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DC Collectibles: Icons Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing has had a handful of figures, but he hasn’t really had that one figure that pops my cork. Way back in the early days of DC Direct, they put out a Swamp Thing that looked great — a very “mossy” Swamp Thing, but it was essentially an articulated statue. DCUC put out their infamous SDCC Swamp Thing that (for me) was too tall and featured a rubber overlay that was experimental in all the wrong ways (again, for me), leaving it looking good but ultimately unsatisfying. I had no interest in the New 52 Swamp Thing from a few years back. That leaves the current DC Collectibles Icons version. Does it work? Let’s find out.

This is a classic-styled Swamp Thing, which means no post-Alan Moore flourishes. There’s a lot less moss and weeds to him, no flowers, no psychedelic sex-tubers, just a stripped-down green essence. I started reading Swamp Thing before Alan Moore’s reinvention of the character, so I have a huge fondness for the original version as written by both Len Wein and Martin Pasko just as much as I love the reborn walking bag of moss that he would become under Moore’s gentle caress. I’ve been waiting for a Swamp Thing that captured that initial version’s essence for a long time.

This figure is … moderately/mostly successful. It’s not a bad figure, but there are issues here and there that keep it from reaching a full potential, both from a design and toy perspectives.

Let’s take a top-down overview of the figure and see where the issues creep in.

Swamp Thing’s head:

This is a very classically styled head, with proper red and yellow eyes that are peering into my soul. The head does seem a little too small, however, which adds to an overall “puny” feeling to the figure. Another issue with the head that will pop up with the figure overall is the fact that he needs some brown roots. The classical depiction featured roots peppered over Swampy’s body, an addition that broke up the green. That would have been nice here. More on that later.

Swamp Thing’s torso:

The standard DCC Icon torso is a ball-jointed upper half combined with an ab crunch below. I don’t have many Icons figures, but this is a bit more successful than those I do have. I can get a bit more motion out of the ball joint, but the crunch really doesn’t add that much. It kind of seems like the two joints together don’t do the work that one really good joint would do.

Swamp Thing’s arms:

I really have no complaints here. The shoulders get a good range, and the double-jointed elbows are very good, with the full range you should expect from a double joint. The Swamp Thing is more articulated than the first Icons Batman. Suck it, Bruce!

Swamp Thing’s hands:

Swamp Thing comes with a pair of hands and a pair of open, “grabbing” or “neutral” hands, depending on your pov. They swap in and out very easily, and the pairing of one or the other makes for some very nice expressive poses. I don’t have any complaints about the choice of hands.

Swamp Thing’s hips:

Icons figures have apparently started adding drop-down hips to their figures, similar to import toys. I can’t speak for other figures that feature them, but they’re not really all that helpful with Swamp Thing. He can’t put his legs straight out in front of him even with the hips dropped down. The hips are ball-jointed, but the clearance in the hips is kind of bad. I can’t help feeling this is two solutions to one problem that ended up not being a full solution at all.

I don’t want to make it seem like I’m picking on him, because he can kneel okay, but it’s an awkward kind of kneel. The lack of swivel in the thighs combined with ball joints that get a very moderate amount of rotation means the hips lose points. The bonus is that he gets fantastic lateral spread, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Swamp Thing’s knees:

No complaints. He has double-jointed knees that get plenty of range of motion.

Swamp Thing’s ankles:

Again, no complaints. He has the slanted peg design of most Marvel Legends figures, which gives him a wide range of stability. These are good ankles.

Swamp Thing’s sculpt:

Like I said above, the sculpt for Swamp Thing is sleek and not overly-mossy. This is supposed to represent a more classically styled Swamp Thing, so it’s very appropriate for him.

My problem with it is that it’s a bit too scrawny. He looks better than the prototype pictures had him looking, so that is a relief. The height is good, he’s taller than average at 7 inches, but he lacks a bit of width, so he ends up looking a little puny. If he remained the same size but everything was given a bit “more,” he’d look a little more impressive in stature.

