In 2011, Mattel announced plans for a mail order subscription service for their DC Universe Classics line, a collection of toys that since 2007 had showcased most of the biggest names from DC Comics – Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and just about everyone else you can think of – as well as fan-favorite obscurities like Killer Moth and The Golden Pharaoh. The subscription plan, “Club Infinite Earths” was modeled on Mattel’s existing clubs for its Masters of the Universe Classics and Ghostbusters lines. Fans would enroll and receive one new action figure a month, as well as deluxe bonus figures periodically. Reaction was not as Mattel had hoped however. Buyers balked at the inflated price tag ($18 + shipping) when, unlike with their other properties, DC Universe Classics was a line you can find at any department store at a lower price.
Representatives tried to encourage fans to sign up for the club, promising that this would be the only way to get classic, demanded figures. (For instance, the Doom Patrol and Metal Men rosters were not completed in the retail line.) They unveiled the first three figures in the line, Jay Garrick the Golden Age Flash, Red Lantern Atrocitus, and Starman from the Justice Society and Legion of Super Heroes. Still fans were not supportive. They announced that the highly-demanded Poison Ivy would also be in the line and posted a poll for fans to vote for the first deluxe figure. (Metron of the New Gods won.) Nevertheless, not enough fans signed up for the subscription. Mattel opted to carry on with it regardless, though there have been delays. (As it turns out, the retail line was switched to focus almost solely on Batman and Superman related characters… and then was cancelled after one assortment was solicited.)
The first figure has finally arrived and it’s Jay Garrick, labeled simply as “The Flash” on his box. The first thing I noticed is that the line has been re-branded as “DC Universe Signature Collection” rather than “DC Universe Classics.” But it’s the same line and the figures are all in the same scale and style as the existing figures. Like with their other toy lines, these come in a white outer carton (shown above) for protection. The inner, decorative box is very nice and should look pretty good, if you prefer to display your toys in the packaging, however, these boxes won’t match existing “DCUC” blister cards. There is a biography of the character on the back, which is obviously the post-Crisis/pre-New 52 origin. I don’t like the illustration, though. He has a really dopey expression on his face, he’s wearing denim blue jeans and weird basketball shoes with a lightning bolt on them. It doesn’t match the way he’s traditionally drawn in the comics or the action figure itself.
But as for the figure himself, the most eye-catching aspect of this figure is his silver helmet, which is vac-metal, so it’s really shiny and looks like real polished metal. I like it, but it doesn’t match the “glittery” plastic or paint that was used on older characters to simulate metal, i.e. Cyborg, Captain Atom, etc. It’s a tad odd that the silver part of the helmet is the really shiny material, but the golden wings are not. They’re the old glittery plastic.
The rest is perfectly fine. His costume is pretty basic, so there’s not much you can do to botch it. Red shirt with big yellow lightning bolt? Check. Blue trousers? Check. Red loose-fitting boots with golden wings? Nope. They got the first part right, but there are no wings on the boots, so I have to deduct points because of that. I do believe they are specially molded. (It is rumored that this figure was tooled and planned for the retail line, but put in Club Infinite Earths when the idea was born.)
His facial sculpt is nice. Basically neutral, but with a kind smirk. It’s a lot better than Alan Scott’s open-mouth grimace!
Jay is an important hero. He was the first Golden Age hero to meet and team up with his Silver Age counterpart. He served consistently with the Justice Society up until the New 52 reboot and has played an important role in the modern Flash’s book. He’s a must for any Justice Society collection, so fan demand was certainly there for his inclusion. (He is now sold out on MattyCollector.com.)
All in all, great figure of a must have character. He’s not flawless, but my Justice Society collection was sorely lacking without him. But in terms of value, he’s a really basic figure with no accessories and not much in terms of costuming. I can’t help but feel the price point isn’t quite justified here.
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