DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS
Sometimes, there are really, really cool figures of characters you like, that are held back by one tiny but hard to overlook flaw. Today, I’ll be looking at such a figure. I’ll get to the “why” of it in just a bit.
So, in the second season premier for The Flash, Barry fought a guy called Atom Smasher, aka Albert Rothstein. Rothstein comes from Earth 2, which was the home of the original 40s DC Comics characters. He’s also the godson of the original Atom, aka Al Pratt, who is the focus of today’s review. Unlike the later versions of Atom, who possessed the ability to shrink down to sub-atomic size (not unlike Marvel’s Ant-Man), Al was just a kind of short guy who was a good fighter. He was eventually given an assortment of powers after the fact, but those were kind of a retcon. Amongst other things, he served as a prototype for Justice Guild member Tom Turbine, from the Justice League episode “Legends.” And, he got a figure as part of one of the last series of DC Universe Classics. Yay for him!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Atom was released as part of Series 19 of Mattel’s DC Universe Classics, which was a whole series themed around the Justice Society of America, of which ol’ Al here was a member. Atom is presented here in his original costume from the 40s, which is definitely his more definitive of his two main looks. The figure stands about 6 ¼ inches tall and has 23 points of articulation. See that height? Remember when I mentioned he was a short guy? Yeah, Al’s listed height is 5’ 1”, which, in DCUC terms, should make this guy about 5 ½ inches tall. So, he’s about an inch too tall. This is because Atom is built on the larger male body (the same one used on the water-camo Aquaman from Series 7). Proportionally, it’s the best body Mattel had on hand; Al’s a pretty stacked guy; but it’s just too tall. It’s kind of a no-win scenario. A character like Al isn’t really privy to an all-new body sculpt, especially in a buck-based line like DCUC, so Mattel had to make due. Moving away from the size thing, Atom has a brand new head, forearms, abdomen, and shins. These are all nicely sculpted parts, and the buckles on the arms and abdomen are an especially nice touch, since they could have easily been painted on. The shins are a little bit shorter than previous pieces, so Mattel was clearly trying a little, but it’s not really a very noticeable difference. The cape is from Series 12’s Dr. Mid-Nite figure; it’s not a perfect match, but it’s close enough, and it’s a well-sculpted piece, so I can’t complain. For some reason, it sits out a bit from his back, which is a tad frustrating. The paintwork on Atom is some of the best from this line. Some of the line work is fuzzy, but it’s pretty clean overall. The color work is really nice; everything is bold and vibrant, and he really just pops. The brown parts are meant to be leather, and so they’ve been given a slightly darker brown dry brushing, which is actually really effective in conveying the different texturing. Atom didn’t include any of his own accessories, but he did include the head and pelvis of STRIPE, the Collect-N-Connect figure for this series.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
The golden age Atom has long been one of my favorite JSA members. I was always a bit disappointed by DC Direct’s less than stellar attempt at the character, so I was intrigued by the DC Universe Classics version. I ended up finding this guy not long after he was released, while on a run to a nearby Target with my Dad. His size put me off at first, but the realization that this was probably the best version of the character I’d ever see in plastic, I went for it. I’m really happy I decided to get him, because, size issues aside, he’s actually a really nice figure.