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SDCC 2018: DC Essentials Reaction

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I was anticipating a major battle for DC action figure supremacy at San Diego Comic Con. On one corner, we had Mattel’s DC Multiverse line and in the other, DC Collectibles’ new DC Essentials. I figured we’d see the best of what both companies had to offer as they try to pry our dollars from going straight to the Marvel Legends direct deposit account some of us seem to have with Hasbro. What we got was a lopsided blowout.

DC Multiverse absolutely brought it with a number of high quality surprising reveals. If you’re a fan of DC Rebirth there was a ton of great options from Black Canary, Hawkgirl, Nightwing, Kid Flash, Wally West Flash, Starfire and Lobo.

There are characters that could fit in a pre-52 roster like Flashpoint Aquaman, Kyle Rayner and John Stewart, Mammoth and even some other media choices like Black Lightning and Batman Ninja and Emperor Joker. Bottom line: Mattel brought it bigger than a lot of us thought possible. In some circles there was actually more buzz for the Multiverse offerings than Marvel Legends. I blame topknot Hercules.

But on that DC Essentials side…it was pretty much crickets. A week before the release of the first wave of Essentials, DCC didn’t do a whole lot to inspire confidence in this line with three uninspired reveals of Batgirl, Harley Quinn and The Joker. In fairness, these are all important and necessary characters for a comprehensive DC Universe collection, but it’s way too soon to start going the all-Batman all the time route.

As someone really intrigued with the Essentials format, this limited showing had me worried DC Collectibles was already getting cold feet on the line. Yes, they’ve got Superman/Braniac, Aquaman/Black Manta, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Nightwing, Shazam/Black Adam and the Doomsday Clock figures revealed, but this was the opportunity to show Essentials wasn’t just going to be the same characters over again.

It’s a little worrisome that DCC took more chances with its on hiatus DC Icons line. By the fourth wave, DCC had dipped beyond the norm to produce a Static, Blue Beetle and Atomica figures. Granted, the demand might not have been high for those characters, but DCC was doing something different. I fully expected to see a Cyborg, Black Canary, Green Arrow and maybe a Martian Manhunter, Hawkman and Lex Luthor, Sinestro and Captain Cold.

Coupled with the strong and very diverse showing from Mattel, DC Essentials already looks like it’s on shaky ground especially with no reveal of accessories to make for a better value.

Despite DCC’s less than stellar track record in sticking with lines, I still got the first wave of figures. Essentials really can be DCC’s signature line if it shows patience and takes greater — yet sensible — risks with character selections. Maybe an Orion and Lightray two-pack, Captain Cold and Wally West Flash? There’s lots of exciting possibilities, but DCC needs to do a little more to fully win over collectors.

What do you think? Disappointed with the DC Essentials reveals and which characters would you like to see receive this style format?

Photo Credit: DC Collectibles

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