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Sometimes in life, the only way we get by is through the kindness of strangers. Or sorta strangers. Okay, maybe just strange. One of my readers (which, according to my
wife, automatically qualifies him for 'strange'), was kind enough to provide me with the rest of the DC Universe Classics series 10. I haven't completely given up hope
that they'll show up around here, and in fact I'm trying to help out a couple other 'net friends myself if they do, but it's certainly comforting to have my set
On the off chance you've been living under a rock, this is the Wal-mart exclusive wave. While wave 9 seems to have been produced in lower numbers (and I bet over time it turns out that's the wave that is tough to get), wave 10 has been commanding high secondary market prices because of the long held holiday tradition called "Wal-mart screws collectors".
These guys cost about $13 a pop, and if I haven't made it clear enough yet, your local Wal-mart is the place to look for them.
Packaging - ***
Hey, look! It's the same packaging! I'm not suggesting they change it drastically, and in fact, I'm a big proponent of keeping the look the same through the entire run. MOCers certainly appreciate that consistency, and why fix what ain't broke? But it does mean that there isn't much to say about the package that I haven't already said a dozen times...
Sculpting - Man-Bat ****; Robotman, Forager, Power Girl ***1/2; Beast Boy ***
Another terrific series from the Four Horsemen. In fact, it's unfortunate that this line is a Wal-mart exclusive, making it so tough to come by, because even the B stringers here are exceptional.
Power Girl is babelicious, no doubt about it. She has a truly beautiful face, with one of the more intricate sculpted hair styles we've seen in this scale. There's multiple layers to the hair, something that rarely works right in plastic, and yet they've pulled it off flawlessly this time.
While she sports many of the same body parts as other female DCUC figures, she sports them in such a nice way that it's easy to overlook any redundancy. This is a girl with some serious cleavage, and she's not afraid of showing it off. For God's sake, she has a peekaboo window right in her costume for that express purpose!
She has a bit of a giraffe neck, and there's still a few mold lines on the arms and legs that bug the crap out of me. But these are the only minor quibbles holding her back.
While it might take you some time to notice anything else, eventually your eyes will stray to her short cape, which is done in a flowing, blowing style. It looks fantastically heroic, and yet doesn't interfere with her ability to stand on her own or strike a pose. She fits in nicely scale-wise with the rest of the series, coming in at about 6 1/4".
Beast Boy is a nice sculpt, he's just not my favorite character, particularly in his classic style. The Teen Titans version is the only one I've ever really liked, but for fans, the Horsemen have done a nice job.
As with Power Girl, the detailing on the hair is just phenomenal. This is some of the best hair work in this scale I've ever seen, and how they managed to retain that level of detail in the production process is pretty amazing.
There's also some nice detail work on the shoes and belt, but the body is pretty much standard stuff. He's shorter, like Robin, coming in at just over 5 1/4" tall.
They did do one thing that seems a bit odd, but perhaps I'm just not familiar enough with the classic BB. They have the hands and arms painted green, like the face, and have included what looks like sculpted hair on the back of the arm and hand. Yet, because of the sharp cut line on the costume, the green sections still look very much like gloves. I'm not sure if they were going for gloves or bare forearms, but either way it doesn't quite look right.
I knew I was going to love Man-bat, since we'd already gotten him as an SDCC exclusive several years ago. But that version was supposed to be a variant of this one, done up in funky colors. Sadly, it's taken this long to finally get the normal colored version to market, and I'm thrilled with the result.
I have a lot of Man-bat figures, from Batman and Son to DCD's Rogues Gallery to Kubrick's. Prior to the release of this figure, my overall favorite was the one done by Hasbro years ago in their Legends of the Dark Knight series. However, he's now been unseated by this big bad flying rat.
The previous albino paint job on the SDCC version didn't do the sculpt justice. Here, the subtle browns bring out the detailing, especially in the face. The fur texturing looks great, especially down the spine where his back hair is clearly going to be an issue for him in the current dating scene.
They've used a softer, rubbery material for the wing pieces on his arms, which works quite well. However, the arms are also this softer material, and the results aren't quite so good. It's tougher to pose them, and I have a bad feeling that wilting is going to be a real problem over time.
He's a big boy too, standing at 7" tall or so, depending on how locked out his knees are.
None of these three offered much of a surprise in this category though - I knew pretty much how I'd feel when I first saw them months ago. But Robotman and Forager were quite a different story.
Like Beast Boy, neither of these characters did much for me. They're both classics, but I never read a comic just because one of them was going to be in it.
