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DC Classics vs MOTU Classics
Wave 2 Review

Last year, someone at Mattel got this crazy idea to put MOTU Classics & DC Universe Classics figures together. Honestly, it’s the kind of oddball idea that I have to appreciate, but I wish the final product were as cool as the idea. Today, I’m looking at Aquaman vs. Mer-man & Hawkman vs. Stratos.

I was lucky enough to be online when the second wave of two-packs became available on Toysrus.Com. My TRU has had about a dozen Skeletor/Luthor 2pks for months and I didn’t have any hope they would get in a case of wave two, so I happily ordered them from the website. So far, that’s worked out because my TRU didn’t sell a single Skeletor 2pk through the Christmas season. It surely didn’t help that the price jumped from $29.99 (what I bought them at) to $34.99 either.

I still appreciate the two bubbles being smashed together, but the card art was a downgrade from wave one. He-Man had the cover to one of DC Comic’s MOTU covers and Skeletor had this awesome rendition of the traditional Snake Mountain merged with the classic play set. Both figures also included a reprint of a DC MOTU comic.

This time around, the front of the package features a simple sky or shoreline background while the back has some art featuring the characters (a mini-poster of the card back is also included). The art is best described as lackluster. It appears to have been drawn by someone that thinks comic book art is akin to coloring book art and then colored by someone who wasn’t worried about accuracy.

Ultimately, the packaging art isn’t really a big deal because it went to the trash anyway (mini posters too), but it might have been nice to have some art worth keeping, like the Skeletor packaging. That and the lack of the reprint comic makes it harder for these two packs to be worth $35.

Of course, the main thing that hurts the value of these 2pks is that Mattel can’t afford to give collectors two worthwhile figures in each package. When asked about this, Toy Guru said…

We only have a certain number of “slots” for development skus. No every figure in the two packs can have development put against them. Some packs will have two figures with development (i.e. repaints, rework) some packs neither figure will have development. It all comes down to the limited resources we have for the line and choosing the best way to use our resources.

The bottom line is we just don’t have the resources to develop every sku. Some skus will need to be straight reissues. That is just part of the business of toy making!

It’s a shame that the 2pks can’t be a way for Mattel to roll out some simple repaints of the DC characters. The interesting part here is that he says, “[in] some packs neither figure will have development.” That’s good for collectors because we can pass on that 2pk completely (just as I did with the recent Parasite & Gentlemen Ghost 2pks), but it’s not really good for the line overall. Skeletor already seems to have some trouble selling and if collectors can walk away from a 2pk altogether… well, I just hope Toys R Us doesn’t cancel the sku midstream like they did with the Tuxedo Joker.

Editor’s Note: I’ve reviewed most of these figures before, so this won’t be a traditional review hitting all the key points. I’ll include links back to the original reviews when possible.

Hawkman is basically identical to his earlier release, but there are little differences. The most obvious is the joint for the wings. It’s now molded to match the wings instead of skin tone. The wings feel a little softer too, but I can’t quite tell for certain.

Otherwise, he’s the same – articulation, paint deco, etc. That makes him the least valuable part of the quartet for me since I’ve already got this exact figure. To harp on the fact Mattel can’t afford to do “development” on every figure a little more, it really sucks on Hawkman because he’s had eleventy billion costumes in the comics and I imagine there’s one or two that could’ve have been easily reproduced here with a new deco.

Aquaman is a slight redeco! Yay! This time around, Aquaman received a gold belt and is a bit shinier overall. That’s something, at least.

If you’ve been waiting on an Aquaman for your collection (the first one ended up a bit on the rare side), you could conceivably be happy with this release. I still prefer the flatter orange used on the original and I don’t really care if the belt is gold or yellow. The main difference for me though is the head. The original was painted and, to me, really shows how a properly painted head can look better than molded skin. Of course, it didsn’t help that my 2pk Aquaman is afflicted with the latest QC issue – looking up and to the right.

Update! Two sharp readers (Capt. Collector & Urbanmyth – thanks, fellas!) were kind enough to remind me that I left out an important detail in my meandering review (that’ll teach me to try and write up a review an hour before work!). Check out Aquaman’s biceps… By Roboto! They’re reversed! Now, I’ve only seen this one figure in person, but, from looking around the net, this seems to be the case for most (if not all of) the 2pks so far. Just one more strike against this $35 set.

