WonderCon Anaheim 2013 came and went in the final weekend of March and I was just barely able to slip in a day there at the end of a busy travel schedule for the ol' day job. I did a reasonably good job staying on target and while I did go over my spending budget, I did so less significantly than at past conventions. There were plenty of good things on hand, and I very, very easily could have spent twice as much but I was trying hard to be responsible. When faced with such things as $10 DCUC figures and un-had Playmates Trek figures, though, one is powerless against the savings.
DC Direct - Batman Arkham City: Mr. Freeze
Mr. Freeze is a toss up for my favorite DC character (with Aquaman) so I was pretty excited when it was revealed he'd be turning up in Arkham City and especially when DCD, unveiled a figure of him. What's not exciting though? Clinically insane pricing. $50. Fifty Dollars. I just... there are literally no words... well anyway, I found only one of him at the entire show and shockingly the seller wanted "only" $30 for him! Still more than he's worth, by at least a third, but far better than SRP. The sculpt and the paint, particularly on the head create a shockingly realistic blend of cold blue and beige-ish skin. The visor was most likely designed to be inserted in construction of the figure and is thus very difficult to get in place (and is likely just as hard to get out). He gets 11 points of articulation; the hips are pretty tight and he gets swivel ankles but not wrists. Add to that his freeze-gun and a stand (too narrow for his gait) and you get what would be a pretty cool figure in the regular line but a literal affront to collectors in its "deluxe" state.
DC Direct - Blackest Night: John Stewart & Atrocitus
Technically a New York Comic Con exclusive Graphitti fortunately, and unsurprisingly, had enough left over and were able to bring it out to WonderCon. Both figures are quite nice considering the scale, though articulation is limited at most joints (it's like 3.75" sized Marvel Legends) but the paint is pretty good. I love the metallic colors but for some reason John gets green glitter on the blacks of his costume. Both get very cool, translucent constructs which are unfortunately a little hard to hold as a result of articulation on John and hand sculpt on Atrocitus. Still a nice set and a welcome addition, though the $30 (plus tax - THANKS, Graphitti) is chiefly palatable due to the perceived rarity of the "convention exclusivity."
DC Direct - Blackest Night: Guy Gardner & Larfleeze
A "WonderCon Anaheim" exclusive, though it lacks the branding of such on the package, this is another great addition to line and possibly the best of the series. That's likely due to how unique looking both figures are. Both follow suit in terms of very nice sculpts and paint, especially considering the scale. Guy's baseball bat construct may be my favorite GL construct yet produced, though he cannot hold it with both hands, alas. I quite dig the Glomulus construct for Larfleeze, but if ever there was a Lantern figure that needed a Lantern accessory, it is him. Still a great set, and I do hope that DCD & Graphitti continue the line.
Mattel - DC Universe Classics: Reverse Flash
Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn... I'm sorry was there something I was supposed to be doing? I'm sitting on a plane right now typing while en route to a layover on my way home from business-travel. My right earbud has died so I'm listening to music only through the left which is a tad disorienting. When I land I think I'll get some lunch - that's a good plan since it'll be a long, cross-country second flight. Oh - Zoom. Here at the end of DCUC this figure of such an uninspired and gaudy costume feels little more than an after-thought rather than a needed character and though he gets an accessory, albeit a goofy looking one, I'm made quite happy to have the far more appealing DCD version of the character.
Mattel - DC Universe Classics: Sinestro
Despite this character/costume being my third favorite from DC (and possibly from all of comics) I wasn't too thrilled about the release. It feels like a wasted slot in the line-up, but I guess it's fine to get another Sinestro Corps Sinestro since it's the "chalking" of the blacks rather than the scale that's been bothering me on the original. He uses legs which that are incongruously detailed and really, really should have had double-jointed elbows and knees to make him more worthwhile. Lamentably he also uses the same head as before and worst of all, his collar is just a little loop which hovers over his neck as a result of being glued in place at the nape. Aside from the included B.A.F. piece I just can't get excited for or recommend this release, alas.
