With the rising cost of DC Universe Classics and my overall displeasure with trying to find the figures I’ve been thinking of starting a new DC collection. My current Justice League Unlimited collection is vast but again, the rising cost and relative obscurity of the toys makes it a tough collection to have much desire for. Which brings me to DC Infinite Heroes. Thus far I’ve only picked up a couple of these figures, Manhunter which scored a really low 5 and Hawkman who only did a little better at 6.5!

So yet here I am again trying to give DC Infinite Heroes a chance. I’ve been looking at the Toys R Us exclusive “Battle for Metropolis” set for ages now and it’s finally been clearanced enough that I felt I could throw some coin at it. I also had a 15% off coupon which helped too. Yet here I am, once again after fiddling with these guys wondering if I’ll ever pick up anymore DC Infinite Heroes.

Some credit should be given to Mattel here because they have made a pretty nice package. There are some real blunders though, as Superman and Captain Marvel are almost unseen in the back of the package. They are “flying” which looks pretty cool but I think there’s a bit too many Luthor troopers on display.

Overall the box isn’t too bad and features some dynamic posing inside. Once you crack this thing open though it’s a bit more frustrating. Everyone is rubber banded in but there’s also tape, twist ties and plastic shells to work your way through. I managed to get most of the figures out without having to mess with the tape and twist ties, but it was a headache either way.

There are actually 3 styles of figures in here. Technically this is all the “old” style of articulation for DCIH but it still has varying levels. I’ll try to explain each one.

The Luthor troopers have ball jointed shoulders, but the outfit restricts them so that they have almost only side to side motion. Even worse is their legs which again the sculpt impedes so badly that the T-crotch has about a centimeter of movement. Check out the picture below where the middle Luthor trooper has his leg lifted as far forwards and his other leg as far backwards as possible.

That is not what I’d call range of motion!

Lex Luthor isn’t much better with a weird joint on his arms that only allows them to move out a bit. He has swivel wrists which is nice and a great range of motion on his legs. He also has a swivel waist which helps, but I’m still not sure why they engineered the arms the way they did.

Finally we have our heroes, who all have the original standard level of articulation. That’s ball jointed shoulders, cut necks, cut waist, T-crotch as well as knee and elbow joints. It’s pretty outdated articulation for 2009 but it’s better than the other figures in the set. Some hinged ankles and swivel wrist would make these figures a million times better in my view.

Sadly Mattel has continued to “update” the articulation and newer DC Infinite Heroes figures have really fragile articulation that apparently makes the figures worst than even this archaic articulation. I don’t even know where to start.

When I originally saw the DC Infinite Heroes line I was pretty upset about a lot of the problems, like the giant hands… But before I bought these toys I convinced myself that I was okay with their oven mitt hands. Why? Well, I decided that these are stylized (that’s not true of course) and that these weren’t supposed to be of normal proportions. So I’m sitting that aside for this review and I’m not going to be bothered by hands bigger than their heads.

An army of Heroes in your grasp?

Setting aside what is presumably the biggest flaw about DCIH, the sculpts are pretty good. Superman and Captain Atom have pretty great head sculpts. Although I don’t like Captain Marvel’s head sculpt that much, this version does seem better to me than the single carded one which made him look Asian.

Unfortunately with Mattel you get their infamous quality control which will bring even the nicest figures down to their knees. See, one of the big highlights of this package is the Kingdom Come version of Superman. I love the design and I think he’s one of the neater DC Infinite Heroes designs, but if you pay close attention here his belt is glued on crooked. It’s a minor thing, but it brings down his score.

Then we have the Luthor Troopers. Putting aside that they are so poorly engineered in terms of articulation, the paint work isn’t very good. This Luthor trooper has half his face paint rubbed off. You can tell by the picture just how poorly he was painted to begin with. Mattel is using the cheapest paints around, much like some of the Target Exclusive JLU figures this is almost like watercolor paint.

For the most part Shazaam is pretty good. I was surprised because every time I saw a single card or multipack of Shazaam he looked terrible. This version is actually painted nice and comes up as one of the better figures of the bunch.

