Rustin's Spoils of the Week #217

I don't really want to call this a "Mattelocaust," as that incorporates a very loaded word with a generally pretty specific connotation, and while we love to gripe about Mattel's inadequacies... that seems a rotten comparison to make. However, I always put a cataclysmic spin on all these company/brand specific catch-up Spoils' that I do, so one feels the need to continue that trend. We've had Legomageddon, Selectastrophe, NECAttack and, of course, many a Minimapocalypse the ever-living. I spent a good chunk of time on the Thesaurus website trying to find option and nothing flowed well with Mattel's name, particularly the "L" ending, except for "holocaust." And here we are. Diving head long into the first... Mattelocaust.

Mattel - Batman V Superman: Aquaman
Look, you all know me and my love of Aquaman. I couldn't help but pick up a $10 figure of the guy from BvS. He's a passably fine figure, especially for $10. The overall sculpt, and especially the likeness, are a little too soft and cartoony for my tastes, but the wavy hair and textured armor helps. The printed tattoos on the torso are quite cleanly done. He's got swivel joints at the shoulders and hips, hinged knees, balljointed elbows and possibly a balljointed head that's pretty restricted by his hair. He comes with his "signature" Pentadent. Interestingly, the pauldron, torso strap, belt and thigh armor are all a separate piece cast in a softer plastic or rubber but the body's sculpt very specifically carves out space for them and they are fixed in place and non-removable. In some fun re-use, this figure was subsequently re-released in comic colors - both the classic orange and green as well as the 90's silver and two-tone green. I don't think I'd realized how much this costume homages the 90's look until I saw the repainted figure. As a nice touch, each figure's Pentdent is different shade of gold, or yellow, too.

Mattel - Batman Unlimited: Bizarro (12")
Loooooong time readers will recall I have a big old love for Bizarro, so I absolutely had to pick this sucker up! I generally steer clear of the 12" figures, but for $10 - why not? He gets a unique head which is nicely angular and menacing. It's cool to finally see a Bizarro that honors those old "block head" kind of features he had originally. The body is entirely reused from at least Superman if not the rest of the line and has some nice little piping and texture to break it up visually. Like a lot of Mattel's efforts, proportions are an issue, and very much so on this body. The torso is undersized and the legs (particularly the thighs) are way too long. It might work for Bizarro conceptually but I think it's one of those things that really kept this line from taking off - the figures just look weird. Articulation, though, is surprisingly present, with nine points: swivel head and wrists, and balljointed shoulders, elbows and hips. The colors hear are really nice, with off-white skin and dark blues, dark gold and purple. This is just a nice, fun Bizarro figure for the collection - nothing necessarily special but I think were

Mattel - DC Comics Multiverse: "Arkham Origins" Batman Classic TV Series
I got caught up in the Batman '66 hype and this is just a novel variant from the videogame. I think it reuses some tooling, but the boots, gloves and cowl are appropriately "Adam West"-y. It's a fine figure for what it is, but really just something to pick up as a novelty.

Mattel - DC Comics Multiverse: "Arkham Origins" Black Mask
I've got a thing for toys in business suits and they really did make Black Mask look rather cool for the Arkham Origins game. Like the DC Collectibles figure this sculpted in the pinstripes rather than try to paint them, which adds a nice sense of texture to the sculpt. Again, the figure is fine but it's definitely softer and clunkier than what Hasbro was putting out at the same time - Mattel just seems to want to stay one step behind. He comes with a gun and black skull accessory, which can be swapped out with his head - not sure if that's just something "fun" or from the game, but it certainly is an option you have.

