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DCClassics.Com Iron
& Mary Marvel(s) Review

I like to do these DCUC reviews in groups of two because it lets me get them on the schedule a little quicker. Usually, I try to group the figures in sensible duos just because it makes them easier to write about, Darkseid and Desaad, for example. But it’s not always easy to do that. For this review, I’m left with pairing up Iron andMary Marvel. There’s no obvious connection here, save one. This review contains the best and worst figures from DCUC12.

You probably knew instantly know which one was which, so I won’t tease you. I was happy to hear Iron named on the leaked lists, I was excited to see the first images, and I’m blown away by the figure in person. Mary Marvel is a different story. I definitely wanted her in my collection, and I don’t think she’s a terrible figure, but the figures has a few issues.

Iron first appeared (with the other Metal Men) in 1967 in the pages of Showcase Presents. The team was created by Robert Kanigher,* Ross Andru, and Mike Esposito. The Metal Men are sort of on the bubble of comic book awareness. By that, I mean they’re always around in group shots, most comic fans know who they are, but they get their origins messed with now and again and get killed off more than they should. Luckily, since they’re robots, that last part isn’t as much of a detriment as it can be other less fortunate characters! Regardless of which version you might have read, Iron is always the big guy that gets the job done. Even when we first meet him, he tells us that he’s the “muscle”, a reputation he’s lived up to over the years. He shares the properties of his namesake element which provides his great strength, but also makes him susceptible to rust.

* – Just a special shout out to Robert Kanigher for creating so many of the DC characters that we love here at IAT. Just to name a few… he crafted the Sea Devils & the Haunted Tank (w/ Russ Heath), Poison Ivy, G.I. Robot, Enemy Ace, Viking Prince, the Losers, Lady Cop, the Unknown Soldier, Black Canary, and of course, along with Joe Kubert, Sgt. Rock. All of those need DC Classics by the way. Yes, even the Haunted Tank. I’m serious.

Mary Marvel was originally published by Fawcett Comics way back in 1942 as the long-lost sister of Billy Batson (Captain Marvel) who shared the power of Shazam. Her early adventures quickly came under threat when National Comics (DC) sued Fawcett claiming that Captain Marvel infringed on the Superman copyright. Superman was a raging success for National and they had some success knocking down other superhero characters during that time. In 1939, Fawcett ceased publication of Master Man due to threat of litigation, for example. But in 1941, when National went after Captain Marvel, Fawcett fought back. The legal battle would last until 1953, with Fawcett agreeing to settle out of court after losing an appeal. Most of the Marvel family went unused for the next twenty years until DC licensed, and later purchased, the characters for inclusion in the DC Universe. The characters have never regained their Fawcett popularity and due to legal restrictions with Marvel can’t even be called by their proper names outside of the comics (Mary is labeled as Mary Batson on her packaging).

Just a quick note on Mary’s eyes. I didn’t realize until I got into photoshop for some “post-production” that her eyes were creepy in nearly every picture. I’ve had this problem with a few of the latest DCUCs where my camera grabs on to the large white glint painted into their eyes. I’ve added a clearer shot of the white Mary Marvel above so that everyone can see her face without creepy eyes.

And we’ll use that as a segway into talking about Mary’s sculpt. I have mixed feelings about it. I think the problem is a combination of all DCUC women being a little off and along with Mary being scaled down. The sculpt in-it-of-itself is has some great detailing. The dress looks sharp and the face is well done. But as a whole, the figure is a mess. First, her height is off. In the picture below you’ll see that she is short (as she should be), but check out the sashes on her and Captain Marvel. They’re at nearly the same height. All of her “shortness” comes from the torso leaving her with incredibly long legs. Think about how long her thigh is from hip to knee and you’ll see that her knee is further from her hip than her head. She has the standard “skinny arm syndrome” that affects nearly all the DCUC women including extra tiny (but well-defined!) hands. The cape is another great piece, but it flares out and robs any display of shelf space. She’s a bundle of little, localized frustrations.

