DCUC is dead. Long live… DCUC! Last year, Mattel took my collector heart and crushed it with six little words: “will no longer be at retail”. Summer 2011 will not soon be forgotten by DC fans. The toyline imploded. The comics disintegrated. It was a bad time to love DC Comics.
Nearly a year later, it’s still not the best time to be a DC fan. The retail line, while planned with more nU figures than Classics, was re-imploded and we’re still not quite sure what Mattel has planned for us beyond a couple figures later this year. My DC Comics pull list continues to shrink as titles are cancelled, writers are shifted around, Rob Leifeld is assigned to the book, etc. etc. I love DC, but there’s been little to no improvement in quality in the books. Here’s a tip if you ever find yourself in charge of a large comic book company, when you remove the nostalgia, the reader investment in the shared history, you really ought to make you sure up the quality of your product. Otherwise, you’re bound to take lifelong JLA readers and hook them up with Avengers.
But there is one bright spot for me as a fan of ye olde DC Universe. After a rocky start, ranging from the threat of cancellation to some delays, Mattel’s Club Infinite Earths has finally begun. Now I’ll be receiving not only some of my favorite MOTU characters in figure form every month, but they’ll be a DC figures in the same box (hopefully) along with it.
The subscription kicked off with a fantastic choice: Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash, or “Flash One” as the folks at Mattel like to refer to him. Jay Garrick was a cornerstone of the classic DC Universe. Jay, the creation of Gardner Fox & Harry Lampert, first appeared in late 1939 and his success with a relatively simple super power, super-speed, inspired the creation of many more speedy characters over the years.
My favorite thing about Jay, which DC has since discarded, is that he was the good-natured, “grandpa” superhero. He never had to “get with the times” or update his look, he was just a great mentor character for several generations of future Flashes and other young heroes. Some of that may just be luck, that no “aspiring” writer or editor tried to make the mark or leave their stamp on ol’ Jay (until now anyway), but whether he was with the JSA in the 1940s, the JLA in the 90s, or just a supporting character in the pages of Flash, Jay was a steadfast part of the DCU from early on, through when I started reading as a kid, and until I was in my thirties.
This isn’t Jay’s first figure. DC Direct churned out two, both with nice sculpts, but limited articulation and Mattel previously made Jay in their 4” DCIH line also with limited articulation. As anyone that reads IAT regular knows, I’m not fan of limited articulation. And while Jay is missing one crucial articulation point, this is exactly the figure I’ve been waiting for. I can’t tell you how excited I was when this guy showed up at my doorstep!
Since this is a “new” line, let me take a minute to explore the packaging. Mattel has redesigned the packaging for Club Infinite Earths, or DC Universe: Signature Series – I’m not sure exactly how to use Mattel’s terminology here anymore. We’ll see what they’re calling everything when they make the 2013 pitch. Anyway, like MOTU Classics, the figure arrived in a white mailer.
Inside the mailer is a boxed setup instead of traditional carded we’ve been getting at retail. Honestly, I don’t really need all this packaging for my subscription, but I’d hate for a packaging designer to go hungry (in the arms of the angel… fly away from here… oh, sorry) Further, I can’t say no some to great Mike Thompson art in my mailbox. If the art looks familiar to you, that’s because we’ve seen Mike’s work before on GI Joe (check out some cool unused head shots at Kastor’s Korner) and numerous projects outside of the toy industry. Now, I’m not a fan of every choice Mr. Thompson made, namely the standard blue jeans, but I do love the look of the art overall and I expect to see some even cooler pieces as the year goes on. And hopefully, Mattel will bring Mike back for 2013. I may not keep all the pacakages, but I do so enjoy when things match.
Moving onto the figure, for the most part, Jay utilizes the standard DCUC buck with Barry Allen’s boots, new lower legs, the standard plain belt, and a swanky new head sculpt. Strictly speaking, you could say that Jay belongs in some looser fitting clothes and I could kinda see that, but plenty of artists have drawn Jay in more of a spandex look over the years and the figure looks sharp just like it is.
To get his details right, Mattel had to have the 4H sculpt new lower legs, but they didn’t quite get the details right nonetheless. Jay nearly always has little wings on his boots and those are absent on the figure. I’m not sure if those were overlooked or simply left off intentionally to allow the shoes to have re-use possibilities, but it does stick out to me when I look at him. That said, I’m glad Mattel went this route and gave him more accurate boots instead of simply repainting the cuffed boots previously used in the line as they would’ve been too high and even more off-putting. Continue to Page 2…
39 thoughts on “DC Classics.Com Golden Age
Flash Jay Garrick Review”
Great review, as usual. I don’t know if we will ever see any of those ‘Flash Family’ members you call for, but it would be nice. I have the DC Direct Max and Impulse on my shelf for now, but they don’t really fit in well. Looking forward to Mirror Master and hope for another Rogue or two soon.
