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Friday, February 7, 2014

Needless Things Retrospective – DC Signature Collection by The Belligerent Monkey

I am/was a big DC fan since I was a kid. Growing up I sided with DC more than Marvel (just by a bit). I was a Marvel fan too and a big fan/collector of the Marvel Legends line. It was almost perfect timing when Marvel Legends started to wind down and DC Universe Classics (DCUC) started up. I had already started picking up this line when it was the Superman and Batman themed DC Superheroes line. So when I restarted as the DCUC line, I jumped in from the beginning and have almost every figure with the exception of a few 2-packs and any Nu52 figures that I skipped. The line ran for 20 waves plus a ton of exclusives, 2-packs, 5-packs, the Legion of Superheroes collection, etc. It was a great toy line with an insane amount of great figures. When the official line was done and the subscription was announced I signed up right away. I was looking forward to completing some teams and filling in some holes in the collection.
Here’s a look at the 2 years’ worth of subscriptions. Most reviews would include a comment on the value of the figures. I won’t bother since if I was objectively looking at this, none of these figures are worth the cost considering the re-use of pieces, lack of accessories, and missteps of the line. That being said, I did like the line overall and was happy to have subscribed.
Jay Garrick - He’s a fairly simple figure but definitely a needed one. He was a big/obvious hole in the JSA roster. The metallic hat looked good. Definitely a solid start.
Atrocitus - Matty really didn’t want you to forget who you were dealing with and released a figure with an accessory (yeah!) he can’t use (boo!). With all the different Green Lanterns they’ve made and no one thought about the fact he can’t hold his lantern is nuts. The figure looked pretty good but the non-working accessory is pretty annoying.
Metron - The 1st exclusive was a pretty good to very good figure. The chair was solid and nice. He sits on it well. The only complaint I had was that I wished they would’ve sculpted more of the lines of his costume.
Starman VIII - Another simple but solid figure. The stars in the costume look pretty cool up close. Just have to decide if he is displayed with Legion or JSA.
Rocket Red - This was by far the biggest disappointment of the entire subscription (both years) for me. They failed on almost every level in the execution of this figure. I was really looking forward to this when they announced it because I was a huge JLI fan. The look of the character is taken from much more recent comics so I was a little bummed. But the scale was all wrong. He’s basically a guy in armor (like Iron Man) but they made him like a giant (along with visible veins in the muscles in the arms). He should have been wider not taller. No way a standard DCU sculpted character would fit inside that armor and it just looks weird/wrong.
Mirror Master - Another solid figure and another figure off my wish list. I’m a big fan of the Rouges so getting another one was great. His guns and holsters ended up looking really nice. I thought he ended up being one of the better figures in the sub.
Black Mask - He was a meh for me. I wasn’t overly familiar with the comics he was in. I liked the suit ok (which is good because I was going to it a few more times). For the 2nd time in the 1st year Matty gives us another figure that can’t work with his accessories properly.
Poison Ivy - She was a good figure and definitely a must for Batman villains.
Elasti-Girl - One of the better figures in the 2012 batch. She finishes off a team (mostly) and looks good.
Uncle Sam - This was a really nice looking figure, plus it came with Dollman as an accessory. If this line had lasted for another year I would’ve hoped for a Ray, Phantom Lady, or Human Bomb to start the Freedom Fighters. As it is, Sam will have to hang out with the JSA all by himself.
John Constantine – A great figure and a great re-use of the suit body. The loose tie stands out. My only complaint is the cartoony oversized hands. The just don’t seem to be in scale with the rest of the figure. He’s a relatively major character and a great addition to the line. He would hang out with Swamp Thing and Death on the shelf but looks funny due to the other 2 figures poor scaling/size.
Platinum - A good looking sculpt plus we get a separate figure out of the deal. Both are okay but they lack the additional accessories that the other Metal Men have. Tin was great as an add-on but is way too small. He should’ve been at least an inch or 2 taller to fit in with the rest. Speaking of the rest, next up is…