Continue to the MOTU Figures…

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28 comments to DC Classics vs MOTU Classics
Wave 2 Review

  • Rich

    These managed to show up at a TRU in Ottawa, Canada. (No, we never received wave 1)

    The paint apps were very hit and miss, and it was difficult to find a non-sloppy Stratos with a Hawkman that didn’t have scuff marks or white dots, for example.

    It was easier, like you said, that the DC figs are going in the “for future customs” bin, and I was really only looking for clean paint apps on the MOTU figs, but it was still quite a challenge to find ones I was really happy with.

    My Stratos is ok, but even he had a glop of tan around his mask above his nose…

    • Not worrying about the DC paint jobs is an unexpected bonus. 😀

      There were some paint issues on just about everybody in the set. The biggest problems with these store exclusives 2pks seems to be that everything has to be done more cheaply. Cheaper materials for sure,* sloppier paint, and less stuff for an equal or great price.

      * – If anyone has both Hawkmen, hold them up to the light and check out how much more light comes through the 2pk version.

  • globaldominationmachine

    with every release and subsequent price increase, mattel is coming off more and more as a bunch of complete and total idiots.

    they couldn’t toss in a slight repaint of hawkman? really? so we’re expected to dump $35 on a slightly different stratos?

    this sh*t is going to come to a head very soon and mattel will find out the hard way that just because they made something doesn’t mean someone will buy it.

    • I really think there is a disconnect between what needs to be in the packs and what can be. I really wonder how well the Skeletor set sold because nearly every TRU that received them in the first place still has Skeletor’s on hand. I have to imagine if they’d done something to Luthor to make him needed for DC Collectors then the set would’ve sold better.

    • Brainlock

      Agreed.
      I was tempted to get this set for a custom using Hawkman as the base, and Stratos was my first MOTU back in the day, but HELL NO! at $35! I’m sure I can find a decently cheap/loose Hawkman on ebay for that.

      Still [ticks] me off these 2pk sets is the ONLY way i can get Hawkgirl and Gentleman Ghost…withOUT Giganta pieces! gggrrr………

  • Sy Branch

    I finally managed to get my hands on both of these sets, there alright.

  • I see that yours suffers from the same fate as every one I’ve seen here- Aquaman’s biceps are reversed. About 40 minutes of boil-n-pop action cured this for me!

    • Thanks for catching that, Captain! I meant to include that and completely forgot (I should keep notes, oy!). I’ve added it back in and given you the proper shout for making me notice – thank you!

      • Heli

        The reversed biceps were common on the original DCUC2 release of Aquaman, too. I guess it would’ve taken “development” to correct that error for the two pack release.

  • I know it’s a crazy idea, but you could spend $3 on a little bottle of paint instead and just repaint the figures yourselves. Then send me any money you have left over as thanks 😛

  • Clay

    It definitely sucks that more effort wasn’t put into the DC figures – blue Merman’s cool but the cost of getting a set to the UK just for him doesn’t seem worth it – but is this definitely targeted at completist collectors?

    This is the only MOTUC presence in stores – perhaps it’s not really a devilish trick to scam money out of collectors, but primarily an effort to hook potential new collectors that have no idea the line exists? (Course, this only holds up if there’s a mattyc web address on the packs…)

    • You raise some really valid points, Clay.

      I definitely don’t think it’s a devilish trick to scam money out of collectors – I know this review (along w/ Mongul & Buzz-off) might sound like I’m turning a dark corner into Mattel bashing, but I’m really not meaning to. I do take Mattel at their word when they say it’s not in their budget.

      As for who this set is targeted at, I agree with you that it’s for a mix of completists and new buyers (though neither MattyCollector.Com nor their Facebook page is mentioned on the package). I just lament the lack of value on the DC side – theoretically, the packs would sell better if the larger DC pool of buyers were motivated to pick them up. If Hawkman had been different, if Luthor had been different, etc – then the DC collectors who are currently happily skipping these 2pks could be converted to move more pieces. That’s more what I mean to say with this review.

