If you’ve been a DC toy collector for longer than fifteen years, then you know how crucial DC Direct was when it started. While Toy Biz pumped out mountains of Marvel figures throughout the 90s, Kenner/Hasbro mainly stuck to Batman, the various movies and animated series. Superman occasionally got a figural nod. Wonder Woman was tied up, unused, at Mattel. And… everybody else? Ha!
If you asked a DC collector in 1999 where to pick up the deepest roster of DC figures, they would have to point you to Super Powers, a fifteen year old toy line. Other than a non-Batman guy getting an occasional guest spot in a Batman line, or a couple 6-12 figure attempts by Kenner/Hasbro over the years, that was it. The idea that Mattel would come along and rock our collecting DC world for the last decade wasn’t even something to hope for. It was dark times.
But in 1999, DC Comics took matters into their own hands. They formed DC Direct to… well, to sell directly to their customers through comic shops. Looking back, the first offerings weren’t the best – soft sculpts, not the best articulation – but it didn’t matter. The Sandman! Wonder Woman! Swamp Thing!* It was amazing enough that they existed! And talk about drinking the sand because you don’t know the difference? Those figures still hold a special place in my new52-blackened heart.
DC Direct went on for years making characters DC fans had only dreamed of (& some we didn’t) thanks largely to their inability to make any Superman & Batman figures. Thinking back, the sculpts were probably always the highlight. The articulation improved over time, but wonkiness would often crop up. Stil, it was awesome. Dr. Fate & the Spectre. Heck, almost the whole JSA. Flash Rogues. The Legion. Sgt. Rock! The Crime Syndicate. Were they all great figures? With what we see & expect today? Maybe not. But it was a hell of a ride! For the first five years, I bought every DCD figure (except MAD Magazine figs). Looking through Joe Acevedo’s awesome DCD checklist, I see page after page of good memories.
In 2005-6, the artist-inspired figures started. Miller figures. Jim Lee figures. And they could make Batman & Superman figures by that point too, so the depth chart dried up more than a littel. They still produced some killer figures, but I found myself buying less. That was probably spurred on by the regime change at DC too. Hal was back. The absolutely awful Identity Crisis was published. And Mattel would soon grab my attention with the better articulated, Four Horsemen sculpted, Super-Powersesque S3/DCUC line. I’d still buy an occasional DCD figure if it was really well done or from a story I enjoyed. That came to an end in 2011 – the Blue Lantern Warth was my last DCD figure – when DC Direct made the switch to the New 52 figures.
In the last three years, they’ve also switched to being called DC Collectibles instead of DC Direct. Over that time, various friends would tell me that the figures were getting better and better. Honestly, I wasn’t interested. The sculpts did look better. Added articulation could be more fun. But everything was from New 52 or the Arkham games*. Solicit after solict, I didn’t see anything I needed. And then I quit looking at solicits altogether.
* – The Arkham stuff is well and good, but the life of a 90s DC Collector including buying countless versions of Bat-villains. An updated figure of the classic designs? I’m game for that, but another new version of those guys. I’m just too old for that.
This year finally broke that trend and DCC got me to notice. The new, six-inch, better articulated, Animated figures look snazzy. A handful of New 52 figures – mostly ones where I like the redesigned costumes, if not the books – look sharp. And, finally, a legitimate “New 52” character, one that does not exist in my preferred DCU, but I enjoyed all the same seemed to have gotten a cool figure. Remember, this is a Talon Review after all.
I should’ve just had my local shop order me one of this guy. I knew I wanted him, but I was maybe okay if I didn’t run across him? It’s odd to figure out. When I did find him, he was $25 and I still wasn’t convinced. The funny thing is that the MSRP on a DC Collectibles figure is $25. I pay $25 pretty routinely for figures, but there are a couple guys at this particular store that price their DCCs at $18. It figures the first figure I finally kinda want had to come in while the smarter guy was working. I snagged my $25 Talon while leaving the $22 Crime Syndicate figures and $18 Bizarro nearby. Pains me.
Now that we’re finally talking about the figure, I should point out the packaging really wasn’t notable other than it says this is a “Greg Capullo Action Figure”. Maybe it’s him under that Talon mask? The figure did look sharp in the package too. Riddler was also at the store, but those mutton chops of his offend me. Plus, another Riddler. Ugh. Batman & Nightwing had already been picked up before I got there, so I didn’t see ‘em. Now, I never need another Batman, but the promise that Talon seemed to have in the package made me kinda wish I’d at least been given the chance to see the Batman. Continue to Page 2…