We hit up this year’s Toy Fair to find out the latest on all the great action figures and statues we’d be seeing in the coming months. As a huge fan of DC Comics, stopping at the DC Direct booth was a huge priority. Once there, I was treated to a tour de force of awesome products.
Seeing an entire company’s line of products for the next twelve months all at once can overwhelm you at first. There are so many perfectly posed figures lining the booth, my head and eyes were moving from point to point like an ADD addled child in a candy store. Eventually I snapped out of my hypnotic daze, and began perusing the DC Direct booth systematically. One of the first things I noticed was the Batman: Black and White statue portion of the display. If you don’t know, the Black and White series is a line of statues where some of the greatest artists to ever draw Batman have their images interpreted as a six to eight inch statue. I got glimpses at the new Man-Bat and classic Catwoman molds, as well as two Batman statues: one based on the Arkham Asylum video game design, and one inspired by the more recent Frank Quitely design. Both were incredible looking, and fans of the series will want both of these statues in their collection. Even though I’m a huge fan of the video game, I’m going to have to find a place in my home for the Quitely-based Batman.
Immediately following that section was an area devoted to the DC Chronicles line and the DC Dynamics line. I didn’t snap any pictures because none of the statues on display were unseen at that point. I hadn’t seen the Dynamics statues in person before, and after seeing them up close, it’s clear that DC’s sculptors are doing an amazing job bringing characters like Wonder Woman and Green Lantern to life in a way we haven’t seen before. Along side those bad boys was the real meat and potatoes of what I came to see, the newest DC Direct action figures.
There are a ton of figures coming out over the course of the next ten months that I’m really looking forward to, but the forthcoming “World of New Krypton” line has me the most excited. Featuring designs from Gary Frank, whose artwork translates amazingly to something you can hold in your hand, the line contains a new Superman, Brainiac, Mon-El, and Superwoman. Even though I didn’t really get into the comic storyline, and believe me, I tried, the awesomeness of these figures can’t be denied. For whatever reason, I’m completely infatuated with the Superwoman figure. There’s just something appealing about its silhouette, and how clean the finished figure looks.
DC’s also planning a wave of figures based on “Batman: Reborn,” which will feature both Jason Todd and Two-Face as Batman, a new Azrael fig, and the first ever Spoiler as Batgirl figure. Azrael has never been a character I could get into, and I thought the Two-Face Batman looked absolutely ridiculous on paper, and seeing it brought into 3-D didn’t help one bit, but the Jason Todd Batman looks really cool, as does the new Batgirl. Phil Noto’s designs came through very well, and it’s clear DC was careful in bringing his style to 3-D. I don’t even read Batgirl, but I want that figure. For whatever reason, DC’s female sculpts have a certain appeal that I can’t quite place my finger on. Perhaps it’s how unique they are, and that many of them haven’t been seen in another line before.
Mere inches away was another brilliant looking collection: series 3 of JLA Classified: Classic, featuring the designs of Ed McGuinness, consisting of Red Superman, Zoom, the Atom (classic), and Hal Jordan Green Lantern. I know there are a lot of people out there who find Ed’s work unappealing, but they’re idiots. The man draws hugely over-exaggerated heroes, and he does it very well. Sure, sometimes his work doesn’t come out on time, but you try drawing that many muscles on a character, and we’ll see how well you do. Sorry. That was uncalled for. Anyway, in case you couldn’t tell, I’m a huge fan of Ed’s style, and it’s clearly one that translates very well to the six-inch figure medium. It’s also a series that allows DC Direct to reuse a lot of the same production parts to make various figures, so obstensibly, we could see this line continue forever. That said, once Zoom and Hal are added to my collection, I’ll be pretty happy.
I couldn’t very well call myself a Green Lantern fan if I didn’t spend twenty minutes trying to figure out a way to sneak the latest figures based on “Blackest Night” out of the convention. Against my better judgment, I relented my pursuit of the obscenely detailed Black Lantern Hawkgirl, staggeringly beautiful Star Sapphire Wonder Woman, and stoic Blue Lantern Flash. I’m not too worried about not stealing those figures from Toy Fair as they’re likely to still find their way into my collection anyway. Hey, gotta build that fully realized Corps somehow, right? Aside from those GL figures, there was also a 1:2 scale bust of Hal, complete with smarmy facial expression. I’ve never been one for over-sized busts, but I can always make an exception for Green Lantern. DC Direct’s Ame-Comi line will also be receiving a Green Lantern booster shot in the form of Star Sapphire and deceased ring-slinger Jade. The Ame-Comi figures always got a bit too over-sexualized for my tastes, but that doesn’t mean they’re not good looking figures. It’s quite the opposite in fact, as this line is easily one of the best DC Direct does. It’s just a shame that I’d feel bad about myself having these figures on a shelf in my living room.
On the video game front, DC Direct did have some new licenses they were touting, most notably StarCraft II and God of War III. We weren’t allowed to take pictures of any of their prototypes for either series, but the StarCraft line looks fantastic, and I want all of the statuesque figures even though I don’t know a thing about StarCraft. Their Kratos and Zeus, which were prominently on display in a “No Photographs Please” cabinet, look great, but sadly, not anywhere near as great as NECA’s God of War II figures. What’s more is that there didn’t appear to be any articulation at all on either character. I don’t know if that’s only because these were early builds, or if the final product will indeed come pre-posed, but even if they do come with articulation, they’re likely not going to be that poseable. They’ve also got a new statue line coming based on the upcoming DC Universe Online MMO. The first two characters will be Superman and Catwoman, and all the statues will be based on either Jim Lee’s or other WildStorm artists’ designs. Both of the statues look really good, particularly the Catwoman, but I’m not 100% sold on the need for yet another wave of statues featuring the same characters over and over again. That said, this will be an entire line based for the most part on Jim Lee designs, so that can’t be a bad thing.
All in all, it looks like a pretty excellent year is on the way from DC Direct. Be sure to check back in the coming days as I’ll have even more recaps of what we saw at Toy Fair, including interviews with Todd McFarlane, NECA’s Randy Falk, and more.