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DC Signature Collection
by yo go re

Last year when Mattel was trying to scare everybody into subscribing to their toylines, the incentive they offered for "Club Infinite Earths" were two new versions of Doomsday: Tier 1 would be "Doomsday Bound," and Tier 2 would be "Doomsday Unchained." Well, since DC fans are nowhere near as gullible and panicky as MotU fans, they didn't fall for it, and the subscription failed to go through. Luckily for those of us who wanted Doomsday, he was offered at this year's San Diego Comic-Con.

Before his reign of terror on Earth, the Calatons contained Doomsday inside a ship and cast him out among the stars, destined to float in the abyss for all eternity. When the ship crash landed and buried itself beneath the earth's surface, Doomsday laid dormant in his prison suit for a number of years before finally punching his way free. Even with one arm still bound in his suit, Doomsday couldn't be stopped from wreaking havoc and destruction across the countryside as he made his way to Metropolis for the ultimate battle with Superman. But as the battle raged on, the prison suit did not do much to contain Doomsday's insatiable bloodlust or his terrifying determination to destroy everything in his path!

As usual, Mattel really did a bang-up job on their convention exclusive's packaging. The outer box is plain black, with the "bleeding S" logo made famous by the cover of Superman #75 [Rather, the polybag that held the issue, not the actual cover --ed.], while the interior packaging is based on the cover of Man of Steel #18, complete with fissured logo and impact marks molded into the plastic to make it look like Doomsday is really trying to punch his way free. The right side of the box has smoke billowing around a broken brick wall and a belt sign reading "Welcome to Metropolis," while the left side has a broken fire hydrant and other rubble. The tray behind the figure features the Daily Planet building and Superman flying in from above, making it an excellent display for any number of figures!

But it's the figure inside that counts, so let's get to it.

This figure depicts Doomsday in his containment suit. A lot of fans were upset that this was the "Tier 1" figure, but I'm all for it. It's like getting a figure of Joker in a straitjacket - not something you see often, but definitely appropriate. Putting Doomsday in this suit was originally Dan Jurgens' idea: it helped hide the reveal. The head is sculpted with no features other than the red goggles, but there are wrinkles in the rubber to let us know that this isn't a fitted mask, just something stretched over his head.

The base of this sculpt is the Brimstone/Validus BAF body, which means one thing right at the outset: it's the wrong size. Christ, suddenly I'm glad the sub failed. Yes, Doomsday is taller than average people, but he's not the freaking Hulk! Doomsday - the original Doomsday, who this toy represents - stood about one head taller than Superman. Since this figure is 9½" tall, that would require an 8" Superman figure. So he's, what, meant to beat Mego Superman to death? I don't think so. Mattel's last Doomsday was too small, and this one is too big; there's a reason we say they never met an idea they couldn't do wrong.

The figure is more "inspired by" MOS #18 than "based on" it: while he's definitely wrapped up in the kind of thick cables and other devices that bound his body in the comics, their particular design doesn't match the art. There are, however, some similarities to the HeroClix mini, so either it's a big coincidence, the Four Horsemen used that as inspiration, or there's some DC style guide that they're both based on. Whatever the truth, it's a very cool look. Breaking from the comic art really worked out for the best: the restraints look like specific implements meant to hold him, rather than like he was rolling around in telephone wires. There's a bit of a Kirby feel to the shapes, too, giving this Dark Age refugee a tether to the older days.

The back is detailed with even more invented tech, but they did at least remember to include the full-arm shackle that binds him from fist to elbow. Of course, it's just a sculptural element, not a functional piece, because Mattel's typically insufficient articulation doesn't allow him to put his arm behind his back. Like the other uses of this mold, Doomsday has a balljointed head, hinged neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows and torso, swivel wrists and waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees, swivel shins, and hinged/rocker ankles. Okay, that's more joints than other uses of this mold have had, but it's still less than Mattel should be giving their action figures in 2014.

Speaking of Mattel giving less, how is it that Fun Publications, a company that couldn't be any more fly-by-night if their name was Noctural Airlines (slogan: "we are staffed by and exclusively cater to vampires"), can release names and pictures of all 12 figures they'll be selling in their subscription service before the sign-up deadline, but Mattel, the biggest toy company in the world because of Barbie, can only offer info on four figures at most? Is it because they know if they tell people they're making Batzarro instead of Ice, no one would be interested, so they pretend it's some giant secret? Mattel could easily have told us what all the figures in DC Signature Collection Year 3 would have been. Hell, given production times, they probably could have told us what all the figures in DCSC Year 4 would have been! But they played games, DC fans didn't buy it (figuratively or literally), so now all we get is this figure as an SDCC exclusive. We hope Mattel will still find a way to make an "unchained" Doomsday soon, but we also hope it will be a new sculpt that's the right size.

-- 08/21/13

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