Mattel - DC Universe All-Stars: Superboy Prime
I've grown to really dig the look of this design which adds on Anti-Monitor armor to the familiar Superman costume. Moreover, I like that it could easily be repainted into a cool Sinestro Corps costume, not unlike Cyborg Superman. Well... it could have been if the "S" hadn't been sculpted on! Way to go, dorks - the only logical reason to make this guy is for the repaint potential. Plus, Super BOY is made using the Super MAN body so he feels oddly out of scale. It's just a poor execution, which I guess is my fault for not expecting that from Mattel after all this time.
NECA - Marvel: Captain America
Let the 18" revolution begin! With exception of the various Predators NECA had gone a little quiet on the quarter scale in the last few years but with the release of this guy we really see a renaissance of sorts with NECA's signature scale and I'm quite looking forward to it. This figure will make you lament of Hasbro and DST's limited offerings and own aesthetic styles - it is as accurate and ideal a figure as possible. Imagine the general greatness of NECA's figures of late and you know what to expect here. I will, though, point out that the joints (particularly the hips) have a surprisingly limited range of motion but the neck, shoulders, elbows and wrists work great. For the $80 price tag, though, I'm disappointed by the paint, which is equal to their other efforts so on the large size the mask lines and paint bubbles are more of a detriment - but while there are many inconsistencies that make me upset considering the price I paid I must confess that they aren't that noticeable more than a foot away from the figure and are thus acceptable. Despite those small paint issues and the limited motion this is everything I hoped for (if only they could have done the WW2 costume rather than the silly Avengers one) and I simply cannot wait for the impending releases in this scale!
Playmates - Star Trek: "The Tholian Web"
While the aesthetic of the line has always left something to be desired I'm none-the-less a big fan of Playmates' original take on the Star Trek Universe and am fairly close to the much fabled "complete collection" status. This set was a particularly tough sell as it only offers a repaint of Environment Suit Kirk as the only incentive. It's a neat little thing, cast in translucent blue plastic to give the illusion of Kirk phasing in and out of their dimension. Other than that though, there is little reason to get this set. It does come with this line's traditional black base (with sticker-art) and cut-out backdrop. One plus is that they later released a Spock in Environment Suit as a ToyFare exclusive, so adding him in to the diorama helps pad out the episode-specific theme.
Playmates - Star Trek: "The Corbomite Maneuver"
Here we get not one but three unique figures! Kirk is just a repaint of his original release but here has the gold belt used in some episodes as a "gun belt" for phasers (I think this may be the only collectible made that sports that bit of costuming). The real draw here though is Balok and his puppet. The Screaming-Man-esque puppet is a signature creature from the show mainly thanks to its featured appearance in the end credits slide show. Here it is an immobile piece that actually has a "plug" in the bottom that includes a peghole for the three-pegged base - pretty neat. Balok himself is little more than a sloppily painted PVC figurine, but it's an official toy of Clint Howard, so who cares!? With the inclusion of two non-moving characters this may not be the most appealing set in the multi-packs but those two characters are signatures of The Original Series and have little to no collectibles in any other line. Add to that the slightly unique Kirk and this certainly works out to be one of the more exciting releases!
Universal Studios - Oblivion: Bubble Ship
The only "freebie" to speak of at WonderCon was this nifty little "build your own" Bubble Ship. It came in a little plastic sleeve holding a sheet of instructions and a folded piece of thin foam-core board from which the individual elements are popped out from. Despite some very thin gaps the pieces popped out easily and with no breakage or unintentional bending. The underside images on one side of the folded foam-core were printed off-alignment with those on top, but it's the underside so "no big whoop," as the old folks say. The Bubble Ship is certainly one of the more iconic looking vehicles of modern sci-fi so I'm pleased to have a small version of it, though this does highlight how very toyetic said design is and now I'm wishing there was a 3¾" line for the film.