Packaging - ***
The package sports some decent graphics, but could use a little more
background text. Rather than waste almost the entire fifth panel with
another head shot of MM and just a small paragraph of character information, I
would have preferred a much broader chunk of history.
The box is also pseudo-collector friendly. Considering that this is a
specialty market toy, they should go the extra mile and drop all the twisties
though. there's no reason for him to be held in with five twist ties
when the interior tray is already designed to hold him quite tightly.
Sculpting - ***1/2
This score is largely based on the two head sculpts and the hand sculpts. I'll
get to my complaints around the body itself in the Articulation section.
Let's get the bad out of the way first - the hands. The sculpts
themselves aren't terrible, but the size and style still make the hands one of
the least attractive features of this whole line. The fisted hands are
small, dainty hands, that look out of proportion on a superhero with this much
upper body bulk. The bendy open hands are a slightly too big, but they
don't look as bad here as they've been on characters like Two Face. So
you get one set of hands that look slightly too small, and one set that looks
slightly too big. Neither look horrendous, but at this price point they
should be spot on.
I also hate the bendy hands, since the fingers never quite look realistic
in any pose. I'd much prefer a second set of hands sculpted in a classic
pose, much like what we get from Sideshow.
Still, the hand sculpts aren't bad enough to detract from the very nice
head sculpts. I really like the normal head, with it's contemplative yet
stern expression. It's recognizable as J'onn, and yet has it's own feel
to it. The Martian version isn't quite as good, but I do like the
expression once again. The heads also pop on and off fairly easily, yet
stay in place and work extremely well with the neck articulation.
Paint - ***
If you're looking for paint, you won't find much. I'm amused that Hasbro
and NECA start casting certain parts of $10 action figures in the actual color
(especially skin tones), and the collecting world screams. But DC Direct
produces a 13" high end figure entirely cast in the body color, with no
sign of paint, and no one seems to mind.
Don't get me wrong - I don't have a huge issue with it. But then, I
haven't been one of the folks complaining about Hasbro or NECA doing it
either, except when it looks bad. It's how it looks that matters to me,
not necessarily how they got to that result.
Here, it looks fine. There's a little variation, particularly between the
rubbery bendy hands and the body. Those variations are usually due to
the different porosities of the plastic, and how they take and hold the
color. It's not a huge problem though, and because the body is made from
a very hard ABS-like plastic, the color has less of that cheap shine that you
get with a softer PVC type plastic.
There are a few paint ops, notably the eyes and the gold attachments to his
red harness. The gold/bronze is a little inconsistent, which is common
with that color, but the eyes are clean and well done. There also
appears to be a little paint work on the skin of the face, where there's some
slightly darker areas around the cheeks. It's tough to tell though,
which means if they did paint the face, they did it well enough to match the
rest of the body.
Articulation - **
This category remains my biggest issue with this entire line, if you don't
consider Value. This body had issues from day one, and as time goes by
and other sixth scale companies continue to improve their figures, this body
ages even worse.
Let's start with the positive - the ball jointed neck. This is a
joint that has been poorly handled on some of the past figures, like Batman
Begins (where the cowl interfered) or Two Face (where the head sculpt
interfered). Here, it works fantastic. You can get all kinds of
personality and expression out of the joint, and the heads even swap
easily. You can't ask for much more in a ball jointed neck.
The ball jointed shoulders are okay, but with only joints at the shoulder
and not the arm, it means that you will depend heavily in the cut bicep
joint. Since these bodies are hollow - very hollow - this cut joint (and
the one at the thigh) actually show the interior of the upper body part when
they are turned. These cut joints looked bad on figures in tight suits,
and they don't look any better when they're nekkid.
The double jointed elbows and knees work fine, and they are tight as
well. The hips suffer from the same issue as the shoulders - since the
style of joint is only at the torso and doesn't allow the leg to turn, you
have to depend on the very ugly cut thigh joint. The hips also suffer
from being very loose, and getting him to hold any deep leg stances was almost
impossible. The loose ankles didn't help that situation any either,
knocking this score some more.
