And so it came to pass that the first wave of DC Minimates finally rolled on to the shelves last week. I had initially pre-ordered these, but as you may recall the first solicitation was cancelled and as that was at a time when DC was particularly in the doggy doo with me (can't remember over what - they've blended together) and so I decided to save myself the money and not collect these little fellows. I didn't factor in how ever thoughtful Dee and Cathryn from Dee's Books and Comics are though - sure enough these were in my bag on Friday and though I know they wouldn't have minded if I put them back I decided to check them out.
There's nothing groundbreaking about these minimates. We know from all the Marvel waves that Art Asylum does these well - the lines are crisp and clean and everything is well defined. Pretty predictable character selection - Wave 1 is Superman / Luthor, Batman / OMAC, Joker / Harley Quinn and Green Lantern / Star Sapphire. There are some nice little touches - OMAC is made of clear blue plastic like the 6'(ish) figure, Joker comes with a fun little mallet prop, etc.
The package is much bigger than the Marvel Minimates and as if I go on collecting this line I'll be keeping them MIB that's a bit of an annoyance to me - more space taken up by the display. Obviously they wanted to do something different to set the DC versions apart but it's a bit of a pain for this collector.
These are fun, there's no doubt. For me the deciding factor in whether or not this becomes a regular thing for me is character selection. In Waves 2 and 3 we get Battle-Damaged Superman and Batman respectively, but in coming waves we also get characters like Ocean Master and Ma Hunkel who've yet to appear in larger scale plastic.
I'd say that like with most things DCD these days, I'll be buying very few whole waves and more picking and choosing the gems from the battle-damaged dross. I'm pragmatic tho - give me an interesting range of characters in each wave and I'll find a space for that fifteenth underwater lightning ray Superman. Really.
I've been a fan of DCD's 13" "Deluxe" Action Figure line and I think I may have found a new favourite - "Shazam!". (I missed something about why DC is dropping the Captain Marvel monniker but that's another story...). After initial outcry from fans about the solicited headsculpt (many felt the smile was too cheesy), DCD did some re-tooling and this figure nothing short of rocks!
Great detail on the costume, especially the cape and wristbands, and the headsculpt captures Cap.... I mean Shazza... perfectly. I have read online of a few people who thought that the lightning bolt chest symbol was faint like the machine was running out of ink (or magic gold lightning bolt stuff) but no such issues with the one I received. Green Lantern and Aquaman have been my favourites from this line so far but I think they may have to take second and third respectively after this release. (And for the slow, no he doesn't have lightning bolts coming out of his thingy, that's the camera flash. Jeez!)
On the other end of the 13" spectrum we have the Flash, another recent release (and yes, I am still feeling the pains in the wallet from these babies!). The issue here as has been well publicised is that something has gone seriously amiss with the skin colour for the tiny sections of exposed flesh on this figure, the end result being that it looks like Barry's had some bad curry and it's on it's way back up. Perhaps we are being too harsh - after all the guy's been dead for over 20 years!
QC issues seem to have plagued some buyers with the wings on the side of Flash's head breaking off, again mine are fine, but then again I am a MIB collector when it comes to the 13" figures (until such time as they crowd me out I guess) so I haven't put them under any wear or tear.
Grey flesh tones aside I wouldn't call this one a miss - it still captures Flash well - it's just a shame as it's an unnecessary flaw in a figure that could have been great.
Now what we need is some excitement for the future of the line. Catwoman and Nightwing (even with a new hairdo) do nothing for me. The recent announcement of a Babs Gordon Batgirl is good news, but it seems that rooted vs. moulded hair is still up in the air, and if they go with rooted as opposed to the moulded version shown at Toyfair I don't know if I'll be buying - it'll be crossing too for over in to doll category for me. DCD also needs to fine-tune it's female body for the 13" line as Batgirl was a bit on the mannish side for many including this collector. I'll surely keep you posted on my views on how things pan out!
Okay, I'm wetting myself over Shazam Wave One. Ever seen "Click"? I would gladly fast forward to November to get these right now. (Hey, if I did that I'd skip our whole house renovation as well - where's the remote??)
Two pleas. The first is to Georg and co at the lovely DC of D. For the love of God please do not screw these up! Please no 7.8345" scale, no crappy paint apps, no falling off limbs, no bizarre sculpt changes from what has been solicited. Please, please please please please.
The second plea is to the collectors. Please get behind this wave. I don't care if you're not really into the Marvel family. In fact I don't care if you hate them. If you ever want to see anything Golden, Silver or Bronze Age, anything besides MA artist specific SuperBat drivel from DCD ever again, you must buy this set. Otherwise DCD will use poor sales of this wave as justification to keep making their usual dreck. Fractal freaking super armour anyone??
I am personally going to commit to buying two full sets of these, partly because I love these characters (except Hoppy. sorry but there's no love for the Hop - where's my Tawky Tawny??) but also because I want more waves like this!!!!!
P.S. Just realised if I fast forward through the renovation that leaves the budget in the wife's hands so I'll come to as a pauper, so I'll be waiting it out like the rest of you. Come, November, come!
Justice Wave 5 deserves more praise than it seems to be receiving. Perhaps it's just been overshadowed by all the Toyfair Buzz, but it's probably also one of those funny realities of we fickle collectors - we tend to broadcast our unhappiness much more than our pleasure.
I was a bit iffy about these figures from the solicits - the paint apps looked way to shiny for a start. In person however they work fine, although Red Tornado and Green Arrow have more of a sheen than figures from previous waves. The three heroes fit in brilliantly with the heroes from previous waves, so no additional scale angst is being added into the collection.
The Great: I love the scale of Martian Manhunter. He's taller than the rest as he should be but not a mountain like the McG J'onn. The translucent MM (got him but no pic sorry) is also quite impressive.
Koko the monkey attaches to Brainiac via a magnet but it's a way better job than Dr Midnite II and Charley the Owl from JSA. Very secure.
Despite disliking it from the solicit pics, GA's headsculpt is awesome. In general I usually prefer the whited out eyes but this works for me. He's an excellent figure.
The Jury's Out On: Green Arrow's snap-on arrow backpack. A nice idea but it's almost a bit big, I think. I like Brainiac's brain prop but the scalpel is very small and stays in Brainiac's hand about as well as Zatanna's magic wand stays in hers - not at all.
The truly awful: Luthor, Luthor, Luthor. Essentially a Luthor head on top of a purple see-through body with sparkles with macaroni glued on it at equal intervals. Mort of the Month? Try the Millennium.
The botch: It wouldn't be DCD without some almost-fatal flaw. I was pleased when I got these to see that there was only one twist tie - the waist restraint - making it easier to unpackage, however the legs, especially Brainiac and Luthor, seemed to be a bit warped on opening and they've both done a number of shelf-dives in the last couple of days (resulting in the loss of Brainiac's scalpel which the cleaners will probably suck up before I locate...). The three heroes have the ever-useful 360 degree calf and foot rotation feature but they're quite loose making posing a little bit challenging.
To sum up: I can't decide if GA or Brainiac is my favourite of the bunch. Yes, Ross' need to redesign all the villians is an irritation and yes, it's a travesty that we don't have a SA Brainiac yet, but objectively it's a really, really nice piece.
The glitches are annoying and typical of DCD QC but not deal-breaking in this instance. These are better than JUSTICE Wave 4 by a country mile and deserve some praise - so here it is.
Now I'm off to find a generic businessman AF in 6" ish scale with a black suit to stick my Lex Luthor head on..........