DC Universe Classics Wave 8
Vigilante, Hawkgirl, Commander Steel,
And Gentlemen Ghost

Hawkgirl DC Universe Classics DCUC action figure by Mattel

I'm way behind on my DC Universe reviews, since wave 8 has been technically out for weeks now. However, when it comes to collecting DCUC, I've found the one thing you really need is patience. And money. And some way to get around. And a willingness to put up with the occasionally bizarre antics of a major corporation. But mostly patience.

Wave eight includes 7 figures, plus two variants, plus the BAF, which is way too much to do in a single review. So tonight I'll be checking out four of the figures, with the rest to come in the next week or so. First up is Gentlemen Ghost, Hawkgirl, Commander Steel and Vigilante, with Parademon (red and green), Dr. Fate, and Mr. Terrific coming later. There's a Dr. Fate variant (gold instead of yellow), as well as the Giganta BAF to come too.

I've included a shot of the green Parademon for the packaged photo, since he appears to be the harder to find of the two. Of course, as case packs change over time, that may not be true for long.

I haven't seen these at any local Toys R Us, Meijers or Targets yet, but I'm still hopeful. You can expect to pay around $10 - $12 a piece, depending on the retailer, and online sources are your best bet right now.
Parademon DC Universe Classics DCUC action figure by Mattel
Commander Steel DC Universe Classics DCUC action figure by Mattel
Hawkgirl DC Universe Classics DCUC action figure by Mattel
Gentleman Ghost DC Universe Classics DCUC action figure by Mattel
Commander Steel DC Universe Classics DCUC action figure by Mattel
Gentlemen Ghost DC Universe Classics DCUC action figure by Mattel
Vigilante DC Universe Classics DCUC action figure by Mattel
Hawkgirl DC Universe Classics DCUC action figure by Mattel
Commander Steel DC Universe Classics DCUC action figure by Mattel
Vigilante DC Universe Classics DCUC action figure by Mattel
Gentleman Ghost DC Universe Classics DCUC action figure by Mattel
DC Universe Classics DCUC action figure by Mattel

Packaging - ***
The packaging is starting to look a tad dated, but that's not really a surprise. After 8 waves and several years, people tend to get a little too accustomed to the same old same old. I still like it, and I don't think Mattel should make any major changes (which would normally peeve the MOCers to no end), but at some point they'll need to revisit it.

Sculpt - Gentlemen Ghost ****; Vigilante, Hawkgirl, Commander Steel ***
The unique sculpting on Commander Steel and Vigilante is restricted largely to their heads, since the majority of the rest of their bodies is a re-use of the standard DCUC superhero.

But both heads are nicely done, and look enough like the classic comic book counterparts to satisfy most fans.

Gentlemen Ghost is my fav of the set, with an extremely detailed sculpt for DCUC. Oddly enough, he has no 'head', and yet scores better than any that do.

I do wish his collar, which has ingeniously been used to hold his hat as though it's floating above his suit, was a smidge shorter. But that's a fairly minor nit, and not enough to hurt the category score for me.

They also added his trademark monocle, attaching it to the brim of the hat. The work looks, giving you the impression that there's a ghost hanging in there someplace. I've reached the age where I need bifocles, and I keep threatening my wife that I'm going to get a monocle...see how classy it looks?

Hawkgirl has an excellent head sculpt, and I love the size and shape of the helmet. The hair tends to force the head forward in some poses though, and is more restrictive than I'd like.

The wings are also perfection, just like they were on Hawkman. Nice detailing on the feathers, and a sculpt that works well with the designed articulation make them a highlight.

Unfortunately, her body doesn't work quite as well. The standard DCUC female body isn't bad, but here we get an awful lot of mold lines and flashing, especially around the shoulders where it is very obvious.

Hawkgirl's hands are the only ones that don't work particularly well with her included accessories. The grip of her left hand is too wide to work with even the sword, which has a fairly thick hilt.

These are all in the standard 6" scale, with Vigilante and Commander Steel standing just a bit over 6 1/4". If Hawkgirl weren't wearing her 'ears', she'd be about 6" tall, and Gentlemen Ghost dwarfs them at almost 7".

Paint - Gentlemen Ghost ****; Commander Steel, Vigilante, Hawkgirl ***1/2;
One aspect of these figures that has been a concern in the past is the quality of the paint application. Thankfully, this wave shows improvement over the early waves, and is also part of an upward trend.

It is important to keep in mind that these are mass market figures, sold through major retailers. As such, they tend to skimp a bit when it comes to paint.

However, the flaws here are generally only noticeable under magnification. In person, they look excellent.

