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MOTU Classics.Com:
DC vs MOTU Zodac Review

This summer was a challenging time for me as a MOTUC collector. The loss of our subscription sent me back to the Monthly Matty Madhouse. The con exclusive Faker had me (successfully) watching TRU.com like a hawk, but another TRU 2pk, Zodac vs Green Lantern, slipped through my fingers… until now.

Before I get too far into this article, I should warn you all (especially you, Fire King) that calling this a review might be a bit of a stretch. I don’t really have much to say about the figure (this’ll undoubtedly be a one-pager). He’s a perfectly fine figure. In fact, I’m much happier with the painted gloves and swapped in boot-feet than I was with the original Zodac and I liked him well enough at the time. This Zodac brings the figure more in line with how the character was presented in Filmation cartoon, so that’s cool too.

The only thing I didn’t like was that I was going to have to buy yet another Hal Jordan to get him. Luckily, I didn’t end up having to; a fellow collector snagged a set during the one-day $15 sale and was willing to split the cost of the set with me as long as he could keep the Hal Jordan (a reissue of the TRU Hal Jordan with John Stewart’s rifle construct). I still think he got the short end of the stick, but I wasn’t about to turn down that deal.

If you haven’t heard, this will be my last DC Classics vs. MOTU Classics review as the exclusive 2pk line is cancelled. I don’t think any of us were surprised too much when we heard the news, I still have a pile of Lex Luthor & Skeletor’s at my TRU after that aforementioned half-price sale (think the folks at Mattel wish they’d tossed Batman in that 2pk instead of Lex Luthor?). On the one hand, I’m sad to see the line go. I enjoyed the MOTU redecos for the first four figures quite a bit and I love my long-championed-for Battle Armor Faker. I’ll definitely miss these 2pks as an avenue to get slight redecos that wouldn’t fit well into my MOTU subscription.

That said, all of these 2pk kinda sucked for one very big reason: the repackaged DCUC figures. Whether it be the Mattel beancounters, the limits of making changes to a small-run store exclusive, some issue with DC approval, or whatever – reissuing the DC figures with no changes* was a mistake on Mattel’s part. (*Bizarro did feature a more traditional red/blue color scheme, different from previous releases). I can’t say it was the mistake that killed this line, but it surely contributed.

See, these 2pks should’ve been win-win. Two of Mattel’s popular boy’s lines – smashed together! This should’ve been like Reese’s Cups or PB&J sandwiches, but Mattel opted to only make half of each pack worthwhile and ensure that few if any DC Collectors had a reason to snag these 2pks. Yeah, there would’ve been some grumbling from the DC, non-MOTUC collectors, but 1) there’s always grumbling and 2) DC & MOTU collectors could’ve teamed up to split the packs just like I did with this one.

As a collector of both lines, I snapped up the first four two-packs for the MOTU figures, but basically cast the duplicate DCUC figures aside afterwards. It seemed like a waste to me and I think that’s true for most collectors.

Regardless, the TRU Exclusive DC vs MOTU line, lasting only three waves and one SDCC exclusive, has moved on (though it’ll be awhile until they move on from TRU shelves). It’s survived by the MOTU Classics line proper and a poor imitation of the DC Classics line. In lieu of flowers, Mattel would ask that you just sign up for future Mattycollector subscriptions.

For my part, I picked up six of the seven packs (the seventh pack featured Supergirl & She-Ra; neither figure had any changes) and enjoyed the MOTU halves for all six, even Zodac here. I can’t say the same for the DC side though and it’s for that reason I don’t mind saving the $30 a pop these 2pks were running – even though that means I’ll have to go without a toy colors Man-E-Faces or mini-comic colors Trap Jaw.

For more MOTU reviews, check out our
MOTU Classics Collector’s Guide.

22 comments to MOTU Classics.Com:
DC vs MOTU Zodac Review

  • He-Mullet

    All the fun, zero of the Hal Jordans… Shame that the 2packs died… I was hoping for the Toyguru’s Ego Pack with Spector and NiteLik!

  • I wish they could just make a tru exclusive line of MOTUC re decos they certainly would sell better and it would be nice to be able to buy these guys in stores heck evenif they did re issue waves or something

  • I just couldn’t do it. I see these things at TrU and I sigh and put it back on the low “nobody looks here” shelf. I would probably pick up the Supes/He-Man pack to get a He-Man, but THAT is gone daddy gone.

    And that’s the problem, right? That first set did pretty good sales because it caught buyers by surprise and really WAS the Reeses PBC of toy concepts. I’m sure the scalpers went nuts.

    but the problem really is, they cost TOO DAMN MUCH. $20 would have been the sweet spot I think. For a pair of figures with zero development and minimal logistics, a pair of figures that are pure profit for Mattel, they could afford the price cut. And they would move.

    So, did we ever figure out who they should have paired Batman with? Man-At-Arms seems logical to me.

