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DCClassics.Com:
Beetle & Devil – The Blue Review

This review has got the blues. No, it’s not a sad tale of my lamenting figures that didn’t live up to expectations. It simply features two of DC’s azure-clad characters, Blue Devil & Blue Beetle III, in a tale of extra articulation, the inequities of yellow paint, and a hard decision for our favorite trident carrying blue hero.

Lately, I’ve been breaking up the reviews up and doing the character aspects separately, first one and then the other. For some reason, that feels wrong tonight, so we’re going to take a step back and do this review old school with the different aspects of the figures grouped together, starting with a little bit about each character. If you have an opinion on which breakdown you like better, let me know in the comments section.

Blue Devil’s somewhat of a favorite of mine, but I think it’s largely because I associate him with one of my all-time faves, Firestorm (Devil first appeared in Fury of Firestorm #24). But Blue Devil is an interesting character in his own right. Dan Cassidy was a stuntman hired to play the character of Blue Devil in a film. The Blue Devil suit was laden with special effects so Dan could perform amazing feats with fewer camera tricks. Filming was going well until a demon attacked the set and engaged Dan in battle. He used the suit to drive off the demon, but in a parting shot, the demon zapped him and fused the suit to his body. His subsequent ongoing featured various attempts to extricate himself while inadvertently attracting super-villains looking to up their reputations. He’s been featured in a variety of stories over the years, become an actual demon, died a few times, and has an interesting history for a lesser used character. This figure depicts Dan in his original costume from the Eighties. Personally, I’m a bigger fan of his 90s armored look (when he’s resurrected as a real demon), but his classic costume showcases one of the cool/strange designs from the late Bronze Age.

Blue Beetle III is a recent addition to the DC stable; added to the line in 2006 following the death of Ted Kord, the second, technology-based, Beetle. The original, Dan Garrett, had gained powers via mystical Egyptian scarab that, after a series of events, ended up in the hands (well fused to his spine) of young Jaime Reyes of El Paso, TX. For Jaime, the scarab creates an advanced suit of armor that can be reconfigured into a vast array of armaments. Clearly, this required some deeper origins than that of a simple mystical scarab. It was revealed to be an alien weapon, similar to a Green Lantern ring, but with the nefarious intent to assimilate and control the wearer. The scarabs are normally part of a hive mind, but Jaime’s has been damaged over time and had grown to have its own unique AI. Jaime has run afoul of the Scarab makers and saved Earth from them, possibly been to shown to be a villain in the future, and is currently a member of the Teen Titans.

Blue Devil is the standard arrangement of a few new pieces on a buck while Blue Beetle is an entirely new figure. Blue Devil does feature new pieces including: calves, forearms, a new upper torso, a collar, and his head. These pieces do a good job of replicating the costume details, particularly the boot/glove cuffs and the raised tunic portion of his costume. I do wish the 4H would’ve been allowed to make a new abs piece so that the yellow area at that joint could also be slightly raised. It’s a small quibble, but the raised sculpt on the blue area and the flat yellow area looks odd close up.

Some folks say that Blue Devil looks like Nic Cage a bit, and I can kinda see that, but it also looks like Blue Devil and he’s smiling exactly like Blue Devil should. The horns are nice and sturdy, it seems like Mattel would’ve been required to make those softer based on the other figures in this wave, but they didn’t. I don’t normally mention mold lines because I don’t care much about them, but Blue Devil has one running down the front his horns and across his forehead. That’s distracting enough to notice.

Blue Devil is entirely new and particularly fantastic. He’s a great on-model depiction of a character with a lot of complicated detail. If you’d asked me at the beginning of the line, I never would’ve suspected that Beetle would get such great treatment in a line so heavily based on bucks. His sculpt is going to be a standout in the line for a long time to come.

I’m not going to knock Blue Devil for his standard buck, but I’m annoyed that Mattel has yet to work the PE buck into the DCUC line. Characters like Martian Manhunter or Blue Devil that are depicted to be 6′ 6″+ would make good use of the slightly bigger buck. I know it’s a matter of quarter and half inches at this scale, but those subtle differences can make a world of difference.

