If one was asked to describe the timing of the arrival of March’s DC Club Infinite Earths’ figure, overdue might be the first adjective that comes to mind. Personally, I would say that this release timing has been stretched out by Mattel… Okay, that was REALLY lame, yes, but finally being able to add the beloved Elongated Man to my Justice League display is by far the biggest highlight of the 2013 subscription so far for me. Ralph has been a part of two of my favorite Leagues, JLI (my first League) and the all-important Satellite-era team. He has had a variety of roles on the various teams, from “everyman” to joker, but he has always had some great characterization. That is, until DC editorial decided they hated him and raped and murdered his wife before sending him to hell. Man, I cannot wait until the next big turnover at DC creative.
I realize a lot people got that big sigh of relief as far as hostage characters go when the Martian Manhunter was released way back in DCUC series 15, but Snapper Carr not withstanding, the real Satellite team would not be complete for me until Ralph got his day in the sun. Yes, I know that the case can be made for last month’s Phantom Stranger too, but Elongated Man has been an actual active member, rather than a technicality. When a team as large and important as the Satellite JLA finally comes to full fruition it can be a little bittersweet: sure, the team is done and safely on your shelf, but the anticipation of collecting the next member quickly fades away. Adding all of these guys has certainly been fun and while I am glad we have them all now, I am still kind of sad that the book is now pretty much closed on such an iconic iteration of the JLA, especially in the new and limited Club format.
When the DCUC line was still in full effect, I was pretty convinced that Ralphie boy would be released as a Collect & Connect figure. When you have a guy whose power is being super stretchy, the possibilities of different attachments and forms are vast enough to present a lot of options for breaking the figure up into pieces. Sure, Plastic Man got the red-carpet treatment with a San Diego Comic Con release and tons of parts, but aside from the very off chance that Mattel would have repeated a Con release with Ralph, I just knew it would have to be C&C for sure. Well, it is all history now as the wave format for DCUC at retail was killed in favor of more heavy hitters in the ironically-named “Unlimited” line, so actually getting a chance to have Elongated Man find his way to your shelf was pretty much limited to the Club Infinite Earths.
So, while I am so glad he is here, the more basic release scheme has somewhat limited the possibilities for a guy capable of thousands of forms, but Mattel and the Four Horsemen still gave us a bit of an homage with their restricted resources. Sure, I would have loved it if we could have gotten some interchangeable and elongated bendy limb extensions, and perhaps some alternate larger feet and hands for every extremity, but seeing as how we did not hit enough sub sales to even break into a fully tooled figure, I think everyone pretty much knew that getting 20 extra pieces was not going to be in the cards.
Instead, Elongated Man’s right hand is changeable between a regular fist and a stretched out “I’m gonna grab ya!” hand. It is not bendy since Mattel has moved away from using “alternate” materials for figures, but it looks nice and it gets the job done, for that limb, at least. Yeah, I do wish there was a little more, but at the end of the day, I probably would not have displayed him with much more in terms of extensions, and, like I said, this shows off his powers well within the shoestring budget we seem to be working with. It helps that Ralph is built on the–appropriately–lean DC base body, so while it obviously captures his natural build well, it also thins him out to make the “elongated” look more natural to the figure.
If you count the interchangeable limb as an accessory, then EM comes with two, the second of which is his trusty magnifying glass. At his roots, Ralph is a tried and true detective (often holding alternate forms for days on end to capture clues), and taking a hint from way back in time when he was a back up in the Flash books, his magnifying glass is here and it actually kind of works! Sure, you are not going to see anything too clearly or even microscopic since it is a plastic toy and all, but the lens actually does magnify, which is kind of fun. Sure, guys like Batman and the Question are detectives in their own right, but neither of them are the type to carry about a looking glass, but it fits Ralph well and I am glad it has been included.
As you can see, EM has been given his more classic duds that help him fall more in line with his time on the Satellite team than, say, the purple and white days of the JLI, and while I was initially torn on this, I am glad they went in this direction. Sure, I love me my JLI and it is getting more and more members each year (Fire is finally coming soon), but, for me, if you were on the Satellite team, that is where you are getting placed. His haircut also fits that era better as he had longer hair on the International team, but I am willing to bet that we see some customs of his other major costume pop up as this is probably the only Elongate Man we are going to get from Mattel in the foreseeable future.
Lastly, the construction of the figure is solid as the plastic is strong and the joints are tight. There is no real paint mess to speak of either even though the black has some shading to add some depth. I think that maybe his neck is a bit too short, or, more likely, the head is set too low, but the fact that he retains his long chin might have something to do with that. Oh, and bless those Horsemen for remembering to capture Ralph’s signature pointy nose. It adds character to his face and the late Bob Hope has nothing on Mr. Dibny here.
The 2013 Club is filling in a lot of blanks right now, but I am most happy with getting my long-awaited Elongate Man figure. He fairly basic in execution but the figure captures the spirit of the character well and he fits right in with his JLA comrades. Now you can continue to love Elongate Man and have him live on on your collection shelf, no matter what those knuckleheads at DC creative decide to do to the poor guy next. He goes on sale on 3/15/13 only at Matty Collector.
*Thanks to the DC team at Mattel for giving Ralph the chance to shine in action figure form. Now that the Satellite is complete, it is time to make a dash for the JLI.