Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Captain Toy Picks...
The Top Ten DC Universe Classics Action Figures

Date Published: 2017-01-04
Written By: Michael Crawford

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DCUC Blue Beetle action figure

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There have been a number of great DC comics based action figure lines over the years, starting with the classic Mego, running through the DC Super Powers and beyond. But in recent times, there's been one real stand out - DC Universe Classics by Mattel. Perhaps the DC Icons will be the next, but only time will tell.

They actually started the general look and feel of this line with some early releases under the 'DC Superheroes' moniker.  While there's some great figures there (can you say Mongul?) I'm going to stick with the later figures under the DCUC label. That means no DC Icons either, and no DC Unlimited. Yep, just DCUC.

But there's still plenty to choose from, and whittling this down to just ten was a major problem. I did what I could, but I bet I'm missing some of your key favorites.  Feel free to let me know about it!

On to the list...

10 - Penguin, Wave 1, 2007
Wave 1 was released almost ten years ago and started it all. Yes, I know, there were the DC Superheroes first, and DCUC was really just a continuation of that style under better branding, but you get my drift. There were two figures up for contention for this list right out of the gate, and Penguin made the final cut. Etrigan almost did...

For all my love of Batman and his Rogue's Gallery, Penguin was only one of two of the members to make my list.  I love the head sculpt and the detail for this scale, and he's one of my all time favorite Penguin releases.

DCUC Penguin action figure

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9 - Ultra-Humanite, Wave 14 CnC, 2011
One of the features of the DCUC series was the 'collect and connect' figure with each wave. This was a rip off of the Build-A-Figure concept used by Toybiz (and then Hasbro) with the Marvel Legends line, but no one was complaining. The CnC figures were often the highlight of a wave, and I have two on this list of favorites, starting with the ape Ultra-Humanite. I love big monkeys in general, and this is a character that's gotten very little plastic love over the years.

DCUC Ultra-Humanite action figure

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8 - Green Arrow, Wave 9, 2009
You won't see many traditional heroes on my list, like Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Superman, etc.  While DCUC did them proud, they were figures we also saw in just about EVERY DC action figure series over the years. My list tends to fall toward the lesser known characters...

But one that did make the cut is Green Arrow in his very classic Robin Hood style duds. It's pretty rare that we get a figure in this scale articulated well enough to actually pose with a bow and arrow, but Mattel pulled it off, and this classic look harks back to my youth.

DCUC Green Arrow action figure

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7 - Power Girl, Wave 10, 2009
While the DCUC had plenty of female figures, you'll only find one on my top ten - Power Girl. I think it's because the general female body design was simply not all that attractive. It's a problem that Marvel Legends suffered from as well, as did most super hero series of the 90's and 00's. Thankfully, the situation has improved considerably. It's worth noting though that Hawkgirl was also *this* close to making the cut...

I have to admit that I don't think there's ever been any release of Power Girl I didn't like, although the character herself does very little for me.

DCUC Power Girl action figure

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6 - Killer Moth, Wave 6, 2009
One of the greatest strengths of the DCUC was their willingness to do some really out there, fourth string, odd ball characters, and do them really, really well. Perhaps my favorite to fall into that category is Killer Moth. You thought Ant-Man was a bad name? Try Killer Moth.

I never thought we'd see anyone do a Killer Moth that actually looked bad ass. Or at least as bad ass as you can look in those colors.

DCUC Killer Moth action figure

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5 - Jonah Hex, Wave 16, 2011
Faithful readers may remember that once upon a time I ran a website called the Western Action Figure Archive.  I still have far more western themed toys than anyone should, so it makes sense that a character like Jonah Hex would be high on any list of mine.  It helps that Mattel did such a fantastic job with the figure of course. This was another example of excellent sculpting and detail, especially in the scarred face.

DCUC Jonah Hex action figure

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4 - Gentleman Ghost, Wave 9, 2009
What do you do when a character has no head? That's always a trick for action figure companies, and of course, Gentleman Ghost has no visible head.  Mattel did an excellent job translating him into three dimensions, and I love the monocle. Now that I need bifocals, I've been trying to convince my wife that I should get a monocle instead and start a trend. She's not buying it.

The phasing between translucent plastic in the feet, legs, and cape, and the all white upper body is also nicely done. Overall it's a very smart design using the basic style of the series.

DCUC Gentleman Ghost action figure

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3 - Man-bat, Wave 10, 2009
The only other Batman related figure to make the list is the Man-Bat, and he's actually a bit unusual for the DCUC series.  While they all tend to be very comic book looking, this figure is the most realistic of my choices. Again, 'realistic' is a relative term, but I think you get what I'm saying.  The textured upper body looks great, and there's very, very little re-use here from other figures.

DCUC Man-Bat action figure

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2 - Deathstroke, Wave 3, 2008
While I gobbled up waves 1 and 2 as soon as they hit the shelf, it wasn't until wave 3 and the Deathstroke figure that I was officially blown away. It wasn't just the detailed sculpt, but the quality of the accessories and the overall usefulness of the articulation that came together to make the first really outstanding figure - at least for me - in the on going series.

S.D. Kluger's Mail Truck

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1 - Trigon, Wave 13 CnC, 2009
There were plenty of great CnC figures in the series, but Trigon stands out over all of them. He even stands out over all the regular releases. There's something about the evil, dangerous expression, the cloth cape, and the impressive size which sets him apart. He's one of those rare figures that wowed me when I first put him together, and still wows me today, almost eight years later.

DCUC Trigon action figure

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Eagle eyed readers will notice that while I raved about the Batman and Joker DCUC figures in earlier lists, neither character showed up this time. While I love them - especially the DCUC Joker - I wanted to get 10 others on here that wouldn't get a mention otherwise. In fact, I might create a rule - if you've been on a list before, you can't be on another...hmmm...I'll have to ruminate on that one.

I really loved this line, so it was not easy picking just ten.  In fact, I had almost three dozen figures on my 'short' list, which probably pushes the boundary of the definition. Figures like Darkseid, Blue Devil, Azrael, Mongul, the Sinestro Scarecrow, Forager, Kaliback, Etrigan, the SDCC exclusive Plastic Man, Deadman...there were ton of potential picks that could have easily swapped in for many I chose.

One thing is clear though - wave 10 was the big winner for me. With two top ten picks in Power Girl and Man-Bat, along with runners up with Forager and the excluded Joker, it was a solid release. Unfortunately, it was also a Wal-mart exclusive wave.

So what were your favorites?

If you're enjoying this concept of Captain Toy Picks, drop me a line and let me know! I've added a section below with links to all the past Captain Toy Picks... features:

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Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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