There's been a couple versions of Robotman, one from the golden age and one from the silver age. This is the silver age version, in his golden robot body. He's technically a cyborg, not a robot, since the human brain of Cliff Steele was place inside a robotic body. He was a founding member of the Doom Patrol, and has recently seen new life in the Blackest Night series of books.
Here, he gets a terrific head sculpt from the Four Horsemen. I love the mechanical 'grin', and the slight wrinkling in the face gives him just the right amount of humanity. The box on his chest is a separate sculpted piece, and while the body doesn't have a lot of detail, there's some nice work on the ribbing of his fingers and the straps on his chest.
He also has a nifty feature that isn't readily apparent - his cap pops off to expose his human brain! It's not the most realistic looking brain I've ever seen, but it's still a really cool touch.
He comes in about 6 1/2" tall, the norm for this series. Forager also comes in at this height, but has quite a few more sculpting details.
In earlier waves of DCUC, we've gotten a fair share of New Gods and Apokolips characters. Forager is another one, who's pretty much an evolved bug.
The Four Horsemen did a perfect job with the goggle eyes, but I'm not *quite* feeling the open mouth. It is the way he was portrayed quite a bit in the books (a real mouth breather), but there's something about it here that isn't working for me. It's a minor quibble though, and I'm betting most readers won't share the concern.
The rest of his sculpt work is fairly basic - the added shoulder armor, belt, and acid pod - but it's all very well done. This is another example where the Four Horsemen have perfectly captured the unique look of this character, and did it in a way that even non-fans will find appealing.
Paint - Forager, Power Girl, Man-bat ****; Robotman ***1/2; Beast Boy ***
Power Girl follows up her excellent sculpt with an even better paint job. The work on the face is just about perfect, and the multi-layered hair is complimented with a wash to bring out the details and give it some depth.
Beast Boy's paint work is quite good too - in fact, most of this series has much better paint ops than some past releases. There's a few fuzzy lines around the green edging and shoe details, and BB has the simplest ops of the set, but what's here is generally clean.
My one complaint with his paint work is actually the hair, which I raved about so much in the previous section. It's cast in the color, I believe, and because of this has quite a bit of shine. It contrasts with the matte face paint, and I would have preferred the hair to match in finish.
I mentioned the subtle browns used on Man-bat in the sculpt section, but it's worth mentioning again. The paint brings out the exceptional sculpt, working with it to create the best overall appearance possible. That's what great paint should do, but it happens so rarely these days.
The solid bronze color of Robotman is very consistent and clean, as are the cut lines at his 'briefs'. There's a little variation in finish on the black though, with the legs a little shinier than the pelvis. He doesn't get much in the way of detail paint work, but what's here is mighty good.
Forager does have some tiny paint details, as well as some intricate pattern work on his legs. There's some very minor blips here and there, but considering the scale and greater complexity I think the work is well above average.
Articulation - Man-Bat ***1/2; Robotman, Forager, Power Girl, Beast Boy ***
If you're familiar with the line, you're familiar with the various points of articulation. This series continues with the usual.
Power Girl has the ball jointed neck and shoulders, cut biceps, wrists, waist and thighs, ab-crunch, pin elbows, ankles and knees, cuts at the top of the boots, and the cool dual action hinge jointed hips.
Most of the joints work well, and even the hips work better than usual for one of the female figures due to the less restrictive costume. But she ends up docked due to the neck, which has zero tilt action and works pretty much as a cut joint.
Although Beast Boy is on the smaller body, he has all the same articulation with one exception - no cut boot tops. His neck also has the same failing as Power Girl's, with no real ability to tilt in any direction.
Man-bat's articulation is similar, with a couple minor variations. Rather than cut wrists, he has pins, making the hands a bit more poseable. He lacks any cut joints on the legs though, making them slightly less poseable and limiting his stances a bit. But the best news is that he has a great ball joint at the neck. It turns as you'd expect, but it tilts too - side to side and back and forth. That's what they all need to do!
Robotman and Forager both have the same articulation as a standard DCUC male figure. And sadly, neither has a head that can tilt.
In general it's worth noting that there are still a few loose joints here and there, especially hips, and Mattel needs to work on improving in that area for DCUC. They managed to up the ante on the paint work, so there's no reason we can't start getting figures where every joint is perfect. And fix the necks while you're at it - it's critical for going from good to great in this category.
