Toy Review - BVS Superman: DC Collectibles vs. Mezco's One:12 Collective
While the mass market toys are planned to hit store shelves well in advance of a movie’s opening, the more collector-oriented items tend to wait until the figure is just right and ready to hit shelves. This may end up being more in line with a movie’s release to home video…or just whenever the hell a certain company finally ships the damn things. [Yeah…STILL waiting for that BVS Wonder Woman from Hot Toys dammit! – Ed.] In the instance of the two action figures we’ll be looking at today, DC Collectibles Superman from their DC Films line and Mezco’s BVS Superman from their One:12 Collective line, both came out several months after the film’s release to home video. Was the extra time a benefit? Were they worth the wait? Let’s take a look.
The main objective that DC Collectibles was hoping to achieve with their DC Films line of figures was to compete with the higher end Japanese action figure releases…such as those that come from SH Figurarts or from Mafex. For the collector, this ends up meaning joints galore. Thankfully, reflecting on my SH Figurarts Injustice figures, DC did NOT endorse the “everything MUST be spikey enough to draw blood” or the “yeah, plastic capes are the best” features that those earlier released figures espoused. Come to think of it, the latest releases from both Mafex and SH Figurarts show that they too have backed away from this…thank goodness. Back to the joints though…the DC Collectibles figure does indeed capture the feel of something that you might pick up on the Japanese market…but with two exceptions, okay, maybe three. The first major beef I had was with the knees being…well…outies. While I see what they were trying to do in emulating the kneecap it unfortunately results in an epic fail when it comes to the appearance of the figure in poses, and you can see that in the pictures down in the gallery below. The second issue is well known to anyone who’s bought DC Collectibles or NECA products before…stuck joints and the “Do you feel lucky, punk?” fragility that comes with attempting to loosen them. It’s kind of weird really, in that anyone that’s bought a high end Japanese figure will know that you run the gamut of joints that are just right to joints that are floppy as all get out. Funny, I should point out that one of my Superman’s legs will pop off the hip ball socket if you try to make use of the excessively tight thigh swivel. [Who says you can’t have it both ways? – Ed.] Thankfully, the plastic DC used is soft enough where it won’t shatter as you’re trying to loosen up the joints. I’d still emphasize caution while doing this though…and maybe have that blow drier on stand-by. Lastly, and this is really going to depend on the collector, but I didn’t think DC did all that great of a likeness to Henry Cavill. Let’s just call it…soft. Sure, it’s still better than Mattel’s mass market attempts but that’s a case of damning with faint praise. The only other thing I’ll mention that might be negative but honestly, I find it to be more of a middle ground or meh sort of thing is how the figure attempted to capture the whole heat vision thing. In the box we’re provided with a head with hollowed out eyes and two thin strands of red plastic. I think you might be able to see the potential problems here…but I’ll spell it out. These things are difficult as heck to try to get into the sockets and once you do…well, you’ve likely bent the plastic at least a little bit so that it looks like poor Supes has eyes that are misaligned or, for lack of a better term, derpy. As you can see from the pictures though, straightening them out to look at least close to presentable is possible. All in all, I’d call this feature a decent eye-dea, but the execution is a little lacking. [We here at the editorial offices of Nuking the Cat apologize for the previous pun. Dear god that was horrible. – Ed.] So as not to sound all negative about the figure though, the abundance of joints we’re given with this figure makes for some great posing. It’s nice to have a Superman that can look up a bit more to pull off a more convincing flying pose. It’s still not where it probably ought to be…but I’ll take any improvement over what has been the standard for many DC figures, be they from Mattel or DC Collectibles up to this point. Another thing to bring up is the wire lined cape, which allows you to pose the fabric. Given that they give you a lot of cape, as per the costume design, this is both fantastic and annoying. Fortunately, mine came packaged with the cape folded in such a way that it made a pretty good neutral and served as a decent starting place to try and get more dynamic cape poses. In the terms of this review, another thing that proved to be a positive feature of this figure was the price. Now, these figures would retail in your local comic shop for around $45-50…but I was able to grab this one for $26 on Amazon. For that price…this is a steal. All in all, it’s a decent enough figure, a good first release in the line from DC Collectibles and certainly a step up from most of what you can get domestically. While I’m hesitant to recommend it at its suggested retail price, if you can find it for around $30, I’d say pounce on it. Unfortunately, this part of the review has to end in tragedy…because DC Collectibles has announced that they’re discontinuing this line…so any future releases have been scrubbed. I can see why this might have happened, because although this was good, it fall just a little bit below the Japanese product it was intended to compete with, but as this was a first wave release, I had hoped that additional waves would see a steady increase in quality that would eventually become neck and neck with the Japanese competition. Oh well.
