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DCClassics.Com:
Cyclotron & the Negative Men

This review features a false face, a robot face, a bandaged face, a translucent face, & a skull face. Not impressed? What if we told you this review only featured 3 figures? That’s right! This review features the never before seen team-up of Cyclotron & Negative Man! And we’re throwing in NM’s variant for good measure!

Lately, I’ve been breaking up the reviews and doing the character separately, first one and then the other. But I’m testing out the previous arrangement and I’m again discussing the different aspects of the figures grouped together, starting with a little bit about each character. If you have an opinion on which breakdown (by figure, or by section) you like better, let me know in the comments section below.

In this space, I’ve given you the back stories of some long-lived DC characters or the quick hits of relatively recent ones, but Cyclotron is neither of those things. Cyclotron was added to the DC Comics stable by Kenner in the mid-80s as part of their effort to expand their DC toy line, Super Powers. Why they did this instead of making traditional DC characters, I don’t know. Kenner did at least give Cyclotron a back story: he’s a robot encyclopedia built by Superman that contains information on every known hero and villain. He doesn’t really think for himself, but he can spin around and punch stuff should the need arise. It’s not the best origin, but that’s what happens when you let toy companies write character bios. Cyclotron did appear in the accompanying Super Powers comic, but it wasn’t the most enthralling appearance – he seemed to be there for comic relief.

Cyclotron had probably been forgotten by just about everyone but the Super Powers fans since then, but when DC Classics started paying tribute to that line so heavily I secretly hoped Mattel would be able to include Cyclotron & Golden Pharaoh. It seems like just the other day that Mattel confirmed these two could be included and now he’s already in my grubby little hands. I couldn’t be happier. I’m looking forward to Golden Pharaoh in wave 15 and I’m going to hope we see not only Samurai, but Black Lightning and Apache Chief also find their home in DC Classics. I know there are fans that would disagree with that. All I can say, is I hope you get everyone you want too.

If you’re looking for a more traditional DC character, look no further than Negative Man. Negative Man first appeared in My Greatest Adventure #80 in 1963 as a founding member of the Doom Patrol. Larry Trainor was a test pilot that was inadvertently exposed to a peculiar kind of radiation while working. The radiation gave him the ability to release a shadowy ‘negative self’ from his body for a minute at a time. The accident also left him completely irradiated and required him to wear special bandages to protect others from the radiation he casts off. Like most members of the Doom Patrol, Trainor views himself as a victim and not a legitimate superhero.

The Doom Patrol’s publishing history makes for an odd assortment of back stories for each of its members, perhaps none more so than Negative Man. When the team book was first cancelled, the Doom Patrol was killed in the final issue. Since then, they’ve been killed and resurrected a few times by various writers and their various interpretations which generally ignored previous continuity. The most notable changes have been when the ‘negative self’ left Larry to inhibit Negative Woman and when it returned to Larry and combined him with a young black doctor to make a divine hermaphrodite.*

* – Paging Dr. Morrison. Dr. Morrison to the lab, please.

Cyclotron utilizes a standard buck, but has plenty of new parts: new feet (w/ sculpted soles – I love that!), new boots, new belt, new upper and lower torsos, new forearms, a new head, as well as the removable face and chest plates. The Four Horsemen did an excellent job updating this classic figure. They added detail where it needed it while finding simple ways to pay homage to the original sculpt. On the SP figure, do you see the two extensions coming out of the green trapezoid on his stomach? Those same extensions are included as paneling lines on the DCUC. The 4H did change up his internal parts, but I think it’s for the better. Cyclotron looks like you could update with him a CD now and his ‘a little too happy’ expression has been made more robotic.

I don’t have the face plate of my original Cyclotron anymore (it was lost in a flood), but the Four Horsemen fixed everything that was wrong with it. It was one piece (the new one is two) and lacked a neck because of it. The face was soft and round, but the 4H have given Cyclotron a more heroic face, possibly basing it on his creator, Superman (who has a penchant for making robots in his own image). In all, even if I wasn’t a fan of the Super Powers figures being in this line, I’d be happy with this figure’s sculpt.

If Cyclotron was mostly about new parts, than Larry here is an example of what can be done with just a few new pieces. Larry uses the standard buck, but has new feet & boots (I think), a new belt, new bandaged hands, a bandaged neck piece, and a new bandaged head. He may not have a ton of new pieces, but he’s comic accurate, so it’s good. There’s not much to say because these pieces are all simply bandaged versions of traditional pieces, but as a testament to the 4H thinking their sculpts through, all of these pieces are slightly larger than normal, giving the impression that they really are bandaged up.

Negative Man’s variant features a new head. I’ve been trying to stop buying all the variants because some of the last few waves haven’t had great variants. I was going to make my stand with this variant of Negative Man, but once I learned what it was, I had to have it. I had originally thought it a simple smoky/clear, partially bandaged Larry head. But underneath that translucent veneer is Larry Trainor’s skull. It’s not only a well sculpted skull, but as you’ll see on the next page, the features of the skull all sit perfectly inside the face. The veneer is glued in place – I had to pry loose two of the three tabs to be able to take a look at it. Open him up at your own risk. Continue to Paint, Articulation, and the Summation.

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20 comments to DCClassics.Com:
Cyclotron & the Negative Men

  • Gildeft

    Negative man variant skull head looks great!Nice review Noisy5.

