DC Comics: Premium Format Wonder Woman Premium Format by Sideshow

The fact that I only own a few Premium Format Statues by Sideshow proves that as a collector I at least have some willpower left. These things are huge and expensive, and I frequently find myself with glass of Jameson in hand drooling over them on Sideshow’s website into the wee hours of the night. I’m fond of saying that I got my first taste for free when I won a Sideshow contest for the Batman Returns Catwoman, but it’s today’s Wonder Woman statue that was the first Premium Format to get me to open up my wallet. I actually had this lady in my sites for a long time, hoping that she would sell out so I could finally stop agonizing over the decision. But a couple of years ago I got a nice bonus at work and decided to treat myself.

These statues usually come in pretty big boxes, but this Wonder Woman’s box is absolutely massive. It features absolutely no images of the figure inside, just Wonder Woman’s name and logo and some stars against a red and white backdrop. Inside, the statue is nestled between two large Styrofoam bricks, with the individual pieces wrapped in tissue paper. As always, there’s some assembly required, but nothing here was too difficult and all the pieces fit together with ease. Before proceeding, I’ll start with an apology. This piece is well beyond the comfortable constraints of my little studio set up, which is designed for action figures, not mammoth pieces like this. As a result, when I reviewed my camera roll, I wasn’t happy with many of the pictures I took. This piece deserved better, but until I can put together a larger studio space, I have no reason to think a reshoot would have had better results.

Here she is, standing majestically among crumbled ruins of Themyscira and meauring something like 24-inches high. Her right hand is held out at arm’s length, clutching the shaft of her spear and balancing it on her shoulder and behind her neck. Her left hand grasps the handle on her shield, while her left foot rests up on a piece of ruined architecture. Sideshow has done several excellent Premium Formats based on the Amazonian Princess, but the composition of this piece is probably the one thing that makes it my favorite. Diana looks like she just got finished pummeling the combined armies of Ares, and now she’s coming for the Big Guy himself. Simply wonderful!

Probably the next thing that attracted me to this piece was the portrait. I’ve got to say it, maybe two-thirds of the time, Sideshow’s female portraits let me down. I was willing to throw money at their Zatanna figure when it was first teased, but I couldn’t get past the somewhat masculine head sculpt. What I like about this one is the way it portrays Diana as both tough and beautiful. The portrait isn’t inspired by the likenesses of Gal Gadot or Linda Carter either. Not that there’s anything wrong with those lovely ladies. I think they each look perfect in the role, but I just love that this isn’t influenced by any of the movies or TV. Either way, here she has a strong, determined brow, and an upturned smirk as she assesses the confrontation ahead. Meanwhile, her hair blows off to the side. The paint on her eyes is razor sharp, and there’s a nice glossy finish to her lips.

Her costume is certainly one of the more abbreviated designs. There’s no skirt, but just the blue panties with white stars. Her gold belt offers up her trademark WW logo, and she has the Art Deco-style golden eagle motif on the front of her chest. Meanwhile, everything in between is painted with a rich crimson. The coloring is lush and deep, rather than being too flashy and bright. It definitely has a patina of realism too it, or at least as realistic as you can make an outfit like this look! It’s simple and elegant, and the quality of paint application is above reproach.

The spear is a simple wooden shaft, which has a sculpted ribbon tied around it. Once upon a time, Premium Formats all had some form of mixed media incorporated into them, and while that hasn’t been the case in a while, I do wish they had made this ribbon out of real cloth and sewn a wire into it to make it poseable. It’s not that it looks bad, it actually looks quite nice, but I just think some cloth would have been a great touch here. It also would have been a lot less fragile. She also carries her coiled Lasso of Truth on her right hip. This piece is sculpted with braids and painted with the same finish as the gold portions of her costume.

The shield is an absolute masterpiece, and it definitely draws the eye toward it almost immediately, thanks to that brilliant high-gloss finish. It’s a cool contrast with the matte coloring of the rest of the costume and it really pops from across the room. The concentric circles feature a blue ring of stars, a silver ring of Gracian patterns, and a central red disk with two silver stars and a raised golden eagle. Sideshow also released an Exclusive version of this statue where the shield could be swapped out with an battleax. It wasn’t too much more, but I still opted for the regular release, since I couldn’t imagine myself ever displaying this figure without the shield.