Time to up-date the DC Collector guide. hint hint
Thanks, Tom! I hate the lack of Flash supporting cast in the line. I always worry that was possibly from DC directly since they seemingly also swept them all under the rug. The Flash is one of my favorite corners of the DCU and it’s one that Johns and Co. have ensured I won’t touch. For every good thing he did for the GL franchise, he cancelled it out with his pre-relaunch work on Flash.
And, yes… I do need to spend some time on all the 2012 collector checklists… I may have to slip into a two reviews and a checklist update mode for a few weeks to get caught up…
To be fair, Johns did some great work making the Rogues awesome again during his run on Wally’s book. Too bad he ruined it all with Barry’s return and the chaos that followed. 🙁
I actually like the artwork with Jay in jeans. You’d have to figure that in ’39 that he may not have been wearing spandex…but a pair of jeans would work. On top of him being the grandpa/mentor type..i always felt he was the working mans superhero too.
I’m hoping we’ll see more Flash Family figures, maybe in the sub. Then again, i can already hear the uproar from a Wally West in the sub made of 90% reused parts. I personally wouldnt mind it tho
The only thing i take exception with in yer review is your treatment of DC Comics. I’m enjoying the New52 and i read almost all of them monthly (minus Liefeld of course hehe). Some people dont like this new direction DC’s gone in, but i feel its really livened up the characters and made them interesting and fresh. We dont always have to be locked into the past to have an identity. We can evolve and go a different path and still keep the heart and soul that brought us to prominence. Will this New52 last? I’m sure lots of elements will stay…the more interesting ones will. But you know as well as i do that what dosent sell will be tweaked again until they get that perfect mixture that will make for a long lasting comic book. Change has been a constant in comics and this is no exception. I like this new direction mainly since you really dont know where they’re going with these characters and its fun to see whats gunna happen next.
I can definitely see that angle on the jeans. Working man’s super-hero is a great descriptor too.
Wally is such a tricky one because he doesn’t really need anything but a new head, if they did make him in the sub, he’d have to come with something spectacular to balance off the part reuse.
As for my opinion of DC Comics, all I can say is that I tried, I really did. You could call me a comic snob because I want beginnings, middles, and ends. I want foreshadowing, tension, emotion – I want them to be more literature than fanservice escapism. And, the funny thing is that I am usually the first to champion a grand deviation from the typical, but I’m just not finding writers who are making me care about these new versions.
They gave too many books to the same people that were producing mediocre work before and the result is the quality more or less stayed the same. To me, it’s transactional – they took away something I enjoyed and I wanted something in return for it. They’re not delivering on making books of a higher caliber and I think that’s why outside of a half dozen or so titles, they’re not seeing they results they wanted with the Relaunch. I think well-written books would trump nostalgic books any day, but for a lot of the titles now? I just find them delivering neither.
For me, half the problem is that DC touted it’s LEGACY for YEARS, and then swept it all under the rug with no warning. Flashpoint was already underway when they announced that it tied into the just confirmed nu52 relaunch, which meant those that hadn’t already been buying the Barry-Flash title and now Flashpoint, would miss out on the reset, to which I decided F It! The Flash book was perpetually late, and lost any steam for me leading into the Event, so I didn’t care. Then to find out the dwindling number of books I was enjoying were now MOOT? My dealer was surprised I kept my pull list, which may be cancelled in a few months with the second round of cancelled books, if I’m hearing things right.
I was a bit surprised to see not only the seam in the helmet but paint slop in the elbow joints. And what’s with that white lettering on the inside of his boot?
Paint slop in his elbows? That’s weird!
The white writing on his boot is the factory stamp indicating when & where he was made. Since he has the Flash boots (with treads) they couldn’t stamp him on the bottom like they normally do.
Nice review, I love the artwork. I hope Mattel keeps it in future years, but I wouldn’t mind if the package is more like MOTU to save a few dollars…
By the way anyone knows if any website will sell SDCC exclusives after the show? (besides Mattycollector or eBay, because sellers are crazy demanding three times their value). Thanks!
MattyCollector (or other manufacturers retail sites) will be your best bet, as the others will all have price increases. Usually, they will have some of the SDCC items available at BBTS, though their price increase can sometimes be rather off-putting…
Mattycollector is your best bet for the Mattel stuff, they’ve made it pretty easy in recent years (but part of that is also because none of the offerings set the world on fire).
