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DC Universe Classics Wave 5

DC Universe Classics wave 5 by Mattel

   "The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

Tonight we have a guest review from Russell Kay and Jay Forkos, who are looking at one of the toughest DC Universe Classics waves to find - wave 5, which was exclusive to Wal-mart. Take it away, guys!

Hey there everyone! Yes, it has indeed been quite a long time since you’ve last heard from me….but that’s because I’m now busy running a retail website, & I’ve actually returned this go-round for a very special review with my business partner-  the elusive Wal-Mart exclusive DC Universe Classics Series 5, which in fact I got him for his birthday. So, without further ado, here we go!
DC Universe Classics wave 5 by Mattel

DC Universe Classics wave 5 by MattelDC Universe Classics wave 5 by Mattel
DC Universe Classics wave 5 by Mattel
DC Universe Classics wave 5 by Mattel
DC Universe Classics wave 5 by Mattel
DC Universe Classics wave 5 by Mattel
DC Universe Classics wave 5 by Mattel
DC Universe Classics wave 5 by Mattel
DC Universe Classics wave 5 by Mattel
DC Universe Classics wave 5 by Mattel

Packaging - ***1/2
Very dynamic, and definitely shows off the product very nicely…and also has a sweet description on the back, while showing off the other figures in the wave, not to mention the Metallo “Collect & Connect” figure . I disagree with Mike that it has very little waste, but in fairness I really don’t care too much either; I kinda like it that way! Personally, I just wish they wouldn’t put them in dyamic poses or hide the C&C piece at the bottom, but those are minor nits. Otherwise, works fine for me.

Sculpting - The Atom, Amazo ***; Eradicator ***1/2; Black Lightning, Riddler, Metallo ****
As most of you may know, Wal-Mart asked Mattel to cut as many corners as possible for this exclusive series, so with a lot of each figure being not only re-use but obvious re-use, I did in fact have to take that into consideration for this review.

Let us begin with Eradicator, as—I gotta say it—he’s the one, in my opinion, with the least obvious re-use. Now, I can’t say that the sculpt is particularly very detailed, because truthfully it isn’t. What basically sets Eradicator apart from all the other figures is pretty much the cape and shades. As his initial mission in the Death of Superman story arc is to convince the people of Earth that he’s indeed the Man of Steel, he’s gotta look like Superman…and he does, and does it well. This figure definitely nails all that, from the serious expression on his face, to the “spit-curl” hairdo. To be honest though, I’d hope Mattel has the art of making Superman figures down pat at this point, considering up until the end of ’07 it seemed to be all they really knew how to do.

Next up, the Riddler. Guaranteed, the first two thoughts going thru your heads are likely “Two Face” and “Clark Kent”, as he indeed uses the same body. It definitely works quite well for him, though, with the head sculpt sealing the deal. Now, I have to say it: when I first saw pictures of the Riddler, the first thoughts that flew through my mind were “Crazy Eddie’s spokesman Jerry Carroll”…and granted, the majority of you right now who are not from the NY/NJ area probably have absolutely no idea who I’m talking about, but that’s what went thru my head. Thankfully, the sculpt came out quite a bit better than the pictures online let on, and I do love the expression on his face…mainly due to the fact that it looks different depending on if you’re looking at it up close or from a distance; from a distance, he looks like he has a wicked sly smirk on his face. Up close, however, he has somewhat of a scowling grimace, and either way it fits him quite nicely. The sculpting work on the cheekbones and chin is also extremely impressive, too.

The Atom, I will confess, I’m not as impressed with. He’s a nice figure—don’t get me wrong—but he seems quite plain, and makes Eradicator look extravagant in comparison. He seems to have a basic body, and a head with mask sculpted on; the sculpted-on mask I think is probably the most impressive part of this figure. And yes…I tried getting the best possible pose for this figure but…I just really couldn’t think of any spectacular poses.

