Starfire and Adam Strange might seem an unlikely couple for Mattycollector’s first exclusive DC Universe Classics (DCUC) two-pack. Other than the fact one’s an alien from outer space and the other one spends a lot of time in outer space, what do they have in common? Turns out they both hung out a lot in DC’s 52 maxi-series. That’s about it.
I became a big fan of the Wolfman-era New Teen Titans a few years back, after Dr. Mrs. Ghostal and I got into the Teen Titans animated series. Later, I read even more Titans material as a result of my love of Deathstroke, a.k.a. the my favorite action figure of 2008. So I’m pretty familiar with Starfire.
I’m not so familiar with Adam Strange, although his look and story do play into my interest in the pulp science fiction of the 1930s-’40s, the era of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, who were obviously inspirations for Strange.
Packaging: You can add me to the list of people who don’t understand why the packaging for the DCUC two-packs has to be so insanely enormous. A smaller box, like the type they used to use for the ToyFare exclusives, would be just fine. I’d even accept them in a couple of baggies in a big white box if that would lower the price, but of course the moncs would never stand for that.
To seal a peace pact, King Myand’r of Tamaran sold his daughter Koriand’r into slavery. Her imprisonment ended when scientists experimented upon her and accidentally imbued her with the power to harness solar energy as destructive force. Now an inhabitant of Earth, Koriand’r is known as Starfire and has become a member of the Teen Titans.
I have to ask, why does Starfire’s alien name have to be the word coriander? It’s just lame. Sure, some clever writer could make some ridiculous historical retcon whereby a Tamaranian visited ancient Greece and somehow gave her name to the plant…hey, that could actually be good. Someone get Geoff Johns on it!
Archaeologist Adam Strange was transported to the distant planet of Rann by a random communications beam from outer space. Adam soon became the official hero of Rann, the planet’s protector against strange menaces of all kinds. Though without powers, frequently outnumbered and almost always outgunned, Adam’s cleverness and innovation have allowed him to overcome every menace and gain a reputation as the “thinking man’s hero.”
Seeing as how I’m currently reading an old Hawkman story where Strange left an alien stone lying around in his museum that ended up turning a small-time criminal into a supervillain genius, I’m not so sure about this “thinking man’s hero” thing…I’d be more inclined to give that title to someone like Batman or the Atom.
Also, in naming Strange’s literary forebears I forgot about John Carter of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Barsoom novels. Carter also went to an alien planet (Mars) became the planet’s greatest hero. Sort of a reverse-Superman thing.
Sculpt: While I’m going to give the two figures a cumulative raven rating, there’s a pretty significant disparity in the quality of the two figures, and that’s mostly due to the sculpts.
I’m quite happy with Adam Strange. This is his modern outfit, and while his body is the basic male buck, he’s got some great unique tooling in his harness and jetpack, and a good head scupt. I’m glad they went with his modern outfit over his classic one, which looks a little too retro these days. The Rocketeer-style jetpack looks fantastic.
Starfire, unfortunately, is another matter. First and foremost, I think it was a mistake to use the Harley Quinn body instead of the larger Wonder Woman body; Starfire is a strong bruiser-type character, not a lithe gymnast. She just looks too petite.
Of course, much has been made in collector circles about the figure’s bust, which is woefully inadequate. Look, there’s no getting around it: Starfire has big breasts and wears a tiny outfit that shows off that fact. But because the Harley Quinn body is sculpted as if the character was wearing a bodysuit, Starfire’s chest looks bizarre–the term “uniboob” has been used to describe it, and I think that’s amusingly apt.
I am pleased to point out that a number of details have been done right, such as the circlet on her left bicep and the jewel(?) on her, well, groin. And the head sculpt is up to the Horsemen’s excellent standards, capturing the character’s sweet, yet tough nature–and her incredibly long hair. Unfortunately, everything else is a rather disappointing repaint.
Plastic & Paint: Again, I’m more than happy with Adam Strange. While he’s molded in red plastic, which tends to result in a rather toy-ish look on DCUC figures, Strange makes out pretty well thanks to all his extra paint and the harness.
The harness appears to be molded in a hard white plastic, and you can still move his ab joint a bit despite the harness’s size. The jetpack is painted in a nice, metallic shade of silver. The paint on the body is well applied, particularly in the trim on the legs and boots. However, the quality of the paint itself is a bit problematic. It’s too glossy, especially on the face and head. The head paints also seem a bit thick, as if they’d been slathered on rather than carefully applied.
Since she’s mostly a repaint, Starfire’s paint applications are a bit dull, with the exception of the jewel(?) on her pelvis. Again, the paint looks rather thick, especially on the head. However, I do like the slight silvery sheen on the purple parts of her costume, which are true to her depiction in the comics.
Articulation: Adam Strange and Starfire have standard DCUC articulation. The range of motion on Adam’s torso and neck is a bit limited due to the harness, and you can’t really get him to look straight up–something that continues to bug me on all these flying characters. The only DCUC figure I can think of with a decent ability to look up is Hal Jordan.
Starfire’s biggest issue is with her head; due to the size of her hair and the way it hangs straight down, she can’t look up at all. Also, her ankles are thin and a bit loose, which can cause problems getting her to stand up on her own.
Accessories: Starfire has no accessories. Adam Strange comes with his trademark ray gun, which is in the more modern style. It’s sculpted with an open trigger guard, presumably intended to look as if the trigger guard disappears between his index and third finger. While not perfect, I do like it better than the closed trigger guards of Deathstroke’s weapons.
Strange’s gun can be holstered easily in his harness.
Quality control: There have been many reports of Starfires with warped right legs and doubled biceps or arms. Somehow, though, I appear to have lucked out with my set. I have no QC qualms, other than the slightly sloppiness of the paints on the heads.
Value: Since these are only available on Mattycollector.com, you’re going to pay $25 plus whatever shipping option you choose. That means the bare minimum you’ll pay is about $32.
If both figures had been of the quality of Adam Strange, I’d say the price was high (these go for $23 at Toys ‘R Us), but worth it to fans. However, Starfire’s a disappointment. While I’m glad to have her for my Teen Titans display, part of me hopes Mattel will revisit the character down the line with some larger, more realistic sculpting and proportions.