And then there’s the head sculpt which has been derided on more than one message board since it was first shown. Personally, I think it’s a great sculpt of a reasonably attractive woman, but that’s also what I don’t like about it. I just don’t think it looks all that young, or at least not as young as I think Mary’s face should look. I am a big fan of the smile though – glad to see that on both Marvels so far – and I love the hair sculpt. Again, the usual 4H attention to detail and craft is there throughout the figure, but just standing back and looking at it, all those little annoyances start to add up.

Iron’s sculpt though is impressive up-close and overall. He uses the standard buck, but with a new head, a new torso “sleeve”, new forearms, new calves, new feet, and new hands. The hands are funny, in particular, because they’re made out of die-cast metal. I’m not sure why, but it’s cute. Usually, at this point, I say that the new head is the centerpiece of the figure, but that’s not the case with Iron. The centerpiece is the amount of detailing that covers nearly the entire figure. All the new parts are textured with dents and scratches that befit a rough-and-tumble Metal Man like Iron. In addition to that high level of detail, we’ve got rivets in all the right places, an etched symbol, and a great head sculpt, though I do think it looks a bit like Teal’c from Stargate when he’s being a bad guy.

I didn’t have any real paint issues on either figure. The dark metallic blue and black wash on Iron really finishes off the great sculpt. It’s particularly nice on the few parts of the basic buck that are exposed and helps the figures new and old parts blend. Mary’s paint job is similarly well done, but I don’t think the paint on her face best showcases the sculpt underneath. I can’t put my finger on it, but I think a talented customizer could rework the paint on the face and really let the head sculpt shine. There also appears to be a running change of some kind to Mary as some collectors are finding her in a darker shade of red then the one reviewed here. Continue to Page 2

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28 comments to DCClassics.Com Iron
& Mary Marvel(s) Review

  • dayraven

    why are her eyes painted as i’m she’s trying to do the undertaker eye roll? that’s weird. and her jaw is too wide for her neck… i’ve noticed in doing custom wrestlers on my video games that a woman’s jaw is CRUCIAL to keeping her from looking like she belongs on rupaul’s drag race. that said, in looking at the hip to knee/hip to head proportion you’re asking about, yes, her thighs are a tad long… but not that much. remember, her hips are below her belt, as they should be, so hip to knee is roughly, from your scale, 2 inches long… from hip to head is 1 & 1/2 inches (i’m measuring to her nose, BTW, the “middle” of her head”. using those same place markers (assuming her “hip” sits roughly as far below her belt as batman’s does on him) bat’s has 2.75 inches from hip to nose and roughly 2 inches from hip to knee. any decent “how to draw comics” book would tell you those proportions are sport on for superheroes, the DC or marvel way… a woman’s legs are longer, proportionately, to accentuate her shape… her legs, per john buscema, are dead on. do YOU want to argue w/ john? 😉

    also, don’t beat around the bush… what does “closer to the motuc setup” mean? she has ball hips? then why not just say “she has motuc style ball hips, the best balls on the planet… but mary w/ balls is a problem this figure will face in more than one area.” that’s what you meant, right?

    • Before I made that statement, I layered that scaled image of Mary against a teenager, an “ideal figure” for life drawing, and a few of the different artists that have drawn Mary when I could find a standing pose to double check it. And on each of those, you have to make a gap in the thigh before you can line up the knees/feet section with the head/torso/waist. There is the option that Mary Marvel just wears her sash exceptionally high. Though a quick peek under the skirt will kill that assertion.

      But for you, I went back and ran it against a Buscema woman. She does match up against the few I tried. But, um, he doesn’t draw very well-proportioned women. I’m sure plenty of Marvel fans might disagree with me, but his drawings have shortened torsos and exceptionally long femurs. That is apparently the Marvel way, but as you know Mary Marvel isn’t really a Marvel character. His women do look pretty good in various poses, but I wasn’t a big fan of the standing poses I had to use for the comparison. He’s like anti-Michael Turner. 😉

      And closer to the MOTUC setup means exactly that. They’re similar to MOTUC setup, but not the same. It’s hard to be sure with the skirt being so restrictive, but the cuts at the high thigh look to be flat across instead of the cupped sockets on the MOTU thighs.

