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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of Black Canary, Mantis, Green Arrow
DC Universe Classics Wave 9 action figures part one

Mattel
Date Published: 2009-10-02
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 3 out of 4

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DCUC Green Arrow action figure by Mattel

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Introduction

People - the lucky, beautiful people that eat rainbows for lunch and poop unicorns - are already finding wave 10 of the popular DC Universe Classics series. But folks like me, the ugly misfits who eat poop that looks nothing like a unicorn, we still haven't completed our wave 9 set. Ah, Mattel - you love us all so much.

Wave 9 consists of seven figures, a BAF, and variants. Tonight I'm looking at Mantis (who has a variant as well), Black Canary and Green arrow. There's also Deadshot, Wildcat (with a variant), the Guardian, and Black Adam. I'll be checking out the Canary, Mantis (the regular comic book version) and Green Arrow tonight.  Why those three? Because those are the only three I've found so far! The hunt continues...

It doesn't help that it appears Mattel way under produced wave 9, killing most of the orders to smaller online retailers. That means those of us that pre-ordered through stores like Big Bad Toy Store had to turn to the mass retailers to get our fix, never a pretty picture.

These are popping up at Target, Toys R Us, or even Meijers if you have one in the area. I suspect we'll see them dribble out over the next couple months as stores get in both wave 9 and 10 and put them out at different times, confusing us poor slobs even more. You can expect to pay around $12 a pop for these, although there's been some price hikes at certain retailers.

DCUC Mantis action figure by Mattel

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Packaging - ***
Mattel has remained consistent with the style of packaging through out all 9 (and now 10) waves. I have no problem with that, as it makes for more consistent looking MOC display, but even the best designs do tend to get a bit long in the tooth after a couple years.

The DCUC packaging isn't as attractive or eye catching as the MOTUC packaging, also from Mattel and also aimed toward collectors, but it does tend to show off the figure a bit better, with less clutter on the bubble.

DCUC Black Canary action figure by Mattel

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Sculpting - Green Arrow ****; Mantis ***1/2; Black Canary **1/2
One of the features of DCUC is the reuse of many of the basic body parts. It's not as over the top as the MOTUC line, but the basic body parts show up over and over.

That's true again here with Mantis, but he has such unique additional features - attached 'cape', funky boots and gloves, and Electro style mask - that he stands out against the group quite distinctly. This version is a more modern comic book look and I like it quite a bit, but the cape does tend to get in the way of doing too many different poses. It's not that the cape is stiff, and in fact it's quite soft and does allow the arms and legs to still move freely. But when the arms and legs are brought in toward the body, the cape tends to pooch out in funny ways in back.

Black Canary is very pretty, something that's always a given with a female comic book character...and almost never true with the plastic incarnation. The Four Horsemen did a nice job with the features and hair, giving her a tough but pretty countenance.

Most of the body sculpt is great as well, especially the torso (no uni-boob here!) and legs. Unfortunately, there ends up being two major issues that pull down this score for me, both dealing with her appendages.

First, there's the itty bitty hands. It's almost like the annoying Burger King commercials with the guy who doesn't want the Whopper to make his hands look even smaller than they already do. The fact that they are sculpted in fists doesn't help, and neither does the thin forearms.

Also too skinny are the ankles and calves below the boot tops. Above the boot top is a healthy, sexy calf. Below it is a tiny, skinny odd looking little leg. Taking her out of the package, it was the very first thing I noticed, and that shouldn't be the case.

She has real stockings on, something that looks great...from the front. Any man knows that one of the best features of real fishnet stockings is the sexy line that runs up the back, but in this scale, that line turns into a four lane highway of clumped material, and ruins the rear view.

I found that she had a bit of trouble standing on her own, but once I found the sweet spot, she remained happy and upright.

Green Arrow is one of the very nicest figures in the entire series, all 9 waves, released so far. There's a very classic comic book look to both the costume and head sculpt, and the detailing is excellent. The sculpt and articulation work fantastic together, and he stands great on his own in any pose. The sculpted hands work with the bow and arrow far better than I expected, and the stern expression matches up with just about any pose.

I'm sure a some of this love is generated by all the new pieces, like the newly sculpted torso and arms, to go with the usual head and hands, but even with a new sculpt, problems could exist. The Four Horsemen didn't just give us new pieces with this figure, they gave us great new pieces. 

I do wish that his mold lines, especially on the arms, where a tad less obvious, but that's a very minor nit - so minor that it doesn't keep him from a perfect score in this category.

DCUC Black Canary action figure by Mattel

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Paint - GA, Canary ***1/2; Mantis ***
Paint ops are solid across these three, nothing spectacular but no major issues either.

There is some slight variation in the greens on the costumes of Mantis and GA, especially between body parts, but it's barely perceptible in person. It's there, but you have to be looking for it. It is aggravated by bright lighting though, so in some photos it's more recognizable.

I did deduct a bit from Mantis for a smudged nose. It looks like he was handled or packaged too quickly after the paint was applied, allowing the nose to get damaged.

DCUC Green Arrow action figure by Mattel

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Articulation - GA ***1/2; Mantis ***; Canary **1/2
While most of the figures in the series have similar articulation due to the heavy body part re-use, these three have various factors (including the newly sculpted parts mentioned earlier) that create a slightly different situation.

All three figures still have ball jointed necks, but none work as well as past releases. Canary's hair is the obvious culprit in her case, and she can barely turn from side to side, let alone tilt.