There's also cut calf joints, well hidden by the tall boots, and the cut
wrists. The cut wrists are totally underwhelming on a figure in this
market and price category, although I'm sure the excuse is to make the joint
Finally, there's the waist and chest joint. Yes, they're both there,
but the harness does an excellent job of hiding both. Of course, the
harness also makes both pretty useless, but I wasn't too concerned about that
in this case.
You'll notice that I haven't complained about scale. Normally, the
oversized body that DC Direct decided to use bothers me, but this time around
I don't mind. J'onn J'onzz is supposed to be a big guy, and at 13
1/2" - 14" tall depending on the head you have on him, he actually
fits in pretty good with normal sixth scale figures for me. Unlike
Batman or Flash, this is a character I don't mind having some extra size.
Accessories - **1/2
There's the extra set of bendy hands, which I've already mentioned a couple
times. However, what I haven't mentioned is how easily (once again) they
fall off. The pegs are short and wide, and the bendy hands are soft
enough that you'll be knocking them off repeatedly just trying to pose
the arms and hands. The fisted hands won't have this problem, because
they are made from such a hard plastic that once you get them on, they stay
on. But the bendy hands remain a huge problem for these figures. If the
hands actually stayed in place reasonably well, he would have gotten another
half star in this category.
I've also mentioned the extra head, which looks good and swaps well.
Unlike the dopey hands, this extra head was critical to be included with this
character, so it's great to see it turn out well.
The other accessory is the display stand. It works alright, although
I'm a big believer that any sixth scale figure like this should be able to
pose and stand pretty well on his own.
For your rather large payment, that's all you get, and that's what really
drops this score. This isn't a guy that uses a lot of stuff in his crime
fighting, so I'm not surprised he's skimpy on the accessories. What I am
surprised by is what I'm paying for him.
Outfit - ***
The general quality of the outfit is good, with some areas reaching excellent.
The boots are a little dorky, and that's partly due to the body
underneath. The skin ankles are made all the more obvious by the vinyl
boots, and the large cuff at the top only makes them look that much
skinnier. These boots provide no additional support either, so the
floppy ankle joints get no help here.
The red harness looks terrific, and probably comes off somehow, but I
didn't press my luck. It fits pretty well, even though it's made from a
fairly stiff material.
The shorts were the most annoying feature, at least when it came to the
outfit. The look good when pulled down covering his legs as intended,
but as soon as you move him, they snap up into the joints, turning into a
Martian thong. You'll be constantly pulling these things out of the poor
guy's ass, but with the cape in place, it becomes a little less of an issue.
Which brings us to the best part of the skimpy outfit - the cape.
Made from a nice thick material and seamed in all the right places, the cape
looks terrific on the figure. While you can remove and replace it pretty
easily (two thin elastic bands hold it to the harness), I'd be surprised if
you displayed him without it.
Fun Factor - **
The sloppy joints make this guy tough to stand, and even tougher for a kid to
enjoy. While most of the figure and outfit appear able to withstand
play, not being able to do much with the legs would get frustrating for the
average 8 year old.
Value - *1/2
If you pay $50 for this figure, you can add another half star. Yep,
that's all. Why? Because what you have here is a $40 figure, tops.
The only new sculpting here that I can see is the two heads. One of
the excuses about why a figure like this costs more than, say, a 12"
Marvel Icons figure is that the Icon is 'mass produced'. However, when
you've been using the body for these figures over and over and over, you start
to reach mass produced numbers even with a specialty market figure. At
this point, the idea that this figure is a lower run than the Icons Thor and
thus needs to cost more is a crock.
The costume is also about as basic as you can get. Yes, the cape is
nice, but so was the aforementioned Icons Thor cape. There's vinyl boots
and a vinyl harness to go with the speedo. Add in very few accessories
across this entire series, and you get a situation where the buyer is getting
stiffed in a major way.
Things to Watch Out For -
Not much. The elastic strings that hold the cape to the harness are
very thin, and taking off and putting on the hard plastic fisted hands can
be a real effort. Take your time - or use some hot water on the hands
only - to avoid damaging the pegs.