Review: DC Universe Classics The Flash
It's fairly common practice when producing a big line to hold off on important or popular figures, so the later waves aren't ignored as unimportant. Presumably, this is the reason Mattel waited until now to put out a DC Universe Classics version of The Flash, one of the founding members of the Justice League.
For those of you familiar with the character, this is the Barry Allan version, not that there's much notable difference between him and his successor, Wally West.
This line includes a number of other figures, including a Kid Flash. Like earlier waves, if you buy them all, you get the pieces for a larger action figure; in this case, Atom Smasher. Just be aware this is a bigger wave: you'll need to pick up seven figures to get the eighth free.
Flash is good figure, all things considered, but he's just short of great. While a lot was done right here, the use of red plastic rather than paint takes a toll on his score. This is an understandable decision, at least from a economic standpoint: I don't know how much it costs to paint a figure red, but I'll bet it's more expensive than just using red plastic. On top of that, there's a danger too much paint can cause problems with the joints... as we saw with Green Lantern.
I imagine it must be frustrating for Mattel's designers - having to choose between appearance and practicality - and they might have made the right choice. However, the effect is decidedly less impressive than it could have been. Paint, when applied well, can give the impression of fabric. Plastic, even with the best sculpt, usually still looks like plastic. This is the reason that DC Direct's best figures are still more visually impressive than most of Mattel's.
The contrast between the Flash's symbol and the red plastic is particularly hard to miss, though the symbol is clean and looks good.
There's very little slop around the face, where the paint and sculpt work remind me why I keep buying these things. This is phenomenal work, which is what I've come to expect from these toys.
The lighning bolts on the head and boots are sculpted in a soft bendy plastic that looks good and isn't likely to fall off.
This is a nice figure - almost a great figure - but the red plastic cheapens the overall impression quite a bit.
Packaging and Extras: ----
The packaging is the same as all the other DCUC packaging. I've got no complaints about the box:
They're still providing biographies on the back which are still written by someone who knows who these characters are. This one's a little dull, but that's not Mattel's fault: The Flash's origin works well when illustrated, but it's not much written out.
I do have an issue that ties in with the pose Flash has in the package, but that's an issue I'll cover below.
Like I said at the start, each of the figures in the wave comes with part of a build-a-figure. Buy all seven, and you can make your own Atom Smasher.
Only that's not entirely true. In reality, you only need SIX figures. The Flash, it turns out, doesn't come with part of Atom Smasher: he just comes with the display stand.
Or rather he comes with a display stand. I'm assuming this is the same kind of stand you can buy through Mattycollector.com. It has the name of the line, but that's all, and it seems to fit just about any DC Universe Classics figure (and most other 6/7 inch action figures with a peg hole in their foot, for that matter).
There's no reason whatsoever this display stand needs to be used for Atom Smasher.
So, as far as I can tell, Mattel broke Atom Smasher into six pieces, then put a generic display in with Flash. Why'd Flash get the stand? Simple: no one who's been collecting this line could ever stand the thought of skipping The Flash.
Of course, this also means those who only buy The Flash get a stand, rather than a useless arm.
Not that the display stand is anything to write home about. Oh, it looks pretty good, but it's too small and lightweight to provide much support. On top of that, the peg is on the far side of the stand, which further limits its usefulness.
Since the Flash stands on his own, I almost broke down and gave him a bonus point for including a stand, at all. But, ultimately, I feel like these should come with SOMETHING, and it's not a particularly useful stand.
Play and Display: ----
This was a close call. Flash has all the usual DC Universe Classics articulation we've come to know and love, and it works well here. You can balance him in several positions, and he can hold most basic poses.
But he can't stand on one leg.
Or, to put it another way, he can't "run." The pose he's got in the box? Yeah, you're not getting him to stand that way, even with the display.
While it doesn't help that the display stand is small and light, the larger problems here are the joint in Flash's ankle and his weight distribution. While the joint is solid enough when he's standing on two legs, one leg just isn't enough: he'll topple over.
And, frankly, this was a pose I expected this toy to be able to handle.
Other than that, I also want to highlight one more issue. The plastic the Flash is made from has a slightly cheaper feel than I'm used to from this line. It's not awful, but it feels a little lighter to me. It's no big deal, and it looks all right, just be aware than he feels somewhat more toyish than I might like.
Other than that, you get a lot of joints that give you a lot of motion without hurting the sculpt. Did you expect less from this line?
Flash has the waist joint that's missing from some figures, and his fists give you some interesting options. While it's not expected, there is a missed opportunity, however: the boots could have been used to hide an extra cut joint, but they didn't do so. I don't want to complain too much, however, since they did sculpt them and they look great.
Price Tag and Final Analysis: 8/10
Flash is another good figure in Mattel's exceptional line. While there are a few aspects I'm not crazy about, he looks good on the shelf beside his allies and foes.
This is a larger wave than those before it, meaning anyone who wants Atom Smasher has a little more work cut out for them. While I had to roll my eyes when I realized that they're trying to pass the display off as part of the build-a-figure, it doesn't really affect me. There's only one other figure in this wave I'm planning to buy, anyway, and that's Booster Gold.
Lets talk price. I actually found a few figures from this wave at a Toys R Us, where - unless my eyes deceived me - they were going for $11 each. Unfortunately, they were out of Flashes, so I had to get this guy at a comic store for $17.
Eleven would have been a good deal, but seventeen was quite a bit more than he's worth. Honestly, at eleven dollars each, this whole wave isn't an awful deal if you want Atom Smasher... it's just that money short's and, frankly, I could care less about having one.
But I wanted to add a Flash enough to pay the inflated price. I'm hoping to get Booster for a bit less, though.
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