After swearing off Mattel’s DC Universe Classics after Wave 4 and actually returning my full set of Wave 4, I had avoided the urge to collect anymore DCUC. In fact, I never dove headfirst into DC Universe Classics to begin with. It was undeniable love for Aquaman that brought me into the DCUC fold and it was Grundy who kept me there. However this past weekend perhaps off the interest in a few of the upcoming characters, I re-entered the world of DC Universe Classics.

For whatever reason I’ve always been a fan of the underdog superheroes. It’s not that I don’t enjoy Batman or Superman, but the offbeat side characters have always been favorites of mine. The Charlton Comics cast of characters could almost all fall into this category. Although they’ve been with DC since the early 1980’s, it’s almost a given that the Charlton characters are B and C list guys in the DC Universe.

Poor Blue Beetle actually dates back to Fox Comics although that was the first Blue Beetle and today we’re looking at the second incarnation of the character who originated under Charlton. Ted Kord became the Blue Beetle when the original, Dan Garret was killed in action. Kord and Garret were actually working together at the time and Kord kept up the legacy. While the original was very much a ripoff of the Phantom, the Kord-era Beetle was more of a Batman ripoff. It’s only fitting that the company that’s made so many Batman toys, now takes a dip into the Blue Beetle territory.

Packaging:
DCUC has a pretty basic package that has carried over with every wave so far. The standard bubble card isn’t too flashy but it gets the job done by displaying the figure prominently on the front. The package is actually quite huge and could hold a much bigger figure than it typically does. Blue Beetle is posed “dynamically” inside, which does sometimes warp figures. Ted Kord here is not a victim of said warping though.

Inside the package is a bunch of artwork that sort of gets lost in the mix. It’s of the characters in the wave but if you’re not paying attention you might completely miss it. Inside are two rubber bands that need to be cut to free the Blue Beetle.

The back of the package shows all the figures in the wave, plus the collect and connect figure (build a figure) of Atom Smasher. This was a 7 figure wave, but rather stupidly, Flash doesn’t come with a piece of the C&C figure making you instead buy a figure you might not want. The package also has a little bio on the back that’s reasonably decent.

Articulation:
Mattel’s 6 inch DC Universe figures have become pretty well known for their articulation. While the articulation is not quite up to par with many Marvel Legends, it’s pretty much universal. Personally I feel as though they’ve hit the right amount of articulation, with just enough to get any character into tons of poses but not so much as that he’s nothing but joints.

Blue Beetle is an athletic character. While in many ways he’s a poor man’s Batman, the Beetle isn’t without some finesse that’s all his own. Blue Beetle retained some of his pulp comic predecessor’s fight sense, so you tend to see Blue Beetle in more traditional poses than perhaps Spider-Man or Batman have. That’s not to say he doesn’t occasionally do a Spider-Man like pose, but chances are all the articulation that Mattel has included will be more than enough.

The full rundown on articulation is a ball jointed neck, pin/post style ball jointed shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, cut wrists, ab hinge, waist swivel, swivel hinge hips, hinged knees, swivel thighs and hinge jointed ankles. That’s really a fair amount of articulation and I think adding much more just begins to get to the ridiculous levels of articulation.

Sculpt:
Mattel’s line has come under a fair amount of fire for constantly reusing bodies. Reuse is the name of the game these days and it’s pretty common place, but whereas Hasbro uses tons of new tooling for GI Joes while still reusing parts, Mattel’s DCUC line has a few figures every wave that are almost entirely repaints. Blue Beetle certainly falls into that category with only a new head, belt and holster being unique on him.

However some credit has to be given to Mattel as a vast majority of DC’s superheroes wear simple spandex costumes. That means for a guy like Blue Beetle, extra costume sculpting might be a waste. That’s not to say it wouldn’t be nice for him to have some authentic sculpted ridges here or there, but Mattel can get away without it.


They grow em big in Russia…

Coming in as just 6 inches or so, Blue Beetle isn’t much a match for DC Direct Red Son Superman but he fits in perfectly with the rest of the DC Universe Classic figures. The head sculpt is really quite well done and although it does have some generic elements to it, the way they put the goggle eyes on over the figure’s face really works out excellent.

There are a handful of somewhat unsightly mold lines throughout the figure. I noticed them mostly on the legs. It’s not uncommon for a mass market toy to have them, but as the scales get bigger they tend to become more obvious. A lot of DCUC figures have had really bad quality control, but I must admit that my Blue Beetle looks and moves pretty perfectly.

There is a peg hole in the back that’s been plugged. I find that to be a pretty cheap cop out by Mattel. By now they should have two bodies, one with the hole for figures that need it and one without. I guess that could be considered nitpicking as the peg hole piece doesn’t break up the sculpt anymore than articulation, but it’s still a tad unsightly for my tastes.

