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DC Universe Classics
by yo go re

Do you like it when a toy company releases a new, updated version of a character they've done before, or are you angry that you spent your money on the first one? Think about it while you read this review.

A force to be reckoned with, Darkseid rules his fascist empire with an iron fist, forcing his impoverished masses to labor ceaselessly in the construction of enormous edifices in his honor. However, he believes that his ultimate goal can only be achieved through the solving of the Anti-Life Equation, a mathematical equation that, when solved, will grant him absolute control over the free will of every being in the universe. All those underneath his heel know that Darkseid is power. Darkseid is unforgiving. Darkseid Is.

In his review of Steppenwolf, Rustin said how goofy it was to think of Darkseid as having parents. Why? Lots of gods have parents. In fact, in every religion that has a pantheon, most of those deities are related to one another. And hell, Darkseid has kids of his own, so why is an uncle the only strange thing?

There have been dozens of Supermen and Batmen in Mattel's various lines, but Darkseid is only the second villain to legitimately get more than one figure in the seven years they've had the DC license - he originally appeared in Series 4 of DC Superheroes, and while that figure was okay for its time, there was definitely room for improvement. This Darkseid is split into seven pieces, available with the various figures of DCUC12 (minus Desaad): head, arms, torso, crotch and legs. Once the pieces are together, they're together for good. Don't be an idiot and try to pry them apart.

Darkseid is an impressive 8½" tall, which is really nice: it may be a skosh larger than necessary, but not to a degree worth complaining about. He towers over Superman, which is what he really needs. He should be physically imposing, and he is. He's got the usual DC Universe articulation layout, with the advantage of normal swivel/hinge ball hips, rather than the H-hips Mattel typially uses (to no real gain). He's the same size as the DC Direct Superman/Batman Darkseid, which effectively renders that figure superfluous.

The Four Horsemen's design for Darkseid is fundamentally unchanged from their last figure. The proportions and pose and slightly different (DCSH Darkseid was thrusting his chest out, while DCUC Darkseid is more natural), but almost everything else is a direct match, right down to the seams on his gloves. It's possible - nay, likely - that they're working from an officially approved DC Comics licensor model sheet, which is why something that inconsequential has remained the same between releases four years apart. A lot of the cracks on his skin are even the same, too! The stony nature of Darkseid's body has been toned down, however, which is a bit of a shame - that was one of our favorite things about the old one! He's got less cracks and crags, now.

The head has been reworked, so it looks much more like classic Jack Kirby art than the previous version. It's rounder, overall, and he's wearing his head-sock differently, with the edge running below his chin rather than over it. It's no secret that Kirby based his characters on real people (as artists often do), but it may surprise you to learn that the famous face behind Darkseid was actually renowned tough bastard Jack Palance. It's not immediately obvious, but once you see it, it'll be in your head forever.

Darkseid is the rare BAF that gets accessories. Clipped to the back of his belt, you'll find a removable Mother Box. It's a different design than the last one, more square, and is sculpted with all sorts of useless knobs and buttons. It's painted silver, with blue and red accents. He's also got the Infinity Gauntlet his Killing Glove, a device crafted by Desaad that he wore to kill Izaya Highfather's wife, framing Steppenwolf for the murder and kicking off the war between Apokolips and New Genesis. The right wrist is a large balljoint, allowing you to swap the Killing Glove for his more normal hand with no trouble.

The detailing on the glove is really impressive, making it look like a real device constructed from various materials: metal plates, cloth fingers, rubber around the wrist, all sorts of tubes and wiring, etc. It's mostly painted gold, but has silver and copper elements and a single blue disc in the palm. It's a very Kirbyish design, and it's been done really well.

When it was revealed that Darkseid would be the Series 12 BAF, a lot of folks thought there was no need for him, that the DCSH version was good enough. Getting him assembled, though, this is a lot different from the old one, and looks much more like Kirby's original character. For action figure fans, this is now the best Darkseid toy that's ever been made.

Eclipso | The Spectre | Copperhead | Doctor Mid-Nite | Mary Batson | Iron

-- 08/06/10

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