  • DexStarr

    That’s a great story about the comic book. It sounds like they’re messing with us. You can’t unintentionally pick that issue!

  • Adrian

    The leg being too long is just carry over fromm Supergirl. She got away with it by smartly baring midriff and resetting our manbrain to not notice. On Mary, the waist is obscured due to the belt.The thing is that they’re not too off, it’s just an extra eighth or so of an inch, but it’s distracting on the shorter figure.

    • Basically. It’s like the suitcoat on the Question. It’s close enough to fit, but if you look at it too long, you can’t help but notice.

  • Bobby Jones

    I still will buy her when I find her, but she’s going waaaay in the back. She has wonky women propotions to the extreme.

  • Bobby Jones

    But Iron is a great figure!

  • I have to wonder what she has been doing in that first pic to be so bow-leged. Did she leave her panties at Tawky’s again?

    • You can thank Mattel for that. I neglected to point out that the awesome plastic used to keep Katma’s legs from bowing was not present on Mary. The white one is fine, but the red one suffers a bit.

  • Left Field

    Good review. BTW the Metal Men first appeared in Showcase in 1962.

    http://www.themetalmen.com/index.htm

    • Doh! I had it right before. I mentioned Showcase #37 in the first draft and cut it to the year, 62 morphed in 67. I’ll get that set back straight. Thanks!

  • Nicholai

    Mary isn’t the best, but the goofy smile makes things okay by me. Especially when she stands next to Captain Marvel. I just need Freddy Freeman and Dr. Sivana. I love the look of the Metal Men, but it is going to be a long wait to build the full team.

    • They look good al together. Especially if you tuck Mary back a bit so you can’t see her legs. The face sculpt was something I wasn’t happy about right at first, but it’s grown on me.

      I hope they get to Freddy soon and you’re right about the Metal Men. Only two so far? And with a lot of question about Mercury’s and Lead’s constructions, as well as how to handle Tin, and then what of Magnus, Nameless, & Copper… We have a ways to go…

      • Nicholai

        Magnus is a must to have a completed team. I’d at least want Tin, Mercury, Platinum, and Lead to go along with Gold and Iron. Copper would be nice, but not essential.

  • 3B

    I did not read the entire review. Sorry, Noisy. I just couldn’t because it reminded me of the horribleness that is Mary Marvel! In my opinion, she is the worst DCUC figure I have ever purchased. If it wasn’t because she was the figure packaged with Darkseid’s torso, I would totally have skipped on her. To make things worse, BOTH her legs were warped!

    Why does she have a giant head? Why does she have tiny fists? Why are here legs spaced so far apart? Maybe she used to be Mario Marvel…

  • 3B

    Oh, yeah, I forgot to say: Iron is AWESOME! The Metal Men will look really cool all together. Loved the comics, as always!

  • Brainlock

    So is that a smooth torso on Mary? Could it be re-used for, say, SA teen Wonder Girl? If only to complete the core SA Teen Titans that started with KF-Wally.

    Accessory: Mr Mind with a tiny radio?
    and you have me totally wanting a 2pk of Freddie (Osiris??) and caped Adam, now.

    As for the Metal Men, I’m thinking Tin and (Pla)Tina could be sold together.
    Maybe a Magnus and Chief or Rip Hunter 2pk?

    • SA Wonder Girl… now there is a figure I really, really want. That’d be cool if they could do that. There’s prob a peg under the front of the cape, I’ll have to check.

      And great ideas for accessory. It was late and my mind was blanking.

  • OK, I’m glad I’m not the only guy who thinks he bears a striking resemblance to Teal’c.

  • […] more DCUC12, check out our previous reviews of Darkseid & Desaad, Iron & Mary Marvel(s), & Copperhead & Dr. […]