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First Look – DC Universe Classics Crime Syndicate of Amerika

You know, since SDCC 2011 is a little more than 48 hours away from the launch of Preview Night, you would probably expect for all of our news, features and First Looks to be devoted squarely to the big event. However, while you are chomping at the bit for new figure reveals and Fwoosh Crashes, we have some things to take a look at that, while not directly related to SDCC, are going to be in-demand once they make their retail debut. Starting off we have some pictures of three new DC Universe Classics multi-packs that will be hitting various stores very soon (I am thinking August resets). First is the big one and is the subject of this feature – the Crime Syndicate of Amerika 5-pack that is exclusive to Wal-Mart. Don’t worry, we will also be bring a look at the Mad Love and Mightiest Mortals sets soon. Both executions have a history almost as long as the DCUC line itself, but a couple of the offerings rank very high on the best that Mattel has done so far. C’mon in and check them out!

You know, I really like it when a toy line offers up executions that go beyond the standard release model. Don’t get me wrong, the Collect & Connect direction as the primary source for the DCUC line is top dog and I don’t want that to change, but I do enjoy seeing multi-packs, sub-lines and exclusive to support the main setup, most as a way to get more unique characters into plastic form as you can usually bet on at least one figure to be brand new. Well, between the Batman Legacy line, the two-packs, 5-pack and the massive Legion of Superheroes twelve (!) pack, there are lots of little offshoots to the standard line to keep us busy. As usual, most of these are coming out in the latter half of the year to help support the amped-up buying season as we move into the holidays in just a few short months. It looks like these three sets will be the first out of the gate so let’s see what we might be finding on the shelves soon.

Crime Syndicate of Amerika

The CSA

 

So yeah, we have had the Gotham City and Green Lantern 5-packs in the years past and while they have offered us some essential characters like Guy Gardner, Tomar-Re and Bronze Age Lex Luthor, I can honestly say that the neither of them even come close to this brand new set. The minute I saw the CS in the box I was in love, and I am not even the biggest Syndicate fan in the world. In short, this is how multi-packs SHOULD be done. Everything in this set is going on the on the shelf as my new default versions of these characters. What am I saying? Only Ultraman is a repeat character from before but this version is superior in my opinion. This is not a perfect set, but I get giddy thinking about the chances of a set like this done with a JSA, All-Star Squadron or Fourth World theme. Eep!

 

Luthor, you are in the wrong place. For several reasons.

The set itself is a bit of a mash-up with some characters feeling more modern while others seem to be more classic. On the modern side there is certainly Ultraman and Owlman; for the classics we have Johnny Quick and Power Ring leaving Superwoman as a bit of a bridge between the eras as she seems to fit in with both times fairly effectively. While all of the figures have standard reuse that is common within the DCUC line itself, what they do repurpose, they make good use of and there are also plenty of new parts to keep it original. Truth be told, I think that out of every set or series we have gotten in DCUC so far (and we are talking over 200 figures) as a collective group, this CS has the best bunch of head sculpts so far. Every one of them has personality completely appropriate to their character and there are subtle expressions here and there that work very, very well.

Ultraman

Going in a reverse order of my favorites, I am going to start with Ultraman as, while I think he is a strong figure, he is probably the weakest of the bunch, even though I like him better than the original. The head sculpt is really great and has that look of being pissed about it and there are also several paint applications to bring out things like face lines and redness in the eyes. His costume is pretty basic by nature, but the blue that was used looks really nice (can I get a Superman in like colors, please?) and the Ultraman logo is crispy clean. He does that the silver ovals around his belt but surprisingly enough, they do not really limit anything in terms of waist movement. Now, forums have been alight with critiques over the accuracy of the costume itself and while I will submit the blue neck (it should really be flesh-tone), the lack of gloves is debatable as I have seen him both with and without them. I am not saying that it is not a big deal because it obviously is to some, but it is not a deal breaker for me (like I said, I am not the biggest Syndicate fan in the world) and I will still display this version of Ultraman over the original.