Commander Steel has the most complex palette, with the bright metallic blue set of by the tricky red and white. Cut lines are generally good, until you get up close and personal with the camera lens. Even then, the blips are relatively small.

Hawkgirl has less detail work, but the shading on her helmet is excellent, and she has a nice wash over the wings that brings out the many details.

Vigilante, like Steel, is a fairly basic character, but his cut lines are also well done, and the black doesn't show through the white or blue.

The winner here for me is the figure with the least paint detail - Gentlemen Ghost. The guy is just white, but they managed to do that with style and quality. Often when you use a solid color, particularly one that shows imperfections like white does, there's variation in tone and finish. that's not the case here, where the white is clean and bright over the entire figure.

They also used a translucent plastic underneath, and allowed the clear to show through in some areas. Some, like the edges of the cape, are subtle, while others, like the feet and lower legs, are quite obvious. The effect really works for me, lending him a ethereal air. Thankfully, they didn't try to use any sort of wash on the white, instead allowing natural light to provide the shadows on the sharply sculpted edges.

Articulation - Commander Steel, Vigilante ***1/2;  Hawkgirl, Gentlemen Ghost ***
The entire line continues to sport similar articulation, so if you've been collecting them regularly, there aren't any big surprises here.

The best news in this category is that I didn't have a single stuck limb joint on these four. I haven't opened the other three yet, but that's a huge improvement over past waves.

Hawkgirl has the same uber-cool wings as her husband, and they are articulated in the same way. The have a joint mid wing that allows them to open up or tuck in, and there's a hinge joint on the back that allows them to spread out or fold together. She gets big marks for the wings, but unlike her husband, they aren't quite as useful, unless you don't really care if she can remain standing. If the wings are posed back from her at all, she tends to topple over, and even if they are tight to her body, it can be quite tricky to keep her upright.

Add to that her rather limited neck articulation due to the hard sculpted long hair, and she drops a bit below the other figures in this category.

She does have all the other joints you'd expect though, including pin/post ball shoulders, pin elbows, ankles and knees, cut waist, thighs and wrists, an ab-crunch, and the special DCUC hinged hips. These all work well, but the heavy wings and restricted neck limit the overall number of poses.

BTW, make sure her shoulders are turned correctly. As I mentioned in the Sculpting section, the mold lines already make the shoulder balls pretty unattractive, but if you have them flipped upside down, they get even uglier. I included one shot (full body, holding the spear in both hands) where you can see the left shoulder flipped the wrong way. If yours looks like this, rotate it around for a slightly better look.

While I didn't have any stuck or broken joints, poor Gentlemen Ghost suffers from the opposite problem - loose joints. It's only his hips that are loose, but it did get a tad annoying when I was trying to get some better leg poses.

He also has all the body articulation that you've come to expect from this line, but some of them are a bit restricted.

There's no ball neck of course...he doesn't have a neck. But the disc and post style ball shoulders, cut biceps, wrists and thighs, ab-crunch mid-section, DCUC hinge hips, and pin elbows and knees all work as you'd expect.

The pin ankles are restricted by the pants, and while I'm positive there's supposed to be a cut waist joint, mine is glued tight.

Both Commander Steel and Vigilante have all the aforementioned standard DCUC articulation, with the normal ball jointed neck. The range of movement on that important joint is excellent with both of them. Neither had stuck OR loose joints, and both were able to take some terrific poses.

Accessories - Gentlemen Ghost, Vigilante  ****; Hawkgirl ***1/2; Commander Steel **1/2
With past waves, we were lucky to get one accessory on top of the BAF piece. With three of these four figures, we get three!

Gentleman Ghost has a cool flintlock pistol, as well as his traditional walking cane. These fit in either hand, and the sculpts are quite well done, especially on the flintlock.

He also comes with a mini version of the Atom, giving you another character to add to the shelf. The paint work is a little weak on him, but he makes a nice addition.

GG has not one but TWO pieces of Giganta too - her head and her pelvis. I'll be looking at Giganta early next week, but just let me say here that she's an exceptionally well done BAF.

Vigilante is also heavily armed, ready for battle. He has an automatic rifle that can be held in one or both hands, or worn on his back with the sculpted strap. He also has an automatic pistol, which can be held in either hand. And hiding in his holster is a third gun, a more traditional revolver! As with GG, these weapons fit nicely in his hands, and the holster holds the six gun surprisingly well. The flap closure also works great, something that is normally impossible in this scale.

Vigilante includes one very long and sexy Giganta leg, another critical element to her final construction.

Unfortunately for Hawkgirl, she doesn't have a critical Giganta piece. Nope, she gets the silly translucent blue stand, which you can pretty much ignore.

