Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Toy Review – DC Signature Collection Atrocitus By Mattel


Atrocitus is the second figure that was offered through Mattycollector.com’s Club Infinite Earths. And I sure would have been a lot more excited about him two or three years ago.
It looked like Atrocitus was poised to be a major player with a major storyline following “Blackest Night”. He started off as the villain of the year for the Green Lanterns and evolved into a much deeper character with his own motivations and agenda that deserved a closer look. Atrocitus became an integral part of the ongoing storyline in Green Lantern Corps.
Then “Flashpoint” happened and then the New 52 happened.
It looked like Atrocitus was going to be hot shit, as he was getting what was essentially his own title – Red Lanterns. He was essentially the only character less than a decade old to be receiving such treatment and it looked like DC had big plans in store. The book was part of the first batch of 52 titles rebooting the continuity of the entire DC Universe.
Over the course of last September the New 52 rolled out. Some books were fresh and exciting – Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing, Animal Man; some seemed hardly touched by the reboot – the Batman titles, Green Lantern; others struggled to find an audience – OMAC, (that war book). I didn’t pick up all of the New 52, but I did end up getting more books than I had originally planned because I am a sucker. I’ve written plenty about it.
Then there was Red Lanterns. I had it on my pull list from the start because I really liked Atrocitus, his story, and how the Green Lantern PTB had been handling him. I was excited to get a book centered around this interesting character, and it didn’t hurt that the creative team was Ed Benes – whose art I like quite a bit – and Peter Milligan. Now, I know Milligan more from his Vertigo stuff – The Extremist, Face, and Egypt were some of the first non-superhero comics I read. Even though Milligan’s work has been highly acclaimed on many superhero books, I have somehow missed all of them. Red Lanterns seemed like an excellent opportunity to check out Milligan’s superhero chops. What better way to combine his specialties than with this tortured, dark character?
I picked up Atrocitus’ book and put it near the top of the stack the day it came out. My reaction after reading it was pretty much, “Huh”.
Nothing happened. There was some business with Dex-Starr, but then Atrocitus just kind of moped around for awhile. I figured the first issue was like that to establish who he was for new readers. I mean, I would have thought they would want to establish his rage and thirst for destruction; but who am I to second-guess DC?
The next five issues were no better. I have expressed my problems with decompressed storytelling often and Red Lanterns seemed to be a prime example. All Atrocitus and his fellow supposedly enraged-beyond-reason Lanterns did for six whole issues was sulk around Ysmault like a bunch of emo kids. I stuck with it because I had decided to give each New 52 title I bought at least a full story arc (or 6 issues) to establish itself. But nothing kept happening and I dropped it at issue #6.
So I am not as fond of Atrocitus as I once was. I still love the stuff that predates Red Lanterns, but you can understand why this figure just wasn’t as exciting a prospect as it once might have been.
First Glance: They sure did make this guy on the cheap. Don’t get me wrong – it looks like Atrocitus. But damn. A $23.70 figure this most certainly is not.
Sculpt: Atrocitus has a new head, new hands, and a new collar.
A lot of people complained that Mattel’s Atrocitus should be bigger, but in the comics he never seemed to be all that huge to me. I mean, he’s definitely one of the larger main Lanterns, but it’s not like he’s Kilowog big or anything. The figure should be taller than Hal and Sinestro and it is.
Atrocitus has the regular DCUC articulation. Ball joints at the neck and shoulders; Swivels at the biceps, wrists, and thighs; pivots at the elbows, abdomen, knees, and ankles. And of course, the swivel/pivot hip joints. I had to push his right hip pretty firmly to get it to move, but once it did it was fine. On initial inspection I thought my figure’s head was immobile. That seemed ridiculous, but I really couldn’t get it to move even the tiny little bit that you can normally get stuck joints to. The collar was in the way of my really getting in there and giving it a twist and I definitely didn’t want to use pliers. Finally I decided that the collar was soft enough to get pushed around a little bit and I jammed my fingers in to grab the head. The collar sort of popped away from the shoulders. Uh-oh. There were two little spots of glue holding it in place rather than any sort of actual sculpting. Only a peg in between Atrocitus’ shoulders was physically securing the collar to the rest of the figure. But it still seemed mostly attached, so I gave the head a firm wrench and it moved. Side-to-side and up and down. Just fine. The soft rubber collar pretty much snapped back into place when I was done and now the figure looks fine and the head moves. I suppose I could re-glue the two shoulder spots, but there doesn’t seem to be any reason to.
The body of the figure is a pretty basic large male. His lower legs are particularly long to make him taller and he has the little belt thing that all of the Red Lanterns have.
I don’t like how much of Atrocitus is made from a soft, rubbery plastic. Pretty much everything but his torso and hips. I guess it really doesn’t matter, as the figure still moves and poses just fine; but I am always going to have a problem with this. It just makes the figure feel cheap and less sturdy. Although now that I think about it, the opposite is probably true. I think about how many figures that were made of more rigid plastic have fallen over and exploded into pieces and maybe the softer plastic isn’t so bad. Huh. Did I just change my mind on a major toy issue?
