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Last Refuge of the Sensible Nerd
Toy Review - DC Icons Wave 1
December 25, 2015
Having already reviewed the Batman figure from the DC Icons line, well, it just didn’t feel right to neglect the rest of the first wave of figures. You know, especially since it was Batman that convinced me to hop on the bandwagon for DC Collectables most recent line of figures.
Everything DC got right and wrong with Batman continues here for the remainder of wave 1, containing Mister Miracle, Green Arrow and Deadman. To be more specific, we’re looking at Mister Miracle in his current New 52 garb, Green Arrow from his immediate Post-Crisis story The Longbow Hunters and Deadman from the Brightest Day series. Increasing the sample size from 1 to 4 helps to highlight both the good and the bad from this action figure line as well as shed light on more unique issues for each individual figure in the wave.
Let’s start with the general breakdown of Icons figures and what we can expect from the line as a whole…based on these figures. Soon after the line was announced, DC Collectables released a chart displaying all the articulation they planned to incorporate into the figures…and the collecting community breathed a sigh of relief…well…at least I did. Much of what’s shown in this diagram works and works well once the figures are in hand…everything you can do with the arms, for example, is just fantastic…from shoulder to wrist. In concept, I really like how they broke down the torsos of the figures into 3 parts…I thought that was a great approach and a unique one too. But just like any pilot season of what may be a great TV show, just because the concepts are there doesn’t mean they’re executed all that well in the first few episodes. This three piece torso plan, in execution, leads us to the perfect segue into what could use more work on these figures. Yes, while in concept this seems brilliant, in reality…the upper piece, the chest, where there’s supposed to be some turning (replacing the standard waist joint seen in most action figures), it’s just way too tight to accomplish any sort of rotational movement. There are some figures where you can coax it…but I’ve had enough figures disintegrate in my hands to be more than just a little gun shy when it comes to exerting any amount of force. The other big nit to be picked is…does no one in the DC Universe look up??? I find this difficult to believe, you know, given the whole “Look! Up in the sky!” thing. A ball-jointed neck is supposed to have some give, allowing figures to at least tilt their heads slightly upward…but not here. While I know it means taking a technique from Hasbro’s Marvel Legends figures, putting that ball joint on a stalk that is jointed within the neck to tilt would do leaps and bounds for these figures. A more minor nit, but a nit nonetheless, is the lack of some sort of thigh cut. As I said in the Batman review, I get that it’ll break up the sculpt in a way that no one’s really found a good solution for…and DC’s figures have always been about minimal breaks to the sculpt, but in order to get the really dynamic poses, that is a point of articulation that is definitely missed.
Figure by figure, let’s start with Mister Miracle. Looking again at the articulation scheme above, take a gander at the pivot joints in the forearm and the shin. As you can see on Batman there, those are disguised neatly by the transition from suit to gauntlet and suit to boot respectively. Mister Miracle, however, doesn’t have the standard boots/gauntlets that most of his superhero colleagues have. In this incarnation, it’s very much a one-piece suit. Thus, those points of articulation are gone. You don’t miss it a whole bunch in the arms…but in the legs, it once again will affect your posing. My only other issue is with the shiny paint used. I’m curious to see how that’s going to stand up over the years. Still, one of the best aspects of these figures shines once again with Mister Miracle, as the accessories included are a Mother Box, a pair of hands that can hold said Mother Box and flying disks for his feet. All of these are well done.
Green Arrow very obviously benefits from the articulation scheme. FINALLY you can pose him in the classic bow-drawn pose. You can also have him draw arrows out of the quiver! These two things alone warrant buying the figure. Accessory-wise, well, I’m sure you can guess: bow, arrows (no trick ones, just regular arrows…fitting in with the tone of the story this figure is modelled after) and hands that can hold the bow and draw the string/hold the arrow. One unique issue I ran into with Ollie here though is that…well…his head popped off. The hood did interfere slightly with popping it back on (no breakage here thanks to the ball joint)…and speaking of which, having that hood be a separate piece as opposed to the way it’s typically molded to the head was very well done. It being made of a rubbery plastic gives it some flexibility (again, not making putting Ollie’s head back on impossible) but the way it’s rooted to the upper torso piece doesn’t allow for it to twist too much side to side…kinda limiting Ollie’s vision but as you’ll see in the gallery below, it’s not that much of a big deal.
Lastly, we have Deadman. Honestly, there’s not a lot to say about the figure itself…it’s…well…very vanilla. Which is fine, really. For accessories, he’s got a spare set of hands…and something rather unique: a rubbery overlay that fits over other figures in the line to show which hero (or villain) he’s possessing. Take a look at the picture in the gallery…this…well…this really doesn’t work. I mean, it’s a great idea…but…yeah, not so much.
The wave as a whole does serve as a statement of intent from DC Collectibles. This is intended to be a line of figures with generally consistent articulation with sculpts that outshine much of what we’ve seen from Mattel’s mass-market offerings. In that, the line is incredibly successful. That’s not to say that this is a perfect line. As you can tell from what I’ve said above, there are certainly some flaws present in this line at its start with some room to improve. That’s great. This means that these figures can get better…and there’s not much to do to get to that better place! This consistent good…so tantalizingly close to great…standard will keep me on board for the early waves and I’ll be curious to see if improvements slowly make their way into the line.