    • He-Mullet

      I missed out on the Supes He-Man pack (back when I lacked a Supes) and was almost tempted for the Skeluthor pack, but I owned that Lex (w/Supergirl) and I really only wanted the sword…
      Wave 2 was more tempting to me for the DCUC figs and Reverse Stratos, but even by holding them in hand @ a TRU I’m unable to pull the trigger.
      Now The ZODAC set might be something I will most likely buy (due to a lack of Zodac) but still, the cost is what turns me off the most!

  • 3B

    I really enjoyed this set. I didn’t have the previous Zodac release, so he was the main reason I bought it. But the included Hal turned out to be my favorite Jordan Mattel’s released to date!

  • polo23

    This is the way Zodac should have always be designed. Since I was a kid watching him on the old Masters of the Universe cartoon I never understood why they designed him with claw feeds & labeled him with the bad guys when clearly he was always a good dude. Plus they should’ve put the white gloves on him like they did with Zodak but I’m cool how he is now.

  • Magneto76

    I have the first few sets, but I couldn’t give myself enough of a reason to buy the Hawkman/Stratos pack. I ended up buying the Stratos and Merman off another collector for the combined price of less than a 2-pack cost. I really want that Zodac but have no need for ANOTHER wolver..I mean Hal Jordan figure. The 2 day sale wouldn’t have help me since my TRU is clogged with HM/Stratos and Aquaman/Merman packs…

  • dayraven

    the truth is, they handled the dc pack ins wrong in several ways: 1, for god’s sake, don’t plan 2 packs in dcu for the same sales year that the character is hitting in a motu-dcu 2 pack… too many damned luthers!!!

    and 2, i agree w/ steve, the price point was dumb. these were 100% profit for mattel, so let’s make some good choices here and keep the price tag at 20 bucks.

    lastly, 3 says, for Ss and Gs, if they’re really wanted to move this line… the first 2 pack should have been he-man and giganta’s head. the numbers would have been epic, and it would have transitioned easily into a second purchase to get the scareglow/ gentleman ghost pack. you don’t have to release all the heavies all at once… let’s get beast-man and bwanna beast out BEFORE we release skeletor vs darkseid, because skellie will always sell.

    lastly, number 4, these could have been a great way to be really cool and sneaky. for example, why not use the 30 dollar price point, but release the motu guys packed w/ completed dc CnC figs… we get beast-man and SP kalibak, trap jaw and shiny metallo, she-ra and giganta, hordak and chemo, etc… that could have been crazy cool, solved some distro problems, and justified the higher price tag (without really requiring any actual additional expense on mattel’s part.)

    • 100% profit? not really they still have to pay to get the things molded and painted the price point isnt ahuge deal to me your pretty much paying 15$ for a dcuc that costs 15+ anyway and 15 for a motuc minus a few accessories. Really the fault is making barely any changes to the dc guys. They should have jsut sold the motuc single carded in TRU and sales would have been much better.

      • Fair enough, it’s not “100% profit”, I threw in a little hype.

        So let’s look into manufacturing a little tiny bit.

        This pack was designed with a $30 price tag in mind. That’s a key factor, in many products one of the first ‘design constraints’ is the intended selling price. Much of the process then wraps around what it takes to make a profit, the ‘return on investment’, for the company at that pricepoint. So, Mattel decided that they would make a profit from Toys R Us with a product selling in-store for $30. Following me so far?

        Now, TrU doesn’t pay $30 for that product. They have to make a profit as well. Mattel sells them the product at a wholesale price that, keep in mind, makes a profit for Mattel. So play the game with me. With the discounting typical for a hardlines item, and factoring in the unknown of the ‘return allowance’ and the fee Mattel pays for shelf space, let’s just wild-ass guess that the wholesale cost of that $30 toy is $15. I’m pretty sure that’s not unreasonable to assume, based on past experience.

        So, is Mattel selling that toy at cost to TrU? Why, no! They intend, they desire to make a profit. That means they have to charge more then the costs involve. Still following me? Generally speaking you can usually figure that the cost of an item is 50% of the wholesale cost. So, figure that it cost Mattel $7.50, which allowed them to sell it to TrU for $15, which lets TrU sell it for $30.

        Now it gets tricky. The cost of a figure is not just the plastic, there’s the painting and other deco, there’s the assembly, there’s the packaging. That’s pretty much a fixed cost. On the front end there’s the conception, the design, the licensing (if not an in-house product), the prototyping, the approval process and finally the actual cutting of the tooling to make the parts. These costs can be variable, depending on how much ‘back and forth’ has to go on between the conception and the final approval to cut the tool.

        Now, with these 2-packs, all that ‘front end’ logistics cost is already absorbed, amortized as they say, by the previous incarnations of the figures. That, in effect, cuts the cost in half.

        So then, if in this speculation I’m doing, it costs Mattel $3.75 to produce a figure that costs $15 in the store, we can leap to the conclusion that these figures in the 2-packs are costing them somewhere under $2 each, or around $4 for the 2-pack. Given that if they were doing all new figures in a 2-pack it would cost about $8, I would say that this means in effect the DCU Vs. MOTUC 2-packs were, indeed, 100% profit for Mattel.