Ultra Flying!
Ultra Strangling!
Ultra Punching!
Ultra Comparing!

Next up is Superwoman, and while she did not come out quite as nice as the Four Horsemen original (but nothing ever does try as they might), she actually turned out better than I expected. She makes use of the standard Wonder Woman body that we have seen before, but I think that was pretty expected. The final production head sculpt and paint applications actually turned out better than I thought they would and while she does look brutish and bitchy, she is still feminine. Superwoman also got newly-sculpted boots that match the source material about perfectly and a really nice, soft cape. The sculpt on the cape is very intricate with a lot of fold lines and cinching; it is also the perfect length as it only reaches down to about her belt line. The one quibble I do have with the figure is that she got the Wonder Woman grip hands and not fists. She needs fists and I have always thought that the grip hands were a little awkward anyway. Overall though, I am a satisfied Superwoman owner and she does look great with the group.

Superwoman
Super cape
Mean!
Wonder in my super punch!

Power Ring comes in at the third spot but it is not because I have any complaints about the figure, because I don’t I just don’t find him to be quite as interesting as the last two. He comes on a standard medium build body with a costume that is painted to match the cover source for this set. Again, I know people are saying that his boots should be white, but I do not agree for a couple of reasons: the first is the aforementioned source material and that the green boots ARE accurate as he has had worn them, but also because I firmly believe that the green boots look better. It looks like Mattel thought so and DC Direct did too back in the days of their CS figures. He does have a very expressional face sculpt and he looks like he is mean, mad and frustrated all at the same time. Looking at him though he almost verges on saying “Hal Jordan Parallax” to me, but I like the look for Power Ring as well.

Power Ring
The actual Power Ring
Blast Off!
Super Fist Shaking!

Next on the list is Johnny Quick (no, not THAT Johnny Quick, the OTHER Johnny Quick) and I will get it out of the way right now and say the only *slight* quibble I have is that he does not have fists. Now that that is out of the way, I think everything else about this figure is damned awesome. No, by nature of his design he is not the most exciting figure in the world, but he is rendered fantastically. All of the lines on his costume are crisp, he as some subtle wash on the red, the yellow really pops and he has actual boots, not just painted lines. The head sculpt is what kills is though, and by “kills” I mean “makes it awesome”. He looks like such a smug bastard and he looking slightly off center so he really isn’t paying attention to you. He makes for a fantastic foil to the Flash and as far as figures go, I prefer Johnny over Barry. Pretty crazy, I know.

Johnny Quick
None Faster!
Smug
Flash vs Quick

Finally there is Owlman and as far as I am concerned, he is perfect. Perfect, perfect, perfect. In fact, he is in the running for Top 5ish all time for DCUC. It is not often that a figure comes out of a multi-pack so well and with so much new stuff, which is great because this modern take on Owlman demands those things in order to be made right. I would have thought for sure that they would have gone with the classic version for this set (I still require him) as he would have needed a lot less tooling, but you cannot deny how badass this version is. The head/helmet sculpt is right on point and finished with two tones of silver – dark for the helmet and light for the goggles. Most of his face is covered by the goggles but the sculpt around the mouth is dour and cranky and you just know he is thinking of a new way to be a dick. The cape is made of a very soft plastic so it does not restrict the articulation too much, but it is not removable; all of the different layers are sculpted and the separation at the bottom does not restrict the leg movement at all. I love the owl clasp too. He has the ribbed cuff on his wrists and boot tops with an all new belt that I would LOVE to put on a Batman figure if not for the owl symbol. I also love the dark, dark blue color of his costume and it has some subtle washing and dry brush that brings some dimension to the muscle tone. Owlman got the one accessory in the set (wish there was more) in the form of an Owlarang.

