Toy Review - DC Icons Waves 4 and 4.5
We’ve been slipping on our Toy Reviews lately, so let’s go ahead and give that focus a bit of a jump start as we take a look at a bunch of DC Icons figures! We’ll be looking at Wave 4 here as well as a couple of “deluxe” entries: The Batgirl of Burnside and the massive Darkseid/Grail two-pack.
Let’s start off with the Big Kahuna first…since it’s the one that I’ve gotten repeated requests for. And rightly so, as the Darkseid/Grail two-pack highlights both the fantastic potential for this line as well as the things holding this line back from true greatness. Darkseid himself is an incredibly massive, sturdy figure that really is a beauty to behold. The articulation, at least on mine, is good and tight…sometimes a little too much so, but given the sturdiness of the figure, at no point did I ever feel in danger of breaking him. That came in handy when exploring an assembly joint that looked like the much desired thigh-cut I’d been hoping for. Sadly, it is not to be. Darkseid is also missing a bicep swivel which is confounding given that this is a point of articulation on other DC Icons figures. And that’s kind of what I meant by the opening sentence, Darkseid is a pretty good figure but is held back by the usual limitation that exists in this line (lack of thigh-cuts) as well as that lack of bicep swivels. Given his size, you could honestly say that this showcases DC Collectibles’ strengths and failures writ large! Darkseid comes with two sets of hands, one set open, one set of fists…and the open hands can get a grip on other figures in the line…kinda. Well, good enough for camera and posing purposes but not entirely functional. Still, it’s a nice touch. Moving on to Grail, well…great day in the morning…SHE HAS THIGH-CUTS!!!!!!! Is there hope? Is it possible? Are they learning??? No, as we’ll see in the remainder of the figures we’ll review here, sadly Grail is a one off. Still, it is wonderful to have the point of articulation, even if it is for just one figure…and to go back to the opening sentence, Grail here shows how great this line COULD be. As for accessories, Grail comes with her Omega…um…poncho? Parka? Whatever. As one would expect, you just pop the head off, put the fashion accessory in place, then return head. It should surprise no one that this does end up limiting the arm articulation. She also comes with three sets of hands: a set of clenched fists, a set of gripping hands and a set of loose, relaxed hands. Oh, and her giant axe…scythe…weapon-thingy. For $100, sure, it’s a bit pricey but for what you get, I’d say it’s mostly worth it. It’s a shame Darkseid is lacking a couple of points of articulation, but his sheer size and the articulation he does have makes him really fun while Grail gives us a glimpse at what a perfect DC Icons figure could look like.
Next up we get John Stewart, helping to expand our Green Lantern Corps beyond Hal Jordan. He’s sporting his look from Mosaic and on the surface looks like your standard Icons figure, but it turns out DC has added an extra joint…and it’s a much needed one. You see, some of the higher end action figure imports from Japan have these joints in the hips where you can essentially pull the legs down a bit…allowing for better clearance away from the codpiece and helping the legs lift higher without fear of breaking the hips or putting the legs in some funky, anatomically incorrect position to get the pose you want. Both John Stewart and Firestorm (whom we’ll get to in a bit) have this joint…and it’s one of those game-changers that means that if this joint is incorporated into new molds of characters that have already been released in the line, I’d totally re-buy them. The other thing noteworthy about John is his accessories. Sure, he’s got the standard Lantern Battery and a change of hands/forearms, but he also comes with a hand that has a hole where his ring should be, allowing for 3 different types of ring energies to plug in. These are pretty well done and certainly look great with the figure. Given the nature of the removable hands, Hal can borrow this too. To expand on that even further, John can make use of the accessories that came with Hal and it’s this interchangeability that has me very excited for future Lantern releases. Yeah, it’s fair to say I’m not that much of a fan of either Kyle Raynor or Guy Gardner, but if they add more pieces-parts to the mix that can be used by the Lanterns we already have, bring ‘em on.
