DC Multiverse is Mattel’s new collector focused 4 inch line of action figures. The line will pull from all versions of the DC Universe over time, focusing on comics, movies, games and more. Wave 1 is trickling out now and has an Arkham Video Game theme showcasing both heroes and villains in their game styled suits. Included this round is Batman, Armored Batman, Azrael, Bane, Deadshot and Mr. Freeze. So, how does Mattel’s new adult focused line stack up to industry standards that have come before it? Read on to see our thoughts and over 90 shots of the wave 1 figures courtesy of site sponsor Entertainment Earth!
DC Comics Multiverse is a change in gears for Mattel. They’ve been trying to find footing with their DC license over the last couple years, slowly phasing out DC Universe Classics which ran for a long while. Their movie figures for Batman, Green Lantern and Superman have been hit or miss with collectors (with a lot of miss). That being said – their kid friendly Batman, Justice League, and recently released Total Heroes seem to be doing well for their goal. DC Comics Multiverse is their jump into the 3.75 / 4 Inch arena which is dominated by Marvel Universe, G.I. Joe and Star Wars. Each with their own kiddie and adult focused versions. Those are some big opponents in the ring. What stands out here, at least from initial hype at the conventions and even branding on the packaging, is that these are aimed at an “Adult Collector”. Mass retail, reasonably priced, adult collectibles based on the DC Universe? Sounds too good to be true. Let’s find out.
First off, I am more of a DC guy than Marvel, so I want these to work. I also collect modern G.I. Joe, so I compare all 3.75/4 inch figures to that standard. And that’s where we get into trouble I think…
Paint on all the figures is well done. Lines are clean, not much overspray, lots of fine detail. The Armored Batman is superb with it’s metallic finish. None really call out for more, so that’s on point.
In this wave, we are all over the place. Figures like Mr. Freeze and Azrael are pretty well done sculpt wise. Bane and Deadshot follow closely. The figures you want to be bad ass, to set the tone for this new line that has the potential to run for a while and fill up a shelf or 5 – aka the Batm(e)n – not so good. Something about the sculpt is just off IMO. Very broad shoulders and chest, making the head and legs tiny looking in comparison. Cartoonish in nature. Couple that with an oddly sculpted head with a triangle-ish cut, and it’s just an odd look. “But this is a video game representation” you say. Doesn’t matter. New series, wave 1, Batman – needs to rock. And it doesn’t. It looks like a kids figure with some extra joints. What the hell am I asking for in a 4 inch 10 dollar figure? Take the DC Collectibles Arkham Origins Batman, shrink it to 4 inches, done. With some Mattel flavor, that’s fine. But yeah, basically that.
These figures feature more articulation than some of the recent 4 inch offerings from Mattel has put out. But, again, I collect modern G.I. Joe figures and have interacted with a good chunk of the Marvel Universe figs, even if I don’t full on collect them. Articulation wise, these do not hold their own.
We have neck movement, not full range, mostly left/right. None have chest or torso or movement of any kind. Arms have shoulder, elbow and swivel wrists. Range differs per fig, but you basically have out and forward with an elbow bend. Not a lot of posing options there. Waists – most swivel above the belt, Mr. Freeze doesn’t have any. Legs – We have a t-crotch with outward movement so you can get some altered stances from the default straight-up pose. Swivel in the upper thigh allows for some forward stances. Single joint knee bends. No ankle articulation at all.
This is what really bums me out. To me, this is not “adult collector” level. This is what kids got 5/7/10 years ago. Yes, things are more expensive now, cost of oil, aiming for the $10 buck price point, etc etc. But that doesn’t mean that this is now an offering for adults. Maybe I’ve been spoiled from PoC forward level G.I. Joe figures, but bottom line, if you aren’t getting close to “Ultimate Wave” G.I. Joe’s from last year’s Retaliation, then you aren’t focusing on adults. That’s bare minimum at this point for adult 4 inch IMO. If Mattel was marketing these as the “Deluxe 4 Inch” figures of a multi-demographic mass retail line, I wouldn’t say jack about it. But as the go-to level of articulation for a hopefully long running adult line, not up to par. If they need to be more expensive, so be it.
Now that I’ve got my bitching out of the way, I do have to say that I think the line has promise. I don’t set up dios or “play” with these figures. Once I pose them on a shelf, usually shoulder to shoulder, they are statues. But, I do like the ability to get these guys tucked in to a tight space without looking like bricks, hence why I want more articulation. But, for wave 1 and pulling the styling from a video game rather than classic representations, these aren’t that bad. Whether or not you like these video game looks is a personal choice. I think if this goes long term, and we get an increase in articulation a bit over time, wave 1 will work fine as shelf filler.
Wave 2 is pretty bad ass, seen at NYCC last October. Those will most likely have similar articulation, but the character choice and sculpting is what sells it. We get movie versions of Batman and Superman – Keaton Bats, DeVito Penguin, Pfeiffer Catwoman, Reeves Superman and 80s Movie Zod. I’d buy those with no articulation looking like that.
The key to me sticking with DC Multiverse is what comes after that. And, whether or not Mattel hints at or executes additional articulation. If they don’t then DCM won’t be something I’ll stick with. I’ll just buy random figures if they nail it like the movie wave. Right now we have what I think of as kids figures with extra paint and an extra joint or two. Not something I need or want at this point in my collecting adventures.
I suggest you pick one or two up yourself and play around, judge for yourself. Check out over 90 shots of wave 1 below before you do!