Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Toy Review – DC Signature Collection Mirror Master By Mattel

Okay – time for something new.
I’ve always struggled a bit with some of my own categories for toy reviews and was just too lazy to change them. But now I’ve cleaned things up a little bit so they might make a bit more sense or at least be clearer. I have more categories, and each one is more specific so I won’t be trying to figure out when to say what.
Here’s the deal:
First Glance is still the same. I like giving my initial impression of the figure, as when you’re in the wilds of retail that’s what determines whether you’re spending your dollars or not.
Articulation is new and used to be lumped in with Sculpt. I think it needs its own listing so I can be as brief or as detailed as I need without worrying about word count for Sculpt.
Sculpt will simply be the profile of the figure, without consideration to how poseable it is.
Coloring is half of the replacement for my old category of Design, which was poorly named. I don’t particularly like the heading “Coloring”, as it sounds a bit simplistic. But “Paint” isn’t appropriate because this will also cover parts that are molded out of colored plastic rather than being painted. If you have a better name, let me know.
Flair is the other half of my replacement for Design. This will cover any little bits and pieces that are not part of the main sculpt of the figure, but also are not quite accessories.
Accessories is the same. All the extra pieces that are not part of the figure proper.
Packaging is also the same. Just a quick discussion of the container the figure comes in.
Value is where I will bitch about how expensive toys are nowadays. I just feel like it’s kind of important to point out that some toys are a much better value than others, even if this does not technically affect my scoring.
Overall is the same too. Just a brief summary and some final thoughts.
Obviously this one is pretty far past due. Mirror Master was an August figure and the September figures (all fifty of them – crap, what a pricey month) were offered starting yesterday. But Dragon*Con coverage waits for no man. Or toy.
I’ve only become familiar with Mirror Master in the past couple of years, thanks largely to the part he played in “Blackest Night” and that last Flash series before the reboot. I also know the character from his appearances on Justice League Unlimited and Batman: Brave and the Bold. I like the character a lot. Not as much as Captain Cold, but slightly more than Captain Boomerang. And definitely more than Weather Wizard.
I think a large part of why I dig Mirror Master is that his method of evil-doing is the most horrifying of any of Flash’s Rogues (not including Gorilla Grodd, who eats people sometimes). The whole idea of his alternate mirror dimension is just creepy. It’s total Bloody Mary/Candyman stuff. To think of some villainous dude just popping out of the mirror to commit a crime is unsettling.
Also, he has cool-looking guns.
The only thing I don’t quite get is his color scheme. Green and… what is that? Tan? I think New 52 Mirror Master (who we haven’t seen yet as far as I know) should look like this:
Oh, yeah.
First Glance: I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I liked this guy immediately. It’s not like he has some great sculpt or even an outstanding paint job. But something about him is just right. He looks like Mirror Master and I guess has no instantly noticeable flaws – a first for this line. And holsters. I love holsters.
Articulation: Mirror Master has the standard DC Universe Classics articulation.
Head – ball joint
Shoulders – ball joint
Biceps – swivel
Elbows – pivot
Wrists – swivel
Abdomen – pivot
Waist – swivel
Hips – swivel/pivot T-joint
Thighs – swivel
Knees – pivot
Ankles – pivot
I hesitate to say it, as I almost feel like I’m asking for trouble, but Mattel finally seems to have gotten their shit together with regards to the functionality of joints. I can’t remember the last time I got a figure from them with loose or stuck joints. Mirror Master’s are all great and he can hold poses very well.
Conversely, a movie-style Spider-Man I bought the other day had a stuck shoulder joint that caused his arm to break off the second I tried to move it. I returned it. Naturally Walmart did not have another one, but I’m still looking because I really like that costume design. I won’t be buying that goofy fucking Lizard, though.
Sculpt: The base of this figure is the simple male sculpt, but the Four Horsemen did just enough to make Mirror Master look exciting.
He has what I believe are Sinestro Corps forearms, which work very well. They haven’t been used enough to seem familiar or tired. That may seem weird to say when there are so many yellow Corps members, but that’s the point – we’re used to seeing them on those guys. They feel totally fresh here. At the ends of each of those forearms are open-fisted hands, which is a relief. I believe the first version of this figure that was shown had one open and one closed and was immensely stupid.
Here’s the problem, though – as great as it is that both hands are open, this guy can’t hold his fucking guns. But I’m blaming that on the guns themselves, so hang in there.
