Wednesday, March 09, 2011

It's Base-ic: DC Direct Ame-Comi Series

A while back, I decided to stop collecting DC Direct’s Ame-Comi line. This was partly influenced by the announcement of a DC-themed series for Kotobukiya’s amazing Bishoujo line, and partly because there were a few releases from the Ame-Comi line in a row that didn’t really grab or interest me, and with the very large base size of the figures, I didn’t feel I could spare the display space for them.

My resolves to stop collecting things are never terribly strong, but I really thought I was done with this line until two things caught my eye: first off, I saw that DCD was releasing a Mera figure in this line. Being the mad Aqua-fan that I am, I am really enjoying Mera’s surging popularity, so ordering that was a given. I then had a look at a couple of the newer figures in the line and noticed that the space-grabbing circular bases had been replaced by a much more modestly shaped oval base.

The figure that actually drew me back into the line, however, was Steel II, aka Natasha Irons. I’ve always got a soft spot for lesser-known characters making into toy and statue lines, and Natasha is a character I’ve long wished to see more from. Sadly, she’s been messed around and underutilised as a character for a long time now, so seeing her get some deserved attention in the Ame-Comi line was very gratifying.

The Steel figure itself has instantly become one of my favourite in the lines. Unlike the Kotobukiya Bishoujo statues, which are a fairly literal translation of the heroine to anime style, the Ame-Comi figures are more of a reimagining of the character into the new format. This is still very much a recognisable version of Steel but with some nice twists. Gone (thankfully) is the expressionless mask she wears in the comics in favour of an unmasked version, bit with her very recognisable helmet. Tis version shows a fair bit of skin compared to her all-armour comics get-up!

The real winner for me with this piece, however, is the pose. Standing with a wide stance, her arms are bent to hold her mallet behind her back. It’s a design that communicates strength, power and playfulness all at the same time. Her mallet comes separately and is easy to insert into Steel’s hands, although the hold is a tad precarious. This is all complimented by the previously mentioned smaller base which means that displaying this piece won’t gobble up all of your display space.

Steel was released around the same time as Ame-Comi’s second version of Supergirl. In case you don’t get the pose and what she’s holding, it’s meant to be a rear-vision mirror of a car that she’s peering into. I must admit that subtlety was momentarily lost on me, but I got it in the end! It does have a little silver-metallic sticker on it, but not an actually mirror. This is a pose and facial expression that’s on the edge of the level of cutesy-ness I can tolerate with these pieces. While I know that it’s an important element of the genre, I don’t like my heroines appearing stupid, which is why I passed on the Star Sapphire release, with her daffy lovesick pose and large purple heart she’s mooning over. Gah. What won me over here was the nice, bright metallic colour choices used in her outfit, and the fact that I haven’t come across the original Supergirl release at a price I’m willing to pay.

Supergirl has a feature that is a bit unusual in the line and that’s a bit of articulation – in this case her left arm, which can be posed at different angles. I’m not sure what the purpose of this is in this instance, since most angles take away the “looking into the mirror” effect, but it’s nice to see that DCD is able to add articulation and use it when it sees fit.

The final figure in this trio is Jade. It’s not my favourite of the lot due to the closed eyes, but the concept of her listening to headphones created by her own green energy is kind of fun, and I actually quite like the redesigned costume she’s sporting. One thing I like about these PVC pieces is the use of a combination of hard and soft plastic. A slightly softer plastic is used here for the legs of her flared trousers to good effect.

One thing that consistently detracts from the Ame-Comi pieces is sloppy paint work. Jade makes out the best of this trio, with Supergirl’s eyes suffering from a bit of fuzziness, and Steel having a blue paint blotch on her left breast. In addition, Steel’s overall paintwork doesn’t cope with the detail of the sculpt, and there are elements of the detail in Supergirl’s sculpt that feel more painted over than brought out by good paint. Disappointing on any piece, but especially here considering that these aren’t particularly cheap pieces.

I’m certainly not fully back on the Ame-Comi wagon, but I am ordering the upcoming Mera and Raven pieces and am trying to track down a Huntress and Jesse Quick for reasonable prices. I’d like the see the paintwork improve, and certainly won’t be splashing out for any repaint versions of this line, but I’m back in the hunt for the good, interesting and unusual characters – as long as the bases stay small!

You can see more pics of these and other DC Direct Ame-Comi figures at Facebook, discuss this at the AFB Forum, and comment on this post to enter the March AFB Comment of the Month Contest!

Until next time!


chrismandesign said...

what a pity =( great figures almost ruined for a poor paint job... i agree that these works hav the merit of an original character design, but the QC is the least u can expect from a not so cheap collection figure...

fishmilkshake said...

Nice to see some lesser known characters getting a shot.

ryanlb said...

I am all over the Ame-Comi line lately. I've picked up this Supergirl, trying to get Jade for a good price, can't make myself care about Steel at all, recently received the new mini-Harley, which is awesome, and a couple of the older ones on the way.
Big fan of this line, with only a couple of exceptions, I'd like to have them all some day.

Saranga said...

these are getting better. I still rly want the first WW one.

ryanlb said...

I was recently able to get the first Wonder Woman figure, and it is AWESOME.

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