Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Toy Review – DC Universe Classics Series 16 - Riddler By Mattel

So the batch of DCUC Series 16 figures that I preordered from Amazon months ago finally came. The series consists of Jonah Hex, Mercury, old-school Robin (with two different heads; both equally gay), Riddler (in his tights like the Super Powers version), Jean-Paul Valley as Batman and the Creeper. The latter three are the only ones I really wanted. Jonah Hex is okay but doesn’t really fit in with my collection well enough to spend fifteen bucks on, I haven’t bought any of the other Metal Men and while I really like Dick Grayson as Nightwing and Batman he’s probably my least favorite Robin (Tim Drake will always win that contest).
We’ll get around to Knightfall Batman and Creeper in the next few days. Today we’re taking a look at Riddler.

Mattel produced a suited version of Edward Nigma back in the first Wal-Mart exclusive series – the fifth set of DCUC figures. I skipped that one because I already had the Hush version from DC Direct and felt (and still feel) that pretty much fulfilled any “Riddler in a suit” needs I might have. Also, I wasn’t as thoroughly into DCUC as I am now. I seem to remember the line being very Superman-centric initially, and that’s always going to turn me off.
This new Riddler, however, is not only more dynamic and exciting to look at; it is also Riddler as I remember him best. When I was a kid the Frank Gorshin tights-wearing Riddler was all I knew. Then years later in the comics somebody decided he needed a suit and I preferred that version because tights are just silly, right? But sometime over the last few years I have grown to prefer the old-school Riddler. I know it probably makes more sense for the guy to be in a suit, but there’s just something more mischievous and slightly sinister about a guy who’s willing to put on a unitard to do evil. It seems more committed to me. Like, if he gets busted, there’s no, “Oh no, Officer. I was just out for a stroll in my green leotard that’s covered in question marks. And don’t mind those purple gloves, either.”
So I dig the tights. And I’m not even going to mention THIS.
First Glance: Bright, beautiful colors. Riddler is the most exciting of the three figures to look at initially, and that’s really saying something when the competition is a Steve Ditko design and what appears to be Rob Liefeld’s idea of the perfect Batman.
Sculpt: Standard DCUC male body all the way. Riddler has the nicer double-jointed neck, with a head atop that looks more clever than goofy. Just look at that smirk. I was relieved to see that given the Robin heads from this same series. Riddler has the large, flared gloves rather than the shorter ones and I’m glad of that, as well. All of the joints are tight and functional. He does not have the new double-jointed elbows and knees, but I’m honestly not sure he needs them. Riddler does a lot of prancing and posing, but not necessarily a whole lot of squatting or fighting.
Design: Like I said above, the colors are bright and awesome. The green is absolutely the perfect shade and it makes all the difference in the world that Riddler was molded in it rather than it being a paint job. The question marks look absolutely fantastic. Mattel was very clever with the placement. I hardly noticed the absence near joints thanks to the way they arranged them and the sizes they used. The paint on the gloves is bright enough to look good but subdued enough that they don’t take away from the almost neon green of his costume. The paint on the head is excellent, with no bleeding or spotting and his domino mask is carefully detailed.
Accessories: Mr. Nigma comes with the question mark cane you’d expect, as well as a piece of the build-a-figure Bane. I’ll be selling that on eBay. I’ve already got a perfectly good Bane.
I would have liked it if Riddler had come with some printed riddles on little pieces of paper. Obviously this is something I could do myself, but I think it would have been a neat touch.
Packaging: Same old DCUC packaging. A warning, though – do not order from Amazon if you keep things in the packaging. All of the figures that came in this shipment had bent cardbacks or some other minor damage. I don’t care because I opened everything, but you might.
Overall: A must-have and a great example of how Mattel can make the right decisions sometimes. I am most impressed by the color choices and the placement of the question marks.
5 out of 5
Riddler may well be the best of this new series. He is very basic, but extremely well executed. I’m actually glad Mattel isn’t using the new super-articulation for everybody just because they have it. They have done a good enough job with it that the figures that have it don’t clash with the figures that do not.
Until next time, stay creepy

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