Let’s talk about the new parts.
Atrocitus’ new head is chock full of detail. It looks accurate and has some great pitting. And it certainly looks enraged. My issue with it comes from a bit of a weird place that you can’t really hold Matty or the Four Horsemen responsible for. You see, Atrocitus’ head could look a whole lot better, but then it would have to be designed after something other than the comic book look. Atrocitus on the Green Lantern cartoon look so much better with his big ol’ face scar. So it’s a little disappointing to have this plain, unscarred head even though it’s perfectly accurate. I also don’t care for the open mouth. He looks like he’s waiting for somebody to throw cookies at him. And yes – it has been pointed out that Dex-Starr’s Rage Vomit accessory can fit into Atrocitus’ mouth. Guess what – I don’t give a shit. Atrocitus didn’t come with any rage vomit, so there’s no reason for his mouth to be open. Why should I take the accessory from a figure from an entirely different line to use on this one? I mean, if the Horsemen sculpted his mouth open because they thought it looked better that’s one thing. But if the rationale is that you can stick somebody else’s vomit in there I think that’s pretty weak. I guess in the end my point is that is Atrocitus is going to have vomit in his mouth it should be his own. That’s just common sense, right?
Atrocitus’ hands look good. They’re pitted and gnarly like his face and the ring on his right hand looks great. Very well detailed. They are closed fists. Closed fists that cannot hold anything. Remember that.
Design: The paint on the new parts is well done. Atrocitus’ head is detailed nicely. The teeth are very distinct from the rest of the mouth and the eyes are tight and centered.
I like the metallic red used on the collar, belt, and the ring, but I kind of wish they had used it on all of the red parts, as well as on the rest of the Red Lantern Corps. Is this metallic red really that much more expensive than regular red? Or did they just not think of it until now?
The rest of the red is actually a bit cleaner than some of my other Lantern figures. The symbol on Atrocitus’ chest is clean and centered as well.
I can’t decide how I feel about his painted-on boots. On the one hand they look kind of shitty. On the other hand, all of the Lantern’s costumes are formed from their power rings, so maybe they shouldn’t have any raised textures or surfaces. But wait – what about that belt and collar? Right. His boots suck.
Accessories: Atrocitus comes with his Red Lantern, which is an all-new sculpt. The handle is a hard plastic, while the lantern itself is a soft, rubber-like material. One side of mine was kind of mashed up. Other than that the Lantern looks really cool and reflects what we’ve seen in the comic.
Too bad this asshole can’t hold it properly.
Seriously, Mattel? You couldn’t have done an interchangeable hand in this figure so that he could actually hold his only accessory? I mean, bad enough he didn’t even come with his own Rage Vomit. But he can’t even interact with the one accessory he did come with. Matty you ignorant slut.
Packaging: It’s a neat little window box. I like it. It’s a little plain, but even if I left stuff in the package I think I’d be happy with it. It would display nicely. I definitely prefer it when collector figures that aren’t ever even going to hit retail come in boxes rather than blister cards.
Overall: Okay – as a figure on his own, Atrocitus is perfectly fine. Just standing on the shelf he looks good and accurate to the comic.
However.
Once again Matty’s promise of the ultimate version of fan-demanded characters is proven to be an overstatement. No Lantern should come without constructs or Rage Vomit if that’s what’s appropriate. No action figure that comes with an accessory should be unable to interact with that accessory.
Also, his boots suck.
3 out of 5
Atrocitus certainly should have been better. But he’s probably the only Atrocitus we’re going to get from Mattel, so if you have to have him, go to BigBad or eBay.
Side Note: I’ve written about this before, but in the years that I’ve been reviewing toys – publically, anyway – I’ve struggled with price as a factor. I have no idea how to handle it. I feel that Mattycollector.com’s toys are far too expensive. Twenty bucks for a Masters of the Universe Classics figure or fifteen for a DC figure is bad enough, but no matter how you slice it we’re paying much more than that. You cannot get these figures without having them shipped to you, which means you are likely paying a minimum of $28.70 or $23.70. Yes, there’s the rare occasion that you can get one at a con for less – especially any that were released in 2011 – but you know what I mean. These are ridiculously pricey figures.
Having said all of that, I do keep buying them for some reason. Well, for the time being, at least. So something keeps me coming back. Just like with the expensive Doctor Who figures I keep buying.
I don’t know where I was going with all of that. I have already reached a certain breaking point. I certainly won’t be buying the DC sub next year, and with the prices going up on the MOTUC sub I can’t imagine what Matty is going to have to show at SDCC to get me to subscribe to that one. Evil suggested a subscriber-only Castle Grayskull and I suppose that would do it. But I doubt very much that’s going to happen.
WAIT JUST A DARN MINUTE! I GET IT!
It's a fucking hat:
-Phantom

2 comments:

  1. I saw a review of Red Lanterns that described them as being like ex-cops that lift weights, do steroids, and talk a lot of hateful smack about all the stuff they're going to do but never will because they're busy lifting weights, doing steroids, and talking smack...

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    Replies
    1. That is damn hilarious. And accurate. What a waste of a comic.

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