DC Universe Wave 4
Wonder Woman, Ares and Cyborg

Mattel DC Universe Cyborg action figure

It seems like you just turn around, and more DC Universe figures are hitting the pegs! Some folks (including me, since I haven't found my mask less Deathstroke yet) haven't completed the wave 3 series of figures, and wave 4 is already popping up. Don't blink, because wave 5 (a Walmart exclusive) will be hitting soon as well!

Wave 4 consists of Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Batman Beyond, Ares, and Captain Atom. There's a variant on Wonder Woman that ships in some cases, called Artemis (seen in the package shot at right), as well as a mask less Batman Beyond that's supposed to be a KB exclusive, and there's also a variant Cyborg with the sonic arm that's a KB Toys exclusive too. Captain Atom has a gold version that ships to regular retailers as well. Buy the main characters, and you get one piece each to build a Despero figure.

These hit Meijers first, but are starting to show up at Target and other retailers as well. Expect to pay the usual $10 a pop, and expect to expend the usual pain and suffering if you're trying to get the variants. I haven't heard of the BB and Cyborg variants hitting KB yet, but it can't be long, and both Artemis and the gold Captain Atom are already shipping in some cases.

The case I received lacked the Batman Beyond figure (instead having the Artemis, two Wonder Woman figures, and the gold Captain Atom), so I decided to split the wave in two for reviews.  First up tonight is Wonder Woman, Cyborg and Ares, and I'll follow that up with Batman Beyond, Captain Atom and the BAF Despero soon. Assuming of course that I can find a Batman Beyond 'soon'.
Mattel DC Universe Artemis action figure

Mattel DC Universe Wonder Woman action figure
Mattel DC Universe Cyborg action figure
Mattel DC Universe Ares action figure
Mattel DC Universe Wonder Woman action figure
Mattel DC Universe Ares action figure
Mattel DC Universe Cyborg action figure
Mattel DC Universe Ares action figure
Mattel DC Universe Cyborg action figure
Mattel DC Universe Wonder Woman action figure
Mattel DC Universe wave 4 action figures

Packaging - ***
While the packaging is fairly basic, I like it quite a bit. It's not collector friendly, but then rarely is mass market packaging.

It does show off the figures nicely though, and it's fairly easy to see from the side of the package which wave it is, making it easier to find on the pegs.

I did deduct a bit this time though because it's nigh impossible to see the Despero parts, at least with these three, and those BAF pieces are a big selling point for the series. They should be displayed a bit better in the tray.

Sculpting - Ares ****; Cyborg ***1/2; Wonder Woman ***
Sculpting has not been a major issue of contention for the majority of this line, and much of that can be credited to the exceptional work by the Four Horsemen.  I have a few minor nits to pick here and there, but in general I'm more than happy to add these three figures to my shelf.

Ares is outstanding. The detail work on this guy really impresses me, from the finely carved scroll work on his helm, to the small chain mail belt around his 'skirt'. Hey, I'm not telling this guy he's wearing a skirt. A mini-skirt at that!

They've also done some terrific texturing work on his armor.  Some texturing work, like the 12" Halo figure I reviewed last week, is accomplished with the paint, but here they've sculpted the texture right in so it appears as though his armor was pounded out on an anvil by a blacksmith even bigger than Ares.

His is one of those sculpts where every time you look at it you find something new to amaze you.  From the skulls on the gauntlets to the faces on the boots, everything is highly detailed and sharply defined, even in this scale. Speaking of scale, Ares clocks in at about 7 1/2" at the top of his plume crest.

For me, the weakest in this category was Wonder Woman.  It's not because of her head sculpt, however.  In fact, this is one of my favorite female head sculpts of the entire year.  She really is quite beautiful, and yet captures the essence of the Amazon ideal perfectly.  The proportions of the face are excellent, and the fine detailing in the long black hair is certainly well above the usual mass market standard.  There are small strands that flow out from either side, and yet none of them end up looking like tootsie rolls.

Her body isn't quite as good.  The basic concept works for me, and I don't have any issues with proportion or scale.  She stands about 6 1/2" tall, which makes her fit in pretty well with the males from this series, and her thin body isn't too thin.

