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Retro Review: DC Classics Wave 5 (Metallo)

One of the features we wanted to have since we began was a complete review archive of DC Classics. At the outset, we also conceived the idea of a Retro Review, a feature where we’d spend some time on old toy from yesteryear (wait until you see SilntAngl’s review of the 1987 G.I. Joe Techno-Viper).

Well, the two ideas seemed fairly congruent and we decided that the first batch of Retro Reviews would work backwards from DC Classics Wave 7 until the beginning. That was the plan anyway. Some technical issues have forced us to skip Wave 7 (for now). So, what better than to get the most difficult-to-find, gnashing of teeth wave out of the way first? Yep, our very first retroview will focus on the ire of many a DCUC collector, the Wal-Mart Exclusive Wave 5.



Wave 5 was first sighted in late October, early November of 2008. While many collectors are uneasy with any Wal-Mart exclusive, I don’t think any of us were prepared for what was to come. If you hit up the Wave 5 sightings threads in the archives of various message boards, you see the usual mix of impatience and anticipation. As you follow along from November into December the mood darkens, the eBay prices rise, and fans start to worry they will never find the wave despite Matty’s assurances the wave was still shipping. By January, though, the writing was on the wall and the eBay prices were easily triple the cost of their retail price. Any hope that more were in the pike was dashed.

And in the year since, there’s hasn’t been. A few sightings cropped up in February, but by then Wave 5 had a thing of the past. Many Wal-Marts went the whole season without receiving a single case. What went wrong? We may never know for sure. We can be fairly certain that the wave was vastly under-produced compared to the previous and subsequent waves. Mapping out the sightings can show you that the figures appeared and reappeared consistently in a handful of Wal-Mart locations instead of being widespread. The other irony is that while this wave was considered to be a disaster by fans, Wal-Mart was happy enough with the results to order a second exclusive in 2009 and exclusive 2pks (& possibly a third exclusive wave) in 2010. Luckily, wave ten has seen far larger distribution and hopefully any future exclusives will be released similarly.

But wave five? Two sets sold on eBay this month. A BIN for $350 and another auction was bid up to $275. That’s 4-6 times retail. But are the figures worth it? Is the quality control there to support a price of $50 per figure? Is Metallo the best collect and connect figure you don’t have?

Atom


The Atom is the best individual figure from the wave. His costume is easily captured with a buck body – and a belt piece was added at the waist for accuracy (though his belt buckle is conspicuously absent). Aside from the missing buckle, his paint work is fairly solid. Mattel made the odd choice of molding his hands and lower thighs in blue and then having to paint them red to match, but they mostly do (though you can see that blue ring around the peg in the photo above). The figure relies heavily on the head sculpt and it does its job for the most part. The sculpt itself is great – that’s the Atom’s chin, I have no doubt. The paint work is a little sloppy around the eyes, but the clean tampo for his symbol helps to keep the look sharp. A mini-Atom accessory would have been nice, but likely costed out for an exclusive Wal-Mart wave. If you were fortunate enough to find Gentlemen Ghost, a mini-Atom was included with him.

Amazo


As you’ll see with every figure in this wave, each figure was made with as little new pieces as possible. Amazo is no exception. He’s built from a standard buck. His GL ring is courtesy of him reusing Hal Jordan’s entire hand (gloved features and all) while his head is the one new piece. Again, the 4H head sculpt is well done. Amazo’s trademark ‘vulcan’ ears are present and even his nose seems right for the character. The paint does the rest of the work and the green stripes are surprisingly crisp and straight. The skin tone paint on the chest is a different story, however. It’s a very thick paint that kept many of its brush strokes and doesn’t quite match the molded color of the face or arms. Truthfully, I’m not even sure why they elected to paint it, then to paint the green details over it. I’m not sure what color is molded under there. Amazo comes with no accessories and does not feature Wonder Woman’s lasso as a glued on item either. Continue to Page 2…

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Wave 5 (Metallo)