Man, how long has it been since I last reviewed a DC Universe Classics figure? Oh yeah... last June. I bought into the DCUC line big-time at the beginning but three things killed it for me: Mattel's incessant reuse of parts led to a toyline that was way too homogenous; any figure I liked was nearly impossible to find; and the build-a-figures ticked me off because they're the coolest of all, but they're entirely unavailable to those of us who don't want to pay for a whole wave in order to build a "free" figure. I had all but written the line off... until I happened across Iron. I dig the Metal Men, so I thought I'd give him a shot.
Price: $15 (from Walmart)
Iron is by far the best-looking DCUC figure in my collection. The sculpt is an excellent rendering of the classic Metal Man, nailing the look and feel of the comic character perfectly. There are lots of little details that make the figure come alive, like bolts and pock marks that give Iron a texture reminiscent of metal. And thankfully, there is little in terms of parts reused from previous DCUC figures. The upper arms and thighs you've seen before, but everything else looks unique to Iron.
The paint wash is superb. I love how the mix of the grimy black wash with the reflective metallic blue works perfectly to drive the metal look home. In fact, Iron looks too good for DCUC; he looks more like he belongs in the MOTUC line.
Iron's "skirt" restricts a lot of his movement. You still get the same ball-hinge shoulders, hinge elbows, swivel wrists, swivel thighs, hinge knees, and hinge ankles as the other DCUC figures, but the skirt turns the neck into a swivel joint, eliminates the chest joint, and severely limits the hips and waist. Still, it's an acceptable trade-off; I very much prefer the look of a solid skirt than one that is cut up to allow more movement.
The Metal Men have the capability to meld their bodies into basic tools, kind of like T-1000. You'd think that Mattel would seize upon this concept and offer up some rockin' accessories, and in this case, they didn't disappoint:
- Wrench hand attachment, wrecking ball hand attachment: Both of these accessories are just plain awesome, because both are functional. The wrench can actually open and close by rotating the wheel on the side, and the wrecking ball has a "real" chain.
- Collector button: Who the crap wears buttons anymore? I don't need any flair, so this goes in the junk bin. Still, it might have been at least a little bit cool if the illustration was better.
- Build-a-Darkseid leg: Peh. I'm not buying the whole wave, so this is entirely useless to me. Maybe eventually I'll have enough of these extra parts from numerous disparate waves to cobble together a mis-matched Frankenstein of a build-a-figure.
The toy companies must have beaten these prices into my head so much that I now accept them as normal. I don't object much about a $15 DCUC figure these days, especially one like Iron that comes with some nice, big accessories.
One of my very first comics when I was a wee little lad included the Metal Men. I still have that issue of World's Finest featuring a bed-ridden Batman on the cover, hooked up to life support... with one of the Metal Men pulling the plug! "Stop!" a nurse warns. "If you disconnect his respirator, Batman will DIE!" Superman, being the usual jerk he is, replies, "What's one Batman more or less!" Great stuff. The Metal Men have been with me since the beginning of my comic collecting, so that scores lots of bronze-age coolness points with me.
As a side note, the packaging mentions that Iron has "diecast parts", but I'm not exactly sure what they're talking about. The figure feels like the normal DCUC plastic, as do the accessories. Maybe the chain is diecast? Or parts of the wrench?
Doc Magnus obviously had MUSCLEs on his mind when he designed Iron.
I thought I was through with DC Universe Classics entirely, but I ended up really liking this figure. Despite the limited articulation, Iron looks incredibly awesome, with bolted sculpting details and metallic washes worthy of a Metal Man. Doc Magnus would be proud.
I'm not sure if I'd say I'm totally back in with DCUC, because for every cool figure like Iron there's another Batman colorway based on that flawed sculpt that we see pop up in virtually every wave. But I'm in it for the Metal Men at least. Let's hope Mattel fills out the rest of the team!