DC Universe Classics Series 16
Mercury, Azrael and Riddler

Azrael DC Universe Classics DCUC action figure by Mattel

Mattel's woes with product distribution continue with their DC Universe Classics series. I still haven't completed the Walmart exclusive wave 14, and yet I finished off wave 15 and now wave 16! Personally, I think it's Walmart and their crappy inconsistency with shipping product to various parts of the country that's at fault.

I'm checking out the first half of this new wave tonight, including Mercury from the Metal Men, Azrael, and the Riddler. We got a Riddler in a much earlier wave (in fact, the first Walmart exclusive wave), but this is the classic old school version with the big question marks.

Also in this wave is Robin (with a variant head sculpt), Johan Hex, and the Creeper. There's only six figures in the regular series this time, but there's still a Collect and Connect figure - Bane. I'll cover those four later this week.

This guys are running around $15 online (at least), and I fear that many brick and mortar stores are going to be charging a similar price. I'm not sure if the series can survive the higher price point, but we're certainly going to find out this year.
Mercury DC Universe Classics DCUC action figure by Mattel
Riddler DC Universe Classics DCUC action figure by Mattel
Azrael DC Universe Classics DCUC action figure by Mattel
Mercury DC Universe Classics DCUC action figure by Mattel
Riddler DC Universe Classics DCUC action figure by Mattel
Azrael DC Universe Classics DCUC action figure by Mattel
Mercury DC Universe Classics DCUC action figure by Mattel
Riddler DC Universe Classics DCUC action figure by Mattel
Mercury DC Universe Classics DCUC action figure by Mattel

Packaging - **1/2
They've changed things up a bit, starting with the first series of Green Lantern figures. The cardbacks and bubbles are slightly taller, taking up more space but not really giving us anything additional. The more ecologically minded will not be all that happy, and the MOCers will probably be annoyed that more storage space is required. For the rest, it's a wash.

What openers will care about is that several of the figures, including all three of these here, have warped ankles from their position inside the tray. I've complained about this before, and Mattel has to address the issue.

Sculpting - ****
I love most of the figures in this wave, and it is entirely because of the sculpts. These three in particular are just outstanding.

The Riddler has a nice silver age appearance, and the detail work on the face is terrific. The nose, chin, lips, mask, hairline, etc. are all sharply defined, particularly well done considering the 6" scale. His expression isn't over the top, but there's a slight smirk to the look.

His left hand is open to hold the cane, while the right hand is sculpted into a fist. He stands well on his own, even with the slight warpage in his ankles due to the packaging.

Mercury is tall and thin, with a face that reminds me of the devil if he were on one of those old Rankin-Bass stop motion cartoons. He has a maniacal grin, with hands designed to work with just about any pose. I'm not a big fan of the Metal Men, but when they look this good, I'm all for it. Again, he stands great on his own, even with the bent ankles.

Mercury also comes wearing his molded scissors left hand, which is a rather odd weapon when you think about it. Don't you have to work both handles to make it effective? It's light weight enough that he can hold it extended without toppling over.

Finally, there's Azrael, Batman's replacement after Bane snapped his back. This is one of the most complex figures we've seen in this series, with the triple wing hard plastic cape and clawed gauntlets. This armored suit restricts the articulation of the neck and shoulders a bit, but it's a trade off I'm more than willing to make.

Paint - Azrael, Mercury ***; Riddler **1/2
Unfortunately, the paint work is a bit of an issue once again. I wouldn't complain quite so much if we weren't paying premium prices.

The worst problems are on the Riddler, especially around his face and hairline, where black pant is dripping down on his forehead.

For all the figures, cut lines are a lot less clean and sharp than they should be. Mercury looks the best, but this is largely because he's all one molded color.

Articulation - Mercury ****;  Riddler ***1/2; Azrael ***
The Riddler has the usual articulation - ball jointed neck and shoulders, pin elbows, knees and ankles, ab crunch, cut waist, wrists and thighs, and hinge hips. His joints all work well, and are tight and sturdy.

Azrael looses points due to the upper body restrictions. The neck is just a cut joint, and even the shoulders, elbows and wrists are restricted.

