Saturday, May 31, 2008

I love Mattel's DC Universe Classics line

Wow, it's been a while since I posted. Probably because the last one had so much thought and introspection that it used up all my insight for a while. But the time has come to post again, and it's actually mostly going to be ABOUT toys, instead of about TOYS. If that makes any sense.

But first, a quick preview. Wizard World Philly was this weekend, and we got to see previews of three figures from DCUC Wave 6 - Hawkman, Kryptonian Life Suit Superman, and Mr Miracle. The Four Horsemen do amazing work on these figures.

I think Mr Miracle, aka Scott Free (yeah, that's kind of a lame name, especially knowing his talents are in the way of being able to break out of and escape anything) looks awesome, and Hawkman looks very promising. Can't wait to see a painted version of him, and I hope that he comes will all the pictured accessories (sword, mace, shield). I quite like the Life Suit costume, and think that Superman will be cool, too.

I should also mention that a picture of Darkseid's firstborn son surfaced earlier this week. I'm familiar with this character from the animated series (Superman and Justice League) and I think this figure looks awesome (although, as you may have noticed, I say that about almost every single figure in this line). It hasn't been officially announced yet, so we don't know when we'll get him, but I'm guessing wave six, since we only know of three figures from that set. Presenting Kalibak.

Anyway, moving on...

The point of this post comes from a thread on my new favorite forum The Fwoosh - why do I like the DC Universe Classics line? This is a (hopefully) more coherent version of my response in that thread.

Character Selection

From the five and half waves and two 2 packs that have been announced, wave 1 is the only one that I'm not interested in 4 characters or more. I didn't care for Penguin and Detective Bats, and wasn't too interested in Red Tornado or Res - until I opened Etrigan, and saw how cool the C&C piece was. I pieced together Rex from friends and eBay, and absolutely love him, though I'd never heard of him before this (I'm actually not very up on comics). I will get Red Tornado one of these days, I just haven't yet, I'm sort of holding out for the modern version.

From wave 2 on, I love almost every single figure, even the characters I'm not familiar with or overly fond of. I want every single one. This line has made me the closest to a completist I think I will ever be. I was originally planning not to get Black Manta or Gorilla Grodd, but once my case arrived there was no way I could get rid of them. They were even on my desk at work this week so I could see them all day. From the responses in the Fwoosh thread, every time we see a new picture of an upcoming figure, someone says something like "I didn't know I needed this figure until this picture." There are hundreds or thousands of character in the DC Universe, most of which I have very little knowledge of, but seeing them in plastic form, sculpted by the fantastic Four Horsemen, makes me appreciate them more, and want to have them all.

There are so many cool looking characters they're doing, for example, Superman Red and Superman Blue in wave 2. I've never read the comics, I've heard it was a lame story, but the look is quite cool, and I was extremely excited to learn both would be available. And they're great figures. Deathstroke, kicks Justice League butt in Identity Crisis, how could I not want that figure? A giant Solomon Grundy, Despero, Batman Beyond - awesome characters that I know from the animated series' I'm so happy I will have these characters in such a great line. Eradicator, Lobo, Nightwing, Robin, I could go on and on, but I'd end up listing ever figure that's been announced. It's just awesome, the random and wide variety character selection we're getting. They're not just focusing on Superman and Batman, or other more well know characters. I mean, we're getting Lightray and a super-robot version of Metallo.


Rex Mason, Aquaman, Etrigan, etc. They're all extremely detailed, and really well done. I really like the way all of these look. They've gotten me to go back and pick up figures from the DCSH line such as Darkseid and Mongol (man, I wish I had been collecting DC over the last two years, instead of just Star Wars). I really hope that Brainiac, Luthor and Supergirl get re-released, and there are others that I would also buy if they were. These figures all look so good, that characters I don't care for I want to buy. Black Manta as an example mentioned earlier. Hell, I'd probably even buy a Jimmy Olsen figure at this point, and I really don't like him. I can't really say much more about this, other than to point you at my DCUC Wantlist post so you can see all the pictures of the figures.


I've always been a bit of an articulation junky - sure these aren't as crazy good as the Halo 3 figures, but they're so much better than DC Direct's figures, or the old Batman figures I have. There are a couple points of articulation that I think they would benefit from, but at the same time, I don't really miss them much, either. And they're hellalot better than anything we've gotten in the Spawn lines for the last few years.


