The Public Enemies wave wasn’t something I was terribly excited about when it was first revealed. I wanted Brimstone as soon as I saw him, and still do, but I wasn’t that interested in the stylized DC Classics figures that stood between me and the Engine of Destruction. Now that I’ve had them in hand for a day, my opinions have shifted a bit and I might be able to find some room on my shelves for a few of the figures, particularly if it’s the only version they’re ever going to receive.
When I say I still want Brimstone, it isn’t because he’s awesome when built. It’s because I don’t have him yet. When Matty recently posted images of the Superman/Batman wave on Facebook, they mentioned that Black Lightning and Major Force would be in “Wave 2″. What I had thought would be an exclusive wave was actually an exclusive line with two waves. The Superman and Batman that I thought would be 50/50 variants were redecos for the second wave. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t happy about this revelation.
I don’t mind the split cases. Generally, our Target has been good at getting the “A” cases while TRU gets the “B” cases. It has made for a comfortable collecting year so far. I like the idea of All-Star figures (Gentlemen Ghost could sure use an All-Star release, for example). But this split case isn’t the same as those and for one big reason. We have no idea when the second wave is coming. If you look across the sites that usually carry advance reviews, none of them have had samples of Black Lightning and Major Force. We haven’t seen packaged photos of those two figures either. Basically, when you find the wave, you’ll have the lower half and arm of Brimstone sitting at your home with no timeframe for when he can be completed. It’s not a big problem, but it does temper my excitement.
Ready for a New Buck?
There has been a lot of speculation about this wave featuring new bucks. I am never completely comfortable proclaiming that a piece is new, but I’m going to say these bucks are new. The three male PE bucks are labeled R5356. Update: Mattel product numbers are given to both individual figures and to whole waves. Originally, I thought R5356 might have been some future figure, but I should have looked closer at the packaging. R5356 is the product number that Mattel assigned to the wave. So, there is no future mystery figure that will use the R5356 buck, but it does show that this buck is new and was made specifically for this wave.
How does the new buck affect size? Judging from having them in hand, I’d say that each piece is slightly adding to an overall height increase. The curve of the calf and the thigh cuts are slightly higher on the new figures, the waist cut is a little further up, the ab piece seems to be about the same size, but the torso is slightly larger in all directions. It’s just a bigger build overall.
Now with that out of the way, let’s take a look at the individual figures in Public Enemies Wave 1.
This figure is a little tainted by virtue of being broken. His left wrist was half torn from the peg right out of the package. I don’t think this will be a widespread problem, the figures have the same ratio of soft and hard parts as regular DC Classics and sometimes this just happens. Fortunately for me, he was my least favorite figure anyway, so I’ll take him as he comes and be happy with my Brimstone arm. Since this Superman is built around a new buck that’s slightly larger than the other figures, he doesn’t have many molded features. He borrows the standard Superman cape and belt. This leaves him with his unique head sculpt. The head sculpt was already at a disadvantage because of the odd semi-McGness of the PE Superman, but that’s been further compounded by a molded skintone and overall gummy appearance. In a line full of beautifully sculpted pieces, this head ends up looking sub-par. Finally, Superman ended up with the only stuck joint I found in this wave. It’s his ab crunch – you can lean him forward, but something in the joint conflicts and pushes it back. He leans back fine, but he can’t lean forward.
Though this Superman is headed for the extras box, he is not without merit. Collectors may debate endlessly on what shades of color Superman’s costume should be, but I like the mix here. If you’re up to making the perfect Superman, this might be the body you need. The extra bulk/height along with the colors make him a great candidate. Even the standard Superman cape, usually found flaring away from the figure, almost drapes straight down here. But some type of mod is needed on this figure, it just doesn’t seem to work as is.