  • Cool review – managed to track down both Negative Men. That is one sweet-looking skull. Noisy5, are the holes beneath his eyesockets for the masktabs?

    • The sidetabs are located on the edges of the mask, you can see the small tabs and their sockets when Cyclotron is admitting his defeat for coolest face removal.

      The ‘holes’ beneath the eye sockets are really just divits in the sculpt representing the little canal in your skull for arteries, veins, and nerves to get to your face.

  • Adrian

    Great review as always! Is it bad that I laughed hardest at the disclaimer?

    The variant Negs looks like a time I might not mind the gimmick variant, but just because it was executed so well. The face & skull match up perfectly.

    • Thanks! Nah, I just threw that in there because I didn’t want folks to get the wrong impression about what he could & couldn’t do.

      The skull is excellently done.

  • Whitehead

    Yeah the alt head is cool, but Mattel could make these with swappable heads and avoid this whole buy a figure twice deal. Though DC might not like swappable heads on their toys. It ruins the brand to have Batman’s head on Superman’s body, don’t ya know…

    • That’s too much control. LOL

      I do agree about the pack-in head (and hands for that matter). If they’re claiming to really sell to the adult collector, then let’s drop the two-fist, accessoryless, buy a new figure for a second head routine.

  • Jesse F.

    The bandage head looks great. Is a Hush in our future??

    • If they get to Hush (And they should, Prometheus too) I’d like to see him have a different head. I know it’s silly to think about the Negative Man, Hush, the Unknown Soldier, etc all utilizing different heads, but I’d like it.

  • Kilodog

    I love the fact that Kenner just willy-nilly through in new characters. I don’t think that’s even allowed on licensed product anymore. Mattel refuses to do it for MOTU and they own it!

  • Sideshow Bob

    I just want the Super Powers characters over and done with. They’re taking up slots of characters like Poison Ivy and Captain Marvel, Jr.

  • Haven’t seen either of these guys at the stores, but thanks to the wonderful world of the ‘net I scored them not too long ago. Cyclotron, whom I didn’t care about, turned out to in fact be one of the best in the set. Negative man is, like you said, simple but still an awesome figure. I lucked out by getting the variant and I appreciate finally seeing the skull in all it’s glory! Still want the regular release though- so it’s the waiting game for me.

  • Pope

    Great review on two otherwise unnoteworthy figures.

  • DOJ

    The original Cyclotron could hold his mask, but once again the doubles fists have struck.

  • 3Dean

    Love the review! I am also one of those collectors that like the Super Powers figures in DCUC. There aren’t that many left, so those that don’t like ’em won’t have to deal with them too much longer. Unless, of course, they warm the pegs for months to come, which I’m afraid may be the case for Cyclotron (and possibly Golden Pharoh) if wave 13 (and wave 15) ever hit retail like waves 6 and 7.

    As for the variants, I am also like you in that the last couple waves have had variants that weren’t necessary, but still turned out pretty cool. I like the variants that are different versions of the same character (classic and modern versions such as the upcoming Starman, Cheetah, Firestorm, Dr. Fate, etc. or significant costume changes like Mary Marvel) or different characters all together (Mr. Miracle/Dr. Impossible and Wonder Woman/Artemis). The variants that are just a gimmick don’t excite me, even though they turn out pretty cool (Deadman, Spectre, and Negative Man). For Deadman and Negative Man, I would have preferred the variants as the only release, but I’m sure some would not have liked the glow in the dark and translucent versions. For me, those are the only ones I needed (though I bought them all). Negative Man’s variant is very cool, but unnecessary (IMHO). Big Barda and Wildcat’s variant were just unnecessary as it was. Barda would have been great in her bikini costume, but just a hair change was a bit of a dud. Wildcat would have been fine in just black or blue, but did we really need both. Of course, these were cost effective variants and understandable given the new tooling required for other figures in their waves.

    I’m loving DCUC and hope it lasts long enough to make those variants that were better choices for waves than what was chosen (but still understandable reasons):
    Modern Donna Troy (which would have put 5 female figures in a single wave if you count the 3 Cheetahs)
    Changeling/Beast Boy (Wal-mart wave 10 w/o variant)
    Perez Zatanna (Wal-mart wave 14 w/o variant)
    Classic Black Lightning (Wal-mart’s wave 5 and Target’s Public Enemies)
    Bikini Big Barda (cost effective variant)
    Modern Black Canary or Red Arrow (cost effective Wildcat variant was used instead)

    But of course, for every mistep they put in great surprises such as the Super Powers and classic versions of Parademon, Mantis, and Steppenwolf. And of course, we’re still waiting on Super Powers Penguin and modern Red Tornado that should have been in Wave 1. 🙂

  • Rick Edwards

    Comedy gold, Noisy!

  • Grenadier

    I’m kind of glad Cyclotron doesn’t come with a Trigon piece–most collectors will see him as unnecessary making it easier for me to find him.

    What I love most about Cyclotron is his lack of real backstory. You know who Batman is, you know who Superman is; you can’t really pretend they’re a different character. Cyclotron doesn’t have that “preexisting condition” so he can be whomever you want.

  • 3B

    Initially, I really wanted the variant Neg Man, hub couldn’t find either one at retail. I finally ordered the regular version from Amazon, but I may still buy the variant if I ever spot him in-store. I think he’s got the “creepy-cool” vibe working for him. Great review(s)!