Since we’ve already mentioned him, let’s go next to Firestorm. He looks great…but Firestorm is a bit of a mess. First, the hips on my copy are incredibly loose. It was no easy task to get him to stand up for the photos below. Plus…remember how I mentioned those high-end Japanese action figures? Firestorm shares another feature aside from that joint in the hips: he’s very, very pointy. This wouldn’t be a problem, but he comes with forearms that have that atomic-transmogrification look and the holes that connect those forearms to the figure are just a bit too small…so you’ve got to SERIOUSLY force those bastards on there and to do that, you’re going to get some SERIOUS pain in your thumbs. And if you’re thinking that you’re going to grab on to the head while you’re doing that? MORE PAIN. Look, the effect is neat but what it takes to actually get to that point? It’s not worth it. No, this is an instance where it was a great idea, but very poor execution. I’m sure there’s more to say about the figure, but seriously, all I remember is the pain and how I had to stop after taking his pictures and resume the photoshoot the next day.
Let’s take a look at the other “deluxe” figure of this wave-and-a-half…Batgirl. Babs here comes with an alternate head that has her hair blowing in the wind (motorcycle riding head), a wind-blown cape (motorcycle riding cape), 3 sets of hands (fists, motorcycle hands, accessory-holding hands), a grapple gun, a cell phone, her motorcycle and a stand for said motorcycle. Articulation is standard from the earlier figures from the line, so no, she doesn’t have the fancy new hip joints that Firestorm and John Stewart have…not that I’m sure they’d have been much benefit to her. As one would expect, she’s fully capable of riding her motorcycle in a very much leaning forward sort of pose (making you wonder why this motorcycle has seats…). In this position, the alternate head and cape work great here to create the illusion of movement. This seems like a good time to mention that when the motorcycle is removed from the stand, it has fully functional wheels! Truth be told though…I honestly can’t remember if the front wheel can turn or not…I don’t think it can…but I might be wrong. One thing that stands out to me is the sheer amount of personality in the face of each of the heads that come with figure. Babs looks like she’s having fun…and damned if that doesn’t catch on a little bit.
Lastly, we have the Joker…who ends up being another fairly standard release. Modelled after his appearance in the landmark ‘Death in the Family’ story…hence explaining the crowbar…this Joker feels like a natural outgrowth from the artwork of Jose Luis Garcia Lopez for the Super Powers toyline and Jim Aparo’s pencils from the aforementioned story. It is classic Joker. Articulation-wise, the figure isn’t inhibited much by his trench coat…unlike certain Marvel figures we could mention. [Basically any of them with a trench coat…just sayin’. – Ed.] There is one point of articulation that his missing in the upper chest that allows rotation of the torso. Granted, that joint meets with varying (and usually limited) degrees of success in other figures…so the fact that it has been sacrificed for the sake of keeping the Joker’s outfit intact isn’t any kind of deal-breaker. He comes with 3 right hands that can hold either the crowbar or the tommy-gun that he comes with and a pair of fists…so the left hand is always going to be in a fist. I kinda wish they’d included corresponding left hands as well because the Joker’s always been left-handed in my mind. No, there’s no comic book basis for this…he’s just crazy and so are most lefties. [Like we don’t tick off enough people…now you’re going after lefties??? – Ed.]
All in all, the DC Icons line continues to expand and remains a fairly solid, if only slightly flawed, line. The new joints present in John Stewart and Firestorm are certainly welcome…and here’s hoping we see those joints not only continue through the line but also be incorporated into key figures that have already been made…AT LEAST for Batman and Superman. The thigh cuts in Grail have so far only proven to be a tease…but since they’ve appeared once, fingers crossed that they will appear again. If you’re on a budget, this certainly is a good line to cherry-pick your favorite characters from (unless you’re a Firestorm fan)…but as a completist, I’ve yet to come across a figure that’s given me a case of buyer’s remorse…although Firestorm comes close.