She does suffer from some pretty ugly shoulders though.  These are ball joints of course, but we all know they could have gone with a joint that worked nearly as well, and wasn't quite as God awful looking.  Do pay special attention to yours though, because I found that there is a right way and a wrong way for the shoulder to be turned, making it slightly better (or worse) looking. The ball is sculpted a bit different on one side over the other, and one side needs to be turned closer to the body because the ball sticks out a bit further on that side.

To see what I mean, look at the photos.  The ball on the her right side (left in the photos) is in the correct position, while the ball on her left side (right in the photo) is turned the wrong way.  Mine was this way in the package, and in person it's not easy to notice on a quick glance. Getting them in the right position isn't going to suddenly make those honking huge shoulders any smaller, but it does improve her appearance slightly.

There's also a bit of a wonky torso.  She has those deeply set ribs, with rather large breasts. Combine that with the ab crunch joint AND some really obvious mold lines right along the edge of her breasts, and you get a pretty weird looking upper body.

Cyborg's sculpt isn't as eye poppingly amazing as Ares, but there's less here to work with.  They did do a very nice job on the bands of the suit, and on the metal mask covering half his face.  The detailing on the extra machine hands is also extremely well done.  His articulation and sculpt also work together the best of the three, and he stands about 6 1/4" tall.

The hands on Ares and Wonder Woman are sculpted to work with their accessories, and do this quite well. Cyborgs regular hands are sculpted as fists, but his right hand can be swapped for two others.  More on that in the Accessory section.

Paint - Ares ***1/2; Cyborg, Wonder Woman ***
A huge issue for me on wave 3 was the paint applications. I ended up with a lot of slop, poor cut lines, and even weird colors.

This wave shows a marked improvement, at least with the set of figures I received. There's still some issues, but considering that these are mass market figures and not specialty market, the quality is certainly above average.

Ares is the best of the bunch, with very clean work all around.  That blue is mighty bright, but they've done a terrific job using both matte and gloss finishes to differentiate between the different aspects of his uniform. The small detail work on his helmet and gauntlets is quite amazing for a 'kids' toy, and proves what we all already know - that you can do a mass market toy and still make it look fantastic.

My only nit to pick is his ankles, or more specifically, the round armor discs at his ankles.  These are done in a gray color, rather than a blue, making them stand out oddly from the calf and foot.  It was clearly done on purpose, but I'm not sure it's the best look for him.

Cyborg has some paint slop issues on his chest, as does Wonder Woman. The cut lines between the clothing and skin could certainly be cleaner, and skin tones could be a little more consistent. The lips on Cyborg are also off a bit, with more of that lipstick appearance than I like. Whenever I wear lipstick, I know I try to make it subtle.

But the basic work is decent, and certainly a big improvement over the issues I had with some of the figures in the previous wave.  Hopefully you'll find this to be true in your figures as well.

Articulation- Cyborg ****; Ares ***1/2; Wonder Woman ***
For regular collectors of this line, there's no real surprises here.

Let's start with Ares. The big guy has a ball jointed neck, and while his Spartan style helm gets in the way a bit, the neck still works better than you might expect. 

He also has ball jointed shoulders, jointed on both sides of the ball.  Again, the shoulder armor gets in the way a bit, but the arms have a fairly good range of movement.

There's also single pin elbows and cut wrists, rounded out the basic arm articulation.  He can pose nicely with either weapon, although he can't bring his arms together close enough to hold a single weapon in both hands.

He has an ab crunch joint, but no cut waist, which is one of my complaints for the whole series. DC Direct rarely gave us a DC character with a waist joint - it's too bad to see Mattel do something similar. EDIT - Ares does have the waist, I just can't get mine freed up!

Below the waist, he does have those nifty pivot hip joints that are standard for this series, as well as single pin knees, pin ankles, and cut thighs. His 'skirt' tends to hamper the hips a bit, but he can take some reasonably decent stances.

Cyborg takes the most advantage with the articulation, and you'll have no trouble finding a ton of great poses for him. He has the advantage of having the best basic design and sculpt to work with the various joints.

His ball jointed neck doesn't tilt quite as much as I expected, but it's still reasonably good. He has all the joints Ares does, but doesn't have any of the restrictive armor that reduces Ares' posability. Plus, he does have the cut waist joint, a nice addition! And if all that isn't enough to please you, his joints are also very tight.  I had no trouble posing him in just about any stance or position, and the joints remained tight. I do wish he had the addition of cut ankles, perhaps at one of the edges of the bands on his suit, but that's a minor complaint.