Aquaman and Black Manta have really neat tridents. Scarecrow (DCSH wave 1) has a crazy cool scythe. Superman Red/Blue have neat energy effects. Harley has a crazy big old mallet AND a gun. She can't quite hold the hammer, but still. DCSH 3 Batman had 7 batarangs, he also couldn't hold them, but seven's a lot. The Amazon figures come with cool weapons - Artemis with a bow and quiver of arrows, Wonder Woman with an axe and shield and Ares with an axe and a big old sword. Deathstroke comes with his own armory - a staff, sword, pistol, machine gun, and possibly more. Rex, the C&C for wave 1 had three accessories, that's more than EVERYBODY else in his wave (I think).


Before discovering this line I had been buying DC Direct figures to get all the great DC characters. Frankly my dear, they cost too damn much. Especially some of the older figures - the Return of Superman figures are crazy - $100+ for Cyborg Superman? Holy Hell No. I only had to pay $25 for DCSH Cyborg Superman, and the new ones are $10-$12 (, versus $16+ for DCD at FYE, the only place I can get them locally. I also quite like Spawn figures, but $13+ for a plastic statue is really grating. I much prefer an articulated toy for $10. And Star Wars figures are up to $7 each, and that's for a figure almost half the size of these.

Look and Feel

They have a cohesive look. They will all look great next to each other, rather than looking like they're from different toy lines. I love the animated series, but haven't been happy with the animated style figures, and I'm not crazy about movie figures either (excluding Iron Man). With DC Direct, each line is in a specific artist's style, which is cool and has it's own merits, but it's rare to get an entire set of Justice League figures, or villains, such as the Legion of Doom, in the same style, or even scale. The only lines I can think of off the top of my head are the 2002/2003 Superman and Return of Superman line, but most of those are prohibitively expensive, and the current Justice League of America line, which after wave 3 will have the entire, current Justice League membership in plastic. But at $15-$17 each. Oh yeah, and between the JLA Classified and Superman/Batman lines you can get the Justice League in Ed McGuinness style, and I'm only missing three. But where that's only the Justice League, with DCUC I can have the Justice League, presumably someday I can have the Teen Titans and Justice Society and Legion of Superheros as well as all their villains in similar styles.

In conclusion - I love DCUC

All that to say, I love this line. For the foreseeable future I will be buying every figure, and I will be more than happy to do so. I guess it boils down to something somebody said on The Fwoosh.

I love DCUC because all the characters I loved as a kid and still love as an adult are finally getting the figures they deserve.
And I get to discover new characters to love and buy figures of.

Continue reading...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Who do you want to be today?

I read several gaming oriented blogs, my favorite being Shamus Young's Twenty Sided. He participated in a round table 'discussion', which led me to a few other blogs. Reading around I found a post I wanted to comment on, but it required that I login to post. Since I am a member of far too many forums and communities as it is (more than I can maintain a good participation in) I thought I might as well make a non-collecting post.

Scorpia asks if we are what we play, prompted by a separate article (which I haven't read yet).

I found Scorpia's post rather interesting, and upon self-examination found that I am (not surprisingly) different than her, and those that commented on her post. While I will play a good character, more inline with my personality, it's usually not until after I have played through as someone opposite. Read on, if you dare.

To answer the question, Am I what I play, or do I play what I am? I tend to not play what I am. I like to experiment with character types that differ from my own. For example, when playing a game where the main character has some sort of mystical or superhuman abilities/powers I usually think it would be fun to be an all-powerful galactic ruler that doesn't really have to worry about the consequences of using and abusing their powers.

Take Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic as an example, or SW Jedi Knight/Outcast/Academy. I almost always play as an evil, dark side character first. I find it's more fun and interesting to act in ways and do things that I could normally never do in real life: force choke that jerk that took my parking place, fry the guy that's making me wait in line, punch the annoying guy that asks me for money everyday, take over the galaxy, etc.

Now, these are things I would never actually DO in real life, but I can't say I've never fantasized about doing some of them when confronted by some people. I do go back and replay these games as a more virtuous, or at least inherently good/helpful person, more inline with how I really act, and it's fun too, but I usually play games to experience things different from real life.

Now that I've actually thought about how I play games, it's no surprise to me that I really enjoyed certain games, despite the negative light it may cast on me. Like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, despite the fact that the main character is a completely homicidal sociopath, with absolutely no moral compunctions whatsoever, does whatever he deems is necessary to get a head (it usually involves killing someone or lots of someone's), who, if I knew someone like that in real life I would strongly be tempted to up and kill them, for the benefit of all humanity.