The paint work is really good for the most part. I don’t have any real damage in the paint department, which is part of the reason I picked him up. In general I find Mattel to have some pretty bad paintjobs and I’ve passed on plenty of DC Universe Classic figures because of it. He has a couple of paint scuff marks, but I’m pretty much pleased with how it came out.

Accessories:
One of the problems with 6 inch figure lines is that you rarely get very much in the way of accessories. Sure, there are exceptions to that rule, but more often than not you’ll find a 6 incher to be bare bones. I’m pleased that DC Universe Classics is trying to buck that trend to an extent with many figures coming with a couple of accesories.

Blue Beetle comes with a holster and his blaster. The blaster has a pretty nice sculpt on it. It’s one of those nifty retro looking weapons and it’s a part of the Beetle’s character as he often used the weird hairdryer/strobe light weapon.

The gun itself is a simple sculpt and it’s pretty small and doesn’t fit into the Beetle’s hand that well. It fits, but it’s a little loose. Despite all that, it does have some paintwork and it’s pretty good for the most part. The strange trend of having the word “CHINA” stamped on the weapon continues though.

Finally he comes with his C&C part which is Atom Smasher’s leg. It’s almost as big as Blue Beetle himself, so it’s definitely a decent piece of plastic. Naturally if you aren’t building the BAF, this is absolutely worthless. I’d like to get Atom Smasher, so this is valuable to me.

Additional Notes:
Ted Kord’s Blue Beetle always registered with me because he was almost a low rent Batman. His gadgets weren’t always perfect, he was rich but never could quite make ends meet and he had a charm about him. One of my favorite parts about Blue Beetle, really isn’t Beetle at all… Night Owl in the Watchmen comics was a great depiction of Blue Beetle and the film version nailed a lot of the stuff that I enjoy about Beetle in their version of him.

Honestly I never quite understood the idea that using the DC characters in that Alan Moore story would “ruin” them forever as supposedly that was the reason he ended up making variants of the characters. Certainly nothing in there would have ruined the Blue Beetle. It’s not like DC doesn’t use Beetle to get maimed or killed every couple of years just to sell a storyline’s importance anyway.

Value:
At some Targets you can get this guy for about $11. Unfortunately Mattel’s rather infamous distribution means that it’s pretty unlikely you’ll ever see him. This wave has been out for months and I just now saw Blue Beetle for the first time at a Walmart. I paid around $13 for him, which is a decent value but nothing spectacular. He runs closer to $15 online and that’s where you’re most likely to catch this bug.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 7
Articulation – 8
Accessories – Gun, C&C Leg
Value – 7
Overall – 7.5 out of 10

Blue Beetle is one of the few characters who benefits from the limitations of the DC Universe Classics line. He doesn’t require a lot of unique tooling and the pieces he did get are well implemented. He’s a cult favorite character and it’s not likely we’ll get many more Blue Beetle figures in our future. Granted there are the Brave & The Bold Beetles, but that’s a different character altogether. If you’re a fan of DCUC or Charlton Comics, you can’t go wrong with this guy.

If you like Ted Kord and want to have his babies or just want to have a shot at winning a prize, leave a comment below. As always, if you Digg this article it’s a bonus entry into our September DCUC giveaway contest.

8 Responses to DCUC: Blue Beetle Figure Review

  • elgeettt says:

    Good review on a good figure. Since you’ve tracked down Beetle, you should see if you can’t find Booster Gold, too. He’s a great toy, and that pair always manages to put together some great moments.

  • Kyle says:

    Good review, I really liked that Beetle figure. I’m glad they didn’t pull a wave 5 and make his goggles solid, that would have brought him down big time for me. like the guy above said, you definitely have to track down Booster now.

  • I want a Booster. They actually had a Booster there with BB when I bought him, but his paint job was smudged in a few areas. I may go after the one with Mr.Mind but I’ll need to see one in stores with a decent paint job.

  • Michael says:

    So far, I only have 2 DCUC figures. as JLU is my superhero line of choice. That being said, Blue Beetle is one of the figures I am considering buying. The paint job on him is one of the things that caught my eye. I hope Mattel continues to do a good job with this line. I’d really love a Phantom Stranger figure. It is a shame that Swamp Thing, Constantine, Dream, etc… are iffy or impossible to do. I would have loved such characters in the JLU line as well.

    btw, I dugg this!

  • Gilltron says:

    Excellent review! Blue Beetle is a great figure and I proudly have him next to Booster Gold I really hope Mattel gets around to making all of the Justice League International.

  • DrNightmare says:

    Same here, I just saw this fig for the first time a few days ago at a lonely TRU.

    Man I wish I were still collecting….cool review!

  • Jon says:

    Oh man! Now I need to find me a Blue Beetle! He looks awesome!

  • Michael says:

    I went out a purchased a Blue Beetle today at Meijer. Have yet to open him, though. Ahh… I am really wanting to start and go full blown on DCUC and collect all of ’em. -_- I now have four DCUC figures total.

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