And that brings us down to the base, which compliments the figure perfectly. It’s quite large and adds some height to what is an already impressive piece. The crumbled stone texturing is exceptionally well done, and Diana attaches to it securely. A sword and helmet serve as some additional ornamentation. I wasn’t able to get this beast turned upside down for a picture, but the bottom surface of the base is fully illustrated and the statue is hand numbered. Mine is 4172 of 6000 total pieces. Not a low number to be sure, but it does represent how long I wrestled with myself over this one before finally buying it.

I can still remember my anticipation over this piece arriving. It was more money than I’m used to spending on any single collectible, and I was worried that I would come down with a case of buyer’s remorse. Not to mention the stress over it arriving broken or with some horrible QC issue, which has been known to happen with these statues from time to time. But after getting her unboxed and up on display, I found that I was delighted with my purchase. I don’t buy a lot of collectibles from DC Comics these days. I mainly blame that on the lack of a sustained, cohesive action figure line and my rage at them changing scales and styles so often. But, I do have a small collection of Wonder Woman statues, so this lovely lady is in good company.

Wonder Woman (Training Armor) Sixth-Scale Figure by Hot Toys

It’s no secret that I’m woefully behind on my Sixth-Scale figure reviews. Hell, the last Hot Toys figure I reviewed was Yondu all the way back in the Summer of last year. I have some Hot Toys and TB League figures that have been waiting for their turn in the spotlight for the better part of a year, and I really want to turn that around in 2019. And to that end, I’m rolling out a Hot Toys review today and going with one of my newest arrivals just so I can prime the pump and get back into a regular routine. Yes, I got the Justice League version of Diana before this one, but it just seemed appropriate to go with the one from her own movie first.

Hot Toys hasn’t been wowing me with a lot of their packaging lately and this release kind of follows in that trend. The deco is actually beautiful and the art really captures the feel of the film. It also gets by without any pictures of the figure itself. On the other hand, when you get down to it, this is just a flimsy window box with a sleeve around it, which feels wanting for such an expensive item. I will, however, give kudos to Sideshow as this one arrived at my door in a proper shipping box with packing material inside. I’m not sure if that’s something new they’re doing, but if so I approve! Inside the box, the figure comes in the usual molded plastic tray with all her accessories and extras surrounding her. She comes out of the box more or less ready for display. I just had to slip her bicep band on. So let’s check her out!

This is the outfit that Diana wore on Themyscira, basically for the first act of the film. The term training armor might be a little excessive, but I obviously liked the look of the outfit enough to warrant double-dipping on the character, and that’s something I rarely do when it comes to Hot Toys. The armor part comes into play with the bronze cuirass, which is sculpted in plastic and includes a strap that hugs the left side of the figure’s neck. The cuirass includes some really nice texturing and layering, as well as details right down to the tiny sculpted rivets on the straps. The rest of the outfit includes a pleated skirt made out of a slightly stiff cloth, her wrist bracers, sculpted wraps on her hands, and a pair of high sandals, which are separate from the legs, and sculpted as part of the feet.

Hot Toys seems content to reluctantly mingle with the idea of a seamless body, and that continues to be the case here. The shoulders, elbows, and knees are all covered with rubber skin, which makes a huge difference on a figure like this where jointing in those areas would be exposed and, as a result, most definitely spoil the realism. And to that end, the sculpted musculature in the knees and and shoulders looks fantastic. The ankles, on the other hand feature regular joints, which can be seen through the sandals, and the legs themselves are connected under the skirt with ball joints. In this case, I think Hot Toys did everything necessary to keep the realism going, but despite these areas being bare, the range of motion in these joints is still fairly limited, as if she were still wearing a restrictive suit. This is probably not a big surprise for Hot Toys collectors, but mixing realistic bodies with articulation is an area where Phicen continues to have Hot Toys beat.

With all the Wonder Woman action figures the movie has spawned, we’ve seen some hits and a lot of misses with Gal Gadot’s likeness. Some would argue that even Hot Toys didn’t land a direct hit with their Batman VS Superman version. I think this one is pretty spot on. It may not be as perfect as some of their best likenesses, but I can’t find a whole lot to pick at here either. She’s certainly beautiful, and easily recognizable to me, and the paintwork conveys that sense of uncanny realism that Hot Toys is known for. The hair is sculpted, and that was definitely the way to go with this figure, as it’s drawn back very tightly, and braided into a long pony tail down her back. I’m especially impressed by the fine sculpting in the individual strands, and the incredible paintwork along the hairline. It’s great stuff!

