I’ll admit I’m still trying to figure out what Jack Kirby was trying to do with the New Gods. Once I got past some of the goofy names, I realized there was a lot of interesting stuff going on. My impression of his overall project is that he was attempting to create a modern mythos for our times, a contemporary update of the Greek and Viking pantheons with a distinctly American flavor–a sort of American Iliad.
I think the problem was that this pantheon of American gods was already established. Their names were Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Spider-man, Captain America, the Fantastic Four. Of course, Kirby had an integral role in creating that pantheon. But I think readers–particularly readers of mainstream superhero comics–weren’t prepared for the motley crew of new superheroes introduced in the Fourth World comics.
Of course, that’s only my interpretation of Kirby’s project, and I could be way off the mark. But I do think it might have worked better if Kirby hadn’t worked the other DC superheroes into the story (whether he wanted to or had to per DC’s order, I don’t know). It’s hard to be impressed by a brand-new character like Orion, no matter how powerful he is, when Superman’s been juggling planets for years. Even Darkseid didn’t gain the prominence he now has until after decades of stories.
Of all the New Gods characters though, I find Mister Miracle one of the oddest. He doesn’t quite fit the mythos. He’s more of a traditional superhero, right down to his name, look, and origin story.Writers like Grant Morrison later helped define Miracle’s place in the New Gods world, but initially he seemed to stick out like a sore thumb against the galaxy-spanning adventures of the New Gods. Here’s this guy with access to godlike technology (a Mother Box), and he comes to Earth, catches an episode of Mindfreak and says, “That’s what I want to do with my life”?
Packaging: The usual. Bio:
As part of a peace pact, Scott Free was raised in an orphanage on the cruel world of Apokolips. Young Scott finally escaped that destiny and made his way to Earth where he was befriended by escape artist Thaddeus Brown, known as Mister Miracle. Under Brown’s tutelage Scott assumed the identity of Mister Miracle and elevated to even greater glory as an entertainment super-escape artist!
Sculpt: MM uses the “slender but buff” body, which is fitting for a more athletic type like Scott. The unique tooling is the head, which is sculpted around the edges of his mask; his cape and clasp, which is shared with Dr. Impossible;Â his belt; his gauntlets; and his boots, which also have some awesome Kirby-esque techno detailing on the soles–a great little touch.
Plastic & Paint: Mister Miracle is yet another victim of the dreaded RPS–Red Plastic Syndrome–whereby, due to the nature of red molded plastic, the figure looks very toy-like. I realized this is largely due to a certain translucent quality to the plastic, visible around places like the narrow edges where the torso meets the shoulder joints.
His cape is molded in green plastic, and for whatever reason, it’s incredibly stiff. I thought Mattel was working on more pliable capes? Dr. Impossible and Superman have relatively flexible capes, but Mister Miracle seems to have soaked his in starch for a week, then had it lacquered.
There’s not much slop on my figure, but Mattel is still having issues getting painted parts, such as the green sides of MM’s briefs, to match molded parts such as his groin, which is molded in green. I don’t find it too noticeable except in bright light, but they could do better.
Articulation: Standard DCUC articulation. I had no stuck joints issues.
Accessories: It’s always a crapshoot with DCUC–some characters get no accessories at all, others get a cornucopia. MM is one of the latter. He’s got a pair of high-tech handcuffs which can be slipped over his wrists, a Mother Box which attaches to his belt, and a pair of hover discs that fit into the pegs on his feet.
They all have a Kirby-esque look to them, and each of them has at least one paint application. The discs appear to have been molded in green plastic and then painted silver.
Unfortunately, Mister Miracle can’t hold the Mother Box, because he doesn’t have an open hand. Which is odd; MM isn’t exactly known for being a bruiser. If I were a wealthy man, I might tempted to track down an extra classic Aquaman and do a hand swap.
Quality Control: I had no significant issues with my Mister Miracle figure.
Thanks to his awesome accessories and extra unique tooling, Mister Miracle gets a whole point more than his evil twin Dr. Impossible–which is probably as it should be.
The Articulated One
This discussion about reviews is really interesting. As I've started writing my reviews at Articulated Discussion in the last few months, it's something I've been pondering a lot.
