DC Superheroes

If I'm thinking about DC villains, Mongul doesn't pop immediately to mind.  Oh, eventually I'll come to him, but he wouldn't be a top ten for me.

Created by Jim Starlin, Mongul is to the DC universe what Starlin's Thanos was to the Marvel universe, at least in some ways.  He's not exactly the smartest villain, pre or post crisis, but he's hella strong.  In fact, in the old days he was a physical match for Superman.

The latest wave of DC Superheroes from Mattel includes their version (or more accurately, the Four Horseman Version) of Mongul.  He's a bit tough to find right now, as he appears to be shipping just one per case, and in an assortment that hasn't hit too many stores yet.  But there hasn't been any DCSH figures that didn't eventually show up in reasonable numbers, so I wouldn't get too nervous quite yet.  Like the rest of the line, you can expect to pay around $9 - $10 for him at most retailers.

Packaging - **
The packaging uses the included diorama to give it most of it's color and graphics on the front, and there's very little personalization.  I've been a tad too generous with this line in the past in this particular category, but not this time.

Sculpting - ****
Mongul is another stand out in the overall DCSH line.  The sculpt is extremely well done, with a ton of cool detail in the gritty expression and sharp suit.

The quality of this sculpt is not what you expect from a mass market toy, but rather something you see in the specialty market world.  This guy can stand toe to toe with anything produced by DC Direct for the comic shop market, and do it at a price 30% cheaper.

The figure isn't super articulated, so the selected sculpted pose is pretty critical.  Mongul has his weight shifted to one leg more than the other, giving him a cocky appearance in a straight up stance.  Fortunately, there is enough articulation in the arms and body to allow for some variations on this basic pose, but the even in a simple stance he looks excellent.

The hands are both sculpted in fists, so he'll never be holding any accessories.  He doesn't come with any, so I suppose this isn't a major loss.

He's also very large for this line.  This is a 6" scale line, but Mongul is a big bad at about 7 1/4".  That's good because it gives him some size and bulk against Superman, Steel and others.

Paint - ***
While the sculpt isn't mass market, the paint job is.  Oh, it's still high quality stuff, but there's a more toyish feel to that quality.

The best work ins on the head and hands.  There's some wonderful detail work on the eyes and teeth, and a nice wash that brings out the texture of the skin.

The rest of the body is pretty standard Mattel fare. There's a lot of gloss finish, some of the parts are cast in the color, and while cuts are clean and sharp, there's not a lot of small detail paint work.

The one area where the glossy appearance works really well is the boots.  The color might not be to everyone's taste (clearly, Mongul is a man confident in his manliness), but the slightly metallic, gloss paint job is very eye catching.

Articulation - ***
As I mentioned, these figures aren't super articulated, but most (including Mongul) are a nice combination of just the right articulation with just the right sculpt.

Mongul has a ball jointed neck, which you know I love. There isn't a terrific range of movement, but it's a damn sight better than a simple cut.

The shoulders are also ball joints, jointed only at the torso, and there is pin elbows and cut wrists to aid in arm poses.

The torso has a chest joint and a cut waist, both of which can be quite useful.  There's also the standard DCSH hip joints, but the funky belt restricts some of the outward movement.  He also has pin knees and ankles, along with cut thighs, to finish off the leg articulation.

While that's not as much as, say, a Marvel Legends figure, it is enough to do quite a few poses and not hurt the overall appearance of the figure.

Accessories - *
He comes with the now standard exploding Krypton diorama.  Calling this a diorama is stretching things a bit, since it's just a cardboard background and base, but that's what the package proclaims it to be.  I gave Parasite two stars for having one of these - I don't know what I was thinking. At least the Mongul name is printed on the front. 

Fun Factor - ***1/2
Yep, this is a terrific figure for kids.  It's always nice to have villains for Superman to battle that can match up to him, and once you've given the little tikes some background on the character, they'll be good to go.  Actually, Mongul made an appearance on the Justice League show, so if they're watchers of the cartoon they'll have some idea of who he is.

Value - ***
After just spending $15 a pop for DC Direct figures last week, this guy comes as a welcome relief.  Without any accessories, ten bucks is still not an amazing deal, but it sure as Hell beats the bejesus out of what we've been getting from DC Direct for a whole lot more.

Things to Watch Out For - 
While mass market toys have some shortcomings, one of their strong points (generally) is consistency.  What you see is what you get, whether you buy the figure off a peg in Anchorage or Australia.

Overall - ***1/2
I had thought that Steel was my favorite of the line, and that Mattel would have to go a long way to out do him.  I was wrong, so very wrong.  Mongul is now the top of the list.

It's also important to note that this figure proves that DC Direct could - and should - be doing a better job with the more expensive figures from their various lines.  With a 30% or more higher price tag, I expect top notch sculpts and paint.  DC Direct continues to have issues with consistency, something that Mattel seems to have right.

Score Recap:
Packaging - **
Sculpt -  ****
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ***
Accessories - *
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - ***
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
Regular retailers are getting these in right now, in the same assortment as the Kal-El Superman, repainted Bizarro, and repainted Supergirl.  Online options include:

- Amazing Toyz and CornerStoreComics has the mixed sets of this wave for around $58 for six figures.

Related Links -
I've covered quite a bit of the line so far:

- last up was the Parasite and Steel

- don't forget the 12" version of the smaller Batman.

- 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.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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