Obviously, the figure comes with a bevy of extra hands, from the usual relaxed hands and fists, to ones intended to work with the accessories. The most notable of these accessories are her her sword and shield. The “Godkiller” is a beautiful piece of work. The ornate hilt features a crazy level of detail in the sculpt, and a beautiful gold finish. It has an elongated grip, allowing it to be wielded by one or both of her hands. The blade is straight with a textured finish and an inscription running through the central channel. I’d dare say that this is as fine a recreation of this sword as is possible in this scale.

The sword also comes with a recreation of the stand that held it in the beginning of the film. It’s a simple stand, sculpted from two pieces of plastic with a notch in the top to insert the swords tip. It holds it well and the accessory certainly looks great displayed this way. I’ll likely be displaying the figure holding the sword most of the time, but this is a damn fine option to have.

The shield is also impressive, and possibly my favorite accessory in the box. It’s a large concave disc with a rich, deep brown color and a gold starburst in the center. The edge features a series of triangular designs opening out toward the edge, all of which are neatly painted in gold. All in all, it makes for an absolutely beautiful piece and I love how natural it looks on Diana’s arm.

On the inside, the shield features a concentric circlet of sculpted to look like hammered bronze and you can see the reinforced edges, raised over the rest of the shield surface. There are two straps fixed to the interior with sculpted fixtures, each painted gold. One strap secures the shield near the elbow and the other is used for her hand to grab. It isn’t terribly difficult to get it on and off the figure, although I found it was best to put the hand around the grab strap first and then attach the hand to the figure. Indeed, I’d probably just leave the hand attached to the shield even when it’s off. Then again, I can’t imagine ever displaying the figure without the shield. It really does look that good.

The set also includes a bow and three arrows. These are fine additions to the accessory count, but at the same time, they aren’t going to spend a lot of time displayed with my figure. The bow itself is very thin and elegant with gold and brown paintwork and a real string, which allows for a lot of give to be pulled back. Diana comes with a special hand for the bow and another designed to knock the arrows. The three arrows are identical, and while I’m not going to complain about extra accessories, I’m not really sure why they included three. There’s nowhere to store them, so the only real way to display them with the figure is to have her clutching them in one hand. And since she has a hand specifically designed to hold one, that will likely be the preferred way to go.

Because of the limitations to the articulation, she can’t really be posed drawing to fire, but rather preparing to fire. Obviously, this should come as a surprise to long time collectors of Hot Toys. It’s also a much bigger issue for someone who wanted to display the figure using her archery skills, and that’s not me. And besides, she can still pull off some cool poses while holding the bow and arrow.

Finally, the figure comes with a second pair of her Bracelets of Submission, which are colored to look like they’re glowing. The bracers themselves are made of a translucent orange plastic and the panel lining is traced in yellow. These are a pretty cool idea, but I’m not all that sold on the effect. Fortunately, they are super easy to swap in and out to give them a try or just to mix up the display every now and then.

As always, Hot Toys includes a stand. This one is pretty simple but is styled to convey the feeling of the film’s art direction. It’s a simple rectangular base with a sculpted WW logo to the left and some golden stars to the right. The post is the usual “crotch cradle” which does a fine job holding the figure without messing with the outfit.

There’s also an illustrated cardboard backdrop that can be placed behind the stand. I’m not sure how Hot Toys decides which figures get this treatment. I’ve encountered it with a few before, like the Netflix Punisher and Daredevil figures. I don’t tend to use them, but it’s a pretty cool bonus nonetheless.

At $240, Wonder Woman falls at the higher end of Hot Toys’ Non-Deluxe pricing spectrum. She definitely comes with enough goodies to fill out the box, and there’s nothing essential that I can think of that she’s missing. Granted, the giant column that I have her displayed on in one of the above pictures came with a Sixth-Scale figure from another company that sold for under $200, but by now I’m used to Hot Toys charging a premium.

