Yesterday, with our reviews of the Masters of the Universe Classics Webstor and Superman/Batman Public Enemies figures, we promised that this week there would be several new First Looks at lots of upcoming Mattel DC products. Well, we are going to start to make good on that promise immediately and give you a taste of some of the new, Wal-Mart exclusive, DC Universe Classics series 10 figures! This will be done in two parts and today we will kick it off with a look at The Joker, Batman, Man-Bat and Beast Boy!
There is no getting around it – if you are DCUC collector this fall is going to keep you busy, and your wallet very spacious (you know, from all of the cash you are not going to have?) because we are about to hit the deluge of new figure assortments that will be coming out in repid fire. Indeed, DCUC series 9 and the Gotham City 5-pack have already started to pop up around the country (we will have looks at them later this week) and it isn’t going to be long before the Target exclusive Superman/Batman Public Enemies assortment makes it out to the big red bullseye stores near you. If that wasn’t enough to make your shelves buckle under all of the new plastic weight, DCUC series is going to hitting Wal-Marts before you know it as well. Whew! It is going to be a glorious and stressful time all at one, but thus goes the life of an action figure collector.
Wal-Mart. Yeah, we have been through this before, just about a year ago to be exact. As I am sure you are very aware, 2008 featured the first Wal-Mart exclusive DCUC series – the Metallo wave featuring the Atom, Eradicator, the Riddler, Black Lightning and Amazo. I am sure you are also aware that the “Great Wal” greatly underestimated the fan demand for DCUC and many, many collectors are still to this day without some of their DCUC 5 figures as it has been by far the hardest wave to come by.
Well, fast forward to today and the tension is mounting. You can feel it. Fans are getting nervous about series 10, and with good cause, I am here to confirm that while I am a fan of several of the Wal-Mart figures from last year, this assortment runs circles around it, but we will get to that in just a minute. We have been promised that Wal-Mart greatly increased their ordering numbers for series 10, so hopefully everyone will be able to get the figures that they want, but it is still very wait and see. We know that Wal-Mart’s lead buyer was onhand at the DC Matty Panel at SDCC, so hopefully the fan reaction made an impact. There will be plently of time to discuss the ins and outs and shortfalls of that later though, let’s get to the actual toys!
It happens every so often that you get one of those figures and after you open it and put it on your shelf and admire it for a tick, you can just say, “Wow, I don’t think I will ever need another figure of this character”, because it is executed so well. That has happened to me a few times with past DCUC figures but I have to say, there might be several new definitive figures coming out of series 10.
For me, it starts with the Joker. Wow. This is MY vision of the Joker. I have always loved the dark, sadistic side of him, but at the same time, I am a fan of the more classic “clown prince” design, and boy does this figure have that down in spades.
Every little detail of this figure is so spot on, I am not sure where to begin. He wears the Gentleman Ghost body perfectly so he is nice and tall. Yes, taller than Batman – just as it should be. He has very bright and crisp paint apps on his costume and the pinstripe pants are extremely clean. He has all of the detail of any figure you can currently find in the market, but he looks so clean you almost forget how much subtle detail went into him.
The head is where the figure really shines though, both in sculpt and paint. This is a great example of Mattel getting the beautiful Four Horsemen prototype through every guelling stage of production to give us a figure that is pretty much spot on to the hand-painted original (props to lead designer Bill Benecke for that one). His expression is the prefect balance of joyous laughter and demented psycho, and it is all done through his open-mouth laugh (if you look really closely you can see his tongue has been painted in a shiny red paint) and the razor sharp paints on the eyes. Man, I was looking forward to this figure, but I never anticipated to like him so much. As I said, I don’t think I will ever need another Joker. Well, at least this version… I would love to get a trenchcoat and hat figure somewhere down the line.We have waited a long time for a DCUC Joker and the wait was well worth it.
Hold on though! I have not even gotten to the accessories. First I do want to confirm that the popgun originally thought to be included did not make the cut, but he still has four. Yes, FOUR accessories for a Wal-Mart Figure. He has his requisite cane (brand new sculpt), playing cards (with the Golden Age Joker symbol clearly printed on), his awesome Joker-face mallet (a la Super Powers) and probably my favorite accessory done so far for the entire line – the Jokerfish! High fives to the person or persons responsible for including this, because it is great. He can even hold it stick-em-up style just like the old comic cover. Awesome.