GTA: San Andreas was mostly more of the same, but in most ways, CJ was a better person than Tommy Vercetti, but he's still not the shining star of the community. But he does do a lot to clean up his neighborhood. He's very upset at the way the drug dealers have turned his neighborhood into a doped up slum, instead of just a slum. He starts a war on the drug dealers, and ends up killing two of his old buddy's because they're the ones that brought the drugs into town. He kills some really dirty cops. He gets himself and his sister and her boyfriend out of the slums, and improves their lives. And he balances it out by starting several gang wars, and bringing his gang out on top.

The GTA games are fun, in a do-very-evil-things-with-no-consequences sort of way, but they do have the draw back of being about people I can't really relate to at all. I never really felt like I was Tommy or CJ, that I was doing those things, but that I was watching (or participating in, I suppose) a movie about somebody else, and in Vice City's case, somebody that I really didn't like at all. Hitman on the other hand, was a lot of fun in a very different way.

Half the time I felt I was not a hired assassin, but a covert government special ops type person. The targets were almost always people that the world was better off without (which was often why you were hired to kill them). In the four games, the only mission I can think of that I actually regretted having to kill the target was when I was hired to take out a mafia stool pigeon. The rest of the missions – taking out the leader of a prominent drug-running, prostitution-ring, Chinese gang; rival assassins, ones that had been hired to kill the US President, by the Vice Pres so he could run the country; mafia leaders that kidnapped Catholic priests; dirty cops, etc, I really didn't have any problems with that.

Add in the fact that there are bonuses for completing the missions in as stealthy manner as possible, no extraneous kills (particularly innocent bystanders and law enforcement personnel), I don't have a problem relating to the main character. He kills people because he was bred to be good at it, and because he get's paid to. He gets no more joy from it than anything else in life (but then, he's also kinda like me in that he doesn't really have a lot of feelings and emotions).

I do usually prefer games that offer behavioral choices (such as the aforementioned SW games), because they usually have higher replay value since I can play both types of characters. However, "Choice" is not always all it's cracked up to be. Sometimes the choices look too much like this:

You meet a woman on the road who needs your help. Will you help, or murder her and steal her shoes? example by Shamus Young

I can't find the post right now, but Shamus once discussed the shortcomings of the choices system of Jade Empire. I haven't finished the game once yet (sorta got distracted by another game), and I was playing through as a good person, but his gripe is that the evil choices were less along the lines of Emperor Palpatine evil, and more like Billy, the middle school bully. You had the choice of helping someone, or punching them and taking their lunch money. Thinking back to Knights of the Old Republic there were some choices like that – you could save someone from being killed by loan-sharks because he didn't have enough to pay them off, and then turn around and take what little money they had – but it never felt as poorly presented, but it could be because I knew from the outset I was going to be a mean-spirited bastard and take over the galaxy (if the opportunity presented itself, which I assumed it would. What else would someone overflowing with Dark Side power do?) With Jade Empire, since I don't know if that's a possibility, I kinda feel like I'm just some random jerk picking on the less powerful, but with no larger goal in mind.

I think at this point I've lost my train of thought, or it's been derailed, or something like that. I feel like I've drifted off the topic, and I'm not sure how to get back, or if I should get back, so I guess I'll end it here. The point of all this was to say that I like to experiment with behaviors contrary to (or from the darker side) my nature, and that I'm glad there are games that let me explore my curiosity for such types of behavior, without the danger of trying to do so in the real world. Cause, Heave knows if I tried to ride a bullet bike like I do in the Grand Theft Auto games, I'd only get to do so once, which would terminate in a long reddish smear on the highway, or a splattered blob on the back of some truck.

Continue reading...

Friday, May 09, 2008

Mongul, Parasite, and Darkseid, oh my!

I found a couple DCSH figures from last year that I picked up for a friend on SWAN and since he wanted me to open and send them loose, I thought it would be fun to quickly pose them with my recently opened DCUC wave 2 figures. Behold.

Oh no, Black Manta's outnumbered, by Classic Aquaman, Superman Red, Superman Blue, and Modern Aquaman. What will he do?

Gorilla Grodd and Harley Quinn to the rescue!

Batman and Batgirl show up to help, but so do Mongul, Parasite, and Darksied! Chaos ensues!

Continue reading...

Ka-me Ha-me Ha!

Dragon Ball Z was hugely popular in Colombia, when I was there in '98-99. I got to liking it quite a bit. Finally bought myself a couple of figures. Both come with removable shirt and interchangeable hands.

