Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Toy Review DC Signature Collection Phantom Stranger By Mattel

I’m delirious. I worked from 5 AM until 5 PM yesterday, got home at 7 PM, ate dinner, hosted the GI Joe episode of the Earth Station One Podcast, and didn’t end up falling asleep until after midnight. This meant I was able to download the new Le Sexoflex album as soon as it went live, but it also meant I ended up getting less than three hours of sleep. And now I have to work 5 to 5 again, get home at 7 PM, and take Mrs. Troublemaker to see Bad Religion for her birthday.
So know that as this goes live today I am in a deep slumber form which I will never awaken until Lil’ Troublemaker runs into my room and jumps on my head.
            Side Note: I listened to the new Le Sexoflex album, The Naughty Contest on my way into work and it is a lot of filthy fun. At the moment my favorite track is (“). If you can tolerate filthy, nasty sex humor set to thumpy booty grooves I strongly recommend you click the above link and download the album now. You can be stingy and get it for free, but I think everybody should chip in at least a few bucks. Le Sexoflex may be buck nasty, but they are a sweet bunch of folks who work hard to make your day sexier.
I tell you about all of this deliriousness because I have been putting off reviewing Phantom Stranger but I think my current condition is ideal for it. See, I am not actually all that familiar with this guy. He looks cool and I’ve seen him show up here and there in the comics. I think he even put in an appearance on Justice League Unlimited and Batman: The Brave and the Bold (though I’m not positive). All I know is that he is one of the DC Universe’s magic/mystic guys and that Rob Zombie has a song that may or may not be about him:

Regardless, the guy looks cool and is one of the more visually interesting entries in the DC Signature Series.
First Glance: Yeah, it’s that damn suit again. But add all of that other stuff on top of it and you get a unique looking figure.
Articulation: Phantom Stranger has the standard DCUC articulation.
Head – Ball joint
Shoulders – Swivel/pivot
Biceps - Swivel
Elbows –Pivot
Wrists – Swivel
Abdomen - Pivot
Waist – Swivel
Hips – Swivel/pivot
Thigh – Swivel
Knees –Pivot
Ankles - Pivot
While this guy’s head swivels just fine, it barely moves other than that. Hardly any up and down at all.
His jacket interferes with the abdominal joint, but you can still bend him just a bit.
I would have liked swivel/pivots on his wrists.
The feet do not move a whole heck of a lot. This is common among Mattel’s DCUC suit figures. Honestly, I think I’d rather have immobile feet and eliminate the unsightly holes in the sides of the trousers.
Aside from the head and the feet all of the joints on my figure move well and hold a pose. There are no issues with paint or loose joints.
Sculpt: Phantom Stranger has a new head, hands, and possibly turtleneck. I don’t remember seeing that before.
As with most DCSC figures, Stranger’s head is great. The hat has a nice shape and the band is sculpted, not just painted on. The face underneath is about as generic as you could get, but has a weird, almost smirky expression.
The turtleneck is very turtleneck-y and looks extremely uncomfortable. I have worn a turtleneck exactly once in my life. It was one day when I was in middle school and I spent the whole day thinking I was going to suffocate. I don’t like stuff on my neck. A mask over my whole head? Fine. No problem. I can do that for eight hours. But if one of my t-shirts hung wrong on the hanger and is sitting too close to my neck? Back in the hamper. Try again.
This guy’s hands are outstanding. They’re in an old-school “I’m a mysterious guy and I’m going to hypnotize you or mesmerize you or just act spooky and do weird shit” pose and they look great. I love ‘em. They also have little Mickey Mouse ridges on the back.
The trousers and jacket sleeves are the same as the other suit figures we’ve seen. They look like a suit, so it works. Same with the shoes.
Coloring: The sculpt of the head is cool, but the paint is what really sells this one. There is a shadow painted directly onto the Stranger’s face, and with those bright white eyes the trick they were going for works. It looks like those eyes are boring into you out of the darkness. The hair, hat, and hatband are all cleanly painted and look good.
The suit is black, but unfortunately the glosses on the arms and legs do not match the jacket. It’s less apparent in person than it is in these pictures, but it is there. The turtleneck and gloves are a bright white that match the eyes and contrast nicely with the rest of the figure.
Flair: Phantom Stranger comes with an attached cloak and a medallion that could probably be taken off and considered an accessory, but I didn’t see the need to bother.
The cloak looks awesome. I love the high collar and the way it hangs is different from most other characters’ capes or cloaks. The gold clasps on the front are nicely detailed and the die-cast chain connecting them looks neat.
The medallion is also on a die-cast chain. I would like this, but the loops connecting the chain to the medallion are so big and ugly that it bothers me. Surely they could have made those more subtle or blended them into the design somehow? Ugh. The medallion itself does look nice and has plenty of detail. I think I heard or read that they recently revealed Phantom Stranger’s origin and that he’s actually Judas and he now has the coins on him in some fashion. I think that’s pretty interesting. I don’t know that it’ll sell comics, but I’d like to check the story out.
Accessories: Nothing. Not a sausage. But in Mattel’s defense – and it truly pains me to have to say anything in their defense – I don’t know what this guy could have come with. While I feel we are getting gypped with the lack of accessories on some figures, I am not one who wants an accessory just to have one. If there’s nothing appropriate then the figure just shouldn’t have anything. That’s fine.
Packaging: It’s the standard DC Signature Collection window box. However I feel about the figures, I do like the packaging very much. Granted. I’d be just fine with these coming in a plastic bag, but I think I’m in the minority there. The artwork is quite nice and there’s a bio on the back:
Okay, so that pretty much sounds like Judas. Got it.
Value: Is this figure worth $25.70 ($17 + $8.70 shipping)? Not so much. Granted, he does have more going on than a lot of the DCSC figures. But just because he’s better than the others doesn’t mean he’s worth the cost.
Overall: I’m good with this guy. Minor quibbles aside, he’s exactly what he should be.

4 out of 5

This is another one that you might be able to find for cheap on eBay. Otherwise you’re going to have to hit up Big BadToyStore.


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