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.
- 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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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 characters...how
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.
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
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
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Ares ****; Cyborg ***1/2; Wonder Woman ***
Paint - Ares ***1/2; Cyborg, Wonder Woman ***
Articulation - Cyborg ****; Ares ***1/2; Wonder Woman ***
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:
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 MyAuctionLinks.com.
Related Links -
I covered most of the DCUC
and related lines:
- it seems like it was just
yesterday that I covered wave
- 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
- don't forget the 12" version of the
smaller Batman, and the 12"
- 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
- 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