Toy Review: McFarlane Toys DC Multiverse Wave 2
Because McFarlane Toys‘ DC figures include several sub-themes, it’s hard to judge sometimes what counts as a “wave” and what doesn’t. But for the purposes of this review, the simultaneous release of several otherwise unrelated DC characters more or less qualifies as a Multiverse wave 2. As usual, it leans heavily on, as a superhero-obsessed Hank Hill might say, Batman and Batman accessories. But at least a couple of them don’t fit the profile.
Most notable among the non-Bat entries is Flash. And there’s some nice outside-the-box thinking on this one. He features speed force lightning effects, including one that plugs into his foot but still has its own hole to attach to peg-stands. Yet all of them can also be removed for a more playable Flash figure. Once upon a time, McFarlane would have made this as a mostly static diorama piece. Yet now they’ve found a way to balance it for different types of collectors.
Fully poseable action figures of the Flash have tried similar tricks in the past. An early Toy Biz version included a pull-back-and-go platform designed to look like a cloud of smoke attached to his feet. But the clear lightning effects arguably create the coolest mass-retail Flash since the Silver Age version rendered in Kenner’s Super Powers line.
Note that the Flash figure which comes in a two-pack with Red Death does not have the speed force effects, though he is compatible with them, having the same base body.
Azrael-as-Batman, or “AzBats” as most fans call him, from the White Knight comics, is also a highlight, for several reasons. While McFarlane’s attempts to capture the stylized art of the comics have been bold, they resulted in weird hybrid styles for Batman and Joker that didn’t make for great toys. But their first Azrael was great, and the new one is too. Because even in animated/stylized lines where a fan might not like the way humans are drawn, giant mech suits nearly always look cool.
But not just that — AzBats has an upper-thigh cut joint, which is rare on McFarlane figures. Normally they rely on the complicated hip assembly that offers minor thigh rotation at best. AzBats has a perfect costume seam for it, and it’s great. (More, please!) And just generally, that mech armor hides articulation seams very well. He’s just a big, awesome, imposing Bat-armor. The sword is the same as the previous Azrael’s sword, minus flames, and dorkier looking here because it doesn’t match the suit so much. But it has a little tiny crucified Jesus on the hilt, which I’m guessing Walmart’s more censorious higher-ups never noticed.
Flashpoint Batman looks cool at first, but has some issues. In a nutshell, he feels like one of the first figures McFarlane designed. Because while the company has gotten good at hiding their ball joints with cuffs and covers, this masked Thomas Wayne is a throwback to a year ago when they didn’t. His elbow and knee hinges also look weirdly week and slender. Yes, he’s fully poseable, but there are many poses you just don’t want him to do. While Flash works perfectly as static collectible or playable toy, Flashpoint Batman just looks better kept in one pose.
Nightwing, who comes in a two-pack with Red Hood, is just a straight-up repaint of one of wave 1’s best figures. He initially came in a three-figures sub-wave with buildable Batmobile parts. The others in that wave were The Batman Who Laughs and Batgirl. Now that Nightwing is back, and Batman Who Laughs got a second figure, it’s time for a new Batgirl too. For all those who didn’t want to pay the upcharge to get an out-of-scale mini-Batmobile.
Red Hood has a mask shinier than Rudolph the Reindeer’s nose, using paint Todd McFarlane has described as car paint. he figure itself, like Nightwing, is a solid original sculpt, though the slightly stiff gun holsters do splay outward a bit more than they ought. He’ll be available single-carded soon for those who don’t want another Nightwing, though the two pack features foil variant trading cards.
Former fellow Red Hood the Joker is a slightly mixed bag. Reusing the Arkham Joker legs, since Joker’s taste in pants doesn’t vary much across incarnations, he’s quite flexible into contortionist poses. But while the face sculpt is fine, the heavy use of eyeshadow is not sloppy enough to be chaotic Heath Ledger, nor artful enough to be the classic clown. Joker doesn’t deliberately do trashy.
Also, the crowbar and gun are cast in a cheap gray plastic that makes them look fake, which maybe they are, since Joker uses gags. But considering that Red Hood’s guns are actually painted, this feels like a comedown.
Finally, standing way out from all the others, we get Cyborg from the Teen Titans cartoon. He’s the first and thus far only McFarlane animated DC figure not to be done in the Bruce Timm style. Though he fits in with it well enough.
The clear plastic panels over circuitry and his brain are good touches. Articulation is somewhat limited by the sculpt, but his mid-torso, waist, and shoulders allow for more poses than one might think.
There’s just one weird detail. His right hand interchanges with what is meant to be a cannon blasting blue laser fire. But that’s not what it looks like, at all…
Yeah, uhhhh…that doesn’t look like a kids’ toy. It does look like a “toy” of sorts, but not the kind we review here. Let’s just say that the right partner might be very happy with this particular Cyborg.
Check out some more images of the figures in our gallery below. Which one is your favorite? Let us know in comments.
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