The DC Icons action figure sets have given DC a solid analog to Marvel’s Legends line with the same scale, but sadly lacking any sort of Build-A-Figure option (we miss you, DC Universe Classics). Where the DC Icons' make up for it is insane level of detail and accessories that haven’t been utilized before. Wave Three of the Icons line offers Man of Steel Superman, classic Aquaman, Atomica, and a first appearance Harley Quinn.
DC provided Newsarama with these figures for review - except Harley Quinn -- and all three are stellar examples of what good toy making can and should produce.
This wave was based on designs by Ivan Reis who has penciled some of the highest-profile events in the past decade, and this Superman embodies everything we think of when we see the Big "S" insignia. Looking a little younger, and fresher than most Superman toys, this guy has all the classic bits about what made Superman a visual icon in comic books: the s-curl, the classic costume, the S on the chest and the cape, and those red trunks - it’s just so good. The articulation is well done with joints at the wrist, shoulder, bicep, which allows for some great posing. He’s not entirely that flexible in the middle, which is surprising he has two chest joint fixtures. He can’t really do a bowing motion and is almost meant to be constantly be statuesque.
The leg joints are just passable, but he’s at least able to stand upright without any assistance as the cape acts as a weight. Where this figure really shines is in the paint detail.
The cobalt blue hue with the sharp red and yellow, even with a gold belt buckle makes for this thing looking outstanding. Even from a distance, you can tell that this is unmistakably Superman. The resin cape has a nice sculpt to it, but in removing the cape from the box, it scraped a smidge of coloring from the yellow S-emblem on the back. Same with the chest; it’s not really paint as it is almost like a decal, so be careful. It doesn’t ruin it by any stretch of the imagination, but those collectors looking to keep things pristine, you’ve been warned.
Superman comes with good ole robot Kelex. As being unfamiliar with this character, it’s cool looking alone, and having done research afterwards, it’s a spot on recreation of the comic counterpart. Kelex comes with a stand and a rod to place underneath him to give the appearance of hovering. He doesn’t have a lot of articulation, but the inclusion of him is the real gift by itself. Again, another solid paint job on the robot with a nice copper tint that gives the impression of being metallic.
Supes comes with two additional hands that allow for holding accessories, but in this case, the closed fists look just fine.
Ivan Reis has quite a history with Aquaman, having drawn the character's "New 52" series and as part of the Justice League. So how does he come off in three dimensions?
The sculpt is overall pretty good – Aquaman has a heroic, earnest-but determined face and a nifty metallic sheen on his classic goldfish shirt. Articulation is well-integrated into the sculpt, though the twist in his upper chest is a bit glaring.
That joint in the chest is a little odd – the character has that and an ab crunch, but no articulation at the waist. That makes some poses a bit tricky. Otherwise, it’s pretty standard articulation-wise – there are ball joints in the ankles that let him strike a proper swimming pose, missing in most Aquaman figures.
For accessories, there are two extra sets of hands, one spread open and one with open fists for weapon-holding. Oddly, there’s no hands that are completely flat for swimming. There’s also a trident (well, technically with five spikes) that is easily the weakest part of this set. The trident is toothpick-thin and holds poorly; it feels extremely fragile, and not proportionate to the rest of the figure. Put him next to the George Perez-inspired DC Universe Ocean Master and his trident and you’ve got a classic case of “Mine’s bigger.”
The coolest accessory, though, is an alternate head with a small hole which can have attached to it a representation of Aquaman’s marine-life-controlling power (or, as fans of the Super Friends cartoons might remember it, “Wahwahwahwah…”). Comments section, feel free to chime in if this has actually been done with an Aquaman figure before, but it adds another layer of posing and play options for the figure. Why, he could easily control Cthulhu or the Great Old Ones!
Fair warning: You might want to use some glue to attach the mind-power thing to the hole – it’s a secure fit, but it’s very small and could fall out easily. Should you be left with only the extra head, you could always pretend that the hole’s the result of trepanning, or possibly another orifice such as a blowhole.
Overall – a strong figure with some fun options, but weakened by awkward articulation and a weak weapon accessory. Also, it could use a figure stand – it does not stand up on its own very easily. Though at least it can recreate the “Aquaman Dance Party” bit from Adult Swim.
The “Wahwahwahwahwah” accessory is pretty darn cool, though.
Legacy of The Atom (Ray Palmer, Ryan Choi, Rhonda Pineda)
So this is a triple threat here as we get a bit of the old and the new. Let’s go with Ray first, as age before beauty and all that.
So Ray here isn’t really a figure as he is an accessory himself. He has no points of articulation whatsoever and tiny. Not microscopic, but definitely something that one could choke on. But here’s that they did with him! They added in this translucent “atom” symbol that acts like a base and it resembles him in the midst of a transformation. It just looks really cool and goes back to them having an eye for detail.
Next up is Ryan Choi. So Ryan here has four points of articulation. It’s not much, but allows for some mobility. He’s a step teller than Ray, but several steps below Rhonda, who we’ll get to shortly (pun intended). The level of detail on his costume even at this small scale is superb. Even getting the minute details of his belt just right and still distinctive from Ray’s costume, though it’s still similar in color scheme. This reminds me of the Ant-Man set that Hasbro released last year with various Hank Pyms in different sizes and displaying the history of the character in the costumes he’s worn through the years, but this is more of a legacy, which brings us to the last figure.
Rhonda Pineda was the new Atom created in the "New 52" as a reluctant spy working for Amanda Waller and Steve Trevor. Her articulation is similar to Superman’s with wrist, forearm, and shoulder movement that allows for a more feminine type of posing as shown at right. It’s not a bad figure, with the best parts coming from the paint job and level of detail to her face. The addition to having the goggles being able to actually been worn would have been nice, but it’s not a deal-breaker here. She also comes with another pair of hands that are more action-focused.
Including Rhonda in the wave seems odd as you have three other characters that are easily more iconic in their own right. True, the first wave did include a Deadman and Black Adam, but they’ve been around for decades. Rhonda hasn’t really had time to leave her mark, much less become an “icon” in DC Comics. If they wanted to make her one of the smaller figures would make more sense with either Ryan or Ray as the bigger figure in the pack. On the other hand, Rhonda is also one of two of the only female figures in the line, so DC making her figure is a good call so it can break up the sausage fest so far.
As aforementioned, we didn’t get a chance to review the Harley, which is a shame as the she looks to have had the same great quality of sculpt and a killer paint job, but the three that were provided are nothing to turn away either.
‘Rama Rating: 7 out of 10