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Friday, December 29, 2006

DC Direct: 2006 in Review: The Good, the Bad and the Really, Really Ugly

2006 has been a year of pleasures and disappointments for the DC Direct Collector. Here's my picks for the highlights and the lowlights for the year that's about to pass:

Single Figure of the Year: AR Justice Plastic Man
Not at all a favourite character of mine, but from the excellent head sculpt to the interchangeable arms and body this figure is a winner hands down. The esssence of the character has been truly captured and the options for display make this figure loads of fun to boot.


Honourable Mentions: COIE E2 Huntress and Infinite Crisis Power Girl Crisis on Infinite Earths Wave 3 received alot of negative press (more on that later) which somewhat overshadowed the excellent work done on the Earth Two Huntress. She blends in beautifully with other JSA figures, has an excellent head sculpt and I love the longer, flowing cape, Power Girl isn't a favourite of mine either, but for me this is an outstanding sculpt that reflects the character outstandlingly and thus it deserves a mention.

Wave of the Year: Green Lantern Wave 2
Great character selection (Salaak!!), great quality control, there's nothing much one can say bad about this wave. To quibble, while it's great to have Sinestro as a Green Lantern, this could have waited until we've seen some other characters in plastic for the first time, such as Abin Sur, G'nort or the recently returned Arisia. Still, it's a great figure to score.

Honourable Mention: Infinite Crisis Wave 1, JLA Classified Wave 1
Infinite Crisis Wave 1 has a major flaw for me: the super-sized Mongul. Yep, on its own he's a great figure, but why is that big? Have we ever seen him that big in the comics? It clangs for me. McGuinness haters will scream about me including JLA Classified Wave 1 here, but I was totally taken by surprise by these figures. I expected to hate them but when put together with the Superman and Batman from Supes/Bats Series 1 they make an awesome Big 7. For some reason the cookie-cutter sculpts don't bug me. Again, Martian Manhunter is too big in this line compared to what we've seen in the comics, and that's my online gripe about this wave.


Action Figure Tragedy of the Year: Turner Supergirl from Superman / Batman Series 2
Okay, we're all clear on the fact that Michael Turner's art does not a good action figure make (Identity Crisis Black Canary anyone??). That being said, this is without a doubt the worst piece of rubbish I have ever seen. She looks straight out of an annorexic freakshow, not to mention the fact that someone or thing really heavy obviously sat on her face for a very long time. To add insult to injury, the blasted thing cannot stand up, even on the display base!! How this one ever got out of the gate I have no idea.

Dishonourable Mention: Reactivated! Wonder Woman
There's a reason these figures have earned the nickname "Regurgitated!". Look no further than poor WW for the reason. If the Turner Supergirl looks like someone's sat on her face, than this figure looks like she's done a couple of rounds with a steamroller and come off the loser. Another one that never should have left the station.

Disaster Wave of the Year: Superman / Batman Series 2: Turner Attacks Again!
Yep, this wave takes out the award for Worst Leading Lady and Worst Ensemble. The Darkseid is almost funky (but again too huge - check out the comics DCD, he's actually NOT that big) but the rest of the team is a train wreck in motion, If there was ever an argument to bring artist-specific lines to an end, this is the poster child.

Dishonourable Mention: Anything based on Tim Sale art. Nuff said.

Biggest Disappointment of the Year: COIE Wave 3 Batman Many fans have been hanging out for this figure, one that many feel may be as close as we
get to a Bronze Age Batman. I have to be honest here and say that on its own I don't dislike this figure, but in terms of what it should have been, its a disaster that even Mr G. Brewer himself has acknowledged: the scale is way off and the resemblance to anything near a Perez Crisis Batman just isn't there. Brewer says we'll get our Bronze Age Batman. I won't be holding my breath.

Dishonourable Mention: Superman Silver Age Wave 1
Again, something else that many fans have been waiting for that DCD botched. Poor character selection and slightly oversized figures mean we've probably seen the last of these, which is a giant shame.

And finally, the "What the...." Award for 2006: The Weaponer of Qward from COIE Wave 3.
Oh. my. God. Since when is "Super Squatting" a power?? And the expression on this dudes' face? He looks like he's doing a..... or someone's shoving a..... well whatever it is, it just isn't right.
That's my potted summary of the year that was in DCD land. I've only touched the 6" (or thereabouts) figures here but I am loving alot of the 13" stuff and will write on those another time.

If you stopped by, thanks. If you made it to the end, even better. Most of my posts here won't be quite so long-winded but I do hope to make it a regular thing so please come back.
Agree with me? Think I'm nuts? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Thanks for reading

Scott

Why Action Figure Blues?

Recently some friends of mine at one of my online haunts were discussing whether or not their action figure interests were public. I'm proud to say that after years in hiding I'm now officially "out". It's just coming on three years now since I dusted off my comic book collection and unpacked my old Super Powers figures from my childhood and decided that I was a happier, more balanced being when I had things in my life besides work. I think I also said something to the wife about a hobby like this being less expensive than a sportscar and bringing less shame on the family than having an affair. I was right about the affair but as to being cheaper than a sportscar, well the jury's still out on that one. One thing's for sure - it's a happier, healthier me, and here I am.

My collecting interest is mainly DC Direct, with some DC Superheroes, JLU and Marvel thrown in. The reason I chose "Action Figure Blues" as the title for my blog is that it's a rough time to be a DC Direct collector. Scale issues, character selection issues and quality control issues are dampening the enjoyment that many collectors once took from what should be an excellent line of toys.

This blog is going to record the triumphs and tragedies of my collecting journey. It's my opinion only but I hope you'll enjoy it and talk back to me so I can hear what others have to say as well.

Let's start talking!

Ciao

Scott
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