Marvel’s cape is even well done and is comparable to the DC Universe Classics version. I’m quite impressed with the detail here and I will applaud Mattel for some effort. The head sculpt still isn’t very good and they cheaped out by just painting on his suit, but it doesn’t look terrible.

Captain Atom looks quite good and I love the metallic paints used on him. Especially the metallic blue boots. The red paint stands out a bit much, but it does provide a nice contrast. Unfortunately his arms are already flaking, so the cheap paint strikes again. Don’t even get me started on his chest symbol, which should be the sign for an atom. It’s really not a complex design and why Mattel didn’t just spring for a tampo boggles the mind. Instead it’s a hand painted blot. Captain Rorschach perhaps?

DC Infinite Heroes never come with accessories. I can count on one hand the total number of accessories in this figure line. Seriously, it’s sad. So does this big multi-pack include anything?

I’ll be lenient and say that Lex Luthor’s missiles are an accessory. Technically they’re probably considered part of the sculpt, but the new Public Enemies version of Luthor doesn’t come with them and they are removeable, so that’s an accessory.

So that’s it… Two firing missiles for Luthor. Four troopers… No guns.

Additional Notes:
I convinced myself all weekend long that I was going to like these figures. That they were going to be cool and that I was going to be happy with this set. I still find myself fighting back some levels of disappointment. I said to myself that I would look past the bad sculpting, the big hands, the lack of accessories and the poor articulation… But once you look past all of that, what exactly is left?

I really want to like DC Infinite Heroes, but I’m just not sure I can. Even psyching myself up to enjoy these figures despite all their flaws, I still can’t help but feel a little disappointment. There is so much stuff out there grabbing for my dollars and Mattel so clearly does not care about this line at all.

I want to love you, but I can’t.

Here’s the real kicker and it’s the biggest strike against DC Infinite Heroes. This set is on clearance for $25 and I used a 15% off coupon and got it for around $22. That’s the most I would pay for this set. That makes each figure just under $3 and I still don’t feel like I’ve gotten a great value. You want to know why?

GI Joe the value destroyer

Because at the same time I picked this set up, I purchased the TRU exclusive GI Joe set. That set contains 5 figures (better sculpts, paint, articulation), weapons for all of the figures and a vehicle… For $20! Even with clearance and coupons this can’t match the value of GI Joes. Even if you took the GI Joe set at it’s original price of $25, it’s still worth it.

Here’s the real mind blower, this DCIH set originally retailed for $50! I feel pretty confident that Mattel set that price too. Why would Toys R Us price it so high? No Toys R Us exclusives cost that much. That had to have been a Mattel SRV price. DC Infinite Heroes is overpriced across the board.

DC Infinite Heroes figures are $3 figures. Even at $3 they aren’t a great value. All things being equal, you can’t tell me these are worth $6 and $7 that they charge. Marvel Universe is overpriced at $7-$8 but this is just preposterous! If Marvel Legends were still $8, what the hell could Mattel feasibly charge for these guys? $1?! Mattel needs to serious drop the price on these figures. No accessories, no stands, bad QC, poor articulation… I just don’t get it.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 6
Articulation – 6
Accessories – Luthor’s Missile Launcher
Value – 6
Overall – 6 out of 10

I’m a bit heartbroken. If anything was going to get me to love DC Infinite Heroes, it was this set. I still don’t like them. I’m probably going to pick a couple of other sets (because I’m a glutton for punishment) and I’ll probably feel even worse for getting them. These are fine toys for Mego to have made in 1979 but they just don’t feel worth it in 2009. If Mattel starts charging $3 for DCIH I won’t complain about them. I’m fine with a $3 price tag for these figures. But Mattel, you can not charge more than that for these figures. They are not worth it.

3 Responses to DC Infinite Heroes – Battle for Metropolis Review

  • Philip Reed says:

    What kills me about Mattel is that they own their factories; quality control problems are Mattel and not a third party. I know when we print games we sometimes have quality issues; I like to think that if we owned a factory we would have more control over the quality of what we produce.

    This entire series is junk. Mattel needs to buy some Hasbro 3.75-inch scale action figures and study them very, very closely.

  • Paul says:

    They’re supposed to get better. SUPPOSED to.

  • Peter says:

    Maybe if they would move the factory back to the USA there would be better control.

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