        And yes, I don’t have any secret knowledge, I’m sure someone who has actual numbers could make me look like a complete idiot, but the LOGIC still holds, plug in actual numbers into the above and the end would be the same.

        Really, it’s Toys R Us that gets boned here. Those packs really could be sold to them with an intended MSRP of $20 and everyone would still make money. But nobody in charge really looks at it this way. Mattel really isn’t in business to sell toys to kids anymore, they’re in business to sell toys to the few places that still buy toys to sell to kids. TrU isn’t really interested in selling toys to kids anymore, they want it to be the early ’90s and sell toys to adults trying to recapture their childhood, and the ‘collectors market’ (heading by McFarlane’s product) taught them that these adults would pay sick money on the secondary market for ‘inaction’ figures, and the product gets to that market via the scalpers who descend like locust looking for the ‘hot’ toys.

        My O my, I am a bitter, cynical SOB, ain’t I? 🙂 Don’t you wish you had just let my “Mattel is making 100% profit” statement stand unchallenged? 🙂

        • Fire King Xi

          That’s a lot of unsubstantiated speculation. Using the same process I could argue Ford should sell me a Boss 302 Mustang for $27k instead of $40k. Try as I might I doubt the Ford execs would go for it, besides they know I’m going to buy a Boss 302 anyways regardless of the price tag.

          • well, not completely unsubstantiated. We know the pricepoint is $30. everything flows backwards from getting to that point. I know there are deals in place paying for shelf space. I know every company has a return allowance that is factored into the cost. I know there are all manner of complicated deals involving paying invoice within a specific time and credit against unsold products and so on.

            The numbers are, admittedly, speculation, but the underlaying logic is based on history, precedent and tradition. I think it’s fairly solid.

            And if your Boss 302 ‘Stang were built on a Tarus chassis and an Escort motor (existing inventory parts) I’d think you’d be right in believing it should be $27k. 🙂

  • clark

    Hey Noisy, I just got this pack from ebay for a good deal, but I was wondering is your Zodac’s harness glued on? I was trying to figure out how to get the thing off but I don’t think I can without damaging it.

  • orionpax636

    I heard this pack was hitting during the holiday blitz and I think the anti-Hal theme on this site has convinced me not to pick it up. To be honest, all it would have took was for them to re-release a Hal with pupils. That, or a Zodac with not just the boot swap, but also the “tech-shorts” of Zodak. (Yes, I know such a look has no basis any any continuity, but I’d buy it regardless. For that matter, a Zodac or Zodak with a Green Lantern green scheme with a remolded ring fist would be cool too…)

  • Battle Catman

    Skeletor/Luthor – Great set. At the time I had neither figure beforehand, so I was happy to get it.

    He-Man/Superman – I already had Supes from the “Gotham City 5” DCUC set, but the repainted He-Man head looked so much better than the basic, I bought this set twice (loose, of course).

    Mer-Man/Aquaman & Stratos/Hawkman – Passed them up multiple times, even on sale at $20 each.

    BA Faker/Bizarro – Never saw this set, but I’d pick it up if I had the chance.

    She-Ra/Supergirl – Bought it on sale mainly for She-Ra, but her sword was twisted to hell and her eyes were painted looking up so badly the head is practically useless.

    Zodac/Green Lantern – Also passed it up on sale. I was tired of GL and Zodac wasn’t doing it for me. I had just received my Matty Collector Black Friday shipments so maybe I was suffering from MOTUC fatigue, but now I’ll probably never see the set again.

  • Beedo Sookcool

    Great review, even if truncated!

    Fortunately, I have a buddy (Wildman) who said he’d happily take the DC figures off my hands, so that solved my clutter and costing problems. I had to pass on the He-Man and Skeletor packs for several reasons, and skipped the Mer-Man, but I got most of the rest, and I’m very glad I did, especially the Battle Armour Faker. The only reasons I picked up the She-Ra / Supergirl one were because it was on clearance and to get another She-Ra head, because my attempt to drill out her neck-socket a bit so her head would snap on a bit easier ended up . . . badly.

    So far, I’ve loved the hypothetical match-ups proposed in this comment thread. All of them sound great. It’s a shame this line died, and that Mattel rarely listen.

  • Fire King Xi

    Did you forget to upload the 2nd page? I came for the Hal Jordan review because I heard it was the greatest Hal Jordan EVER!!!! But sadly, it seems to be missing. 🙁

    My only complaint I have about this Zodac, besides him being Zodac and not Zodak, is the hands. They gave him boots. Giving him Zodak’s gloves would have been a nice touch.

    I’m grateful for the TRU 2-packs. If not for them I wold never have jumped on the MOTUC bandwagon. I can’t say I’m sad to see them go. The He-Man and Skelly packs were great, the Faker pack was genius, but everything else was pretty lame. Even the awesome Hawkman couldn’t rouse me to pay for another Lame-Or The Sky Monkey figure.