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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Review: DCUC Martian Manhunter and Raven

Yay! I mentioned it a few episodes ago on Lantern Corpsner and my power to make wishes a reality like that little kid in the episode 'It's a good Life' on the Twilight Zone, once again manifested itself at just the right time and DCUC 15 finally showed up!
I can't lie: I got overexcited and opened J'onn in the car before taking any pictures

I've been haunting our local Kmart for the past few weeks in hope of finding this wave and in a rare act of distribution competency Mattel managed to make these appear in our area. I mentioned wanting Martian Manhunter specifically on the show a few weeks ago so I was lucky to grab both him and Raven a few days ago, using the $5 off coupon circulating at the moment (this was before I was aware of the sale that let me complete the rest of Validus yesterday for a mere $2.92 a figure). So you knew it'd come to this at some point: an actual review. I'm not going to lie, I'm not the world's best photographer but maybe I can make up for the less than satisfactory quality of the pictures with the odd dick joke here and there




I have to say that the Horseman really knocked these two out of the park. They've captured the look of J'onn better than any other figure I've seen, including the much lauded original DC Direct figure. No faint praise considering that version is, almost a decade later, still considered one of the best figures to come out of the house that Georg built. From the arch of beetle-brow to tips of his buccaneer boots there's no problems to be had with the aesthetic of this figure at all.

Well, maybe one problem.

Apparently there was a mix-up at the factory with Mr. J'onzz's biceps. Some are coming with the intended large biceps, some with smaller biceps and some with a mix of the two. When buying J'onn originally I was only aware of the mixed sizes and ended up getting one with the pair of small biceps. Hence the gorgeous pictorial above. See? Educational as well as funny! The easiest way to spot the correct large ones is that they have veins so keep that in mind when you're trying to differentiate them without multiple Martians to compare.

Honestly, the small biceps don't bug me as much as the idea of the small biceps does. If the internet had left me unaware of the problem, I would have never noticed otherwise. The problem is repeated with Jemm though honestly I don't know how ripped he needs to look anyway. In fact, I suspect he was intended to have the smaller biceps in the first place. Since him and J'onn are based off the same buck, I think the small arms were meant to help set the two apart and the factory got confused with two sets of arms on similar figures. As it stands, Hawkman is more ripped then J'onn. I suspect Carter's arms are actually meant to be shared by him though. I don't have a large bicep from these to take that from, it's merely a guess. I've also heard of the ball shoulders having slight variations in that some are veined and some are not.
I promise he's not actually these colors, my novice photos just make him look that way

Anyway, J'onn here's been a long time coming and they really knocked him out of the park. His costume is translated beautifully and he's got a great head sculpt. It's just the right mix of pissed-off while still seeming approachable. He could be glowering at some criminals robbing the local orphanage or just beginning to smile since the poor schmucks have no clue what they're in for. Another good thing to point out is that in a tender mercy, he's in scale. This is something DCUC struggles with sometimes (The Teen Titans and their zany heights come to mind) so it's good to see that J'onn is appropriately taller than his Justice League brethren. That comes courtesy of his big boots though some have said they've given the illusion of overly long calves.

Her cape's the only thing in this wave taller than J'onn

Raven fares just as well. In fact, she's a front runner for best female figure in the whole line so far. Only poor, peg warming Powergirl comes close to the quality shown here. Raven (who I desperately wish had a "real" name so I could refer to her by something else) has some beautifully expressive hands at the tip of the normally very thin DCUC female arms. While I wish there was a little more variation in the females as far as sculpt goes, if all of them were more like my favorite Teen Titan here, I'd have little to complain about. There's a beautiful face underneath that hood, and I'd love to see a non-cowled version in the future (I love me some goofy variants; plus maybe they can pack her with a decent attempt at Starfire). Her simple costume came out great and I'm glad to see that they totally splurged on her cape which they'll never get another use out of again, excluding 'White Raven'.

Paint/Quality Control:
Wow, this is an excellent pair of figures for this. Our favorite Martian detective is mostly cast in his green color but any paint lines are clear and for once there's no slop. Raven fares just as well with the fine details of her face coming off just as great as the mostly painted details of her costume. Even her gloves, with the exposed thumb and finger, look great. You may have to look through a few but there are not many problems to find here. Great colors and fine, fine details for the two of them making them both stand out as great figures on your shelf. No stuck joints and a full range of motion make these two pretty much perfect as far as quality control goes though J'onn has a slight, slight bend to his right arm. Bicep confusion aside these two turned out great in a small showing of mercy after the wave 13 goofs. I know, it seems like we're Indiana Jones robbing that Fertility Idol at the beginning of 'Raiders', but the giant ball hasn't started to roll down to crush us yet. That comes with the other figures in the wave!
J'onn's huge brows are so well done, they're too much for me to photograph well

It's hard to find an angle that Raven doesn't look great from

There's not anything new here though both of these guys have pretty much all the range of motion you could want:
-Ball-jointed necks and shoulders
-Cut elbows, knees and ankles
-Swivel waists, biceps, wrists and thighs
-Ab crunch
They look great together, so much that I really want a comic where they team up now
Even with her thin (or is delicate more polite?) arms, Raven's got great motion and both of them have tight joints so they have no trouble holding poses.

Of all the figures in this wave, these are the two you can't go wrong with. Admittedly I put them together because they're who I happened to buy first but it doesn't hurt that they're both highly desired characters that have finally made it into the line. Though the Teen Titans barely match each other scale-wise, Raven can at least hang out with Cyborg (likely still hanging out at your local Target for those who missed him) and I'm praying they get around to a redo of Starfire. Martian Manhunter is the figure to help finish out the Justice League and though we still need Perez Zatanna and Elongated Man, J'onn's a big mark in the win corner for those who've been waiting. Points go to his bio for reminding me of a power I'd forgotten he'd had in the form of 'Martian Vision'. It's funny seeing them all laid out, it really leads credence to that bit in 'JLA: Earth-2' where J'onn smacks up Ultraman around Washington D.C., telling him he's got all the powers of Superman plus telepathy.

Raven gets a leg and J'onn here gets a severed, screaming head plus a disembodied crotch. I can't wait to buy a ton of MM for Toys for Tots, no joke.

They both come with parts of Validus, making the Jim Shooter villain the line's first Legion of Superheroes character. Also they come with buttons but Raven's is the first in a long time to have a decent image on it (art by George Perez doesn't hurt that's for sure). They're showing up at Kmart first so check there especially in light of the sale running through Sunday (and the coupon found here). While you're there, why not pick up Sinestro Corps Batman and Golden Pharaoh so we can preemptively keep them from clogging shelves from now until wave 18? I swear that Batman must be 3 or 4 to a case since I counted around 20 at my first discovery of this wave (to 7 Golden Pharaohs, 2 Ravens, 2 J'onns, 1 OMAC, 1 Jemm, and 6 Jack Knights). Remember, you need him since he's got the Validus torso!

Gy-gor's reenacting the ultimate fate of Morgan Katarn, not Hamlet

Stay tuned as I'll get to the others soon (though maybe I won't be so fast to get to OMAC and SC Batman). For now, look for these as they're definitely the best of the wave!

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