I can't same the same for Wonder Woman, which is why she took a hit in this category over the other two. She has the exact same articulation as Cyborg, right down to the cut waist. As I mentioned in the Sculpt section, some of those joints aren't the most attractive you'll ever see, but they are certainly all there. But I had more trouble with loose joints with her, particularly her knees. If I hadn't had that particular problem, her score here would have been at least another half star higher.

Accessories - ***
Normally I'd do a 'with BAF' and 'without BAF' rating here, because a) some folks won't be interested in the BAF and b) it seems to be getting much to common that the BAF part is the ONLY accessory.

While a) might still be true, b) isn't, at least not with this wave. All three figures do have their BAF piece of course (Wonder Woman and Ares each with a leg, while Cyborg has an arm), that's not the only thing they come with.

In fact each of them comes with two large accessories, all of them sensible. Wonder Woman has a battle ax, designed with the WW logo in mind, as well as a large shield. She can hold the ax in either hand, and the shield clips on the forearm of either arm.

Wonder Woman also has her lasso, but it's permanently attached to her waist, so I'm not counting it as an accessory.

Cyborg has a removable right hand, which pops off quite easily and with little fear of damage. You can then pop on one of two other deadly appendages. These fit cleanly, and stay attached well even during play and posing.

Finally, there's Ares. He's an imposing guy, and he has some imposing weapons to go along with it. There's a huge double edged broadsword, and a huge double edged ax. Both look great in his hands, and they can hang on either side of his belt by way of some sculpted hooks.

The one downside is that both his weapons are made from very soft plastic, so they'll come out of the package pretty bent up. You'll need to use the hot water/ ice water trick if you want to reform them into something a bit straighter.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
Great sculpts, decent paint, solid articulation, cool much more fun could that be? Unfortunately, the only heavy hitter in this wave is Wonder Woman, and even she's getting a bit long in the tooth. But characters like Cyborg and Ares have tremendous visual appeal, even for kids that aren't sure who they are.

Value - **1/2
Expect to pay around $11, depending on the retailer.  While that's not great, it is pretty average with the current market. Considering that the recent Target Red Hulk series was $15, and had far fewer accessories on average, it actually seems like $11 is a bit of a bargain.

Things To Watch Out For
Not a thing.  I had no trouble freeing up the joints, and all the pins and pegs seemed quite sturdy. Obviously you'll go for the best paint you can find on the peg, but once you have them open there doesn't seem to be any other gotchas.

Overall - Cyborg, Ares ***1/2; Wonder Woman ***
While I liked wave 3, I have to say I'm happier with what I've gotten of wave 4 so far.  These three figures are all nice additions to the shelf, and while Wonder Woman might not be perfect, she will be one of my favorite female figures this year.  If you want pure beauty, you might be better off with one of the DC Direct versions, but if you're looking for something to fit in nicely with a consistent 6" scaled line, this one makes an excellent choice.

While Ares and Cyborg might not be heavy hitters in the current DC Universe, I have to admit that I like both of these figures far more than I expected I would.  The swappable hands with the excellent articulation makes Cyborg a stand out, and Ares has one of the best overall sculpts of the series.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Ares ****; Cyborg ***1/2; Wonder Woman ***
Paint - Ares ***1/2; Cyborg, Wonder Woman ***
Articulation - Cyborg ****; Ares ***1/2; Wonder Woman ***
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - Cyborg, Ares ***1/2; Wonder Woman ***

Where to Buy -
These are hitting Meijers stores first, of all places, but they'll be at Targets and Toys R Us as well. Or you can be smart and order online:

- CornerStoreComics has a case of 6 (which can come with either the Aries variant or a Batman Beyond regular figure) for $63. They have pre-orders up for waves 6 and 7 as well!

- or you can search ebay using the sponsor

Related Links -
I covered most of the DCUC and related lines:

- it seems like it was just yesterday that I covered 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 what you're looking for.  

- 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.

Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

Reader Ratings!
Here's your chance to weigh in!  Select your rating for this figure(s) to the right.  Yea, it's a five star system and not a four star system like mine, but it's the best I've been able to come up with so far.  You can only rate once from any particular IP.  Averaging the scores together and then converting to a five star system for comparison is: 4.16

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Mattel DC Universe Wonder Woman action figure

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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