Mattel - DC Comics Multiverse: "Batman V Superman" Batman
As I write this Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is three years old and mostly forgotten if not for being a meme (Martha!?), the occasional collectible release, or the sad manchild cries of "release the Snyder Cut" (because somehow a car crash would be better than a train wreck?). But I still bought the figures back in the day because, well, you know me - I'll buy a lot of bullshit out of completionism. Like a lot of Mattel's figures of late, this "pretty good" but also "pretty weak" when compared to what Hasbro was doing in the same scale at the same time. I've never been that big a fan of the Dark Knight Returns costume, and I'm not convinced it works all that well here, but it is nice to see Batman in something not all-black for once, and while they don't make a ton of sense all the wrinkles add a nice bit of character to the sculpt. There is something weird about the head that seems both "off" but also "definitely Ben Affleck." I "love" how the elbows are just hinges that result in big gray rectangles in the gloves/forearms.

Mattel - DC Comics Multiverse: "Batman V Superman" Armored Batman
Again, the misguided love of DKR results in an almost too-accurate adaptation of that comic's armor. If you're a fan of the book I totally get why this is exciting, but Snyder's fetishism of it really just feels like the "toxic masculinity" take on the material - I'm sure he sees Tyler Durden as the hero of Fight Club, for example. The book was good, especially for its time and taking the character to the extreme opposite of (and helping break him free of) Adam West - but 20-30 years later... comics have really come in to their own and don't need to be deconstructed for the masses. But I digress... the sculpt here is fine, but doesn't feel quite bulky enough, and much too monotone. The gun is a nice inclusion, but of course this is Mattel so he can't hold it very well. The kryptonite spear is a HUGE absence here, but I'm guessing it was withheld by the studio for some reason.

Mattel - DC Comics Multiverse: "Batman V Superman" Knightmare Batman
I don't know... I both hate and kinda love this outfit. It feels super dude-bro-y, but also... dammit, it does look cool. I dig it as an Elseworlds/fantastical thing, but it is kind of a confusing thing to buy into narratively/logistically. Mattel gives the guy another soft sculpt and with fairly limited paint so he just ends up looking "cheap" rather than like a "collectors' figure." He does get three batarangs and removable goggles, so you got that going for you.

Mattel - DC Comics Multiverse: "Batman V Superman" Bat Creature
I mean... what the f**k...? Did anyone even remember this thing from the movie, let alone want a toy of it? If I remember correctly, it's like in one or two shots. I get why Mattel might want to do a figure of it... it's something different and unique, but god... what an ugly design. And to have this but not a Doomsday? Or a Commissioner Gordon? Etc? Well, whatever... here we are. All I see when I look at this is a lifeless redesign of Bat-Dracula Gary Oldman. One thing I will say in its favor, though, is that its hooked toes are actually pretty well engineered in that he can both stand on them and hang upside down from them fairly well. But, with dinky little wings what are sculpted closed, there is precious little that can be done with him.

Mattel - DC Comics Multiverse: "Batman V Superman" Superman
This is surprisingly an all-new sculpt as opposed to just a repaint of the Man of Steel figure, thanks to the new belt and boot designs. Shockingly, even though the head is all new as well, the likeness is stunningly far worse! With no accessories or anything, it's really the sculpt and paint that needs to sell the figure - and they are quite good from the neck down, but woof... that head... And while I always prefer plastic to soft goods, this cape is pretty unwieldly. Also, the colors here look nice and bright - but of course Snyder can only see in "dark and gritty," so of course this look is pretty off from what's on screen. So, "thankfully," we later got...

Mattel - DC Comics Multiverse: "Batman V Superman" Superman (TRU)
...this Toys R Us repaint. Here, Supes is in much more screen-accurate dark blue and nearly-brown reds. I do like the lighter blue piping details, which are pretty cleanly done. It's pretty annoying that this was a "later-on" repaint since it's the version that is accurate to the movie, but... well, remember - I'm a sucker, even when I didn't like the movie nor even the figures. Come at me, bro. A lot of times collecting is a compulsion - I know this, hopefully you know this, it's not a secret; it's a struggle we all have. And you know what, sometimes that's the burden of writing toy reviews - I opt to spend the money just for the chance to bitch about it. Anyways, at least they gave us some extra bonuses here - we get a second head repainted with "laser" eyes all red-ed up. Also, very surprisingly, we get new pieces for the build-a-batgun! This is a launched grapple or dart, or something, and is a long clear piece that acts as a jet of air to support the fully extended grapple. Of course, the "air stream" is pretty soft plastic and starts to sag pretty much immediately, but still - it's cool that it's included.

