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DCClassics.Com Review:
Mercury of the Metal Men

Bane Week kicks off with a look at Mercury. Mercury is important to your collection if you’re trying to build Bane or complete your Metal Men team and that’s about it. I wanted to be excited about him, but I was disappointed by some of the design choices. And then, he broke. Kinda put a damper on things…

I talked about the Metal Men in my Iron & Gold reviews, so I won’t go into too much detail here. They first appeared in 1962′s Showcase Presents #37 and have been an on-again, off-again team ever since. They exist in a strange limbo for DC where most fans enjoy the idea of the Metal Men, but we won’t purchase books focusing on them. That leaves them with permanent guest star status and causes them to die, get rebooted, retconned, and generally messed with by each subsequent writer looking to reclaim them.

Mercury is the egotistical hothead of the team. If you have an internet friend that is pretty full of themselves, makes quips at your expense, and seems to be in the thick of most flame wars – that’s Mercury. Mercury is also the “only metal that’s liquid at room temperature”, a fact that Mercury spouts at least once per appearance. I tried to work that into one of the pictures, but my red dye/glue mix didn’t turn out so well (though I am typing this up with my hands looking like they’re covered in dried blood).

The sculpt is one area where I’m pretty satisfied with Mercury. I do find myself wishing that they’d given him a tunic similar to Iron’s, but I imagine the folks out there who really love articulation probably prefer this setup – where the bottom edge of the tunic is sculpted into the hip and crotch pieces and everything moves like it should. It doesn’t look bad, but I preferred the setup on Iron.

Mercury utilizes the thinner buck which best suits his build. In addition to the above pieces, he also includes new calves and forearms with boot and glove edges respectively, a new chest to attach the plate that features his logo, new feet, and I believe new legs overall – I think this is the first time we’re seeing double knees on the thin buck. The new head looks pretty cool with a great smirk and I don’t think the nose being a different piece is terribly distracting.

I’ve got a prejudice against this figure because of the paint/color choice. The Metal Men aren’t really precise depictions of the metals they represent, particularly Mercury. He’s likely red because of the confusion over what’s really in a red thermometer. When it comes to the figure, I think that it was perfectly reasonable to do this figure in pearlized red instead of a metallic red, but I think he would look great with the same metallic treatment as the other two got. The pearlized red is better than nothing though – the outer half of my scissors came without paint and are a rather dull red.

The figure has the full complement of the new articulation – double elbows, double knees, and ball wrists in addition to the standard articulation found on the figures since the second year (Mercury can’t look up). The double knees are more or less cancelled out by the one-piece ankles, but I don’t know if I should complain because I imagine the ball-ankles would be handled similar to the ball wrists…

I mentioned my Mercury broke and this is where. It’s somewhat ironic because his left hand’s ball joint is designed to be a swappable piece between the attachment and the regular hand. I haven’t had any problems with it either, but the right hand gave me trouble. It was slow to turn when I got it out of the package, but it finally gave and I assumed it was fine. I didn’t bother with any freezing or heating tricks but maybe I should have. During the shoot, I went to the move the right hand, just after I swapped out the left one for the pic below, and it came off in my hand.

The attachment itself is pretty cool with the bubbled up transformation an working scissors, but I have trouble getting it into good poses – it’s too loose in the socket and and gravity quickly swivels it down.

Overall, I really wanted to enjoy Mercury’s figure. I love the Metal Men and I’m anxiously awaiting Mattel to get back to them (and hoping that’ll happen later this year), but Mercury let me down a bit. I could’ve gotten over the pearlized, non-metallic plastic and the decision to work the tunic directly into the sculpt instead of having a slipover piece like Iron. I do appreciate that his chest piece doesn’t ride up like Gold’s, but, in the end, the figure broke. It’s really hard to give a positive review on a broken figure. If some part of Mercury impressed me enough that I wanted to stress it, then maybe, but he doesn’t. He’s a great sculpt that ended up with a lukewarm figure.

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16 comments to DCClassics.Com Review:
Mercury of the Metal Men

  • Rob

    I got Mercury simply to complete Bane, no other reason. Fortunately, the right hand on mine is fine, but I haven’t even tried to swap the left one out. Seems like every other person who’s tried has had either the scissor hand or normal hand snap at the peg. Why Mattel went with hollow pegs is beyond me…and why they felt the need to put that gigantic plug on the end of the peg is even more mind-boggling.

    • Ironically, the left hand pops out easily enough for me, but I’ve only changed it out three times and probably won’t be doing it again just in case. I wonder, if Mattel had put his normal hand on in the package, how many collectors would’ve even bothered. It might cut down on all the break reports at least.

  • ivan tojakov

    maybe they wanted the toy to break, hoping that the completists couldn’t help themselves, and buy another, thus moving what is otherwise the most D list character DCU has yet released

  • Megatherium

    I like Mercury, I was so afraid of breaking off his hand, too. The plastic used in this set is SO brittle, it’s sad, really. I had 3 figures Break in this set! 🙁 The part that annoyed me the most about this figure (and the Creeper moreso) was the blocked ankle joints. They have less motion than a normal figure, so it negates any deep stances, ESPECIALLY on the Creeper…I did dremel out the joint areas as was suggested on the fwoosh, but I also did it for poor Mercury, too…

    • The ankles on Creeper are maddening and should’ve been caught right away. Can’t help but wonder if Toy Guru has too much on his plate…

      I did the same for Creeper and will probably get around to doing it for Mercury too.

  • ero

    Mine broke as well, though it was the left hand attachment. I try not to get too worked up about QC stuff like sloppy paint or limited articulation, but when joints that are supposed to be swappable break easily, it is pretty maddening.

    • Yeah, I feel like I’m the only one that managed to break his right hand while not having a problem with his left.

      I usually let most QC issues rolloff because the majority of people seem quiet/satisfied, but the breaks are really adding up with this wave it seems.

  • 3B

    My figure’s right hand broke also. I requested an exchange from Amazon, but he was already sold out, so I was inly able to return him for a refund. Of course, I had already assembled the pieces I had for Bane, so he went back without the torso piece. I’ll admit I’m not in a hurry to hunt down a replacement Mercury.

    Iron was a cool figure, but Gold and his giant head started to sour the Metal Men for me. Sadly, the QC on Merc isn’t helping.

    • I might swap out my Mercury if these show up at Wal-Mart. I’ll probably just glue the Robin, but I’d like to have a nice set of the Metal Men.

      I agree that Iron set the bar really high and the others have had trouble meeting it.

  • Jason Geyer

    I gave my Mercury a few passes with Glosscote, and he’s much shinier now and fits in a bit better with the other two. I kind of wish they had used a slight metallic varnish instead of the pearl, though.

  • manekochan

    I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this yet, and sorry about your broken figure, but, LOL BANE IS BREAK IAT SIGN! HWAH HAH!
    (That’s the only LOL you’ll get from me, sir. I don’t use those damned things.)

  • Brainlock

    I’m glad you used that Ralph joke, as that’s the first thing I thought of when I saw that side profile shot!

    I might try Jason’s idea of a simple gloss coat. having a plain, matte Mercury next to the other METAL Men seems odd, to say the least.
    (and seeing the lack of more team members the next few waves has me worried. dare I even hope for Tina or DOC?)

    • He definitely has Ralph’s nose (though I’d prefer the figure to have a normal face).

      We need more Metal Men. I hope we see at least one of ’em in Wave 20. I think that’d be good for Mattel’s Customer relations.