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.