Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Toy Review – DC Signature Collection Lead By Mattel

At one point I was really excited about Mattel making action figures of the Metal Men. I can’t remember for sure when or why I decided I like the Metal Men. It was prior to their appearances on Batman: The Brave and the Bold and also to the backup stories that ran in DC Comics back when DC Comics were still good. Well, better. I wasn’t crazy about those for some reason. They just seemed grim or too acerbic or something.

To me the group has been one of those things that I liked a lot but never looked too far into. Can anybody recommend some good Metal Men comics?

This is definitely one of those groups that demands completion. Everybody has a very specific gimmick and you know once you’re done you’re going to have a great-looking section of the shelf. And honestly they’re pretty easy. A couple of little bits of flair, a new head, and the right color and you’re good.
First Glance: I like Lead’s size a lot. His color is a bit generic, so it’s nice to have pure mass to distinguish him. I kind of wish it wasn’t Darkseid’s mass, though.
Articulation: This figure has the articulation we’ve come to expect from Mattel’s DC figures. 

Head – ball joint
Shoulders – ball joint
Biceps – swivel
Elbows –pivot
Glove Tops – swivel
Abdomen - pivot
Waist - swivel
Hips – swivel/hinge
Knees – pivot
Ankles - rockers

His head has a pretty good range. Actually, for such a big guy all of his joints have a good range of motion. It seems like thicker sculpts tend to limit the elbows and knees, but Lead has deep pivot points. 

His rocker ankles actually work well, presumably because they are the already-existing Darkseid feet. 

Obviously his rubber dress restricts his movement from the abdomen down past the hips, but he can still be posed a bit.

All of the joints on my figure are tight and mobile. With guys this size it’s particularly important that the joints function well, as they’re going to fall right over if they’re too loose, likely taking a few others with them.
Sculpt: Lead’s head is fantastic. I absolutely love it and it reminds me of a young Ernest Borgnine. That smile is just awesome because the Horsemen managed to convey that this guy is totally happy but has no idea what about. And just look at those ears sticking out. His head looks like a car coming down the street with the doors open. This is one of my favorite head sculpts from the line.

I don’t like that Lead shares Darkseid’s arms and legs. I think all of the cracks look terrible and are made even worse by the fact that the rest of the Metal Men have smooth, texture-free skin (as they should). Not helping the situation is the fact that the box art depicts the big guy with smooth, unblemished skin. I know Matty has to farm parts and I know that it was this or no Lead, but that doesn’t make it okay. I’m glad we got him and better this than nothing, but this sucks.

That being said, his bulk is great and he matches up well with the rest of the Metal Men once you get past the fact that his arms and legs look like grey turds. The rivets on his boots and gloves look nice and compliment his dress, which I should probably call a tunic.
Coloring: Not much to say here. The design team found a nice, metallic representation of lead. It looks good and the black on his eyebrows and the white on his teeth are nice highlights.
Flair: Lead’s tunic is a soft plastic and is very well done. It is wide enough at the bottom that it doesn’t interfere with the leg movement as much as it might’ve. The detailing looks very good. The rivets are nice and correspond with his boots and gloves. For some reason I am really taken with the “L” on his chest. It’s very striking and stands out well.Unfortunately, the manufacturing information stamped on his ass is also very striking and stands out well.
Accessories: Lead comes with nothing, which is inexcusable. All of the other Metal Men have come with attachments to simulate the weapons they are capable of forming from their limbs.
Packaging: It’s a larger version of the DC Signature Collection window box. I dig the packaging and I love the art on the backs. It looks very classy and does work to make these bare-bones figures seem more special than they really are. The bio on the back tells you as much as you need to know:
Weird. No mention of his complete lack of ability to morph his limbs into things.
Value: Thirty bucks is definitely pushing it for this guy. I can’t tell you how disappointing the lack of accessories is. Oh, wait – yeas I can. It is terribly fucking disappointing.
Overall: Just because this is the only way we could get a Lead figure does not make the flaws okay. His awful arms and legs and lack of accessories is simply unacceptable. 

2 out of 5

Maybe I’m being a bit harsh on this guy. I do love the head, the tunic, and the size. But the other stuff really does bother me. If you’re somebody that absolutely, positively had to have a figure of Lead then you probably ordered one or had a sub already. If not, I’m sure you can score on from BigBadToyStore. I wouldn’t wait, though, because I have a feeling this guy is going to go up in price.

Since I’m a few words shy, I’m going to say a little something about Matty here. They know they have us. We are dumb and they are exploiting it, no doubt. When you can put out a figure like this one for thirty dollars you have the advantage. There’s no other situation where this sculpt would be acceptable. And the fact that accessories are an established part of the rest of the team he belongs to make the lack here equally unacceptable. But Matty says it’s okay because, “Otherwise we’d have no way to release this great, fan-demanded figure!”

They’re right, but it sucks that they are.



  1. Hmm... You bring up a good point: If Lead's smiling, are those his "teeth"? Probably a silly question, but when your origin involves something called a "Responsometer", nothing's too silly.

    1. I like to think Lead was jealous of human teeth and those are from villains he quietly murdered.