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DC Superheroes
by yo go re

Hey, DC Direct: school's out.

He's the monster that killed Superman, Doomsday an alien experiment gone horribly awry. He has no name save the one given to him by Booster Gold after he tore through the Justice League: "Doomsday." Capable of surviving without food, without water, without air, Doomsday's unique physiology adapts quickly to protect him from harm - and he can't be killed the same way twice. He gets better every time he comes back, and the same seems to hold true for his toys.

DCD made their version of Doomsday in 2003, and he was nice for the time. Just nice. Not great. Of course, with no one competing against them, DCD's Doomsday was the best we could hope to get. Now, however, Mattel has stepped up and given us a hint of what could be.

Part of DC Superheroes Series 2, this Doomsday is a Four Horsemen creation - which is a fancy way of sayin' he looks great. The DCD figure was nicely sculpted and all, but he seemed rather... straightforward. I mean, come on! This is a genetically modified superalien who was forced through eons' worth of artificial evolution to become what he is today - what part of that says he shouldn't be a bit crazy? Well now he is.

The Horsemen didn't really change anything about the design - this is still the same grey monster fans know - but the proportions are different. Mainly it's the torso, which is now massively wide and inhuman. His protruding bones are all done really well, with a slight calcified texture on the surface. They're balanced without being symmetrical, so they really look organic. There are spots where Doomsday's skin is rough and wrinkled, and the tattered remains of his green suit are done well, even if they do still look like bike shorts.

The area in which DCD's Doomsday really faltered was the articulation: he had the standard nine points of articulation that so many DC figures have, and a lot of the range was cut down by his bones. Mattel's version, on the other hand, could kick that Doomsy's ass: he moves at the ankles, boots, knees, hips (post-balljoints, like those we first saw in Marvel Legends 4), waist, torso, wrists, elbows, biceps and head. Again, the bones block the motion on the shoulder balljoints, but since these have a wider range to begin with, they're still better.

Doomsday's bones are mostly soft rubber, thanks to safety regulations. Basically, if it's flat and hugs the body, it's sculpted on; if it sticks out, it's rubber. Heck, even his face is the soft stuff - it pulls back to reveal the creepiest little noggin underneath. Again, the Horsemen did a wonderful job with his bone-beard, his bone-teeth and the little spurs over his eyes. Heck, they even corrected something that DCD did wrong: the big spurs on his arms now come out of his elbows, as they should, not out of his forearms like DCD's did. Nice!

DCSH Doomsday does have one glaring problem, and it's one of Mattel's chronic faults: he's too darn small! The figure is only about 6¾" tall, and you can tell from looking at him that he was supposed to be larger - he's got a little tiny pinhead, showing that he's been scaled down all over. Right now, this is Mattel's most annoying habit: they've got this odd obsession about making sure that no character is bigger than the hero of the line, and they make all their figures (more or less) the same size. It was like this with He-Man and it was like this with the Batman line. ToyBiz knew that Sasquatch and Wolverine needed to be different sizes, but Mattel has made Doomsday and Supergirl nearly the same, and that's not right.

Doomsday has no accessories, but he does come with a reprint of Man of Steel #19, which features the first fight between Doomsy and Superman. That's a pretty landmark choice, showing off Doomsday's savagery (among other things, he punches Supergirl in the face so hard that her head literally turns into a puddle of goo) but it also underscores the size problem - right there in the story, you can see that Doomsday is supposed to be about a head taller than Kal-El, not the same size.

DC Superheroes Doomsday isn't a perfect figure, but it is really damn good and definitely worth buying. For a company that used to get schooled at every turn, Mattel has really pulled out the stops to make this a great line. Way to go, guys!

-- 05/31/06

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