Thanks for another great review! I too was a little bit nervous about signing up for the sub due to all the quality control issues I would run into at retail, but as soon as I opened the box I couldn’t have been more excited to be a part of this club. Mattel hit this one out of the park!
I have to ask one question: When I hear folks requesting a “Wally” figure, can’t we just use the shiny All-Star variant as a stand-in? After the Gray Lantern Flash fiasco, I’m kind of Flashed-out. Just wondering.
He doesn’t quite cut it for me, though i can see him working for others. I want the double lightning bolts and a new head sculpt to differentiate him. That, and I’m just not that big a fan of having a “stand-in” for major characters. Of course, I really don’t want him in the sub, unless they start doing quarterly DC variants like they do for MOTUC. He’d be a good option for retail, imho.
I do like the darker red, but I can’t use that one for my Wally because I do really need the angled lightning and the white eye slits. I’m still cranky that Mattel didn’t take the opportunity to do Wally right there.
I do use “Cherry Barry” as a stand-in, only because the DCD Wally is too lean and “bright” in comparison with the other DCUC Titans. and DCD Donna (Infinite Crisis?) and FA Kyle.
but yeah, a new head and redeco is all Wally needs. Maybe they will add the arm lightning to held reflect his usual signature of lightning streaks? It’s apparently on a separate mold from the S-shield lightning if they were able to re-use it for Black Vulcan.
as much as I’d LOVE to see them do Dark Flash-Walter, I’m not holding my breath if they can’t bother with a basic Wally, but have no problem with half a dozen Barry variants. (Barry-ants? LOL)
Thanks for the review! Always enjoy reading these. I find the reviews here to be well-articulated (even if they’re missing the rocker-ankles) and nicely thorough. Of course, the humour you guys inject into the photos is always a nice touch!
I have to say, after a little unease about the CIE sub, I’m very happy with this first offering, even if he does feel like part of a “lost” wave 21. I also have to note that Jay is currently not standing with the rest of my collection. He’s hanging out in the living room, as my wife is really enjoying him, and is not ready for him to disappear into my den. He’s quickly become her favorite DCUC fig. He’s not the tops of my list, but he certainly is a solid, front-of-shelf offering!
My wife took notice of Jay too! Though Brave & the Bold left quite the impression… Geezer Flash indeed. 🙂
A small typo in the word baloon “Why do the (should be theY) look so old”? Great pics and great review nevertheless.
Thanks, Sir Real! I try to catch the photo ones hardest, but sometimes they get through.
That last picture oh my God…I am dying over here.
Glad you liked it! I thought it might be just a little silly…
Excellent as always!
I like the chrome helmet a lot. Had I the spare scratch this is one of the nicest looking DCUCs I’ve seen in a long while.
Definitely. Great way to kick off the sub!
Geezer Flash ha ha ha
LOL I had to do it!
Love the review! Fills a temporary void for me, as Jay seems to be taking the long way to my house. “Fastest Man Alive” is losing to “Slowest Mail Service”.
And of course the pics are hilarious… dish the dirt, Noisy. Do you pose your pics with the captions already in mind, or come up with the ideas after, or both, or neither? What’s the ol’ IAT creative process?
Thanks, Rod! Sorry to hear about your Flash delay. Matty’s USPS ground shipping is pretty pitiful.
As for the pics, I try to plan ahead, but I’m not opposed to changing mid-stream (or even going back for more photos) so it’s really a mixture of all of them. This review is actually a good example. I knew I wanted the “missing Flash family” and “Geezer Flash” reference before I started, but I didn’t think to use the box for the latter until after I started writing the review, so I went back and reshot those two photos into one. Alfred was a spur of the moment decision to throw in there and his captions were kind of organic during the shoot, I can hear where Michael Caine would pase in my head. I also felt I should show the Lego bump he was gettting so no one got the wrong idea! Jay discussing Earth-2 was another one that came up while I was taking the photos, but making the joke about Joan being in college didn’t come up until I was in photoshop and just not finding the right punchline for Alan being gay. It’s basically anything that I think works! Thanks for asking!
This WAS a great figure. I feel you on the lack of Wally. I kind of hope the line survives to next year–Wally with a Cosmic Treadmill would be a GREAT set, in the same vein as Metron with his chair this year.