However, she gets three weapons of her own, and they all look terrific. There's her spear, which can be held in just the right hand or in both at once, as well as her sword and mace.  The mace does not fit in either hand particularly well (which is probably why it ended up cropped out of the only photo it was in), but the sword can stay in her right hand. Her left hand grip is too wide to hold any accessory on its own, as I mentioned in the Sculpt section.

Finally, there's Commander Steel. I don't know enough about the character to know if there was something they should have included, but if there's not here. Instead, he merely comes with his BAF piece. Now, it's the largest BAF piece, since it's Giganta's entire torso, but if you aren't looking to build Giganta, then Commander Steel is an easy pass.

Value - Gentleman Ghost, Hawkgirl, Vigilante ***; Commander Steel **1/2
You'll be paying the usual $10 - $12 a pop for these, but you're getting quite a few more accessories than normal. While Commander Steel only gets the BAF part, something we've come to expect with characters in past waves, the others all get multiple weapons as well. Let's hope that this added value is something we see continue with waves 9 and 10.

Fun Factor - Commander Steel, Vigilante ****; Gentlemen Ghost ***1/2; Hawkgirl ***
Mattel has two truly fun action figure lines on their hands - DCUC and MOTUC. Unfortunately, the quality of DCUC isn't quite up to the MOTUC line...yet. It's improving with every wave, but the loose hips on GG, and Hawkgirl's problems with standing pulled those two down from perfect scores in this category. Still, kids who know these characters (and with GG know a regular staple on the terrific cartoon Batman: Brave and the Bold, more kids know who he is), are going to have a ton of fun with these figures.

Things To Watch Out For
If you're picking them out by hand, you'll still want to watch for paint issues, improvements or not. Also, be careful if you see oddly bent joints in the plastic tray, as the soft pegs can be damaged that way. It would be a real buzz kill to pull one out of the tray, only to have it fall apart.

Overall - Gentlemen Ghost  ****; Vigilante ***1/2; Hawkgirl, Commander Steel ***
While I think that MOTUC is still Mattel's strongest overall line right now, DCUC is my favorite. Hey, I'm a big DC fan, what can I say.

They continue to crank out cool figures, and they've upped the ante on the quality over the last couple waves. It's clear they saw the issues and are working to resolve it, which says a lot considering the size of the organization compared to the relatively small size and importance of this line.

I suspected early on that Gentleman Ghost would be one of my favorites, and he turned out great. I have a few issues with him, but like Hawkman, he's a standout for this line.

The surprise for me was Hawkgirl, who I had high hopes for, but who just didn't quite live up to them. Getting her to simply stand was frustrating, and the really ugly mold lines on the shoulders and arms were a negative. Of course, if you compare her to other lines currently on the shelf, she's quite a bit better, but compared to the rest of the DCUC she's in the middle of the pack. She'll look great next to her husband on my shelf, but I don't know that she'll end up in my top five of best Females of the year.

Another surprise was Vigilante. Yea, he's just a poor man's Punisher, but the figure turned out great, and the weapons really add to his value.

Commander Steel has a purty paint job...and that's about it. If you're a completist, you'll buy him, and you'll be happy to know his paint quality is decent. If you're a big fan of the character (all three of you), you'll buy him, and realize that sacrificing that small animal on the alter to your God really did work. But 90% of the people that fork over the cash for him will be doing it just to get Giganta's torso, but that's not such a bad reason, considering how well she turned out.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Gentlemen Ghost ****; Vigilante, Hawkgirl, Commander Steel ***
Paint -  Gentlemen Ghost ****; Commander Steel, Vigilante, Hawkgirl ***1/2;
Articulation - Commander Steel, Vigilante ***1/2;  Hawkgirl, Gentlemen Ghost ***
Accessories - Gentlemen Ghost, Vigilante ****; Hawkgirl ***1/2; Commander Steel **1/2
Value - Gentleman Ghost, Hawkgirl, Vigilante ***; Commander Steel **1/2
Fun Factor - Vigilante, Commander Steel ****; Gentlemen Ghost ***1/2; Hawkgirl ***
Overall - Gentlemen Ghost  ****; Vigilante ***1/2; Hawkgirl, Commander Steel ***

Where to Buy -
I haven't seen these at any mass market retailers yet, but I'm assuming stores like Target, Toys R Us and Meijers will get them...eventually. Online options right now include:

- Mike's Comics N' Stuff just got them in this week and has them at 13.50 each.

- CornerStoreComics usually has them at $12.50 each, but it looks like they are all pre-sold out.

- Entertainment Earth has them for $139 for a case of 10.

- Things From Another World has them in stock at $15.29 each.

- or there's always ebay.

Related Links -
Other DCUC reviews include:

- the last wave was 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.

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Vigilante 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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