Due to the heavy re-use of body parts in DCUC, you occasionally get a really boring figure. Wave 5’s Atom, while an important character, was one example. And now, we have Commander Steel.
I don’t know much about the character, and even my attempts to find out more were fairly unsuccessful. Despite his Golden Age look, he was actually created in 1978 by Gerry Conway and Don Heck. The character, Henry Heywood, served as a superhero during WWII, where he was commissioned “Commander” by Winston Churchill, of all people. Eventually, Henry was replaced by his grandson Hank, who was then killed in action. Henry then went back into costume and died himself.
Another grandson, Nathan, then took up the mantle, but because he never served in the military, he’s known as Citizen Steel, and currently serves in the Justice Society of America. Enjoy him while he lasts, folks–given the family’s track record, I’m sure Dan “Deathbringer” Didio will get to killing him at some point.
For whatever reason, Mattel and DC seem to have decided to go with the Henry Heywood I biography.
Young Marine Henry Heywood was severely injured in an attack on his base during WWII. Heywood’s former biology professor saved his life with a series of surgeries, replacing his skeleton with a steel alloy frame and attaching micro-motors to his joints. Now with superhuman strength, stamina, speed and invulnerability, Heywood returned to wartime action as the costumed hero Steel, battling saboteurs at home before heading to overseas theaters as a covert operative.
Packaging: The Commander comes in the standard DCUC packaging–see photo.
Sculpt: The only newly-tooled part on Commander Steel is his head. The facial sculpt does have a lot of character.
I wish I had more to discuss here, but I don’t. Other than the head sculpt, this figure is composed entirely of parts we’ve seen many times before in DCUC.
Plastic & Paint: This is the one place where the Commander stands out. Mattel has done a great job with metallic paint on these figures, and the blue portions of CS are eye-catching. The white areas aren’t as sharp and have some uneven edging.
While he’s molded in the dreaded red plastic, he doesn’t seem to suffer from the toyish effect other red toys (such as the red parademon) get.
Both the Commander Steel and Citizen Steel have more or less identical costumes, and I believe Citizen Steel is better known for being shiny, so it’s really your choice as to who this is.
Articulation: Commander Steel has the standard DCUC articulation: a ball jointed head, ball jointed shoulders, hinges at the elbows, knees, ankles and abdomen, swivels at the biceps, wrists, lower thighs and waist, and H-hinges at the hips for ball joint-like movement.
Accessories: Just Giganta’s torso. As far as I can tell, there’s no particular paraphernalia associated with Commander Steel, so this is arguably no big deal, but since his sculpt is so dull already, it might have been nice to get something. I don’t have any suggestions for what, though.
Quality Control: Aside from some slightly uneven paint work, none.
If Commander Steel didn’t have the blue metallic paint and the great head sculpt, I might have considered making him a two, but there’s really nothing wrong with him–he just doesn’t bring anything new to the table.