In both GA and Mantis' case, the obstruction is not so obvious, but the result is almost the same. The heads can turn side to side, but tilting in any direction is pretty much ruled out. That's a pity, since a good ball jointed neck is the single most important joint for realistic poses.

All three have the same disk/pin ball joints with bicep swivels, and these all work great. Unfortunately, Canary's jacket sculpt won't allow her upper arms to come in close to the body, and she ends up looking like a body builder who can no longer touch his thighs.

The ab-crunch and cut waist joints on all three work as you would expect, and both Canary and Mantis have the usual cut wrist joints, although in Canary's case the cut is at the end of her sleeve.

Green Arrow out does them both, and past releases at this point. He has pin/post wrist joints (a post into the forearm, with a pin through the disc) that allows the wrist to turn AND move forward and back. This makes posing him with the bow much, much easier.

Below the waist, both Mantis and GA have the trademark highly articulated hips that have been a trademark of this series, as well as the usual pin knees, pin ankles and cut thighs. These all work great, and allow for both deep action stances and natural relaxed poses.

Black Canary got a bit stiffed in this department. She has more traditional T style hips, with a much more restricted range of movement. I suspect this was done for the stockings to stay in place, but it's still a problem, since she can't take any good fighting stances.

She does have the cut thighs, pin knees and pin ankles, but the inferior hips make them all less useful. In fact, I've heard lots of folks complain that she has trouble just standing, but I didn't have that issue.

You can also turn her feet at the top of the boots, but I'm not sure I recommend it. The movement can cause issues with the stockings, and may end up damaging them.

DCUC Black Canary action figure by Mattel

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Accessories - GA ***; Canary, Mantis **
Both Black Canary and Mantis only come with their respective BAF parts (torso and left arm) for Chemo. If you're looking to build him, you'll probably be satisfied, but if not...it's going to seem like you got stiffed. Thankfully, I'm looking forward to building Chemo.

Green Arrow also has a sort of, kind of part for Chemo - the blue display stand. That's what the package implies, and based on past waves where one figure had a stand, it was intended for the BAF. But this stand is so tiny, that it's highly unlikely you'll ever use it with Chemo.

GA's better accessories are his assortment of arrows, along with his bow. You can remove his large quiver as well and it's not an integral part of his outfit, so technically that's an accessory too I suppose.

The arrows look great, each with a different head. One is a boxing glove, another an explosive, etc.  There are four extra arrows, and the only downside (other than the soft plastic) is that they can't fit anywhere on his body or quiver.

He also has his bow, and as I mentioned in the sculpt section, his hands are designed to hold it perfectly in a number of poses. However, one arrow is permanently strung on the bow, making it impossible for him to either pull back the string or look right in a relaxed pose. It is very easy to cut the arrow free, but I would have preferred to not have the arrow attached to begin with.

DCUC Mantis action figure by Mattel

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DCUC Green Arrow accessories action figure by Mattel

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Fun Factor - ****
I've commented on this in every DCUC and MOTUC review, so I'll say it again - the best toys Mattel is producing right now are in their 'collector' aimed series. While most kids will have no idea who Mantis or Black Canary is, Green Arrow should be recognizable to them, thanks in part to the new Batman: Brave and the Bold cartoon. He's a great action figure too, with a ton of play value.

DCUC Black Canary action figure by Mattel

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Value - **1/2
Some retailers are raising prices on these, but I picked them up for the usual $12. Pay more than that and you can knock another half star off here, and if you aren't interested in Chemo, you can already deduct that for both Black Canary and Mantis, who have no additional accessories.

Things to Watch Out For -
I didn't have any joint problems, and there were no weak pins or plastic.

The 'thing to watch out for' this time around is seeing these on the shelf and thinking you'll find them again later. If you want to pick them up, buy the first ones you see, and consider yourself lucky.

It's also worth noting that there are two distinct versions of Chemo, at least in terms of his torso. One has lots and lots of bubbles, the other just a few. You might find yourself partial to one over the other.

DCUC Green Arrow action figure by Mattel

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Overall - Green Arrow ****; Mantis ***; Black Canary **1/2
I almost dropped Green Arrow a half star overall. It's the silly bow - with the arrow glued in place in such an odd way, it interferes with his true potential.

But after posing him for awhile, I softened up and realized that even with a couple minor issues, this is my favorite GA in my collection. He really is a well sculpted, well articulated, fun action figure, and is one of my favorites in the entire series to date.

Mantis is one of those that I had to have to keep the collection complete, but he doesn't do a lot for me. It's a decent version, but I'm one of the weirdos that will like the Super Powers variant better.

Black Canary has a very pretty sculpt, but the limited articulation, tiny hands, and weird looking boots/ankles detract quite a bit from the final product.

Now, excuse me while I rush off to Wal-mart to see if wave 10 is in stock yet...

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Green Arrow ****; Mantis ***1/2; Black Canary **1/2
Paint - GA, Canary ***1/2; Mantis ***
Articulation - GA ***1/2; Mantis ***; Canary **1/2
Accessories - Green Arrow ***; Canary, Mantis **
Fun Factor - ****
Value - **1/2
Overall - Green Arrow ****; Mantis ***; Canary **1/2

DCUC Green Arrow action figure by Mattel

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- has them just by the case.

- generally sells singles, but alas, doesn't have any wave 9 in stock.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
Other DCUC reviews include:

- I split wave 8 up into two parts, one here and one here.

- prior to that was wave 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.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
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DCUC Green Arrow action figure by Mattel

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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