Goku and Super Saiyan Goku

Continue reading...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

DC Direct Statues and Busts wants

Want list of statues, busts and other not-really action figures from DC Direct

Ame-Comi Figures

  • Batgirl 2008
  • Donna Troy 2008
  • Hawkgirl 2009
  • Power Girl 2008
  • Supergirl 2008
  • Wonder Woman 2008

Batman Black and White

  • Bob Kane
  • Ethan van Sciver 2009
  • George Perez 2008
  • Gotham Knight 2008
  • Matt Wagner
  • Neal Adams
  • Jim Aparo 2008


  • Batwoman bust
  • Wonder Woman - Women of DC busts Series 1
  • Wonder Woman - Women of DC busts Series 2


  • Hal Jordan vs Sinestro Bookends 2008


  • JLA Build-a-Scene part 2 2008
  • JLA Build-a-Scene part 1 2008
  • JLA Build-a-Scene part 3 2008
  • JLA Build-a-Scene complete 2008
  • Superman vs Darksied 2008
  • Wonder Woman statue 2008

Continue reading...

A Wretched Hive

My Sandtroopers display.

Let's see, we've got one of the Kotobukiya Sandtroopers, lots of Hasbro troopers, the Acme Archives Sandtrooper character key, two of the Gentle Giant Santrooper mini busts (Sergeant and Squad Leader), a Galactic Hero and a Kubrick Sandtrooper.

All of which has been displaced and re-disbursed among the rest of my collection, to make room for a Justice League display. Pictures pending.

Continue reading...

NYCC Announcements

I started this on April 20th, guess I better get around to publishing it, eh?

New York Comic Con took place last weekend (Apr 18-21-ish), and among the many activities and panels taking place, toy companies like to announce upcoming product and show them off to potential consumers. Geeks like me that can't attend spend hours in front of their computers (like we usually do) refreshing the main page of sites like Action Figure Hub, Toy News International, Action Figure Insider and others wanting to see pictures of the new product as soon as it's uploaded.

The two lines I'm focusing on collecting this year are McFarlane Toys' Halo 3 and Mattel's DC Universe Classics (DCUC) so those were the lines I was hoping to hear about.

McFarlane posted pictures and info about wave 3 of Halo 3 on their site a week previous to NYCC, so I was really only watching for Mattel's announcements. Of course, McF had to go and surprise me with the announcement of their SDCC Exclusive HellSpartan and Active Camo CQB Spartan (my thoughts on that), so that was fun and unexpected.

Mattel gave us some great news regarding the distribution of the DCUC line: beginning with wave 3 (June-ish) Walmart will carry the line. That's quite exciting, as I have 3 Walmarts near me before I get to a Target or ToysRUs, so I hope to find these figures near me, instead of driving for 30 miles or ordering them online. Mattel also previewed the figures for waves 4 and 5 (which will be exclusively available at Walmart), the SDCC Exclusive figure, some two packs exclusive to TRU and named half the line up of wave 6.

TRU 2 Packs

Mattel announced that they will re-release some hard to find figures from last year's DCSH line, first up will be Batgirl (Barbra Gordon) and Azreal, in the first TRU 2 pack. The second announced pack contains a new version of Orion (from DCUC wave 1) with a removable helmet and a new figure Lightray. I believe Mattel said four 2 packs would be released in 2008, but only 2 have been announced so far. I'll get the Lightray/Orion pack, but I've already got Azreal, and I'm not a big fan of the blue/gray Batgirl. If they did a black/blue version of Babs Batgirl (like DC Direct is later this year) I'd consider getting it.

Wave 4

Wave 4 will contain several cool figures: Wonder Woman, a variant of Artemis as WW, Captain Atom and a Kingdom Come version of him, one of WW's main enemies Ares the god of war (he's a really cool looking knight) and Cyborg from the Teen Titans. The Build-A-Figure, sorry, Mattel's calling it a Collect and Connect, is a scary, three-eyed alient that's tried to destroy everyone on earth (Superman/Batman vol 5: Enemies Among Us) and conquer the universe (Justice League Animated Series, Hearts and Minds). I like this version of him, quite a bit, he comes with a bandolier or two, and some guns, and basically has a bunch of accessories, which is pretty cool. I plan to get all the figures in this wave, regulars and variants, and maybe try to build two Despero's.

Continue reading...

Thursday, May 01, 2008

DCUC Wave 2

Harley's face is too blue, plus some over-spray from the red and black paint really bring out the lines in her face too much, makes her look kinda old. After some experimenting painting the Marvel Legends BAF Apocalypse at Derek's this past week I'm going to try to whiten her face up. Superman Red has a few smuges (on the 'S', grr!) and stray white marks that I'm going to try to clean up too. Should be fun.

Other than that, these look awesome, and I'm really excited to have them. I've got someone lined up to send me the modern version of Aquaman, and then all I need is modern Firestorm. Let's get the Grundy wave out now, as I'm really excited for that BAF.

Continue reading...