Mattel - DC Comics Multiverse: "Batman V Superman" Lex Luthor
A LOT of people hated Jesse Eisenberg in this role, but I gotta admit I enjoyed him (as much as anything could be enjoyed). Of course he's just doing a slight variation on his Mark Zuckerberg, but I just chalk that lame or misfired premise up more on the writing/directing than on Jesse. Plus, he brought actual energy to the screen, as opposed to all the overly morose other performances (seriously... how is everyone so damn miserable in that world!? What a boring take on superheroes). Buuuut, this is a pretty boring figure. I'm pleased to have him because it's nice to build out the roster on the shelf, but it's very much just "a guy in clothes" - and then you add to that Mattel's constantly soft sculpts... there's just precious little to get excited about here. But... you know... it's just neat to have more characters in the display other than Batman and Superman variants.

Mattel - DC Comics Multiverse: "Batman V Superman" Aquaman
Geez... what a huge disappointment this guy was... They pushed him SO HARD in the marketing and merchandise, only then to have him show up in just like a 30 second, at best, clip where you barely even see him... I mean that alone pretty much takes all the wind out of the "debate" around the casting and the costume design. The figure is surprisingly good, well detailed and cleanly painted, but somehow it reads as too scrawny to be Jason Momoa. Artie comes with his Pentdent and this is the first release with it cast in gold plastic, before there was a running change and it was subsequently cast in a more accurate dark gray. At least we ultimately got a pretty damn fun movie with this guy!

Mattel - DC Comics Multiverse: "Batman V Superman" Wonder Woman
Hands down the best thing about BvS is Wonder Woman so I'm quite pleased to get a figure of her here. The sculpt is, like the rest of the figures, pretty good. Some wonky proportions, questionable articulation, weak likeness but nicely textured armor. She also comes with a sword, which fits in a loop on her "harness" and a pretty rad shield. Sadly, though, her lasso is sculpted on and non-removable. Like the character in the movie, this figure is easily the highlight of that whole first series, if not the entire line - which was a HUGE pain in the ass since the first waves had her packed one per case. Also, this figure is so good it really highlights the hole in the collection left by not having a Doomsday figure for her to battle. But then again... the movie was actually much more about reactionary violence and xenophobia - the "dawn of justice" was clearly just a tacked-off fourth act since they knew they had to make a Justice League movie next and had to make these sworn enemies team-up for it.

Mattel - DC Comics Multiverse: "Batman V Superman" Collect'n'Connect Batman's Grapnel Blaster
The eight figures in the core line all came with pieces to build this... REALLY weird choice of a Collect'N' Connect incentive. It's Batman's grapple gun, which just looks like a thing... not really all that iconic or memorable. Why they did this instead of the all-too-obvious Doomsday is beyond me, let alone something more relevant to the figures, like a Batcave or diorama, or even a Flash figure or who knows what. But this is what they did, and we're left to wonder why Bruce gave his key tactical device a wooden handle. This sculpt is fine and all the pieces fit together seamlessly. The assembled gun fits well in hand and feels like a nice roleplay piece except for the fact that the trigger doesn't move and that the handle is permanently attached to the base... so... this is purely just a display piece, which further begs the cry of "what's the point?" There are two separate darts with articulated arms so you can have them closed or open. They fit in to two holders on the side or plug into a hole on the lower canister of the gun. What fun...

Mattel - DC Comics Multiverse: "Suicide Squad" Batman
This goofy release is a just a filler addition to the line, but at least he does get an alternate head with the re-breather piece on his mouth from those two shots in Harley's flashback. He also comes with three (painted!) batarangs, a canister or bomb, bat-handcuffs and his grappelgun! Really, though, you're getting this for the crucial upper torso piece of the build-a-Croc figure. But for a "forcing you to buy a figure you probably already have" I really to appreciate the alternate, movie-specific head and all the accessories which should have but didn't come with the BvS release!