And between the high price points, and display space needed, I very rarely double-dip on characters when it comes to my Sixth-Scale figures. Indeed, I’ve only done it once before, and that was Captain America. And yet here I am picking up this version of Wonder Woman just a few months after getting the Justice League version. It would be safe to say a lot of it has to do with how great Gal Gadot looks in the costumes. It only took me an offer of a small discount and free shipping to get me to jump on this one, and I’m glad I didn’t hesitate because she sold out pretty quickly. And now that I’ve had some serious time with her, there’s certainly no buyer’s remorse here!

DC Multiverse (Ares Wave): Wonder Woman by Mattel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DC Multiverse (Ares Wave): Menalippe by Mattel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DC Multiverse (Ares Wave): Steve Trevor by Mattel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DC Multiverse (Ares Wave): Wonder Woman by Mattel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DC Multiverse (Ares Wave): Queen Hippolyta by Mattel

As promised, I’m back to dish out an extra helping of content on this beautiful Post-Thanksgiving, DC Friday evening. It’ll help make up for taking yesterday off, and also start to balance the scales against all those damn Marvel Monday Double Features. I so desperately want to give DC Comics action figures some love, they just have to give me something to work with. So… continuing on through the DC Multiverse Ares Wave, let’s check out The Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta!

This is one of those figures that I may not have bothered with if I weren’t hunting all the C&C parts in the wave. Shhh… don’t tell Hasbro and Mattel, but this strategy to get me to buy an entire wave usually works. The package is identical to what we saw earlier today, only with photos of Hippolyta on the front and side panel. It’s also branded for the Wonder Woman film at the top J-hook flap. Everything is collector friendly, and these look pretty good lined up on the shelf with the character photos showing.

But forget about pretty good, because this figure turned out surprisingly great. I mean, just look at this lady! For a figure of a relatively minor character, Mattel invested a crazy amount of work into this one. And nowhere is that more evident than in her beautiful armor. The sculpted layers, the tiny etchings, the eagle motif on her chest, I’m quite beside myself. This is so far removed from what I’m used to seeing in the Multiverse line. Even the skirt has a lovely snakeskin like texturing to it. The gold and copper deco looks luxurious and the whole ensemble gives off this wonderful Art Deco vibe.

Hippolyta also sports sculpted armor pieces up near her shoulders, and bracers with sculpted straps. Over her armor, she dons a sleeveless cloak on  with a sculpted fur lined collar. It looks great, but it’s also easy to take off if you want to give her a little more range of motion.

The facial features on the head sculpt are a bit soft, but certainly not bad. At the right angle I can see a little resemblance to the actress in there, but not a whole lot. The sculpting on display in the crown, however, is superb, as is the detail in her hair.

Hippolyta’s articulation is identical to the Diana figure I looked at this morning, so I’ll just refer you back to that review. The cloak obviously inhibits things a bit, particularly with the legs, but if you take it off, it frees her up a lot, thanks to some strategic slits in the skirt.

Queen Hippolyta comes with two weapons: A spear and a sword. The spear is measures a bit longer than the figure itself and features a smooth brown shaft and some nice sculpted detail on the golden tip. She can hold it in one or both hands.

The sword features a rather ornate gold hilt with swirling patterns making up the guard. The stout blade is painted silver and has two fullers running down the center. The grip is extended, so she can wield it in one or both hands, and her articulation allows either option.

Hippolyta was certainly a pleasant surprise. Diana was a solid figure, but I think this one raises the bar quite a bit. I don’t know if it’s because they’re DCEU based figures or if Mattel has been upping their game with this line in general, but I’m happy to have picked up this figure, not to mention finally dug it out and opened it.  Next Friday, I’ll open up Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor and maybe just throw together the Ares Collect & Connect figure too!

DC Multiverse (Ares Wave): Diana of Themyscira by Mattel

Well, I saw Justice League last week, and to my surprise I actually loved it. Yes, I appear to be in the minority, and I’ll grant you that my emotions were probably grading it on a curve, but I don’t care. This was the first time I came out of a DCEU film happy and it felt great. So great, that I bought up all the Multiverse movie figures. Then I realized I needed to get caught up reviewing some of the ones that I had kicking around and unopened, so I made myself a deal. I’d finally go through the figures from the Wonder Woman movie, before I allowed myself to open up any from Justice League. I can be a real strict asshole sometimes, but fair enough. And since it’s been a little while since I’ve had a proper DC Friday, let’s double up and check out a couple of them today, starting with Diana of Themyscira!