Whew, I can’t imagine going on like that for all of these figures as I am sure you are here mostly for the pictures anyway, but let it be known – Joker is the real deal, and he is tons of fun to photograph so hopefully there will be more after the reivew as well.
Next up on the docket is the Joker’s eternal foe – old Bat-Brain himself. You know, it has actually been quite awhile since we have gotten a Batman figure in a regular assortment of DCUC. Sure, there have been twin-packs and boxsets, but they are certainly spacing him out right now. The good news is that fans of the Grant Morrison 1990s JLA are going to be very happy as we now have our Bats in all black.
If you have the DCUC series 1 Detective Batman, you pretty much own this figure in terms of sculpt as he is a straight up repaint as far as I can tell. However, he is a really nice repaint (especially if you are a fan of the costume). There are differences in the flat and shiny black used to to accent his gloves and boots and, all things considered, even though this is not my definitive Batman costume, the buck looks good in solid black.
Also, Mattel has included a couple of accessories for him – a Batarang (metallic blue repaint of one of the old DCSH sculpts) and, for the very first time the Bat-top. Or is that Bat Laptop? Whatever you want to call it, it is cool, and looks good opened up (with lots of techie paint detail) or closed up when it looks like a hanging bat. I remember chuckling at SDCC when they announced this as an accessory, but now that I have it, it is really cool. I am sure DisThunder will find a was to build it into his Batcave.
The next figure in this assortment is another repaint, but one that the fans have been clamouring for since SDCC 2007 – Man-Bat. In brown! Oh yes, we saw this version of him waaaaay back at Toy Fair 2007 but then it was announced that there would be an albino deco Man-Bat at SDCC that year and the brown version would be put on the shelf at the Mattel offices. Not to worry though, they got him out as promised, and again, he was worth waiting for.
If you own the white version, there are some obvious similarities: he is, of course, the same sculpt and he has the same articulation scheme (standard T-hips). I have to say though, that is really where it ends. The brown version is made up of a much sturdier plastic than the first one so his arms can support his massive wings much better. Speaking of which, the skin on his wings is cast in an ever so slightly translucent plastic so you can almost see through the thin skin, a nice touch. There are a lot of subtle paint details that I hope the camera is able to pick up and this figure does not have the flocked back that the white one had. He is still really big though (and heavy), barely fitting into the bubble, so I guess he still has that in common with the original.
A lot of people missed out on the white Man-Bat and I think that, even for those that own the old version, the brown color scheme is the more recognized and desired deco.This figure should make a lot of collectors happy.
Are you still with me? Okay then, we will take a break from the Bat-Family to talk about our last figure for today – Beast Boy. Doom Patroler, Titan, Gar has certainly gotten around to being in a lot of teams in the DCU. So, I am sure a lot of people are split on what version they wanted (this or the more “Changeling” incarnation). Well, I personally want both of them, but I have to say that for the time and place that we are at right now, I am glad that we got the purple and black costume version. We are starting to build the Doom Patrol (yay!) with Robotman, who we will see tomorrow, and this version of Beast Boy fits in better with his strange pals from that team.
That being said, I still think this will be the most debated figure of the entire assortment. As you will see in the pictures, he is pretty little as he shares parts with Robin and Kid Flash, but he is also a touch shorter than both of them. Personally, I think the smaller stature works better for this look for Beast Boy so I am glad they held off on the red and white costume as I see that version with a little more height.
The new pieces are all well done and I like how the gave him the bare forearms, that is something different than any of the other figures he might be palling around with. His head sculpt is also nice, if not a little plain, and the different colors of green used for his face and hair actually provide a lot of nice contrast in the figure.
The thing about Beast Boy though is that you HAVE to have some green beasts for him to transform into. Considering packaging and budget, Mattel made a great gesture by including a green eagle with the figure (a repaint of the SDCC Jayna eagle) so you have somehting there. I will be checking out Toys R Us though for some other animals that I can paint green to fill out my beastly managerie.
Overall though, it is nice to get Gar and he fills out some of the ranks of the Titans and the Doom Patrol nicely. I REALLY want to finish the latter team of as soon as possible.
*Wow! Thanks for reading! Like I said, this is only part of our DCUC 10 look, we should have the other part up tomorrow and we will be following with even more DC stuff later this week. Enjoy the pictures and thanks again to Toy Guru and Matty, without them we could not bring this to you!