Allow me to get Amazo out of the way here, as I find him to be the least exciting of all the figures. If you’re wondering why that is….well, even though he looks the way he does in the comics, that doesn’t hold him back from looking to me like some pointy-eared dude in a 1920s bathing suit. The facial sculpt is quite nice though a tad bland for me; it just looks like some guy with a serious face. I realize he’s a robot, but I’d have preferred more robot, and less “1980s businessman” serious. What I do find truly impressive is the sculpted-on power ring, since Amazo can take on the powers & abilities of any of his opponents.

Next up we have Black Lightning. The major pull on this one is not only the amazingly sculpted goggles, but the determined look on his face…which is pulled off with amazing sculpting, rather than just some paint! It takes a great sculptor to pull off such a minor, but distinct, attribute. Then again, we’re dealing with the Four Horsemen here, so that should come off as no surprise.

Metallo easily steals the show in this wave. All the robotic parts—including his skull head, removable chest piece, and Kryptonite power source behind the chest piece—are mindblowing in terms of sculpt. This is, by the way, despite some early rumors that his jaw was initially meant to be moveable—although apparently nixed later on due to costs.

Paint - Eradicator, Riddler: ****; Black Lightning, Amazo: ***1/2; The Atom, Metallo ***
If there’re any problems with Eradicator’s paint, I sure didn’t find it on this one. All the lines came out nice and clean, without any noticeable slop. I know many people are not happy with his solid-painted goggles, as they wanted the translucent look for ‘em; for some reason, it really just doesn’t make a lot of difference to me…but that’s me. One would think that the blue in the middle of his suit would have a million problems with paint bleed, but for the most part it was pulled off quite nicely; the only area where it’s sort of hard to say is on the boots, and only slightly. The paint wash works really well on this piece; it wasn’t overdone in any way. Don’t let the pictures fool you; it’s nowhere near that glossy. He does come off slightly toy-ish looking, but not enough to really affect my opinion of the figure.

Now, with Riddler, a lot of people were disappointed when they heard question marks would not be painted on to his arms, saying his outfit looked like more of a vest. Maybe it’s just me, but I really don’t have that problem with it. Regardless, the paint job seems very consistent on this one, and pulled off really nicely. If there was any slop on this one, again, I missed it, so at least you know that with the most heavily-packed figure in the case, you’re getting a well-made piece! Most of the photos of the figure online make it out to be really glossy-looking. Well, I can assure you that in person the figure looks great, with just about the right amount of paint wash.

Now, from the photos, you may not think Amazo has the best paint job. Well, for the most part the figure looks fantastically painted…but a few spots on his head that looked like they could’ve been painted more…at least that’s how it looks cause of the pictures. Usually, Mike—the almighty, all-knowing master of this website—complains about paint slop on a figure. Due to the way he looks in the photos, it would appear that they didn’t slop this one…they just totally missed painting it. Again….don’t let the photo fool ya; he’s painted to perfection. So yes, the main part everyone was probably concerned about—the green striped portion of his look—came out pretty much flawless, with no bleed or slop, that I could tell. Also, on another plus side, no paint wash issues here.

Now, for those of you who think I was being biased about the paint jobs, because I find the Amazo figure on the somewhat boring end, then allow me to direct your attention over to the Atom. This figure was one of ones in this wave I was most looking forward to. While most of the figure seems to have been painted quite nicely, something just…doesn’t look right around the sides of his face mask, where the portions of Dr. Palmer’s face are present. Worth noting as well there was some minor slop on his belt, and some bleed on his boots. I’m impressed that they pulled off the two clashing colors on his chest as well as they did. I also gotta say it…this figure is paint wash gloss central. Yeah, it pretty much looks like the pictures you’ve seen online, and is one of the few times I wish it’d come a lot closer to looking how the original prototype did.

Moving on to Black Lightning, this was likely one of the pieces in the wave that had a more challenging paint job, as it features multiple colors on him, and pulling it off with ease is not necessarily an easy feat. They got it fine for the most part, but the lightning designs are not perfectly symmetrical from what I can tell; because of that, it may suggest the illusion that the paint job is off. Well..in a way, it is, but not the way everyone was really expecting. Ironically, the whole issue about a solid paint job also came up with his goggles too, but it didn’t seem to really impact him the way that people take issue to Eradicator. The paint wash, might I add, is some of the best in this wave, making the piece look very realistic.