Here’s the DC Multiverse packaging and it’s pretty much the same as we saw when I last attempted to review a wave of these. Remember that? I got through a little more then half of the Doomsday Wave before I gave up in disgust because the figures were so awful. Oh, I’m going to finish that wave some day… I promise! As for Wonder Woman… I came away from seeing it the first time liking it, but not loving it. Or to be more precise, I loved the first half and really didn’t like the second half. Nonetheless, I picked up all the DC Multiverse figures back then and it’s going to feel good to finally open them with a renewed confidence in the direction of the DCEU. The package features some lovely photos of Gal Gadot in costume on the front and side panel, and the back shows the rest of the figures in the wave. Surprisingly there are only four figures needed to collect in order to build Ares, although there are two additional figures not pictured, which I think were exclusives. I’ll check them out in a couple of weeks, after I’ve finished with these.

So, this figure depicts Diana donning her native garb, and overall I think it’s a pretty good effort. The dress has a subtle texture and features a metallic copper color up top and a tan skirt, which gradually gets darker toward the bottom. There’s also some darker copper paint on the straps to give the outfit a little added pop. The bracers feature panel lines and sculpted straps holding them in place. They’re neatly painted silver with gold borders on the edges, and she has sculpted brown wraps around her hands. The knee-high sandals are also sculpted and painted, although my figure has a little splotch of brown paint on her right toe.

The skirt is cast in a separate piece of soft plastic and attached at the waist. It’s rather thick, and it isn’t all that flattering from some angles, like there’s a little too much gear in her saddlebags, if ya know what I mean. Again, not bad, but maybe could have been executed a little better and with thinner plastic. There’s a part in the front of the skirt by her right knee, which helps a little with articulation, but I went ahead and razored it all the way to the top to make it a little less restrictive.

The head sculpt isn’t great, especially when you get in close with a camera, but in hand it doesn’t look terrible either. Alas, it also doesn’t look much like Gal Gadot. I do, however, really like the detail in her hair and the way the ponytail is executed. On the downside, they could have done a better job matching the flesh tone between her torso, which is a shade darker, and her head and arms, which are a shade lighter.

The articulation here is actually much better than what I’ve seen in my past run ins with the DC Multiverse. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. Oh look, Hasbro! 6-inch female figures can have bicep swivels! Her 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, no articulation in the torso, and a ball joint in the neck. Again, the biggest issue here is that thick skirt, which really hinders the hip articulation, unless you’re willing to do a little modification.

Diana comes with two accessories, the first of which is her sword. I thought it was supposed to be The Godkiller, but the pommel design doesn’t match what we saw on screen, so I think it’s just a regular sword. The sword is a cool little sculpt, with a gold hilt and a silver painted blade. There are sculpted symbols running down the center of each side of the blade, presumably meant to be Greek lettering. Mine came out of the package rather warped, but I was able to get it to straighten out fairly well. Sadly, there’s no loop on her hip or back to store the sword, but then I’m not sure if I remember her wearing it while she was on the island.

The other accessory is her Lasso of Truth. It’s sculpted in a coil and cast in very soft gold plastic. Like the sword, there’s nowhere on the figure to attach this, so she just has to hold both.

Overall, I find myself liking this figure quite a bit, even though there’s certainly room for improvement. Granted, much like the Justice League movie, I set my expectations pretty low here, based on my past experiences with DC Multiverse, so I’m probably being a lot more forgiving than I should be. The head sculpt and paint are a long way from what Hasbro is doing with their MCU figures in Marvel Legends, although I’d say the rest of the figure holds its own pretty well. My original plan was to look at Queen Hippolyta now too, but I went a little long discussing Diana, so I’ll come back later tonight to check her out.

DC Designer Series: Wonder Woman (Frank Cho) Sixth-Scale Statue by DC Collectibles

DC Collectibles has been throwing some serious love to everyone’s favorite Amazon Princess with not one, but two Designer Series statues released within about a month of each other. In September we got the magnificent revamp of the Adam Hughes Cover Girls Statue, and now we’ve got a new release based on a stunning piece of art by Frank Cho.