      Mattel is making them cheap to stay on budget and as a result are likely able to sell less than they could otherwise. How much more would it have costed to give Aquaman yellow gloves or to redeco Hawkman in some fashion. I can only armchair quarterback here, but I firmly believe it would be worth it in the long run in terms of sales.

      • Clay

        Your review’s very fair I think – I’m a veteran WSOD Warrior and when I said “completist”, I basically meant “me”, so any and all bitterness in my comment comes from my own irritation with Mattel’s poor choices!

        And since there’s no web address on the package my theory’s void anyway – making it seem like another in a slowly-mounting pile of oddly backwards business decisions…

  • j1h15233

    I would totally buy one of these Aquaman packs if I ever saw one. My original Aquaman has the worst QC of all my DCUC figures and that’s just unacceptable.

    • That stinks! My worst QC is still Sinestro Corps Sinestro (not counting his height, ironically) with Abin Sur a close runner up. I think about replacing Abin, but I never get around to it.

      I haven’t been able to guage the rarity of these packs. I mean, I know that my set is the only one I’ve seen in person, but I’ve only got one TRU too. It sounds like they’re annoyingly hard to get though.

  • Tom-Tom

    If you want to sell your duplicate Luthor, I’ll gladly take him.

    • I’m still in the terrible mindset of keeping one of everything, but keep an eye on the site. If I ever move some stuff, I’ll post about it here.

  • Pictures=hilarious. Poor Aquaman…

  • toygiant

    But I have a gold belt! =)

  • Shadow_Contact

    I am a Huge DCUC fan. DCUC is worse than Meth to me, But you hit the nail on the head about why these packs are just languishing on shelves (I don’t know first hand, nearest TRU is 80 miles away over a snow covered mountain.). The Lex / Skeletor pack I would be going bonkers to get as I like that Skeletor, but what am I going to do with a 3rd Lex? I got the DCSH one which is the best one, the Sueprgirl / Lex set was nice for the Kryptonite but Skele/Lex doesnt hold anything for me to want on the DCUC end. Same with Hawkman / Stratos; Superman / He-Man, I wouldn’t mind either pack (that’s the Stratos I have had since 83) but Its the same Hawkman and what the 5th time Supes has been released I already have them. I think as you mentioned just some slight paint change and I could rationalize adding them into my collection and paying the 15 a pop for the figures. Right now the only must have is the Aquaman / Mer-Man pack and that’s only because like a lot of people I never saw an Aquaman on the shelves.

  • One TRU near me received a few of these packs back in November, and two out of three of them had a misassembled figure. I don’t have a normal colored Aquaman, so I was considering buying it and just swapping the arms, but I’m glad I realized before I got in line that he also had two right calves. Very lame. I was also disappointed to see that his shirt was a different orange than the wave 2 release (it reminds me of He-man’s belt from his 2-pack).
    Thanks for the review. I really wanted the Aquaman/Merman 2-pack when it was announced, but with the QC issues, and the $5 price bump I’m going to stop looking for these.

  • Lay Ze-Man

    The Mer-Man is kinda cool, but really, at the price these sets are an easy pass for me.

    And yeah, it bears repeating about the sucky packaging art, with (among other shoddy things) Mer-Man in the completely wrong color scheme and Stratos glorious displaying his now-banned former “hyper anime detail” costume bits.

  • PrfktTear

    haha…, “but I have a gold belt.”

  • MegaGearX

    Yeah, Mattel could have included the Light blue Superman or naked Cheetah for these 2 packs. There are plenty of repaints that they could have done for the DCUC side to make these move off the shelf alot faster.

    That point about how some packs will have NO repainting scares me. The DC character in those packs better be Brainiac, Two Face, Cassandra Cain or Mr. Freeze–some super rare DCSH figure.

  • LOL @ the Big Bang Theory reference at the end! Or am I mistaken?…

    Thanks for the review–I certainly am less keen on a toothless Merman and am now aware of where all these loose shiny orange Aquamen in my area are coming from. I definitely agreee with the lack of accessories on these guys. It’s great that there are (partial) repaints, but bad that you’ve had to pay for a duplicate, and in this case more than before!