Lead - A great looking figure and another team finished. As a group they really look awesome together. And Lead definitely stands out due to his size.
Saint Walker - Another Green Lantern figure and another meh. I never would have guessed how many Green Lantern figures this line would end up cranking out. The sheer amount is impressive and this is a nice addition to the GL shelf.
Phantom Stranger - A great figure. He’s a character I wanted and fits in well with the Satellite JLA. The shading on the face works and he looks perfect posed in the right way. Definitely a figure deserving to be in the sub.
Elongated Man - Finally! Ralph was way overdue. Unfortunately he came after the awesome Plastic Man figure with lots of nice accessories. So the big hand and magnifying glass were nice but it felt like he should’ve had a couple more things. Overall I was glad to have him, though.
Larfleeze - Yet another Green Lantern figure and one of my favorite new GL characters. Very happy to include him in the GL collection. He was a great sculpt. The only complaint is that his arms aren’t long enough for him to hold his lantern in the way he’s mostly depicted in the comics.
Monsieur Mallah and Brain - This is why I love the DCUC line. They made this and I was able to buy an intelligent monkey who is in love with a robot with a human brain.
Wally West - Wally is my Flash. I vividly remember Barry dying in Crisis on Infinite Earths when I was a kid. I bought Flash #1 when Wally took over and I grew up with him as he grew into the role of Flash. I couldn’t wait for this figure and couldn’t believe he didn’t show up in the previous retail waves. So I was glad to get him unfortunately he was a little plain being that he was a simple repaint.
Red Hood - I wished they had gone with the old version and used the suit body and done the classic look from Killing Joke. He ended up being a pretty good figure but my indifference to the character and design makes it a meh for me.
Captain Marvel, Jr. - Another needed figure. He was fine if not overly exciting. Glad the subscription finishes another team/set.
Fire - As a fan of JLI she is a figure I was definitely waiting for. I always assumed she was on the list and that she’d be in a 2-pack with Ice but unfortunately she was used as bait for next year’s sub. Luckily we’re still getting Ice as a quarterly figure next year. Unfortunately it will be at a premium and I’ll have to fight the infamous white screen of death to get her (Ed. Note – No you won’t. I have a Club Eternia sub – Early Access). Fire looks OK but she’ll look great next to the rest of JLI (except maybe Rocket Red).
Huntress - A needed/wanted figure but I wish they had gone with a more classic version of the character. I always hated the Jim Lee designed belly showing costume. I think the Nu52 costumes prove he’s not the best costume designer. So another mixed bag. It’s a character I really wanted just not the figure I wanted.
Ocean Master - Another solid figure. Aquaman doesn’t have the impressive catalogue of villains so it was good to get this guy to go along with Black Manta. The cowl and cape had a nice sculpt and he definitely belongs in the sub.
Ra’s al Ghul - Another needed/wanted figure. I would say you couldn’t sell an old guy in a suit at retail but the Dark Knight Rises line did it with Ra’s, Alfred, and Jim Gordon. And they helped piece together a working Bat Signal (one of my all-time favorite build-an-accessory). He looks OK. He’s a little more cartoony than I wanted and with a crazy huge sword. But still glad to have him and a must for the Batman shelf.
Batzarro - And the line ends with more of a whimper than a bang. Of all the figures people wanted, I doubt this guy was on very many lists. He’s an OK figure but there are so many other well-deserving characters out there that should’ve been in this spot.
Looking back at it I was glad to get a lot of the figures we did. Sure there were a few skippable characters but overall it accomplished its mission of finishing teams and giving us figures that would never make it to retail. I just try not to think about how much the past 2 years cost me.
Looking ahead I’m glad we’re getting some of the remaining figures over the next year. Ice is a definite must. So are Damien and 90s Aquaman. Superboy is probably a skip for me. The Doomsday is a joke. They advertised it as the most requested figure that finally gets made. Unfortunately it’s a version of the character no one was asking for. That being said, I will still probably pick him up given the chance.
It was a good series but it had run its course. The sculpting was consistent throughout and the huge number of figures make for an impressive display. RIP DCUC!
Belligerent Monkey Website: http://belligerentmonkey.com/

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