This Batman has received a lot of praise by various collectors and it’s not hard to see why. He features a more classic symbol (no oval) and has a modest pouch belt instead of the huge pouches and capsules on the other figures. But for me, a fan of the yellow oval/capsule belt Batman, it’s not an essential version of the character. The head, while it seems a little large, is a great sculpt of the Batman featured in the PE cartoon. The sculptors even managed to capture his “really?” expression. It’s pretty good, but i already have a couple of Batmen that are my version of “perfect” (the all-black DCUC10 Batman, and the blue DCUC1 Batman). Admittedly, this one is growing on me the longer it sits around, but he’s probably headed for the extras box with his black/grey 5pk counterpart.
I’d say the only drawback to this version is the reuse of the larger buck. I understand it was done to reflect the “semi-McGness” of PE, but he’s just a little too big for a “mere human” when put with the rest of the DCUC. And if he doesn’t blend with those, I don’t have much use for him.
Icicle was a figure I was annoyed about when he was first shown. It’s that nose. I figure this may be our one shot at an Icicle figure and I felt it wasn’t cool to choose such a stylized version (there were plenty of other villains in the movie that could masquerade among regular DC Classics easily). But after having him for a day, the nose… has grown on me. I still don’t like it, but it’s not that bad. First, it’s movie accurate, so I have to appreciate that. And the rest of the figure really makes up for it. Icicle had no stuck joints, no warping issues, no paint issues, and he feels like a solid figure. His arms are a soft plastic, particularly those long fingers, but that’s for the best. Those arms, and his head and neck piece, are molded in translucent blue and then painted. I’m a sucker for translucent stuff, so I’m at this figure’s mercy to a degree.
I like the translucent bits, I like the claw hands, and the head, even though it’s a bit cartoony, has the short hair and goatee of Cameron Mahkent. It’s still him under that honker. And the ice buildup around the neck is cooler than just having an ice pattern on the costume. He’s a giant figure too, which is not like the comic version, but it works for this figure. The ice claws and hulking presence make for a great combination. He’s pictured above with Flash for comparison to a regular DCUC figure.
Silver Banshee’s a standout in this wave simply because she’s the only one not using the new buck. After getting spoiled by Power Girl and Black Canary, she’s not the prettiest female figure, but that’s not really important – she’s a banshee after all. The figure runs a little short because it’s based on the first female buck. She looks great with the regular figures, which is probably more important, but she looks a little out of place with just the PE figures.
She’s easily my favorite of the wave. I love the new head piece because of the giant hair and the tiny details (her earrings have the faces sculpted on). She has the collar piece from Jayna and a new hair piece for the hair coming down in front of the collar. From the neck down, she relies on paint to sell the look and it does. Most of the lines are crisp, particularly on the glove top and boot top areas. She is missing the streaming parts of her costume, but there probably isn’t a way to do those and look good, so they’re not missed.
My only complaint on this figure is the soft legs that came warped to the right.
Well, I’d like to tell you how awesome Brimstone is, but he’s only here from the waist down because of the two wave surprise. I can tell you that the legs are nice and bulky with good rocker ankles to make sure that he’ll stand. One nice surprise came when I pulled out the one arm I received – it’s a dark translucent red to recreate the “magma” look of Brimstone. I find myself hoping that both the other arm and the entire upper torso is made from the same material (and that it doesn’t look too bad with the painted legs). I am very anxious to find out when those other two figures (along with the Superman and Batman variants) will ship.
Ultimately, the biggest problem with the wave is not being able to build Brimstone right away. In the future, I hope they don’t split exclusive waves up into parts. But I think Mattel and I have exclusive interests here. They’d probably like Target to order up more PE waves and I don’t want any sister DC toylines to track down. We’ll have to wait and see what the future holds.
The Superman figure gets a back of the shelf rating from me. His odd head sculpt and annoying ab crunch issues just make his score too low to be anything else. Batman could be just another one of a thousand or that one special Batman you’ve been waiting for depending on your preferences. The best praise for Silver Banshee and Icicle is that they’re joining my regular figures. Brimstone could be a great C&C once he’s done. The biggest thing to come out of this wave though, might be the new larger buck. I hope to see it used on Martian Manhunter when they decide to include him in the line. The more variety in bodies the better.