DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS
In a lot of ways, Mattel’s DC Universe Classics was really the true successor to ToyBiz’s run on Marvel Legends. Now, before you grab the pitchforks and the torches, hear me out. Both lines were the hottest action figure line around at the time of release, both offered a surprisingly expansive look at their respective universes, and both were renowned for their representations of obscure characters. They’ve also both begun to show their age, and they were both a pain in the butt to collect. And of course, they both have their fanbases, who don’t tend to like being compared to each other. If I go missing, you know where to look. In the moment, I think I enjoyed collecting DCUC a bit more, just because I gained more of a mastery of tracking stuff down online, which made getting the figures I wanted a whole lot easier. So, why not have a look at one of my favorite figures from that line, Green Arrow.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Green Arrow saw release in the 9th Series of DC Universe Classics. He served as the “anchor figure” of the series. With shows such as Arrow on the air, Green Arrow being an anchor figure nowadays wouldn’t be a huge shock, but at the time, it was actually a pretty bold move. However, given the presence of another 11 series of the line after this one, it’s safe to say it paid off okay. The figure is about 6 ½ inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation. He gets an extra two points of articulation compared to others in the line thanks to some hinge joints at the wrist, in addition to the usual swivel joints. It’s a nice addition, although it would have been nice if they’d made it standard to the line. Green Arrow is based on Oliver Queen’s Bronze Age (read: 70s-80s) appearance. It’s easily the character’s most distinctive look, and it’s one he’s returned to many times over the years. Also of note, it’s the look he had in the DC Super Powers line in the 80s, which was what Mattel was working to recreate. DCUC generally operated on the buck system, but characters such as Green Arrow tend to need more unique pieces than others, resulting in him being more new than re-use. The waist, upper legs, and shoulders are re-used from the medium sized buck, but I believe everything else on the figure is new. Ollie ended up with one of the best sculpts DCUC had to offer in that regard. All of the little details of the costume are sculpted, and they are done with the necessary precision. They are also spot on to design from the comics, right down to those weird draw string things on the front of his costume. The pointed shoulders of his costume also help to mask the slightly large shoulders that were an issue with the line, and the rest of the pieces being new meant that Ollie ended up with a build that was appropriate to him. The figure’s hands are both sculpted to work well with the accessories, and they really turned out great. The head sculpt really makes this figure, perfectly capturing the Neal Adams Green Arrow of the 70s. He’s got just the right “charming rogue” look, which sells the character really well. In addition, they’ve managed to render his hat in three dimensions without it looking the slightest bit silly, which is really great. Where the figure ends up falling down just a bit is the paintwork. The paint certainly isn’t bad. In fact, the colors are well chosen, and it’s overall pretty clean. However, there’s a little bit of slop and bleed over. The worst thing on my figure is the airbrushing, particularly on the face. What was clearly meant to be a little bit of color on his cheeks ended up looking rather ridiculous, almost to a clownish level. The figure included his signature bow, a few different arrows, and a clear blue display stand. The bow ends up being another point of contention. There’s an arrow molded to it, meaning not only can the other arrows included not be used at all, but he also can’t draw the bow back any further, and he looks silly when just holding the bow one handed. Why Mattel decided to handle it this way (and to continue to handle it so on all the archers that followed) is baffling.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Amazingly enough, Green Arrow is one of the DCUC figures I ended up finding at retail with no real issues. I stumbled across him (as well as Black Canary) at my local Target and happily purchased him. Issues with the bow aside, this was one of the best figures that DCUC had to offer, and he still holds up, even while the rest of the line begins to look dated. It’s a shame that Mattel couldn’t keep up the effort they put into this figure.