At first I was really focused on making sure all of the scores worked within each other; that I was offering a consistent scale across every line and manufacturer, where a 6 was a 6 for every figure and nothing else.
As of late I've moved towards the belief that each figure is its own and my ratings will represent how I see it when I see it, and an 85 may not always be better than an 83. It's all such a subjective matter that trying to offer reviews as an objective measure is just impossible.
I'm all about "questioning the man", but reviews take a lot of time and cognitive effort to write, so I just can't appreciate someone criticizing the review. Let's criticize the toys, not the review/reviewer.
Here's another way to think about it: I don't go to Pizza Hut and complain that their pizza isn't as good as a one from brick oven pizzeria in Sicily…
Doesn't Aquaman have two gripping hands? Couldn't you just swap one hand?
I'm often irritated when reviewers or fans of the genre in general dismiss certain toys just because they don't hit the required number of articulation points or right amount of paint wash…
But I think Poe's reviews are pretty good. I too go with the Ebert theory of review, where you review the product in your hand, you may make some comparisons to other items and even some contrast, but you're judging the item at hand, not how it compares.
Wow, your complaining about a review? I think Poe's Reviews are the best out there. I really hadn't looked at the ravens thing. I read his reviews because there interesting, And its not his fault that DC Direct and McToys suck. DC Directs never can stand up even with a stand, that's not even taking about how they break like there's no tomorrow.And McFarland have lost there sculptors now all they use is that dam 3D coping machine. So the only thing you can comment is the paint. Yea I said it, DC Direct and McFarland sucks. Sorry for butting in.
@DMW: I never collected DSCH ML, or any form of superhero toy prior to DCUC, and it was Poe's reviews that first got me into them, and I think they're great. Now, I'm by no means a toy expert, but I think they're fun toys with decent to good sculpts/articulation/paint. And beyond all of the best paint apps and sculpt, I rate a toy on how fun it is. Take the MOTU Stactions for example, they're great to look at, but once you take it off your shelf theres little you can do with it.
I think Hawkman is fine, how else do you propose doing his expansive wings? I don't know about you, but I tend to look at the front of my action figures.
If you're so bothered by something, why collect it? Obviously DCUC is the worst line ever, and Mattel is partners with Satan.
If you don't like Poe's opinions, thats your right, but nobody is making you read them, you're always free to go someplace else, or if you don't think your opinions are being voiced, start your own toy blog.
@Dead Man Walking, I totall agree with you considering how other toy lines are far more easier to obtain than MOTUC (don't get me wrong I really like the line I am just angry I have such a hard time getting the figure having to pay a lot more than they ar worth, I only have He-Man and Beastman, trying to get Skeletor). They are good figures but it won't be a proper toyline until you can walk into a shop and buy them. I collect lots of different action figure Transformers, MOTU, G.I. Joe, Macross, TMNT, and some comic figures. I look for three things, sculpt, quality and price.
Dead Man Walking
Perhaps I'm over sensitive on the issue, but I've only begun reading action figure reviews in the past year or so, and in doing so found that my values are completely at odds with the majority of (vocal) collectors.
Mind you I have a very diverse collection. I literally have hundreds of figures, including dozens of Marvel Legends, 25th Ann Joes, Transfomers Alternators, TF Classics/Universe, Gundam MG kits, MOTU 200X figures/stactions, McF football/basketball figure, DCUC/Superheroes, TNMT figures, McF/NECA movie figures, DC Direct, Spawn & related figures, not to mention every MP Transformer and MOTUC figure released so far.
Despite the diversity of my collection, I've always prized sculpt, paint, and scale above articulation, and I think this puts me in a small or at least less vocal group of collectors.
But by far the things that have bothered me the most is the overwhelming embrace I've seen given to MOTUC and DCUC, which I believe supplanted far superior, and superior lines, respectively.
It seems to me that collectors have bought this line from Mattel that they can only sell figures if they recycle parts ad absurdem, to which I ask how is NECA still able to produce a figure of Bionic Commando, which has few easily reusable parts, much better paint and plastic, good articulation, and sells for less than a MOTUC figure.
I just don't fell like anyone is Mattel accountable.
