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Last Refuge of the Sensible Nerd
Toy Review - DC Icons: Wave 2
December 31, 2015
I have to admit, DC is shipping these Icons waves at a good clip, with wave 2 already here. [Actually, wave 2 is supposed to include the Flash, not seen here…we’ll lump him in with wave 3…maybe. We do have the deluxe Green Lantern standing in for him though! – Ed.] Do we get more of the same? Are there new flaws? Are there some improvements? Let’s find out.
While wave 1 brought us slices from various places in DC modern timeline; Mr. Miracle from the New 52, Batman just before Final Crisis hit, Deadman from Brightest Day and Green Arrow being the earliest…just right after Crisis on Infinite Earths, wave 2 is distinctly more in the vein of the New 52; the current Blue Beetle and Green Lantern designs and Lex Luthor and Black Adam from Forever Evil. Green Lantern, as mentioned above, is a deluxe figure…running about $5 more than his compatriots…and looking at what he’s included with, you can see why.
In fact, why don’t we start with that? Green Lantern proves to be an ambitious figure…but also, he’s an ambitious figure early in the line…and everything that goes with that. It’s great to see where DC Collectibles are willing to go, again, very much in the route of more expensive Japanese import action figures, but unfortunately, this might be a little early to do this sort of thing. Still, there always has to be a first…and GL is more hit than miss. All armor pieces fit well and, while articulation is naturally hindered some while the armor is on, it’s not as constrictive as you’d think, with a good number of poses possible. Assembling the backpack and actually getting the armor on and off can cause some worries though. In having to Hercules the wings onto the jetpack, I REALLY bent one of the fins. I was able to bend it back, but the stress mark…ooooh…it makes me nervous. The armor really clasps together tightly…and you can see where this is going…even more so since it’s made from translucent plastic, and we all know how durable that proves to be over time. Many of my clips are already showing stress marks. How DC chose to achieve the arms of the armor was interesting: they opted to remove the base figure’s forearms and then plug the armor’s arms into that port. In terms of the armored up mode, this works pretty well. In terms of the base figure, when you have now both detachable forearms AND wrists? This can be a little frustrating when you want to get one piece off but not the other. To go back to a point made in the wave 1 review, it does kind of hurt to get Hal all armored up, only to have him be unable to look up within the armor. As he is now, his hair kinda butts up against there his eyes should probably be looking out of said armor. While a bunch of this sounds overly negative, I recognize that something like this is going to be the subject to growing pains…and I hope that this doesn’t dissuade DC to continue these sort of releases…but unfortunately GL proves to be the less-than-perfect foundation upon which good things will rise from.
Continuing on the detaching forearms thread, Blue Beetle has them too…and with the guns that clip on, it makes sense. Unfortunately, the execution of this isn’t nearly as good as what was achieved with Green Lantern. With my figure, the forearms didn’t quite match up with where they join with beneath the cut being larger than above it. Combine this with the fact that if you turn them to where they’re anatomically correct and they look terrible, and if you turn them to where they look passable, your brain will explode with how much pain the poor guy must be in to accomplish that. No sort of mixing or matching will help either. The wings seem to be fine (for now) and I do like how the leg designs (probably the legs of the actual scarab on his back) are all loose pieces…and by that I mean they’re attached to a point on the back but loosely hug the abdomen so as not to interfere with the articulation. This might be a problem for younger collectors…but as these are geared toward those of us that have moved on past heavy-duty playtime [But only just… - Ed.], it shouldn’t be an issue. The remaining aspects of the figure fit in with those of the line so far…with only one minor nit. You see, Jamie Reyes, the kid inside the Blue Beetle armor is just that…a kid. Or, at least a teenager. Still. In a 6 inch scale series of figures, Beetle should be shorter than the others…but he’s not. He’s as tall as everyone else…leading me to believe that Jamie hit his growth spurt early in puberty and will now watch his peers grow to meet or surpass him or that he’ll continue to grow till he reaches about 7-8 feet in adulthood…making him a shoe in for playing Chewbacca for the yearly Star Wars recitals held in the Hall of Justice or Titans Tower.
Lex Luthor and Black Adam don’t really add much to the line, aside from new characters. They have the standard articulation and all the benefits and limitations that come with it. Regarding their included accessories, I’m a big fan of the ‘energy shield’ included with Lex and Black Adam’s “Palpatine Fingers” are pretty cool too. I do have one minor nit with Black Adam though, as the lightning bolt on his chest is loose from the body much the same way as the beetle legs on Blue Beetle’s abdomen. While it worked for Beetle, here, not so much. It’s not a deal breaker per se, and given how they’ve chosen to do the ab articulation, I see where this is necessary…but I kinda wish they could’ve found a better way to handle this.
As a whole, I’m pleased with what I’m seeing from this second wave. It keeps with the fundamentals established in the first wave and expands into deluxe territory. Sure, not always meeting with success, but pushing nonetheless…and that should bode well for the line as a whole as it moves forward. It’s still a little early to expect any improvements on this formula but with the aforementioned pushing…along with DC’s recent history of taking the time to make things right or better (see our Batman 2-pack review)…it’s not out of the realm of possibility for improvements to come further down the line. The consistent mostly-high quality I continue to see with these figures, coupled with Mattel’s current weak offerings in the way of their new Multiverse line…well, I’m increasingly convinced that Icons may be a very appropriate name for the line.