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DC Universe Classics Wave 12
Dr. Mid-Night, Iron, Eclipso and the Spectre

Eclipso DC Universe Classics action figure by Mattel


It seems like just yesterday that I was reviewing wave 11 of the DC Universe Classics...in fact, it was just two weeks ago!  Wave 11 still hasn't hit in any sort of force at any local retailer...and yet today I came across 4 of the 7 Wave 12 figures at a local Wal-mart.

Wave 12 includes the four I'm checking out tonight - Dr. Mid-Night, The Spectre, Eclipso, and Iron - as well as three others I'm now seriously on the hunt for - Mary Batson, Desaad, and Copperhead. The Collect and Connect this time around is the classic Darkseid, who finally gets the bulk he so rightly deserves.

There are two variants, as usual with a regular release series. One is a white costume Mary, who is supposed to be packed 50/50 with the red suit version. There's also a 'chase' of the Spectre, done up in Glow In The Dark paint and plastic.

With this wave, we're getting hit with a price hike. In fact, some folks may have already gotten hit with it on wave 11, but for me, wave 12 was the first time I paid nearly $15 each for the figures. That's a whopping $105 before tax for the full series without the variants! Add in the variants and tax, and we're talking about $150 for a wave of mass market figures. Ouch...
Eclipso DC Universe Classics action figure by Mattel
Spectre DC Universe Classics action figure by Mattel
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Dr Midnight DC Universe Classics action figure by Mattel
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Iron DC Universe Classics action figure by Mattel
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Spectre DC Universe Classics action figure by Mattel
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Dr Midnight DC Universe Classics action figure by Mattel
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Iron DC Universe Classics action figure by Mattel
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Eclipso DC Universe Classics action figure by Mattel
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DC Universe Classics action figure by Mattel
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Iron DC Universe Classics action figure by Mattel
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DC Universe Classics action figure by Mattel

I generally break up my DCUC reviews into two, just because trying to cover 7 figures plus a BAF in a single review is simply too much, but this time around the Gods of distribution didn't give me a choice. Hopefully I'll be able to snag Mary, Desaad and Copperhead in the next week and then follow up this review with my second half.

Packaging - ***1/2
Mattel has made a packaging change with this wave, and it's a good one.

They've taken the best features of the earlier packaging, like the character bios and personalized information on the back of the cards, and combined it with some nifty new graphics, updated logo, and eye catching colors to create an even better bubble/cardback combo.

One of the features they've kept is adding in little extras embossed on the interior tray when appropriate. For example, the Spectre has little laughing skulls circling him on the inner tray.

They've also added the 'collector button', and it's inclusion is nicely highlighted on the front of the package. This makes it not just an accessory, but a decorative part of the bubble as well.

Sculpting - Iron, Eclipso ****; Dr. Mid-Night, Spectre ***1/2
The big surprise in this quartet, at least for me, is Iron. I've never been a big fan of the Metal Men, a group of robots created by Dr. Magnus using his 'responsometers'.

Iron has his classic silver age look, and the sculpting is exceptional. The plates that cover his torso are textured to appear like wrought iron, hammered into shape. No, the symbol on his chest and forehead does not mean he's the attendant for the men's bathroom - it's the symbol for Mars, used for hundreds of years to denote iron. These symbols aren't just paint or a tampo, they are sculpted into the plastic.

The outer bubble has a sticker that says "diecast parts". The only diecast metal I see is the chain between the ball and hand piece, which isn't exactly big news. If other parts are metal, I sure can't tell without doing something to them I'd regret.

There's just something about the style and design of this figure that tells you it's a silver age character, and the Four Horsemen translated this vintage look into the DCUC format perfectly.

Next up, Eclipso. Eclipso is yang to Spectre's yin, more of a revenge sort whereas Spectre is all about vengeance. Putting these two together in the same wave makes perfect sense, although these revelations of the relationship between Spectre and Eclipso were written years after this silver age design debuted in the comics.

Eclipso has an excellent head sculpt, with wonderful detailing on the maniacal grin and insane eyes. Again, we're talking about the silver age version of this guy, and they've added some great sculpting details (like the textured pattern in his 'belt') that add quite a bit of visual interest to the basic DCUC body.

It also helps that he has very specific hand sculpts, designed just for him. In his right hand, pinched between his first finger and thumb, is the black diamond, and yep, they painted it black.

The Spectre is a bit more mundane, but they still did a terrific job using the base parts with a few new extras to create a very accurate representation.

The sculpted rubbery cape and cowl look terrific, as does the underlying face. The elf booties are about the right shape and size, and the hand sculpts work well with a tremendous number of poses. The cowl is also a separate piece from the cape, which means you can turn the head at least, even if tilting is out of the question.

Then there's Dr. Mid-Night, the first blind superhero, pre-dating Daredevil by a couple decades. We're not talking Silver Age folks, where talking good old Golden Age JSA here.

Calling him blind is a bit of a simplification though, since this old school version technically could see - just in reverse. After a rather bad encounter with a hand grenade, he found he was able to see in the dark perfectly, but was blind in the light. He developed some goggles, which are nicely sculpted on his face, to allow him to see at any time, and used his 'blindness' to his advantage against normal visioned foes.

Unlike Iron, whose sculpted plating makes his waist and ab-crunch joints moot, Mid-Night is designed to have a tunic that does not interfere. That's accomplished by just painting the torso section of the tunic the proper colors, and adding the flared tunic tail below the waist as a separate rubber piece. While the quarter moon symbols could have simply been painted on, Mattel wen the extra mile and included a sculpted edge as well.

