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DC Classics.Com: Club Infinite
Earths Uncle Sam Review

Today was supposed to be my grand return to getting IAT back on schedule. Well, I managed to lose the box with my camera & photo shoot gear, like the infamous blue backdrop, and it’s nearly noon as I finally get started writing. So let’s just call this a slow rollout as we get caught up on Mattycollector items!

Uncle Sam shouldn’t need a lot of introduction. We’ve all see the poster, right? Sam has various real world origins, but ultimately he’s simply a personification of America that came into use early in the 19th century replacing lesser know personifications like Brother Jonathan and Columbia. His traditional look first appears during World War I in that now-famous recruitment poster by James Montgomery Flagg. And, by World War II, he had transitioned into comics as the feature characters in Quality’s National Comics #1. His stint only lasted a few years, but he was part of the stable of characters acquired by DC in the 1950s. DC let him be for some time, until Len Wein & Dick Dillin used many of the Quality Characters in Justice League of America #107-108 when the combined JLA/JSA traveled to a third earth, one still embroiled in World War II twenty years later. It was there that we first meet the Freedom Fighters, Uncle Sam’s ragtag team of revolutionaries and one of the coolest, at least to me, DC teams that Mattel will never complete.

I learned all that later though. My first exposure to the comic version of Uncle Sam was in a silly story that is still one of my favorites to this day; a reprint of DC Super-Stars #10 in those fantastic Blue Ribbon Digests I’m always talking about. In that story, Sportsmaster & the Huntress (no, not that one) are having a marital spat about being villains. Huntress wants to become a hero because she’s tired of always being on the losing side. Sportsmaster posits that villains can win at something, so he picks… baseball. Yes, one of my favorite Uncle Sam stories is about a baseball game between heroes and villains. Uncle Sam is, due to his love of truth & justice, selected to umpire the game.*

* – Speaking of toys Mattel will never make, while the heroes baseball roster is complete, many of the villains used in that story are woefully absent – no Felix Faust, Chronos, Dr. Polaris, Weather Wizard, Tattooed Man, Sportsmaster, Huntress, and no one will ever make Matter Master.

Anyway, since I’ve wasted that much time explaining about Uncle Sam from memory, it should be pretty obvious that I love the character. He’s a fun addition to the DC Universe and he was written masterfully in both Justice League and Freedom Fighters, some of my favorite Bronze Age comics. He didn’t have as much of a place at DC in my own lifetime though, whether he was turned into the bizarre “Spirit” or made homeless over at Vertigo.

When Mattel made Gentlemen Ghost years ago, Uncle Sam shot pretty high up on my list (as did Zatara, a figure I’m positive will need to be customized). Granted, I already have an amazing DC Direct Uncle Sam by Tim Bruckner, but I’m more of an articulation junkie than not and that figure, while beautiful, is pretty limited.

Unfortunately, Mattel’s Uncle Sam ended up being able to move like I wanted (mostly), but came with a few design & engineering choices that I’m just not particularly happy with. The body, from the neck to the feet, is pretty much what was expected, an easy repaint of the Gentlemen Ghost body with the rocker ankles removed. All that was needed was some new hands and the head sculpt. Continue to Page 2…

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22 comments to DC Classics.Com: Club Infinite
Earths Uncle Sam Review

  • ero

    Nice to have you back, Noisy.

    Sam’s hands sure are off-putting, but if and when they announce a Phantom Lady, this guy’s resale will go through the roof.

  • I’ve bought me a loose Uncle Sam myself, and you make some really good points about the hands. It seems to me, that like you suggested, it might not have been that hard or to cost-worthy to have included alternative hands featuring a pointing hand and closed fists. That DC direct Uncle Sam does have the better sculpted face though, so I’ll agree with you there.

    Hell they could have even thrown a small bald eagle in there to rest on US’s arm like Dr. Midnite’s pet owl.

    All in all, still a pretty decent figure to own, if you’re in to him.

    As for the other FF members, maybe next year’s subscription line;)

  • Rod Keith

    … good point about the eagle. And to think they already have the one that came with the Wonder Twins.

    And I conjecture that Sam’s hands were meant to hold an American flag (that’s what I have mine doing), but likely it was left in the same box with Nekron’s scythe and SA Catwoman’s whip.

  • Brainlock

    Nice review, esp since it’s one where we get to compare the previous release to the present one. Now I’m thinking of seeing if I still have the DCD Sam to swap the right hand (forearm?) to the Mattel version. and I do agree about liking the Dillon sculpted head better. that said, Matty did give us somewhat decent “low tier” figure, and put me down for Ray I and Phantom Lady I, as well! Those two would be the easiest to pull off. condor would require new tooling for his cape/wings and I thought HB could re-use the Capt. Cold buck, but then I remembered he has sculpted “fur” for his boots, not a plain baggy pant tucked into them.

    that said, I still want the All-Star Squadron more. 😉
    (Johnny, Libby, Dani/firebrand II, Tarantula, and redeco silver Robotman I!)

    • Actually, they did rework Captain Cold a bit for Brainiac 5, he’d be a bit on the small side but it’s probably the only way we’ll get him…

      • Brainlock

        thanks, I wasn’t sure if they did or not. Given that, all they would really need to do is take the B5 body, swap the forearms with gloved hands and make a new helmet cowl. I really wouldn’t expect them to go the extra step with gloveless hand (even “sparkly” to show the imminent detonation.)