Mattel - DC Comics Multiverse: "Suicide Squad" Deadshot
Boy, the idea of Will Smith in this role was really cool and exciting - too bad he had to Will Smith it up and make Deadshot a good guy. I dig the movie's take on the on costume and this figure handles it okay, but all that detail we got on the BvS figures is now a distant memory as this figure looks like he's sculpted out of bubble gum. I appreciate that he comes with alternate masked and unmasked heads, but he only comes with a dinky handgun I don't even remember in lieu of his signature sniper rifle - and that is super annoying. He comes with Croc's right arm with wrapped-up wrist (contrary to the cardback, which indicated it'd be unwrapped).

Mattel - DC Comics Multiverse: "Suicide Squad" Harley Quinn (no jacket)
I like Margot Robbie, but boy do I dislike this overly sexualized costume and the bizarre "love him cause he hits me" take on the character and Joker/Harley relationship (so weird, gross, creepy, and shockingly unredeemable to watch). BUT, it is nice to have a character that so many women could get behind (and I hope that's a positive thing, rather than just "she's the only option"). As far as the figure is concerned... I mean at this point you know what I'm going to say - it's okay, but in the world of mass market 6" collector figures this is another of Mattel's minimal-effort sculpts. At least the figure kind of does look like Robbie. They released two versions of this outfit, this one, and then one wearing her red coat - but being Mattel is was really convoluted on when and where she was released.

Mattel - DC Comics Multiverse: "Suicide Squad" The Joker (night club)
Oh yeah, I mean - of course I hated Ayer & Leto's take on the Joker. But... again, compulsive completist here! Plus, I did want Croc. This is from the flashback to the nightclub in which Joker just shows off how bad of a person he is to Harley and just... yeah, I mean this Joker is so devoid of everything that makes Joker a compelling villain and it's done so in a way that seems to glorify the real-world shittiness of these kinds of guys while simultaneously making it wholly implausible for such a guy to (a) have any clout or gang and (b) not to have been "taken out" by a rival early on. But... what're ya gonna do? He comes with a purple knife and gun, plus the exclusive coat arms for Croc should you want the CnC figure fully clothed.

Mattel - DC Comics Multiverse: "The Flash TV Series" Flash
I put off watching The Flash for over a year because everything I'd heard about Arrow indicated that I would genuinely hate that show, but I had so many people recommend it that by the time it hit Netflix I gave it a shot. The first half of the season had some surprisingly good stuff mixed in with all of the godawful teenage angst that defines the CW, but the back half really started to pick up and things overall got surprisingly cool. Barry's sculpt here is pretty good, all things considered, and aside from my usual Mattel gripes, my only issue is that the lack of a mid-torso joint REALLY hinders the run poses that are possible. The figure was initially released like this, with the first season's red-backed chest emblem, but was later changed to have the second season's white-backed emblem. Since the first season was the one I bonded with I made sure to get that version. Flash also comes with the upper torso and head of some dumb New 52 batbot garbage that was this series' CnC figure.

Mattel - DC Comics Multiverse: "The Flash TV Series" Reverse Flash
Reverse Flash has always been one of the goofiest of all comic book villains (shout out to that awesome DCD figure though) but one of the surprising things about the show is that they made the character interesting and cool! So, likewise, I made sure to pick this sucker up! Like the show's costume, this figure is mostly a reuse of the Flash's sculpt, but with a new torso and new head. Both are nice but again a mid-torso joint is missed, and the likeness doesn't seem very good here (but maybe that's intentional given the nature of the character). Barry got a nice dark red wash to bring out the details in his sculpt and I feel like a similar thing is desperately need here on the yellow since it's so bright a lot the details, especially on the head, get lost - but it is Mattel after all... it's kind of remarkable they even brought the line back, let alone made these figures.

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