That's because the Infinite Heroes line fills a void in my life. I really like the smaller scale and variety of the recent Justice League Unlimited line, but I loathe the over-used and over-rated Bruce Timm animation style. What we need is a Star Wars scale, comic book style DC line, and Mattel responded with Infinite Heroes.
Still, with the disappointment of my first exposure seared into my mind, I approached the line with hesitation upon first glance in the store aisles. I decided to give it a try and chose the best-looking figure from wave 1: Shazam/Captain Marvel!
Size: 3 3/4" scale
Price: $5.00 at Target
Packaging: Carded (the card is awesome... check out the bubble-hand!)
Much of my initial reaction was right. The looks of the figure are very much hit and miss.
Most of the figure works pretty well. The head is pretty sharp, the robe details are nice, and the paint apps are pretty clean (although you might have to fish around a bit for a Shazam without wonky eye-brows).
But there are a few areas where the figure fails. First, the fists are big. Like the size of his entire head. I'm not sure why Mattel thought that looked okay, but it doesn't at all. Also, his belt is sculpted separately from his body and juts out awkwardly. But the most aggregious of his flaws is the fact that the cosume details are painted. Check out the flap on the upper-left of his chest. Egads. Maybe if they didn't make the lines so bold, it would look good. Or, maybe if they didn't try to cut corners and use the exact same torso on every figure, they could actually sculpt the details.
I think the recent Star War figures have spoiled me. I expect super-articulation on every figure I buy now. Shazam makes a good showing, with 10 points of articulation, but he really needs ball-in-socket neck and hip joints. Ankle articulation would help, too.
This figure comes with absolutely nothing. I suppose there's little you could pack in with a Shazam figure, but something would be nice. Maybe a stand? A build-a-figure (BAF) piece? But alas, this line is all about cutting corners and accessories would just add value to the figure. Speaking of which...
For $5 you get just one tiny figure. I suppose the price isn't all that bad, as the never-ending greed of George Lucas and Hasbro ream us way more with the outrageous prices of Star Wars figures, but at least SW figures come with accessories and a BAF piece. And sculpted costume details.
Despite the poor execution, the figure is pretty cool because it's more or less in scale with Star Wars and GI-Joe figures. I suppose I would argue that Shazam is slightly too small. I mean, he's Captain Marvel, almost as strong as Superman himself, and yet he's the same size as Snake Eyes and some random Biker Scout scrub? Shazam needs to be grotesque in his girth. But it's good enough, and they all will look fine displayed together on a shelf.
Meh, it could have been worse, I suppose. But the figure's major flaws (no accessories, painted details, disfigured hands) make this a relatively poor showing for Mattel.
That said, I probably will pick up a few more of these figures. They're relatively cheap and in a fun scale, and like with Justice League Unlimted, the cost-cutting will likely lead to some interesting character choices in future waves. But Mattel really needs to try harder if this line is going to compare with the Marvel 3 3/4" line.