If you’ve picked up any of DC Collectible’s statues than you have a pretty good idea about what to expect from the packaging. This piece comes in a fully enclosed box, mostly white, featuring plenty of shots of the statue. Diana comes encased in two halves of a styrofoam brick and requires very little assembly. Just peg her foot into the base via the metal rods and peg her sword into her hand and she’s all ready to go. The statue is limited to a production run of 5,000 numbered pieces and there’s a piece of tape on the flap with the individual number.

Great Hera! Just one look at the solicitation shots for this statue had me mashing the pre-order button. Yes, it helps that I adore Frank Cho’s work in general, but there was something specific to this piece that called out to me. Measuring in at about 12-inches tall, the pose has Diana standing poised to engage in battle. She has one foot on the base with sword and shield in hand and a determined gaze as her hair blows in the wind. There’s so much I love about this figure I hardly know where to begin. I think one of the things that struck me early on was how powerful she looks and that’s something very faithful to Cho’s art and credit also has to go to sculptor Jonathan Matthews. This Amazonian Princess has some muscle on her, particularly in those thighs and I just love the muscle definition sculpted into her back. I’ll also note how much I appreciate that the shield is being held in a manner so as not to diminish the figure itself by obscuring it from view. Even if you’re viewing her from dead on, it’s still off to the side just enough.

And then there’s the costume, which exhibits some magnificent sculpting and paintwork. The gold eagle and WW Belt look as if they are actually layered over the red corset, despite all being sculpted from one piece. The corset and bracers include sharp cut lines and the skirt is textured to look like leather with sculpted stars and border edges. The boots include sculpted creases where her ankle flexes as well as shin and knee armor with nicks and scrapes from battle. The deep crimson, lustrous gold leaf, and deep blue paints are masterfully applied with virtually no slop or missteps to be seen. And all of the colors contrast beautifully with her warm, soft skin tones.

The portrait is a classical beauty and her blue eyes are hauntingly bright. I love the attention given to her clavicle. The paint on the face is nice and clean, and the skin tone looks incredibly lifelike. The only place where the paint on this statue fumbles a bit is the star on her tiara. It’s not something I notice when admiring the statue on the shelf, but when I get in closer with the camera, I can see it needed to be a little sharper. They did a particularly nice job with the wind-blown hair.

Diana’s gear includes her sword, shield, and golden lasso.  The bottom part of the hilt is sculpted as part of her hand, while the blade and crossguard are one separate piece that pegs in through the top of the hand and holds together quite securely. The golden hilt features a sculpted, ribbed grip and a simple pommel and crossguard. The double-edged blade has a deep fuller running through the center and tapers rather quickly to a sharp point.

The shield is a striking piece of work on its own right. The face in adorned with a bird sculpted to look like hammered bronze, and a segmented border that looks like it might be meant to simulate a rope pattern. There are some stray scrapes in the surface to show the shield has seen some action. The reverse of the shield featured sculpted straps sculpted and painted to look like calfskin and are detailed down to the faux rivets that hold them into place. It’s also painted in bronze finish, which distinguishes it nicely from the gold paint on her costume. I’ve always loved her depicted as an actual warrior and while she’s strong and skilled enough to best most foes with her bare hands, she just looks so much more bad ass with her sword and shield in hand.

The golden lasso is attached to her right hip. The vibrant lasso is made of a strong rigid wire-like material and fashioned to resemble braided rope. It’s secured to her belt with a sculpted “leather” buttoned loop.

The base is pretty standard stuff. In fact, it’s identical to the one DCC used for the Adam Hughes Designer Statue. It’s a thick black disk with the familiar WW logo sculpted into it and painted in gold leaf. I really dig the way she’s only got the one foot on the base and the other on the ground beside it. It not only accommodates her action stance by allowing that one knee bend, but the fact that she’s only half on the base gives the whole composition that extra little dynamic kick to it. The limitation is noted on the bottom of the base. In this case, mine is #1,024 of 5,000.

After having the Adam Hughes Wonder Woman for only a few weeks, I never thought my head could be turned by another statue treatment of the character so quickly. That’s not to knock the Hughes Wonder Woman, because it’s a fantastic piece. Indeed, the two of these statues compliment each other perfectly. The Hughes statue has a smoother and less complex costume, emphasizing the more classic blue starfield panties, whereas this one features Diana as the grittier warrior princess. Despite being in the same Designer Series line, this statue was a smidgen pricier than the Hughes statue, but only by about ten bucks. Either way, she was well worth it.