Sunday, February 13, 2011

At long last - DCUC Wave 14!

I think any collector who's being honest will admit that they have a touch of the obsessive compulsives. It's what makes us good at what we do, right? Anyway, that's the rationale I'm using for not being able to bring myself to review DC Universe Classics Wave 15, which I've had for a little while now, until all of the Wal-Mart exclusive Wave 14 was in my possession, and I could keep the reviews in the proper order. I'm happy to say that my Wave 14 set is now complete, and the reviews can flow!

Some time ago now I caved in and bought an Ultra-Humanite I found on eBay. I won't spend time on him again here as there's no difference between that version and the one I assembled from the Wave 14 Collect and Connect parts. Still a great figure!

Kamandi's presence in this wave is a real testament to how amazing DCUC can be when it's at it's best. While I still long after a Jack Kirby-styled Last Boy on Earth, the DCUC version will work as a very effective placeholder in the iterim. He has a gun and a belt with working holster. His cut-off shorts are sculpted on, which helps add to the richness of what could be a very bland figure. The main improvement I would have liked to have seen with this figure would be a facial expression that was less blank

Zatanna easily goes to the head of the class of DCUC females, sitting right alongside Black Canary and Hawkgirl on my list of favourites. She has the advantage of a jacket with bulkier sleeves which work around the stick thin arms of the standard DCUC buck, my main bug bear with these figures. She also has a very well executed face sculpt and paint, a relief after disappointments in recent waves, like cross-eyed Donna Troy. I do wish that someone could up with a solution to the chunky seams that have to seem to go on the backs of mini-fishnets, but that's not an issue unique to DCUC by any means.

Zatanna's hat and wand are excellent - she can hold or wear the hat and the wand fits snugly in her hand. The only niggle I've had with mine is a bit of trouble finding a natural pose that can be used without a stand, but I suspect that's partly my issue, as inventive posing of figures isn't a skill of mine.

Alan Scott and Hourman are welcome additions to the small but growing Golden Age and JSA presence in the DCUC line. Alan Scott has the open-mouthed facial expression which I find a bit distracting, but is a still a great figure. I'm pleased to see him made in his younger version and hope this carries over to Jay Garrick as well when he is eventually made. His sleeves are nicely sculpted and the straps of his boots are also sculpted on, not just painted. Mine has the smallest of wrinkles in the chest emblem. Otherwise, the paint is perfect - great colour choices.

Hourman doesn't have an open-mouthed expression, but he also doesn't have any shading on the inside of his cowl, which means his head and face doesn't appear quite as one might be used to. It is otherwise an excellent figure, although Hourman came out of the package particularly twisted due to Mattel's action-style posing, and it took a while to get him sorted out and make him easy to pose. There's an easy MA variant to be made out of this figure, and I hope we see it soon.

Tyr is present here due to his Super Powers connection, and while that's an annoyance for some, it's a huge winner for me, since in the comic book world he's a Legion of Superheroes villain. There appear to be two shades of red paint out there, and I'm happy to have randomly received the non-tomato red version. Skin tones aside, this is an excellent sculpt. I think it's funny, though, that Alan Scott gets the angry, open-mouthed face, while a villain like Tyr gets a more neutral visage.

The one slight disappointment for me in the wave is Gold. I'm trilled to see the Metal Men finally being made in a 6" scale, but this one misses the mark for me due to the bland face that captures none of the character in the way that Wave 12's Iron and the upcoming Mercury from Wave 16 do so successfully. There's something odd about the face on Gold that I just can't put my finger on - he reminds me a bit of the little boy robot from A.I. - just... off. Sculpt is great in all other respects, and his accessories are just brilliant, but I couldn't give Gold full marks because the face bothers me that much.

The winner of the wave for me, though, is Obsidian (Todd Rice on the packaging) even with the open-mouthed expression. I'm a very big fan of the original Infinity Inc. characters (where are my collected reprints, DC??), and am keen to see more appear in the line. Some figures are exciting to have simply because it's the first time a character has appeared in a certain form, but in this case it's much more than that. This figure is truly like having the character walk out of a comic book. It's not just well designed, but perfectly painted with great colour choices as well. Obsidian's currently the apple of my DCUC eye!

There are a couple of things that impress me as I look at this wave. First is the detail in things like each caped character having a cape of a different length and design. This is a great touch that shows care and quality. The second is how well the standard male buck serves different characters and looks. I do wish the female buck was a match in quality!

The best thing about this wave, however, is that despite it's Wal-mart exclusiveness I didn't have resort to scalper prices for any of these thanks to the generosity of fellow collectors at the AFB Forum and Critical Mess who made it their mission to see that international friends got these at reasonable cost. Many thanks to the great collecting community out there!

You can see more pics at Facebook, discuss this at the AFB Forum, and comment on this post to enter the February AFB Comment of the Month Contest.

Until next time!


fishmilkshake said...

I think Alan's visage has been universally panned, shame that everyone at Mattel thought the opposite. Great write-up Andy!

Mario! said...

Zatanna was the only figure I picked up from this wave, and I think she's pretty great. Like you, I have problems getting her to stand in a decent looking position.

JQ said...

My major disappointment upon finding this wave was Tyr's dark red skin. I was so happy to find out there was a correctly colored bright red version which I found soon after!

Unknown said...

I thought this was a pretty good wave of figures when i saw them on the pegs. I would not mind owning a few of these. : )

Highskull´76 said...

Such a great wave but have to say I hate these fishnets on Zatanna.Looks like there are varicose veins in there.:P

Anonymous said...

DC actually is reprinting the original Infinity Inc, starting with "Infinity Inc.: The Generations Saga Vol. 1" in June.

Gary said...

So what are you planning on doing with two Ultra-Humanites?

slangards said...

Still looking for a complete Zatanna here. I don't think I've ever seen one here in the Philippines. Or even a complete set. Sigh

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