DC Super-Villains: Black Manta by DC Collectibles

I’ve been slowly working my way through the TPB releases of DC ReBirth and having a great time. So far nearly all the books have been enjoyable, but the one that totally took me by surprise was Aquaman. Great story, great characterizations, and beautiful art and coloring. It’s also one that beautifully captures what a badass Black Manta can be. So much so, that I had to go back and pick up his action figure from the DC Super-Villains line. And this is a particularly pertinent review as with Irma bearing down on me in a couple days, I may soon be under water! Yeah… let’s check him out!

I’ve reviewed several of the DC Super-Villains series, so the packaging offers no surprises. The figure comes in a mostly black window box with a swipe colored to match part of the character’s deco. In this case the red of Manta’s eyes. The box also includes an extended back flap with a J-hook so it can be displayed standing on a shelf or hanging on the wall. The window shows off the figure very well and everything here is collector friendly.

Out of the box, Black Manta looks absolutely fantastic. By nature, his design is fairly minimalist when it comes to color and details, but DCC still packed a great amount of love into him. The nearly all matte black body suit features some rather subtle panel lining around the chest and there’s some nice musculature sculpted in a swell. The neck guard, boots and gauntlets are painted with a glossy finish, which can look black or purple depending on how the light hits it. He also features the red gill-like slashes on either side of the suits neck-guard. All in all, this figure captures the look of the suit perfectly.

The only other detail of note on the suit is his right gauntlet, used to fire his energy beams or micro torpedoes. It’s a great sculpt and features some nice silver paint.

From the back, Manta is wearing his jetpack/backpack, which is painted in the same silver as his gauntlet. The backpack not only serves to propel him in water, but in this case also stores his extra weapons, which I’ll touch on in just a bit.

My favorite thing about Black Manta’s look has always been his squat, bulbous helmet and it looks fantastic on this figure. The red paint and texture on the giant buggy eyes is particularly well done. The back of the head connects to the backpack with two soft plastic hoses. They do allow for neck movement, but sometimes have a habit of bringing the head back to the center position.

Articulation on the Super-Villains line isn’t the best and mostly adheres to the standards set by DCC’s earlier “New 52” style figures. The biggest restriction here is in the hips, where we get a disappointing t-crotch as opposed to ball jointed hips. The arms are overall decent, with rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the wrists. The legs feature hinges in the knees, but no articulation in the ankles, and no swivels in the thighs. There’s no articulation in the torso at all, and the neck is ball jointed. There’s still some fun to be had here, but for the most part, Black Manta is designed to stand on the shelf and look menacing.

What Manta lacks in articulation he makes up for with accessories. First off, he has what is sometimes called his hand-trident, although two blades does not a trident make. This is a simple weapon, but looks great in either hand and is stored by clipping it to the center of the backpack.

The other weapons are twin short-swords, and these aren’t really shown off in the package as they come sheathed in the backpack. Again, these are fairly simple, although they do have some detailing on the grips.

For the most part, the Super-Villains line has been one that I pick up when I find the figures at decent discounts, so rarely have I ever paid the full $20 that these are intended to sell for. Black Manta would have been an exception, as I went hunting for him after reading just a the first few issues of Aquaman ReBirth. To my surprise, he was already going for pretty cheap, and I was able to grab him for about $12. He looks great, and the accessories are a welcome treat that you don’t often see with this line, but the fairly limited articulation dampens (HA!) the fun a little bit. Still, I’m certainly glad I got him, as he displays beautifully with the Aquaman from my “We Can Be Heroes” Justice League set.

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DC Comics Multiverse (Doomsday Wave): Superman Doomed by Mattel

It’s been pretty slow for me on the DC collecting front, so I’ve decided to continue running through a complete wave of Mattel’s Multiverse line while I’m waiting for some new statues to roll in. This is also helpful, since I just wrapped up another extra long work week and all I want to do is curl up in bed with a bottle of Jameson for at least 12 hours. Last time on DC Friday, I looked at DCTV’s Supergirl and was less than impressed. This time I’m checking out Superman from the 2014 story arc, Superman: Doomed. Will this figure be any good? Or will it be doomed to… ah f’ck it. Never mind the easy puns. let’s just check him out…

The packaging is the same we saw last time for Supergirl. It’s collector friendly, it gives you a good look at the figure inside, and my favorite thing about it is the character art and little bio blurb on the side panel. If I were saving these packages, I could line them all up on the shelf and no exactly who is who. As the package indicates, this is Superman infected by the virus he inhaled from Doomsday’s defeated body. I found it to be a pretty average story, although it was elevated by the fact that most of New 52’s Superman book before it was not my cup of tea. Look, I actually enjoyed several books from the New 52, but I thought Supes’ book was pretty lame. Doomed, on the other hand, well at least it presented something interesting.