 

Owlman
Owl Cape
Close Owlp
Owlarang
Still Posable
Stalking a Bat
Sorry, rodent.
Owl Kick

I am very, very pleased with the overall outcome of this set and it makes me REALLY want to see more than just one 5-pack a year. We need more Matty Collector-exclusive DCUC items anyway. Sure, I wish that Ultraman was a little better and that there were more fists in the set, but overall I am having more fun with this set than any other we have gotten in the DCUC line this year. This set should start showing up at Wal-Mart soon and I really hope that it is successful to show Mattel that this is what a collector’s pack should be. I commend them for making it memorable but I would not be a fan boy without demanding more. More, I say! More!

*Thanks to new DCUC boss Danielle along with Rhobyn, Scott and the rest of the DCU gang for sending this along. If you can believe it, we still have a ton more to bring you!

Worlds Collide!

 

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16 thoughts on “First Look – DC Universe Classics Crime Syndicate of Amerika

  1. I am a HUGE Crime Syndicate fan and have been screaming for this set for a long time. I wish Johnny Quick had been the modern helmeted version, and that Power Ring had been the African-American version, but I can live with that in order to get a modern Ultraman, and especially OWLMAN! This is the best look I’ve seen at the set yet. THANK YOU, THEFWOOSH! And Steve C — it’s OUT already?!??!

  2. Just bought this at Walmart, got the last one they had. Being the Superman and classic collections espeically I was very happy to find this one. Thanks for posting the great pics!

  3. nice can not wait to pick up this pack though have to agree that one of the bad things about this is no fists for some of the characters plus ultra man uniform could have been brighter. not to mention will have to give super woman a homemade lasso also. can not wait to find this pack and add the crime sydicate to my villain shelve. love the five pack idea as a way to get sets of figures at once.

  4. I think the set looks amazing! You can’t look at that Power Ring head sculpt and tell me Mattel doesn’t have plans for a Hal Jordan Parallax figure.

  5. Its getting better and better.. Even the eyes are so detailed…
    Keep it up Mattel, next year will be challenging for you..

  6. These look great. Hope I can find ’em at my Walmart.
    A little disappointed about the fists. That’s kinda important to me for them to over-look. Or decide against. I’ve got nothing against Wonder Woman, but a punch in the jaw would have been nice to deliver from Superwoman.

    Still, I’m really glad we get these 5-packs. And the quality of these figures is pretty high. Great review. Johnny Quick and Owlman and Superwoman really make this set.

    Hope we get more 5-packs in the next year…or even through the subscription club.
    5 seems to be a good number. I’d love a 12-pack Justice Society followed by a 12-pack Injustice Society of the World but the “base” might not be there.

    Anyway, thanks for a good job on the review.

  7. Great review, and I hope to get this set soon! I’d like it if they did as an online exclusive a 5-pack made up of Silver Age Owlman and Superwoman along with Modern Age Johnny Quick and both of the modern Power Rings (the Kyle Rayner and John Stewart counterparts). By the way, it’s not called an Owlrang, it’s called a Razorang. Check the JLA: Earth-2 graphic novel, it’s there.

  8. I actually like that Superwoman doesn’t have fists. She’s getting a homemade lasso. Great review as always. What a nice birthday surprise. I got a lot of catching up to do!!

  9. That looks amazing! This is by far the best 5pck yet! Now I want a justice lords five pack next!

  10. Great review! I love this set. I’m not too concerned with the minor costume discrepencies and I can’t wait to pick it up. I agree that Mattel should use Ultraman’s lighter blue color to make a perfected Superman.

  11. Mattel seems to be very random in who gets first and who does not and then say that was how he was designed, so that is how he was made.

    I agree that Johnny should have fists (maybe Superwoman too) or Mattel should at least look into and open faced palm for flying and running poses for characters where appropriate. Amazing looking set but little details like that keep some of the figures from being close to perfect. Lets get those interchangeable hands MATTEL!!!!!!!!!!!

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