Of course, something else may have contributed to that line’s demise…and that’s the popularity of the line we’ll be looking at next: Mezco’s One:12 collective BVS Superman. A lot of fans have been calling this line the “Hot Toys of 6-inch figures”…and I both agree and disagree with that statement. While the pricing, $75-100 per 6-inch figure in most instances, is in scale with Hot Toys’ $200-$250 per 12-inch figure and that both feature a plastic base body covered in a soft goods costume, there are other aspects that don’t match up. For example, while Mezco deserves credit for creating probably the closest likenesses we’re ever going to see at the 6-inch scale, they don’t have the “my god, they’ve trapped Henry Cavill’s immortal soul, shrunk it down and now it’s sitting on my mantle!” feeling that you get with the likenesses of Hot Toys’ figures. But that’s probably an unfair comparison on my part. I think the best analogy is in the soft goods costumes. While the Mezco stuff looks better in person than in any picture you’ll see on the internet (including mine)…well, while it’s not so present in this Superman figure, it appears to be there in some others (Joker for example) where it just seems like this scale is almost too small for certain costumes. One last criticism…and I had to think about this for a while. There was always something that struck me as odd about this figure and I think I might have it…the shoulders stick out too much. It’s like the joint is out too far creating this insanely broad shouldered silhouette that’s just not right to the eye. Still, there’s a lot to love about this figure. There’s plenty of accessories: extra pairs of hands like his DC Collectibles counterpart, but also two different heads…one of which has glow in the dark heat vision (that I still haven’t tried out yet!)…a breakable Gotham City manhole cover, a flight stand and wires that clip on to the cape that allow for cape posing (granted, I really wasn’t a big fan of these). My initial worry about this figure was whether or not the cloth costume would shift around…and very fortunately, Mezco came up with a pretty cool solution. The costume is anchored in certain points…in Superman’s instance in the cuffs just above the wrists, in the legs just above the boots and along the S emblem. This mostly keeps the costume locked in place while allowing for some poseability. I say some because, well, it’s about what you’d expect given the limitations of a cloth figure that you paid $100 for…you really don’t want to test its FULL capacity because you don’t want to flush said $100 down the toilet. Still, you can get a decent amount of dynamic poses from it so you really call it a bust in that department. In addition, yes, this Superman CAN look up…creating the best flying poses I’ve seen in a Superman figure thus far.
Well, which one would I recommend? Well, I’m a Superman fan…so of course the answer is both. Okay, okay, let’s break it down. The DC Collectibles Superman fits more in line with every other action figure you’ve pretty much owned but does have some inherent flaws in the design and sculpt. If you can get it on the cheap though, its value as well as what it does have to offer ends up getting my overall recommendation. For its straight-up retail price though…you might be better served to plunk down a little extra and go with a Japanese import. When it comes to the Mezco figure, you get what you pay for and as a result, it’s a pretty damn nice piece. I certainly can’t see myself becoming a completist for the line, but I can see myself doing here what I do for Hot Toys: I may not get every piece, but there are some characters/figures that I’ll be more than happy to plunk down the money for. That being said, both of these lines still show signs that improvement is needed. While the DC Collectibles DC Films line won’t get the chance to make those corrections, Mezco can and probably should. Working down those shoulders to cut a more natural silhouette would go a long way…and I’ll share the responsibility on the soft goods…Mezco’s not there just quite yet…but at the same time, I could work on being a bit more open to this type of figure and break the perspective built over a lifetime of plastic costumes sculpted directly on the figure. Ultimately, it comes down to how much money you have to spend and what exactly it is you’re looking for…but both pieces definitely earn my thumbs up.