Man, those pics and captions are awesome as always but they are also heartbreaking. The Jay Garrick Flash alone is such a timeless character. The classic JSA is my favorite DC super team and the main reason I read DC comics for over three decades. I’m really gonna miss those guys…
Couldn’t agree more on the figure, though! That sly grin is 100% pure Jay. I wish Mattel had added his boot wings and made the helmet removable, but the 4H’s masterful head sculpt makes up for everything. Like yourself, I’ve also boxed up about 90% of my DCUC collection in anticipation of a move. All that is left are my JLA and JSA shelves along with a few other faves. It’s looking like Jay will be the last one to go if I ever box up the stuff I have left on display.
Since most of the JSA members are masked, I don’t see much difference in terms of age between Alan/Jay and the others. Dr. Fate, the Spectre, Hourman, Atom, Sandman, Hawkman, Wildcat, Dr. Mid-Nite… I’m looking at them right now and only Starman’s face is fully visible but he looks older as well. Maybe Johnny Thunder will turn out to be the deal-breaker?
Excellent review as always. Jay Garrick is now my favorite DCUC figure of all time. A great character, a great figure and a great feeling to finally have him smiling back at me after all these years.
“you really ought to make you sure up the quality of your product.”
or ‘make sure you SHORE up the quality of you product.’ 😉
Love the inclusion of MM Alfred and is it wrong that in the “Black Forest” picture, I wanted Doohan’s Scotty to be in there? or would that have been in poor taste with his missing finger he lost back in the war? (GL gag?)
(I hope Alfred’s review is up next? and comparison pics with GB and DCUC suits!)
JSA group shot: aren’t we still missing WW-Hippolyta and GA Canary? (which would really be stretching that timeline, these days, for Dinah!) WW just needs a new head and skirt (with “bike shorts” underneath), but do we want a regular skirt or the pleated Xena-type worn in ancient Greece?
To be honest, I got my Jays (2x sub), gave them both a once-over to check for QC…and put them back in the mailer, unopened. I like him, but I’m not feeling him, at the moment, possibly due to other, non-related drama going on in my life? He and Polly still have a space cleared for them on my shelf, but I keep thinking I need to box them all up. I finally gave up on constantly picking up Hal & Barry from the floor, and they took Wildcat and Ray-Atom with them this last time, too, plus knocking others over, helter skelter.
I will say thanks for giving shout-outs to Walter and Jenni in the review. I finally decided to get an extra Stargirl, swap a head, and repaint her to young Miss Ognats. another Flash Family member AND Legionnaire added to my collection! (hint hint, Mattel!) of course, after last wkd, I now need to get a YJ-Kid Flash for Bart…!
of course, no sooner than I finish reading the comments than I check the mail and find GA Hawkman waiting for me! LOL
(custom ideas bouncing through my head, like DCD’s SA Jimmy Olsen for Johnny Thunder or turning Carter into an evil Crime Syndicate “Blackhawk”.)
Great figure, but that box art?
“Anderson Cooper, why are you dressed as the Flash?”
Great review as always Noisy!
I’m with you on the DC Comics. Snyder’s Batman has been great, but beyond that the relaunch has actually gotten me a lot more interested in the X-Men books over at Marvel.
Jay looks great. Can’t wait to open mine and pose him with the JSA! 😉
Just saw your website through Speedforce.org and I have to say that I love the pics and the reviews. Great stuff. If you don’t mind my asking, what kind of camera and lighting do you use for your photos? They are fantastic and I’m looking to improve my work.
Also just wanted to point out that DC Direct has put out at least five versions of Jay with one being a repaint and the other being an Elseworld look. Mattel also released a version of Jay in the Justice League Unlimited line as well. You can see most of them here: http://fastestfanalive.com/post/23304211552/dcdirectjay1
I also covered each of them individually over the last couple of weeks. Again, great review and excellent pictures. Hilarious captions. I could learn a lot from your stuff.
As I’ve said before, DCUC and the old DC universe may be gone, but at least they have managed to crank out a few must-haves right at the end. Jay “almost” completes the classic JSA line-up. Which is a good note to go out on. I always loved Jay’s kind of makeshift costume, the helmet, and his calm, collected elder superhero statesman role. He was there for my favorite Flash runs (no pun intended) by Mark Waid and Geoff Johns, and I’m still a bit sad to see him go. But at least he has a toy fitting in with the rest of the JSA now, and it looks generally good with a few minor flaws (the ankle rockers being the most blatant).
So, without knowing what may manifest in the future for the DCU/CIE figures, the JSA vintage line-up is still missing Johnny Thunder, a golden age Wonder Woman, golden age Black Canary, the Terry Sloane Mr Terrific, golden age Hawkgirl (kind of debatable). Overall that’s not so bad. The lineup feels complete enough to me.
Good review as usual!
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