While none of these four figures were high on my list of must have DC characters, all four turned out terrific.

Paint - Iron ****; Dr. Mid-Night, Eclipso, Spectre ***1/2
The paint work on Iron is basic, but clean and realistic, adding to the impression of actual iron. The wash over the metallic blue looks excellent, and exceeds my expectations for quality even at this higher price point.

Spectre doesn't have a particularly complex paint job either, but once again they used a wash on his body to add depth and detail. The eyes look great, and most of the cut lines are clean.

Eclipso and Dr. Mid-Night both have much more complex paint jobs, with plenty of colors and some tough cuts. Eclipso has his funky eclipse-like coloration across the right side of his face, but the cut line here isn't quite as clean as some of the others. His eyes are slightly wonky too, but these are issues that aren't nearly as easy to see with the human eye as they are with the camera lens.

Dr. Mid-Night also has a fuzzy edge here and there, but overall has the kind of quality I expect. His biggest issues are around the yellow details, but yellow is always a color that causes fits, especially next to black.

Articulation - ***1/2
There's absolutely nothing surprising here, with all four figures following the same basic pattern as the previous 11 waves.

There's the ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, cut biceps and thighs, pin elbows and knees, cut wrists, cut waist, crunch ab joint, pin ankles, and special hinge hips that allow for a tremendous number of poses.

Dr. Mid-Night is the only one with anything extra, as he has cut joints at the calves, right below the boot tops.

None have ball jointed necks that do much more than turn, although you can get a little forward/backward tilt out of Eclipso's. I really wish we could get some proper posing out of these neck joints.

All the joints were relatively tight, and all had very good quality pegs. The joints and pegs aren't quite as high quality as what we see with the Masters of the Universe Classics, but thankfully these figures are still $5 a pop less than those.

Accessories - Iron ***; Dr. Mid-Night **1/2; Eclipso, Spectre *
All four of these figures come with a key piece (one of the limbs) for the Darkseid CnC figure. If you're building him, you can add another half star at least...maybe a full...to these scores. Trust me, he's going to be a great BAF, but more on him in the next review.

All the figures also come with the new 'collector button'. They are all different, at least in this wave, and they are actual metal pin back buttons! The quality is much better than I expected, but they still probably aren't something that's going to drive you to buy a character you were otherwise uninterested in.

Iron and Dr. Mid-Night both get extras above and beyond these basics. Dr. Mid-Night comes with his owl, Hooty. Yea, the doc wasn't so imaginative when it came to naming his sidekick. This owl is a new sculpt, and fits perfectly perched on his forearm. The paint work is also quite good, and he's even got a cut joint at the neck.

Iron gets not one but two extras, both designed to appear as though he has transformed his malleable limbs into weapons. There's a large mace-like ball and chain that can be attached to his right hand, and a funky wrench for his left. I don't think a wrench would be in my top ten weapons to form out of my hand, but maybe his toilet is backed up. I'm betting we see a figuretoon over at It'sAllTrue.net covering that exact situation...in any event, the sculpt and paint work on the tool is great, and you can even turn the screw mechanism to tighten or loose the jaws.

I did have a little trouble keeping the wrench in place on his hand, but the ball and chain fit tightly. Both sculpts approximate the appearance that his hands have actually turned into these weapons quite well.

Fun Factor - ****
If you find a kid that actually knows who these classic characters are (at least Iron will see some time on Batman Brave and the Bold), then they'll have a great time with these articulated versions. Some of the designs lend themselves better to play - like Copperhead, for example - but the truth is that most of these will end up in the hands of collectors. I've said it before but it's worth repeating: the best action figures coming out of Mattel today are theoretically for collectors. It even says 'adult collector' right on the front of the package. Too bad the kids can't get this same level of quality and cool in the lines aimed at them.

Value - **
Sorry, but at $15 a pop, these are getting to be a weaker value. I'm not sure that 10 mass market 6" action figures are worth the same as one high end Hot Toys figure, at least not to me. They did add in the buttons to try to make the price increase less painful, but it didn't work.

Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing - everything was sturdy and solid through out this set.

Overall - Iron ****; Spectre, Dr. Mid-Night, Eclipso ***1/2
I don't pay a lot of attention to the announcements of upcoming DCUC waves, largely because I like being at least a little surprised. While I'd seen some early photos of these, I wasn't expecting much, which resulted in me being quite happy with the results.

I don't know that the other three in this wave are going to be able to keep up this level of quality, but it looks like the BAF of Darkseid is going to be excellent, once I manage to snag all the pieces.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting -  Iron, Eclipso ****; Dr. Mid-Night, Spectre ***1/2
Paint - Iron ****; Dr. Mid-Night, Eclipso, Spectre ***1/2
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - Iron ***; Dr. Mid-Night **1/2; Eclipso, Spectre *
Fun Factor - ****
Value - **
Overall - Iron ****; Spectre, Dr. Mid-Night, Eclipso ***1/2

Where to Buy -
These are just starting to hit mass market retailers, so keep your eyes peeled there first.

Related Links -
I have LOTS of past reviews on these series:

- of course the most recent 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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Iron DC Universe Classics action figure by Mattel
Eclipso DC Universe Classics action figure by Mattel


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

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