Accessories - Beast Boy, Forager ***; Power Girl, Robotman, Man-Bat **1/2
Sadly, all the great accessories for this wave went into the Batman and Joker figures. Everyone else got stiffed.
Unless you're looking to get the BAF of course. The Imperiex parts are all that Power Girl, Robotman, and Man-Bat come with. Because Imperiex is such a damn cool BAF, I'm giving them a decent score just for the part, but for those uninterested in this modern DC version of Doctor Doom, the pickin's are slim in this category.
I gave Beast Boy and Forager the slight edge because they have one additional goodie each. Beast Boy comes with the Hawk, and yes, we've seen this bird before, another example of Mattel's perseveration. We got him with the Wonder Twins, and we got him with Teela in the Masters of the Universe Classics series. He's green this time around, a bit of an odd color for a hawk, but still has the articulated wings and feet. I assume he's green since Beast Boy is green and the hawk is him, transformed. Still, it ain't easy being green.
Forager has his shield, with three straps on the back to hold it in place on his forearm. I like that the symbol is sculpted in the front as well. Some people may consider his acid pod shooter an accessory, but since it isn't easily removed, I'm not in that camp.
Imperiex - ***1/2
I'm loving this BAF. The character design is great, mixing the knight-like armor with the skeletal face, two winners for me. He also reminds me an awful lot of Baron Underbheit, one of my favorite Venture villains.
In fact, if it weren't for one issue, he'd be a four star CnC. The sculpt is excellent, with sharp detailing. There are a few fuzzy or sloppy cuts between the gold highlighting and black armor, but I can overlook them. He's got good size, standing about 9" tall. And he has all the usual DCUC articulation.
But that's where the one problem comes in. He's got some neck issues. If you don't push the head in hard enough, he's a bobble head. Seriously. Even if you do push it down, it tends to either a) pop off to easily or b) be shoved down too far in his armor. Another case where the neck joint needed a bit more attention.
Fun Factor - ****
This series includes some of the best toys currently on the market. Fun? You betcha. It's a pity that none of Mattel's more mainstream lines get this kind of treatment.
Value - **1/2
At $13 a pop, these are the going rate for decent 6" action figures these days. Yes, it's a bit sad, but economic reality is what it is. However, spend $15 on these and drop another half star - anything over that and you're getting a pretty poor value.
Things to Watch Out For -
When picking them out on the shelf, you'll want to watch for the best paint. Also, especially for Power Girl, watch for any limbs that are misaligned in the inside tray. This can put strain on the pins and warp the joints.
Overall - Man-Bat ****; Forager, Robotman, Power Girl ***1/2; Beast Boy ***
Wave 10 could very well go down on my list as the best single series of figures ever produced in the DC Universe Classics line. It's right up there now, and I don't know if they'll manage to produce this good of a set again.
I don't know exactly what it is about Power Girl (or maybe I do and just can't admit it), but she's going on my short list of best female figures for 2009.
Beast Boy isn't a character I particularly care about, and if I wasn't looking to complete Imperiex, or wasn't a completist, he would have been a pretty easy pass. He's not badly done, but he's pretty much defines a B character.
We already got this Man-bat, but we really, really, really needed him in his proper colors. This is now my favorite Man-bat produced in a long line of Man-bats, and I doubt he'll get unseated any time soon.
But while I knew I'd love Man-bat, it was Robotman and Forager that were the big surprises. I figured them both for middle shelfers at best, but they'll take a much more prominent place in my display.
This is a VERY strong wave overall, right down to the CnC figure. It's a pity that it's an exclusive and relatively tough to come by - hopefully Wal-mart will correct that situation for the holiday season.
Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Man-Bat ****; Forager, Robotman, Power Girl ***1/2; Beast Boy ***;
Paint - Man-Bat, Forager, Power Girl ****; Robotman ***1/2; Beast Boy ***
Articulation - Man-Bat ***1/2; Forager, Robotman, Power Girl, Beast Boy ***
Accessories - Beast Boy ***; Power Girl, Robotman, Man-Bat, Forager **1/2
Imperiex - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ****
Value - **1/2
Overall - Man-Bat ****; Robotman, Power Girl, Forager ***1/2; Beast Boy ***
Where to Buy
This wave is a Wal-mart exclusive. They claim they'll be putting out quite a bit of stock for the holiday season...but we've heard THAT before.
Related Links -
Other DCUC reviews include:
- I started the DCUC 10 reviews with this look at Batman and the Joker.
- you can find wave 9 part 1 here, and part 2 over here.
- 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.
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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.