana is an entirely different story, in that she’s excellent in almost every way. Granted, you have to buy into the the stylized design, and the fact that her costume got a pretty unique overhaul for this movie, but I happen to like it a lot. Wonder Woman is the only female in the Justice League War series, but I believe they might have recycled some of the parts for the buck for Mera from the Throne of Atlantis.

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Either way, her costume is also all achieved through a deco of red, blue, and silver paint, coupled with some flesh tones. There are a few lines that could have been sharper, there’s a stray spot of silver on her left heel, but all in all, I think the paint is good here. Her sculpted lasso is permanently attached to her hip.

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While Superman looks like he caught a freight train full of bees with his face, Wonder Woman’s portrait, sculpted by Jack Mathews, is very well done and quite faithful to her likeness in the film. The painted features on her face are very sharp and I especially dig her ponytail.

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The articulation here is close to Superman’s, just minus the bicep swivels.

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Wonder Woman comes with her short sword. It’s a welcome accessory, because she used the sword a lot in the movie… even to inadvertently demand ice cream at the point of a blade.

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I’d call my first foray into the DC Animated Movie Series to be a hit and a miss. Superman would have been fine if not for his unfortunately weird face, but I’ve got nothing but love for this Wonder Woman. In fact, she’s so good it makes me all the more sad that I don’t have a decent looking Superman to go with her. Ah, well… I also have a lot more of the Animated Movie Series to open, because most online retailers were blowing them out at $9.99 and I can’t help myself.