after a short wait that seemed like an eternity, Mattel is back with DC Unlimited Classics series 2, the Grodd wave. After series 1 exceeded expectations, I was ready to be slightly let down by the sophomore offerings. Boy was I mistaken. This wave surpasses series 1 on every level, and that's saying something. It doesn't hurt that character selection is very strong here, and overall paint, joint quality and stability, and even accesories are superior, even if only slightly in some instances. In terms of the current offerings available out there, it would be unfair to simply say that Mattel has raised the bar with these - There no longer is any bar, and Mattel is now only competing with themselves. They're that good. Looking ahead, series 3 looks like the gas pedal is pushed to the floor, and we can only think and dream of what we might see come Comicon. Without any further delay, here's series 2!
The Classics Firestorm is shipping first, with the modern version coming later as a running change. As first shown here at AFT, this figure sports the newer, redesigned headsculpt fans clamored for. An almost entirely new figure sculpt, he also includes those cool nuclear-molecure wrist attachments. Firestorm fans, you will not be dissapointed.
We've already gotten a good look at Superman Blue, so let's take a close look at the more tempermental Red version. This versin, as expected, is identical to the Blue version, except that Mattel went the extra mile to do a new headsculpt. The paint is very clean, with crisp lines differentiating between the white and red areas. Both versions include the same collect & connect piece.
Arthur Curry has never looked so good. Although there isn't a weak figure in this set, Aquaman is my personal favorite. Fron the regal Four Horsemen sculpt, to the brushed sclaes on his torso, this is the classic Aquaman we've always wanted. He can do some really nice swimming poses, so if I had one (very) minor wish, it would be that he had hole in his back for a clear stand so that he could "float". His trident is intricate and worthy of the King of Atlantis. If you only get one figure from this wave (heathen!), then Aquaman is the one you don't want to miss.
...which brings me to my next favorite figure in the wave, Black Manta! The Arch-enemy of Aquaman just oozes coolness. As a child of the 70's, who didn't want a Black Manta to do battle qith aquaman, after watching episodes of the Super-Friends?! Manta includes a very nasty looking trident and some sort of future-underwater-Atlantian-technology pistol. Even with the hoses, his helmet still has a nice range of movement. Black Manta is one of the most stiking figures out this year.
Dr. Quinzel is best known for her strong impact on the Batman aAnimated Series, but she was such a cool character that she branched out on her own into the comics world as well. While she shares some parts from previous Mattel females, she feels all-new. She includes her giant wooden Mallet (no doubt inpired by the Joker's own), and a "pop" gun, which I'm guessing is more deadly that one would be led to believe. She's so well done that it makes me want an all-new, super poseable Joker for later on in the line. I would not be surprised if she is the first to dissapear from store shelves.
Gorilla Grodd (Collect & Connect)
Wow. Your free bonus for buying this entire wave (as if the toys weren't amazing on their own) is a fully articulated in-scale Gorilla Grodd. The super intelligent simian includes a cranial harness with attached hoses that clip on to his bulging biceps. The helmet is not removeable. Grodd stands almost 8 1/4 inches tall, which means he is perfectly in scale with this line. He is painted to perfection, and the gray brushing is done with a nice subtlety and precision. Everythng blends as it should. In paint jobs like these, it's easy for the factory to get a bit heavy-handed with the paint, but here it's used sparingly and to perfection. He's easily be best Grodd ever done, and that begs the next logical question: Where's my Flash, darnit!!??
A huge thanks to the guys at Mattel, and to you, the readers, who make it fun for me to write about these great toys.