Below the waist, he adds double pin knees though, which keeps his score from suffering further.

Mercury adds even more on top of the double pin knees, with double pin elbows and pin wrists. The pin wrists add quite a bit to this figure, especially with the cool hand sculpts.

Accessories - Mercury, Riddler ***; Azrael **
All three figures come with a piece to the Collect and Connect figure, Bane. With poor Azrael, that's it, resulting in the lower score for him here.

Mercury comes with an extra hand that is sculpted in a normal loose pose without any sort of molded weapon. The hands swap easily, and both look great.

The Riddler comes with his old school cane. He holds it easily in his left hand, and it's about the right scale.

Fun Factor - ****
When it comes to action figures and play value, this series is second only to Masters of the Universe Classics. I still don't understand why they can't replicate these great sculpts, articulation and style when it comes to other series.

Value - **
The price tag is just getting to be too much for a lot of collectors, and I think it's killing off a lot of the completists.

Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing, although if you're picking them off the shelf you should watch for the best paint and the least amount of ankle warpage.

Overall - ***1/2
I'm really happy with this wave, but that's probably due in large part to my Batman addition. But even so, I love the Mercury (and Jonah Hex) as well, and I've never been a fan of their comics. That's gotta say something for the quality of the figures. 

The sculpting is excellent on this set, and while the paint needs to step up considering the price point, I'm still in for the long run.

I'll probably cover the Creeper, Jonah Hex, Robin and Bane on Thursday night, and I swear that eventually I'll finsih off that wave 14!

Score Recap:
Packaging - **1/2
Sculpting - ****
Paint - Azrael, Mercury ***; Riddler **1/2
Articulation - Mercury, Riddler ***1/2; Azrael ***
Accessories - Mercury, Riddler ***; Azrael ***
Fun Factor - ****
Value - **
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
Mass market brick and mortar retailers should start getting these in, but I picked them up online at Entertainment Earth. Other online options include:

- Mike's Comics N Stuff has them for $17 each.

- Big Bad Toy Store has them for $17 each.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
Other DCUC reviews include:

- I covered the first half of wave 14, but I'm still on the hunt for Todd.

- I covered the new GL wave 1 set with part 1 here, and part 2 here.

- I finished off wave 15 in two parts, one here and one here.

- the SDCC Plastic Man was the previous review.

- I split the wave 13 up into two sections, part 1 and part 2.

- I covered half of wave 12, but it took awhile to pick up the second half.

- prior to that was part 1 and part 2 of wave 11.

- big surprise, wave 10 was before that, with some here and some here.

- you can find wave 9 part 1 here, and part 2 over here.

- I split wave 8 up into two parts, one here and one here.

- prior to that was wave 7 (duh), which I covered here.

- I broke wave six into two reviews, one here and one here.

- no, I never reviewed wave 5, but prior to that was wave 4 which I also broke into this review, and this one.

- of course, prior to that was wave 3.

- I covered wave 1 in two parts, one here and one at here. It took me so freakin' long to find them, I never did review wave 2, but if you're looking for one, Kastor's Korner has a great review.

- last up in the DCSH figures were the Clayface and Bruce to Bats figures.

- before that was Mongul, who is also one of the best figures this year and Parasite and Steel

- don't forget the 12" version of the smaller Batman, and the 12" Cyborg Superman.

- in this smaller line, the fourth series was Superman themed, with Brainiac and Darkseid. There's also the Batgirl and Superman from the two packs. 

- there's the guest review of series 3 Batman and Azrael.

- a guest review of series 2 Doomsday, and another of the series 2 Superman.

- my review of the series 2 Bizarro and Supergirl.

- my review of the Batman and Killer Croc from wave 1.

- and finally, my review of Bane and Scarecrow that were released internationally as part of the old Mattel line, and then re-released with wave 1 of the DCSH.

- and while the aren't technically DCUC, the new Public Enemies figures are close enough for most of us. I split the review into part 1 and part 2.

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Mercury DC Universe Classics DCUC action figure by Mattel

This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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