Aside from the forearms, the other parts that make Mirror Master stand out are his belt, neck piece, and head. The belt is unique and looks like the one in the comics. It has little pegs on the sides for his holsters and is a nice width and design. The neck piece is sort of a scarf or something – I’m not sure. But it matches the comic look and serves to give the figure a lot more character. This is one of those things that could have been flubbed by simply painting it on, so I’ll give Mattel credit for making it a sculpted piece.
The head is fantastic. If there’s one thing that I would say the Horsemen are the absolute masters of, it would be creating expressive faces. Even when characters have an utterly unique look that doesn’t require facial distinction, these guys go the extra mile and put some character in there. Mirror Master has a smug, self-satisfied expression that just works really well. His head gear looks cool and has some nice detail sculpted in rather than just being a plain mask.
Coloring: Mirror Master is fairly basic, but his color combination is interesting enough that the figure is distinctive and cool. If by “distinctive and cool” you mean “looks kind of naked”.
But seriously – His paint does look good. The tan/yellowish portions of the costume have some nice washes to break things up . The head is well done, with all of the facial features detailed and placed correctly. As common as derpy eyes seem to be recently, I don’t think I have a single DCUC figure that suffers from the affliction.
The green portions are all accurate in that the paint stays where it is supposed to – no blots or bleeding – but they don’t have washes like the other parts. It looks okay, but a little bit of highlighting might have been nice.
Flair: Mirror Master comes with two holsters for his guns. These affix to pegs on either hip and they’re awfully big. But I’m okay with that. These aren’t just regular pistols – they’re Mirror Guns. I would expect them to be oversized and for the holsters to match. I like the way it makes the figure seem slightly more exaggerated and comic book-y.
The Mirror Guns fit very snugly into the holsters, but they do fit. The flaps on top fasten down onto little buttons, which are detailed with a bit of metallic green paint – a nice touch. I was concerned that the front portions of the Mirror Guns might come off in the holster due to the snug fit, but it hasn’t happened yet.
Accessories: Mirror Master comes with two Mirror Guns.
I was thrilled to find out those guns have alternate attachments to represent when they’re being activated. They switch out easily and fit securely into the slots on the front ends. The actual sculpting on the guns is fantastic, with tons of lines and detailing. They are very nice to look at.
Color-wise they’re just silver, but a wash would have just muddied them up. I like them the way they are.
The problem with the guns is that Mirror Master can’t really hold them. The grips are too small. I blame it on the guns because Mirror Master’s hands are pre-existing sculpts and the guns should have been designed to fit in them, not vice-versa. This seems like such a stupid problem to have and is doubly irritating because the rest of the figure is done so smartly.
Packaging: It’s a neat little window box. This is a case where the window box works against the product, but it hardly matters since you were either forced to buy this (yes – I know you didn’t have to sign up for the sub, but if you did you had no choice but to buy this guy) or are ordering it in some other online method. Very few people will get to see it in person before they make the purchase. But if they did they might pass because you really can’t tell how neat he is while he’s in the box.
Value: (I realized I don;t know what image to put here. I guess you get the bio.) $23.70 (including shipping) for a six inch scale figure with a lot of shared parts. Not very good.
Overall: It seems like each of these figures is going to have at least one imperfection. I like Mirror Master an awful lot; he might even be my favorite of the DCIE figures thus far. But the fact that his guns don’t fit in his hands is just stupid. I almost wanted to take two points off for it.
4 out of 5
Of course, there are solutions for Mirror Master’s guns. You could use some of the clear rubber bands we all have millions of and either wrap them around his hands to keep the guns in place or possibly even the grips themselves. A dab of rubber cement would probably also do the trick. But the point is you shouldn’t have to do these things.
All in all I do like the figure. If you want a Mirror Master to fill out your Flash Rogues, this is it. You can probably get him from BigBad or eBay, but I bet he’ll be pricey. Well, even pricier than he was in the first place.
-Phantom

3 comments:

  1. Great review! It's funny that you haven't reviewed him until now, because there's barely any reviews of him online. (I don't count video reviews, they just don't appeal to me as much as pictures and text.) That being said, I do prefer your old review system better, but this one's not bad either.

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    1. I agree with you about video reviews. They irritate the crap out of me. Having said that, I'm probably going to be doing some soon. But only for special, big stuff. Not, like, every figure I buy.
      If you don;t mind writing a minor essay, why do you prefer the old way? I don't want to put off my readership, which you probably account for 73 percent of.

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