So, at first glance, I like what I see. It’s a slightly beefier Superman in his New 52 outfit with some decent red and blue coloring. Some of the costume, like the boots and the belt are sculpted on, while the S-Shield is merely a tampo. This is one of the first times I can remember a New 52 Superman figure violating the New 52 art direction guide that the emblem should always be 3D and never just painted on. Seriously, that shit is printed in at least one of the comics! I’m pretty sure it was Justice League. At this point, however, I guess nobody cares anymore. Hey, at least the S-Shield is very printed very sharply, and the colors are bright and snappy. The figure does have a little bit of a cheap feel to it. It’s not junky per-say, but it feels more like those Total Heroes figures than it does a DC Universe Classics or Unlimited or All-Stars or whatever Mattel was last calling their DC collectors’ line. So far so good, pretty solid.

Of course from the waist upward, the figure takes on a more unique visage and exhibits some of those Doomsday characteristics from the virus. You get bumpy spikes in the arms and torso and those gray grasping monster hands. And that brings us to the head, which is pretty well done. I’m sure I’ve gone on record as saying that I’m not a huge fan of Doomsday’s design, but it looks pretty cool here when presented as a Kryptonian-Doomsday hybrid. Supes is sporting a wide grin with a mouthful of nasty teeth, more or those horn-bumps on his chin and jaw, and some wicked red demon eyes. Not too shabby. He’s still got his regular hair, more or less, but he also has little tufted ears. I like what they did here a lot.

Unfortunately, this figure’s articulation lets it down, and like Supergirl, it isn’t necessarily because the points aren’t there, rather there isn’t just a great range of motion to any of them. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, and swivels in the wrists and biceps. Those hinges in the elbows can’t do much and the lack of hinges in the wrists is disappointing. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips and swivels up there too, but again, there just isn’t a lot you can do with them. There are hinges in the knees and ankles and that’s all well and good, but again there’s very little range of motion in the knee hinges, and there are no ankle rockers. At least his torso fares well with a waist swivel and a decent ab crunch. Lastly, the neck is ball jointed. On paper, most of this sounds passable, but in hand, the figure just isn’t a lot of fun to pose.

I do like how he scales with Mattel’s earlier lines. Here he is alongside Mattel’s DC Universe “All Stars” New 52 Superman from 2012. He’s a little bit bigger, but then he is supposed to be, so I’d say it’s a pretty good match. You can also see that the Doomed version is missing the panel lines of the costume. That’s something I didn’t even notice until I put them side by side, and now I’m bummed out by it.

Overall, I like this figure better than the DCTV Supergirl, but I really need to qualify that. Supergirl had some great sculpting and paint in the costume, but fell short on everything else. Doomed Superman is a lot less ambitious. It aims lower and as a result doesn’t fail quite so badly. It’s also a comic based figure, which requires less in the way of realism, particularly in the portrait, and that was the Achilles Heel of that Supergirl figure. So, no… don’t take this as a ringing endorsement. This Superman is not a great figure, but I don’t think he’s terrible either.  If I ever get my DC Universe Classics collection set up on display again, I’ll have no qualms about putting him in there. Of course, keep in mind, that I picked up the figures in this wave for around $8 a pop, so I’m going to be a lot more forgiving when it comes to value. Plus, I’m one limb closer to building my Doomsday figure!

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.” 

DC Comics Super-Villains: Deathstorm by DC Collectibles

Yup, every now and then I’m still picking up some of DC Collectibles’ New 52 line and the Super-Villains series was one of my favorites. I was tempted to pick up all of the Crime Syndicate, but I already have the DC Universe Classics versions, so I decided to just pick up some of the ones that Mattel never put out. Enter Deathstorm!

As usual, the figure comes in a sizable window box and it’s even branded with the Crime Syndicate logo up on the flap. This figure is based on the character’s appearance in Forever Evil where he was basically a living prison, trapping the Justice League inside his energy matrix. I really enjoy that story arc and Deathstorm had some solid moments in the events that unfolded, but the main reason I wanted the figure is because his character design is just so bad ass.

Deathstorm’s costume is a dark and sinister reflection of that of his counterpart Firestorm’s. He has a burgundy and black suit with the flared shoulders and segmented boots and bracers. He even has his own version of the energy burst symbol offset on his chest. From the neck down this is a fairly simple costume, but the figure pulls it off quite well, thanks mostly to some excellent paint work. I especially appreciate the mix of matte and gloss black.

And Deathstorm has a portrait that would make Ghost Rider proud! Yup, he’s sporting a full on skull for a face and he has a flame for hair. The skull is cast in the same translucent plastic as the flame and painted over with a dirty white finish. I’ll bet that lends to some pretty damn nice light piping.

Aw, yeah. It does! It’s a shame they couldn’t have slapped a hinge in that jaw, but it probably would have been difficult with the hood that frames it.

