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Demanded Characters – A Look Back at 2008

It has been about a year since the start of the DCUC line.  Sure, some of us helped to keep the brand running by buying the DCSH line, but what came out this year was the second coming of the Super Powers line.  While many will agree its like comparing apples to oranges, this new DCUC line will go down as the line which all other DC lines will be measured in the future.  This line has had its ups and downs this year, but has shown the collecting community what a super hero line can be.

Sculpting-  One of the biggest things that this line has going for it is the sculpting.  There is a consistent look for all the figures from DCSH to the current waves.  The reason is that Mattel has allowed the Four Horsemen to do what they do best, bring the Superheroes into the action figure world.  Their designs are at times very classic, some times very modern, and sometimes a mix of the two.  This allows them to bring a very similar look to all the figures, making them fit well together.  , no more in house designs like the first Nightwing, which means they all seem to fit together in one big toy universe.  

Character selection- From the Demon in wave one to Killer Moth in wave 6, this has been a great year to be a DC toy collector.  While many of us have been screaming for Mattel to finish certain teams, the character selection over the last year shows that they have plans from the long term.  This is not the MOTU or DCSH, this new line has alot of life in it.  With at least 6 figures in each wave and only minor reuses of the Super and Bat characters, the line has really taken off.  Not only have we seen the 6 or more new figures per wave, we have seen 2 packs and Matty exclusives that allow for the DC universe to grow even more.  Who would have thought that in one year we would see a Killer Moth, Abin Sur, and Artemis? One of the other great moves that Mattel has made has been the inclusion of variants as a major part of the line.  It has allowed the collectors to get characters that only require minor retooling, but are a whole new figure.  Characters like Jason Firestorm and Artemis are characters that many of us thought we would have wait for, but were able to come out in the first 4 waves of this line.  The other variants have also been great additions, like the unmasked Death Stroke and the Sinestro Corps Sinestro.  The reuse of parts has also gotten us Lobo as an exclusive.  All of us had out doubts going in to this based on the DCSH line, but Mattel has proven the past issues with case pack outs and character selection is a thing of the past. 

Problems-  There have been problems with this line this year.  While the sculpting and the character selection have been above normal expectations, the quality and availability of the line have been just the opposite.  One major point of disappointment has been the ability of a collector to not break off the legs of their favorite figures.  What started out as a solid line (waves one and two) has seemed to deteriorate wave after wave.  From the height and paint issues of Sinestro, the lack of glue on the hips for Nightwing and Sinestro, to all the leg breaks of wave 4 and 5, this line has been the point of many frustrations with collectors.  While the breakage would normally only be an inconvenience, the inability of Mattel to get product into the stores has also made the QC issue even more of a problem.  Mattel’s other big issue of the year was finding the figures.  While wave one seemed to be everywhere, wave 2 was something of a phantom in the store, with some collectors only finding the figures in supermarkets.  It seemed bleak for DCUC because Toys R Us and Target were very sporadically carrying the line.  Walmart and KB toys gave up on the line, making it that much harder to find figures.  While collectors started to see hope with wave 3 starting to show up around mid August in some Walmarts, the Walmart exclusive wave really turned the fan against Mattel.  In some states less than 25% of Walmarts carried the exclusive waves, making the online community the only place where some could get the figures.  Add the QC problems with this wave and collectors started to jump ship, not wanting to spend $12 on toys that are brand new and broken.  

Future-  Current reports are that the QC issues with waves 3 through 5 have been fixed with wave 6.  The line ups for waves 7 and 8 have only shown how dedicated Mattel is to get us some great line ups of both the obscure figures, such as Gentleman Ghost; and the popular figures, like Hawkwoman.  It seems that the goggle issues most have with Black Lightning have been fixed on both Beetle and Booster, and with more figures per wave, it seems that Mattel is really pushing this to be the best line of 2009.  With names like Green Arrow, Black Canary and Kilowog floating around, who knows what 2009 has in store for this line?  We are seeing the start of wave 7 showing up on the heels of wave 6, and more stores carrying the line. With all the competition this year from other lines can DCUC stay on top as one of the best lines?  Only time will tell.  

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