|Hi there! My name is Dan,
and I am the guest reviewer this time around. I currently
hail from Mobile, AL, although some of you may know from
the RTM/RTAF newsgroup back when I posted regularly as
dapeck. In any case, I want to thank Michael for this
opportunity, since I have been dying to do a review....
Direct can no longer be called "new" to the toy
field, but I am relatively new to them. While I
absolutely *love* DC characters and cherish my Super
Powers and Batman figures--one thing has kept me away:
price. If these suckers were set at a price point between
$5 and $10, I'd probably have them all. As it is I have 2
deluxe sets and 6 single figures.
One of the things I really love about the DC characters
are the villains--especially the ones that came up in the
Silver Age. There is something about the cheesy design of
Count Vertigo that I find much more appealing than the
cheesy design of Kang. Care to take a guess which figure
convinced me to buy my first DC Direct figure?
While the Hawks tempted me big time, and I did
ultimately cave to them as well, the figure that set me
into DC Direct territory was.... Ares. A beautiful
rendering of a beautiful George Perez design!
As a current JSA fan, my goal was to set up a JSA
set....but my inability to find the Golden Age Green
Lantern or Flash at this stage of the game squashed that
idea....so I figured I would stop there...until I saw the
prototypes for Captain Cold and Mirror Master. I saw
those and loved that they were actually making figures of
them--I had to have them, which then meant I had to have
the Flash! What you'll find here is a double review: one
score for Flash and Kid Flash (F/KF) *and* a second score
for the Flash's Rogues Gallery: Captain Cold and Mirror
Articulation - FF/KF***,CC/MM**
With the Flashes, DC tried. Articulation for both
includes a swivel at the neck, ball socket shoulders,
elbow, hips, and knees. The neck swivel is nice, but far
too limited in range to be fully effective. While the hip
joints look like they would be ball joints--they aren't,
which is disappointing
The biggest problem here is the lack of ankle joints.
I know some will disagree, but I usually find knee joints
to be pretty useless without ankles joints since people
usually don't bend their legs with the foot at a perfect
90 degree angle. Since the Flashes are running it works a
little better here than on most, but still the addition
of ankle joints would have gone a long, long way. It is
very difficult to pose either Flash in a running position
without the Cosmic Treadmill.
The Rogues are far less poseable with simple
shoulders, legs, elbows, knees and neck joints--although
they do include wrist joints. Since these fellas don't
run, they are a perfect example of how knee joints are
useless without ankle joints. Cold's stance works fine as
it is, but it would have been nice to be able to alter
the way Mirror Master stands.
Paint - FF/KF***1/2, CC/MM**1/2
The paint ops on all four figures is good, but they
really stand out on the Flashes. With flesh on red and
yellow on red, the Flashes were a recipe for disaster,
but overall they came off without a hitch. The faces
could have been a little less peach colored, but overall
the paint is great--especially on the insignias.
One problem is with the shininess of the plastic. It
is very noticeable when you stand a Flash next to a
flat-toned figure such as Hawkman and really makes the
figure look more like a piece of plastic than a
sculpture. This knocked the Flashes from 4 stars to 3 1/2
Once again the Rogues don't live up to their
counterparts. If you look at the prototype for Captain
Cold, you see a pretty dramatic difference--all because
of one change. While the sculpt didn't change, the white
on the costume is far less bright than on the prototype.
It looks as though they added a gray wash to the white
areas to help the folds stand out....a nice idea, but it
just doesn't work. Instead, it looks like they just
didn't apply enough white paint.
Mirror Master's paint is ok, but not great. The orange
seems a little pale and stands out as clearly being
paint. I'm not sure why they decided to paint orange over
green, rather than the other way around....
Similarly, the face color looks very fake and seems
like they had to use a thick layer to make it cover the
green---again, why not paint green over flesh tone
|Packaging - F/KF
The Flash and Kid Flash come in a nice little window box.
The box is made of rather thin cardstock, and seems like
it would easily dent. The graphics are very attractive,
if a bit plain. For once the yellow stripe works since
the package colors are already yellow and red. A nice
touch also is the placement of the Flashes inside a cut
out of the Flash insignia. Perhaps the nicest part of the
whole package is the ability to reuse the package. There
are twist-ties only around the treadmill, and the figures
are easy to get in and out of the package.
Gallery figures are set against a backdrop of a bank.
While I like the concept--this use of realistic photos
just doesn't look right and is not an eye-appealing
presentation. I would have much preferred a simple drawing
of the characters in action against the Flash--or even a
background of the Flash insignia. You have to give DC
credit for trying, but when you compare the boxed set
without a photo with the Rogues with the photo--you
realize which looks better! Also, the bubbles are simple
rectangles with a lot of empty space. Boring!
One final note: one thing I *really* like is that the
cardbacks on all these figures give you the name of the
sculptor. I think that is a wonderful idea that I have
not seen very often.
Sculpting - F/KF****, CC/MM***1/2
The sculpting on all of these figures is very good, and
certainly one of the strong points of DC Direct in
Starting with the Flashes, these are really
near-perfect sculpts. The bodies are proportioned well,
not too-beefy and of a "realistic"
nature--rather than the comic-booky style of Max Mercury
and Impulse. I am much more of a fan of the realistic
style, and only wish al the speedsters were this way.