Swamp Thing’s paint:

In a way, the paint is okay. However, they went with a green with a lighter green drybrush, and it seems like there’s too much green. Stupid sounding complaint for Swamp Thing, I know, but I think much of what looks like veins in Swamp Thing’s sculpt are actually supposed to be painted brown for roots, but they weren’t. I’d almost like to paint them brown myself and see if he looks a bit more visually interesting like that, because even though Swampy is supposed to be green, this is almost too much green without something to break it up.

Swamp Thing’s accessory:

Swampy comes with one Un-man, named Cranius. Cranius is a crawling hand with a trailing sac and a head jutting from the top of the hand. I love it, and am creeped the hell out by it. The Un-men as a whole just ain’t right, and Cranius is a damn nightmare.

Overall, I do have some issues with swamp Thing, but those issues seem to be repeated issues with Icons as a whole, which is why I just can’t get deep into the line. There are problems that could be worked out if somebody played with them ahead of time and pointed out what doesn’t work well. But, this is the best overall Swamp Thing figure I’ve bought so far, even if there’s still room for improvement. If you’re an Icons fan or a Swamp Thing fan, and my issues aren’t your issues, then this is a must have for your collection.

14 thoughts on “DC Collectibles: Icons Swamp Thing

  1. I agree. The SDCC Swampy is a near perfect representation of Wrightson era.

  2. The lack of good neck articulation is a huge disappointment, especially how prevalent it is in the Icons line. Double elbows, knees, and two ab crunches sound awesome, but without a good neck joint the figures don’t have much personality.

  3. I actually love the Mattel sdcc figure. Its Pretty
    close to a wrightston drawing. This seems too small and scrawny. The head sculpt seems off. I love dc direct, but just not too keen on this one. The unman figure is impressive though. I’d like to see swamp thing get the animated treatment via batman the animated series. Along with johna hex. Two great dc characters. Thanks for the review regardless.

  4. it looks way too green to me. Like, not “too much” green, but the green is TOO green, if that makes sense. He definitely seems scrawny to me but, full disclosure, my only reference to Swamp Thing is that crappy movie with Heather Locklear.

  5. Great looking figure… Like the range of motion… Great he can do the splits… Wish Marvel Legends could do them…

  6. I too have a huge soft spot for the pre-Alan Moore version of Swampy, so I’m going to snag this one, but I do think his arms are just a tad scrawny, and the green a shade too bright. The head sculpt is excellent though.

  7. My DCUC figure started to tear in the abdomen and on the shoulders, so I got rid of it with the rest of my DCUC collection.

  8. I am quite sad. I agree that it is the best Swamp Thing toy ever produced, but it is still a pretty garbage toy. They should have just called him the Jolly Green Zombie.

    I did paint the veins brown on him and added some brown around his shoulders and head based on how it looked in the original comics. Sadly, it didn’t really fix the problem. He’s still too skinny in the thighs, chest, and shoulders. It also doesn’t help that he cannot hunch over the way he should due to the lack of a good neck peg.

    It is a shame that DCC took a friggin year to release the figure and they couldn’t even be bothered to fix a single issue that people brought to their attention of it at the initial reveal. It just goes to show how little DC cares or respects their fans. I was expecting this figure to be the one that saves the Icons line for me, but instead, it only made me realize I am wasting my time with it. I should have just kept my DCUC collection.

  9. I wonder if he were to be painted red if he would make a good “brother Frank” from Hellraiser when he returns looking for a skin.

  10. nice figure for he looks like swamp thing in his early days before alan moore came along and gave him a make over if i didn’t already have a swamp thing figure which is the mentioned infamous sccc one i would buy him. and nice to know i am not the only one who think the uman and cranius are pure nightmare fuel .

  11. Great review. Good figure. But DC Universe Classics Swamp Thing is still my favorite.

    If not for that version I’d probably buy this one.

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