  • The hands are an issue here, but then you know what they say about guys with big hands.

    Going in though, I knew we’d be getting the Vertigo-ish Sam since they were using the GG/Joker buck. So I went and got the old DC Direct Uncle Sam at a bargain price. Those dio pics now give my two Sam figures a whole new dimension.

    Here’s to Phantom Lady and more Freedom Fighters! 🙂

    • TwoFisted

      I dunno how tough she is to find, but the DCD Phantom Lady is a fairly nice figure and looks nice next to Sam. I bought mine way back when she was first offered

  • J. Lee

    Admit I forgot about the pointing hand and yes it is a must. I need a flag for him cause he’s drinking a bottle of coke right now.

    The other FF members would indeed be nice. Phantom lady, Human Bomb, and honestly I would love a Damage pre crisis look.

    I am stunned about Zatarra not getting done yet. Easy make too with this mold. Just a new head under the hat.

    • Yeah, I’ve seen a few customs of him using the Mad Love Joker body, which is the same mold as this one.

    • Brainlock

      mark me down for a Damage, too!
      After his series ended, he wound up in the Arsenal/Darkstar-Donna New Titans book, where for some insane reason, they decided he needed to “grow” as his body charge did, and that stuck with him for the rest of his run at DC. I had to shake my head as that became his “character”: I get big and blow up. nnnggggyyaaaaahhhh!!!!!! [aneurism]

      He had a host of other powers, which were swept under the continuity rug.

  • TC

    Good to see the reviews starting up again, Noisy. And as always, great pics and commentary. I haven’t cracked open my Uncle Sam packaging yet, but I think he looks great. I too was surprised they went with that haircut, but I do like it. Looks like he just put his hat back on after a wild, Pier-6 Brawl (as Good Ol’ J.R. might say). But yeah, those hands are…distracting. How could one not be a “pointing” sculpt? The guys at Mattel are just so damn lazy sometimes. I mean, the majority of the figure is re-used parts, they couldn’t at least give us one new hand sculpt? C’mon. Kind of reminiscent of the hands on those God-awful 3 3/4 inch figures mattel pooped out not too long ago. But besides that, the figure is cool, the accessory is fantastic (Doll Man? Talk about a Z-list character. Awesome surprise!). Gonna have to concur with a lot of my fellow posters here and express my love for the Golden Age characters: Johnny Quick, Liberty Belle, Robotman, and Human Bomb would all be welcome additions. And modern takes on Phantom Lady and Black Condor would be great, too.
    And your last paragraph there speaks volumes. Looking at some of the older figures in my collection, I just can’t get over the attention to detail (Artemis, Ares, Cyborg, to name a few). These figures they’ve been sending us just seem slapped together from pre-made parts and re-painted, with no real love put into them at all. I mean, I love having them, but it just feels like Matty is going through the motions. After this year’s sub runs its course, I really do think it might be best if this line just ends gracefully. No thermometer with some nebulous magic number to reach, no pleading from Scott. Just end it. And it pains me to say that.

  • Rod Keith

    I’m of the mind that they need to go one more year to satisfy most MIA basic team needs. Another 12-13 figures in 2014 would wrap things up nicely.

    But I see your point– if they’re not going to put the effort or budget towards maintaining the high quality established early in the line, retire while the going’s good. Still there’s a handful more fairly simple characters they can squeeze out before the hand.

    • TC

      yeah, there are definitely some figures that are “must haves,” but it doesn’t seem like they want to do them justice, so why bother. maybe they should just focus on making figure-packs exclusive to their website a few times a year (with pre-orders so they don’t sell-out to scalpers in 5 minutes). Fire and Ice one month, then a few months later Johnny Quick/Liberty Belle, etc. And also put some effort into re-releasing some of the characters from older waves. Wonder Woman gets big bucks on Ebay, so how ’bout offering her again, Matty? There’s obviously a demand. It seems like a no-brainer, but what do I know?

    • TwoFisted

      This is starting to look like JLU all over again. Once DCUC hit a certain level of decline, Matty puts forth no effort at all. BUT the line still generates a little revenue, so they’ll continue to limp along. I forsee future releases being more sporatic…with the quality slowly diminishing. Later we’ll see almost a complete lack of retailer interest….then we’ll get excited about one store, lets say…Target will carry them exclusively. We’ll probably get a few releases from whatever exclusive retailer…then whatever that company is will quit carrying them. The last stop will be constant “final figures” being dangled in front of us like carrots being released thru Matty.

      Mark my words

  • Bubba

    That last picture with Rita is classic.

  • Oh god that sounds depressing as hell, but very likely. I think the line died pretty much once Mattel decided to end the regular waves and go strictly Subscription only. Yeah there’ll be some lines like Batman Unlimited and stuff, but just not the same as DCUC. And that’s a damn shame considering all the money that has gone into Mattel’s pockets, and not just from me….Sad really:(

  • There aren’t bare hands made for the suit body and even though Mattel put out two suit figures that needed bare hands in November, there still isn’t.

    Actually there are two sets, at least for the “suit body” — Clark Kent and Two-Face — though the bare Movie Master hands may be the best choice for this body…

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