Now we’re up to Metallo. For the most part, this piece is really nicely painted; a lot of extra attention had to be put into all the crevices, and different robotic parts that are Metallo’s body. However, the more I look at it, the more I notice a lot of paint bleed and forgetting paint that won’t be obvious via the naked eye. Many of his wires seem like they forgot to paint the full thing, and even the painted area beneath his “M” looks like it’s running over into it a bit. The kryptonite piece in his chest cavity—being covered up by the “M” is painted in a way to look like it’s emitting a glow, and the work on that is absolutely fantastic. The paint wash is simply superb, giving it that “rusty, damaged” look…and considering all the beat-up markings on his body given to him by Superman, it’s not really that far-fetched, and again, looks amazingly sweet.

Articulation - Eradicator, Amazo, The Atom, Black Lightning: ****; Metallo: ***1/2; Riddler: ***
Before I begin the tally here, let me start out by saying that surprisingly neither I nor my partner had any of the breakage problems with our figures that were reported; maybe we just got lucky.

They all have the ball jointed neck, ball-jointed shoulders, single pin elbows, knees, and ankles, along with cut wrists, cut waist, cut thighs, and an ab crunch.

Well, at least I think Riddler does, but it’s harder to tell with the “Two-Face” body he was given. Also due to this body, his head doesn’t move as well as the others’ do, but surprisingly it seems to work better than Two Face! Figure that one out!

None of the figures joints really felt that loose; in fact Black Lightning’s seemed quite tight on him. I must confess…I’m at a bit of a loss for words, for the most part, in regards to really how to describe the articulation on this wave since most of it was major reuse, being Mattel was asked to cut as many corners as possible in the process.

However, Metallo must be discussed, as he has no reuse, and has a very unique sculpt. He also has a double-jointed cut neck, single pin elbows, knees, and ankles, along with cut wrists, cut thighs, and a ball-jointed abdomen. You might be wondering why I didn’t mention the shoulders yet. Well, they aren’t ball-jointed, but they were articulated in another way: the part of the shoulder connecting to the torso is a cut joint. Where it connects from the shoulder to the arm is another cut joint…and the part of the arm connected to the shoulder is itself articulated!

So I must say…the articulation is absolutely fantastic on him, though do be careful as some of the areas with articulation are small pieces connected to big pieces, and they can tend to feel a bit lanky; might be a tad fragile in regards to that. The one joint that really blows me away is the waist/abdomen area, as it appears to be ball-jointed, and just seems like it was something they went the extra mile with..and it really paid off!

So, why you may ask did I knock off half a star? Cause unfortunately it appears a few areas of articulation had to be nixed that would’ve really added to this figure in indescribable ways: a moving jaw, and articulated fingers. I don’t know if he was actually supposed to have them or not, but it almost seems like it, and once you have the figure in your hands, it just feels like a shame it didn’t happen.

Accessories - Riddler, Metallo ***1/2; Eradicator: ***; Black Lightning, Amazo, The Atom: Bupkis
I realize Mikey usually says the score for accessories can be different, depending on whether one wants to consider the Collect & Connect pieces as accessories, seeing as how whether or not you want to build said character can have an impact on if the figure is worth the dough. I’m just, however, gonna include Metallo here as another figure. The way I see it in this circumstance, the figures were hard enough to get as it is, so whether you forked over the retail price, or more for these, rest assured you got your money’s worth.

Eradicator comes with his shades, but they’re very relevant to his character..despite the fact that they were unable to go with the “translucent” appearance. They fit on him, and look great, so he’s definitely covered.

Amazo, Black Lightning, and the Atom all come with absolutely nothing( other than obviously the Metallo pieces). In my mind, they really didn’t need anything though so, no worries there.

Riddler comes with his cane, which again is pretty much essential to the character. The cane was unfortunately painted a very dull gold-ish color, but otherwise looks fantastic, and fits fantastic in his hands.

For Metallo, I’m gonna count that removable chest piece as an accessory, and it works really well. It can be attached and removed with ease, so definitely worth it for me.