Fair enough, DMW. Again, I review DCUC figures mostly against, well, other DCUC figures, and MM gets a big boost from all his accessories and the sculpted soles of his feet.
I suppose there's an argument to be made that I could try to make my reviews more objective in terms of a figure's relation to all other similar figures and toy lines. Would people prefer that? I'm genuinely curious.
To be totally honest, I don't put a lot of stock in those raven ratings or any "star" ratings. I use them because people seem to expect it, and I do like the way the graphics look, but I don't think they should be taken too seriously. I think the text is what's important, and I do think sometimes my impression of the final figure can be more or less than the sum of its parts.
As for DC Direct and McFarlane Toys, I don't think I've reviewed one of those in years, so you must be confusing me with OAFE, I guess. Although in my mind, NECA's figures are similar to those of McFarlane or DC Direct, and I recently wrote a review of the Bionic Commando figure in which I said it was in the running for best action figure of the year, despite the fact I don't even like the character or game.
It's possible I'm just not critical enough of any figure for your taste, not just DCUC figures 😉 I just happen to review more DCUC figures than anything else.
Dead Man Walking
Perhaps I am mistaken, I may be confusing your reviews with others from OAFE, where there's constant derogatory mentions of "McToys" and DC Direct (even in reviews of figures from other companies), and where the lack of articulation on these figures nearly guarantees that the figures will receive at best a tepid recommendation.
However, it still seems completely incongruous to me that a figure that suffers from RPS, has a super-stiff cape (which hampers the playability that you are looking for), an accessory which he can't hold (again hampering playability), minimal new sculpting, and paint matching issues would receive a 4/5 rating.
In another example, you were quick to dismiss the notion that Hawkman should have a wash by stating that Mattel might mess it up–essentially excuse Mattel based on an expectation of incompetence.
I received my DCUC series 6 yesterday, and I think the basic figures are atrocious. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the 4H. Their vision of MOTU (200X) was, I believe, perfect. Still, sculpt alone cannot make a figure line, particularly when there is so little variation and worse QC. My figure are full of paint blotches, awful paint matching, and cheap, cheap plastic. Next to my DC Direct Rorschach they just look sub par. Of course, I'm not a huge "articulation guy." I mean I have hundreds of figures–how much time am I going to spend playing with any one figure anyway?
But even compared to other mass market figures like Marvel Legends, DCUC figures look cheap.
Still over and over I see DCUC figures getting the utmost praise from reviewers. I do believe that there is an inherent bias against McF and DC Direct figures amongst reviewers. I haven't seen anyone mention the awful joints on Hawkman's back for instance, yet reviewers seem to pounce on the slightest paint inaccuracy or even the backstory for McFarlane figures.
miracle has a lot of problems with the yellow on his costume. mine is ok, and i've only seen one great one in person, but still, its hard to get a good one.
@DMW: In what regard? Sculpting? I can pretty much guarantee you that's not true at all.
I should probably write this up as a kind of reviewing manifesto (and I probably will), but I subscribe to Roger Ebert's perspective on reviewing–when you review a movie like Finding Nemo, it's silly to try to compare it objectively to, say, The Godfather. I review toys based on my impression of what they're going for, who their target consumer is, and whether those consumers will like it.
Occasionally a toy will be so good, it rises above being appealing to just its audience, so just as adults loved a kids' movie like Finding Nemo, I think people who don't collect DC action figures might really like, say, Hawkman.
If you're suggesting I would be more critical about a McFarlane or DC Direct figure–particularly McFarlane–you're correct in that I would judge the level of detail on the sculpting and paint applications in comparison to their previous work, which has always been detailed. That's what McFarlane and DC Direct offer to collectors–high detail in sculpting and paint application in exchange for a certain lack of playability and durability.
DC Universe Classics is geared toward collectors (like me) who hold fond memories of the more toy-like figures of their childhood and want more articulation. I review DCUC figures based on how much I think a particular figure will appeal to that type of collector.
Of course, I have a hard time faulting the Horsemen's sculpting at any time, no matter how much or little detail it might have. As I've said before, there's more to a good sculpt than tiny details.
Dead Man Walking
No offense, but you seem to go really easy on DCUC figures. Had this been a McFarlane or DC Direct figure I think you would be far more scrutinizing.