I have not had much of a love affair with MATTEL over the past few years. Once CLUB ECTO-1 fizzled out and MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE CLASSICS became expensive enough to require a second mortgage if you wanted to buy just more than one, I simply balked. The DC Universe Classics line was always playing second fiddle to MARVEL LEGENDS and if you were lucky enough to come across a hard to find figure, I always grabbed it because it was a very rare occasion. I have seen with the crushing wave of online retail shopping that I have been able to find some of the Signature Series like Batzarro & Damian Wayne. The occasional DCU Classics seems to sneak through like a Red or Green Arrow or a very cool Red Robin. And these babies go up in price on the secondary market; fast.
So as much as I love MATTEL and their classic characters (Batman has been my idol since I could walk), it has been a tough go of it for DCU in the figure department in the last few years. I definitely think taking lines of figures dedicated solely to artists like Greg Capullo, Jim Lee & Frank Miller are a step in the right direction. Plus taking the DC library of straight to DVD movies and making figures out of them has been a cash machine so far. And then you have the big dog, the figures that in my eyes changed everything, the ARKHAM figures. Its funny too because I don't even play video games anymore. But straight from your local GameStop has emerged one of my, seriously, all-time favorite batch of figures. We have even gotten GameStop Exclusives like RED HOOD and more in the Spring of '16 making the ARKHAM franchise one that is going to be a Warner Bros. cash cow for a while now.
From the start which was not that very long ago, these figures have remolded the way that we think about using a video game template instead of a comic book world. Judging by the sales, it does not look like fans could be any happier. Which is totally awesome right? Well yes and no. With this rush of awesomeness that has come along came an even smaller, less expensive wave of amazing figures that has perhaps eclipsed the ARKHAM lines because of its aforementioned affordability, the frequency of new lines and possibilities of great deals at both your big box retailers and your online retailers. I am of course talking about something I never as Head Junkie In Charge thought I would ever see, the DC MULTIVERSE!!
To truly explain the multiverse and the vast layers of it I would need a comic book savant on the level of Stephen Hawking. In a nutshell, the DC MULTIVERSE (of figures that is) is basically lines of figures and characters from non-linear space and time from official comic book narratives. So while there are still "waves" in these lines of figures, they have only been limited to four to six apiece. However as quickly as we have rejoiced that they are here, the official word from up on high says that these last five figures that are in stores or online now are the last in the DC MULTIVERSE. Well, that was a long 19 months MATTEL. There are brilliant kids out there that graduate college in 19 months and here is a big hit on your hands and you guys are calling it quits? You're not even going to include the figures you showed us at your SDCC '15 display? For shame!
Sadly it is over Junkies, and here we profile the last five figures in the last wave we will see what was my favorite DC line. It is a shame too because there were scheduled to be a KNIGHTFALL figure as well as an unmasked ARKHAM BATMAN BRUCE but it doesn't look like we will see those anytime soon Junkies. We had a great time MULTIVERSE, for less than two years but that's all she wrote for now. If they power up the Bat Signal again and decide to start making DC MULTIVERSE figures in this scale again, the Junkies will be the first to know! Now, here are the final five figures so get 'em now because I have a feeling these are going to get jacked up price wise on the secondary market. So get out there, hit the pegs, click the mouse, do what you gotta do Junkies to bring the plastic home!
The word DEATHSTROKE over the last five years has become synonymous with cool and why not? The guy has taken over all mediums from comic books to television and is even rumored to be making an appearance in next summer's DC blockbuster SUICIDE SQUAD. The guy practically has run ARROW these past few years and fanboys and newbies alike have fallen or re-fallen in love with the masked master assassin all over again. His final 4" figure is perhaps the best one that MATTEL has produced and I absolutely love it. The figure comes with a fighting staff almost as large as the figure itself, a Samurai sword as well as a very hi-tech machine gun. Topping off the arsenal is a handgun with a holster. The details are perfect right down to DEATHSTROKE's headband, the touches of orange and the slightly worn and been through hell look to his suit. This is a must-have! 5 out of 5 *****
ARKHAM KNIGHT DETECTIVE MODE BATMAN
There has pretty much been a Batman in each of the Multiverse waves which is fine by me because they have all had a hint of difference to them. This last one billed as "ARKHAM KNIGHT DETECTIVE MODE" BATMAN is actually pretty sweet. Its color tones are really a navy blue and black. The Bat Symbol on the chest is quite wide which apparently mirrors the game version of Bats. The utility belt almost looks like a chain-mail silver but I actually really dig the way it looks. I particularly like that they went with the cloth capes over the plastic because I have just always been partial to them since way back to the SUPER POWERS days. All in all, a definitely solid addition to having a blue-hued Bats to add to the mantle. A solid 3 out of 5 *****
ARKHAM ORIGINS BATMAN CLASSIC TV SERIES
I put my favorite right square in the middle for a couple of reasons. First off, let me say, I am not a gamer so when I asked what exactly this suit was, it took a little digging. Obviously right away I recognized the suit I knew as a boy from the live action 1966 TV Series starring Adam West and Burt Ward. Hmmm. But that was pretty obvious, right? Finally, I found out from a hardcore gamer on the AFJ Facebook page that you can wear "skins" or "costumes" of Batmen past. I had no idea you could do that and I am actually thinking of getting a game system just for these ARKHAM games and of Course Madden and Guitar Hero. Either way, this figure hits it out of the park. So cool, so retro, so hop. It's got its all! Even the computer art on the back and side of the package is top notch that would make me buy a comic if done in that digital style. The figure even has the faux eyebrows from '66 Batman's cowl. Classic! 5 out of 5*****
ARKHAM ORIGINS DETECTIVE MODE BANE
When I first saw this BANE, I honestly did not know what to think. Apparently, in the games, Batman has something called "Detective Mode." Since I already admitted to not being a gamer, here is what it does, and it is pretty dope! Detective Mode enables Bats to highlights usable objects and scenery like grates and vents. It also points out vantage points with an orange glow with breakable walls flow blue. However, though, each version of the Detective Mode has its own special function. So what I thought were just jacked up Cobra Kai's from THE KARATE KID on Halloween, is actually just BANE from Batman's vantage point. If you get the figure up close, you realize that he is really big, like the size of a linebacker. You can also clearly see that BANE is wearing some type urban attack gear complete with a big leathery jacket, bombs to throw on the hips and a utility belt of sorts. Very cool addition especially to make it from Batman's vantage point. A clever idea from MATTEL. 4 out of 5 *****
ARKHAM CITY BATMAN BEYOND
It is hard to believe that BATMAN BEYOND is only 16 years old because it feels like its been forever since this cool futuristic iteration of the Batman came around. Based on the idea that an elderly Bruce Wayne takes on a young upstart named Terry McGinnis to take on the mantle of the Batman with some serious future tech at his disposal. The show did not last that long but made a long-standing impression with fans as well as artists and writers. As for the figure in this last wave, its perfect. Understated with no frills and has almost like a BLACK PANTHER look to it which is very cool. Again the side and back art dazzle me and I have to find out who the artist is on it because it is brilliant. I think that because the mask is all black, you are able to really dig in and tell the details of the facial sculpt. I gotta tell you, they are really there and quite eye-opening for a smaller figure. Another out of the park figure with 5 out of 5 stars.
AFJ WILL MISS YOU MULTIVERSE! HOPE YOU COME BACK REAL SOON!