Speaking of those little half and quarter inches, Blue Beetle, awesome as he is, is too tall. I wonder if some of the blame falls on us, the collectors, a bit. A chunk of us, myself included, rail against the little buck. Though it accurately represents young men of about 5″ tall, it just doesn’t seem right, probably because we’re often looking at artwork that doesn’t concern itself with height. I’m not a fan of that buck, but I accept that it should be used on young Robins (not the Drake OYL costume like it was though), and characters that are shown to be 5′ 6″ or so. That’s the case with Blue Beetle. He should be slightly taller than Robin instead of being the equivalent of 6′ tall. The figure doesn’t look bad in displays, though he does seem more twenty something than teenager at that height.

Paint is a weak area for Blue Devil, he’s a victim of the sloppy goop needed to paint things yellow in the toy world. The face details are painted well, the blue tunic is painted, but the yellow lines vary from a little rough to downright warbly. My Blue Devil is free from any major defects, but I think it’s the disparity between the face paint and clean blue lines that draw my attention to the less than stellar yellow work.

Buying toys online can get you into trouble sometimes. For the most part, my Beetle is painted great. A lot of the pieces that need to be black are molded as such and the pieces that need to be blue are separate. The lines on the chest are crisp, and the face detail is almost perfect. Almost. He didn’t get out of the factory before getting a blue paint dollop for a nose. It’s not a big deal, as little things like that aren’t often indicators of line wide issues, but he’s so close to being perfect that you have to sigh. It’s an easy fix when I get around to it. Continue to Accessories, Articulation, and the Conclusion.

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36 comments to DCClassics.Com:
Beetle & Devil – The Blue Review

  • Adrian

    Nice review. I laughed about the blue background. I was wondering where it went.

    I think DCUCs could use a little more articulation, but not too much more.

  • rodkeith

    I’m perfectly happy with the DCUC articulation where the head/neck articulation is fully available. That joint always seems critical to giving these things personality when on display.

    Though the extra articulation on Blue Beetle (and Green Arrow, for that matter) has been welcome fun.

    I’d like to see some more hand styles used though. Not everybody has to be clenching fists, do they?

    Great review, and fun pics as usual!

    • Aquaman is the best example of how the early DCUCs had great ball joints. Tons of expression.

      On the extra artic, I’d most want double knees and boot swivels. The double elbows would be nice as would the wrists, but not as important. Adding those to joints to the legs though would really open up the figure’s range.

      And yeah wrists on fists doesn’t really do much for me. It’s the open hand figures with stuff to hold could use the wrists. LOL

  • Whitehead

    Great review. What I consider minimal is surely called overarticulated by most.

    Mattel knocked both Beetles out of the park. I still want a Dan Garrett though.

    • I’d love to get a Dan Garrett figure! After getting the 90s characters back into the line, the non-JSA GAers are next on my list.

      • el mariachi

        shocker toys has the dan garrett license… sorry boys.

        • Shocker Toys is producing a 40’s Dan Garret (1 t). He’s the crimefighter that was originally created for Fox Features. He’s in public domain and available to anyone to use.

          Dan Garrett (2 ts) is the once-Charlton archaeologist that is now the property of DC Comics and is available for DC Classics.

          • Okona

            That’s really odd. It seems obvious that Charlton knew what they were copying, was the one T difference enough for them to get away with it back then? When was then exactly?

            • Gambit320

              Charlton comics had obtained the rights to the character much like DC had. During the 60s they decided to revamp him and added the second t to his name. This new Dan Garrett was different from the original having different powers, origins and an entirely different mood. The original BB was an ex-cop with super powers, the two t version was an archiolgist with who gained his powers from a magic scarab. They were entirely different characters who just had the same name. Two years later Dan Garrett was replaced by Ted Kord who kept the mantel until Jaime took it a few years ago.

              The original Dan Garret is the one who fell into public domain, while DC gets to retain the rights to Dan Garrett. So it’s entirely possible for us to see the original Beetle get a figure in the DCUC style.

  • Joseph

    Double elbows and knees are a bit much. They don’t add as much functionality as they take away from the aesthetics.

  • CavsFan

    Blue Beetle III may have a nice figure, but he’s still a waste of a character. There was no reason to kill and replace Ted for this. He’s got different powers and look, he shouldn’t be Blue Beetle.