Speaking of articulation, Deathstorm’s got all the right points. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps and thighs, ball joints in the hips, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The torso has a waist swivel and an ab hinge, and the neck is ball jointed. Note, I didn’t mention the elbows and note that there are no visible joints on the elbows. There are actually what appears to be rotating hinges buried under rubbery sleeves. It’s really uncommon for DC to put hidden joints on a figure, and I find it odd that they chose Deathstorm to get this treatment. Unfortunately, it has some mixed results. The right elbow articulates perfectly, the left one won’t hold a bend and it’s impossible for me to know what’s going on in there. Oh well, it was a cool idea.

And that’s really all I have to say about Deathstorm. He comes with no accessories, although I’d like to think DCC sculpted a teeny tiny Justice League and inserted them all into his torso. He’s definitely a simple figure, but well executed. At least, everything but that one elbow. I picked him up at a really good price from an online comic shop, and I only wish the rest of the Crime Syndicate were going for reasonable prices these days, because I wouldn’t mind having more of them to go with him. As it is, I only have two other members of the Syndicate from this series, and I’ll be coming back around to look at them in a few weeks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DC Comics: Lex Luthor ArtFX+ Statue by Kotobukiya

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cover Girls of the DC Universe: Wonder Woman (Ver. 2) by DC Collectibles

Back when Cover Girls got rebooted, Wonder Woman was one of the first statues out of the gate. That initial release remains one of the very few of these ladies that I don’t own. It’s nothing against that particular statue, I just never got around to going back and picking her up. Well, now DCC has done a second version of her, and it’s spectacular, I doubt I’ll have any desire to revisit the first.

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There’s nothing new to say about the packaging. It’s the same fully enclosed box that houses a brick of styrofoam with the statue inside. The back of the box has photos of Bleez and the second version of Harley Quinn. Wonder Woman comes wrapped in plastic and measures at just around 9 1/2-inches tall. All you need to do is plug her into the base via a pair of metal rods and she’s all ready for display.

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There’s so much I love about this piece, I’m not sure where to begin. Yes, it’s a very conservative and conventional pose. Diana is standing with her left hip to the side and her hand resting on it. She holds her golden lasso in her right hand and her right foot is behind her with the toe of her boot touching the back of the base. It’s not action packed. It’s not even all that original. But, I think the composition here just captures the character so well. It’s heroic, it’s noble, and perhaps most of all it’s confident. And those are all qualities that I associate with this Amazon goddess.

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The costume here is most definitely the New 52 look and I’ve never had a problem with it. It pays respects to her traditional look with just a little extra oompf. Her one piece features the red segmented middle with the reinforced silver border on the top, an integral silver “belt” and finishes at the bottom with the blue “undies” with white stars. She has her simple blue boots with the white border at the top that points in the front, her silver arm bracers and the silver band on her left bicep. The muscle tone in her arms is particularly well done and she’s certainly packing some assets up front.

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As good as everything is from the neck down, the portrait is even better. In fact, I’d say this is one of the best since the line rebooted. Not only is Diana beautiful, but I’m in love with her eyes and her little grinning smirk. Again, she just exudes confidence. She looks like she’s about to get into the fray and is thinking, “this is going to be fun.” The fine details on her choker and tiara are fantastic and I just love what they did with her hair as it cascades down and behind her right shoulder. She’s just plain dreamy.

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I’ve had a few slight issues with paint on a couple of my recent Cover Girls, but where they fumbled, Wonder Woman grabs the ball and goes the distance. In fact, I might as well start by pointing out the only issue on the whole piece and that’s a tiny stroke of stray silver paint near her left elbow. The rest of this piece is meticulously painted with sharp edges and barely a brush mark to speak of. The red and blue are both rich and the silver is bright and beautiful. I also love her skin tone. It’s soft, warm, and appropriately tanned.

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So, if I had to pick something to gripe about, I’ll go with the translucent yellow plastic they used for her coiled lasso. I get what they were going for here, I don’t think it looks bad, but I think it would have looked better had they just painted it with a nice gold leaf paint, like the kind they used on the base.

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Speaking of which, the base is the standard Cover Girls oval with a gold surface and accents and the edges painted white. There are tiny WW emblems at the cardinal points, all painted gold. As usual, these statues are limited to 5,200 pieces and hand numbered on the bottom of the base. Mine is 2,504.

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I was looking forward to getting Wonder Woman on my Cover Girls shelf ever since they revealed this second version and I’m happy to say she did not disappoint. In fact, she’s instantly become one of my favorite pieces in this line. Everything about this piece just comes together so beautifully and the quality of craftsmanship on display here should be the standard they look to. To make things even better, I got a ridiculously great deal on her. While I would have been perfectly happy paying the MSRP of a hundred bucks, I was able to pick her up for $60. Not too shabby at all.

Cover Girls of the DC Universe: Bleez by DC Collectibles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!