As a DC fan I really do enjoy collecting Mattel's DC Comics Multiverse line. I've been a fan of their DC efforts since the Batman and Superman dominated DC Superheroes series (which predated DC Universe Classics) and I've liked most of what they've produced in the 6-inch scale. This is the second year I'm doing a top 10 (and bottom 5) for Multiverse, and you can check out last year's entry here. I will admit that DC Comics Multiverse was a mixed bag during its first year and the second year might still be considered a mixed bag. Mattel has definitely given us a fairly diverse selection of characters from comics, television, and movies, along with offering quite a few Collect & Connect figures and accessories. Their distribution is still a mixed bag, though, and the quality is uneven, particularly on movie lines; while the Wonder Woman movie line was mostly solid the Justice League line-up was pretty terrible. The articulation can be really uneven on these, too. It's baffling that with Mattel spending the time and money to give so many characters unique sculpts they don't at least try to make sure that the articulation is decent and functional. The comic based figures are much better and this definitely seems to be the area where Mattel is improving the most. The early 2018 releases (which I just got in the mail on Thursday!) look good and feel like they would easily all make the top 10 if compared against the 2017 lineup. Toy Fair 2018 left me cautiously optimistic as it seems like Mattel is definitely releasing some solid characters with nice sculpts although still not bumping up the articulation to modern standards. Let's take a moment to celebrate the good stuff from this line-up in 2017, though starting with the top 10 figures of the year. Each entry is left with a quote from my original review, just FYI. The countdown begins after the break...
I really want to like this figure more than I do, but there are some problems. The articulation can be a bit clunky and definitely feels less impressive than I would have hoped. The presence of the weird stuff on Babs' boots hurts, too. Still, the style and aesthetic of the figure is overall pretty impressive, particularly the headsculpt (which I just adore). Batgirl is a Good and a 1/2 figure and I'm sure she'll be one of the more popular figures in a series filled with some real standouts.
Mera is a Great figure! She has some cool accessories, nice paintwork and sculpting, and she absolutely fills a hole in your Mattel DC Comics collection. Mera is easily the standout in the DC Comics Multiverse: Justice League line and is worth picking up.
This is absolutely not my favorite version of Diana (not even close) but I do have a deep love for The Dark Knight Returns and its art style and, even though this figure isn't from that book, there's something about the style that appeals to me. Wonder Woman is a Great figure and I'm glad that we finally got her to go along with Batman, Superman, and the Flash in this style.
Honestly, this is a pretty Great set. It's not perfect but for fans of the Flash it's really quite cool. Usually only Batman seems to get something like this so seeing the Flash with a cool evolutions styled set is a real winner. Both figures have some minor flaws but there is also a lot of good stuff here too, particularly the cool lightning effects and the new paintjobs on the figures.
For $20 bucks you're getting an exclusive Flash figure in a very unique costume, an Atom minifigure, and an upgrade for a previously released Batman figure. To be honest, that is a pretty slick deal. I like this set. While Flash on his own wouldn't have set shelves on fire, Mattel did mix in some really good extras here to make this a tough set to refuse.
I really, really like this figure. While she has a few of the problems of the previous figures using this sculpt (some limited articulation) she's also much improved. Plus, she comes with some great accessories and a cool shield that can be used for Ares or any other action figure needing a wicked cool shield. While I still question the logic of making this version of Wonder Woman an exclusive, she's a solid figure. I'd give her a Great rating. She's an improvement over the previous Gal Gadot inspired Wonder Woman figures and is just a darn fine Wonder Woman on her own.
Out of the first four figures in the Wonder Woman series (there are two retailer exclusives still yet to be released) Hippolyta is the clear winner. She's a stunning figure with good accessories, an excellent sculpt and paintjob, and the ability to add or remove her robe to give her two display options
I'm really, really pleased with Mattel's version of the Rookie. This is a fun figure with a great sculpt, some nice paint applications, and a lot of playability. It's a fun toy that fits in nicely with Mattel's Multiverse offerings. While it certainly wasn't one of my most requested figures from Mattel, it turned out great.
If Mattel could get every figure in their Multiverse line to the standards of the Reaper, I'd be a happy camper. This guy is a Great and a 1/2 figure and easily one of the best Multiverse listings for the year. I'll be releasing a top 10 list of the best Multiverse in January (just like last year) and you can rest assured that this guy will be on it. He's excellent and a real treat for Batman fans and collectors.
I'm really glad that Mattel has returned to making 6 inch DC Comics action figures as, while they sometimes release some average stuff, they also tend to have a good character selection and frequently release some very inspired choices. The Joker is a very impressive figure and he blows DC Direct's nearly 20 year old figure out of the water. Plus, if you use the batarang head and pose him just right, he's an action figure of a dead Joker. How weird is that, right? It seems like something the Clown Prince of Crime could really get behind
Honorable mention: King Shark
I'm giving King Shark the honorable mention here because he looks absolute incredible but I do not own him. While I managed to track down some of the figures in his series loose (with no C&C parts) I never saw the whole series anywhere. The Zoom and Jay Garrick Flash figures are ridiculously expensive. I didn't preorder this series initially because I really wasn't overly interested in any of the TV based figures and, typically, they are the ones that sit around and are easy to find. Not here!
And now, onto the bottom five figures from 2017:
While 2017 was largely a good year for the comic based Multiverse figures and the Wonder Woman line, the Justice League line barely managed to get anything right. The Parademon should have been a guaranteed hit but Mattel even managed to turn an evil flying space monster into a boring and underwhelming toy. Bummer.
Batwing should have been an absolute knockout. Instead, he's an Eh figure. Unless you're building the Rookie or desperately need a Batwing (this is the only version of him out there, too), this guy is a pass. That breaks my heart, too. Luke Fox deserves better than this.
Unfortunately, what we guy is probably the definition of Eh. He's dull and quite boring, really, which is a shame.
It's just aggravating that Mattel did nothing new with this one (Wonder Woman is a straight repack of the Toys R Us release and both figures come with unique Build-a-figure parts). If you're buying this one as your first Mattel WW in thus outfit, she's a solid Good figure. If you've purchased the previous release, this just feels like Crap and a 1/2 since you're rebuying a figure for a new build-a-figure part.
I am not happy with this figure. He's not terrible, but I just want to point out that Mattel took the same figure from last year (which did have some problems but was overall good), gave it a worse headsculpt and cape, added a new Collect & Connect piece, and packaged it up with a new label. Other than the C&C piece, I don't feel that Mattel added anything of value to this release. Anything would have been welcome: New hand sculpts, an alternate portrait, some kind of energy effects, anything. Instead, Mattel ruined a good figure and is reselling it.
What do you think? What were your DC Comics Multiverse winners and losers of 2017? Let me know in the comments below!