What's this? A new kind of review? That's right: in addition to "Clearance Reviews", I'm going to start reviewing figures bought used through secondary markets, such as Ebay. Today's was actually picked up at a local comics store, and it was more "loose" than "used".
DC Infinite Heroes: Raven
The other day my wife and I were walking around a comic store in New York when we stumbled across a loose figure from the DC Infinite Heroes line, the new series of DC characters in the 3.75 inch scale (fans of the 1980's GI Joe figures will know it well). These are produced by Mattel, who now makes just about all of DC's mass-market toys.
These have been around for a few months now in packs of various sizes. Raven is available as part of a three pack also containing Starfire and Captain Boomerang.
From what I've seen, the DC Infinite Heroes line is pretty cool. However, as I'll cover in far more depth at the end of this review, they're a bit more expensive than I want to get involved with.
But of the figures we've seen, Raven's the one my wife and I were the most interested in. The price tag - $5 - was still a little higher than we wanted to pay, but we decided it was worth it just to take a look at the line.
This isn't going to be a complete review, because I don't actually own the entire product - Raven is one third of a three pack; nothing more. But I did want to provide some thoughts on these new figures, since they're everywhere these days.
In fact, they're about to get some competition: Hasbro is getting ready to unveil a series of Marvel figures in the same scale containing more accessories and better articulation. I'll most likely pick up one or two of those when they come out, so I wanted to look at one of these for comparison.
Yup, it's all for science.
At this scale, the appearance is striking. There's a lot of detail work put into both the sculpt and the paint.
The cape is particularly impressive. It fits so well, it almost looks to molded to the figure. The cape appears to be removable, though I don't want to stretch it finding out. I did pull it back just far enough to take a look at her hair, a step they arguably could have skipped.
The symbol painted to her suit looks good, as do the gems she's wearing. Obviously, the ones that are sculpted look better than the parts that are just painted on, but Mattel should be commended for the overall level of craftsmanship displayed here.
The weakest aspects of Raven's appearance show up near the joints. There's no way around it without losing the articulation - and there's too little of that as it is.
At this scale, I have no problem awarding Raven a nine out of ten. From what I've seen, most of the other figures in this line are also very strong (though some are better than others).
Packaging and Extras: Inconclusive (-1 to -2)
Like I said, I picked Raven up loose. I've seen the packaging, though, and it looks fine (the single packs look phenomenal, but that's another story). My Raven came with a stand, which I believe is included with the three packs, as well. I'm less clear on the NUMBER of stands which come with the three packs. If they're packaged the way the Justice League Unlimited figures were, you get one stand for three figures, which would call for a pretty serious deduction. I'm not going to apply that here, because it would be speculative: I really don't know what these are supposed to come with.
As it is, the stand works well enough. And that's good, because she's not standing without it. More on that later.
There really should be more included here, though. At the price these guys are going for, you deserve a lot more than a tiny plastic base. Even if these come with three bases, I'd probably deduct a point for the lack of accessories.
Play and Display: ----
This was a tough one. How much articulation should a figure have at this scale?
Raven has some good joints, some bad, and a few missing. The best joints are the knees and chest, both of which open up some real options for posing and display. The shoulders are fairly straightforward: they'll swing up, but they're not ball jointed (not that I expect otherwise in this scale, but I'd have loved a surprise). The neck turns, too, though you'll have a heck of time getting much articulation with the hood.
The worst joints are at the waist. The top of the legs are connected to the body in such a way that you can twist the leg, but not swing them. It's better than nothing, and - thanks to her cape - it does give you the option of having her in a pose that could be interpreted as floating cross legged. In addition, it's a lot less ugly than a "T" joint, like you sometimes get on these figures.
The real disappointment comes from the lack of cut joints on the wrists and ankles. The sculpt gives a perfect opening, but there's nothing in either of these spots. Likewise, I'd have loved a pin joint at the elbow, but that is asking a lot.
I can't bring myself to deduct points for the missing joints, because what's there works pretty well. In addition, she stands well enough with the base that I can't complain too much.
Price Tag and Final Analysis: Inconclusive (7/10 - 8/10)
I can't give a final score this time, because I don't have the box set Raven came in. Depending on the number of bases and the articulation on the other two figures, I feel fairly safe asserting the score would fall between a seven and an eight, though (something's getting deducted for the lack of accessories - I just don't know what it is).
As for price: that gets complicated. I paid five bucks for my figure, but that doesn't do you much good, does it?
You'll find these guys going for around $6 - $7 for a single pack and $13 - $15 for a pack of three. As much as I like these, they just aren't worth that kind of money.
These figures are a full inch shorter than the JLU animated figures, and those already felt overpriced. I understand that costs have been rising and all that, but there's just not enough mass in these little guys to justify dropping this kind of dough.
That said, if this is a scale you're in love with, the figures do deliver. Because they're cheap to make, Mattel is pumping out a lot of them, too, so they're certainly collectible. It's a decent "jumping on point" for new collectors who want a nice collection but don't want to track down old figures in a secondary market.
But I've already got a collection of DC figures I'm happy with: I don't feel the need to start over in a new scale... especially at this price.
So ends the first "used review." Don't expect a lot of these, but I'll use the format again when it's called for. As always, if you've got some spare time, head on over to The Middle Room and leave me a comment about this review.