    • Ah, but see the catch there is that if DC started a new book starring Jaime as an all-new character, it would be a guaranteed to failure regardless of quality writing and art. This way, he was given a slightly better chance of success. And it’s been 4 years and he hasn’t been killed to bring back his predecessor yet, so I guess that now qualifies as good.

      Honestly, I’d say comic fans bring it on themselves with the legacy heroes because the companies can’t sell new characters to them in any other way, but the truth for many seems to be that they don’t want new characters in the first place.

      • Brainlock

        that was the problem with Jason Rusch. suddenly, Ronnie was tossed aside for this new kid (regardless of color), and we had to wait six months before we found out what happened to Ronnie, and that was an insulting death to boot! In the aftermath of Blackest Night, we now have Ronnie and Jason as Firestorm, whether the Brave & Bold cartoon had anything to do with it or both series were planned to end up this way, time will tell.

        Am I still mad at Ted’s EXECUTION? Hell yeah, but we’ve had some decent stories play out of that since. I haven’t read Jaime’s book, so a few appearances in Teen Titans before I dropped that book (with Red Devil’s death, coincidentally) and the Booster Gold back-up is my main exposure since his introduction in Infinite Crisis other than the B&B cartoon.

        • Jason Rusch really put me at odds with myself. I prefer the new, the different, the changes, over the same old same old. I like newer characters, but here DC went and took my fave and replaced him. I still bought Rusch’s book and, after they got rid of Dan Jolley it became readable.

          But I’ve never gotten over how he was killed. That was incredibly lame and pathetic. I don’t think every hero needs a great death, but a sensible one would’ve been nice.

          However, I do think he should’ve stayed dead. I think it’s only a matter of time until some joke of a writer comes along, kills off Jason and puts Stein back in the matrix.

        • Snowglare

          Ted’s death and the garbage associated with it is my #2 problem with DC right now, after the general grimdark tone of their stories, but I love Jaime. His series was great. Reminded me of James Robinson’s Starman in many ways. They tied the three Beetles together in a way that made all of them better for being part of the legacy. They even brought in Peacemaker and made him not lame! That is Herculean.

  • Megatherium

    I ordered most of my wave 13 off of walmart.com. When I got Blue Beetle III, i thought he seemed a bit odd. Then I realized that he didn’t have his arm blade. 🙁

  • orionpax636

    Armored Beetle and Blue Devil look quite taken aback by Mr. Kord’s announcement, and the last pic is a glorious example of how West Side Story SHOULD have been done.

    Though I’m not a fan, I too would like to see the more demonic version of Blue Devil figure-ized. Probably an excellent opportunity for Mattel to use that Public Enemies buck, wouldn’t you say?

    • LOL. I love Beetle’s face in the last pic. 😀

      The PE buck would be great for the armored up Devil!

    • Brainlock

      Am I the only one who thinks the second to last pic should have had, AquaCamo lean in the frame to Danny, “psst, can I see you over here?” and then we see the final pic? Those two are in a class by themselves.

      and what new calf piece does Danny have? Isn’t that the same boot cuff piece used by Reddy and the SHAZAM! family?

      I do hope we get the more modern, Shadowpact Danny, but I’ll pass on the demon in gold armor look. I just was not a fan of that.

      Also, no mention of the Trigon parts? doesn’t Danny come with Trigon’s trident, too? You could have had a pic of him deciding which trident to take today! LOL

      • I wasn’t sure if I could call Trigon’s deal a trident. I don’t usually mention the C&C parts in the review because I don’t usually address “value” and the parts are listed on the checklist.

        That would’ve been a funny pic though. 🙂

  • Fencer

    Great pics this time around. I loved the ending!

  • […] DCClassics.Com: Beetle & Devil – The Blue Review […]

  • Snowglare

    What do you mean when you say Beetle can’t tilt his head? Mine tilts like mad. No ankle rockers, but his neck rocks in every possible direction.

  • Alexie

    I like new characters in the books. I enjoyed Blue Beetle’s comic as well as his run on Brave and the Bold. I’m gonna need to buy his figure when I find it.