One especially nice touch is the sculpt on the
insignia--on both Flashes the lightning bolt is actually
raised above the white circle and painted separately.
This attention makes the symbol really stand out, rather
than looking like a printed symbol as with previously
released Flash figures.
The Flash also has a great sculpt where the legs join
the crotch--most figures look "boxy" here which
really distracts from the realism. With Flash, there is a
nice curve--very appropriate for a runner! Kid Flash
unfortunately suffers from the more typical box=crotch fate.
The downside here is that both Flashes are sculpted in
pulses that really look best standing still. Yes they
have enough articulation to put them in running poses,
but they don't look quite right running. In addition, I
am just not a big fan of the Flash's head sculpt--it's
not bad, just a little odd. Sculptor Tim Bruckner really
did a great job with these.
Now lets move to the Rogues. Captain Cold is
particularly cool. While a simple sculpt, there is a
great deal of detail in the folds of the costume and the
fur in the trim. I love the separately sculpted eye piece
and the stance of Captain Cold is a realistic pose--not
standing straight up, but poised to aim his gun. CC is a
4, but ol' Mirror Master drags the score down.
Mirror Master is a good sculpt--just not great. The
legs are in too wide of a stance and the head sculpt is
just a little too cartoony. Considering the character
design is pretty plain here, sculptor Derek Miller did a
pretty good job.
In terms of scale, the Flash and Kid Flash are very
much in scale with each other and Hawkman (see below),
but seem a little small against the Rogues--especially
Mirror Master. The pose that MM is in also makes him seem
even bigger than he is!
The Flashes come with 2 accessories. The first is a nice
little replica of the ring Flash uses to carry his
costume in. A very cool idea, it is big enough for an
adult to wear and even includes a clasp that you can open
to see a little sculpt of a Flash costume--just like in
the silver age comics.
The second is the "Cosmic
Treadmill"--something I remember well from the
Crisis on Infinite Earths. It is a great sculpt, and even
includes a nice clear clip to connect a leg to the
treadmill in a running pose, but is this thing supposed
to be pink and purple?!?! uggh.
While these are nice accessories, I want to know why
they did not include two of the Flash stands included
with the other Speedsters....Only one Flash fits on the
treadmill at a time, and it would have been nice to have
the stands for use in a group display. Heck, they already
have the suckers molded! As mentioned above, it is very
difficult to pose these fellas in a running mode, and the
stands would have gone a long way towards that.
Here the Rogues *really* lose out. Cold has a nice
gun, but it is rather small and doesn't even fit in his
closed holster. What I REALLY would have liked to see is
a few clear plastic ice accessories: a few ice spears or
balls, or a cool little stand that you could stick a
Flash in to simulate being "caught" in ice.
Mirror Master has a gun which, in my opinion, blows.
It has 4 "mirrors" sticking out of it--but
since they used metallic paint, they really don't look
like mirrors at all. Plus, why not regular mirrors? How
about a couple of palm-sized mirrors for the Master?
Value - F/KF*1/2,**1/2CC/MM
As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, DC
Direct's biggest problem lies in value. Individual
figures would be great values at $6.99, and more
appropriately priced at $7.99-$9.99. Instead, they run
$12-18 typically, usually on the higher end of that
range. The two packs are an even worse value in general,
since they typically run $35 -$49--usually more than the
price of two single-pack figures. I am going to base my
Value score on the typical price for these: $15.99 and
I got my Rogues at the $11.99 pre-sell price at New
Force Comics, which is a little better....but still too
much. When you look at these suckers in their empty
bubbles, they cry out to be cheaper.
I have trouble weighing the Flash pack because the
figures are very well done sculpts, but I really didn't
even want the Kid Flash figure. The yellow and red
version sculpted as well as this one, sure--but a mini
version of the Flash is just not something I really ever
wanted--and I think that is true for most folks.
Overall - FF/KF***1/2, CC/MM**1/2
Overall these are all really great figures in terms of
sheer quality. The plastic quality is solid, the
sculpting is great, and the paint-jobs pretty good on all
4 of the figures. I am really stoked to have figures of
the Mirror Master and Captain Cold--figures I never would
have thought would see the light of day just 2 years ago,
and the Flash and Kid Flash are both just about as well
done as they could possibly be. Thus, with the quality of
the characters and the execution, these scores should be
pretty high. But when you throw in that factor of
cost......well, we see why I am not a DC Direct
Where to Buy:
Local comic retailers are the only place to go other than
on-line. Since comics dealers in my town are pretty hard
to deal with, I chose on-line. New Force Comics has the
best overall prices I've seen on the internet, and are
the only ones I have bought from, so I cannot comment on
the others. I believe the current price is around $33 for
the 2-pack and $13 for the singles.They are also really
good on shipping costs: I got the 2-pack, both Rogues,
and 2 other figures shipped in a large sturdy box for
just $5.50. It is worth saving up your purchases to ship