Value - Eradicator: ****, via Secondary Market ***1/2; Black Lightning: ****, via Secondary Market ***1/2; The Atom: ****, via Secondary Market ***; The Riddler: **** both ways; Amazo: ****, via Secondary Market ***1/2; Metallo: **** both ways
This one is a tricky area for me, not only because Mikey and I have very different economic beliefs, but also because of how incredibly difficult the wave was to find.

First off, I’m a major believer in supply-side economics; i.e. the laws of Supply & Demand. Demand was high, and supply was veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeery low, and what supply there was happened to be extremely scarce.

Second of all, certain characters in this wave were naturally more popular than others, which in secondary market values, drove the price up amazingly.

Face the facts—everyone wants Eradicator. One wouldn’t even question picking him up if they saw him at Wal-Mart. If you got it via the secondary market, he is currently the most expensive piece. Due to that factor, he has a slightly toyish appearance due to the paint wash, which dropped him a star.

Everyone also wanted Riddler, but he was very heavily packed, nearly killing his secondary market value. Which is why either place you get him, you’re totally getting your money’s worth.

The Atom was also very high in demand, due to his legendary Justice League status..and if ya saw it at Wal-Mart, odds are ya wouldn’t even hesitate on him. His ultragloss paint wash though takes him down a few notches if you’re buyin’ him via the secondary market.

Black Lightning, while a very cool figure, not as many people really know about the character which didn’t help keep his value up that high on the secondary market…making him virtually a steal. So why, you ask, not 4 stars? I wanted to give it to him..really I did. The uneven paint job on his torso prevented me from doing so.

Amazo is almost as easy to get as Riddler. Even though he wasn’t heavily packed, the appearance chosen for the figure is something collectors would clamor over, as well as fans. The average Joe heading to the toy section to buy these probably wouldn’t even take him seriously, due to how he looks. I know many will cry blasphemy over it, but feel free to check aftermarket values yourself if you disagree. He’s much easier to find than the rest, and for understandable reasons.

Despite his few areas of inconsistencies in the paint department, Metallo is a home-run as a Collect & Connect figure, and the aftermarket values on him aren’t really that unreasonable, when you consider that most pieces like this—which are offered in pieces, then assembled—can typically go for lots of money when they’re new or hard to find.

If you got these at Wal-Mart, toss on Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration”. If you had to resort to comic shop dealers or eBay, just be glad you managed to get them, and be even happier if your pieces didn’t have all the breakage problems that were reported.

In fact…I may have Riddler, Atom, and part of Metallo, but I still need the rest of them myself. Boy is that gonna be fun to deal with….

Overall - ***1/2
Like I said…with this wave, just be happy with yourself if you managed to get it. Be even happier if you received yours completely intact, as many didn’t. The demand was ultra-high and still is, and the supply was ultra-low, and that ain’t gonna change on this one. For me, the economics of it alone gave it four stars. This wave may go down as the most sought-after of the entire line.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - Eradicator ***1/2; The Atom, Amazo ***; Black Lightning, Riddler, Metallo ****
Paint - Eradicator, Riddler: ****; Black Lightning, Amazo: ***1/2; The Atom, Metallo ***
Articulation - Eradicator, Amazo, The Atom, Black Lightning: ****; Metallo: ***1/2; Riddler: ***
Accessories - Riddler, Metallo ***1/2; Eradicator: ***; Black Lightning, Amazo, The Atom: Bupkis
Value - Eradicator: ****, via Secondary Market ***1/2; Black Lightning: ****, via Secondary Market ***1/2; The Atom: ****, via Secondary Market ***; The Riddler: **** both ways; Amazo: ****, via Secondary Market ***1/2; Metallo: **** both ways
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
If you didn’t get lucky and find ‘em at your local Wal-Mart, I remember last seeing the full complete wave available as a set at Amazon.com, and a few of the figures at toyrocket.com, though they may’ve since sold out. If it comes down to it, the ‘bay is the place to go. 

DC Universe Classics wave 5 by Mattel
DC Universe Classics wave 5 by Mattel
DC Universe Classics wave 5 by Mattel


DC Universe Classics wave 5 by Mattel


Figures from the collection of Jay Forkos and Russell Kay

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